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David Satzer and Daniel J. Guillaume


Brainstem dysfunction occurs in a minority of patients with myelomeningocele (MMC), most of whom have Chiari Type II malformation. Some surgeons advocate early identification of these patients for craniocervical decompression to avoid significant mortality. The auditory brainstem response has been found to be abnormal in most children with MMC. The present study examines whether failure of routine newborn hearing screening (NHS) predicts brainstem dysfunction in MMC patients.


The charts of 40 newborns with MMC and 50 newborns without MMC who stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit were reviewed. Results of NHS, brainstem symptoms, birth demographics, and surgical history were retrospectively examined. Differences in the presence and onset of brainstem symptoms by NHS result were assessed.


Failure of NHS was more common among newborns with MMC who developed brainstem symptoms (31%, 4 of 13 patients) than among newborns without MMC (0%, 0 of 50 patients; p = 0.001). Among the 40 newborns with MMC, brainstem symptoms were more common in those who failed NHS (80%, 4 of 5 patients) than in those who passed (26%, 9 of 35 patients; p = 0.031). Respiratory symptom onset occurred later in patients who failed NHS (median 16 months) than among those who passed (median 0 months; p = 0.022). The positive and negative predictive values of NHS for brainstem dysfunction in MMC were 0.80 and 0.74, respectively.


Results of NHS may help predict future brainstem dysfunction in patients with MMC and may be useful to incorporate into prognostic assessment and surgical decision making.

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David Satzer, James X. Tao, and Peter C. Warnke


The authors aimed to examine the relationship between mesial temporal subregion ablation volume and seizure outcome in a diverse cohort of patients who underwent stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy (SLAH) for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE).


Seizure outcomes and pre- and postoperative images were retrospectively reviewed in patients with MTLE who underwent SLAH at a single institution. Mesial temporal subregions and the contrast-enhancing ablation volume were manually segmented. Pre- and postoperative MR images were coregistered to assess anatomical ablation. Postoperative MRI and ablation volumes were also spatially normalized, enabling the assessment of seizure outcome with heat maps.


Twenty-eight patients with MTLE underwent SLAH, 15 of whom had mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS). The rate of Engel class I outcome at 1 year after SLAH was 39% overall: 47% in patients with MTS and 31% in patients without MTS. The percentage of parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) ablated was higher in patients with an Engel class I outcome (40% vs 25%, p = 0.04). Subregion analysis revealed that extent of ablation in the parahippocampal cortex (35% vs 19%, p = 0.03) and angular bundle (64% vs 43%, p = 0.02) was positively associated with Engel class I outcome. The degree of amygdalohippocampal complex (AHC) ablated was not associated with seizure outcome (p = 0.30).


Although the AHC was the described target of SLAH, seizure outcome in this cohort was associated with degree of ablation for the PHG, not the AHC. Complete coverage of both the AHC and PHG is technically challenging, and more work is needed to optimize seizure outcome after SLAH.

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David Satzer, James X. Tao, Naoum P. Issa, Ziyi Chen, Shasha Wu, Sandra Rose, John Collins, Issam A. Awad, and Peter C. Warnke


The authors sought to perform a preliminary assessment of the safety and effectiveness of stereotactic laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) for patients with cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM)–related epilepsy.


The authors retrospectively analyzed 6 patients with CCM-related epilepsy who underwent LITT. Pre-, intra-, and postoperative brain MRI studies were used to characterize preoperative CCM volume, ablation volume, and postablation hemosiderin volume. Clinical outcomes were assessed postoperatively during clinic follow-up visits or phone interviews.


LITT was performed in 7 CCMs in 6 patients. Two patients had familial CCM disease with multifocal lesions. Four treated CCMs were extratemporal, and 3 were in or near the visual pathways. The median follow-up was 25 (range 12–39) months. Five of 6 (83%) patients achieved seizure freedom (Engel I classification), of whom 4 (67%) were Engel IA and 1 was Engel IC after a single seizure on postoperative day 4. The remaining patient had rare seizures (Engel II). One patient had a nondisabling visual field deficit. There were no hemorrhagic complications. All patients were discharged within 24 hours postablation. MRI 3–11 months after ablation demonstrated expected focal necrosis and trace hemosiderin-related T2 hypointensity measuring 9%–44% (median 24%) of the original lesion volume, with significant (p = 0.04) volume reduction.


LITT is a minimally invasive option for treating CCM-related epilepsy with seizure outcomes comparable to those achieved with open lesionectomy. The precision of LITT allows for the obliteration of eloquent, deep, small, and multifocal lesions with low complication rates, minimal postoperative discomfort, and short hospital stays. In this study the feasibility and benefits of this method were demonstrated in 2 patients with multifocal lesions.