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Saumitra K. Thakur, Benjamin A. Rubin, and David H. Harter

OBJECT

Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) is a valuable therapeutic option for patients with spasticity and dystonia. The techniques that place an ITB pump catheter into the subcutaneous fat of a lumbar incision are well described. Because patients who require ITB often have low body fat content, they may be predisposed to catheter-related complications. The senior author used a novel technique to place the catheter in a paraspinal subfascial fashion, and the short-term results were previously published. That study demonstrated no development of hardware erosions, catheter migrations, or CSF leaks within an average follow-up of 5 months. This study followed up on those initial findings by looking at the long-term outcomes since this technique was introduced.

METHODS

Using the institutional review board-approved protocol, the electronic medical records were reviewed retrospectively for all patients who underwent paraspinal subfascial catheter placement by the senior author. Patients received follow-up with the surgeon at 2 weeks postoperatively and were followed routinely by their physiatrist thereafter.

RESULTS

Of the 43 patients identified as having undergone surgery by the senior author using the paraspinal subfascial technique between July 2010 and February 2014, 12 patients (27.9%) required reoperation. There were 5 patients (11.6%) who had complications related to the catheter or lumbar incision. No hardware erosions or CSF leaks were identified. These patients received a median follow-up of 3.0 years, with 30 of 43 patients receiving follow-up over 2.0 years.

CONCLUSION

This follow-up study suggests that the technique of paraspinal subfascial catheter placement translates to long-term decreases in CSF leakage and complications from erosion, infection, and also catheter malfunctions. It does not seem to affect the overall rate of complications.

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Robert G. Kowalski, Alan H. Weintraub, Benjamin A. Rubin, Donald J. Gerber, and Andrew J. Olsen

OBJECTIVE

Posttraumatic hydrocephalus (PTH) is a frequent sequela of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and complication of related cranial surgery. The roles of PTH and the timing of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt placement in TBI outcome have not been well described. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of hydrocephalus and timing of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement on outcome during inpatient rehabilitation after TBI.

METHODS

In this cohort study, all TBI patients admitted to Craig Hospital between 2009 and 2013 were evaluated for PTH, defined as ventriculomegaly, and hydrocephalus symptoms, delayed or deteriorating recovery, or elevated opening pressure on lumbar puncture. Extent of ventriculomegaly was quantified by the Evans index from CT scans. Outcome measures were emergence from and duration of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) and functional status as assessed by means of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Findings in this group were compared to findings in a group of TBI patients without PTH (controls) who were admitted for inpatient rehabilitation during the same study period and met specific criteria for inclusion.

RESULTS

A total of 701 patients were admitted with TBI during the study period. Of these patients, 59 (8%) were diagnosed with PTH and were included in this study as the PTH group, and 204 who were admitted for rehabilitation and met the criteria for inclusion as controls constituted the comparison group (no-PTH group). PTH was associated with initial postinjury failure to follow commands, midline shift or cistern compression, subcortical contusion, and craniotomy or craniectomy. In multivariable analyses, independent predictors of longer PTA duration and lower FIM score at rehabilitation discharge were PTH, emergency department Glasgow Coma Scale motor score < 6, and longer time from injury to rehabilitation admission. PTH accounted for a 51-day increase in PTA duration and a 29-point reduction in discharge FIM score. In 40% of PTH patients with preshunt CT brain imaging analyzed, ventriculomegaly (Evans index > 0.3) was observed 3 or more days before VP shunt placement (median 10 days, range 3–102 days). Among PTH patients who received a VP shunt, earlier placement was associated with better outcome by all measures assessed and independently predicted better FIM total score and shorter PTA duration.

CONCLUSIONS

Posttraumatic hydrocephalus predicts worse outcome during inpatient rehabilitation, with poorer functional outcomes and longer duration of PTA. In shunt-treated PTH patients, earlier CSF shunting predicted improved recovery. These results suggest that clinical vigilance for PTH onset and additional studies on timing of CSF diversion are warranted.

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Alessandro Orlando, A. Stewart Levy, Benjamin A. Rubin, Allen Tanner, Matthew M. Carrick, Mark Lieser, David Hamilton, Charles W. Mains, and David Bar-Or

OBJECTIVE

Isolated subdural hematomas (iSDHs) are one of the most common intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) types in the population with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; Glasgow Coma Scale score 13–15), account for 66%–75% of all neurosurgical procedures, and have one of the highest neurosurgical intervention rates. The objective of this study was to examine how quantitative hemorrhage characteristics of iSDHs in patients with mTBI at admission are associated with subsequent neurosurgical intervention.

METHODS

This was a 3.5-year, retrospective observational cohort study at a Level I trauma center. All adult trauma patients with mTBI and iSDHs were included in the study. Maximum length and thickness (in mm) of acute SDHs, the presence of acute-on-chronic SDH, mass effect, and other hemorrhage-related variables were double–data entered; discrepant results were adjudicated after a maximum of 4 reviews. Patients with coagulopathy, skull fractures, no acute hemorrhage, a non-SDH ICH, or who did not undergo imaging on admission were excluded. The primary outcome was neurosurgical intervention (craniotomy, burr hole, catheter drainage of SDH, placement of intracranial pressure monitor, shunt, or ventriculostomy). Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to identify significant covariates and to assess interactions.

RESULTS

A total of 176 patients were included in our study: 28 patients did and 148 patients did not receive a neurosurgical intervention. Increasing head Abbreviated Injury Scale score was significantly associated with neurosurgical interventions. There was a strong correlation between the first 3 reviews on maximum hemorrhage length (R2 = 0.82) and maximum hemorrhage thickness (R2 = 0.80). The neurosurgical intervention group had a mean maximum SDH length and thickness that were 61 mm longer and 13 mm thicker than those of the nonneurosurgical intervention group (p < 0.001 for both). After adjusting for the presence of an acute-on-chronic hemorrhage, for every 1-mm increase in the thickness of an iSDH, the odds of a neurosurgical intervention increase by 32% (95% CI 1.16–1.50). There were no interventions for any SDH with a maximum thickness ≤ 5 mm on initial presenting scan.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantify the odds of a neurosurgical intervention based on hemorrhage characteristics in patients with an iSDH and mTBI. Once validated in a second population, these data can be used to better inform patients and families of the risk of future neurosurgical intervention, and to evaluate the necessity of interhospital transfers.

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Alessandro Orlando, A. Stewart Levy, Benjamin A. Rubin, Allen Tanner, Matthew M. Carrick, Mark Lieser, David Hamilton, Charles W. Mains, and David Bar-Or

OBJECTIVE

A paucity of studies have examined neurosurgical interventions in the mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) population with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). Furthermore, it is not understood how the dimensions of an ICH relate to the risk of a neurosurgical intervention. These limitations contribute to a lack of treatment guidelines. Isolated subdural hematomas (iSDHs) are the most prevalent ICH in mTBI, carry the highest neurosurgical intervention rate, and account for an overwhelming majority of all neurosurgical interventions. Decision criteria in this population could benefit from understanding the risk of requiring neurosurgical intervention. The aim of this study was to quantify the risk of neurosurgical intervention based on the dimensions of an iSDH in the setting of mTBI.

METHODS

This was a 3.5-year, retrospective observational cohort study at a Level I trauma center. All adult (≥ 18 years) trauma patients with mTBI and iSDH were included in the study. Maximum length and thickness (in mm) of acute SDHs, the presence of acute-on-chronic (AOC) SDH, mass effect, and other hemorrhage-related variables were double–data entered; discrepant results were adjudicated after a maximum of 4 reviews. Patients with coagulopathy, skull fractures, no acute hemorrhage, a non-SDH ICH, or who did not undergo imaging on admission were excluded. Tentorial SDHs were not measured. The primary outcome was neurosurgical intervention (craniotomy, burr holes, intracranial pressure monitor placement, shunt, ventriculostomy, or SDH evacuation). Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to identify significant covariates, to assess interactions, and to create the scoring system.

RESULTS

There were a total of 176 patients included in our study: 28 patients did and 148 did not receive a neurosurgical intervention. There were no significant differences between neurosurgical intervention groups in 11 demographic and 22 comorbid variables. Patients with neurosurgical intervention had significantly longer and thicker SDHs than nonsurgical controls. Logistic regression identified thickness and AOC hemorrhage as being the most important variables in predicting neurosurgical intervention; SDH length was not. Risk of neurosurgical intervention was calculated based on the SDH thickness and presence of an AOC hemorrhage from a multivariable logistic regression model (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.94, 95% CI 0.90–0.97; p < 0.001). With a decision point of 2.35% risk, we predicted neurosurgical intervention with 100% sensitivity, 100% negative predictive value, and 53% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantify the risk of neurosurgical intervention based on hemorrhage characteristics in patients with mTBI and iSDH. Once validated in a second population, these data can be used to inform the necessity of interhospital transfers and neurosurgical consultations.