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Eric S. Nussbaum, Kevin Kallmes, Jodi Lowary and Leslie A. Nussbaum

OBJECTIVE

Undiagnosed hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV in patients present risks of transmission of bloodborne infections to surgeons intraoperatively. Presurgical screening has been suggested as a protocol to protect surgical staff from these pathogens. The authors sought to determine the incidence of HCV and HIV infection in elective craniotomy patients and analyze the cost-effectiveness of universal and risk factor–specific screening for protection of the surgical staff.

METHODS

All patients undergoing elective craniotomy between July 2009 and July 2016 at the National Brain Aneurysm Center who did not refuse screening were included in this study. The authors utilized rapid HCV and HIV tests to screen patients prior to elective surgery, and for each patient who tested positive using the rapid HCV or HIV test, qualitative nucleic acid testing was used to confirm active viral load, and risk factor information was collected. Patients scheduled for nonurgent surgery who were found to be HCV positive were referred to a hepatologist for preoperative treatment. The authors compared risk factors between patients who tested positive on rapid tests, patients with active viral loads, and a random sample of patients who tested negative. The authors also tracked the clinical and material costs of HCV and HIV rapid test screening per patient for cost-effectiveness analysis and calculated the cost per positive result of screening all patients and of screening based on all patient risk factors that differed significantly between patients with and those without positive HCV test results.

RESULTS

The study population of patients scheduled for elective craniotomy included 1461 patients, of whom 22 (1.5%) refused the screening. Of the 1439 patients screened, 15 (1.0%) tested positive for HCV using rapid HCV screening; 9 (60%) of these patients had active viral loads. No patient (0%) tested positive for HIV. Seven (77.8%) of the 9 patients with active viral loads underwent treatment with a hepatologist and were referred back for surgery 3–6 months after sustained virologic response to treatment, but the remaining 2 patients (22.2%) required urgent surgery. Of the 9 patients with active viral loads, 1 patient (11%) had a history of both intravenous drug abuse and tattoos. Two of the 9 patients (22%) had tattoos, and 3 (33%) were born within the age-screening bracket (born 1945–1965) recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates of smoking differed significantly (p < 0.001) between patients who had active viral loads of HCV and patients who were HCV negative, and rates of smoking (p < 0.001) and IV drug abuse (p < 0.01) differed significantly between patients who were HCV rapid-test positive and those who were HCV negative. Total screening costs (95% CI) per positive result were $3,877.33 ($2,348.05–$11,119.28) for all patients undergoing HCV rapid screening, $226.29 ($93.54–$312.68) for patients with a history of smoking, and $72.00 ($29.15–$619.39) for patients with a history of IV drug abuse.

CONCLUSIONS

The rate of undiagnosed HCV infection in this patient population was commensurate with national levels. While the cost of universal screening was considerable, screening patients based on a history of smoking or IV drug abuse would likely reduce costs per positive result greatly and potentially provide cost-effective identification and treatment of HCV patients and surgical staff protection. HIV screening found no infected patients and was not cost-effective.

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Giuseppe Lanzino, Kenneth Fraser, Yassine Kanaan and Anne Wagenbach

Object

The aim of this study was to analyze the therapeutic decision-making process and outcome in 100 consecutive patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) treated since the completion of the International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT). All patients were evaluated and treated by a neurosurgeon with subspecialty training in both cerebrovascular and neuroendovascular surgery.

Methods

One hundred consecutive patients with aneurysmal SAH who had been admitted within 1 week posthemorrhage and who had been treated using either surgical clip application or endovascular coil embolization were included in this analysis. All patients underwent a uniform perioperative protocol. All surviving patients were given a questionnaire to assess their modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) and to grade themselves at 6 months and 1 year postintervention. The cohort consisted of 73 women and 27 men with a mean age of 57.27 years (range 27–87 years). Twenty-nine percent of the patients had a World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Grade IV or V SAH. Forty-seven patients underwent direct surgical clip application, 41 endovascular embolization, and 12 a combination of the two procedures. Good functional outcome—indicated by mRS scores of 0 to 2 after at least 6 months—was achieved in 71% of patients.

Conclusions

Data from the ISAT demonstrated a better functional outcome following endovascular embolization in a selected group of patients with aneurysmal SAH. In routine clinical practice, however, a significant number of patients still benefit from direct surgical clip ligation. Excellent functional results can be realized in a complementary clip ligation and coil occlusion practice in which each patient and aneurysm is evaluated and the two treatment modalities are used individually or, when needed, in combination.

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Ioannis Loumiotis, Anne Wagenbach, Robert D. Brown Jr. and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

The widespread use of imaging techniques for evaluating nonspecific symptoms (vertigo, dizziness, memory concerns, unsteadiness, and the like) and focal neurological symptoms related to cerebrovascular disease has led to increased identification of asymptomatic incidentally discovered unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). The management of these incidental aneurysms is controversial and many factors need to be considered. The authors describe reasons leading to diagnosis, demographics, and risk factors in a large consecutive series of patients with small incidentally found UIAs.

Methods

The authors prospectively evaluated 335 patients harboring 478 small (< 10-mm) UIAs between January 2008 and May 2011. Patients with known aneurysms, possibly symptomatic aneurysms, arteriovenous malformation–related aneurysms, patients with a history of subarachnoid hemorrhage from another aneurysm, and patients harboring extradural aneurysms were excluded from the analysis. Only truly incidental small aneurysms (272 aneurysms in 212 patients) were considered for the present analysis. Data regarding the reason for detection, demographics, location, and presence of potential risk factors for aneurysm formation were prospectively collected.

Results

There were 158 female (74.5%) and 54 male (25.5%) patients whose mean age was 60.6 years (median 62 years). The most common reason for undergoing the imaging study that led to a diagnosis of the aneurysms was evaluation for nonspecific spells and symptoms related to focal cerebrovascular ischemia (43.4%), known/possible intracranial or neck pathology (24%), and headache (16%). The most common location (27%) of the aneurysm was the middle cerebral artery; the second most common (22%) was the paraclinoid internal carotid artery (excluding cavernous sinus aneurysms). Sixty-nine percent of patients were current or prior smokers, 60% had a diagnosis of hypertension, and 23% had one or more relatives with a history of intracranial aneurysms with or without subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Conclusions

Small incidental UIAs are more commonly diagnosed in elderly individuals during imaging performed to investigate ill-defined spells or focal cerebrovascular ischemic symptoms, or during the evaluation of known or probable unrelated intracranial/neck pathology. Hypertension, smoking, and family history of aneurysms are common in this patient population, and the presence of these risk factors has important implications for treatment recommendations. Although paraclinoid aneurysms (excluding intracavernous aneurysms) are uncommon in patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms, this location is very common in patients with small incidental UIAs.

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Justin Kunes, George H. Thompson, Sunil Manjila, Connie Poe-Kochert and Alan R. Cohen

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) after pediatric spinal deformity surgery has not been previously reported. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of more than 1500 pediatric spinal surgeries performed between 1992 and 2011. From their analysis, they report on 3 adolescent patients who underwent uncomplicated segmental spinal instrumentation for pediatric spinal deformity correction and subsequently developed features of IIH. The common variables in these 3 patients were adolescent age, spinal deformity, being overweight, symptom onset within 2 weeks postoperatively, significant estimated blood loss, and intraoperative use of ε–aminocaproic acid (antifibrinolytic) injection. The authors postulate that the development of IIH could be the result of venous outflow obstruction due to derangement of the epidural venous plexus during surgery. The use of ε–aminocaproic acid could potentially have the risk of causing IIH, probably mediated through hyperfibrinogenemia, although there have not been published cases in the neurosurgical, orthopedic, cardiac, or general surgical literature. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension after spinal deformity correction is a condition that should be recognized by neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, because appropriate intervention with early medical therapy can lead to a satisfactory clinical outcome.

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Smruti K. Patel, Brittany Staarmann, Alexander Heilman, Allie Mains, Jason Woodward and Karin S. Bierbrauer

Spina bifida is the most common nonchromosomal birth defect, resulting in permanent disability of multiple organ systems, yet compatible with long-term survival. Important advances across various disciplines have now improved survival among the spina bifida population. Although the majority of individuals living with spina bifida are now adults, there are few publications in the neurosurgical literature regarding the care of adults with spina bifida, associated medical conditions, surgical interventions, and long-term complications. The major goals for transitioning adult patients with spina bifida are preservation of function and promotion of independence as well as general overall health. Nevertheless, many gaps exist in our knowledge and understanding of the complex needs of this aging patient population. The goal of this paper was to provide a comprehensive updated review of the literature regarding the challenges and considerations involved in the transitional care to adulthood for patients with spina bifida. Unique to this review, the authors provide a first-hand personal communication and interview with an adult patient with spina bifida that discusses many of these challenges with transition.

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David Dornbos III, Christy Monson, CNP, Andrew Look, Kristin Huntoon, Luke G. F. Smith, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Sanjay S. Dhall and Eric A. Sribnick

OBJECTIVE

While the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been effective in describing severity in traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is no current method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention. This study utilizes a recently developed scoring system, the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI) scale, which was developed to efficiently communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in adult patients with TBI. The objective of this study was to apply the SITI scale to a pediatric population to provide a tool to increase communication of possible surgical urgency.

METHODS

The SITI scale uses both radiographic and clinical findings, including the GCS score on presentation, pupillary examination, and CT findings. To examine the scale in pediatric TBI, a neurotrauma database at a level 1 pediatric trauma center was retrospectively evaluated, and the SITI score for all patients with an admission diagnosis of TBI between 2010 and 2015 was calculated. The primary endpoint was operative intervention, defined as a craniotomy or craniectomy for decompression, performed within the first 24 hours of admission.

RESULTS

A total of 1524 patients met inclusion criteria for the study during the 5-year span: 1469 (96.4%) were managed nonoperatively and 55 (3.6%) patients underwent emergent operative intervention. The mean SITI score was 4.98 ± 0.31 for patients undergoing surgical intervention and 0.41 ± 0.02 for patients treated nonoperatively (p < 0.0001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve was used to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the SITI scale in this pediatric population and was found to be 0.98. Further evaluation of patients presenting with moderate to severe TBI revealed a mean SITI score of 5.51 ± 0.31 in 40 (15.3%) operative patients and 1.55 ± 0.02 in 221 (84.7%) nonoperative patients, with an AUROC curve of 0.95.

CONCLUSIONS

The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective communication tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of this scale to a pediatric population reveals that the score correlated with the perceived need for emergent surgical intervention, further suggesting its potential utility in clinical practice.

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Malgosia A. Kokoszka, Patricia E. McGoldrick, Maite La Vega-Talbott, Hillary Raynes, Christina A. Palmese, Steven M. Wolf, Cynthia L. Harden and Saadi Ghatan

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to report outcomes of epilepsy surgery in 56 consecutive patients with autism spectrum disorder.

METHODS

Medical records of 56 consecutive patients with autism who underwent epilepsy surgery were reviewed with regard to clinical characteristics, surgical management, postoperative seizure control, and behavioral changes.

RESULTS

Of the 56 patients with autism, 39 were male, 45 were severely autistic, 27 had a history of clinically significant levels of aggression and other disruptive behaviors, and 30 were considered nonverbal at baseline. Etiology of the epilepsy was known in 32 cases, and included structural lesions, medical history, and developmental and genetic factors. Twenty-nine patients underwent resective treatments (in 8 cases combined with palliative procedures), 24 patients had only palliative treatments, and 3 patients had only subdural electroencephalography. Eighteen of the 56 patients had more than one operation. The mean age at surgery was 11 ± 6.5 years (range 1.5–35 years). At a mean follow-up of 47 ± 30 months (range 2–117 months), seizure outcomes included 20 Engel Class I, 12 Engel Class II, 18 Engel Class III, and 3 Engel Class IV cases. The age and follow-up times are stated as the mean ± SD. Three patients were able to discontinue all antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Aggression and other aberrant behaviors observed in the clinical setting improved in 24 patients. According to caregivers, most patients also experienced some degree of improvement in daily social and cognitive function. Three patients had no functional or behavioral changes associated with seizure reduction, and 2 patients experienced worsening of seizures and behavioral symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

Epilepsy surgery in patients with autism is feasible, with no indication that the comorbidity of autism should preclude a good outcome. Resective and palliative treatments brought seizure freedom or seizure reduction to the majority of patients, although one-third of the patients in this study required more than one procedure to achieve worthwhile improvement in the long term, and few patients were able to discontinue all AEDs. The number of palliative procedures performed, the need for multiple interventions, and continued use of AEDs highlight the complex etiology of epilepsy in patients with autism spectrum disorder. These considerations underscore the need for continued analysis, review, and reporting of surgical outcomes in patients with autism, which may aid in better identification and management of surgical candidates. The reduction in aberrant behaviors observed in this series suggests that some behaviors previously attributed to autism may be associated with intractable epilepsy, and further highlights the need for systematic evaluation of the relationship between the symptoms of autism and refractory seizures.

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Ravindra Arya, Francesco T. Mangano, Paul S. Horn, Sabrina K. Kaul, Serena K. Kaul, Celie Roth, James L. Leach, Michele Turner, Katherine D. Holland and Hansel M. Greiner

OBJECTIVE

There is emerging data that adults with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) without a discrete lesion on brain MRI have surgical outcomes comparable to those with hippocampal sclerosis (HS). However, pediatric TLE is different from its adult counterpart. In this study, the authors investigated if the presence of a potentially epileptogenic lesion on presurgical brain MRI influences the long-term seizure outcomes after pediatric temporal lobectomy.

METHODS

Children who underwent temporal lobectomy between 2007 and 2015 and had at least 1 year of seizure outcomes data were identified. These were classified into lesional and MRI-negative groups based on whether an epilepsy-protocol brain MRI showed a lesion sufficiently specific to guide surgical decisions. These patients were also categorized into pure TLE and temporal plus epilepsies based on the neurophysiological localization of the seizure-onset zone. Seizure outcomes at each follow-up visit were incorporated into a repeated-measures generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) with MRI status as a grouping variable. Clinical variables were incorporated into GLMM as covariates.

RESULTS

One hundred nine patients (44 females) were included, aged 5 to 21 years, and were classified as lesional (73%), MRI negative (27%), pure TLE (56%), and temporal plus (44%). After a mean follow-up of 3.2 years (range 1.2–8.8 years), 66% of the patients were seizure free for ≥ 1 year at last follow-up. GLMM analysis revealed that lesional patients were more likely to be seizure free over the long term compared to MRI-negative patients for the overall cohort (OR 2.58, p < 0.0001) and for temporal plus epilepsies (OR 1.85, p = 0.0052). The effect of MRI lesion was not significant for pure TLE (OR 2.64, p = 0.0635). Concordance of ictal electroencephalography (OR 3.46, p < 0.0001), magnetoencephalography (OR 4.26, p < 0.0001), and later age of seizure onset (OR 1.05, p = 0.0091) were associated with a higher likelihood of seizure freedom. The most common histological findings included cortical dysplasia types 1B and 2A, HS (40% with dual pathology), and tuberous sclerosis.

CONCLUSIONS

A lesion on presurgical brain MRI is an important determinant of long-term seizure freedom after pediatric temporal lobectomy. Pediatric TLE is heterogeneous regarding etiologies and organization of seizure-onset zones with many patients qualifying for temporal plus nosology. The presence of an MRI lesion determined seizure outcomes in patients with temporal plus epilepsies. However, pure TLE had comparable surgical seizure outcomes for lesional and MRI-negative groups.