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Jeffrey A. Steinberg, David D. Gonda, Karra Muller and Joseph D. Ciacci

Intramedullary spinal cord hematomas are a rare neurosurgical pathological entity typically arising from vascular and neoplastic lesions. Endometriosis is an extremely rare cause of intramedullary spinal cord hematoma, with only 5 previously reported cases in the literature. Endometriosis is characterized by ectopic endometrial tissue, typically located in the female pelvic cavity, that causes a cyclical pain syndrome, bleeding, and infertility. In the rare case of intramedullary endometriosis of the spinal cord, symptoms include cyclical lower-extremity radiculopathies and voiding difficulties, and can acutely cause cauda equina syndrome. The authors report a case of endometriosis of the conus medullaris, the first to include radiological, intraoperative, and histopathological imaging. A brief review of the literature is also presented, with discussion including etiological theories surrounding intramedullary endometriosis.

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Thomas J. Gianaris, Ryan Nazar, Emily Middlebrook, David D. Gonda, Andrew Jea and Daniel H. Fulkerson

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is a surgical alternative to placing a CSF shunt in certain patients with hydrocephalus. The ETV Success Score (ETVSS) is a reliable, simple method to estimate the success of the procedure by 6 months of postoperative follow-up. The highest score is 90, estimating a 90% chance of the ETV effectively treating hydrocephalus without requiring a shunt. Treatment with ETV fails in certain patients, despite their being the theoretically best candidates for the procedure. In this study the authors attempted to identify factors that further predicted success in patients with the highest ETVSSs.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of all patients treated with ETV at 3 institutions. Demographic, radiological, and clinical data were recorded. All patients by definition were older than 1 year, had obstructive hydrocephalus, and did not have a prior shunt. Failure of ETV was defined as the need for a shunt by 1 year. The ETV was considered a success if the patient did not require another surgery (either shunt placement or a repeat endoscopic procedure) by 1 year. A statistical analysis was performed to identify factors associated with success or failure.

RESULTS

Fifty-nine patients met the entry criteria for the study. Eleven patients (18.6%) required further surgery by 1 year. All of these patients received a shunt. The presenting symptom of lethargy statistically correlated with success (p = 0.0126, odds ratio [OR] = 0.072). The preoperative radiological finding of transependymal flow (p = 0.0375, OR 0.158) correlated with success. A postoperative larger maximum width of the third ventricle correlated with failure (p = 0.0265).

CONCLUSIONS

The preoperative findings of lethargy and transependymal flow statistically correlated with success. This suggests that the best candidates for ETV are those with a relatively acute elevation of intracranial pressure. Cases without these findings may represent the failures in this highly selected group.

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Meng Huang, David D. Gonda, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Upper airway obstruction resulting from overflexion of the craniocervical junction after occipitocervical fusion is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication and is associated with morbidity. The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and diagnostic images of 2 pediatrie patients who underwent occipitocervical fusion by the Neuro-Spine Program at Texas Children’s Hospital and experienced dyspnea and/or dysphagia from new upper airway obstruction in the postoperative period. Patient demographics, operative data, and preoperative and postoperative occiput-C2 angles were recorded. A review of the literature for similar complications after occipitocervical fusion was performed. A total of 13 cases of prolonged upper airway obstruction after occipitocervical fusion were analyzed. Most of these cases involved adults with rheumatoid arthritis. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there have been no previous reports of prolonged upper airway obstruction in children after an occipitocervical fusion. Fixation of the neck in increased flexion (−18° to −5°) was a common finding among these adult and pediatrie cases. The authors’ cases involved children with micrognathia and comparatively large tongues, which may predispose the oropharynx to obstruction with even the slightest amount of increased flexion. Close attention to a satisfactory fixation angle (occiput-C2 angle) is necessary to avoid airway obstruction after an occipitocervical fusion. Children with micrognathia are particularly sensitive to changes in flexion at the craniocervical junction after occipitocervical fixation.

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David D. Gonda, Jared Fridley, Sheila L. Ryan, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, MD MBA, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

OBJECT

Low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs), mainly enoxaparin, offer several advantages over standard anticoagulation therapies such as unfractionated heparin and warfarin, including predictable pharmacokinetics, minimal monitoring, and subcutaneous administration. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of LMWHs in pediatric neurosurgical patients.

METHODS

A retrospective study was performed with patients 18 years old or younger who were admitted to the Pediatric Neurosurgery Service at Texas Children's Hospital and treated with LMWH for either therapeutic or prophylactic purposes between March 1, 2011, and December 30, 2013. Demographic and clinical features and outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS

LMWH was administered for treatment of venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) in 17 children and for prophylaxis in 24 children. Clinical resolution of VTEs occurred in 100% (17 of 17) of patients receiving therapeutic doses of LMWH. No patient receiving prophylactic doses of LMWH developed a new VTE. Major or minor bleeding complications occurred in 18% (3 of 17 children) and 4% (1 of 24 children) of those receiving therapeutic and prophylactic doses, respectively. All 4 patients who experienced hemorrhagic complications had other bleeding risk factors—i.e., coagulopathies and antiplatelet medications.

CONCLUSIONS

LMWH seems to be safe and efficacious for both management and prophylaxis of VTEs in pediatric neurosurgery. However, pediatric practitioners should be aware of higher risk for bleeding complications with increasing doses of LMWH, especially in patients with preexisting bleeding disorders or concurrent use of antiplatelet agents.

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David D. Gonda, Alexander A. Khalessi, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Logan P. Marcus, Abraham Noorbakhsh, Clark C. Chen, David C. Chang and Bob S. Carter

Object

Using a database that enabled longitudinal follow-up, the authors assessed the long-term outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysms repaired by clipping or coiling.

Methods

An observational analysis of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) database, which follows patients longitudinally in time and through multiple hospitalizations, was performed for all patients initially treated for an unruptured cerebral aneurysm in the period from 1998 to 2005 and with follow-up data through 2009.

Results

Nine hundred forty-four cases (36.5%) were treated with endovascular coiling, 1565 cases (60.5%) were surgically clipped, and 76 cases were treated with both coiling and clipping. There was no significant difference in any demographic variable between the two treatment groups except for age (median: 55 years for the clipped group, 58 years for the coiled group, p < 0.001). Perioperative (30-day) mortality was 1.1% in patients with coiled aneurysms compared with 2.3% in those with clipped aneurysms (p = 0.048). The median follow-up was 7 years (range 4–12 years). At the last follow-up, 153 patients (16.2%) in the coiled group had died compared with 244 (15.6%) in the clipped group (p = 0.693). The adjusted hazard ratio for death at the long-term follow-up was 1.14 (95% CI 0.9–1.4, p = 0.282) for patients with endovascularly treated aneurysms. The incidence of intracranial hemorrhage was similar in the two treatment groups (5.9% clipped vs 4.8% coiled, p = 0.276). One hundred ninety-three patients (20.4%) with coiled aneurysms underwent additional hospitalizations for aneurysm repair procedures compared with only 136 patients (8.7%) with clipped aneurysms (p < 0.001). Cumulative hospital costs per patient for admissions involving aneurysm repair procedures were greater in the clipped group (median cost $98,260 vs $81,620, p < 0.001) through the follow-up.

Conclusions

For unruptured cerebral aneurysms, an observed perioperative survival advantage for endovascular coiling relative to that for surgical clipping was lost on long-term follow-up, according to data from an administrative database of patients who were not randomly allocated to treatment type. A cost advantage of endovascular treatment was maintained even though endovascularly treated patients were more likely to undergo subsequent hospitalizations for additional aneurysm repair procedures. Rates of aneurysm rupture following treatment were similar in the two groups.

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Logan P. Marcus, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Abraham Noorbakhsh, Ralitza P. Parina, David D. Gonda, Clark Chen, David C. Chang and Bob S. Carter

Object

Hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge is a major contributor to the high cost of health care in the US and is also a major indicator of patient care quality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence, causes, and predictors of 30-day readmission following craniotomy for malignant supratentorial tumor resection.

Methods

The longitudinal California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development inpatient-discharge administrative database is a data set that consists of 100% of all inpatient hospitalizations within the state of California and allows each patient to be followed throughout multiple inpatient hospital stays, across multiple institutions, and over multiple years (from 1995 to 2010). This database was used to identify patients who underwent a craniotomy for resection of primary malignant brain tumors. Causes for unplanned 30-day readmission were identified by principle ICD-9 diagnosis code and multivariate analysis was used to determine the independent effect of various patient factors on 30-day readmissions.

Results

A total of 18,506 patients received a craniotomy for the treatment of primary malignant brain tumors within the state of California between 1995 and 2010. Four hundred ten patients (2.2%) died during the index surgical admission, 13,586 patients (73.4%) were discharged home, and 4510 patients (24.4%) were transferred to another facility. Among patients discharged home, 1790 patients (13.2%) were readmitted at least once within 30 days of discharge, with 27% of readmissions occurring at a different hospital than the initial surgical institution. The most common reasons for readmission were new onset seizure and convulsive disorder (20.9%), surgical infection of the CNS (14.5%), and new onset of a motor deficit (12.8%). Medi-Cal beneficiaries were at increased odds for readmission relative to privately insured patients (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.20–1.93). Patients with a history of prior myocardial infarction were at an increased risk of readmission (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.06–2.54) as were patients who developed hydrocephalus (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.20–2.07) or venous complications during index surgical admission (OR 3.88, 95% CI 1.84–8.18).

Conclusions

Using administrative data, this study demonstrates a baseline glioma surgery 30-day readmission rate of 13.2% in California for patients who are initially discharged home. This paper highlights the medical histories, perioperative complications, and patient demographic groups that are at an increased risk for readmission within 30 days of home discharge. An analysis of conditions present on readmission that were not present at the index surgical admission, such as infection and seizures, suggests that some readmissions may be preventable. Discharge planning strategies aimed at reducing readmission rates in neurosurgical practice should focus on patient groups at high risk for readmission and comprehensive discharge planning protocols should be implemented to specifically target the mitigation of potentially preventable conditions that are highly associated with readmission.

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David D. Gonda, Vincent J. Cheung, Karra A. Muller, Amit Goyal, Bob S. Carter and Clark C. Chen

Differentiating between low-grade gliomas (LGGs) of astrocytic and oligodendroglial origin remains a major challenge in neurooncology. Here the authors analyzed The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) profiles of LGGs with the goal of identifying distinct molecular characteristics that would afford accurate and reliable discrimination of astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumors. They found that 1) oligodendrogliomas are more likely to exhibit the glioma-CpG island methylator phenotype (G-CIMP), relative to low-grade astrocytomas; 2) relative to oligodendrogliomas, low-grade astrocytomas exhibit a higher expression of genes related to mitosis, replication, and inflammation; and 3) low-grade astrocytic tumors harbor microRNA profiles similar to those previously described for glioblastoma tumors. Orthogonal intersection of these molecular characteristics with existing molecular markers, such as IDH1 mutation, TP53 mutation, and 1p19q status, should facilitate accurate and reliable pathological diagnosis of LGGs.

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Brandon A. McCutcheon, David C. Chang, Logan Marcus, David D. Gonda, Abraham Noorbakhsh, Clark C. Chen, Mark A. Talamini and Bob S. Carter

OBJECT

This study was designed to assess the relationship between insurance status and likelihood of receiving a neurosurgical procedure following admission for either extraaxial intracranial hemorrhage or spinal vertebral fracture.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS; 1998–2009) was performed. Cases of traumatic extraaxial intracranial hematoma and spinal vertebral fracture were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) diagnosis codes. Within this cohort, those patients receiving a craniotomy or spinal fusion and/or decompression in the context of an admission for traumatic brain or spine injury, respectively, were identified using the appropriate ICD-9 procedure codes.

RESULTS

A total of 190,412 patients with extraaxial intracranial hematoma were identified between 1998 and 2009. Within this cohort, 37,434 patients (19.7%) received a craniotomy. A total of 477,110 patients with spinal vertebral fracture were identified. Of these, 37,302 (7.8%) received a spinal decompression and/or fusion. On multivariate analysis controlling for patient demographics, severity of injuries, comorbidities, hospital volume, and hospital characteristics, uninsured patients had a reduced likelihood of receiving a craniotomy (odds ratio [OR] 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.71–0.82) and spinal fusion (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.64–0.71) relative to insured patients. This statistically significant trend persisted when uninsured and insured patients were matched on the basis of mortality propensity score. Uninsured patients demonstrated an elevated risk-adjusted mortality rate relative to insured patients in cases of extraaxial intracranial hematoma. Among patients with spinal injury, mortality rates were similar between patients with and without insurance.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, uninsured patients were consistently less likely to receive a craniotomy or spinal fusion for traumatic intracranial extraaxial hemorrhage and spinal vertebral fracture, respectively. This difference persisted after accounting for overall injury severity and patient access to high- or low-volume treatment centers, and potentially reflects a resource allocation bias against uninsured patients within the hospital setting. This information adds to the growing literature detailing the benefits of health reform initiatives seeking to expand access for the uninsured.

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Abraham Noorbakhsh, Jessica A. Tang, Logan P. Marcus, Brandon McCutcheon, David D. Gonda, Craig S. Schallhorn, Mark A. Talamini, David C. Chang, Bob S. Carter and Clark C. Chen

Object

There is limited information on the relationship between patient age and the clinical benefit of resection in patients with glioblastoma. The purpose of this study was to use a population-based database to determine whether patient age influences the frequency that gross-total resection (GTR) is performed, and also whether GTR is associated with survival difference in different age groups.

Methods

The authors identified 20,705 adult patients with glioblastoma in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry (1998–2009). Surgical practice patterns were defined by the categories of no surgery, subtotal resection (STR), and GTR. Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to assess the pattern of surgical practice and overall survival.

Results

The frequency that GTR was achieved in patients with glioblastoma decreased in a stepwise manner as a function of patient age (from 36% [age 18–44 years] to 24% [age ≥ 75]; p < 0.001). For all age groups, glioblastoma patients who were selected for and underwent GTR showed a 2- to 3-month improvement in overall survival (p < 0.001) relative to those who underwent STR. These trends remained true after a multivariate analysis that incorporated variables including ethnicity, sex, year of diagnosis, tumor size, tumor location, and radiotherapy status.

Conclusions

Gross-total resection is associated with improved overall survival, even in elderly patients with glioblastoma. As such, surgical decisions should be individually tailored to the patient rather than an adherence to age as the sole clinical determinant.

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Robert C. Rennert, Reid Hoshide, Mark Calayag, Joanna Kemp, David D. Gonda, Hal S. Meltzer, Takanori Fukushima, John D. Day and Michael L. Levy

OBJECTIVE

Treatment of hemorrhagic cavernous malformations within the lateral pontine region demands meticulous surgical planning and execution to maximize resection while minimizing morbidity. The authors report a single institution’s experience using the extended middle fossa rhomboid approach for the safe resection of hemorrhagic cavernomas involving the lateral pons.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed to identify and review the surgical outcomes of patients who underwent an extended middle fossa rhomboid approach for the resection of hemorrhagic cavernomas involving the lateral pons during a 10-year period at Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. Surgical landmarks for this extradural approach were based on the Fukushima dual-fan model, which defines the rhomboid based on the following anatomical structures: 1) the junction of the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSPN) and mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve; 2) the lateral edge of the porus trigeminus; 3) the intersection of the petrous ridge and arcuate eminence; and 4) the intersection of the GSPN, geniculate ganglion, and arcuate eminence. The boundaries of maximal bony removal for this approach are the clivus inferiorly below the inferior petrosal sinus; unroofing of the internal auditory canal posteriorly; skeletonizing the geniculate ganglion, GSPN, and internal carotid artery laterally; and drilling under the Gasserian ganglion anteriorly. This extradural petrosectomy allowed for an approach to all lesions from an area posterolateral to the basilar artery near its junction with cranial nerve (CN) VI, superior to the anterior inferior cerebellar artery and lateral to the origin of CN V. Retraction of the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve during this approach allowed avoidance of the region involving CN IV and the superior cerebellar artery.

RESULTS

Eight pediatric patients (4 girls and 4 boys, mean age of 13.2 ± 4.6 years) with hemorrhagic cavernomas involving the lateral pons and extension to the pial surface were treated using the surgical approach described above. Seven cavernomas were completely resected. In the eighth patient, a second peripheral lesion was not resected with the primary lesion. One patient had a transient CN VI palsy, and 2 patients had transient trigeminal hypesthesia/dysesthesia. One patient experienced a CSF leak that was successfully treated by oversewing the wound.

CONCLUSIONS

The extended middle fossa approach can be used for resection of lateral pontine hemorrhagic cavernomas with minimal morbidity in the pediatric population.