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Nuriel Moghavem, Doug Morrison, John K. Ratliff and Tina Hernandez-Boussard

OBJECT

Postsurgical readmissions are common and vary by procedure. They are significant drivers of increased expenditures in the health care system. Reducing readmissions is a national priority that has summoned significant effort and resources. Before the impact of quality improvement efforts can be measured, baseline procedure-related 30-day all-cause readmission rates are needed. The objects of this study were to determine population-level, 30-day, all-cause readmission rates for cranial neurosurgery and identify factors associated with readmission.

METHODS

The authors identified patient discharge records for cranial neurosurgery and their 30-day all-cause readmissions using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) State Inpatient Databases for California, Florida, and New York. Patients were categorized into 4 groups representing procedure indication based on ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. Logistic regression models were developed to identify patient characteristics associated with readmissions. The main outcome measure was unplanned inpatient admission within 30 days of discharge.

RESULTS

A total of 43,356 patients underwent cranial neurosurgery for neoplasm (44.23%), seizure (2.80%), vascular conditions (26.04%), and trauma (26.93%). Inpatient mortality was highest for vascular admissions (19.30%) and lowest for neoplasm admissions (1.87%; p < 0.001). Thirty-day readmissions were 17.27% for the neoplasm group, 13.89% for the seizure group, 23.89% for the vascular group, and 19.82% for the trauma group (p < 0.001). Significant predictors of 30-day readmission for neoplasm were Medicaid payer (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.15–1.54) and fluid/electrolyte disorder (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.29–1.62); for seizure, male sex (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.17–2.60) and index admission through the emergency department (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.45–3.43); for vascular, Medicare payer (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.05–1.39) and renal failure (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.29–1.80); and for trauma, congestive heart failure (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.16–1.80) and coagulopathy (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.25–1.84). Many readmissions had primary diagnoses identified by the AHRQ as potentially preventable.

CONCLUSIONS

The frequency of 30-day readmission rates for patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery varied by diagnosis between 14% and 24%. Important patient characteristics and comorbidities that were associated with an increased readmission risk were identified. Some hospital-level characteristics appeared to be associated with a decreased readmission risk. These baseline readmission rates can be used to inform future efforts in quality improvement and readmission reduction.

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Heather S. Spader, Linda Ratanaprasatporn, John F. Morrison, Jonathan A. Grossberg and G. Rees Cosgrove

OBJECT

Programmable shunts have a valuable role in the treatment of patients with hydrocephalus, but because a magnet is used to change valve settings, interactions with external magnets may reprogram these shunts. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of magnetic toys and iPads to erroneously reprogram shunts. Headphones are even more ubiquitous, and they contain an electromagnet for sound projection that sits on the head very close to the shunt valve. This study is the first to look at the magnetic field emissions of headphones and their effect on reprogrammable shunt valves to ascertain whether headphones are safe for patients with these shunts to wear.

METHODS

In this in vitro study of the magnetic properties of headphones and their interactions with 3 different programmable shunts, the authors evaluated Apple earbuds, Beats by Dr. Dre, and Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. Each headphone was tested for electromagnetic field emissions using a direct current gaussmeter. The following valves were evaluated: Codman Hakim programmable valve, Medtronic Strata II valve, and Aesculap proGAV. Each valve was tested at distances of 0 to 50 mm (in 5-mm increments) from each headphone. The exposure time at each distance was 1 minute, and 3 trials were performed to confirm results at each valve setting and distance.

RESULTS

All 3 headphones generated magnetic fields greater than the respective shunt manufacturer's recommended strength of exposure, but these fields did not persist beyond 5 mm. By 2 cm, the fields levels were below 20 G, well below the Medtronic recommendation of 90 G and the Codman recommendation of 80 G. Because the mechanism for the proGAV is different, there is no recommended gauss level. There was no change in gauss-level emissions by the headphones with changes in frequency and amplitude. Both the Strata and Codman-Hakim valves were reprogrammed by direct contact (distance 0 mm) with the Bose headphones. When a rotation component was added, all 3 headphones reprogrammed the Strata and Codman-Hakim valves at 0 mm. At all distances above 0 mm, the headphones did not affect the shunts. The proGAV valve was not affected by headphones at any distance.

CONCLUSIONS

Although all the headphones studied generated significant gauss fields at distances less than 5 mm, the programmable valve settings only changed at a distance of 0 mm (i.e., with direct contact). Given the subcutaneous location of the valve, the authors conclude that is highly unlikely that commercially available or customary headphones can contribute to the reprogramming of shunts.

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David I. Sandberg, John Ragheb, Catalina Dunoyer, Sanjiv Bhatia, Greg Olavarria and Glenn Morrison

Object

In this study the authors review the outcomes in pediatric patients who presented with seizures and underwent resection of dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs). The authors focus on the diagnostic evaluation and surgical techniques that facilitate gross–total tumor resection and subsequent freedom from seizures.

Methods

Eighteen patients between the ages of 1 month and 13 years who presented with seizures underwent resection of DNETs between January 1992 and December 2004. Preoperative evaluation included magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and interictal scalp electroencephalography (EEG) in all patients, functional MR imaging in eight patients, video monitoring with ictal scalp EEG in 12 patients, interictal single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scanning in one patient, and ictal SPECT scanning in two patients. Thirteen patients underwent one-stage procedures, whereas five underwent two-stage procedures (implantation of monitoring electrodes followed by tumor resection), either for functional language mapping (three patients) or due to inconclusive preoperative data (two patients). Intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG) was performed in 17 patients and led to resection of the cerebral cortex beyond the tumor margins in 10 of them. According to operative reports, gross–total tumor resections were achieved in all patients, but one child had minimal residual tumor on postoperative MR images that has remained stable. The only surgical complication was a transient third cranial nerve palsy. Over a median follow-up duration of 1.6 years, all patients are seizure free and without radiographically detected tumor recurrence.

Conclusions

Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors are a highly treatable cause of epilepsy in children. Excellent rates of complete tumor resection and seizure control with minimal morbidity can be attained using intraoperative ECoG and two-stage surgical procedures when appropriate.

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Stacey Quintero Wolfe, Luisa Cervantes, Greg Olavarria, Carole Brathwaite, John Ragheb and Glenn Morrison

✓Desmoplastic fibromas are rare bone tumors that have been reported in the adult skull but rarely in that of children. Although desmoplastic fibromas of the pediatric skull are uncommon, their similarity to benign skull lesions and their locally aggressive nature make them an important part of the differential diagnosis. Local recurrence is common after curettage alone but complete resection appears to be curative. Close follow up of incompletely resected lesions is essential. The authors detail three cases of pediatric desmoplastic fibromas of the skull and discuss diagnosis and treatment.

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Aria Fallah, Alexander G. Weil, Samir Sur, Ian Miller, Prasanna Jayakar, Glenn Morrison, Sanjiv Bhatia and John Ragheb

OBJECT

Pediatric brain tumors may be associated with medically intractable epilepsy for which surgery is indicated. The authors sought to evaluate the efficacy of epilepsy surgery for seizure control in pediatric patients with brain tumors.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing resective epilepsy surgery related to pediatric brain tumors at Miami Children’s Hospital between June 1986 and June 2014. Time-to-event analysis for seizure recurrence was performed; an “event” was defined as any seizures that occurred following resective epilepsy surgery, not including seizures and auras in the 1st postoperative week. The authors analyzed several preoperative variables to determine their suitability to predict seizure recurrence following surgery.

RESULTS

Eighty-four patients (47 males) with a mean age (± standard deviation) of 8.7 ± 5.5 years (range 0.5–21.6 years) were included. The study included 39 (46%) patients with gliomas, 20 (24%) with dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs), 14 (17%) with gangliogliomas, and 11 (13%) with other etiologies. Among the patients with gliomas, 18 were classified with low-grade glioma, 5 had oligodendroglioma, 6 had uncategorized astrocytoma, 3 had pilocytic astrocytoma, 3 had pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, 3 had glioblastoma, and 1 had gliomatosis cerebri. Seventy-nine (94.0%) resections were guided by intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG). The mean time (± standard deviation) to seizure recurrence was 81.8 ± 6.3 months. Engel Class I outcome was achieved in 66 (78%) and 63 (75%) patients at 1 and 2 years’ follow-up, respectively. Patients with ganglioglioma demonstrated the highest probability of long-term seizure freedom, followed by patients with DNETs and gliomas. In univariate analyses, temporal location (HR 1.75, 95% CI 0.26–1.27, p = 0.171) and completeness of resection (HR 1.69, 95% CI 0.77–3.74, p = 0.191) demonstrated a trend toward a longer duration of seizure freedom.

CONCLUSIONS

ECoG-guided epilepsy surgery for pediatric patients with brain tumors is highly effective. Tumors located in the temporal lobe and those in which a complete ECoG-guided resection is performed may result in a greater likelihood of long-term seizure freedom.

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Sanjiv Bhatia, Faiz Ahmad, Ian Miller, John Ragheb, Glenn Morrison, Prasanna Jayakar and Michael Duchowny

Object

Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a life-threatening neurological emergency associated with high morbidity and mortality. Affected patients often require prolonged intensive care and can suffer multiple complications. Surgical intervention to control RSE is rarely used but can obviate the risks of prolonged seizures and intensive care treatment. Authors of the present study analyzed their experience with the surgical management of patients suffering from RSE.

Methods

The Epilepsy Surgery Database at Miami Children's Hospital was reviewed for patients who had undergone surgery for RSE. Clinical presentation, electrophysiological profile, radiological data, surgical details, and postoperative course were evaluated.

Results

Between 1990 and 2012, 15 patients underwent surgery for uncontrolled seizures despite high-dose medical suppressive therapy. The mean preoperative duration of status epilepticus was 8 weeks. Ictal SPECT and FDG-PET imaging in conjunction with intraoperative electrophysiological studies helped to outline the extent of resection. Surgical intervention controlled seizures in all patients and facilitated the transition out of intensive care. Adverse events related to a prolonged intensive care unit stay included sepsis and respiratory complications. Four patients had worsened neurological function, developing hemiparesis and dysphasia. There was no operative mortality.

Conclusions

Surgical intervention can successfully control refractory partial status epilepticus, prevent associated morbidity, and decrease intensive care unit stay. Ictal SPECT and PET are valuable in guiding resection.

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David Benglis Jr., Derek Covington, Ritwik Bhatia, Sanjiv Bhatia, Mohamed Samy Elhammady, John Ragheb, Glenn Morrison and David I. Sandberg

Object

The natural history of untreated Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is poorly defined. The object of this study was to investigate outcomes in pediatric patients with CM-I who were followed up without surgical intervention.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 124 cases involving patients with CM-I who presented between July 1999 and July 2008 and were followed up without surgery. The patients ranged in age from 0.9 to 19.8 years (mean 7 years). The duration of follow-up ranged from 1.0 to 8.6 years (mean 2.83 years). Imaging findings, symptoms, and findings on neurological examinations were noted at presentation and for the duration of follow-up.

Results

The mean extent of tonsillar herniation at presentation was 8.35 mm (range 5–22 mm). Seven patients had a syrinx at presentation. The syrinx size did not change in these patients on follow-up imaging studies. No new syrinxes developed in the remaining patients who underwent subsequent imaging. The total number of patients with presenting symptoms was 81. Of those 81 patients, 67 demonstrated symptoms that were not typical of CM-I. Of the 14 patients with symptoms attributed to CM-I, 9 had symptoms that were not severe or frequent enough to warrant surgery, and surgery was recommended in the remaining 5 patients. Chiari malformation Type I was also diagnosed in 43 asymptomatic patients who had imaging studies performed for various reasons. No new neurological deficits were noted in any patient for the duration of follow-up.

Conclusions

The majority of patients with CM-I who are followed up without surgery do not progress clinically or radiologically. Longer follow-up of this cohort will be required to determine if symptoms or new neurological findings develop over the course of many years.

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Jonathan J. Lee, David J. Segar, John F. Morrison, William M. Mangham, Shane Lee and Wael F. Asaad

OBJECTIVE

Early radiographic findings in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been studied in hopes of better predicting injury severity and outcome. However, prior attempts have generally not considered the various types of intracranial hemorrhage in isolation and have typically not excluded patients with potentially confounding extracranial injuries. Therefore, the authors examined the associations of various radiographic findings with short-term outcome to assess the potential utility of these findings in future prognostic models.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified 1716 patients who had experienced TBI without major extracranial injuries, and categorized them into the following TBI subtypes: subdural hematoma (SDH), traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, intraparenchymal hemorrhage (which included intraventricular hemorrhage), and epidural hematoma. They specifically considered isolated forms of hemorrhage, in which only 1 subtype was present.

RESULTS

In general, the presence of an isolated SDH was more likely to result in worse outcomes than the presence of other isolated forms of traumatic intracranial hemorrhage. Discharge to home was less likely and perihospital mortality rates were generally higher in patients with SDH. These findings were not simply related to age and were not fully captured by the admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. The presence of SDH had a much higher sensitivity for poor outcome than the presence of other TBI subtypes, and was more sensitive for these poor outcomes than having a low GCS score (3–8).

CONCLUSIONS

In these ways, SDH was the most important finding associated with poor outcome, and the authors show that consideration of SDH, specifically, can augment age and GCS score in classification and prognostic models for TBI.

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David Croteau, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Dennis Johnson, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to distribute therapeutic agents to locations in the central nervous system. The optimal application of convective distribution of various agents requires the development of imaging tracers to monitor CED in vivo in real time. The authors examined the safety and utility of an iodine-based low-molecular-weight surrogate tracer for computerized tomography (CT) scanning during CED.

Methods. Various volumes (total volume range 90–150 µ1) of iopamidol (MW 777 D) were delivered to the cerebral white matter of four primates (Macaca mulatta) by using CED. The distribution of this imaging tracer was determined by in vivo real-time and postinfusion CT scanning (≤ 5 days after infusion [one animal]) as well as by quantitative autoradiography (14C-sucrose [all animals] and 14C-dextran [one animal]), and compared with a mathematical model. Clinical observation (≤ 5 months) and histopathological analyses were used to evaluate the safety and toxicity of the tracer delivery.

Real-time CT scanning of the tracer during infusion revealed a clearly definable region of perfusion. The volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (r2 = 0.97) with an increasing volume of infusion (Vi). The overall Vd/Vi ratio was 4.1 ± 0.7 (mean ± standard deviation) and the distribution of infusate was homogeneous. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed the accuracy of the imaged distribution for a small (sucrose, MW 359 D) and a large (dextran, MW 70 kD) molecule. The distribution of the infusate was identifiable up to 72 hours after infusion. There was no clinical or histopathological evidence of toxicity in any animal.

Conclusions. Real-time in vivo CT scanning of CED of iopamidol appears to be safe, feasible, and suitable for monitoring convective delivery of drugs with certain features and low infusion volumes.

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Pradeep K. Narotam, John F. Morrison and Narendra Nathoo

Object

Cerebral ischemia is the leading cause of preventable death in cases of major trauma with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Intracranial pressure (ICP) control and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) manipulation have significantly reduced the mortality but not the morbidity rate in these patients. In this study, the authors describe their 5-year experience with brain tissue oxygen (PbtO2) monitoring, and the effect of a brain tissue oxygen–directed critical care guide (PbtO2-CCG) on the 6-month clinical outcome (based on the 6-month Glasgow Outcome Scale score) in patients with TBIs.

Methods

One hundred thirty-nine patients admitted to Creighton University Medical Center with major traumatic injuries (Injury Severity Scale [ISS] scores ≥ 16) and TBI underwent prospective evaluation. All patients were treated with a PbtO2-CCG to maintain a brain oxygen level > 20 mm Hg, and control ICP < 20 mm Hg. The role of demographic, clinical, and imaging parameters in the identification of patients at risk for cerebral hypooxygenation and the influence of hypooxygenation on clinical outcome were recorded. Outcomes were compared with those in a historical ICP/CPP patient cohort. Subgroup analysis of severe TBI was performed and compared to data reported in the Traumatic Coma Data Bank.

Results

The majority of injuries were sustained in motor vehicle crashes (63%), and diffuse brain injury was the most common abnormality (58%). Mechanism of injury, severity of TBI, pathological entity, neuroimaging results, and trauma indices were not predictive of ischemia. Factors affecting death included gunshot injury, poor trauma indices, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and coma. After standard resuscitation, 65% of patients had an initially low PbtO2. Data are presented as means ± SDs. Treatment with the PbtO2-CCG resulted in a 44% improvement in mean PbtO2 (16.21 ± 12.30 vs 23.65 ± 14.40 mm Hg; p < 0.001), control of ICP (mean 12.76 ± 6.42 mm Hg), and the maintenance of CPP (mean 76.13 ± 15.37 mm Hg). Persistently low cerebral oxygenation was seen in 37% of patients at 2 hours, 31% at 24 hours, and 18% at 48 hours of treatment. Thus elevated ICP and a persistent low PbtO2 after 2 hours represented increasing odds of death (OR 14.3 at 48 hours). Survivors and patients with good outcomes generally had significantly higher mean daily PbtO2 and CPP values compared to nonsurvivors. Polytrauma, associated with higher ISS scores, presented an increased risk of vegetative outcome (OR 9.0). Compared to the ICP/CPP cohort, the mean Glasgow Outcome Scale score at 6 months in patients treated with PbtO2-CCG was higher (3.55 ± 1.75 vs 2.71 ± 1.65, p < 0.01; OR for good outcome 2.09, 95% CI 1.031–4.24) as was the reduction in mortality rate (25.9 vs 41.50%; relative risk reduction 37%), despite higher ISS scores in the PbtO2 group (31.6 ± 13.4 vs 27.1 ± 8.9; p < 0.05). Subgroup analysis of severe closed TBI revealed a significant relative risk reduction in mortality rate of 37–51% compared with the Traumatic Coma Data Bank data, and an increased OR for good outcome especially in patients with diffuse brain injury without mass lesions (OR 4.9, 95% CI 2.9–8.4).

Conclusions

The prevention and aggressive treatment of cerebral hypooxygenation and control of ICP with a PbtO2-directed protocol reduced the mortality rate after TBI in major trauma, but more importantly, resulted in improved 6-month clinical outcomes over the standard ICP/CPP-directed therapy at the authors' institution.