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.
Jason K. Chu, Brandon A. Miller, Michael P. Bazylewicz, John F. Holbrook, and Joshua J. Chern
Jason K. Chu, Abdullah H. Feroze, Kelly Collins, Lynn B. McGrath Jr., Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams, and Samuel R. Browd
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anil K. Roy, Jason Chu, Caroline Bozeman, Samir Sarda, Michael Sawvel, and Joshua J. Chern
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.
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.
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]).
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.
Jason K. Chu, Peter A. Chiarelli, Nolan D. Rea, Norianne Pimentel, Benjamin E. Flyer, J. Gordon McComb, Susan R. Durham, and Mark D. Krieger
Facial palsy can be caused by masses within the posterior fossa and is a known risk of surgery for tumor resection. Although well documented in the adult literature, postoperative facial weakness after posterior fossa tumor resection in pediatric patients has not been well studied. The objective of this work was to determine the incidence of postoperative facial palsy after tumor surgery, and to investigate clinical and radiographic risk factors.
A retrospective analysis was conducted at a single large pediatric hospital. Clinical, radiographic, and histological data were examined in children who were surgically treated for posterior fossa tumors between May 1, 1994, and June 1, 2011. The incidence of postoperative facial weakness was documented. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to analyze the predictive ability of clinicoradiological variables for facial weakness.
A total of 163 patients were included in this study. The average age at surgery was 7.4 ± 4.7 years, and tumor pathologies included astrocytoma (44%), medulloblastoma (36%), and ependymoma (20%). The lesions of 27 patients (17%) were considered high grade in nature. Thirteen patients (8%) exhibited preoperative symptoms of facial palsy. The overall incidence of postoperative facial palsy was 26% (43 patients), and the incidence of new postoperative facial palsy in patients without preoperative facial weakness was 20% (30 patients). The presence of a preoperative facial palsy had a large and significant effect in univariate analysis (OR 11.82, 95% CI 3.07–45.44, p < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression identified recurrent operation (OR 4.45, 95% CI 1.49–13.30, p = 0.01) and other preoperative cranial nerve palsy (CNP; OR 3.01, 95% CI 1.24–7.29, p = 0.02) as significant risk factors for postoperative facial weakness.
Facial palsy is a risk during surgical resection of posterior fossa brain tumors in the pediatric population. The study results suggest that the incidence of new postoperative facial palsy can be as high as 20%. The presence of preoperative facial palsy, an operation for recurrent tumor, and the presence of other preoperative CNPs were found to be significant risk factors for postoperative facial weakness.
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.