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Heather S. Spader, Robert J. Bollo, Christian A. Bowers and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Intrathecal baclofen infusion systems to manage severe spasticity and dystonia are associated with higher infection rates in children than in adults. Factors unique to this population, such as poor nutrition and physical limitations for pump placement, have been hypothesized as the reasons for this disparity. The authors assessed potential risk factors for infection in a multivariate analysis.

METHODS

Patients who underwent implantation of a programmable pump and intrathecal catheter for baclofen infusion at a single center between January 1, 2000, and March 1, 2012, were identified in this retrospective cohort study. The primary end point was infection. Potential risk factors investigated included preoperative (i.e., demographics, body mass index [BMI], gastrostomy tube, tracheostomy, previous spinal fusion), intraoperative (i.e., surgeon, antibiotics, pump size, catheter location), and postoperative (i.e., wound dehiscence, CSF leak, and number of revisions) factors. Univariate analysis was performed, and a multivariate logistic regression model was created to identify independent risk factors for infection.

RESULTS

A total of 254 patients were evaluated. The overall infection rate was 9.8%. Univariate analysis identified young age, shorter height, lower weight, dehiscence, CSF leak, and number of revisions within 6 months of pump placement as significantly associated with infection. Multivariate analysis identified young age, dehiscence, and number of revisions as independent risk factors for infection.

CONCLUSIONS

Young age, wound dehiscence, and number of revisions were independent risk factors for infection in this pediatric cohort. A low BMI and the presence of either a gastrostomy or tracheostomy were not associated with infection and may not be contraindications for this procedure.

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Heather S. Spader, Linda Ratanaprasatporn, John F. Morrison, Jonathan A. Grossberg and G. Rees Cosgrove

OBJECT

Programmable shunts have a valuable role in the treatment of patients with hydrocephalus, but because a magnet is used to change valve settings, interactions with external magnets may reprogram these shunts. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of magnetic toys and iPads to erroneously reprogram shunts. Headphones are even more ubiquitous, and they contain an electromagnet for sound projection that sits on the head very close to the shunt valve. This study is the first to look at the magnetic field emissions of headphones and their effect on reprogrammable shunt valves to ascertain whether headphones are safe for patients with these shunts to wear.

METHODS

In this in vitro study of the magnetic properties of headphones and their interactions with 3 different programmable shunts, the authors evaluated Apple earbuds, Beats by Dr. Dre, and Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. Each headphone was tested for electromagnetic field emissions using a direct current gaussmeter. The following valves were evaluated: Codman Hakim programmable valve, Medtronic Strata II valve, and Aesculap proGAV. Each valve was tested at distances of 0 to 50 mm (in 5-mm increments) from each headphone. The exposure time at each distance was 1 minute, and 3 trials were performed to confirm results at each valve setting and distance.

RESULTS

All 3 headphones generated magnetic fields greater than the respective shunt manufacturer's recommended strength of exposure, but these fields did not persist beyond 5 mm. By 2 cm, the fields levels were below 20 G, well below the Medtronic recommendation of 90 G and the Codman recommendation of 80 G. Because the mechanism for the proGAV is different, there is no recommended gauss level. There was no change in gauss-level emissions by the headphones with changes in frequency and amplitude. Both the Strata and Codman-Hakim valves were reprogrammed by direct contact (distance 0 mm) with the Bose headphones. When a rotation component was added, all 3 headphones reprogrammed the Strata and Codman-Hakim valves at 0 mm. At all distances above 0 mm, the headphones did not affect the shunts. The proGAV valve was not affected by headphones at any distance.

CONCLUSIONS

Although all the headphones studied generated significant gauss fields at distances less than 5 mm, the programmable valve settings only changed at a distance of 0 mm (i.e., with direct contact). Given the subcutaneous location of the valve, the authors conclude that is highly unlikely that commercially available or customary headphones can contribute to the reprogramming of shunts.

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Victoria Palmer, Randolph B. Cohen, Bruce Braffman, Douglas L. Brockmeyer and Heather S. Spader

Osteomyelitis of the cervical spine is an exceedingly rare lesion in pediatric practice and is caused by a variety of mechanisms. The authors present a case in which cervical osteomyelitis presented in a delayed manner after the patient experienced a stable cervical extension injury at the C4–5 level. On review of the original images, the authors noted a likely perforation in the retropharyngeal space. This case highlights the risk of retropharyngeal injury in cervical trauma, with the seldom-seen complication of osteomyelitis as a result.

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Heather S. Spader, Dean A. Hertzler, John R. W. Kestle and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECT

Intraventricular hemorrhage in premature infants often leads to progressive ventricular dilation and the need for ventricular reservoir placement. Unfortunately, these reservoirs have a higher rate of infection than ventriculoperitoneal shunts in premature babies. The authors analyzed the risk factors for infection in this population and studied whether the implementation of an institutional protocol for shunt placement had a corollary effect on ventricular access device (VAD) infection rates in premature neonates with intraventricular hemorrhage.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort review of consecutive premature neonates in whom VADs were inserted in the operating room at Primary Children's Hospital between June 2003 and June 2011 to identify risk factors for infection. Medical records were reviewed for information on infection (culture proven or eroded hardware at 90 days), gestational age at birth, weight, gestational age at surgery, intrathecal antibiotics, hemorrhage, death, and surgeon. The institution used a pilot protocol for shunt infection reduction in 2006–2007, and then the full Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network protocol from June 2007 to 2011, and the rates of infection during these periods were analyzed. Confounding factors such as sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and a history of meningitis were also analyzed.

RESULTS

The overall infection rate was 10.5% (11 patients) in the 105 patients identified. Gestational age at procedure was a significant risk factor for infection (p = 0.05). Meningitis was significantly associated with infection, with 63% of the infected group having had prior meningitis compared with 7% for the noninfected group (p < 0.001). Concurrent with the implementation of the protocol to reduce shunt infection, the VAD infection rate decreased from 14.7% to 5.4% (p = 0.2).

CONCLUSIONS

Gestational age at procedure and previous meningitis were significant risk factors for VAD infections. In addition, the implementation of an institutional standardized shunt protocol for ventriculoperitoneal shunts may have altered the operating room team's behavior, indicated by a nonmandated use of intrathecal antibiotics in VAD surgeries, contributing to a reduced VAD infection rate. Although the observed difference was not statistically significant with the small sample size, the authors believe that these findings deserve further study.

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Heather S. Spader, Anna Ellermeier, Jonathan O'Muircheartaigh, Douglas C. Dean III, Holly Dirks, Jerrold L. Boxerman, G. Rees Cosgrove and Sean C. L. Deoni

White matter development and myelination are critical processes in neurodevelopment. Myelinated white matter facilitates the rapid and coordinated brain messaging required for higher-order cognitive and behavioral processing. Whereas several neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis are associated with gross white matter damage and demyelination, other disorders such as epilepsy may involve altered myelination in the efferent or afferent white matter pathways adjoining epileptic foci. Current MRI techniques including T1 weighting, T2 weighting, FLAIR, diffusion tensor imaging, and MR spectroscopy permit visualization of gross white matter abnormalities and evaluation of underlying white matter fiber architecture and integrity, but they provide only qualitative information regarding myelin content. Quantification of these myelin changes could provide new insight into disease severity and prognosis, reveal information regarding spatial location of foci or lesions and the associated affected neural systems, and create a metric to evaluate treatment efficacy. Multicomponent analysis of T1 and T2 relaxation data, or multicomponent relaxometry (MCR), is a quantitative imaging technique that is sensitive and specific to myelin content alteration. In the past, MCR has been associated with lengthy imaging times, but a new, faster MCR technique (mcDESPOT) has made quantitative analysis of myelin content more accessible for clinical research applications. The authors briefly summarize traditional white matter imaging techniques, describe MCR and mcDESPOT, and discuss current and future clinical applications of MCR, with a particular focus on pediatric epilepsy.

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Heather S. Spader, Douglas C. Dean III, W. Curt LaFrance Jr., Neha P. Raukar, G. Rees Cosgrove, Stephanie A. Eyerly-Webb, Anna Ellermeier, Stephen Correia, Sean C. L. Deoni and Jeffrey Rogg

OBJECTIVE

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in athletes, including concussion, is increasingly being found to have long-term sequelae. Current imaging techniques have not been able to identify early damage caused by mTBI that is predictive of long-term symptoms or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In this preliminary feasibility study, the authors investigated the use of an emerging magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, multicomponent driven equilibrium single pulse observation of T1 and T2 (mcDESPOT), in visualizing acute and chronic white matter changes after mTBI in collegiate football and rugby players.

METHODS

This study was a nonrandomized, nonblinded prospective trial designed to quantify changes in the myelin water fraction (MWF), used as a surrogate MRI measure of myelin content, in a group of male collegiate football and rugby players, classified here as a contact sport player (CSP) cohort, at the time of mTBI diagnosis and 3 months after injury when the acute symptoms of the injury had resolved. In addition, differences in the MWF between the CSP cohort and a control cohort of noncontact sport players (NCSPs) were quantified. T-tests and a threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) statistical analysis technique were used to identify brain structures with significant changes in the MWF between the CSP and NCSP cohorts and between immediately postinjury and follow-up images obtained in the CSP cohort.

RESULTS

Brain MR images of 12 right-handed male CSPs were analyzed and compared with brain images of 10 right-handed male NCSPs from the same institution. A comparison of CSP and NCSP baseline images using TFCE showed significantly higher MWFs in the bilateral basal ganglia, anterior and posterior corpora callosa, left corticospinal tract, and left anterior and superior temporal lobe (p < 0.05). At the 3-month follow-up examination, images from the CSP cohort still showed significantly higher MWFs than those identified on baseline images from the NCSP cohort in the bilateral basal ganglia, anterior and posterior corpora callosa, and left anterior temporal lobe, and also in the bilateral corticospinal tracts, parahippocampal gyrus, and bilateral juxtapositional (previously known as supplemental motor) areas (p < 0.05). In the CSP cohort, a t-test comparing the MWF at the time of injury and 3 months later showed a significant increase in the overall MWF at follow-up (p < 0.005). These increases were greatest in the bilateral basal ganglia and deep white matter. MWF decreases were seen in more superficial white matter (p < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

In this preliminary study, MWF was found to be increased in the brains of CSPs compared with the brains of controls, suggesting acute/chronic MWF alterations in CSPs from previous injuries. Increases in the MWF were also demonstrated in the brains of CSPs 3 months after the players sustained an mTBI. The full clinical significance of an increased MWF and whether this reflects axon neuropathology or disorderly remyelination leading to hypermyelination has yet to be determined.

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Heather S. Spader, Douglas C. Dean III, W. Curt LaFrance Jr., Neha P. Raukar, G. Rees Cosgrove, Stephanie A. Eyerly-Webb, Anna Ellermeier, Stephen Correia, Sean C. L. Deoni and Jeffrey Rogg

OBJECTIVE

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in athletes, including concussion, is increasingly being found to have long-term sequelae. Current imaging techniques have not been able to identify early damage caused by mTBI that is predictive of long-term symptoms or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In this preliminary feasibility study, the authors investigated the use of an emerging magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, multicomponent driven equilibrium single pulse observation of T1 and T2 (mcDESPOT), in visualizing acute and chronic white matter changes after mTBI in collegiate football and rugby players.

METHODS

This study was a nonrandomized, nonblinded prospective trial designed to quantify changes in the myelin water fraction (MWF), used as a surrogate MRI measure of myelin content, in a group of male collegiate football and rugby players, classified here as a contact sport player (CSP) cohort, at the time of mTBI diagnosis and 3 months after injury when the acute symptoms of the injury had resolved. In addition, differences in the MWF between the CSP cohort and a control cohort of noncontact sport players (NCSPs) were quantified. T-tests and a threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) statistical analysis technique were used to identify brain structures with significant changes in the MWF between the CSP and NCSP cohorts and between immediately postinjury and follow-up images obtained in the CSP cohort.

RESULTS

Brain MR images of 12 right-handed male CSPs were analyzed and compared with brain images of 10 right-handed male NCSPs from the same institution. A comparison of CSP and NCSP baseline images using TFCE showed significantly higher MWFs in the bilateral basal ganglia, anterior and posterior corpora callosa, left corticospinal tract, and left anterior and superior temporal lobe (p < 0.05). At the 3-month follow-up examination, images from the CSP cohort still showed significantly higher MWFs than those identified on baseline images from the NCSP cohort in the bilateral basal ganglia, anterior and posterior corpora callosa, and left anterior temporal lobe, and also in the bilateral corticospinal tracts, parahippocampal gyrus, and bilateral juxtapositional (previously known as supplemental motor) areas (p < 0.05). In the CSP cohort, a t-test comparing the MWF at the time of injury and 3 months later showed a significant increase in the overall MWF at follow-up (p < 0.005). These increases were greatest in the bilateral basal ganglia and deep white matter. MWF decreases were seen in more superficial white matter (p < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

In this preliminary study, MWF was found to be increased in the brains of CSPs compared with the brains of controls, suggesting acute/chronic MWF alterations in CSPs from previous injuries. Increases in the MWF were also demonstrated in the brains of CSPs 3 months after the players sustained an mTBI. The full clinical significance of an increased MWF and whether this reflects axon neuropathology or disorderly remyelination leading to hypermyelination has yet to be determined.