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Anand I. Rughani, Travis M. Dumont, Chih-Ta Lin, Bruce I. Tranmer and Michael A. Horgan

Object

Microvascular decompression (MVD) offers an effective and durable treatment for patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Because the disorder has a tendency to occur in older persons, the risks of surgical treatment in the elderly have been a topic of recent interest. To date, evidence derived from several small retrospective and a single prospective case series has suggested that age does not increase the complication rate associated with surgery. Using a large national database, the authors aimed to study the impact of age on in-hospital complications following MVD for TN.

Methods

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) for the 10-year period from 1999 to 2008, the authors selected all patients who underwent MVD for TN. The primary outcome of interest was the in-hospital mortality rate. Secondary outcomes of interest were cardiac, pulmonary, thromboembolic, cerebrovascular, and wound complications as well as the duration of hospital stay, total hospital charges, and discharge location. An elderly cohort of patients was first defined as those 65 years of age and older and then redefined as those 75 years and older.

Results

A total of 3273 patients who underwent MVD for TN were identified, having a median age of 57 years. Within this sample, 31.5% were 65 years and older and 10.7% were 75 years and older. The in-hospital mortality rate was 0.68% for patients 65 years or older (p = 0.0087) and 1.16% for those 75 years or older (p = 0.0026). In patients younger than 65 years, the in-hospital mortality rate was 0.13% (3 deaths among 2241 patients). As analyzed using the chi-square test (for both 65 and 75 years as the age cutoff) and the Pearson rank correlation coefficient, the risk of cardiac, pulmonary, thromboembolic, and cerebrovascular complications was higher in older patients (that is, those 65 and older and those 75 and older), but the risks of wound complications and CNS infection were not. The risk of any in-hospital complication occurring in a patient 65 years and older was 7.36% (p < 0.0001) and 10.0% in those 75 years and older (p < 0.0001). There was no difference in the total hospital charges associated with age. The duration of the hospital stay was longer in older patients, and the likelihood of discharge home was lower in older patients.

Conclusions

Microvascular decompression for TN in the elderly population remains a reasonable surgical option. However, based on data from a large national database, authors of the present study suggest that complications do tend to gradually increase in tandem with an advanced age. While age does not act as a risk factor in isolation, it may serve as a convenient surrogate for complication rates. The authors hope that this information can be of use in guiding older patients through decisions for the surgical treatment of TN.

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Meei-Ling Sheu, Fu-Chou Cheng, Hong-Lin Su, Ying-Ju Chen, Chun-Jung Chen, Chih-Ming Chiang, Wen-Ta Chiu, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan

Object

Increased integration of CD34+ cells in injured nerve significantly promotes nerve regeneration, but this effect can be counteracted by limited migration and short survival of CD34+ cells. SDF-1α and its receptor mediate the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in the repair mechanism of several neurological diseases. In this study, the authors investigate the potentiation of CD34+ cell recruitment triggered by SDF-1α and the involvement of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve regeneration.

Methods

Peripheral nerve injury was induced in 147 Sprague-Dawley rats by crushing the left sciatic nerve with a vessel clamp. The animals were allocated to 3 groups: Group 1, crush injury (controls); Group 2, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α recombinant proteins; and Group 3, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α antibody. Electrophysiological studies and assessment of regeneration markers were conducted at 4 weeks after injury; neurobehavioral studies were conducted at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after injury. The expression of SDF-1α, accumulation of CD34+ cells, immune cells, and angiogenesis factors in injured nerves were evaluated at 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, and 28 days after injury.

Results

Application of SDF-1α increased the migration of CD34+ cells in vitro, and this effect was dose dependent. Crush injury induced the expression of SDF-1α, with a peak of 10–14 days postinjury, and this increased expression of SDF-1α paralleled the deposition of CD34+ cells, expression of VEGF, and expression of neurofilament. These effects were further enhanced by the administration of SDF-1α recombinant protein and abolished by administration of SDF-1α antibody. Furthermore, these effects were consistent with improvement in measures of neurological function such as sciatic function index, electrophysiological parameters, muscle weight, and myelination of regenerative nerve.

Conclusions

Expression of SDF-1α facilitates recruitment of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve injury. The increased deposition of CD34+ cells paralleled significant expression of angiogenesis factors and was consistent with improvement of neurological function. Utilization of SDF-1α for enhancing the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in peripheral nerve regeneration may be considered as an alternative treatment strategy in peripheral nerve disorders.

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Anand I. Rughani, Chih-Ta Lin, Wiliam J. Ares, Deborah A. Cushing, Michael A. Horgan, Bruce I. Tranmer, Ryan P. Jewell and Jeffrey E. Florman

Object

Helmet use has been associated with fewer hospital visits among injured skiers and snowboarders, but there remains no evidence that helmets alter the intracranial injury patterns. The authors hypothesized that helmet use among skiers and snowboarders reduces the incidence of head injury as defined by findings on head CT scans.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of head-injured skiers and snowboarders at 2 Level I trauma centers in New England over a 6-year period. The primary outcome of interest was intracranial injury evident on CT scans. Secondary outcomes included the following: need for a neurosurgical procedure, presence of spine injury, need for ICU admission, length of stay, discharge location, and death.

Results

Of the 57 children identified who sustained a head injury while skiing or snowboarding, 33.3% were wearing a helmet at the time of injury. Of the helmeted patients, 5.3% sustained a calvarial fracture compared with 36.8% of the unhelmeted patients (p = 0.009). Although there was a favorable trend, there was no significant difference in the incidence of epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, intraparenchymal hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or contusion in helmeted and unhelmeted patients. With regard to secondary outcomes, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups in percentage of patients requiring neurosurgical intervention, percentage requiring admission to an ICU, total length of stay, or percentage discharged home. There was no difference in the incidence of cervical spine injury. There was 1 death in an unhelmeted patient, and there were no deaths among helmeted patients.

Conclusions

Among hospitalized children who sustained a head injury while skiing or snowboarding, a significantly lower number of patients suffered a skull fracture if they were wearing helmets at the time of the injury.