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Jeremy Wetzel, David Bray and David Wrubel

Chronic encapsulated intraventricular hematoma (CEIVH) is a rare, intraventricular, nonneoplastic mass lesion that can become symptomatic from mass effect or obstructive hydrocephalus. Only 5 cases have been reported in the literature, and only one of these occurred in a pediatric patient and dates back to the pre–modern neuroimaging and pre-microsurgical era of neurosurgery. Imaging features can mimic those of many more common intraventricular lesions, such as choroid plexus tumors or cavernous malformations. In all reported symptomatic cases, resection was safely performed and led to a cure and symptom resolution. Here, the authors present a case of CEIVH in a pediatric patient, describe the operative techniques of resection, review the available literature, and discuss current understanding of the pathophysiology, making this the most comprehensive report on this disease entity to date. The case is a 14-year-old boy who presented with headaches and emesis. Computed tomography showed a hyperdense mass in the trigone of the right lateral ventricle. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a contrast-enhancing well-circumscribed mass. Right temporal craniotomy utilizing a posterior middle temporal gyrus transcortical approach was performed, and gross-total resection was achieved. Pathology revealed a CEIVH. The boy’s postoperative course was uncomplicated, and he was discharged 2 days after surgery.

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Ossama Al-Mefty, David Wrubel and Naim Haddad

Object

Over a 10-year period, the authors have observed a rare but recurring syndrome manifested by a delayed, postoperative, progressive decline in the level of consciousness to deep coma that is time-limited to several days with abrupt awakening. Extensive evaluation and workup demonstrated an abnormality on continuous electroencephalographic monitoring that implied nonconvulsive status epilepticus after the exclusion of structural, perfusion, infectious, or metabolic causes. This state has been very refractory to treatment with antiepileptic medication. In this article, the authors raise the awareness of this syndrome and its diagnosis, management, and outcome.

Methods

The authors reviewed the medical records of a cohort of 7 patients who exemplified this syndrome who were treated during the last 5 years.

Results

All 7 patients were women with a mean (± SD) age of 55 ± 15 years. The mean duration of surgery was 8.9 ± 1.8 hours. All patients had a stereotypical course of delayed progressive decline in their level of consciousness after surgery (average 3.3 ± 4.3 days) leading to deep coma. The unconscious state was time-limited, lasting on average 17.3 ± 13.7 days. Continuous electroencephalographic monitoring demonstrated a generalized abnormality with periodic discharges and abundant slow delta activity. A rather abrupt awakening occurred a few days after cessation of electrographic seizure activity. Structural, vascular, infectious, or metabolic causes were excluded based on an extensive workup.

Conclusions

In this study, the authors delineate and raise the awareness of an unusual syndrome. Recognition of this syndrome is important as a cause for delayed coma after surgery. The authors stress the need for respiratory, hemodynamic, and nutritional support for these patients until recovery. The origin of this syndrome remains enigmatic and is likely to be multifactorial with a prominent pharmacological role related to anesthetic agent or medication in a setting of craniotomy that is associated with alteration of the blood-brain barrier.

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Christopher M. Holland, Meysam A. Kebriaei and David M. Wrubel

Unstable spinal injuries in the neonate pose particular challenges in the clinical and radiographic assessment as well as the surgical stabilization of the spine. In this report, the authors present the unfortunate case of a 3-week-old infant who suffered a severe subaxial cervical fracture dislocation with spinal cord injury that occurred as a result of nonaccidental trauma. Imaging demonstrated severe distraction at C5–6 and near-complete spinal cord transection resulting in quadri-paresis. Open surgical reduction was performed with noninstrumented posterior fusion augmented with split rib autograft and recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2. Postoperative imaging demonstrated progressive bony fusion at 2 months, and clinical examination findings progressed to a motor examination classification of ASIA C. At 2 years, the fusion mass is stable and cervical alignment is maintained. The patient remains flaccid in the bilateral lower extremities, but has movement with some dexterity in both hands. Follow-up MRI shows severe spinal cord injury with evidence of bilateral C-5 nerve root avulsions. This case represents the first report of spinal fusion in an infant of less than 1 month of age. Given the extreme young age of the patient, the diagnostic challenges as well as the mechanical and technical considerations of surgical fusion are discussed.

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Eric Anthony Sribnick, Vladamir Y. Dadashev, Barunashish Brahma and David M. Wrubel

Object

The authors describe the use of inside-outside occipital screws in 21 children with occipitocervical instability requiring occipitocervical fusion.

Methods

The ages of the patients were from 2 to 15 years, and patients presented with a variety of causes of occipitocervical instability, including congenital disorders, posttraumatic instability, idiopathic degeneration, and postoperative instability. Surgeries frequently included foramen magnum decompression, duraplasty, and laminectomy, but all patients required occipitocervical instrumentation and arthrodesis. Postoperative orthosis included the use of either a cervical collar or halo device. In all but one case, patients were followed postoperatively for at least 12 months.

Results

The mean age of patients was 9.93 years. Inside-outside screws were used in all reported cases. Rib autograft was used in all patients. In addition, demineralized bone matrix was used in 2 cases, and bone morphogenetic protein was used in 2 patients. Two patients required halo placement, and the other 19 were placed in cervical collars. The average time postoperative orthotics were used was 2.82 months. Arthrodesis was determined radiographically and was noted in all patients. No operative complications were noted; however, postoperative complications included 1 wound infection, 2 cases of hardware loosening, and the need for tracheostomy in 2 patients.

Conclusions

Inside-outside screws were found to be a useful component of occipitocervical instrumentation in pediatric patients ranging from 2 to 15 years of age. Arthrodesis was demonstrated in all cases.

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Andrew Reisner, Laura L. Hayes, Christopher M. Holland, David M. Wrubel, Meysam A. Kebriaei, Robert J. Geller, Griffin R. Baum and Joshua J. Chern

In environments in which opioids are increasingly abused for recreation, children are becoming more at risk for both accidental and nonaccidental intoxication. In toxic doses, opioids can cause potentially lethal acute leukoencephalopathy, which has a predilection for the cerebellum in young children. The authors present the case of a 2-year-old girl who suffered an accidental opioid overdose, presenting with altered mental status requiring cardiorespiratory support. She required emergency posterior fossa decompression, partial cerebellectomy, and CSF drainage due to cerebellar edema compressing the fourth ventricle. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of surgical decompression used to treat cerebellar edema associated with opioid overdose in a child.

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Joshua J. Chern, Samir Sarda, Brian M. Howard, Andrew Jea, R. Shane Tubbs, Barunashish Brahma, David M. Wrubel, Andrew Reisner and William Boydston

Object

Nonoperative blunt head trauma is a common reason for admission in a pediatric hospital. Adverse events, such as growing skull fracture, are rare, and the incidence of such morbidity is not known. As a result, optimal follow-up care is not clear.

Methods

Patients admitted after minor blunt head trauma between May 1, 2009, and April 30, 2013, were identified at a single institution. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics were retrieved from administrative and outpatient databases. Clinical events within the 180-day period following discharge were reviewed and analyzed. These events included emergency department (ED) visits, need for surgical procedures, clinic visits, and surveillance imaging utilization. Associations among these clinical events and potential contributing factors were analyzed using appropriate statistical methods.

Results

There were 937 admissions for minor blunt head trauma in the 4-year period. Patients who required surgical interventions during the index admission were excluded. The average age of the admitted patients was 5.53 years, and the average length of stay was 1.7 days; 15.7% of patients were admitted for concussion symptoms with negative imaging findings, and 26.4% of patients suffered a skull fracture without intracranial injury. Patients presented with subdural, subarachnoid, or intraventricular hemorrhage in 11.6%, 9.19%, and 0.53% of cases, respectively. After discharge, 672 patients returned for at least 1 follow-up clinic visit (71.7%), and surveillance imaging was obtained at the time of the visit in 343 instances.

The number of adverse events was small and consisted of 34 ED visits and 3 surgeries. Some of the ED visits could have been prevented with better discharge instructions, but none of the surgery was preventable. Furthermore, the pattern of postinjury surveillance imaging utilization correlated with physician identity but not with injury severity. Because the number of adverse events was small, surveillance imaging could not be shown to positively influence outcomes.

Conclusions

Adverse events after nonoperative mild traumatic injury are rare. The routine use of postinjury surveillance imaging remains controversial, but these data suggest that such imaging does not effectively identify those who require operative intervention.

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David M. Wrubel, Kelsie J. Riemenschneider, Corinne Braender, Brandon A. Miller, Daniel A. Hirsh, Andrew Reisner, William Boydston, Barunashish Brahma and Joshua J. Chern

Object

Quality assessment measures have not been well developed for pediatric neurosurgical patients. This report documents the authors' experience in extracting information from an administrative database to establish the rate of return to system within 30 days of pediatric neurosurgical procedures.

Methods

Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics were prospectively collected in administrative, business, and operating room databases. The primary end point was an unexpected return to the hospital system within 30 days from the date of a pediatric neurosurgical procedure. Statistical methods were used to identify clinical and demographic factors associated with the primary end point.

Results

There were 1358 pediatric neurosurgical procedures performed in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta operating rooms in 2012, with 37.4% of these surgeries being preceded by admissions through the emergency department. Medicare or Medicaid was the payor for 54.9% of surgeries, and 37.6% of surgeries were shunt related. There were 148 unexpected returns to the system within 30 days after surgery, and in 109 of these cases, the patient had a presenting complaint that was attributable to the index surgery (related returns). The most common complaints were headache, nausea, vomiting, or seizure after shunt revision or cranial procedures (n = 62). The next most common reason for re-presentation was for wound concerns (n = 30). Thirty-seven of the 109 related returns resulted in a reoperation. The monthly rate of related returns was 8.1% ± 2.5% over the 12-month study period. When using related returns as the dependent variable, the authors found that patients who underwent a shunt-related surgery were both more likely to unexpectedly return to the system (OR 1.86, p = 0.008) and to require surgery upon readmission (OR 3.28, p = 0.004). Because an extended hospitalization shortened the window of time for readmission after surgery, extended length of stay was protective against return to system within 30 days of surgery. Importantly, if related and unrelated returns were analyzed together as the dependent variable (n = 148), no independent clinical and demographic risk factor could be identified.

Conclusions

Quality assessment measures need to be clearly and carefully defined, as the definition itself will impact the analytical results. Clinicians must play a leading role in the development of these measures to ensure their clinical meaningfulness.