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Mark A. Helfaer, Benjamin S. Carson, Carol S. James, Judy Gates, David Della-Lana and Craig Vander Kolk

Object. This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy of preoperative erythropoietin administration in infants scheduled for craniofacial surgery and, in so doing, to minimize problems associated with blood transfusions.

Methods. Families were offered the option of having their children receive erythropoietin injections before undergoing craniofacial surgery. The children whose families accepted this option received daily iron and 300 U/kg erythropoietin three times per week for 3 weeks preoperatively. Weekly complete blood counts with reticulocyte counts were measured and transfusion requirements were noted. Blood transfusions were administered depending on the clinical condition of the child. A case-matched control population was also evaluated to compare initial hematocrit levels and transfusion requirements. Thirty patients in the erythropoietin treatment group and 30 control patients were evaluated. The dose of erythropoietin administered was shown to increase hematocrit levels from 35.4 ± 0.9% to 43.3 ± 0.9% during the course of therapy. The resulting hematocrit levels in patients treated with erythropoietin at the time of surgery were higher compared with baseline hematocrit levels obtained in control patients at the time of surgery (34.2 ± 0.5%). Transfusion requirements also differed: all control patients received transfusions, whereas 64% (19 of 30) of erythropoietin-treated patients received transfusions.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that treatment with erythropoietin in otherwise healthy young children will increase hematocrit levels and modify transfusion requirements. Erythropoietin therapy for elective surgery in children of this age must be individualized according to the clinical situation, family and physician beliefs, and cost effectiveness, as evaluated at the individual center.

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Alan F. Utria, Joseph Lopez, Regina S. Cho, Gerhard S. Mundinger, George I. Jallo, Edward S. Ahn, Craig Vander Kolk and Amir H. Dorafshar

OBJECTIVE

Due to the changing properties of the infant skull, there is still no clear consensus on the ideal time to surgically intervene in cases of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis (NSC). This study aims to shed light on how patient age at the time of surgery may affect surgical outcomes and the subsequent need for reoperation.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort review was conducted for patients with NSC who underwent primary cranial vault remodeling between 1990 and 2013. Patients' demographic and clinical characteristics and surgical interventions were recorded. Postoperative outcomes were assessed by assigning each procedure to a Whitaker category. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the relationship between age at surgery and need for minor (Whitaker I or II) versus major (Whitaker III or IV) reoperation. Odds ratios (ORs) for Whitaker category by age at surgery were assigned.

RESULTS

A total of 413 unique patients underwent cranial vault remodeling procedures for NSC during the study period. Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated increased odds of requiring major surgical revisions (Whitaker III or IV) in patients younger than 6 months of age (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.05–5.93), and increased odds of requiring minimal surgical revisions (Whitaker I or II) in patients older than 6 months of age (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.16–6.41).

CONCLUSIONS

Timing, as a proxy for the changing properties of the infant skull, is an important factor to consider when planning vault reconstruction in NSC. The data presented in this study demonstrate that patients operated on before 6 months of age had increased odds of requiring major surgical revisions.

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Miguel Gelabert-González, Eduardo Arán-Echabe and José María Santín-Amo