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Introduction: Traumatic Brain Injury

David O. Okonkwo

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Premorbid oral antithrombotic therapy and risk for reaccumulation, reoperation, and mortality in acute subdural hematomas

Clinical article

David M. Panczykowski and David O. Okonkwo

Object

Acute subdural hematomas (SDHs) impart serious morbidity and mortality on the elderly population, with only 5% of those older than 65 years of age attaining functional independence. Despite its widespread use, oral antithrombotic therapy (OAT) in the context of acute SDH has not been extensively studied. The authors sought to evaluate the impact of premorbid OAT on recurrence of SDH, radiographic outcome, and mortality in patients undergoing surgical evacuation of an acute SDH.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective comparative cohort study reviewing all surgically treated cases of acute SDH at their institution between September 2005 and December 2008. They assessed baseline demographics, coagulation parameters, surgical management, and clinical course. Study end points included additional craniotomy for SDH reaccumulation, follow-up Rotterdam score, recurrent SDH volumetric analysis, Glasgow Outcome Score, and death.

Results

A total of 300 patients with acute SDH treated by craniotomy were assessed. Of these patients, 49% (148 patients) were receiving OAT. Of those who were on a regimen of OAT, 49% were taking warfarin (mean international normalized ratio 3.1 ± 1.8), 31% were receiving antiplatelet therapy, and 20% were on a regimen of a combination of agents. On presentation, 72% of those using OAT received reversal agents. Recurrence of SDH necessitating additional evacuation was not significantly different with respect to premorbid OAT status (13% vs 14%). Patients with a history of OAT did not demonstrate a significant difference in Rotterdam score (2 vs 2), recurrent SDH volume (24.1 vs 19.6 cm3), GOS score (4 vs 3), or mortality (21% vs 24%). These findings remained stable after controlling for age, injury mechanism, and injury severity.

Conclusions

Premorbid OAT was not a significant risk factor for recurrence of SDH necessitating additional evacuation following acute SDH. Additionally, postoperative Rotterdam score, volume of SDH reaccumulation, and overall mortality were not predicted by antithrombotic history. While premorbid use may predispose the patient to an SDH, OAT does not increase the risk of morbidity or mortality following surgical intervention.

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Introduction: Adult spinal deformity

David O. Okonkwo and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Comparative effectiveness of using computed tomography alone to exclude cervical spine injuries in obtunded or intubated patients: meta-analysis of 14,327 patients with blunt trauma

A review

David M. Panczykowski, Nestor D. Tomycz, and David O. Okonkwo

Object

The current standard of practice for clearance of the cervical spine in obtunded patients suffering blunt trauma is to use CT and an adjuvant imaging modality (such as MR imaging). The objective of this study was to determine the comparative effectiveness of multislice helical CT alone to diagnose acute unstable cervical spine injury following blunt trauma.

Methods

The authors performed a meta-analysis of studies comparing modern CT with adjunctive imaging modalities and required that studies present acute traumatic findings as well as treatment for unstable injuries. Study quality, population characteristics, diagnostic protocols, and outcome data were extracted. Positive disease status included all injuries necessitating surgical or orthotic stabilization identified on imaging and/or clinical follow-up.

Results

Seventeen studies encompassing 14,327 patients met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the sensitivity and specificity for modern CT were both > 99.9% (95% CI 0.99–1.00 and 0.99–1.00, respectively). The negative likelihood ratio of an unstable cervical injury after a CT scan negative for acute injury was < 0.001 (95% CI 0.00–0.01), while the negative predictive value of a normal CT scan was 100% (95% CI 0.96–1.00). Global severity of injury, CT slice thickness, and study quality did not significantly affect accuracy estimates.

Conclusions

Modern CT alone is sufficient to detect unstable cervical spine injuries in trauma patients. Adjuvant imaging is unnecessary when the CT scan is negative for acute injury. Results of this meta-analysis strongly show that the cervical collar may be removed from obtunded or intubated trauma patients if a modern CT scan is negative for acute injury.

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Editorial

Thoracolumbar spinal deformity

Christopher I. Shaffrey

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Management and outcomes of isolated interhemispheric subdural hematomas associated with falx syndrome

Daniel A. Tonetti, William J. Ares, David O. Okonkwo, and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Large interhemispheric subdural hematomas (iSDHs) causing falx syndrome are rare; therefore, a paucity of data exists regarding the outcomes of contemporary management of iSDH. There is a general consensus among neurosurgeons that large iSDHs with neurological deficits represent a particular treatment challenge with generally poor outcomes. Thus, radiological and clinical outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical management for iSDH bear further study, which is the aim of this report.

METHODS

A prospectively collected, single-institution trauma database was searched for patients with isolated traumatic iSDH causing falx syndrome in the period from January 2008 to January 2018. Information on demographic and radiological characteristics, serial neurological examinations, clinical and radiological outcomes, and posttreatment complications was collected and tallied. The authors subsequently dichotomized patients by management strategy to evaluate clinical outcome and 30-day survival.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients (0.4% of those with intracranial injuries, 0.05% of those with trauma) with iSDH and falx syndrome represented the study cohort. The average age was 73.4 years, and most patients (23 [92%] of 25) were taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications. Six patients were managed nonoperatively, and 19 patients underwent craniotomy for iSDH evacuation; of the latter patients, 17 (89.5%) had improvement in or resolution of motor deficits postoperatively. There were no instances of venous infarction, reaccumulation, or infection after evacuation. In total, 9 (36%) of the 25 patients died within 30 days, including 6 (32%) of the 19 who had undergone craniotomy and 3 (50%) of the 6 who had been managed nonoperatively. Patients who died within 30 days were significantly more likely to experience in-hospital neurological deterioration prior to surgery (83% vs 15%, p = 0.0095) and to be comatose prior to surgery (100% vs 23%, p = 0.0031). The median modified Rankin Scale score of surgical patients who survived hospitalization (13 patients) was 1 at a mean follow-up of 22.1 months.

CONCLUSIONS

iSDHs associated with falx syndrome can be evacuated safely and effectively, and prompt surgical evacuation prior to neurological deterioration can improve outcomes. In this study, craniotomy for iSDH evacuation proved to be a low-risk strategy that was associated with generally good outcomes, though appropriately selected patients may fare well without evacuation.

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Editorial: Cervical clearance

Vincent C. Traynelis and Manish K. Kasliwal

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Thoracolumbar spinal deformity: Part I. A historical passage to 1990

Historical vignette

Adam S. Kanter, David S. Bradford, David O. Okonkwo, Setti S. Rengachary, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

Seven millennia of anthropological artifacts and historical tales reference human spinal deformity, its diagnosis, and treatment—many of the latter of which turned out to be worse than the deformity itself. From Hippocrates to Harrington to the 21st century, the literature base has expanded in exponential fashion to yield an imperfect but constantly improving body of evidence, experience, and understanding of this challenging disease phenomenon. This review details the pre-1990 innovations, whose failures and successes have equally contributed to the advancement and dissemination of the increasingly evidence-based field of spinal deformity.

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Reversal of sedation with flumazenil in a child after traumatic brain injury

Case report

Pawel G. Ochalski, David O. Okonkwo, Michael J. Bell, and P. David Adelson

The authors report on a case of successful reversal of sedation with flumazenil, a benzodiazepine antagonist, in a child following a moderate traumatic brain injury and demonstrate the utility of flumazenil to reverse benzodiazepine effects in traumatically injured children.

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Fractures of the clivus and traumatic diastasis of the central skull base in the pediatric population

Clinical article

Pawel G. Ochalski, Matthew A. Adamo, P. David Adelson, David O. Okonkwo, and Ian F. Pollack

Object

Fractures of the clivus and traumatic diastases of the clival synchondroses are rare in the pediatric population. The incidence, outcome, and biomechanics associated with these fractures have been difficult to ascertain secondary to the lack of literature pertaining to their occurrence.

Methods

A Boolean search of the electronic medical record database at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was performed to identify patients with fractures of the clivus that were diagnosed using CT of the head. A retrospective review of the chart and radiographic imaging was then performed to assess data regarding patient demographics, mechanism of injury, and skull and brain parenchymal injuries, as well as outcomes.

Results

Between May 2002 and November 2007, 16 patients with fractures of the clivus were identified. The mean age of these patients was 9 years (range 1–16 years). Eleven (68.8%) of the 16 patients had an associated traumatic diastasis of the central skull base. Five (31.3%) of the 16 patients died. However, of the 11 patients who survived, all had a good outcome with a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5 at the time of discharge. The incidence of clival fractures among patients with head injuries was 0.33%.

Conclusions

Clival fractures occur with a similar incidence in both the pediatric and adult trauma population. Outcome is not correlated directly with the extent of clival fracture, but rather with the presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score and concomitant brain parenchymal injuries. The identification of traumatic diastases in patients with clival fractures suggests that static loading forces are a significant factor in the biomechanics producing these types of fractures.