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Reoperations within 48 hours following 7942 pediatric neurosurgery procedures

Anil K. Roy, Jason Chu, Caroline Bozeman, Samir Sarda, Michael Sawvel, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

Various indicators are used to evaluate the quality of care delivered by surgical services, one of which is early reoperation rate. The indications and rate of reoperations within a 48-hour time period have not been previously reported for pediatric neurosurgery.

METHODS

Between May 1, 2009, and December 30, 2014, 7942 surgeries were performed by the pediatric neurosurgery service in the operating rooms at a single institution. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics associated with each of the operations were prospectively collected. The procedures were grouped into 31 categories based on the nature of the procedure and underlying diseases. Reoperations within 48 hours at the conclusion of the index surgery were reviewed to determine whether the reoperation was planned or unplanned. Multivariate logistic regression was employed to analyze risk factors associated with unplanned reoperations.

RESULTS

Cerebrospinal fluid shunt–and hydrocephalus-related surgeries accounted for 3245 (40.8%) of the 7942 procedures. Spinal procedures, craniotomy for tumor resections, craniotomy for traumatic injury, and craniofacial reconstructions accounted for an additional 8.7%, 6.8%, 4.5%, and 4.5% of surgical volume. There were 221 reoperations within 48 hours of the index surgery, yielding an overall incidence of 2.78%; 159 of the reoperation were unplanned. Of these 159 unplanned reoperations, 121 followed index operations involving shunt manipulations. Using unplanned reoperations as the dependent variable (n = 159), index operations with a starting time after 3 pm and admission through the emergency department (ED) were associated with a two- to threefold increase in the likelihood of reoperations (after-hour surgery, odds ratio [OR] 2.01 [95% CI 1.43–2.83, p < 0.001]; ED admission, OR 1.97 (95% CI 1.32–2.96, p < 0.05]).

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 25% of the reoperations within 48 hours of a pediatric neurosurgical procedure were planned. When reoperations were unplanned, contributing factors could be both surgeon related and system related. Further study is required to determine the extent to which these reoperations are preventable. The utility of unplanned reoperation as a quality indicator is dependent on proper definition, analysis, and calculation.

Open access

Adolescent subdural empyema in setting of COVID-19 infection: illustrative case

Vladimir A. Ljubimov, Robin Babadjouni, Joseph Ha, Viktoria O. Krutikova, Jeffrey A. Koempel, Jason Chu, and Peter A. Chiarelli

BACKGROUND

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an ongoing viral pandemic that has affected modern medical practice and can complicate known pathology. The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes symptoms that may mimic a viral pneumonia, with potential for serious sequelae, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, coagulopathy, multiorgan dysfunction, systemic vascular abnormalities, and secondary infection.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of a 15-year-old boy who presented with a right subdural empyema and sinusitis while having active COVID-19 infection. The patient initially presented with left-sided weakness, frontal sinusitis, and subdural empyema. Emergent surgery was performed for evacuation of empyema and sinus debridement. Samples of purulent material within the subdural space were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The patient had a successful recovery and regained the use of his right side after combined treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a bacterial subdural empyema associated with frontal sinusitis in a coinfected patient with COVID-19 without evidence of COVID-19 intracranial infection.

LESSONS

A subdural empyema, which is a surgical emergency, was likely a superinfection caused by COVID-19. This, along with the coagulopathy caused by the virus, introduced unique challenges to the treatment of a known pathology.

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Letter to the Editor. External shunt valve after shunt removal for infection as a cost-saving measure

Brice A. Kessler, Scott Elton, and Carolyn Quinsey

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Repair of a traumatic subarachnoid-pleural fistula with the percutaneous injection of fibrin glue in a 2-year-old

Jason K. Chu, Brandon A. Miller, Michael P. Bazylewicz, John F. Holbrook, and Joshua J. Chern

Subarachnoid-pleural fistulas (SPFs) are rare clinical entities that occur after severe thoracic trauma or iatrogenic injury during anterolateral approaches to the spine. Treatment of these fistulas often entails open repair of the dural defect. The authors present the case of an SPF in a 2-year-old female after a penetrating injury to the chest. The diagnosis of an SPF was suspected given the high chest tube output and was confirmed with a positive β2-transferrin test of the chest tube fluid, as well as visualization of dural defects on MRI. The dural defects were successfully repaired with CT-guided percutaneous epidural injection of fibrin glue alone. This case represents the youngest pediatric patient with a traumatic SPF to be treated percutaneously. This technique can be safely used in pediatric patients, offers several advantages over open surgical repair, and could be considered as an alternative first-line therapy for the obliteration of SPFs.

Free access

Letter to the Editor. Cost-effectiveness of ultrafast brain MRI in pediatric patients

Summaiyya H. Ahamed and Phua Hwee Tang

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Shunt timing in low-weight infants in the treatment of hydrocephalus

Peter A. Chiarelli, Nicholas Chapman, Benjamin E. Flyer, Jason K. Chu, and Mark D. Krieger

OBJECTIVE

The optimal timing of ventricular shunt placement in low-weight and preterm infants remains an unresolved topic in modern pediatric neurosurgery. Shunt placement for hydrocephalus is performed over a wide range of infant weights, and the standard weight threshold for shunt placement can vary substantially across institutions. The aim of this study was to investigate shunt outcome in infants of low body weight.

METHODS

An IRB-approved retrospective analysis of 76 infants (29 females, 47 males) who received primary shunt placement between 2003 and 2018 was performed. Uniform criteria were used over the entire dataset to determine the safety for ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement: 1) weight near or above 1500 g, 2) feeding tolerance, and 3) lack of necrotizing enterocolitis or active systemic infection. Infants were classified into a low-weight (LW) (< 2000 g) or standard weight (SW) (2000–3000 g) group based on their body weight at the time of initial shunt placement. Shunt survival was compared between the groups. The threshold weight separating the LW and SW groups and outcomes was additionally varied and systematically reanalyzed.

RESULTS

Shunts were placed in 24 LW infants and 52 SW infants over the inclusion period. Etiologies for hydrocephalus were similar across groups: predominantly intraventricular hemorrhage (54%) (p = 0.13) and open neural tube defect (29%) (p = 0.61). Both LW and SW groups had 58% 1-year shunt survival rates. Overall, 46% of shunts failed in the LW group compared with 54% in the SW group over a median follow-up of 47 months (range 0–170 months). A log-rank test comparing shunt survival rates did not show significance (p = 0.43). Groups were repartitioned using a range of threshold weights (1600–2400 g) to divide LW from SW infants. The lack of association between VP shunt placement in LW infants and time frame of revision was consistently observed over the full range of varied threshold weights.

CONCLUSIONS

There was no significant difference in overall time to shunt revision between infants weighing < 2000 g and infants weighing 2000–3000 g. No correlation between weight and shunt survival was detected. Combined with other clinical features pertinent to the management of hydrocephalus in the neonatal population, this investigation provides insight toward clinical decision-making regarding infants of low birth weight and suggests that further multi-institutional study on this topic is warranted.

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Variation in hospital charges in patients with external ventricular drains: comparison between the intensive care and surgical floor settings

Jason K. Chu, Abdullah H. Feroze, Kelly Collins, Lynn B. McGrath Jr., Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams, and Samuel R. Browd

OBJECTIVE

Placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common and potentially life-saving neurosurgical procedure, but the economic aspect of EVD management and the relationship to medical expenditure remain poorly studied. Similarly, interinstitutional practice patterns vary significantly. Whereas some institutions require that patients with EVDs be monitored strictly within the intensive care unit (ICU), other institutions opt primarily for management of EVDs on the surgical floor. Therefore, an ICU burden for patients with EVDs may increase a patient’s costs of hospitalization. The objective of the current study was to examine the expense differences between the ICU and the general neurosurgical floor for EVD care.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data from 2 hospitals within a single, large academic institution—the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). Hospital charges were evaluated according to patients’ location at the time of EVD management: SCH ICU, SCH floor, or UWMC ICU. Daily hospital charges from day of EVD insertion to day of removal were included and screened for days that would best represent baseline expenses for EVD care. Independent-samples Kruskal-Wallis analysis was performed to compare daily charges for the 3 settings.

RESULTS

Data from a total of 261 hospital days for 23 patients were included in the analysis. Ten patients were cared for in the UWMC ICU and 13 in the SCH ICU and/or on the SCH neurosurgical floor. The median values for total daily hospital charges were $19,824.68 (interquartile range [IQR] $12,889.73–$38,494.81) for SCH ICU care, $8,620.88 (IQR $6,416.76–$11,851.36) for SCH floor care, and $10,002.13 (IQR $8,465.16–$12,123.03) for UWMC ICU care. At SCH, it was significantly more expensive to provide EVD care in the ICU than on the floor (p < 0.001), and the daily hospital charges for the UWMC ICU were significantly greater than for the SCH floor (p = 0.023). No adverse clinical event related to the presence of an EVD was identified in any of the settings.

CONCLUSIONS

ICU admission solely for EVD care is costly. If safe EVD care can be provided outside of the ICU, it would represent a potential area for significant cost savings. Identifying appropriate patients for EVD care on the floor is multifactorial and requires vigilance in balancing the expenses associated with ICU utilization and optimal patient care.

Free access

Resolution of neonatal posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation coincident with patent ductus arteriosus ligation: case report

Erik B. Vanstrum, Matthew T. Borzage, Jason K. Chu, Shuo Wang, Nolan Rea, J. Gordon McComb, Mark D. Krieger, and Peter A. Chiarelli

Preterm infants commonly present with a hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (hsPDA). The authors describe the case of a preterm infant with posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation, which resolved in a temporally coincident fashion to repair of hsPDA. The presence of a PDA with left-to-right shunting was confirmed at birth on echocardiogram and was unresponsive to repeated medical intervention. Initial cranial ultrasound revealed periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage. Follow-up serial ultrasound showed resolving intraventricular hemorrhage and progressive bilateral hydrocephalus. At 5 weeks, the ductus was ligated with the goal of improving hemodynamic stability prior to CSF diversion. However, neurosurgical intervention was not required due to improvement of ventriculomegaly occurring immediately after PDA ligation. No further ventricular dilation was observed at the 6-month follow-up.

Systemic venous flow disruption and abnormal patterns of cerebral blood circulation have been previously associated with hsPDA. Systemic hemodynamic change has been reported to follow hsPDA ligation, although association with ventricular normalization has not. This case suggests that the unstable hemodynamic environment due to left-to-right shunting may also impede CSF outflow and contribute to ventriculomegaly. The authors review the literature surrounding pressure transmission between a PDA and the cerebral vessels and present a mechanism by which PDA may contribute to posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation.

Open access

Supracerebellar infratentorial resection of a torcular lesion causing fulminant intracranial hypertension: illustrative case

Jonathan Dallas, Jessica R Lane, Benjamin S Hopkins, Melinda Chang, Mark Borchert, Nestor R Gonzalez, Peter A Chiarelli, and Jason K Chu

BACKGROUND

Venous sinus stenosis has been implicated in intracranial hypertension and can lead to papilledema and blindness. The authors report the unique case of a cerebellar transtentorial lesion resulting in venous sinus stenosis in the torcula and bilateral transverse sinuses that underwent resection.

OBSERVATIONS

A 5-year-old male presented with subacute vision loss and bilateral papilledema. Imaging demonstrated a lesion causing mass effect on the torcula/transverse sinuses and findings of increased intracranial pressure (ICP). A lumbar puncture confirmed elevated pressure, and the patient underwent bilateral optic nerve sheath fenestration. Cerebral angiography and venous manometry showed elevated venous sinus pressures suggestive of venous hypertension. The patient underwent a craniotomy and supracerebellar/infratentorial approach. A stalk emanating from the cerebellum through the tentorium was identified and divided. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging showed decreased lesion size and improved sinus patency. Papilledema resolved and other findings of elevated ICP improved. Pathology was consistent with atrophic cerebellar cortex. Serial imaging over 6 months demonstrated progressive decrease in the lesion with concurrent improvements in sinus patency.

LESSONS

Although uncommon, symptoms of intracranial hypertension in patients with venous sinus lesions should prompt additional workup ranging from dedicated venous imaging to assessments of ICP and venous manometry.

Free access

Development of an ultrafast brain MR neuronavigation protocol for ventricular shunt placement

Erik B. Vanstrum, Matthew T. Borzage, Joseph Ha, Jason Chu, Meenakshi Upreti, Rex A. Moats, Lillian M. Lai, and Peter A. Chiarelli

OBJECTIVE

Advancements in MRI technology have provided improved ways to acquire imaging data and to more seamlessly incorporate MRI into modern pediatric surgical practice. One such situation is image-guided navigation for pediatric neurosurgical procedures, including intracranial catheter placement. Image-guided surgery (IGS) requires acquisition of CT or MR images, but the former carries the risk of ionizing radiation and the latter is associated with long scan times and often requires pediatric patients to be sedated. The objective of this project was to circumvent the use of CT and standard-sequence MRI in ventricular neuronavigation by investigating the use of fast MR sequences on the basis of 3 criteria: scan duration comparable to that of CT acquisition, visualization of ventricular morphology, and image registration with surface renderings comparable to standard of care. The aim of this work was to report image development, implementation, and results of registration accuracy testing in healthy subjects.

METHODS

The authors formulated 11 candidate MR sequences on the basis of the standard IGS protocol, and various scan parameters were modified, such as k-space readout direction, partial k-space acquisition, sparse sampling of k-space (i.e., compressed sensing), in-plane spatial resolution, and slice thickness. To evaluate registration accuracy, the authors calculated target registration error (TRE). A candidate sequence was selected for further evaluation in 10 healthy subjects.

RESULTS

The authors identified a candidate imaging protocol, termed presurgical imaging with compressed sensing for time optimization (PICO). Acquisition of the PICO protocol takes 25 seconds. The authors demonstrated noninferior TRE for PICO (3.00 ± 0.19 mm) in comparison with the default MRI neuronavigation protocol (3.35 ± 0.20 mm, p = 0.20).

CONCLUSIONS

The developed and tested sequence of this work allowed accurate intraoperative image registration and provided sufficient parenchymal contrast for visualization of ventricular anatomy. Further investigations will evaluate use of the PICO protocol as a substitute for CT and conventional MRI protocols in ventricular neuronavigation.