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Marc Zanello, Thomas Baugnon, Alexandre Roux and Federico Di Rocco

OBJECTIVE

Breaking bad news is a difficult task in medical practice. Several breaking-bad-news training programs have been proposed. However, long-term results of such training have rarely been investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the short- and long-term evaluations by young neurosurgeons of a training program for breaking bad news to patients and their parents.

METHODS

Between 2012 and 2015, pediatric neurosurgery residents participated in a training day on breaking bad news in pediatric neurosurgery with professional actors. A personal debriefing, followed by a theoretical session, completed the training. Immediate feedback was evaluated through a survey administered at the end of the day. Long-term results were explored via an online form sent at least 3 years after the training completion.

RESULTS

Seventeen participants from 9 different countries were interviewed. Their immediate feedback confirmed their interest. For 71% of them, the program was very interesting, and 77% were extremely satisfied or very satisfied. All trainees wanted more training sessions. At a mean of 4.5 years of follow-up (range 3–6 years), 71% of the trainees fully remembered the session. Most of them (86%) reported a positive impact of the training on their career. Only 21% had another training session on breaking bad news during their residency. At long-term analysis, fewer trainees considered the duration of the training to have been sufficient (p = 0.044).

CONCLUSIONS

Breaking-bad-news training has a positive long-term educational impact even several years later. Such a training program should be implemented into pediatric neurosurgery residency.

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Christian Sainte-Rose, Giuseppe Cinalli, Franck E. Roux, Wirginia Maixner, Paul D. Chumas, Maheir Mansour, Alexandre Carpentier, Marie Bourgeois, Michel Zerah, Alain Pierre-Kahn and Dominique Renier

The authors conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of endoscopically guided third ventriculostomy in the pre- and postoperative management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients who harbored posterior fossa tumors.

Between October 1, 1993, and December 31, 1997, a total of 206 consecutive children with posterior fossa tumors underwent surgery at Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris. Ten patients in whom shunts were implanted at the referring hospital were excluded. The medical records and neuroimaging studies obtained in the remaining 196 patients were reviewed. These patients were categorized into three groups: 67 patients with hydrocephalus on admission in whom endoscopically guided third ventriculostomy was performed prior to tumor removal (Group A); 82 patients with hydrocephalus in whom preliminary third ventriculostomy was not performed and who were managed in a “conventional way” (Group B); and 47 patients without ventricular dilation on admission (Group C).

There was no significant difference between Group A and Group B patients with respect to age at presentation, evidence of metastatic disease, degree of tumor resection, or follow up. In the patients in Group A, however, more severe hydrocephalus was present (p < 0.01). Patients in Group C were, in this respect, different from the other two groups.

Ultimately, only four patients (6%) in Group A as compared with 22 patients (27 %) in Group B (p = 0.001) had progressive hydrocephalus requiring treatment following removal of the posterior fossa tumor. Sixteen patients (20%) in Group B underwent insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which is similar to the incidence of this procedure reported in the literature and significantly different from that in Group A (p < 0.016). The other six patients in Group B (6%) were treated by endoscopically guided third ventriculostomy after tumor removal. In Group C, two patients (4%) with postoperative hydrocephalus underwent endoscopically guided third ventriculostomy.

In three of the patients who required placement of cerebrospinal fluid shunts several episodes of shunt malfunction occurred; these were ultimately managed by performing endoscopic third ventriculostomy and definitive removal of the shunt.

There were no cases of death and four cases of transient morbidity associated with the ventriculostomy.

Third ventriculostomy is feasible even in the presence of posterior fossa tumors (including brainstem tumors). When performed prior to posterior fossa surgery, it significantly reduces the incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus. Furthermore, it provides a valid alternative to the placement of permanent shunts in cases in which hydrocephalus develops following posterior fossa surgery, and it may negate the need for the shunt in cases in which the shunt malfunctions.

Although the authors acknowledge that the routine application of third ventriculostomy in selected patients may result in a proportion of patients undergoing an “unnecessary” procedure, they believe that because of patients' less complicated postoperative course, the low morbidity rate, and the high success rate of third ventriculostomy, further investigation of this protocol is warranted.

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Christian Sainte-Rose, Giuseppe Cinalli, Franck E. Roux, Wirginia Maixner, Paul D. Chumas, Maher Mansour, Alexandre Carpentier, Marie Bourgeois, Michel Zerah, Alain Pierre-Kahn and Dominique Renier

Object. The authors undertook a study to evaluate the effectiveness of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in the management of hydrocephalus before and after surgical intervention for posterior fossa tumors in children.

Methods. Between October 1, 1993, and December 31, 1997, a total of 206 consecutive children with posterior fossa tumors underwent surgery at Hôpital Necker—Enfants Malades in Paris. Excluded were 10 patients in whom shunts had been placed at the referring hospital. The medical records and neuroimaging studies of the remaining 196 patients were reviewed and categorized into three groups: Group A, 67 patients with hydrocephalus present on admission in whom endoscopic third ventriculostomy was performed prior to tumor removal; Group B, 82 patients with hydrocephalus who did not undergo preliminary third ventriculostomy but instead received conventional treatment; and Group C, 47 patients in whom no ventricular dilation was present on admission.

There were no significant differences between patients in Group A or B with respect to the following variables: age at presentation, evidence of metastatic disease, extent of tumor resection, or follow-up duration. In patients in Group A, however, more severe hydrocephalus was demonstrated (p < 0.01); the patients in Group C were in this respect different from those in the other two groups.

Ultimately, there were only four patients (6%) in Group A compared with 22 patients (26.8%) in Group B (p = 0.001) in whom progressive hydrocephalus required treatment following removal of the posterior fossa tumor. Sixteen patients (20%) in Group B underwent insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which is similar to the incidence reported in the literature and significantly different from that demonstrated in Group A (p < 0.016). The other six patients (7.3%) were treated by endoscopic third ventriculostomy after tumor resection. In Group C, two patients (4.3%) with postoperative hydrocephalus underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy.

In three patients who required placement of CSF shunts several episodes of shunt malfunction occurred that were ultimately managed by endoscopic third ventriculostomy and definitive removal of the shunt. There were no deaths; however, there were four cases of transient morbidity associated with third ventriculostomy.

Conclusions. Third ventriculostomy is feasible even in the presence of posterior fossa tumors (including brainstem tumors). When performed prior to posterior fossa surgery, it significantly reduces the incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus. The procedure provides a valid alternative to placement of a permanent shunt in cases in which hydrocephalus develops following posterior fossa surgery, and it may negate the need for the shunt in cases in which the shunt malfunctions. Furthermore, in patients in whom CSF has caused spread of the tumor at presentation, third ventriculostomy allows chemotherapy to be undertaken prior to tumor excision by controlling hydrocephalus.

Although the authors acknowledge that the routine application of third ventriculostomy in selected patients results in a proportion of patients undergoing an “unnecessary” procedure, they believe that because patients' postoperative courses are less complicated and because the incidence of morbidity is low and the success rate is high in those patients with severe hydrocephalus that further investigation of this protocol is warranted.

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Marc Zanello, Alexandre Roux, Gilles Zah-Bi, Bénédicte Trancart, Eduardo Parraga, Myriam Edjlali, Arnault Tauziede-Espariat, Xavier Sauvageon, Tarek Sharshar, Catherine Oppenheim, Pascale Varlet, Edouard Dezamis and Johan Pallud

OBJECTIVE

Functional-based resection under awake conditions had been associated with a nonnegligible rate of intraoperative and postoperative epileptic seizures. The authors assessed the incidence of intraoperative and early postoperative epileptic seizures after functional-based resection under awake conditions.

METHODS

The authors prospectively assessed intraoperative and postoperative seizures (within 1 month) together with clinical, imaging, surgical, histopathological, and follow-up data for 202 consecutive diffuse glioma adult patients who underwent a functional-based resection under awake conditions.

RESULTS

Intraoperative seizures occurred in 3.5% of patients during cortical stimulation; all resolved without any procedure being discontinued. No predictor of intraoperative seizures was identified. Early postoperative seizures occurred in 7.9% of patients at a mean of 5.1 ± 2.9 days. They increased the duration of hospital stay (p = 0.018), did not impact the 6-month (median 95 vs 100, p = 0.740) or the 2-year (median 100 vs 100, p = 0.243) postoperative Karnofsky Performance Status score and did not impact the 6-month (100% vs 91.4%, p = 0.252) or the 2-year (91.7 vs 89.4%, p = 0.857) postoperative seizure control. The time to treatment of at least 3 months (adjusted OR [aOR] 4.76 [95% CI 1.38–16.36], p = 0.013), frontal lobe involvement (aOR 4.88 [95% CI 1.25–19.03], p = 0.023), current intensity for intraoperative mapping of at least 3 mA (aOR 4.11 [95% CI 1.17–14.49], p = 0.028), and supratotal resection (aOR 6.24 [95% CI 1.43–27.29], p = 0.015) were independently associated with early postoperative seizures.

CONCLUSIONS

Functional-based resection under awake conditions can be safely performed with a very low rate of intraoperative and early postoperative seizures and good 6-month and 2-year postoperative seizure outcomes. Intraoperatively, the use of the lowest current threshold producing reproducible responses is mandatory to reduce seizure occurrence intraoperatively and in the early postoperative period.