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Doniel Drazin, Ziya L. Gokaslan and J. Patrick Johnson

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Doniel Drazin, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ehud Mendel and J. Patrick Johnson

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Ali Shirzadi, Doniel Drazin, Serguei Bannykh and Moise Danielpour

Giant cell tumors (GCTs) are rare lesions of the cervical spine, with only 14 previously reported pediatric cases in the literature, all occurring in females. The authors present the case of a 15-year-old boy with neck pain who was found to have a lytic GCT of the odontoid process. Following resection, recurrent disease was treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy and then a final resection. He has remained tumor free for more than 10 years. The rarity of GCTs can make their diagnosis difficult in the cervical spine. Because of their aggressive behavior and relative resistance to adjuvant therapy, GCTs must be monitored diligently and treated aggressively.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin and John B. Waldman

Object

Infants with severe traumatic brain injury represent a therapeutic challenge. The internal absence of open space within the infant cranial vault makes volume increases poorly tolerated. This report presents 7 cases of decompressive craniectomy in infants with cerebral edema.

Methods

The authors reviewed the medical charts of infants with brain injuries who presented to Albany Medical Center Hospital between January 2004 and July 2007. Variables that were examined included patient age, physical examination results at admission, positive imaging findings, surgery performed, complications, requirement of permanent CSF diversion, and physical examination results at discharge and outpatient follow-up using the King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury. Seven infants met the inclusion criteria for the study. Six infants experienced nonaccidental trauma, and 1 had a large infarction of the middle cerebral artery territory secondary to a carotid dissection. At admission, all patients were minimally responsive, 4 had equal and minimally reactive pupils, 3 had anisocoria with the enlarged pupil on the same side as the brain lesion, and all had right-sided hemiparesis. Six patients received a left hemicraniectomy, whereas 1 received a left frontal craniectomy. In all cases, bone was cultured and stored at the bone bank.

Results

Postoperatively, 3 patients who developed draining CSF fistulas needed insertions of external ventricular drains, with incisions oversewn using nylon sutures and a liquid bonding agent. After prolonged CSF drainage and wound care, these patients all developed epidural and subdural empyemas necessitating surgical drainage and debridement. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was found in 2 patients and Enterococcus in the third. All patients developed hydrocephalus necessitating the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and all had bone replaced within 1–6 months from the time of the original operation. Two patients required reoperation due to bone resorption. At outpatient follow-up visits, all had scores of 3 or 4 on the King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury. Each patient was awake, interactive, and could sit, as well as either crawl or walk with assistance. All had persistent, improving right-sided hemiparesis and spasticity.

Conclusions

Despite poor initial examination results, infants with severe traumatic brain injury can safely undergo decompressive craniectomy with reasonable neurological recovery. Postoperative complications must be anticipated and treated appropriately. Due to the high rate of CSF fistulas encountered in this study, it appears reasonable to recommend both the suturing in of a dural augmentation graft and the placement of either a subdural drain or a ventriculostomy catheter to relieve pressure on the healing surgical incision. Also, one might want to consider using a T-shaped incision as opposed to the traditional reverse question mark-shaped incision because wound healing may be compromised due to the potential interruption of the circulation to the posterior and inferior limb with this latter incision.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin and A. John Popp

Short-lasting, unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT) syndrome was first described in 1978 as one of the trigeminal autonomic cephalgias. In this paper the authors present a patient with a growth hormone–secreting pituitary adenoma who experienced resolution of SUNCT syndrome after transsphenoidal tumor resection.

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Lindsey Ross, Doniel Drazin, Paula Eboli and Gregory P. Lekovic

Object

The authors present a series of 4 patients with rare facial nerve tumors. The relevant literature is reviewed and is discussed regarding diagnostic features, the role of operative management, and surgical approach.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients with tumors of the facial nerve that were treated between 2008 and 2011. Patients undergoing observation with serial MRI and those who were treated with up-front radiosurgery and for whom tissue diagnosis was not available were excluded. In addition, patients with suspected vestibular schwannoma, facial nerve schwannoma, neurofibromatosis Type 2, and metastatic disease were also excluded. The charts of 4 patients (2 men and 2 women) with “atypical” tumors were reviewed and analyzed.

Results

A total of 12 patients with tumors of the facial nerve were identified during the study period. Patient characteristics, preoperative imaging, operative approach, tumor histology, and outcomes are described.

Conclusions

Atypical facial nerve tumors must be distinguished from the more common facial nerve schwannoma. How the authors of this study treat rare facial nerve tumors is based on their experience with the more common facial nerve schwannomas, characterized by a slow progression of symptoms and growth. Less is known about the rare lesions, and thus a conservative approach may be warranted. Open questions include the role of radiosurgery, facial nerve decompression, and indications for resection of tumor and cable grafting for these rare lesions.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin, Caitlin Smith and John B. Waldman

Object

Nonaccidental trauma has become a leading cause of death in infants and toddlers. Compared with children suffering from accidental trauma, many children with nonaccidental trauma present with injuries requiring neurosurgical management and operative interventions.

Methods

A retrospective review was performed concerning the clinical and radiological findings, need for neurosurgical intervention, and outcomes in infants and toddlers with head injuries who presented to Albany Medical Center between 1999 and 2007. The Fisher exact probability test and ORs were computed for Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores, hyperdense versus hypodense subdural collections, and discharge and follow-up King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI) scores.

Results

There were 218 patients, among whom 164 had sustained accidental trauma, and 54 had sustained nonaccidental trauma (NAT). The patients with accidental traumatic injuries were more likely to present with GCS scores of 13–15 (OR 6.95), and the patients with NATs with of GCS scores 9–12 (OR 6.83) and 3–8 (OR 2.99). Skull fractures were present in 57.2% of accidentally injured patients at presentation, and 15% had subdural collections. Skull fractures were present in 30% of nonaccidentally injured patients, and subdural collections in 52%. Patients with evidence of hypodense subdural collections were significantly more likely to be in the NAT group (OR 20.56). Patients with NAT injuries were also much more likely to require neurosurgical operative intervention. Patients with accidental trauma were more likely to have a KOSCHI score of 5 at discharge and follow-up (ORs 6.48 and 4.58), while patients with NAT had KOSCHI scores of 3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b at discharge (ORs 6.48, 5.47, 2.44, and 3.62, respectively), and 3b and 4a at follow-up.

Conclusions

Infant and toddler victims of NAT have significantly worse injuries and outcomes than those whose trauma was accidental. In the authors' experience, however, with aggressive intervention, many of these patients can make significant neurological improvements at subsequent follow-up visits.

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Doniel Drazin, Miriam Nuño, Chirag G. Patil, Kimberly Yan, John C. Liu and Frank L. Acosta Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to determine factors associated with admission to the hospital through the emergency room (ER) for patients with a primary diagnosis of low-back pain (LBP). The authors further evaluated the impact of ER admission and patient characteristics on mortality, discharge disposition, and hospital length of stay.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with LBP discharged from hospitals according to the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) between 1998 and 2007. Univariate comparisons of patient characteristics according to the type of admission (ER versus non-ER) were conducted. Multivariate analysis evaluated factors associated with an ER admission, risk of mortality, and nonroutine discharge.

RESULTS

According to the NIS, approximately 183,151 patients with a primary diagnosis of LBP were discharged from US hospitals between 1998 and 2007. During this period, an average of 65% of these patients were admitted through the ER, with a significant increase from 1998 (54%) to 2005 (71%). Multivariate analysis revealed that uninsured patients (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7–2.6, p < 0.0001) and African American patients (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2–1.7, p < 0.0001) were significantly more likely to be admitted through the ER than private insurance patients or Caucasian patients, respectively. Additionally, a moderate but statistically significant increase in the likelihood of ER admission was noted for patients with more preexisting comorbidities (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.2, p < 0.001). An 11% incremental increase in the odds of admission through the ER was observed with each year increment (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.2, p < 0.001). Highest income patients ($45,000+) were more likely to be admitted through the ER (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1–1.6, p = 0.007) than the lowest income cohort. While ER admission did not impact the risk of mortality (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.60–1.51, p = 0.84), it increased the odds of a nonroutine discharge (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.26–1.53, p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

A significant majority of patients discharged from hospitals in the US from 1998 to 2007 with a primary diagnosis of LBP were admitted through the ER, with more patients being admitted via this route each year. These patients were less likely to be discharged directly home compared with patients with LBP who were not admitted through the ER. Uninsured and African American patients with LBP were more likely to be admitted through the ER than their counterparts, as were patients with more preexisting health problems. Interestingly, patients with LBP at the highest income levels were more likely to be admitted through hospital ERs. The findings suggest that socioeconomic factors may play a role in the utilization of ER resources by patients with LBP, which in turn appears to impact at least the short-term outcome of these patients.

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Faris Shweikeh, Lutfi Al-Khouja, Miriam Nuño, J. Patrick Johnson, Doniel Drazin and Matthew A. Adamo

OBJECT

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is a common spinal abnormality. In this study, the authors analyzed demographics, complications, and outcomes in children and adolescents who underwent surgery for TCS.

METHODS

Using the national Kids' Inpatient Database (KID), the authors retrospectively identified patients with a primary diagnosis of TCS who were treated with spinal laminectomy and discharged in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009. Descriptive analysis was provided for patient- and hospital-level characteristics. Mortality, complications, non-routine discharges, in-hospital length of stay (LOS), and total charges were documented for the entire cohort and age-specific cohorts (0–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20 years). Comparisons by complications and age groups were conducted.

RESULTS

A total of 7397 children and adolescents met the criteria in the 4 studied years. The mean age was 5.7 years; 55.3% of patients were younger than 5 years, 21.5% were 6–10 years, and 16.2% were 11–15 years. Most surgeries were performed in patients who were female (55.0%) and white (64.4%) and were performed at large (49.8%), teaching (94.2%), and urban (99.1%) children's (89.3%) hospitals. The trend showed an increase in prevalence from 2000 (19.9%) to 2009 (29.6%). Common comorbidities included anomalies in spinal curvature (16.7%), urinary or bladder dysfunction (14.3%), and spinal stenosis/spondylosis (1.4%). Non-routine discharges (3.3%) were significantly higher with advancing age, increasing from 2.2% in those younger than 5 years to 9.0% in those older than 15 years (p < 0.0001). There was a similar increasing trend for complications (6.8% to 13.9%, respectively, p < 0.0001) and average LOS (3.5 to 5.1 days, respectively, p < 0.0001). Hospital charges increased with age from an average of $28,521 in those younger than 5 years to $36,855 in those older than 15 years (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

There was a steady trend of increasing operative treatment for TCS over the more recent years. The nationwide analysis was also indicative of an existing disparity, based on age, in complications, outcomes, and charges following TCS surgical correction. Older children tended to have more complications, longer LOS, more non-routine discharges, and higher hospital costs. The results are highly supportive of surgery at a younger age for this condition. Future research should investigate this correlation, especially considering the efforts to control and reduce health care costs.