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David J. McCarthy, Dallas L. Sheinberg, Evan Luther and Heather J. McCrea

OBJECTIVE

Myelomeningocele (MMC), the most severe form of spina bifida, is characterized by protrusion of the meninges and spinal cord through a defect in the vertebral arches. The management and prevention of MMC-associated hydrocephalus has evolved since its initial introduction with regard to treatment of MMC defect, MMC-associated hydrocephalus treatment modality, and timing of hydrocephalus treatment.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database from the years 1998–2014 was reviewed and neonates with spina bifida and hydrocephalus status were identified. Timing of hydrocephalus treatment, delayed treatment (DT) versus simultaneous MMC repair with hydrocephalus treatment (ST), and treatment modality (ETV vs ventriculoperitoneal shunt [VPS]) were analyzed. Yearly trends were assessed with univariable logarithmic regression. Multivariable logistic regression identified correlates of inpatient shunt failure. A PRISMA systematic literature review was conducted that analyzed data from studies that investigated 1) MMC closure technique and hydrocephalus rate, 2) hydrocephalus treatment modality, and 3) timing of hydrocephalus treatment.

RESULTS

A weighted total of 10,627 inpatient MMC repairs were documented in the NIS, 8233 (77.5%) of which had documented hydrocephalus: 5876 (71.4%) were treated with VPS, 331 (4.0%) were treated with ETV, and 2026 (24.6%) remained untreated on initial inpatient stay. Treatment modality rates were stable over time; however, hydrocephalic patients in later years were less likely to receive hydrocephalus treatment during initial inpatient stay (odds ratio [OR] 0.974, p = 0.0331). The inpatient hydrocephalus treatment failure rate was higher for patients who received ETV treatment (17.5% ETV failure rate vs 7.9% VPS failure rate; p = 0.0028). Delayed hydrocephalus treatment was more prevalent in the later time period (77.9% vs 69.5%, p = 0.0287). Predictors of inpatient shunt failure included length of stay, shunt infection, jaundice, and delayed treatment. A longer time between operations increased the likelihood of inpatient shunt failure (OR 1.10, p < 0.0001). However, a meta-analysis of hydrocephalus timing studies revealed no difference between ST and DT with respect to shunt failure or infection rates.

CONCLUSIONS

From 1998 to 2014, hydrocephalus treatment has become more delayed and the number of hydrocephalic MMC patients not treated on initial inpatient stay has increased. Meta-analysis demonstrated that shunt malfunction and infection rates do not differ between delayed and simultaneous hydrocephalus treatment.

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Dallas L. Sheinberg, David J. McCarthy, Omar Elwardany, Jean-Paul Bryant, Evan Luther, Stephanie H. Chen, John W. Thompson and Robert M. Starke

Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction is known to contribute to cerebral aneurysm (CA) pathogenesis. Evidence shows that damage or injury to the EC layer is the first event in CA formation. The mechanisms behind EC dysfunction in CA disease are interrelated and include hemodynamic stress, hazardous nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, oxidative stress, estrogen imbalance, and endothelial cell-to-cell junction compromise. Abnormal variations in hemodynamic stress incite pathological EC transformation and inflammatory zone formation, ultimately leading to destruction of the vascular wall and aneurysm dilation. Hemodynamic stress activates key molecular pathways that result in the upregulation of chemotactic cytokines and adhesion molecules, leading to inflammatory cell recruitment and infiltration. Concurrently, oxidative stress damages EC-to-EC junction proteins, resulting in interendothelial gap formation. This further promotes leukocyte traffic into the vessel wall and the release of matrix metalloproteinases, which propagates vascular remodeling and breakdown. Abnormal hemodynamic stress and inflammation also trigger adverse changes in NOS activity, altering proper EC mediation of vascular tone and the local inflammatory environment. Additionally, the vasoprotective hormone estrogen modulates gene expression that often suppresses these harmful processes. Crosstalk between these sophisticated pathways contributes to CA initiation, progression, and rupture. This review aims to outline the complex mechanisms of EC dysfunction in CA pathogenesis.