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Dale M. Swift and Robert A. Solomon

✓ After a ruptured aneurysm has been clipped in patients with multiple aneurysms, the question often arises whether to use volume expansion and/or hypertensive treatment to prevent delayed cerebral ischemia (vasospasm). There is understandable concern regarding the possible rupture of unprotected aneurysms under additional hemodynamic stress. In a series of 199 patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage who underwent early surgery, 31 were left with one or more unprotected aneurysms postoperatively. All patients were treated with prophylactic volume expansion based on a previously reported protocol. Mean central venous pressure during treatment was 10.3 cm H2O and mean arterial blood pressure 141/76 mm Hg; volume expansion was continued for 7 to 10 days. Eight patients developed symptoms of delayed cerebral ischemia and required additional volume expansion and induced hypertension. After institution of hypertension, four of these patients experienced a reversal of their symptoms, while four others developed cerebral infarcts. One patient died from massive cerebral infarction following vasospasm refractory to all measures. No patient suffered rupture of an unprotected aneurysm during hypervolemic treatment. It is concluded that the benefit of prophylactic hypervolemic hypertension in postoperative aneurysm patients warrants its use even in patients with unprotected aneurysms.

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A. Leland Albright, Richard Gilmartin, Dale Swift, Linda E. Krach, Cindy B. Ivanhoe and John F. McLaughlin

Object. The goal of this study was to ascertain the long-term effectiveness and safety of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) in the treatment of spasticity of cerebral origin in children and young adults.

Methods. A prospective, multicenter study was conducted in 68 patients who had been enrolled in the initial evaluation of ITB therapy and were willing to participate in long-term surveillance. Seventy-three percent of the patients were younger than 16 years of age at the time of study entry. The patients were examined at least every 3 months and were observed for an average of 70 months. At each follow-up visit, spasticity in the upper and lower extremities was evaluated by applying Ashworth scores. All adverse events and complications were recorded on standardized data forms.

Spasticity in both upper and lower extremities decreased significantly (p < 0.005) and remained decreased up to 10 years. The dosage of ITB increased from a mean of 157 (µg/day 3 months after pump insertion to 300 (µg/day at 2 years postimplantation, and remained relatively stable thereafter. There were no significant differences in ITB dosage in children of different ages. Adverse events potentially related to ITB therapy occurred in 50% of patients within 2 months after pump insertion and in 50% of patients thereafter; hypotonia and lethargy were the two most common adverse events. The most common complications of surgery were catheter-related problems (31%), seromas (24%), and cerebrospinal fluid leaks (15%).

Conclusions. Intrathecal baclofen provides effective long-term treatment of spasticity of cerebral origin and its effects do not appear to diminish with time. This therapy is frequently associated with adverse side effects that usually can be alleviated by adjustments in dosage.

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A. Leland Albright, Yasser Awaad, Michael Muhonen, William R. Boydston, Richard Gilmartin, Linda E. Krach, Michael Turner, Kathryn A. Zidek, Ed Wright, Dale Swift and Karen Bloom

Object. The objectives of this multicenter study were to monitor the performance of a 10-ml pump infusing intrathecal baclofen to treat 100 children with cerebral spasticity, to monitor complications associated with the pump, and to correlate pump-related complications with body habitus.

Methods. Age at implantation of the pump ranged from 1.4 to 16.8 years (mean 8.1 years). The effects of ITB on spasticity in the upper and lower extremities were evaluated using the Ashworth Scale. Data were collected regarding implant site, infection, complication, and body mass index (BMI). Ashworth Scale scores decreased significantly in the upper and lower extremities at 6 and 12 months after pump implantation (p < 0.001). There were four serious system-related complications, all specific to catheters. There were 32 serious procedure-related complications in 21 patients: 11 complications were infections that occurred in nine patients. Four of nine pump-induced infections were treated with pump removal and antibiotic therapy; five infections were treated successfully with antibiotic therapy alone, without pump removal. In children younger than 8 years of age there was a significantly higher incidence of serious procedure-related adverse events than in older children. There was no significant correlation between BMI and the incidence of pump pocket—related complications or infections.

Conclusions. The 10-ml pump can be used therapeutically in small children, particularly those weighing less than 40 lbs, with greater ease and less wound tension, than the conventional 18-ml pump. The incidence of complications associated with the 10-ml pump in younger children appears to be similar to that previously reported with the 18-ml pump in larger-sized children.

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Thomas G. Psarros, Dale Swift, Arlynn F. Mulne and Dennis K. Burns

✓This unusual mixed glioneuronal neoplasm of the spine resembling central neurocytoma is only the second reported example of a neoplasm of this type involving the spinal cord and is, seemingly, the first to present with diffuse leptomeningeal dissemination and communicating hydrocephalus. This 15-month-old boy presented with somnolence, bilateral sixth nerve palsy, and lower-extremity weakness and was found to harbor a primary neoplasm within the thoracic spine and associated syrinx, widespread leptomeningeal dissemination, and communicating hydrocephalus. The patient underwent cerebrospinal fluid shunt placement, thoracic laminectomy for tumor debulking and biopsy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to the neuraxis. Immunohistochemically, the tumor was marked by evidence of mixed glial (glial fibrillary acidic protein—positive) and neuronal (synaptophysin-positive) differentiation. Mitotic activity was inconspicuous. No areas of vascular proliferation, necrosis, or marked nuclear pleomorphism were noted. Mixed glioneuronal neoplasms are a heterogeneous group of tumors whose biological potential remains incompletely defined. The present case illustrates the reality that some of these neoplasms can be clinically aggressive, despite comparatively bland histological features. The authors' goal is to acquaint neurosurgeons with the expanding spectrum of mixed glioneuronal neoplasms and with the potential of some of these lesions to pursue an aggressive clinical course.

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Amir Kershenovich, Angela V. Price, Korgun Koral, Stan Goldman and Dale M. Swift

The second most frequent central nervous system involvement pattern in Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare condition documented in a number of reports called “neurodegenerative LCH” (ND-LCH). Magnetic resonance images confirming the presence of the disease usually demonstrate striking symmetric bilateral hyperintensities predominantly in the cerebellum, basal ganglia, pons, and/or cerebral white matter. The authors here describe for the first time in the literature a patient with ND-LCH and concomitant hydrocephalus initially treated using endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). This 9-year-old boy, who had undergone chemotherapy for skin and lung LCH without central nervous system involvement at the age of 10 months, presented with acute ataxia, headaches, and paraparesis and a 1-year history of gradually increasing clumsiness. Magnetic resonance images showed obstructive hydrocephalus at the level of the aqueduct of Sylvius and signs of ND-LCH. After registering high intracranial pressure (ICP) spikes with an intraparenchymal pressure monitor, an ETV was performed. A second ETV was required months later because of ostomy occlusion, and finally a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed because of ostomy reocclusion. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy was initially considered the treatment of choice to divert cerebrospinal fluid without leaving a ventriculoperitoneal shunt and to obtain biopsy specimens from the periinfundibular recess area. The third ventriculostomy occluded twice, and an endoscopic aqueduct fenestration was unsuccessful. The authors hypothesized that an inflammatory process related to late ND disease was responsible for the occlusions. Biopsy specimens from the infundibular recess and fornix column did not show histopathogical abnormalities. Increased ICP symptoms resolved with cerebrospinal fluid diversion. This case is the first instance of ND-LCH with hydrocephalus reported in the literature to date. Shunt placement rather than ETV seems to be the favorable choice in relieving elevated ICP.

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Mostafa El Khashab, Lynn Gargan, Linda Margraf, Korgun Koral, Farideh Nejat, Dale Swift, Bradley Weprin and Daniel C. Bowers

Object

Few reports describe the outcome and prognostic factors for children with gangliogliomas. The objective of this report was to describe the progression-free survival (PFS) for children with low-grade gangliogliomas and identify risk factors for tumor progression.

Methods

A retrospective study was performed in children with low-grade gangliogliomas who were evaluated and treated in the neuro-oncology department between 1986 and 2006 to determine risk factors for subsequent tumor progression.

Results

A total of 38 children with newly diagnosed gangliogliomas were included in this report. Thirty-four children were treated with surgery alone, 3 with subtotal resection and radiation therapy, and 1 with subtotal resection and chemotherapy. The follow-up ranged from 4 months to 15.8 years (mean 5.7 ± 4.2 years [± SD]). Seven children have experienced tumor progression, and 1 child died after his tumor subsequently underwent malignant transformation. The 5-year PFS was calculated to be 81.2% using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Initial presentation with seizures (p = 0.004), tumor location in the cerebral hemisphere (p = 0.020), and complete tumor resection (p = 0.035) were associated with prolonged PFS. Further analysis of the above significant variables by a Cox regression model identified initial presentation with seizures as being associated with prolonged PFS (p = 0.028).

Conclusions

The PFS and overall survival of children with gangliogliomas are good. Tumors located in the cerebral hemispheres, the achievement of total resection, and seizures at presentation were associated with prolonged PFS. Cox regression analysis identified presenting symptoms including seizures as significant predictive factors of PFS. Prospective studies with larger numbers of children are needed to define the significant factors of tumor progression.

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Atif Haque, Angela V. Price, Frederick H. Sklar, Dale M. Swift, Bradley E. Weprin and David J. Sacco

Object

Rigid fixation of the upper cervical spine has become an established method of durable stabilization for a variety of craniocervical pathological entities in children. In children, specifically, the use of C1–2 transarticular screws has been proposed in recent literature to be the gold standard configuration for pathology involving these levels. The authors reviewed the use of rigid fixation techniques alternative to C1–2 transarticular screws in children. Factors evaluated included ease of placement, complications, and postoperative stability.

Methods

Seventeen patients, ranging in age from 3 to 17 years (mean 9.6 years), underwent screw fixation involving the atlas or axis for a multitude of pathologies, including os odontoideum, Down syndrome, congenital instability, iatrogenic instability, or posttraumatic instability. All patients had preoperative instability of the occipitocervical or atlantoaxial spine demonstrated on dynamic lateral cervical spine radiographs. All patients also underwent preoperative CT scanning and MR imaging to evaluate the anatomical feasibility of the selected hardware placement. Thirteen patients underwent C1–2 fusion, and 4 underwent occipitocervical fusion, all incorporating C-1 lateral mass screws, C-2 pars screws, and/or C-2 laminar screws within their constructs. Patients who underwent occipitocervical fusion had no instrumentation placed at C-1. One patient's construct included sublaminar wiring at C-2. All patients received autograft onlay either from from rib (in 15 patients), split-thickness skull (1 patient), or local bone harvested within the operative field (1 patient). Nine patients' constructs were supplemented with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein at the discretion of the attending physician. Eight patients had surgical sacrifice of 1 or both C-2 nerve roots to better facilitate visualization of the C-1 lateral mass. One patient was placed in halo-vest orthosis postoperatively, while the rest were maintained in rigid collars.

Results

All 17 patients underwent immediate postoperative CT scanning to evaluate hardware placement. Follow-up was achieved in 16 cases, ranging from 2 to 39 months (mean 14 months), and repeated dynamic lateral cervical spine radiography was performed in these patients at the end of their follow-up period. Some, but not all patients, also underwent delayed postoperative CT scans, which were done at the discretion of the treating attending physician. No neurovascular injuries were encountered, no hardware revisions were required, and no infections were seen. No postoperative pain was seen in patients who underwent C-2 nerve root sacrifice. Stability was achieved in all patients postoperatively. In all patients who underwent delayed postoperative CT scanning, the presence of bridging bone was shown spanning the fused levels.

Conclusions

Screw fixation of the atlas using lateral mass screws, in conjunction with C-2 root sacrifice in selected cases, and of the axis using pars or laminar screws is a safe method for achieving rigid fixation of the upper cervical spine in the pediatric population.

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Benoit Jenny, Michel Zerah, Dale Swift, Arnaud Le Tohic, Valérie Merzoug, Hortensia Alvarez, Gilles Grangé and Bénédict Rilliet

In this report, the authors describe 4 recent cases of posterior giant dural venous sinus ectasia in neonates diagnosed during pregnancy and encountered at 3 different institutions. Posterior giant venous sinus ectasia was diagnosed in 4 patients using antenatal ultrasonography and confirmed in 2 patients using prenatal MR imaging and in 3 patients using postnatal MR angiography. In 2 children angiography was performed at the age of 6 months. The pregnancy was terminated in 1 case, and the fetus underwent an autopsy. The 3 children who were born presented with various degree of cardiac insufficiency and were admitted to the intensive care unit after birth. Signs of increased intracranial pressure were present immediately after birth, including a bulging fontanel. No endovascular treatment was used in these cases. Surgery was performed in 2 cases as an attempt to alleviate increased intracranial pressure symptoms, without any real benefit. A slow venous flow in the ectasia was shown by ultrasonography in the case in which the pregnancy was terminated. Angiography or MR angiography did not show an obvious arteriovenous malformation in any of the cases, but an arteriovenous fistula secondary or contributing to the formation of the venous ectasia is one of the physiopathological hypotheses of the cause of this condition. Interestingly, spontaneous progressive thrombosis and regression of the intravascular component of the venous sinus ectasia was observed in all cases. The clinical outcome was acceptable in 1 child (who had a moderate handicap after the surgery) and good for the other 2 children (who had normal neurological development). Stratified thrombi of different ages are found in these giant venous ectasias and develop within the leaves of the dura close to the confluence of the major posterior venous sinuses. Therefore, it appears that the formation of a progressive thrombosis represents the normal evolution of these giant dural venous sinus ectasias, which explains the favorable outcome in some cases without specific surgical treatment, except for resuscitation techniques.

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Dale Swift, Laszlo Nagy and Brian Robertson

Hydrocephalus in patients with achondroplasia is thought to be due to increased dural sinus venous pressure resulting from narrowing of the jugular foramen. In this setting, where hydrocephalus is presumed to be “vascular” in origin and therefore communicating, endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) would seem contraindicated. The authors describe 3 patients in whom ETV was successfully performed, resulting in MR imaging–documented decreases in ventricle size. The patients were 11 months, 33 months, and 13 years at the time of surgery. All patients had serial preoperative MR images demonstrating progressive hydrocephalus in a “triventricular” pattern with a small fourth ventricle but an open aqueduct. All patients had undergone suboccipital decompression for foramen magnum stenosis prior to the treatment of hydrocephalus. Preoperative retrograde venography revealed variable pressure gradients across the jugular foramen. It is postulated that the increase in intracranial venous pressure resulting from jugular foramen stenosis may lead to disproportionate venous engorgement of the cerebellum and some degree of obstructive hydrocephalus amenable to ETV. The authors discuss the role of suboccipital decompression in the progression of hydrocephalus in patients with achondroplasia.

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William W. Scott, Jeffrey A. Fearon, Dale M. Swift and David J. Sacco

Object

The optimal management of Chiari malformations in the setting of craniosynostosis is not well established. In this report the authors describe their outcomes with the combined technique of simultaneous suboccipital decompression (SOD) during posterior cranial vault remodeling (PCVR).

Methods

A retrospective review was performed of all patients undergoing PCVR and simultaneous SOD. Demographic data, diagnosis, imaging studies, operative intervention, and clinical follow-up were evaluated.

Results

Thirty-four patients were identified as having undergone a simultaneous PCVR/SOD for Chiari malformation associated with craniosynostosis. Eighty-eight percent of these patients had syndromic, multisutural craniosynostosis, and the remaining patients had unilateral lambdoid craniosynostosis. There were no postoperative complications as a direct result from this combined procedure. Two patients required a subsequent direct approach for decompression of the Chiari malformation. The interval between these subsequent surgeries was 3 years and 19 months.

Conclusions

Chiari malformations are commonly associated with syndromic, complex craniosynostosis and isolated lambdoid craniosynostosis. In appropriately selected patients, a combined posterior cranial vault enlargement and SOD of the foramen magnum is associated with a low complication rate and appears to be an effective procedure.