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John Krawchenko and George H. Collins

✓ Accidental death brought to autopsy a 19-year-old girl with an asymptomatic arachnoid cyst which had expanded from the region of the interpeduncular cistern so as to replace the third ventricle and extend into both lateral ventricles. Associated with this expansion was a significant degree of hydrocephalus, compression of the walls of the lateral ventricle, and obliteration of the normal structures of the floor of the third ventricle. The histological structure of the cyst wall and its relationship to the normal arachnoid are defined and found to consist of a reduplication of the normal arachnoid membrane resulting in a space within the arachnoid tissue. It is suspected but not proven that the cyst was congenital, resulting from an abnormality in development. Some suggestions are offered regarding the mechanism for its enlargement.

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George T. Tindall, William F. Collins Jr. and John A. Kirchner

✓ A modification of the transseptal, transsphenoidal approach to the sella turcica is described; it consists of a unilateral separation of the nasal mucosa from the nasal septum. Experience with the technique in 215 cases has indicated that it is a useful, practical approach. The advantages are that the septum is spared, reoperation is made easier, and the procedure is quicker than the bilateral septal procedure. Asymptomatic nasal septal perforations (less than 3 mm) were seen in eight of 215 cases, and represented the only complication related to the operation.

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Rafael A. Vega, Charles Opalak, Raymond J. Harshbarger, Jeffrey A. Fearon, Ann M. Ritter, John J. Collins and Jennifer L. Rhodes

OBJECTIVE

This study examines a series of patients with hypophosphatemic rickets and craniosynostosis to characterize the clinical course and associated craniofacial anomalies.

METHODS

A 20-year retrospective review identified patients with hypophosphatemic rickets and secondary craniosynostosis at 3 major craniofacial centers. Parameters examined included sex, age at diagnosis of head shape anomaly, affected sutures, etiology of rickets, presenting symptoms, number and type of surgical interventions, and associated diagnoses. A review of the literature was performed to optimize treatment recommendations.

RESULTS

Ten patients were identified (8 males, 2 females). Age at presentation ranged from 1 to 9 years. The most commonly affected suture was the sagittal (6/10 patients). Etiologies included antacid-induced rickets, autosomal dominant hypophosphatemic rickets, and X-linked hypophosphatemic (XLH) rickets. Nine patients had undergone at least 1 cranial vault remodeling (CVR) surgery. Three patients underwent subsequent surgeries in later years. Four patients underwent formal intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, 3 of which revealed elevated ICP. Three patients were diagnosed with a Chiari Type I malformation.

CONCLUSIONS

Secondary craniosynostosis develops postnatally due to metabolic or mechanical factors. The most common metabolic cause is hypophosphatemic rickets, which has a variety of etiologies. Head shape changes occur later and with a more heterogeneous presentation compared with that of primary craniosynostosis. CVR may be required to prevent or relieve elevated ICP and abnormalities of the cranial vault. Children with hypophosphatemic rickets who develop head shape abnormalities should be promptly referred to a craniofacial specialist.

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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.

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Joseph A. Carnevale, David J. Segar, Andrew Y. Powers, Meghal Shah, Cody Doberstein, Benjamin Drapcho, John F. Morrison, John R. Williams, Scott Collins, Kristina Monteiro and Wael F. Asaad

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a significant cause of neurological morbidity and mortality. Each year, more than 1.7 million patients present to the emergency department with TBI. The goal of this study was to evaluate the prognosis of traumatic cerebral intraparenchymal hemorrhage (tIPH), to develop subclassifications of these injuries that relate to prognosis, and to provide a more comprehensive assessment of hemorrhagic progression contusion (HPC) by analyzing the rate at which tIPH “blossom” (i.e., expansion), depending on a variety of intrinsic and modifiable factors.

METHODS

In this retrospective study, 726 patients (age range 0–100 years) were admitted to a level 1 trauma center with tIPH during an 8-year period (2005–2013). Of these patients, 491 underwent both admission and follow-up head CT (HCT) within 72 hours. The change in tIPH volume over time, the expansion rate, was recorded for all 491 patients. Effects of prehospital and in-hospital variables were examined using ordinal response logistic regression analyses. These variables were further examined using multivariate linear regression analysis to accurately predict the extent to which a hemorrhage will progress.

RESULTS

Of the 491 (67.6%) patients who underwent both admission and follow-up HCT, 368 (74.9%) patients experienced HPC. These hemorrhages expanded on average by 61.6% (4.76 ml) with an average expansion rate of 0.71 ml per hour. On univariate analysis, certain patient characteristics were significantly (p < 0.05) related to HPC, including age (> 60 years), admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, blood alcohol level, international normalized ratio, absolute platelet count, transfusion of platelets, concomitant anticoagulation and antiplatelet medication, the initial tIPH volume on admission HCT, and ventriculostomy. Increased expansion rate was significantly associated with patient disposition to hospice or death (p < 0.001). To determine which factors most accurately predict overall patient disposition, an ordinal-response logistic regression identified systolic blood pressure, Injury Severity Score, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, follow-up scan volume, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy as predictors of patient discharge disposition following tIPH. A multivariate logistic regression identified several prehospital and in-hospital variables (age, Injury Severity Score, blood alcohol level, initial scan volume, concomitant epidural hematoma, presence of subarachnoid hemorrhage, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy) that predicted the volumetric expansion of tIPH. Among these variables, the admission tIPH volume by HCT proved to be the factor most predictive of HPC.

CONCLUSIONS

Several factors contribute to the rate at which traumatic cerebral contusions blossom in the acute posttraumatic period. Identifying the intrinsic and modifiable aspects of cerebral contusions can help predict the rate of expansion and highlight potential therapeutic interventions to improve TBI-associated morbidity and mortality.

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Mark R. Lovell, Michael W. Collins, Grant L. Iverson, Melvin Field, Joseph C. Maroon, Robert Cantu, Kenneth Podell, John W. Powell, Mark Belza and Freddie H. Fu

Object. A computerized neuropsychological test battery was conducted to evaluate memory dysfunction and self-reporting of symptoms in a group of high school athletes who had suffered concussion.

Methods. Neuropsychological performance prior to and following concussion was compared with the test performance of an age-matched control group. Potentially important diagnostic markers of concussion severity are discussed and linked to recovery within the 1st week of injury.

Conclusions. High school athletes who had suffered mild concussion demonstrated significant declines in memory processes relative to a noninjured control group. Statistically significant differences between preseason and postinjury memory test results were still evident in the concussion group at 4 and 7 days postinjury. Self-reported neurological symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and nausea resolved by Day 4. Duration of on-field mental status changes such as retrograde amnesia and posttraumatic confusion was related to the presence of memory impairment at 36 hours and 4 and 7 days post-injury and was also related to slower resolution of self-reported symptoms. The results of this study suggest that caution should be exercised in returning high school athletes to the playing field following concussion. On-field mental status changes appear to have prognostic utility and should be taken into account when making return-to-play decisions following concussion. Athletes who exhibit on-field mental status changes for more than 5 minutes have longer-lasting postconcussion symptoms and memory decline.

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Methylprednisolone and neurological function 1 year after spinal cord injury

Results of the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study

Michael B. Bracken, Mary Jo Shepard, Karen G. Hellenbrand, William F. Collins, Linda S. Leo, Daniel F. Freeman, Franklin C. Wagner, Eugene S. Flamm, Howard M. Eisenberg, Joseph H. Goodman, Phanor L. Perot Jr., Barth A. Green, Robert G. Grossman, John N. Meagher, Wise Young, Boguslav Fischer, Guy L. Clifton, William E. Hunt and Nathan Rifkinson

✓ A multi-center double-blind randomized clinical trial was conducted by the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study Group to examine the efficacy of high-dose methylprednisolone (1000-mg bolus and 1000 mg daily thereafter for 10 days) compared with that of a standard dose (100-mg bolus and 100 mg daily for 10 days). No significant difference was observed in neurological recovery of motor function, pinprick response, or touch sensation 1 year after injury between the two treatment groups, after adjustment for other potentially confounding factors. Analyses that specifically took into account the patients' total steroid dose and relative weight confirmed the lack of a steroid treatment effect. The case fatality rate was 10.7% during the 1st year after injury, and this was not associated with the steroid treatment protocol or the patient's gender. Deaths did occur significantly more frequently among patients who were completely (15.3%) and partially (8.6%) plegic than among those who were paretic (2.5%, p = 0.0005), and among patients aged 50 years or older (38.6%, p = 0.0001).