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Christopher M. Bonfield, Jade Basem, D. Douglas Cochrane, Ash Singhal and Paul Steinbok

OBJECTIVE

At British Columbia Children’s Hospital (BCCH), pediatric patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis are admitted directly to a standard surgical ward after craniosynostosis surgery. This study’s purpose was to investigate the safety of direct ward admission and to examine the rate at which patients were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU), the cause for the transfer, and any patient characteristics that indicate higher risk for ICU care.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed medical records of pediatric patients who underwent single-suture or nonsyndromic craniosynostosis repair from 2011 to 2016 at BCCH. Destination of admission from the operating room (i.e., ward or ICU) and transfer to the ICU from the ward were evaluated. Patient characteristics and operative factors were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS

One hundred fourteen patients underwent surgery for single-suture or nonsyndromic craniosynostosis. Eighty surgeries were open procedures (cranial vault reconstruction, frontoorbital advancement, extended-strip craniectomy) and 34 were minimally invasive endoscope-assisted craniectomy (EAC). Sutures affected were sagittal in 66 cases (32 open, 34 EAC), coronal in 20 (15 unilateral, 5 bilateral), metopic in 23, and multisuture in 5. Only 5 patients who underwent open procedures (6%) were initially admitted to the ICU from the operating room; the reasons for direct admission were as follows: the suggestion of preoperative elevated intracranial pressure, pain control, older-age patients with large reconstruction sites, or a significant medical comorbidity. Overall, of the 107 patients admitted directly to the ward (75 who underwent an open surgery, 32 who underwent an EAC), none required ICU transfer.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, the findings of this study suggest that patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis can be managed safely on the ward and do not require postoperative ICU admission. This could potentially increase cost savings and ICU resource utilization.