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Open access

Posterior spinal artery aneurysm as an unlikely culprit for perimesencephalic pattern subarachnoid hemorrhage: illustrative case

Armaan K. Malhotra, Jerry C. Ku, Vitor M. Pereira, and Ivan Radovanovic

BACKGROUND

Angiogram-negative nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) can be diagnostically challenging, and a broad differential diagnosis must be considered. Particular attention to initial radiographic hemorrhage distribution is essential to guide adjunctive investigations. Posterior spinal artery aneurysms are rare clinical entities with few reported cases in the literature. An understanding of isolated spinal artery aneurysm natural history, diagnosis, and management is evolving as more cases are identified.

OBSERVATIONS

Isolated thoracic posterior spinal artery aneurysm can be the culprit lesion in perimesencephalic distribution SAH. Embolization resulted in complete aneurysm occlusion and did not result in periprocedural morbidity. At the 1-year follow-up, the patient was neurologically intact with no recurrence on magnetic resonance angiography.

LESSONS

This case report highlighted the presentation, diagnostic workup, clinical decision-making, and endovascular intervention for a woman who presented with SAH secondary to posterior spinal artery aneurysm. After initially negative results on vascular imaging, dedicated spinal vascular imaging revealed the location of the aneurysm. Multiple treatment modalities exist for isolated spinal artery aneurysms and must be selected on the basis of patient- and lesion-specific characteristics.

Open access

Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystal deposition disease and retro-odontoid pseudotumor rupture managed via posterior occipital cervical instrumented fusion: illustrative case

Armaan K. Malhotra, Aayush R. Malhotra, Alexander P. Landry, Arjun Balachandar, William Guest, Aditya Bharatha, Thomas R. Marotta, and Christopher D. Witiw

BACKGROUND

Craniocervical junction and subaxial cervical spinal manifestations of calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease are rarely encountered. The authors presented a severe case of retro-odontoid pseudotumor rupture causing rapid quadriparesis and an acute comatose state with subsequent radiographic and clinical improvement after posterior occipital cervical fusion.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors surveyed the literature and outlined multiple described operative management strategies for compressive cervical and craniocervical junction calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease manifestations ranging from neck pain to paresthesia, weakness, myelopathy, quadriparesis, and cranial neuropathies. In this report, radiographic features of cervical and craniocervical junction calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease were explored. Several previously described surgical strategies were compiled, including patient characteristics and outcomes.

LESSONS

With this case report, the authors presented for the first time an isolated posterior occipital cervical fusion for treatment of a compressive retro-odontoid pseudotumor with rupture into the brainstem. They demonstrated rapid clinical and radiographic resolution after stabilization of cranial cervical junction only 12 weeks postsurgery.

Open access

Management of perinatal cervical spine injury using custom-fabricated external orthoses: design considerations, narrative literature review, and experience from the Hospital for Sick Children. Illustrative cases

Vishwathsen Karthikeyan, Sara C. Breitbart, Armaan K. Malhotra, Andrea Fung, Erin Short, Ann Schmitz, David E. Lebel, and George M. Ibrahim

BACKGROUND

Cervical spine injuries in neonates are rare and no guidelines are available to inform management. The most common etiology of neonatal cervical injury is birth-related trauma. Management strategies that are routine in older children and adults are not feasible due to the unique anatomy of neonates.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors present 3 cases of neonatal cervical spinal injury due to confirmed or suspected birth trauma, 2 of whom presented immediately after birth, while the other was diagnosed at 7 weeks of age. One child presented with neurological deficits due to spinal cord injury, while another had an underlying predisposition to bony injury, infantile malignant osteopetrosis. The children were treated with a custom-designed and manufactured full-body external orthoses with good clinical and radiographic outcomes. A narrative literature review further supplements this case series and highlights risk factors and the spectrum of birth-related spinal injuries reported to date.

LESSONS

The current report highlights the importance of recognizing the rare occurrence of cervical spinal injury in newborns and provides pragmatic recommendations for management of these injuries. Custom orthoses provide an alternate option for neonates who cannot be fitted in halo vests and who would outgrow traditional casts.

Open access

Ocular needlefish injury with cavernous sinus thrombosis and carotid-cavernous fistula: illustrative case

Anahita Malvea, Armaan K. Malhotra, Ann Schmitz, Whitney Parker, Leeor Yefet, Prakash Muthusami, James T. Rutka, and Peter Dirks

BACKGROUND

The Belonidae family of fish has been implicated in various penetrating injuries; to date, however, there have been limited reports of brain injury due to this species.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a young patient who suffered an ocular penetrating injury from a needlefish with a resultant cavernous sinus thrombosis and concomitant carotid-cavernous fistula. This case highlights the interdisciplinary management of this rare condition through a strategy of anticoagulation titration to the endpoint of fistula closure.

LESSONS

Through this report the importance of a high index of suspicion for neurovascular injury and fistula formation in penetrating ocular injuries is highlighted as well as the importance of interdisciplinary management of patients with such injuries and their sequelae.

Open access

Intraoperative air embolism diagnosis and treatment using hyperbaric oxygen therapy after craniotomy: illustrative case

Armaan K. Malhotra, Ashton P. Chang, Joseph P. Lawton, Aderaldo Costa Alves Jr., Angela Jerath, Bourke W. Tillmann, Harry Foster, Azad Mashari, Leodante da Costa, and Ashish Kumar

BACKGROUND

This report describes the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the acute management of an intraoperative air embolism encountered during a neurosurgical procedure. Furthermore, the authors highlight the concomitant diagnosis of tension pneumocephalus requiring evacuation prior to hyperbaric therapy.

OBSERVATIONS

A 68-year-old male developed acute ST-segment elevation and hypotension during elective disconnection of a posterior fossa dural arteriovenous fistula. The semi-sitting position had been used to minimize cerebellar retraction, raising the concern for acute air embolism. Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography was utilized to establish the diagnosis of air embolism. The patient was stabilized on vasopressor therapy, and immediate postoperative computed tomography revealed air bubbles in the left atrium along with tension pneumocephalus. He underwent urgent evacuation for the tension pneumocephalus followed by hyperbaric oxygen therapy to manage the hemodynamically significant air embolism. The patient was eventually extubated and went on to fully recover; a delayed angiogram revealed complete cure of the dural arteriovenous fistula.

LESSONS

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy should be considered for an intracardiac air embolism resulting in hemodynamic instability. In the postoperative neurosurgical setting, care should be taken to exclude pneumocephalus requiring operative intervention prior to hyperbaric therapy. A multidisciplinary management approach facilitated expeditious diagnosis and management for the patient.

Open access

Cryptogenic cervical intramedullary abscess with rapidly progressive myelopathy: illustrative case

Nebras M. Warsi, Ann Wilson, Armaan K. Malhotra, Jerry C. Ku, Ahmed A. Najjar, Esther Bui, Michael Baker, Eric Bartlett, and Mojgan Hodaie

BACKGROUND

The purpose of the present case report is to highlight the presentation, workup, clinical decision making, and operative intervention for a 68-year-old woman who developed rapidly progressive myelopathy secondary to idiopathic cervical intramedullary abscess.

OBSERVATIONS

The patient underwent laminectomy and aspiration/biopsy of the lesion. Intraoperatively, division of the posterior median sulcus released a large volume of purulent material growing the oral pathogens Eikenella corrodens and Gemella morbillorum. Broad-spectrum antibiotics were initiated postoperatively. At the 6-month follow-up, the patient had almost completely recovered with some persistent hand dysesthesia. Complete infectious workup, including full dental assessment and an echocardiogram, failed to reveal the source of her infection.

LESSONS

The authors report the first case of cryptogenic spinal intramedullary abscess secondary to Eikenella spp. and Gemella spp. coinfection. Intramedullary abscesses are exceptionally rare and most commonly develop in children with dermal sinus malformations or in the context of immunosuppression. In adults without risk factors, they can readily be mistaken for more common pathologies in this age group, such as intramedullary neoplasms or demyelinating disease. Prompt diagnosis and management based on rapidly progressive myelopathy, assessment of infectious risk factors and/or symptoms, and targeted imaging are critical to avoid potentially devastating neurological sequelae.

Free access

Editorial. Topical epidural steroids after lumbar spine surgery: do the benefits observed after microdiscectomy extend to lumbar fusion?

Armaan K. Malhotra and Jefferson R. Wilson

Restricted access

Complications following resection of primary and recurrent pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma

Armaan K. Malhotra, Liana Nobre, George M. Ibrahim, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake, James T. Rutka, Michael D. Taylor, Vijay Ramaswamy, Peter B. Dirks, and Michael C. Dewan

OBJECTIVE

Extent of resection (EOR) is the most important modifiable prognostic variable for pediatric patients with posterior fossa ependymoma. An understanding of primary and recurrent ependymoma complications is essential to inform clinical decision-making for providers, patients, and families. In this study, the authors characterize postsurgical complications following resection of primary and recurrent pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma in a molecularly defined cohort.

METHODS

The authors conducted a 20-year retrospective single-center review of pediatric patients undergoing resection of posterior fossa ependymoma at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Complications were dichotomized into major and minor groups; EOR was compared across complication categories. The association between complication occurrence with length of stay (LOS) and mortality was also assessed using multivariable regressions.

RESULTS

There were 60 patients with primary resection included, 41 (68%) of whom were alive at the time of data collection. Gross-total resection was achieved in 33 (58%) of 57 patients at primary resection. There were no 30-day mortality events following primary and recurrent ependymoma resection. Following primary resection, 6 patients (10%) had posterior fossa syndrome (PFS) and 36 (60%) developed cranial neuropathies, 56% of which recovered within 1 year. One patient (1.7%) required a tracheostomy and 9 patients (15%) required gastrostomy tubes. There were 14 ventriculoperitoneal shunts (23%) inserted for postoperative hydrocephalus. Among recurrent cases, there were 48 recurrent resections performed in 24 patients. Complications included new cranial neuropathy in 10 patients (21%), of which 5 neuropathies resolved within 1 year. There were no cases of PFS following resection of recurrent ependymoma. Gastrostomy tube insertion was required in 3 patients (6.3%), and 1 patient (2.0%) required a tracheostomy. Given the differences in the location of tumor recurrence, a direct comparison between primary and recurrent resection complications was not feasible. Following multivariate analysis adjusting for sex, age, molecular status, and EOR, occurrence of major complications was found to be associated with prolonged LOS but not mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

These results detail the spectrum of postsurgical morbidity following primary and recurrent posterior fossa ependymoma resection. The crude complication rate following resection of infratentorial recurrent ependymoma was lower than that of primary ependymoma, although a statistical comparison revealed no significant differences between the groups. These results should serve to inform providers of the morbidity profile following surgical management of posterior fossa ependymoma and inform perioperative counseling of patients and their families.

Restricted access

Risk factors associated with in-hospital adverse events: a multicenter observational cohort study of 1853 pediatric patients with traumatic spinal cord injury

Armaan K. Malhotra, Christopher S. Lozano, Husain Shakil, Christopher W. Smith, George M. Ibrahim, David E. Lebel, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jefferson R. Wilson, Christopher D. Witiw, and Avery B. Nathens

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors aimed to quantify the frequency of in-hospital major adverse events (AEs) in a multicenter cohort of pediatric patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) managed at North American trauma centers. They also sought to identify patient and injury factors associated with the occurrence of major and immobility-related AEs.

METHODS

Data derived from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) were used to identify a cohort of pediatric patients (age < 19 years) with traumatic SCI. The authors identified individuals with major and immobility-related AEs following injury. They used mixed-effects multivariable logistic regression to identify clinical variables associated with AEs after injury. This analytical approach allowed them to account for similarities in care delivery between patients managed in the same trauma settings during the study period while also adjusting for patient-level confounders. The adjusted impact of AEs on in-hospital mortality and length of stay (LOS) were also assessed through further multivariable regression analysis. Additional subgroup analyses were performed to reduce bias associated with competing risks and explore the age-specific risk factor associations with AEs.

RESULTS

A total of 1853 pediatric patients who sustained either cervical or thoracic SCI were managed at ACS TQIP trauma centers between 2017 and 2020. The most frequently encountered AE types were pressure ulcer, unplanned intubation, cardiac arrest requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and ventilator-associated pneumonia. The crude rate of major in-hospital and immobility-related AEs significantly differed between subgroups, with higher proportions of AEs in complete injuries compared with incomplete injuries. The adjusted risk for major AE following injury was significantly elevated for cervical complete SCI, patients with severe concomitant abdominal injuries, and for those presenting with depressed Glasgow Coma Scale scores less than 13. These same risk factors were associated with major AEs in children older than 8 years but were not significant for younger children (age ≤ 8 years). Complication occurrence was not associated with difference in risk-adjusted mortality (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.45–1.14), but did increase LOS by 2.2 days (95% CI 1.4–2.7 days).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors outlined the prevalence of in-hospital AEs in a large multicenter cohort of North American pediatric SCI patients. Important risk factors predisposing this population to AEs include cervical complete injuries, simultaneous abdominal trauma, and Glasgow Coma Scale scores < 13 at presentation. Postinjury complications impacted health resource utilization by increased LOS but did not affect postinjury mortality. These findings have important implications for pediatric SCI providers and future care quality benchmarking.