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Johanna N. Riesel, Coleman P. Riordan, Christopher D. Hughes, Madeline B. Karsten, Steven J. Staffa, John G. Meara, and Mark R. Proctor

OBJECTIVE

Bilateral coronal craniosynostosis in Apert syndrome is traditionally managed with open cranial vault remodeling procedures like fronto-orbital advancement (FOA). However, as minimally invasive procedures gain popularity, limited data exist to determine their efficacy in this syndromic population. This study examines whether endoscopic strip craniectomy (ESC) is inferior to FOA in correcting head growth in patients with Apert syndrome.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of children with Apert syndrome over a 23-year period. Postoperative head circumferences until 24 months of age were compared for patients treated with ESC versus FOA by using normative growth curves. Intraoperative and postoperative morbidity was compared between groups.

RESULTS

The median postoperative follow-up for the FOA (n = 14) and ESC (n = 16) groups was 40 and 28.5 months, the median age at operation was 12.8 and 2.7 months, and the median operative time was 285 and 65 minutes, respectively (p < 0.001). The FOA group had significantly higher rates of blood transfusion, ICU admission, and longer hospital length of stay (p < 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in premature reossification rates, complications, need for further procedures, or complaints of asymmetry. Compared to normative growth curves, all patients in both groups had head circumferences comparable to or above the 85th percentile at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Children with Apert syndrome and bilateral coronal craniosynostosis treated with ESC experience early normalization of head growth and cephalic index that is not inferior to those treated with FOA. Longer-term assessments are needed to determine long-term aesthetic results and the correlation between head growth and neurocognitive development in this population.

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Benjamin C. Warf, Blake C. Alkire, Salman Bhai, Christopher Hughes, Steven J. Schiff, Jeffrey R. Vincent, and John G. Meara

Object

Evidence from the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda (CCHU) suggests that treatment for hydrocephalus in infants can be effective and sustainable in a developing country. This model has not been broadly supported or implemented due in part to the absence of data on the economic burden of disease or any assessment of the cost and benefit of treatment. The authors used economic modeling to estimate the annual cost and benefit of treating hydrocephalus in infants at CCHU. These results were then extrapolated to the potential economic impact of treating all cases of hydrocephalus in infants in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all children initially treated for hydrocephalus at CCHU via endoscopic third ventriculostomy or shunt placement in 2005. A combination of data and explicit assumptions was used to determine the number of times each procedure was performed, the cost of performing each procedure, the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted with neurosurgical intervention, and the economic benefit of the treatment. For CCHU and SSA, the cost per DALY averted and the benefit-cost ratio of 1 year's treatment of hydrocephalus in infants were determined.

Results

In 2005, 297 patients (median age 4 months) were treated at CCHU. The total cost of neurosurgical intervention was $350,410, and the cost per DALY averted ranged from $59 to $126. The CCHU's economic benefit to Uganda was estimated to be between $3.1 million and $5.2 million using a human capital approach and $4.6 million–$188 million using a value of a statistical life (VSL) approach. The total economic benefit of treating the conservatively estimated 82,000 annual cases of hydrocephalus in infants in SSA ranged from $930 million to $1.6 billion using a human capital approach and $1.4 billion–$56 billion using a VSL approach. The minimum benefit-cost ratio of treating hydrocephalus in infants was estimated to be 7:1.

Conclusions

Untreated hydrocephalus in infants exacts an enormous price from SSA. The results of this study suggest that neurosurgical intervention has a cost/DALY averted comparable to other surgical interventions that have been evaluated, as well as a favorable benefit-cost ratio. The prevention and treatment of hydrocephalus in SSA should be recognized as a major public health priority.

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Marco L. Rossi, John S. Bevan, Margaret M. Esiri, John T. Hughes, and Christopher B. T. Adams

✓ Tumors of the posterior pituitary are rare and the previous nomenclature has been confusing. A 40-year-old man presented with visual failure and disconnection hyperprolactinemia (830 mU/liter) due to a large invasive pituitary tumor shown to be a pituicytoma (pilocytic astrocytoma). Its astrocytic nature was confirmed by positive immunostaining for glial fibrillary acidic protein and the finding of cytoplasmic filaments on electron microscopy. This case report contains the pathological description of a pituicytoma and illustrates that a non-adenomatous pituitary lesion may masquerade as a pituitary adenoma. Large pituitary lesions associated with serum prolactin concentrations of less than 3000 mU/liter require early surgical biopsy.