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Federico Di Rocco, Eric Arnaud and Dominique Renier

Object

The prevalence of the different subtypes of craniosynostosis varies greatly. The aim of this study was to analyze the prevalences of the different subtypes of craniosynostosis at a single major craniofacial center and their changes during a 20-year period.

Methods

The medical charts of 2808 children hospitalized between 1988 and 2007 for a true craniosynostosis were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided according to their subtype of craniosynostosis (sagittal, plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, metopic, oxycephaly, syndromic cases, or unclassifiable).

Results

The total number of patients according to their craniosynostosis subtype were as follows: 1224 cases of scaphocephaly, 315 cases of plagiocephaly, 598 cases of trigonocephaly, 105 cases of brachycephaly, 69 cases of oxycephaly, 396 syndromic cases, and 101 unclassifiable cases. The prevalences of these craniosynostoses evolved differently over time. The number of children hospitalized each year increased over time from 106 to 181 cases, but this increase varied according to the subtype of craniosynostosis. Cases of scaphocephaly, plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and syndromic cases increased similarly (170% increase on average), whereas trigonocephalies dramatically increased (420% increase).

Conclusions

The evolution observed in the prevalence of craniosynostosis might result from several factors. An increased recruitment of patients at the center and an improvement in the diagnosis of craniosynostosis might explain the overall increase. However, other mechanisms should be examined to explain the great increase in the number of cases of trigonocephaly (environmental or pharmacological).

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Eric Arnaud, Dominique Renier and Daniel Marchac

✓ Three hundred ninety-six children with scaphocephalies were prospectively studied to analyze the correlation between age, intracranial pressure (ICP), and mental function outcome. The ICP measurements and the early and late psychometric assessments were compared. The influence of surgery, when performed, was analyzed. In most cases, the mental function outcome of the patients was good whether or not they had undergone surgery. The mental level and the frequency of increased ICP both correlated with patient age. A correlation was found between the early and late psychometric assessments in all patients. Thus, the main predictive factor of mental function outcome appears to be the initial developmental level.

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Dominique Renier, Christian Sainte-Rose, Daniel Marchac and Jean-François Hirsch

✓ In this study, intracranial pressure (ICP) was recorded with an epidural ensor for periods of 12 to 24 hours in 92 cases of craniosynostosis. Pre- and postoperative recordings were performed in 23 patients, and 55 children underwent preoperative psychometric testing. The ICP was found to be normal in one-third of the cases, was obviously elevated in one-third, and was borderline in one-third. Waves of increased ICP were recorded during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. After surgery, ICP decreased progressively and returned to normal in several weeks. A significant statistical relationship was found between the patients' ICP and their mental level: the higher the ICP the lower the mental level. The regression curve of ICP as a function of age shows that ICP is maximal at the age of 6 years and decreases later. The significance of these results is discussed. The authors recommend that ICP be recorded in cases of craniosynostosis since it is of some help in deciding whether patients should undergo surgery.

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Brain abscesses in neonates

A study of 30 cases

Dominique Renier, Cécile Flandin, Elizabeth Hirsch and Jean-François Hirsch

✓ Since the introduction of ultrasonography and computerized tomography (CT) scanning, brain abscesses are found more frequently in cases of neonatal meningitis and septicemia, particularly when the offending pathogen is Proteus. Thirty cases of brain abscess in neonates are reported, 27 of which were caused by Proteus species infections. Twenty infants had meningitis and 13 had septicemia. Most of the abscesses were enormous, and multiple abscesses were observed in 17 cases. The frontal region was involved in 22 cases (12 unilaterally and 10 bilaterally). The ventricles were enlarged on the first CT scan in 13 cases.

The abscesses were treated by aspiration and antibiotics in 25 cases, and by antibiotics alone in five. A shunt for hydrocephalus was necessary in 14 infants. Four infants died, three from the initial illness and one from a shunt complication. Sixteen children have seizures. Subsequent intelligence quotient (IQ) testing was performed in 22 children: eight (36%) have an IQ at or above 80 and eight have an IQ of less than 60. In the 17 children followed for more than 2 years, the proportion with an IQ at or above 80 fell to 24% (four cases). The absence of initial seizures, sterile cerebrospinal fluid, normal ventricles on CT scans, and early aspiration of the abscess seem to be factors portending a better prognosis in terms of epilepsy and mental sequelae.

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Elizabeth Lajeunie, Darach William Crimmins, Eric Arnaud and Dominique Renier

Object

The origins of both sagittal synostosis (scaphocephaly) and metopic synostosis (trigonocephaly) remain unclear. Genetic and environmental factors probably play a role. Twin and family data of patients with these conditions are presented.

Methods

Records of 860 patients with scaphocephaly and 394 with trigonocephaly were examined for prevalence of twin birth and family history. Concordance rates of disease in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins were compared.

A family history of disease was present in 5.7% of children with scaphocephaly and in 6.8% with trigonocephaly. The frequency of twins was 4.2% in sagittal synostosis and 6.8% in metopic synostosis, which is higher than in the normal population. Twenty-eight of 38 twin pairs with a scaphocephalic proband were identified to be DZ and 10 were confirmed to be MZ (MZ/DZ ratio 0.36). Twenty of 27 twin pairs with trigonocephaly were DZ and seven were MZ (MZ/DZ ratio 0.35). Concordance rates were higher in the MZ group, 30% for scaphocephaly and 43% for trigonocephaly (χ2 = 14.4091, p = 0.0001). There was a strong prevalence of boys, with a frequency of 79.1% with scaphocephaly and 75.8% with trigonocephaly. Twinning was more frequent among affected boys in both groups.

Conclusions

A midline craniosynostosis is more likely to develop in twins compared with singletons. A genetic component is supported by the higher risk in MZ twins. The presence of an environmental component is reinforced by the high rate of twinning, the normal MZ/DZ ratio, and a less than 100% concordance rate in MZ twins.

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The Dandy-Walker malformation

A review of 40 cases

Jean-François Hirsch, Alain Pierre-Kahn, Dominique Renier, Christian Sainte-Rose and Elizabeth Hoppe-Hirsch

✓ Forty cases of Dandy-Walker malformation referred to the Hôpital Necker Enfants-Malades between 1969 and 1982 have been reviewed. The incidence of the malformation in hydrocephalus was 2.4%. There was a slight, statistically insignificant, female prevalence.

Hydrocephalus should not be included in the definition of the syndrome. In 80% of the cases, it was actually a post-natal complication of the malformation and most often developed within 3 months after birth. In 80% of the cases, a communication, although insufficient, was found between the dilated 4th ventricle and the subarachnoid space. Since this communication is probably established through the foramina of Luschka, the definition of the Dandy-Walker malformation should only include atresia of the foramen of Magendie. Associated brain and systemic malformations were numerous. Among facial anomalies, facial angiomas were found in 10% of our cases. The association of facial and cardiovascular anomalies favors the hypothesis that the onset of the malformation occurs between the formation and the migration of the cells of the neural crest (that is, between the 3rd and the 4th post-ovulatory week, earlier than previously thought).

Except in selected patients, membrane excision has a high rate of failure and should be abandoned. Cystperitoneal shunting avoids the risk of an entrapped fourth ventricle and is presently the best surgical procedure. The overall mortality in this series was 12.5%. Intelligence quotients were over 80 in 60% of the patients. Other studies will be necessary to understand why the communication between the fourth ventricle and the subarachnoid spaces, sufficient in utero, usually becomes insufficient for a normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation in the first months following birth. Two hypotheses are discussed: a change in CSF circulation, or bleeding in the dilated fourth ventricle during delivery.

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Dominique Renier, Eric Arnaud, Giuseppe Cinalli, Guy Sebag, Michel Zerah and Daniel Marchac

✓ The factors involved in the mental development of patients with Apert's syndrome were studied by the authors, focusing on the age of the patient at operation, associated brain malformations, and the quality of the family environment. Overall, 32% of patients with significant follow-up review had an intelligence quotient (IQ) greater than 70. Age at operation appeared to be the main factor associated with changes in mental development: final IQ was greater than 70 in 50% of patients operated on before 1 year of age versus only 7.1% in patients operated on later in life (p = 0.01). Malformations of the corpus callosum and size of the ventricles played no role in the final IQ, whereas anomalies of the septum pellucidum had a significant effect, with the proportion of patients with an IQ over 70 increasing more than twofold in patients with a normal septum compared with patients with septal anomalies (p < 0.04). Quality of the family environment was the third factor involved in intellectual achievement: only 12.5% of institutionalized children reached a normal IQ level compared to 39.3% of children from a normal family background.

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Factors causing acute shunt infection

Computer analysis of 1174 operations

Dominique Renier, Jacques Lacombe, Alain Pierre-Kahn, Christian Sainte-Rose and Jean-François Hirsch

✓ A series of 1174 operations performed on 802 hydrocephalic children was analyzed in an effort to find the factors causing acute postoperative infection. Culture of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples during the operation was positive in 33 cases. These cases were excluded from the series. Ninety infections were observed in the remaining 1141 operations, an overall rate of 7.9%. Most of these infections were meningitis (56 cases). Staphylococcus epidermidis was the bacterium most frequent identified (44%).

Statistically significant relationships were found between shunt infection and the following factors: 1) age: infection was 2.6 times as frequent before 6 months than after 1 year of age (p = 0.03); 2) poor condition of the skin; 3) presence of intercurrent seats of infection at the time of surgery; 4) type of operation: the rate of infection was 8.4% in primary shunt insertions, 5% in shunt revisions, and 17.5% in reinsertions following shunt removal for infection (p = 0.0001); 5) end of the shunt requiring revision: an infection rate of 7.7% followed revision of the ventricular catheter alone, and 2.6% followed revision of the other end alone (p = 0.012); and 6) postoperative wound dehiscence or scalp necrosis. The surgical team involved was poorly correlated with the rate of infection (p = 0.12).

No statistically significant relationships have been found between infection and 1) etiology of hydrocephalus; 2) sex; 3) recent neurosurgical operation before the shunt procedure; 4) preoperative presence of an external drainage tube or CSF fistula; 5) lumbar or ventricular taps, or ventriculography; 6) number of previous operations performed on the shunt; 7) time (month and year) of operation; or 8) sugar level and cell count in the CSF.

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Paul D. Chumas, Giuseppe Cinalli, Eric Arnaud, Daniel Marchac and Dominique Renier

✓ Cases of craniosynostosis usually fall into well-demarcated categories: those related to a syndrome or those identified by a combination of suture involvement and morphological appearance. Between 1976 and 1995, 53 (3.6%) of 1474 cases in the craniofacial databank were assessed and designated as nonsyndromic but unclassifiable. The records and radiological studies obtained in these patients were retrospectively analyzed and comparisons were made with patients classified in the databank as having simple craniosynostoses.

It proved possible to divide the formerly unclassifiable cases into two groups: those with “two-suture disease” (Group A) and a “complex” group (Group B) in which more than two sutures were affected. Group A consisted of 36 cases (68%) of patients presenting with clear evidence of simultaneous involvement of two sutures but with no progression over time to suggest a more diffuse pansynostosis. Suture involvement was as follows: 17 of 36 sagittal plus one coronal; seven of 36 sagittal and metopic; six of 36 sagittal plus one lambdoid; and six of 36 metopic plus one coronal. The only significant difference between the Group A cases and the cases of simple craniosynostoses was in the percentage requiring a second operation (24% vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

Group B consisted of 17 cases in which the patients presented at a slightly earlier age (mean 1 year) with severe morphological changes and multiple suture involvement. At the time of surgery, six of 17 patients showed large areas of lacunae within the cranial vault, making craniectomy the only option. In Group B, 10 of 17 patients displayed bilateral lambdoid plus sagittal suture involvement resulting in marked occipital recession posteriorly, whereas anteriorly in six of these 10 patients there was a massive frontal bone associated with posteriorly located coronal sutures. In contrast, there were also four patients in Group B with bilateral coronal plus metopic involvement resulting in a small frontal bone. There was a trend toward a lower intelligence quotient and a worse morphological outcome in the patients in Group B, but again the only result attaining statistical significance when compared to the databank was the rate of second operation (37.5 vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

“Two-suture synostosis” is a relatively straightforward condition and is treatable with standard craniosynostosis techniques. However, possibly as a result of surgical compromise when two sutures are involved, the rate of reoperation is far higher than in simple suture cases. In contrast, patients in the “complex” group presenting with severe multisuture involvement require a more tailor-made approach to their management that often entails a second procedure.

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Paul D. Chumas, Giuseppe Cinalli, Eric Arnaud, Daniel Marchac and Dominique Renier

Cases of craniosynostosis usually fall into well-demarcated categories: those related to a syndrome or identified by a combination of suture involvement and morphological appearance. Between 1976 and 1995, 53 (3.6%) of 1474 cases in the craniofacial databank were assessed and designated as nonsyndromic but unclassifiable. The records and radiological studies obtained in these patients were retrospectively analyzed and comparisons were made with patients classified in the databank as having simple craniosynostoses.

It proved possible to divide the formerly unclassifiable cases into two groups: those with “two-suture disease” (Group A) and a “complex” group (Group B) in which more than two sutures were affected. Group A consisted of 36 cases (68%) of patients presenting with clear evidence of simultaneous involvement of two sutures but with no progression over time to suggest a more diffuse pansynostosis. Suture involvement was as follows: 17 of 36 sagittal plus one coronal; seven of 36 sagittal plus metopic; six of 36 sagittal plus one lambdoid; and six of 36 metopic plus one coronal. The only significant difference between the Group A cases and the cases of simple craniosynostoses was in the percentage requiring a second operation (24% vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

Group B consisted of 17 cases in which the patients presented at a slightly earlier age (mean 1 year) with severe morphological changes and multiple suture involvement. At the time of surgery, six of 17 patients showed large areas of lacunae within the cranial vault, making craniectomy the only option. In Group B, 10 of 17 patients displayed bilateral lambdoid plus sagittal suture involvement resulting in marked occipital recession posteriorly, whereas anteriorly in six of these 10 patients there was a massive frontal bone associated with posteriorly located coronal sutures. In contrast, there were also four patients in Group B with bilateral coronal plus metopic involvement resulting in a small frontal bone. There was a trend toward a lower intelligence quotient and a worse morphological outcome in the patients in Group B, but again the only result attaining statistical significance when compared to the databank was the rate of second operation (37.5 vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

“Two-suture synostosis” is a relatively straightforward condition and is treatable with standard craniosynostosis techniques. However, possibly as a result of surgical compromise when two sutures are involved, the rate of reoperation is far higher than in simple suture cases. In contrast, patients in the “complex” group presenting with severe multisuture involvement require a more tailor-made approach to their management that often entails a second procedure.