Traumatic brain injuries afflict a large number of pediatric patients. The most severe injuries lead to increased intracranial pressure and herniation, with resultant changes in the brainstem. Traumatic brainstem hemorrhages have previously been associated with poor neurological outcome and fatality. However, this report discusses 2 pediatric patients who sustained severe head trauma with subsequent brainstem hemorrhages, and yet experienced good neurological outcome; the possible mechanism is described.
Report of 2 cases
Alexandra D. Beier and Peter B. Dirks
Nicole Prendergast, Jeffrey D. Goldstein, and Alexandra D. Beier
Primary choroid plexus tumors encompass a variety of tumors, with choroid plexus papilloma and carcinoma being the most common. Also in the differential diagnosis is the rare benign choroid plexus adenoma. As these tumors are infrequently described, the histological profile continues to evolve. The authors present a case with unusual characteristics that will broaden the pathological spectrum for choroid plexus adenomas.
Alexandra D. Beier and James T. Rutka
The surgical options available for intractable hemispheric epilepsy have evolved since their initial description in the early 20th century. Surgical techniques have advanced, as has the ability to predict good surgical outcomes with noninvasive diagnostics. The authors review the history of hemispherectomy and detail the novel imaging and surgical strategies used to confer seizure freedom.
Sean Sullivan, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Roberta Santos, Alexandra D. Beier, and Ricardo A. Hanel
The use of simulators has been described in a variety of fields as a training tool to gain technical skills through repeating and rehearsing procedures in a safe environment. In cerebrovascular surgery, simulation of skull base approaches has been used for decades. The use of simulation in neurointervention to acquire and enhance skills before treating a patient is a newer concept, but its utilization has been limited due to the lack of good models and deficient haptics. The advent of 3D printing technology and the development of new training models has changed this landscape. The prevalence of aneurysms in the pediatric population is much lower than in adults, and concepts and tools sometimes have to be adapted from one population to another. Neuroendovascular rehearsal is a valid strategy for the treatment of complex aneurysms, especially for the pediatric population. The authors present the case of an 8-year-old boy with a fusiform intracranial aneurysm and documented progressive growth, who was successfully treated after the authors rehearsed the placement of a flow diverter using a patient-specific 3D-printed replicator system model.
Nicole Prendergast, Philipp R. Aldana, Ronny L. Rotondo, Lournaris Torres-Santiago, and Alexandra D. Beier
Tumors involving the sella are commonly craniopharyngiomas, optic pathway gliomas, or pituitary adenomas. Functioning adenomas are expected, with prolactinomas topping the differential. The authors present the case of a silent corticotroph adenoma, which has not been described in the pediatric population, and they detail the use of proton therapy, which is also novel.
Alexandra D. Beier, Samuel H. Cheshier, Aabir Chakraborty, and Peter Dirks
The syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) is occasionally seen after hypothalamic injury or dysfunction, although it typically occurs in association with other endocrine disturbances. It is has never been described as a presenting feature of a suprasellar arachnoid cyst (SAC) in the pediatric population. The authors describe the case of an enlarging SAC resulting in SIADH as the only presenting feature, with an otherwise normal hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
An SAC was diagnosed in utero in this 5-month-old girl who had a normal functioning hypothalamic-pituitary axis on presentation. Because of cyst enlargement and hydrocephalus, the patient was scheduled for surgery; however, preoperative labs revealed SIADH. After stabilizing the serum sodium concentration with fluid restriction and the administration of 3% sodium chloride, the patient underwent endoscopic cyst fenestration. Postoperatively, she had complete resolution of the SIADH.
Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion as the presenting symptom of an SAC has not been previously described. In the aforementioned patient, the proposed mechanism for SIADH was enlargement of the suprasellar arachnoid cyst causing compression of the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei and thus overstimulating the secretion of arginine vasopressin, which resulted in SIADH.
The association of SIADH with an SAC is reportable, as is the resolution of the SIADH via cyst fenestration. The authors suggest that SIADH is an uncommon presenting feature of SACs and that syndrome resolution is possible with cyst decompression.
Alexandra D. Beier, Shobhan Vachhrajani, Simon H. Bayerl, Claudia Y. Diaz Aguilar, Maria Lamberti-Pasculli, and James M. Drake
Diagnosis and management of atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation (AARS) is challenging because of its variability in clinical presentation. Although several treatment modalities have been employed, there remains no consensus on the most appropriate therapy. The authors explore this issue in their 9-year series on AARS.
Records of patients diagnosed radiologically and clinically with AARS between May 2001 and March 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Of 40 patients identified, 24 were male and were on average 8.5 years of age (range 15 months–16 years). Causes of AARS included trauma, congenital abnormalities, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, infection, postsurgical event, and cryptogenic disease. Four patients had dual etiologies. Symptom duration varied: 29 patients had symptoms for less than 4 weeks, 5 patients had symptoms between 1 and 3 months, and 6 patients had symptoms for 3 months or more.
Treatment with a cervical collar was sufficient in 21 patients. In 1 patient collar management failed and halter traction was used to reduce the subluxation. Seven patients underwent initial halter traction, but in 4 the subluxation progressed and the patients required halo traction. A halo vest was placed in 2 patients on presentation because the rotatory subluxation was severe; both patients required subsequent operative fusion. One patient required decompression and fusion due to severe canal compromise and myelopathy. All patients requiring fusion presented with subacute symptoms.
Management of AARS varies due to the spectrum of clinical presentations. Patients presenting acutely without neurological deficits can likely undergo collar therapy; those in whom the subluxation cannot be reduced or who present with a neurological deficit may require traction and/or surgical fixation. Patients presenting subacutely may be more prone to requiring operative intervention.
Alexandra D. Beier, Gemi E. Jannotta, E. Dayan Sandler, Harry S. Abram, Raj D. Sheth, and Philipp R. Aldana
Hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy (HHE) is an uncommon epileptic syndrome that affects young children. Typical management includes early initiation of benzodiazepines to abate the initial seizure activity quickly. Patients in whom epilepsy develops require prolonged use of antiepileptic agents. Herniation due to diffuse cerebral edema from HHE is rare; however, decompressive craniectomy has been described as a lifesaving measure. The authors present the case of a patient in whom a decompressive craniectomy was performed. They advocate a proactive approach in the detection and management of cerebral edema in HHE causing intracranial hypertension. In HHE cases that exhibit radiographic evidence of malignant cerebral edema (although not previously described in this disease, but similar to the setting of stroke and trauma), the authors advocate early neurosurgical consultation and evaluation for insertion of an intracranial pressure monitor for those patients who do not have a reliable neurological examination (i.e., Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8).
Cory McFall, Alexandra D. Beier, Kelsey Hayward, Emily C. Alberto, Randall S. Burd, Bethany J. Farr, David P. Mooney, Kristin Gee, Jeffrey S. Upperman, Mauricio A. Escobar Jr., Nicole G. Coufal, Helen A. Harvey, and Gerald Gollin
The authors sought to evaluate the contemporary management of pediatric open skull fractures and assess the impact of variations in antibiotic and operative management on the incidence of infectious complications.
The records of children who presented from 2009 to 2017 to 6 pediatric trauma centers with an open calvarial skull fracture were reviewed. Data collected included mechanism and anatomical site of injury; presence and depth of fracture depression; antibiotic choice, route, and duration; operative management; and infectious complications.
Of the fractures among the 138 patients included in the study, 48.6% were frontal and 80.4% were depressed; 58.7% of patients underwent fragment elevation. The average duration of intravenous antibiotics was 4.6 (range 0–21) days. Only 53 patients (38.4%) received a single intravenous antibiotic for fewer than 4 days. and 56 (40.6%) received oral antibiotics for an average of 7.3 (range 1–20) days. Wounds were managed exclusively in the emergency department in 28.3% of patients. Two children had infectious complications, including a late-presenting hardware infection and a superficial wound infection. There were no cases of meningitis or intracranial abscess. Neither antibiotic spectrum or duration nor bedside irrigation was associated with the development of infection.
The incidence of infectious complications in this population of children with open skull fractures was low and was not associated with the antibiotic strategy or site of wound care. Most minimally contaminated open skull fractures are probably best managed with a short duration of a single antibiotic, and emergency department closure is appropriate unless there is significant contamination or fragment elevation is necessary.