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Hector E. James

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Brent R. O’Neill, Michael H. Handler, Suhong Tong and Kevin E. Chapman

OBJECT

Seizures may cause diagnostic confusion and be a source of metabolic stress after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. The incidence of electroencephalography (EEG)-confirmed seizures and of subclinical seizures in the pediatric population with TBI is not well known.

METHODS

A routine protocol for continuous EEG (cEEG) monitoring was initiated for all patients with moderate or severe TBI at a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. Over a 3.5-year period, all patients with TBI who underwent cEEG monitoring, both according to protocol and those with mild head injuries who underwent cEEG monitoring at the discretion of the treating team, were identified prospectively. Clinical data were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

Over the study period, 594 children were admitted with TBI, and 144 of these children underwent cEEG monitoring. One hundred two (71%) of these 144 children had moderate or severe TBI. Abusive head trauma (AHT) was the most common mechanism of injury (65 patients, 45%) in children with cEEG monitoring. Seizures were identified on cEEG in 43 patients (30%). Forty (93%) of these 43 patients had subclinical seizures, including 17 (40%) with only subclinical seizures and 23 (53%) with both clinical and subclinical seizures. Fifty-three percent of patients with seizures experienced status epilepticus. Age less than 2.4 years and AHT mechanism were strongly correlated with presence of seizures (odds ratios 8.7 and 6.0, respectively). Those patients with only subclinical seizures had the same risk factors as the other groups. The presence of seizures did not correlate with discharge disposition but was correlated with longer hospital stay and intensive care unit stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Continuous EEG monitoring identifies a significant number of subclinical seizures acutely after TBI. Children younger than 2.4 years of age and victims of AHT are particularly vulnerable to subclinical seizures, and seizures in general. Continuous EEG monitoring allows for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment of posttraumatic seizures, and may mitigate secondary injury to the traumatized brain.

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Brent R. O'Neill, Alexander K. Yu and Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara

Object

The term VACTERL represents a nonrandom association of birth defects including vertebral malformations, anal atresia, cardiac anomalies, tracheoesophageal fistulas (TEFs), renal anomalies, and limb malformations. Clinical experience and a few published case series suggest that a tethered spinal cord (TSC) occurs commonly in children with VACTERL, but to date, no study has defined the prevalence of TSC in patients with VACTERL. Such information would guide decisions about the appropriateness of screening spinal imaging.

Methods

The authors reviewed the charts of all patients discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Pittsburgh in the past 14 years with the diagnosis of VACTERL, TEF, or anal atresia. During that period, the authors' protocol has been to use spinal ultrasound to screen this population for TSC. The charts were reviewed for the presence of a TSC requiring surgery and for the features of VACTERL.

Results

Thirty-three patients with VACTERL and adequate spinal imaging studies were identified. In 13 (39%) of these, a TSC requiring surgery was identified. Among patients without VACTERL, the incidence of TSC was 7.9% in those with anal atresia and 2.4% in those with TEF. False-negative ultrasounds were identified in 21.4% of patients with TSC.

Conclusions

Children with VACTERL should undergo MR imaging screening for TSC. In infants with anal atresia without VACTERL, the incidence of TSC is much lower than in those with VACTERL.

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Visish M. Srinivasan, Brent R. O'Neill, Diana Jho, Donald M. Whiting and Michael Y. Oh

External ventricular drainage (EVD) is one of the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedures. It was first performed as early as 1744 by Claude-Nicholas Le Cat. Since then, there have been numerous changes in technique, materials used, indications for the procedure, and safety. The history of EVD is best appreciated in 4 eras of progress: development of the technique (1850–1908), technological advancements (1927–1950), expansion of indications (1960–1995), and accuracy, training, and infection control (1995–present). While EVD was first attempted in the 18th century, it was not until 1890 that the first thorough report of EVD technique and outcomes was published by William Williams Keen. He was followed by H. Tillmanns, who described the technique that would be used for many years. Following this, many improvements were made to the EVD apparatus itself, including the addition of manometry by Adson and Lillie in 1927, and continued experimentation in cannulation/drainage materials. Technological advancements allowed a great expansion of indications for EVD, sparked by Nils Lundberg, who published a thorough analysis of the use of intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in patients with brain tumors in 1960. This led to the application of EVD and ICP monitoring in subarachnoid hemorrhage, Reye syndrome, and traumatic brain injury. Recent research in EVD has focused on improving the overall safety of the procedure, which has included the development of guidance-based systems, virtual reality simulators for trainees, and antibiotic-impregnated catheters.

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Ramesh Kumar, Frederic W. B. Deleyiannis, Corbett Wilkinson and Brent R. O'Neill

OBJECTIVE

The authors' goals in this study were to describe a series of dog attacks on children that required neurosurgical consultation and to better understand the pattern of injuries inflicted, the circumstances that place children at risk for attack, and the dog breeds involved. In addition, the authors review the surgical and medical management of these patients.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all children requiring neurosurgical consultation for dog bite at a regional Level 1 pediatric trauma center over a 15-year period.

RESULTS

A total of 124 children with dog bites to the head, face, and neck were evaluated in the emergency department. Of these, 17 children (13.7%) incurred injuries requiring neurosurgical consultation. Fifty-three percent of victims were female. The mean age at the time of attack was 30 months. Twelve (71%) of the attacks were perpetrated by the family pet, and 13 (76%) occurred at the patient's home. Breeds involved in the attacks included German Shepherd, Pit Bull, American Bulldog, large mixed breed, Labrador Retriever, and Akita, with German Shepherds and Akitas being the most frequently involved. Neurosurgical injuries included nondepressed skull fracture in 5, depressed skull fracture in 10, intracranial hemorrhage in 5, cerebral contusions in 4, dural laceration in 4, pneumocephalus in 5, clinically evident CSF leak in 3, spinal fracture with complete spinal cord injury in 1, stroke in 2, vascular injury in 2, and cranial nerve injury (hypoglossal and facial nerve) in 1. Prophylactic antibiotics were administered in 16 patients (94%). Only 1 patient had a confirmed infection involving the site of injury. Neurosurgical intervention was required in 10 patients (59%) and ranged in severity from debridement and closure of a complex scalp wound to decompressive craniectomy. Neurological deficits, all of which were considered catastrophic, developed in 3 patients (18%).

CONCLUSIONS

Dog attacks on children requiring neurosurgical consultation commonly involve the family pet, which is usually a large-breed dog with no history of prior aggression. Neurosurgical injuries often involve the cranial vault, with depressed skull fractures being the most common injury pattern. Most patients do not suffer a neurological deficit, although catastrophic neurological injury may occur. Prophylactic antibiotics are commonly used and surgical intervention is required in the majority of cases.

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Seerat Poonia, Sarah Graber, C. Corbett Wilkinson, Brent R. O'neill, Michael H. Handler and Todd C. Hankinson

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative management following the release of simple spinal cord–tethering lesions is highly variable. As a quality improvement initiative, the authors aimed to determine whether an institutional protocol of discharging patients on postoperative day (POD) 1 was associated with a higher rate of postoperative CSF leaks than the prior protocol of discharge on POD 2.

METHODS

This was a single-center retrospective review of all children who underwent release of a spinal cord–tethering lesion that was not associated with a substantial fascial or dural defect (i.e., simple spinal cord detethering) during 2 epochs: prior to and following the institution of a protocol for discharge on POD 1. Outcomes included the need for and timing of nonroutine care of the surgical site, including return to the operating room, wound suturing, and nonsurgical evaluation and management.

RESULTS

Of 169 patients identified, none presented with CSF-related complications prior to discharge. In the preintervention group (n = 113), the postoperative CSF leak rate was 4.4% (5/113). The mean length of stay was 2.3 days. In the postintervention group, the postoperative CSF leak rate was 1.9% (1/53) in the patients with postdischarge follow-up. The mean length of stay in that group was 1.3 days.

CONCLUSIONS

At a single academic children's hospital, a protocol of discharging patients on POD 1 following uncomplicated release of a simple spinal cord–tethering lesion was not associated with an increased rate of postoperative CSF leaks, relative to the previous protocol. The rates identified are consistent with the existing literature. The authors' practice has changed to discharge on POD 1 in most cases.

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Marlin Dustin Richardson, Nicholas O. Palmeri, Sarah A. Williams, Michelle R. Torok, Brent R. O’Neill, Michael H. Handler and Todd C. Hankinson

OBJECT

NSAIDs are effective perioperative analgesics. Many surgeons are reluctant to use NSAIDs perioperatively because of a theoretical increase in the risk for bleeding events. The authors assessed the effect of routine perioperative ketorolac use on intracranial hemorrhage in children undergoing a wide range of neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

A retrospective single-institution analysis of 1451 neurosurgical cases was performed. Data included demographics, type of surgery, and perioperative ketorolac use. Outcomes included bleeding events requiring return to the operating room, bleeding seen on postoperative imaging, and the development of renal failure or gastrointestinal tract injury.

Variables associated with both the exposure and outcomes (p < 0.20) were evaluated as potential confounders for bleeding on postoperative imaging, and multivariable logistic regression was performed. Bivariable analysis was performed for bleeding events. Odds ratios and 95% CIs were estimated.

RESULTS

Of the 1451 patients, 955 received ketorolac. Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated no significant association between clinically significant bleeding events (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.15–3.1) or radiographic hemorrhage (OR 0.81; 95% CI 0.43–1.51) and the perioperative administration of ketorolac. Treatment with a medication that creates a known bleeding risk (OR 3.11; 95% CI 1.01–9.57), surgical procedure (OR 2.35; 95% CI 1.11–4.94), and craniotomy/craniectomy (OR 2.43; 95% CI 1.19–4.94) were associated with a significantly elevated risk for radiographically identified hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS

Short-term ketorolac therapy does not appear to be associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of bleeding documented on postoperative imaging in pediatric neurosurgical patients and may be considered as part of a perioperative analgesic regimen. Although no association was found between ketorolac and clinically significant bleeding events, a larger study needs to be conducted to control for confounding factors, because of the rarity of these events.

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Michael R. Levitt, Brent R. O'Neill, Gisele E. Ishak, Paritosh C. Khanna, Nancy R. Temkin, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jeffrey G. Ojemann and Samuel R. Browd

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid shunt placement has a high failure rate, especially in patients with small ventricles. Frameless stereotactic electromagnetic image guidance can assist ventricular catheter placement. The authors studied the effects of image guidance on catheter accuracy and shunt survival in children.

Methods

Pediatric patients who underwent placement or revision of a frontal ventricular CSF shunt were retrospectively evaluated. Catheters were placed using either anatomical landmarks or image guidance. Preoperative ventricular size and postoperative catheter accuracy were quantified. Outcomes of standard and image-guided groups were compared.

Results

Eighty-nine patients underwent 102 shunt surgeries (58 initial, 44 revision). Image guidance was used in the placement of 56 shunts and the standard technique in 46. Shunt failure rates were not significantly different between the standard (22%) and image-guided (25%) techniques (p = 0.21, log-rank test). Ventricular size was significantly smaller in patients in the image-guided group (p < 0.02, Student t-test) and in the surgery revision group (p < 0.01). Small ventricular size did not affect shunt failure rate, even when controlling for shunt insertion technique. Despite smaller average ventricular size, the accuracy of catheter placement was significantly improved with image guidance (p < 0.01). Shunt accuracy did not affect shunt survival.

Conclusions

The use of image guidance improved catheter tip accuracy compared with a standard technique, despite smaller ventricular size. Failure rates were not dependent on shunt insertion technique, but an observed selection bias toward using image guidance for more at-risk catheter placements showed failure rates similar to initial surgeries.

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Edward M. Marchan, Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew Ku, Robert Williams, Brent R. O'Neill, Jack E. Wilberger and Matthew R. Quigley

Object

Because of high recanalization rates associated with wide-necked intracranial aneurysms treated with bare platinum coils, hydrogel coils (HydroCoil, MicroVention, Inc.) have been developed. Hydrogel coils undergo progressive expansion once exposed to the physiological environment of blood and increase overall aneurysm filling.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed their series of patients with unruptured aneurysms treated between 1998 and 2006 and who underwent placement of bare platinum and hydrogel coils for cerebral aneurysms. They examined the incidence of delayed hydrocephalus as related to coil type. In a subgroup of patients in which preand postprocedure CT and MR imaging studies were available, the authors quantitatively analyzed the ventricular size change after hydrogel coils were placed.

Results

Four of 29 patients treated with hydrogel coils developed symptomatic hydrocephalus 2–6 months after the intervention compared with 0 of 26 treated with bare platinum coils alone. The difference in ventricular size between the subgroups in which pre- and postprocedure imaging was performed was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). All 4 HydroCoil-treated patients in whom hydrocephalus developed required placement of a shunt.

Conclusions

A 14% incidence (95% confidence interval 3.9–31.7%) of hydrocephalus in patients with unruptured aneurysm undergoing embolization with hydrogel coils was discovered. This incidence is much higher than previously reported. The mechanism by which hydrogel coils may induce hydrocephalus remains poorly understood.

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Ravi Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Grant W. Mallory, Jeffrey T. Jacob, David J. Daniels, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Andrew B. Foy, Brent R. O’Neill and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECT

Nonpowder guns, defined as spring- or gas-powered BB or pellet guns, can be dangerous weapons that are often marketed to children. In recent decades, advances in compressed-gas technology have led to a significant increase in the power and muzzle velocity of these weapons. The risk of intracranial injury in children due to nonpowder weapons is poorly documented.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted at 3 institutions studying children 16 years or younger who had intracranial injuries secondary to nonpowder guns.

RESULTS

The authors reviewed 14 cases of intracranial injury in children from 3 institutions. Eleven (79%) of the 14 children were injured by BB guns, while 3 (21%) were injured by pellet guns. In 10 (71%) children, the injury was accidental. There was 1 recognized assault, but there were no suicide attempts; in the remaining 3 patients, the intention was indeterminate. There were no mortalities among the patients in this series. Ten (71%) of the children required operative intervention, and 6 (43%) were left with permanent neurological injuries, including epilepsy, cognitive deficits, hydrocephalus, diplopia, visual field cut, and blindness.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonpowder guns are weapons with the ability to penetrate a child’s skull and brain. Awareness should be raised among parents, children, and policy makers as to the risk posed by these weapons.