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Hugh J. L. Garton, John R. W. Kestle and James M. Drake

Object. In evaluating pediatric patients for shunt malfunction, predictive values for symptoms and signs are important in deciding which patients should undergo an imaging study, whereas determining clinical findings that correlate with a low probability of shunt failure could simplify management.

Methods. Data obtained during the recently completed Pediatric Shunt Design Trial (PSDT) were analyzed. Predictive values were calculated for symptoms and signs of shunt failure. To refine predictive capability, a shunt score based on a cluster of signs and symptoms was derived and validated using multivariate methods.

Four hundred thirty-one patient encounters after recent shunt insertions were analyzed. For encounters that took place within 5 months after shunt insertion (early encounters), predictive values for symptoms and signs included the following: nausea and vomiting (positive predictive value [PPV] 79%, likelihood ratio [LR] 10.4), irritability (PPV 78%, LR 9.8), decreased level of consciousness (LOC) (PPV 100%), erythema (PPV 100%), and bulging fontanelle (PPV 92%, LR 33.1). Between 9 months and 2 years after shunt insertion (late encounters), only loss of developmental milestones (PPV 83%, LR 36.7) and decreased LOC (PPV 100%) were strongly associated with shunt failure. However, the absence of a symptom or sign still left a 15 to 29% (early encounter group) or 9 to 13% (late encounter group) chance of shunt failure. Using the shunt score developed for early encounters, which sums from 1 to 3 points according to the specific symptoms or signs present, patients with scores of 0, 1, 2, and 3 or greater had shunt failure rates of 4%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, respectively. Using the shunt score derived from late encounters, patients with scores of 0, 1, and 2 or greater had shunt failure rates of 8%, 38%, and 100%, respectively.

Conclusions. In children, certain symptoms and signs that occur during the first several months following shunt insertion are strongly associated with shunt failure; however, the individual absence of these symptoms and signs offers the clinician only a limited ability to rule out a shunt malfunction. Combining them in a weighted scoring system improves the ability to predict shunt failure based on clinical findings.

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Hugh J. L. Garton, Paul Park and Stephen M. Papadopoulos

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Matthew E. Fewel and Hugh J. L. Garton

✓ Migration of distal ventriculoperitoneal shunt tubing is known to occur in a wide of variety of locations. The authors report an unusual complication involving a previously confirmed intraperitoneal shunt catheter that migrated into the heart and pulmonary vasculature. Radiographic evidence suggested that this occurred secondary to cannulation of a segment of the external jugular vein with a shunt trochar during tunneling of the distal catheter. This is the sixth reported case of a peritoneal shunt tube migrating proximally into the heart.

The authors review the literature regarding migration of distal tubing into the heart and pulmonary artery. Based on imaging studies obtained in the present case, the authors posit that the mechanism for this unusual type of shunt migration is inadvertent penetration of either the internal or external jugular vein during the initial tunneling procedure. Negative intrathoracic pressure and slow venous flow then draws the catheter out of the peritoneum and into the vasculature. The distal catheter then migrates into the right side of the heart and pulmonary artery. Diagnosis and management of this type of complication is discussed.

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Paul Steinbok, Hugh J. L. Garton and Nalin Gupta

Object

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is associated with a number of congenital anomalies involving early development of the spinal cord. These include myelomeningocele, spinal cord lipoma, low-lying conus medullaris, and a fibrofatty terminal filum. Occult TCS occurs in patients when clinical features indicate a TCS but the typical anatomical abnormalities are lacking. It is controversial whether surgical release of the terminal filum leads to clinical improvement in a patient who does not have a previously identified anatomical abnormality. To assess the clinical standard used by practicing pediatric neurosurgeons, a practice survey was conducted at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Joint Section for Pediatric Neurological Surgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Methods

The survey examined clinical decision making for a same-case scenario with differing appearance on imaging studies. There was a clear consensus regarding diagnosis and treatment in the patient with symptoms, a low-lying conus medullaris, and a fatty terminal filum. The vast majority of respondents (85%) favored surgical untethering for this patient. A majority of respondents (67%) also favored treatment for the patient having symptoms and a fatty terminal filum. There was, however, significant disagreement regarding the diagnosis and treatment of disease in one patient with symptoms and an inconclusive magnetic resonance imaging study. Some respondents clearly favored surgery, whereas others believed that this patient did not meet the diagnostic criteria for TCS.

Conclusions

The results of this survey support the development of a randomized clinical trial to address the benefit of surgery for occult TCS.

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John R. W. Kestle, Hugh J. L. Garton, William E. Whitehead, James M. Drake, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, D. Douglas Cochrane, Cheryl Muszynski and Marion L. Walker

Object

Approximately 10% of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt operations are associated with infection and require removal or externalization of the shunt, in-hospital treatment with antibiotic agents, and insertion of a new shunt. In a previous survey, the authors identified substantial variation in the duration of antibiotic therapy as well as the duration of hospital stay. The present multicenter pilot study was undertaken to evaluate current strategies in the treatment of shunt infection.

Methods

Patients were enrolled in the study if they had a successful treatment of a CSF shunt infection proved by culture of a CSF specimen. Details of their care and the incidence of culture-proved reinfection were recorded.

Seventy patients from 10 centers were followed up for 1 year after their CSF shunt infection. The initial management of the infection was shunt externalization in 17 patients, shunt removal and external ventricular drain insertion in 50, and antibiotic treatment alone in three. Reinfection occurred in 18 patients (26%). Twelve of the 18 reinfections were caused by the same organism and six were due to new organisms. The treatment time varied from 4 to 47 days, with a mean of 17.4 days for those who later experienced a reinfection compared with 16.2 days for those who did not. The most common organism (Staphylococcus epidermidis, 34 patients) was associated with a reinfection rate of 29% and a mean treatment time of 12.8 days for those who suffered reinfection and 12.5 days for those who did not.

Conclusions

Reinfection after treatment of a CSF shunt infection is alarmingly common. According to the data available, the incidence of reinfection does not appear to be related to the duration of antibiotic therapy.

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Shokei Yamada and Daniel J. Won

Abstract (N. R. Selden)

Object

Controversy exists regarding proper indications for surgical lysis of the terminal filum in children with voiding dysfunction and tethered spinal cord. Recently, surgery has been offered to children who have a normally positioned conus medullaris and no terminal filum abnormality visible on 1.5-tesla magnetic resonance images (referred to as minimal or occult tethered cord syndrome [TCS]). The author evaluates existing clinical and scientific evidence relevant to this controversy.

Methods

Five retrospective, observational, noncontrolled studies of surgical terminal filum lysis for occult TCS in children were identified. Two further studies in which the authors reported surgical results in children with a normal-level conus medullaris were also identified.

Conclusions

These studies document encouraging clinical outcomes following surgery. Clinicopathological evidence suggests that occult TCS may result from radiographically occult structural abnormalities of the terminal filum. Although a preponderance of Class III clinical evidence supports the use of surgical filum lysis to treat occult TCS, no Class I or II evidence exists. Clinical practice varies; therefore, performance of a prospective randomized clinical trial of surgical terminal filum lysis for the treatment of occult TCS is advocated.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Pineal cysts are a frequent incidental finding on intracranial imaging. In adults, the prevalence of pineal cysts is estimated to be 1.1–4.3%. However, the prevalence is not well established in younger patients.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of 14,516 patients 25 years of age and younger, who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over an 11-year period. In patients identified with pineal cysts, the authors analyzed the images according to cyst size, signal characteristics, enhancement pattern, and evidence of local mass effect. Patient characteristics including demographics and other intracranial diagnoses were collected in the pineal cyst population and compared with a randomly selected age- and sex-matched control patient population. The data were evaluated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, linear regression, and ANOVA.

Results

The authors identified 288 pineal region cysts (2.0%). The prevalence of pineal cysts was higher in female (2.4%) than in male patients (1.5%; p < 0.001). Pineal cysts were identified in patients of all ages, with an increased prevalence found in older patients (p < 0.001). Pineal cyst size was similar for all age and sex groups.

Conclusions

Pineal cysts are common in the pediatric population, with an increased prevalence in girls and in older patients.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Cormac O. Maher, Karin M. Muraszko and Hugh J. L. Garton

Object

The authors reviewed their experience with pediatric pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The authors identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at their institution over an 11.5-year interval and were < 25 years of age at the time of diagnosis. All inclusion criteria were met in 106 patients, and included repeated MR imaging as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least a 6-month interval.

Results

The mean age at diagnosis was 11.7 ± 7.2 years. Forty-two patients were male and 64 were female. On follow-up MR imaging evaluation at a mean interval of 3.0 years from the initial study, 98 pineal cysts had no increase in size and no change in imaging appearance. Six pineal cysts increased in size and 2 others had a change in imaging characteristics without associated growth. Younger age was associated with cyst change or growth on follow-up imaging (p = 0.02). The mean age of patients with cysts that changed or grew was 5.5 years, and the mean age of patients with stable pineal cysts was 12.2 years. Initial cyst size and appearance on MR imaging were not significant predictors of growth or change in imaging appearance at follow-up. Similarly, the patient's sex was not a significant predictor of growth or change in imaging characteristics.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation may be considered optional in older children with pineal cysts.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Andrew Y. Yew, Zackary E. Boomsaad, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Arachnoid cysts are a frequent finding on intracranial imaging in children. The prevalence and natural history of these cysts are not well defined. The authors studied a large consecutive series of children undergoing MR imaging to better define both the MR imaging–demonstrated prevalence and behavior of these lesions over time.

Methods

The authors reviewed a consecutive series of 11,738 patients who were 18 years of age or younger and had undergone brain MR imaging at a single institution during an 11-year period. In the patients in whom intracranial arachnoid cysts were identified, clinical and demographic information was recorded and imaging characteristics, such as cyst size and location, were evaluated. Prevalence data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, linear regression, and ANOVA. All patients with sufficient data (repeat MR imaging studies as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least 5 months) for a natural history analysis were identified. This group was assessed for any change in symptoms or imaging appearance during the follow-up interval.

Results

Three hundred nine arachnoid cysts (2.6% prevalence rate) were identified. There was an increased prevalence of arachnoid cysts in males (p < 0.000001). One hundred eleven patients met all criteria for inclusion in the natural history analysis. After a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, 11 arachnoid cysts increased in size, 13 decreased, and 87 remained stable. A younger age at presentation was significantly associated with cyst enlargement (p = 0.001) and the need for surgery (p = 0.05). No patient older than 4 years of age at the time of initial diagnosis had cyst enlargement, demonstrated new symptoms, or underwent surgical treatment.

Conclusions

Arachnoid cysts are a common incidental finding on intracranial imaging in pediatric patients. An older age at the time of presentation is associated with a lack of clinical or imaging changes over time.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010