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Saumitra K. Thakur, Benjamin A. Rubin and David H. Harter

OBJECT

Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) is a valuable therapeutic option for patients with spasticity and dystonia. The techniques that place an ITB pump catheter into the subcutaneous fat of a lumbar incision are well described. Because patients who require ITB often have low body fat content, they may be predisposed to catheter-related complications. The senior author used a novel technique to place the catheter in a paraspinal subfascial fashion, and the short-term results were previously published. That study demonstrated no development of hardware erosions, catheter migrations, or CSF leaks within an average follow-up of 5 months. This study followed up on those initial findings by looking at the long-term outcomes since this technique was introduced.

METHODS

Using the institutional review board-approved protocol, the electronic medical records were reviewed retrospectively for all patients who underwent paraspinal subfascial catheter placement by the senior author. Patients received follow-up with the surgeon at 2 weeks postoperatively and were followed routinely by their physiatrist thereafter.

RESULTS

Of the 43 patients identified as having undergone surgery by the senior author using the paraspinal subfascial technique between July 2010 and February 2014, 12 patients (27.9%) required reoperation. There were 5 patients (11.6%) who had complications related to the catheter or lumbar incision. No hardware erosions or CSF leaks were identified. These patients received a median follow-up of 3.0 years, with 30 of 43 patients receiving follow-up over 2.0 years.

CONCLUSION

This follow-up study suggests that the technique of paraspinal subfascial catheter placement translates to long-term decreases in CSF leakage and complications from erosion, infection, and also catheter malfunctions. It does not seem to affect the overall rate of complications.

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Bakhtiar Yamini, Daniel Refai, Charles M. Rubin and David M. Frim

Object. The authors report their experience in six patients with pineal tumors and associated hydrocephalus who underwent an endoscopic biopsy procedure and third ventriculocisternostomy (ETVC) in a single sitting.

Methods. The ETVC was successfully performed without complication in all patients; however, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was eventually required in four. Histological diagnosis was successfully established in four patients. The authors also reviewed the literature to assess reports involving ETVC and tumor biopsy sampling in patients with pineal tumors and hydrocephalus. A total of 54 cases, including those in this study, have been reported. Fifteen percent of the patients eventually required placement of a ventricular shunt. The transient complication rate was 15% with no death. A positive tissue diagnosis was established in 89% of the cases overall.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that the endoscopic management of patients with pineal region masses and hydrocephalus may be a preferred initial strategy.

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Bartosz T. Grobelny, David Rubin, Peter Fleischut, Elayna Rubens, Patricia Fogarty Mack, Matthew Fink, Dimitris G. Placantonakis and Eric H. Elowitz

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by heterotopic ossification of soft connective and muscle tissues, often as the result of minor trauma. The sequelae include joint fusion, accumulation of calcified foci within soft tissues, thoracic insufficiency syndrome, and progressive immobility. The authors report on a patient with FOP who developed severe spinal canal stenosis in the thoracic spine causing substantial myelopathy. He underwent a thoracic laminectomy and resection of a large posterior osteophyte. Unique considerations are required in treating patients with FOP, including steroid administration to prevent ossification and anesthetic technique. The nuances of neurosurgical and medical management as they pertain to this disease are discussed.

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Stephen C. Saris, Steven A. Rosenberg, Robert B. Friedman, Joshua T. Rubin, David Barba and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) is an immunotherapeutic agent with efficacy against certain advanced cancers. The penetration of rIL-2 across the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier was studied in 12 cancer patients who had no evidence of tumor involvement of the central nervous system. At different times during treatment with intravenous rIL-2, CSF was withdrawn either continuously for 8 to 26 hours via a lumbar subarachnoid catheter (in eight patients) or by a single lumbar puncture (in four). Bioassay showed the appearance of rIL-2 in lumbar CSF 4 to 6 hours after the first intravenous dose, a rise over 2 to 4 hours to a plateau of 3 to 9 U/ml, and clearance to less than 0.1 U/ml by 10 hours after the last dose. An abnormally elevated CSF albumin level in two of the twelve patients indicated alteration of the blood-brain barrier. There were no abnormalities in the CSF glucose level or white blood cell count.

The CSF pharmacokinetics contrast with the rapid elimination of rIL-2 from plasma and demonstrate significant blood-CSF barrier penetration. These data support the possibility of achieving CSF levels of rIL-2 that are adequate to maintain activity of lymphokine-activated killer cells after parenteral administration, and argue for rIL-2-associated disruption of the human blood-brain barrier in some patients.

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Robert C. Rubin, Edward S. Henderson, Ayub K. Ommaya, Michael D. Walker and David P. Rall

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Alessandro Orlando, A. Stewart Levy, Benjamin A. Rubin, Allen Tanner, Matthew M. Carrick, Mark Lieser, David Hamilton, Charles W. Mains and David Bar-Or

OBJECTIVE

A paucity of studies have examined neurosurgical interventions in the mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) population with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). Furthermore, it is not understood how the dimensions of an ICH relate to the risk of a neurosurgical intervention. These limitations contribute to a lack of treatment guidelines. Isolated subdural hematomas (iSDHs) are the most prevalent ICH in mTBI, carry the highest neurosurgical intervention rate, and account for an overwhelming majority of all neurosurgical interventions. Decision criteria in this population could benefit from understanding the risk of requiring neurosurgical intervention. The aim of this study was to quantify the risk of neurosurgical intervention based on the dimensions of an iSDH in the setting of mTBI.

METHODS

This was a 3.5-year, retrospective observational cohort study at a Level I trauma center. All adult (≥ 18 years) trauma patients with mTBI and iSDH were included in the study. Maximum length and thickness (in mm) of acute SDHs, the presence of acute-on-chronic (AOC) SDH, mass effect, and other hemorrhage-related variables were double–data entered; discrepant results were adjudicated after a maximum of 4 reviews. Patients with coagulopathy, skull fractures, no acute hemorrhage, a non-SDH ICH, or who did not undergo imaging on admission were excluded. Tentorial SDHs were not measured. The primary outcome was neurosurgical intervention (craniotomy, burr holes, intracranial pressure monitor placement, shunt, ventriculostomy, or SDH evacuation). Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to identify significant covariates, to assess interactions, and to create the scoring system.

RESULTS

There were a total of 176 patients included in our study: 28 patients did and 148 did not receive a neurosurgical intervention. There were no significant differences between neurosurgical intervention groups in 11 demographic and 22 comorbid variables. Patients with neurosurgical intervention had significantly longer and thicker SDHs than nonsurgical controls. Logistic regression identified thickness and AOC hemorrhage as being the most important variables in predicting neurosurgical intervention; SDH length was not. Risk of neurosurgical intervention was calculated based on the SDH thickness and presence of an AOC hemorrhage from a multivariable logistic regression model (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.94, 95% CI 0.90–0.97; p < 0.001). With a decision point of 2.35% risk, we predicted neurosurgical intervention with 100% sensitivity, 100% negative predictive value, and 53% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantify the risk of neurosurgical intervention based on hemorrhage characteristics in patients with mTBI and iSDH. Once validated in a second population, these data can be used to inform the necessity of interhospital transfers and neurosurgical consultations.

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Alessandro Orlando, A. Stewart Levy, Benjamin A. Rubin, Allen Tanner, Matthew M. Carrick, Mark Lieser, David Hamilton, Charles W. Mains and David Bar-Or

OBJECTIVE

Isolated subdural hematomas (iSDHs) are one of the most common intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) types in the population with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; Glasgow Coma Scale score 13–15), account for 66%–75% of all neurosurgical procedures, and have one of the highest neurosurgical intervention rates. The objective of this study was to examine how quantitative hemorrhage characteristics of iSDHs in patients with mTBI at admission are associated with subsequent neurosurgical intervention.

METHODS

This was a 3.5-year, retrospective observational cohort study at a Level I trauma center. All adult trauma patients with mTBI and iSDHs were included in the study. Maximum length and thickness (in mm) of acute SDHs, the presence of acute-on-chronic SDH, mass effect, and other hemorrhage-related variables were double–data entered; discrepant results were adjudicated after a maximum of 4 reviews. Patients with coagulopathy, skull fractures, no acute hemorrhage, a non-SDH ICH, or who did not undergo imaging on admission were excluded. The primary outcome was neurosurgical intervention (craniotomy, burr hole, catheter drainage of SDH, placement of intracranial pressure monitor, shunt, or ventriculostomy). Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to identify significant covariates and to assess interactions.

RESULTS

A total of 176 patients were included in our study: 28 patients did and 148 patients did not receive a neurosurgical intervention. Increasing head Abbreviated Injury Scale score was significantly associated with neurosurgical interventions. There was a strong correlation between the first 3 reviews on maximum hemorrhage length (R2 = 0.82) and maximum hemorrhage thickness (R2 = 0.80). The neurosurgical intervention group had a mean maximum SDH length and thickness that were 61 mm longer and 13 mm thicker than those of the nonneurosurgical intervention group (p < 0.001 for both). After adjusting for the presence of an acute-on-chronic hemorrhage, for every 1-mm increase in the thickness of an iSDH, the odds of a neurosurgical intervention increase by 32% (95% CI 1.16–1.50). There were no interventions for any SDH with a maximum thickness ≤ 5 mm on initial presenting scan.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantify the odds of a neurosurgical intervention based on hemorrhage characteristics in patients with an iSDH and mTBI. Once validated in a second population, these data can be used to better inform patients and families of the risk of future neurosurgical intervention, and to evaluate the necessity of interhospital transfers.

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Ian G. Dorward, Jingqin Luo, Arie Perry, David H. Gutmann, David B. Mansur, Joshua B. Rubin and Jeffrey R. Leonard

Object

Currently there is no consensus regarding the frequency of neuroimaging following gross-total resection (GTR) of pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) in children. Whereas several reports recommend no postoperative imaging, one study proposed surveillance MR imaging studies to detect delayed recurrences.

Methods

The records of 40 consecutive pediatric patients who underwent GTR of infratentorial PAs were examined. All had follow-up duration of ≥ 2 years. Patients underwent early (< 48 hours) postoperative MR imaging, followed by surveillance imaging at 3–6 months, 1 year, and variably thereafter. The classification of GTR was based on a lack of nodular enhancement on early postoperative MR imaging. Demographic, clinical, and pathological variables were analyzed with respect to recurrence status. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate the association between pathological variables and recurrence-free survival (RFS).

Results

Of 13 patients demonstrating new nodular enhancement on MR imaging at 3–6 months, the disease progressed in 10, with a median time to recurrence of 6.4 months (range 2–48.2 months). At last follow-up, 29 patients had no recurrence, whereas in 1 additional patient the tumor recurred at 48 months, despite the absence of a new contrast-enhancing nodule at 3–6 months (for a total of 11 patients with recurrence). No demographic variable was associated with recurrence. Nodular enhancement on MR imaging at 3–6 months was significantly associated with recurrence in both univariate (p < 0.0001) and multivariate (p = 0.0015) analyses. Among the pathological variables, a high Ki 67 labeling index (LI) was similarly significantly associated with RFS in both univariate (p = 0.0016) and multivariate (p = 0.034) analyses. Multivariate models that significantly predicted RFS included a risk score incorporating Ki 67 LI and CD68 positivity (p = 0.0022), and a similar risk score combining high Ki 67 LI with the presence of nodular enhancement on initial surveillance MR imaging (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Surveillance MR imaging at 3–6 months after resection predicts tumor recurrence following GTR. One patient suffered delayed recurrence, arguing against a “no imaging” philosophy. The data also highlight the pathological variables that can help categorize patients into groups with high or low risk for recurrence. Larger series are needed to confirm these associations.

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Heather McKeag, Cindy W. Christian, David Rubin, Carrie Daymont, Avrum N. Pollock and Joanne Wood

Object

Enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces has been theorized as a risk factor for the development of subdural hemorrhage (SDH). As the finding of unexplained SDH in children often raises suspicion for nonaccidental trauma, the possibility of increased risk of SDH in children with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces has important clinical, social, and legal implications. Therefore, the authors evaluated the frequency of SDH in a cohort of children with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces.

Methods

The authors identified children younger than 2 years of age who were diagnosed with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces on MRI or CT scanning in a large primary care network between July 2001 and January 2008. The authors excluded children who had enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces diagnosed on imaging performed for trauma or developmental delay, as well as children with a history of prematurity, diagnosis of intracranial pathology, or metabolic or genetic disorders. Chart review recovered the following data: patient demographics, head circumference, history of head trauma, and head imaging results. For the subset of children with SDH, information regarding evaluation for other injuries, including skeletal survey, ophthalmological examination, and child protection team evaluation, was abstracted.

Results

There were 177 children with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces who met the inclusion criteria. Subdural hemorrhage was identified in 4 (2.3%) of the 177 children. All of the children with SDH underwent evaluations for suspected nonaccidental trauma, which included consultation by the child protection team, skeletal survey, and ophthalmological examination. Additional injuries (healing rib fractures) were identified in 1 of 4 patients. None of the 4 children had retinal hemorrhages. Only the child with rib fractures was reported to child protective services due to concerns for abuse.

Conclusions

Only a small minority of the patients with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces had SDH. Evidence of additional injuries concerning for physical abuse were identified in a quarter of the children with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces and SDH, suggesting that an evaluation for suspected nonaccidental trauma including occult injury screening should be performed in cases of SDH with enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces. In the absence of additional injuries, however, the presence of an unexplained SDH in the setting of enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces may be insufficient to support a diagnosis of nonaccidental trauma.

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Laura K. Brennan, David Rubin, Cindy W. Christian, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Haresh G. Mirchandani and Lucy B. Rorke-Adams

Object

In this study, the authors estimate the prevalence of injuries to the soft tissue of the neck, cervical vertebrae, and cervical spinal cord among victims of abusive head trauma to better understand these injuries and their relationship to other pathophysiological findings commonly found in children with fatal abusive head trauma.

Methods

The population included all homicide victims 2 years of age and younger from the city of Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, who underwent a comprehensive postmortem examination at the Office of the Medical Examiner between 1995 and 2003. A retrospective review of all available postmortem records was performed, and data regarding numerous pathological findings, as well as the patient's clinical history and demographic information, were abstracted. Data were described using means and standard deviations for continuous variables, and frequency and ranges for categorical variables. Chi-square analyses were used to test for the association of neck injuries with different types of brain injury.

Results

The sample included 52 children, 41 (79%) of whom died of abusive head trauma. Of these, 29 (71%) had primary cervical cord injuries: in 21 there were parenchymal injuries, in 24 meningeal hemorrhages, and in 16, nerve root avulsion/dorsal root ganglion hemorrhage were evident. Six children with abusive head trauma had no evidence of an impact to the head, and all 6 had primary cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). No child had a spinal fracture. Six of 29 children (21%) with primary cervical SCIs had soft-tissue (ligamentous or muscular) injuries to the neck, and 14 (48%) had brainstem injuries. There was a significant association of primary cervical SCI with cerebral edema (p = 0.036) but not with hypoxia-ischemia, infarction, or herniation.

Conclusions

Cervical SCI is a frequent but not universal finding in young children with fatal abusive head trauma. In the present study, parenchymal and/or root injury usually occurred without evidence of muscular or ligamentous damage, or of bone dislocation or fracture. Moreover, associated brainstem injuries were not always seen. Although there was a significant association of primary cervical cord injury with cerebral edema, there was no direct relationship to brainstem herniation, hypoxia-ischemia, or infarction. This suggests that cervical spinal trauma is only 1 factor in the pathogenesis of these lesions.