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Marta Cicuendez, Pablo M. Munarriz, Ana M. Castaño-Leon, and Igor Paredes

The authors describe a patient with delayed thoracic spinal cord compression due to fibrous scar tissue around an epidural electrode used in spinal cord stimulation (SCS). One year after implantation of the system the stimulation became ineffective, and 1 year later the patient developed progressive paraparesis. There was no evidence of device-related complications on plain radiographs and CT scans, so the system was removed to perform MRI studies. These studies showed a dorsal myelopathy secondary to scar tissue around the electrode. At surgery thick scar tissue was resected, and the patient's neurological symptoms improved. The histological examination confirmed fibrosis, and microbiological studies excluded chronic infection. As far as the authors are aware, this complication has never been reported before at the thoracic level. Scarring around SCS electrodes should be considered as a late complication and as a possible cause of the tolerance phenomenon.

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Ana M. Castaño-Leon, Marta Cicuendez, Blanca Navarro-Main, Igor Paredes, Pablo M. Munarriz, Amaya Hilario, Ana Ramos, Pedro A. Gomez, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

A traumatic axonal injury (TAI) diagnosis has traditionally been based on conventional MRI, especially on those sequences with a higher sensitivity to edema and blood degradation products. A more recent technique, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), can infer the microstructure of white matter (WM) due to the restricted diffusion of water in organized tissues. However, there is little information regarding the correlation of the findings obtained by both methods and their use for outcome prognosis. The main objectives of this study were threefold: 1) study the correlation between DTI metrics and conventional MRI findings; 2) evaluate whether the prognostic information provided by the two techniques is supplementary or complementary; and 3) determine the incremental value of the addition of these variables compared to a traditional prognostic model.

METHODS

The authors studied 185 patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who underwent MRI with DTI study during the subacute stage. The number and volume of lesions in hemispheric subcortical WM, corpus callosum (CC), basal ganglia, thalamus, and brainstem in at least four conventional MRI sequences (T1-weighted, T2-weighted, FLAIR, T2* gradient recalled echo, susceptibility-weighted imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging) were determined. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured in 28 WM bundles using the region of interest method. Nonparametric tests were used to evaluate the colocalization of macroscopic lesions and FA. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the independent prognostic value of each neuroimaging modality after adjustment for relevant clinical covariates, and the internal validation of the model was evaluated in a contemporary cohort of 92 patients.

RESULTS

Differences in the lesion load between patients according to their severity and outcome were found. Colocalization of macroscopic nonhemorrhagic TAI lesions (not microbleeds) and lower FA was limited to the internal and external capsule, corona radiata, inferior frontooccipital fasciculus, CC, and brainstem. However, a significant association between the FA value and the identification of macroscopic lesions in distant brain regions was also detected. Specifically, lower values of FA of some hemispheric WM bundles and the splenium of the CC were related to a higher number and volume of hyperintensities in the brainstem. The regression analysis revealed that age, motor score, hypoxia, FA of the genu of the CC, characterization of TAI lesions in the CC, and the presence of thalamic/basal ganglia lesions were independent prognostic factors. The performance of the proposed model was higher than that of the IMPACT (International Mission on Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials in TBI) model in the validation cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Very limited colocalization of hyperintensities (none for microbleeds) with FA values was discovered. DTI and conventional MRI provide complementary prognostic information, and their combination can improve the performance of traditional prognostic models.

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Santiago Cepeda, Ana María Castaño-León, Pablo M. Munarriz, Igor Paredes, Irene Panero, Carla Eiriz, Pedro A. Gómez, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (TICH) represents approximately 13%–48% of the lesions after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hemorrhagic progression (HP) occurs in 38%–63% of cases. In previous studies, decompressive craniectomy (DC) has been characterized as a risk factor in the HP of TICH; however, few studies have focused exclusively on this relationship. The object of the present study was to analyze the relationship between DC and the growth of TICH and to reveal any correlation with the size of the craniectomy, degree of cerebral parenchymal herniation (CPH), or volumetric expansion of the TICH.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 497 adult patients who had been consecutively admitted after suffering a severe or moderate closed TBI. An inclusion criterion was presentation with one or more TICHs on the initial or control CT. Demographic, clinical, radiological, and treatment variables were assessed for associations.

RESULTS

Two hundred three patients presenting with 401 individual TICHs met the selection criteria. TICH growth was observed in 281 cases (70.1%). Eighty-two cases (20.4%) underwent craniectomy without TICH evacuation. In the craniectomy group, HP was observed in 71 cases (86.6%); in the noncraniectomy group (319 cases), HP occurred in 210 cases (65.8%). The difference in the incidence of HP between the two groups was statistically significant (OR 3.41, p < 0.01). The mean area of the craniectomy was 104.94 ± 27.5 cm2, and the mean CPH distance through the craniectomy was 17.85 ± 11.1 mm. The mean increase in the TICH volume was greater in the groups with a craniectomy area > 115 cm2 and CPH > 25 mm (16.12 and 14.47 cm3, respectively, p = 0.01 and 0.02). After calculating the propensity score (PS), the authors followed three statistical methods—matching, stratification, and inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW)—thereby obtaining an adequate balance of the covariates. A statistically significant relationship was found between HP and craniectomy (OR 2.77, p = 0.004). This correlation was confirmed with the three methodologies based on the PS with odds greater than 2.

CONCLUSIONS

DC is a risk factor for the growth of TICH, and there is also an association between the size of the DC and the magnitude of the volume increase in the TICH.

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Daniel García-Pérez, Irene Panero-Pérez, Carla Eiriz Fernández, Luis Miguel Moreno-Gomez, Olga Esteban-Sinovas, Blanca Navarro-Main, Pedro A. Gómez López, Ana M. Castaño-León, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

Acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Surgical evacuation is the mainstay of treatment in patients with altered neurological status or significant mass effect. Nevertheless, concerns regarding surgical indication still persist. Given that clinicians often make therapeutic decisions on the basis of their prognosis assessment, to accurately evaluate the prognosis is of great significance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of specific and reliable prognostic models. In addition, the interdependence of certain well-known predictive variables usually employed to guide surgical decision-making in ASDH has been proven. Because gray matter and white matter are highly susceptible to secondary insults during the early phase after TBI, the authors aimed to assess the extent of these secondary insults with a brain parenchyma densitometric quantitative CT analysis and to evaluate its prognostic capacity.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis among their prospectively collected cohort of patients with moderate to severe TBI. Patients with surgically evacuated, isolated, unilateral ASDH admitted between 2010 and 2017 were selected. Thirty-nine patients were included. For each patient, brain parenchyma density in Hounsfield units (HUs) was measured in 10 selected slices from the supratentorial region. In each slice, different regions of interest (ROIs), including and excluding the cortical parenchyma, were defined. The injured hemisphere, the contralateral hemisphere, and the absolute differences between them were analyzed. The outcome was evaluated using the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended at 1 year after TBI.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients (38.5%) had a favorable outcome. Collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data did not show significant differences between favorable and unfavorable outcomes. In contrast, the densitometric analysis demonstrated that greater absolute differences between both hemispheres were associated with poor outcome. These differences were detected along the supratentorial region, but were greater at the high convexity level. Moreover, these HU differences were far more marked at the cortical parenchyma. It was also detected that these differences were more prone to ischemic and/or edematous insults than to hyperemic changes. Age was significantly correlated with the side-to-side HU differences in patients with unfavorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The densitometric analysis is a promising prognostic tool in patients diagnosed with ASDH. The supplementary prognostic information provided by the densitometric analysis should be evaluated in future studies.

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Lennart Riemann, Daphne C. Voormolen, Katrin Rauen, Klaus Zweckberger, Andreas Unterberg, Alexander Younsi, and the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) Investigators and Participants

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the prevalence of postconcussive symptoms and their relation to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in pediatric and adolescent patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) who received head CT imaging during initial assessment.

METHODS

Patients aged between 5 and 21 years with mTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 13–15) and available Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire (RPQ) at 6 months of follow-up in the multicenter, prospectively collected CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI) study were included. The prevalence of postconcussive symptoms was assessed, and the occurrence of postconcussive syndrome (PSC) based on the ICD-10 criteria, was analyzed. HRQOL was compared in patients with and without PCS using the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) questionnaire.

RESULTS

A total of 196 adolescent or pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging were included. High-energy trauma was prevalent in more than half of cases (54%), abnormalities on head CT scans were detected in 41%, and admission to the regular ward or intensive care unit was necessary in 78%. Six months postinjury, 36% of included patients had experienced at least one moderate or severe symptom on the RPQ. PCS was present in 13% of adolescents and children when considering symptoms of at least moderate severity, and those patients had significantly lower QOLIBRI total scores, indicating lower HRQOL, compared with young patients without PCS (57 vs 83 points, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescent and pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging show signs of increased trauma severity. Postconcussive symptoms are present in up to one-third of those patients, and PCS can be diagnosed in 13% 6 months after injury. Moreover, PCS is significantly associated with decreased HRQOL.