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George M. Ibrahim, Aria Fallah and R. Loch Macdonald

Object

At present, the administration of prophylactic antiepileptic medication following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is controversial, and the practice is heterogeneous. Here, the authors sought to inform clinical decision making by identifying factors associated with the occurrence of seizures following aneurysm rupture.

Methods

Exploratory analysis was performed on 413 patients enrolled in CONSCIOUS-1 (Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage), a prospective randomized trial of clazosentan for the prevention of angiographic vasospasm. The association among clinical, laboratory, and radiographic covariates and the occurrence of seizures following SAH were determined. Covariates with a significance level of p < 0.20 on univariate analysis were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to define optimal predictive thresholds.

Results

Of the 413 patients enrolled in the study, 57 (13.8%) had at least 1 seizure following SAH. On univariate analysis, a World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade of IV–V, a greater subarachnoid clot burden, and the presence of midline shift and subdural hematomas were associated with seizure activity. On multivariate analysis, only a subarachnoid clot burden (OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.39–5.49) and subdural hematoma (OR 5.67, 95% CI 1.56–20.57) were associated with seizures following SAH. Using ROC curve analysis, the optimal predictive cutoff for subarachnoid clot burden was determined to be 21 (of a possible 30) on the Hijdra scale (area under the curve 0.63).

Conclusions

A greater subarachnoid clot burden and subdural hematoma are associated with the occurrence of seizures after aneurysm rupture. These findings may help to identify patients at greatest risk for seizures and guide informed decisions regarding the prescription of prophylactic anticonvulsive therapy. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00111085 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Parthasarathi Chamiraju, John Ragheb and Sanjiv Bhatia

OBJECT

Combining endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) has been shown to improve the success rate compared with ETV alone in infants (less than 24 months) with hydrocephalus who were treated in developing countries. The authors sought to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this procedure, using a rigid neuroendoscope, in a single North American center, and to assess whether the ETV success score (ETVSS), the CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda ETVSS (CCHU ETVSS), and other pre- and intraoperative variables could predict success.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of consecutive ETV/CPC procedures performed using a rigid neuroendoscope to treat infantile hydrocephalus. The infants underwent the procedure at Miami Children’s Hospital between January 2007 and 2014, with at least one postoperative follow-up. Duration of follow-up or time to failure of ETV/CPC, the primary outcome measure, was documented. A repeat CSF diversion procedure or death was considered as a failure of ETV/CPC. The time to event was measured using a Kaplan-Meier analysis. The authors analyzed ETVSS, CCHU ETVSS, and pre- and intraoperative variables to determine their suitability to predict success.

RESULTS

Eighty-five patients (45 boys) with a mean age of 4.3 months (range 1 day to 20 months) underwent ETV/CPC. Etiology included intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity in 44 patients (51.7%), myelomeningocele (MMC) in 7 (8.2%), congenital aqueductal stenosis in 12 (14.1%), congenital communicating hydrocephalus in 6 (7.1%), Dandy-Walker complex in 6 (7.1%), postinfectious hydrocephalus in 5 (5.8%), and other cause in 5 (5.8%). Six procedure-related complications occurred in 5 (5.8%) patients, including 2 hygromas, 1 CSF leak, and 3 infections. There were 3 mortalities in this cohort. ETV/CPC was successful in 42.1%, 37.7%, and 36.8% of patients at 6, 12, and 24 months follow-up, respectively. The median (95% CI) time to ETV/CPC failure was 4.0 months (0.9–7.1 months). In univariate analyses, both the ETVSS (hazard ratio [HR] 1.03; 95% CI 1.01–1.05; p = 0.004) and CCHU ETVSS (HR 1.48; 95% CI 1.04–2.09; p = .028) were predictive of outcome following ETV/CPC. In multivariate analysis, the presence of prepontine scarring was associated with ETV/CPC failure (HR 0.34; 95% CI 0.19–0.63; p < 0.001). Other variables, such as radiological criteria (prepontine interval, prepontine space, aqueductal stenosis, Third Ventricular Morphology Index) and intraoperative findings (ventriculostomy pulsations, extent of CPC), did not predict outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

ETV/CPC is a feasible alternative to ETV and ventriculoperitoneal shunt in infants with hydrocephalus. Both the ETVSS and CCHU ETVSS predicted success following ETV/CPC in this single-center North American cohort of patients.

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Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Evan C. Lewis and Sanjiv Bhatia

OBJECTIVE

Insular lobe epilepsy (ILE) is an under-recognized cause of extratemporal epilepsy and explains some epilepsy surgery failures in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. The diagnosis of ILE usually requires invasive investigation with insular sampling; however, the location of the insula below the opercula and the dense middle cerebral artery vasculature renders its sampling challenging. Several techniques have been described, ranging from open direct placement of orthogonal subpial depth and strip electrodes through a craniotomy to frame-based stereotactic placement of orthogonal or oblique electrodes using stereo-electroencephalography principles. The authors describe an alternative method for sampling the insula, which involves placing insular depth electrodes along the long axis of the insula through the insular apex following dissection of the sylvian fissure in conjunction with subdural electrodes over the lateral hemispheric/opercular region. The authors report the feasibility, advantages, disadvantages, and role of this approach in investigating pediatric insular-opercular refractory epilepsy.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of all children (< 18 years old) who underwent invasive intracranial studies involving the insula between 2002 and 2015.

RESULTS

Eleven patients were included in the study (5 boys). The mean age at surgery was 7.6 years (range 0.5–16 years). All patients had drug-resistant epilepsy as defined by the International League Against Epilepsy and underwent comprehensive noninvasive epilepsy surgery workup. Intracranial monitoring was performed in all patients using 1 parasagittal insular electrode (1 patient had 2 electrodes) in addition to subdural grids and strips tailored to the suspected epileptogenic zone. In 10 patients, extraoperative monitoring was used; in 1 patient, intraoperative electrocorticography was used alone without extraoperative monitoring. The mean number of insular contacts was 6.8 (range 4–8), and the mean number of fronto-parieto-temporal hemispheric contacts was 61.7 (range 40–92). There were no complications related to placement of these depth electrodes. All 11 patients underwent subsequent resective surgery involving the insula.

CONCLUSIONS

Parasagittal transinsular apex depth electrode placement is a feasible alternative to orthogonally placed open or oblique-placed stereotactic methodologies. This method is safe and best suited for suspected unilateral cases with a possible extensive insular-opercular epileptogenic zone.

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Aria Fallah, Alexander G. Weil, Samir Sur, Ian Miller, Prasanna Jayakar, Glenn Morrison, Sanjiv Bhatia and John Ragheb

OBJECT

Pediatric brain tumors may be associated with medically intractable epilepsy for which surgery is indicated. The authors sought to evaluate the efficacy of epilepsy surgery for seizure control in pediatric patients with brain tumors.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing resective epilepsy surgery related to pediatric brain tumors at Miami Children’s Hospital between June 1986 and June 2014. Time-to-event analysis for seizure recurrence was performed; an “event” was defined as any seizures that occurred following resective epilepsy surgery, not including seizures and auras in the 1st postoperative week. The authors analyzed several preoperative variables to determine their suitability to predict seizure recurrence following surgery.

RESULTS

Eighty-four patients (47 males) with a mean age (± standard deviation) of 8.7 ± 5.5 years (range 0.5–21.6 years) were included. The study included 39 (46%) patients with gliomas, 20 (24%) with dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs), 14 (17%) with gangliogliomas, and 11 (13%) with other etiologies. Among the patients with gliomas, 18 were classified with low-grade glioma, 5 had oligodendroglioma, 6 had uncategorized astrocytoma, 3 had pilocytic astrocytoma, 3 had pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, 3 had glioblastoma, and 1 had gliomatosis cerebri. Seventy-nine (94.0%) resections were guided by intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG). The mean time (± standard deviation) to seizure recurrence was 81.8 ± 6.3 months. Engel Class I outcome was achieved in 66 (78%) and 63 (75%) patients at 1 and 2 years’ follow-up, respectively. Patients with ganglioglioma demonstrated the highest probability of long-term seizure freedom, followed by patients with DNETs and gliomas. In univariate analyses, temporal location (HR 1.75, 95% CI 0.26–1.27, p = 0.171) and completeness of resection (HR 1.69, 95% CI 0.77–3.74, p = 0.191) demonstrated a trend toward a longer duration of seizure freedom.

CONCLUSIONS

ECoG-guided epilepsy surgery for pediatric patients with brain tumors is highly effective. Tumors located in the temporal lobe and those in which a complete ECoG-guided resection is performed may result in a greater likelihood of long-term seizure freedom.

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Alexander G. Weil, Ngoc Minh D. Le, Prasanna Jayakar, Trevor Resnick, Ian Miller, Aria Fallah, Michael Duchowny and Sanjiv Bhatia

OBJECTIVE

Seizure onset in the insular cortex as a cause of refractory epilepsy is underrepresented in the pediatric population, possibly due to difficulties localizing seizure onset in deep anatomical structures and limited surgical access to the insula, a complex anatomical structure with a rich overlying vascular network. Insular seizure semiology may mimic frontal, temporal, or parietal lobe semiology, resulting in false localization, incomplete resection, and poor outcome.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all pediatric patients who underwent insular cortical resections for intractable epilepsy at Miami Children's Hospital from 2009 to 2015. Presurgical evaluation included video electroencephalography monitoring and anatomical/functional neuroimaging. All patients underwent excisional procedures utilizing intraoperative electrocorticography or extraoperative subdural/depth electrode recording.

RESULTS

Thirteen children (age range 6 months–16 years) with intractable focal epilepsy underwent insular-opercular resection. Seven children described symptoms that were suggestive of insular seizure origin. Discharges on scalp EEG revealed wide fields. Four patients were MRI negative (i.e., there were no insular or brain abnormalities on MRI), 4 demonstrated insular signal abnormalities, and 5 had extrainsular abnormalities. Ten patients had insular involvement on PET/SPECT. All patients underwent invasive investigation with insular sampling; in 2 patients resection was based on intraoperative electrocorticography, whereas 11 underwent surgery after invasive EEG monitoring with extraoperative monitoring. Four patients required an extended insular resection after a failed initial surgery. Postoperatively, 2 patients had transient hemiplegia. No patients had new permanent neurological deficits. At the most recent follow-up (mean 43.8 months), 9 (69%) children were seizure free and 1 had greater than 90% seizure reduction.

CONCLUSIONS

Primary insular seizure origin should be considered in children with treatment-resistant focal seizures that are believed to arise within the perisylvian region based on semiology, widespread electrical field on scalp EEG, or insular abnormality on anatomical/functional neuroimaging. There is a reasonable chance of seizure freedom in this group of patients, and the surgical risks are low.

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Anna Lo Presti, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Eric C. Peterson, Toba N. Niazi and Sanjiv Bhatia

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an autosomal recessive hematological disorder, characterized by sickling of the red blood cells in response to a hypoxic stress and vaso-occlusive crises. It is associated with moyamoya-like changes on cerebral angiographic imaging in 43% of patients. Cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) have been described in association with SCD and moyamoya disease. However, the description of a pial AVF (pAVF) in a patient with SCD and/or moyamoya formation has not yet been reported. The authors present the case of a 15-year-old boy with SCD-associated moyamoya disease harboring a pAVF who developed a de novo venous aneurysm 8 months after undergoing indirect superficial temporal artery-middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypass that was complicated by bilateral ischemia of the MCA territory. The pAVF was successfully treated with transarterial embolization using Onyx. The authors describe the possible pathophysiological mechanisms and management strategies for this rare occurrence.

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William B. Harris, H. Westley Phillips, Jia Shu Chen, Alexander G. Weil, George M. Ibrahim and Aria Fallah

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to perform an individual participant data meta-analysis to identify preoperative factors associated with a good seizure outcome in children with Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) undergoing resective or hemispheric epilepsy surgery.

METHODS

Electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL) were searched with no language or date restrictions to identify cohort studies of consecutive participants undergoing resective surgery that reported seizure outcomes. The authors recorded all preoperative factors that could plausibly be associated with seizure outcomes and used Cox regression analysis to identify which of these variables were associated with seizure freedom (i.e., Engel class I).

RESULTS

Of 720 citations, 19 articles reporting on 187 participants were eligible. Seizure freedom (Engel class I) was observed in 113 participants (60.4%). On univariate analyses, younger age at disease onset (hazard ratio [HR] 0.906, p = 0.001), younger age at surgery (HR 0.928, p < 0.001), shorter time to surgery (HR 0.921, p = 0.001), and hemispherectomy (HR 0.283, p < 0.001) were all associated with longer time to postoperative seizure recurrence. Additionally, multivariable analysis including the aforementioned variables showed that younger age at surgery (HR 0.946, p = 0.043) and hemispherectomy (HR 0.297, p < 0.001) were independently and significantly associated with a greater time to seizure recurrence and longer duration of seizure freedom.

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of pediatric patients undergoing resective or hemispheric surgery for RE achieve good seizure outcome. Although small retrospective cohort studies are inherently prone to bias, the best available evidence utilizing individual participant data suggests hemispheric surgery and younger age at surgery are associated with good seizure outcomes following epilepsy surgery. Large, multicenter observational studies with long-term follow-up are required to evaluate the risk factors identified in this review.

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George M. Ibrahim, Benjamin W. Barry, Aria Fallah, O. Carter Snead III, James M. Drake, James T. Rutka and Mark Bernstein

Epilepsy is a common childhood condition associated with a considerable medical and psychosocial burden. Children in whom medical treatment fails to reduce seizure burden represent an especially vulnerable patient population because prolonged, uncontrolled seizures are associated with poor developmental and neurocognitive outcomes. Surgical treatment in the form of cortical resection, functional disconnection, or neuromodulation may alleviate or significantly reduce the disease burden for a subset of these patients. However, there remains a dichotomy between the perceived benefits of surgery and the implementation of surgical strategies in the management of medically intractable epilepsy. The current paper presents an analysis of the bioethical implications of existing inequities in access to pediatric epilepsy surgery that result from inconsistent referral practices and discrepant evaluation techniques. The authors provide a basic bioethical framework composed of 5 primary expectations to inform public, institutional, and personal policies toward the provision of epilepsy surgery to afflicted children.

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Cristina V. Torres, Aria Fallah, George M. Ibrahim, Samuel Cheshier, Hiroshi Otsubo, Ayako Ochi, Sylvester Chuang, O. Carter Snead, Stephanie Holowka and James T. Rutka

Object

Hemispherectomy is an established neurosurgical procedure for medication-resistant epilepsy in children. Despite the effectiveness of this technique, there are patients who do not achieve an optimum outcome after surgery; possible causes of suboptimal results include the presence of bilateral independent epileptogenic foci. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is an emerging tool that has been found to be useful in the management of lesional and nonlesional epilepsy. The authors analyzed the relative contribution of MEG in patient selection for hemispherectomy.

Methods

The medical records of children undergoing hemispherectomy at the Hospital for Sick Children were reviewed. Those patients who underwent MEG as part of the presurgical evaluation were selected.

Results

Thirteen patients were included in the study. Nine patients were boys. The mean age at the time of surgery was 66 months (range 10–149 months). Seizure etiology was Rasmussen encephalitis in 6 patients, hemimegalencephaly in 2 patients, and cortical dysplasia in 4 patients. In 8 patients, video-EEG and MEG results were consistent to localize the primary epileptogenic hemisphere. In 2 patients, video-EEG lateralized the ictal onset, but MEG showed bilateral spikes. Two patients had bilateral video-EEG and MEG spikes. Engel Class I, II, and IV outcomes were seen in 10, 2, and 1 patients, respectively. In 2 of the patients who had an outcome other than Engel Class I, the MEG clusters were concentrated in the disconnected hemisphere. The third patient had bilateral clusters and potentially independent epileptogenic foci from bilateral cortical dysplasia.

Conclusions

The presence of unilateral MEG spike waves correlated with good outcomes following hemispherectomy. In some cases, MEG provides information that differs from that obtained from video-EEG and conventional MR imaging studies. Further studies with a greater number of patients are needed to assess the role of MEG in the preoperative assessment of candidates for hemispherectomy.

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Editorial

Perioperative steroids in spine surgery

Michael G. Fehlings and Aria Fallah