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Erin N. Kiehna and Robert J. Bollo

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Erin N. Kiehna and Thomas E. Merchant

Object

The treatment of craniopharyngioma is highly controversial. Continued advances in limited surgery and radiation therapy have maintained excellent local disease control while minimizing treatment-related sequelae. Further analyses of outcomes are necessary to characterize the long-term effects of radiation therapy.

Methods

An extensive literature review was performed for all studies including radiation therapy, with or without surgery, for pediatric craniopharyngioma.

Results

The authors identified 32 papers describing radiation therapy for treatment of pediatric craniopharyngioma, with disease control ranging from 44 to 100%. Modern studies report at least 90% disease control with 5-year follow-up. Fifteen studies reported outcomes, demonstrating that more than two-thirds of patients treated with surgery and radiation therapy have favorable outcomes, and this rate is more than 85% in the modern era.

Conclusions

Conservative surgery and radiation therapy results in long-term disease control in pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma that is comparable to results obtained with radical surgery alone. However, children with craniopharyngioma remain vulnerable to late treatment failures and side effects from radiation therapy, including endocrinopathies, vasculopathies, and secondary tumors, which may be detrimental to the quality of life. Long-term follow-up beyond 5–10 years is necessary to assess tumor control relative to functional outcomes.

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Erin N. Kiehna, Catherine F. McClung-Smith and Robert J. Bollo

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Erin N. Kiehna, Peter E. Waldron and John A. Jane Jr.

Central nervous system hemorrhages are an uncommon but severe complication of hemophilia, occurring in only 2–8% of children with hemophilia. Less than 10% of these CNS hemorrhages are intraspinal. The authors report on their care of an infant with hemophilia A who presented with irritability, meningismus, and decreased spontaneous movement. These symptoms prompted imaging studies, which revealed a spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) extending from C-1 through the cauda equina. The boy was treated with factor replacement and close monitoring. Repeat radiographic imaging 14 days later demonstrated complete resolution, and the patient had returned to his normal baseline status.

A literature review in the modern treatment era revealed 24 cases of SEH in children with hemophilia. Of these 24 cases, 11 underwent laminectomy and 13 received conservative treatment. All conservatively treated patients, 5 of whom had presented with weakness, experienced a full recovery. Of the 11 laminectomy patients, 10 presented with weakness and all but 3 experienced full neurological improvement. These 3 patients were notable for having previously undiagnosed hemophilia. An increased index of suspicion facilitates the essential management features of prompt diagnosis and correction of coagulopathies in children who present with SEHs. The authors apply a multidisciplinary approach involving a pediatric hematologist, neurosurgeon, and pediatric intensive care unit to ensure timely correction of the coagulation disorder, maintenance of adequate factor levels, and close hemodynamic and neurological monitoring. Observation with aggressive correction of coagulopathy is a reasonable treatment choice for hemophilic patients presenting with SEH and a stable neurological examination.

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Erin N. Kiehna, Julie L. Huffmyer, Robert H. Thiele, David C. Scalzo and Edward C. Nemergut

Object

The intrathoracic pressure regulator (ITPR) is a novel noninvasive device designed to increase circulation and blood pressure. By applying negative pressure during the expiratory phase of ventilation it decreases intrathoracic pressure and enhances venous return, which increases cardiac output. It is possible that the ITPR may both decrease intracranial pressure (ICP) and increase cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) in brain-injured patients by decreasing cerebral venous blood volume and increasing cardiac output. The authors conducted an open-label, “first-in-humans” study of the ITPR in patients with an ICP monitor or external ventricular drain and altered intracranial elastance.

Methods

This prospective randomized trial commenced July 2009. Baseline hemodynamic variables and ICP were recorded prior to inserting one of the two ITPRs into the ventilator circuit based on a randomization scheme. Depending on the device selected, activation provided either −5 or −9 mm Hg endotracheal tube pressure. Hemodynamic and ICP data were recorded sequentially every 2 minutes for 10 minutes. The first device was turned off for 10 minutes, then it was removed and the second device was applied, and then the procedure was repeated for the second device.

Results

Ten patients with elevated ICP secondary to intracranial hemorrhage (n = 4), trauma (n = 2), obstructive hydrocephalus (n = 2), or diffuse cerebral processes (n = 2) were enrolled. Baseline ICP ranged from 12 to 38 mm Hg. With device application, a decrease in ICP was observed in 16 of 20 applications. During treatment with the −5 mm Hg device, there was a mean maximal decrease of 3.3 mm Hg in ICP (21.7 vs 18.4 mm Hg, p = 0.003), which was associated with an increase in CPP of 6.5 mm Hg (58.2 vs 64.7 mm Hg, p = 0.019). During treatment with the −9 mm Hg device, there was a mean maximal decrease of 2.4 mm Hg in ICP (21.1 vs 18.7 mm Hg, p = 0.044), which was associated with an increase in CPP of 6.5 mm Hg (59.2 vs 65.7 mm Hg, p = 0.001).

Conclusions

This pilot study demonstrates that use of the ITPR in patients with altered intracranial elastance is feasible. Although this study was not powered to demonstrate efficacy, these data strongly suggest that the ITPR may be used to rapidly lower ICP and increase CPP without apparent adverse effects. Additional studies will be needed to assess longitudinal changes in ICP when the device is in use and to delineate treatment parameters.

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Erin N. Kiehna, Jeffrey P. Blount, Catherine McClung Smith, Eylem Ocal and Sandip Chatterjee

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Matthew J. Shepard, Mohamed A. Elzoghby, Erin N. Kiehna, Spencer C. Payne and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) are sellar lesions that are commonly encountered in adults but infrequently diagnosed in the pediatric population. As a result, the optimal management of pediatric RCCs remains a subject of controversy. Only 2 prior surgical series have been published on pediatric RCCs and no study has compared the presentation and outcomes of surgically versus conservatively managed cases. The authors therefore performed a comparative analysis of pediatric cases of RCC in which patients were treated with surgery or managed in a conservative manner.

METHODS

All cases involving pediatric patients diagnosed with an RCC at the University of Virginia between 2000 and 2016 were included in this study. Patient medical records, operative notes, and neuroimaging findings were reviewed. Patients who developed visual field deficits, radiographic evidence of chiasmal compression, or medically refractory headaches were considered candidates for surgical intervention. All patients who were selected for surgery underwent an endoscopic endonasal approach with cyst fenestration.

RESULTS

A total of 24 pediatric patients were diagnosed with an RCC over a 16-year period. Seven patients ultimately underwent transsphenoidal cyst fenestration, and 17 were managed conservatively. The patients’ age at diagnosis, cyst size, and pituitary function at the time of RCC diagnosis were similar in the conservatively and surgically managed cohorts. At diagnosis, 19 of 24 patients endorsed headaches that led to neuroimaging. All patients in the surgical cohort endorsed severe headaches at diagnosis compared with 71% in the conservative group. For the 7 patients treated with surgery, complete cyst evacuation was achieved in 86% of cases. Transient postoperative endocrinopathy occurred in 4 (57%) of 7 surgically treated individuals and resolved in all cases. In the conservative cohort, 1 patient developed a delayed pituitary-related endocrinopathy. Headache resolution occurred in 5 (71%) of the 7 patients who underwent surgery and 7 (58%) of the 12 who were treated without surgery. Cyst recurrence was documented in 1 individual in the surgical cohort who underwent a subtotal cyst fenestration that ultimately required re-intervention. In the conservative cohort, spontaneous cyst shrinkage occurred in 35% of patients with a median time to regression of 23.5 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric RCCs are benign sellar lesions that often present with headaches. While cyst fenestration mitigates headaches in most patients, the majority of conservatively managed pediatric patients with RCCs will have spontaneous headache resolution. Furthermore, spontaneous RCC regression occurs in a substantial number of individuals. Thus, in the absence of optic compression, visual field deficit, or diagnostic uncertainty, many pediatric cases of RCC can be managed conservatively.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Erin N. Kiehna, Robert M. Starke, Nader Pouratian and Aaron S. Dumont

Object

The Consolidated Standards for Reporting of Trials (CONSORT) criteria were published in 1996 to standardize the reporting and improve the quality of clinical trials. Despite having been endorsed by major medical journals and shown to improve the quality of reported trials, neurosurgical journals have yet to formally adopt these reporting criteria. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the quality and reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in neurosurgery and the factors that may affect the quality of reported trials.

Methods

The authors evaluated all neurosurgical RCTs published in 2006 and 2007 in the principal neurosurgical journals (Journal of Neurosurgery; Neurosurgery; Surgical Neurology; Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry; and Acta Neurochirurgica) and in 3 leading general medical journals (Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine). Randomized controlled trials that addressed operative decision making or the treatment of neurosurgical patients were included in this analysis. The RCT quality was evaluated using the Jadad score and the CONSORT checklist.

Results

In 2006 and 2007, 27 RCTs relevant to intracranial neurosurgery were reported. Of these trials, only 59% had a Jadad score ≥ 3. The 3 major medical journals all endorsed the CONSORT guidelines, while none of the neurosurgical journals have adopted these guidelines. Randomized controlled trials published in the 3 major medical journals had a significantly higher mean CONSORT score (mean 41, range 39–44) compared with those published in neurosurgical journals (mean 26.4, range 17–38; p < 0.0001). Jadad scores were also significantly higher for the major medical journals (mean 3.42, range 2–5) than neurosurgical journals (mean 2.45, range 1–5; p = 0.05).

Conclusions

Despite the growing volume of RCTs in neurosurgery, the quality of reporting of these trials remains suboptimal, especially in the neurosurgical journals. Improved awareness of the CONSORT guidelines by journal editors, reviewers, and authors of these papers could improve the methodology and reporting of RCTs in neurosurgery.