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Daniel A. Donoho, Ian A. Buchanan, Shivani D. Rangwala, Arati Patel, Li Ding, Steven L. Giannotta, Frank J. Attenello, William J. Mack, J. Gordon McComb, and Mark D. Krieger

OBJECTIVE

Cerebrospinal fluid diversion via ventricular shunting is a common surgical treatment for hydrocephalus in the pediatric population. No longitudinal follow-up data for a multistate population-based cohort of pediatric patients undergoing ventricular shunting in the United States have been published. In the current review of a nationwide population-based data set, the authors aimed to assess rates of shunt failure and hospital readmission in pediatric patients undergoing new ventricular shunt placement. They also review patient- and hospital-level factors associated with shunt failure and readmission.

METHODS

Included in this study was a population-based sample of pediatric patients with hydrocephalus who, in 2010–2014, had undergone new ventricular shunt placement and had sufficient follow-up, as recorded in the Nationwide Readmissions Database. The authors analyzed the rate of revision within 6 months, readmission rates at 30 and 90 days, and potential factors associated with shunt failure including patient- and hospital-level variables and type of hydrocephalus.

RESULTS

A total of 3520 pediatric patients had undergone initial ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement for hydrocephalus at an index admission. Twenty percent of these patients underwent shunt revision within 6 months. The median time to revision was 44.5 days. Eighteen percent of the patients were readmitted within 30 days and 31% were readmitted within 90 days. Different-hospital readmissions were rare, occurring in ≤ 6% of readmissions. Increased hospital volume was not protective against readmission or shunt revision. Patients with grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage were more likely to have shunt malfunctions. Patients who had private insurance and who were treated at a large hospital were less likely to be readmitted.

CONCLUSIONS

In a nationwide, population-based database with longitudinal follow-up, shunt failure and readmission were common. Although patient and hospital factors were associated with readmission and shunt failure, system-wide phenomena such as insufficient centralization of care and fragmentation of care were not observed. Efforts to reduce readmissions in pediatric patients undergoing ventricular shunt procedures should focus on coordinating care in patients with complex neurological diseases and on reducing healthcare disparities associated with readmission.

Free access

Vijay Letchuman, Nitin Agarwal, Valli P. Mummaneni, Michael Y. Wang, Saman Shabani, Arati Patel, Joshua Rivera, Alexander F. Haddad, Vivian Le, Joyce M. Chang, Dean Chou, Seema Gandhi, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

There is a learning curve for surgeons performing “awake” spinal surgery. No comprehensive guidelines have been proposed for the selection of ideal candidates for awake spinal fusion or decompression. The authors sought to formulate an algorithm to aid in patient selection for surgeons who are in the startup phase of awake spinal surgery.

METHODS

The authors developed an algorithm for selecting patients appropriate for awake spinal fusion or decompression using spinal anesthesia supplemented with mild sedation and local analgesia. The anesthetic protocol that was used has previously been reported in the literature. This algorithm was formulated based on a multidisciplinary team meeting and used in the first 15 patients who underwent awake lumbar surgery at a single institution.

RESULTS

A total of 15 patients who underwent decompression or lumbar fusion using the awake protocol were reviewed. The mean patient age was 61 ± 12 years, with a median BMI of 25.3 (IQR 2.7) and a mean Charlson Comorbidity Index of 2.1 ± 1.7; 7 patients (47%) were female. Key patient inclusion criteria were no history of anxiety, 1 to 2 levels of lumbar pathology, moderate stenosis and/or grade I spondylolisthesis, and no prior lumbar surgery at the level where the needle is introduced for anesthesia. Key exclusion criteria included severe and critical central canal stenosis or patients who did not meet the inclusion criteria. Using the novel algorithm, 14 patients (93%) successfully underwent awake spinal surgery without conversion to general anesthesia. One patient (7%) was converted to general anesthesia due to insufficient analgesia from spinal anesthesia. Overall, 93% (n = 14) of the patients were assessed as American Society of Anesthesiologists class II, with 1 patient (7%) as class III. The mean operative time was 115 minutes (± 60 minutes) with a mean estimated blood loss of 46 ± 39 mL. The median hospital length of stay was 1.3 days (IQR 0.1 days). No patients developed postoperative complications and only 1 patient (7%) required reoperation. The mean Oswestry Disability Index score decreased following operative intervention by 5.1 ± 10.8.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose an easy-to-use patient selection algorithm with the aim of assisting surgeons with patient selection for awake spinal surgery while considering BMI, patient anxiety, levels of surgery, and the extent of stenosis. The algorithm is specifically intended to assist surgeons who are in the learning curve of their first awake spinal surgery cases.

Free access

Ethan A. Winkler, Alex Lu, Ramin A. Morshed, John K. Yue, W. Caleb Rutledge, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Arati B. Patel, Simon G. Ammanuel, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) consist of dysplastic blood vessels with direct arteriovenous shunts that can hemorrhage spontaneously. In children, a higher lifetime hemorrhage risk must be balanced with treatment-related morbidity. The authors describe a collaborative, multimodal strategy resulting in effective and safe treatment of pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was performed in children with treated and nontreated pediatric AVMs at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1998 to 2017. Inclusion criteria were age ≤ 18 years at time of diagnosis and an AVM confirmed by a catheter angiogram.

RESULTS

The authors evaluated 189 pediatric patients with AVMs over the study period, including 119 ruptured (63%) and 70 unruptured (37%) AVMs. The mean age at diagnosis was 11.6 ± 4.3 years. With respect to Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, there were 38 (20.1%) grade I, 40 (21.2%) grade II, 62 (32.8%) grade III, 40 (21.2%) grade IV, and 9 (4.8%) grade V lesions. Six patients were managed conservatively, and 183 patients underwent treatment, including 120 resections, 82 stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and 37 endovascular embolizations. Forty-four of 49 (89.8%) high-grade AVMs (SM grade IV or V) were treated. Multiple treatment modalities were used in 29.5% of low-grade and 27.3% of high-grade AVMs. Complete angiographic obliteration was obtained in 73.4% of low-grade lesions (SM grade I–III) and in 45.2% of high-grade lesions. A periprocedural stroke occurred in a single patient (0.5%), and there was 1 treatment-related death. The mean clinical follow-up for the cohort was 4.1 ± 4.6 years, and 96.6% and 84.3% of patients neurologically improved or remained unchanged in the ruptured and unruptured AVM groups following treatment, respectively. There were 16 bleeding events following initiation of AVM treatment (annual rate: 0.02 events per person-year).

CONCLUSIONS

Coordinated multidisciplinary evaluation and individualized planning can result in safe and effective treatment of children with AVMs. In particular, it is possible to treat the majority of high-grade AVMs with an acceptable safety profile. Judicious use of multimodality therapy should be limited to appropriately selected patients after thorough team-based discussions to avoid additive morbidity. Future multicenter studies are required to better design predictive models to aid with patient selection for multimodal pediatric care, especially with high-grade AVMs.