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Soumya Mukherjee, Gnanamurthy Sivakumar, John R. Goodden, Atul K. Tyagi, and Paul D. Chumas

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to assess leukocytosis and its prognostic value in pediatric isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHODS

Two hundred one children with isolated TBI admitted to the authors’ institution between June 2006 and June 2018 were prospectively followed and their data retrospectively analyzed. Initial blood leukocyte count (i.e., white cell count [WCC]), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, CT scans, duration of hospital stay, and Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category Scale (PCPCS) scores were analyzed.

RESULTS

The mean age was 4.2 years (range 0.2–16 years). Seventy-four, 70, and 57 patients had severe (GCS score 3–8), moderate (GCS score 9–13), and mild (GCS score 14–15) TBI, respectively, with associated WCC of 20, 15.9, and 10.7 × 109/L and neutrophil counts of 15.6, 11.3, and 6.1 × 109/L, respectively (p < 0.01). Higher WCC and neutrophil counts were demonstrated in patients with increased intracranial mass effect on CT, longer hospital stay, and worse 6-month PCPCS score (p < 0.05). Multivariate regression revealed a cutoff leukocyte count of 16.1 × 109/L, neutrophil count of 11.9 × 109/L, and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) of 5.2, above which length of hospital stay and PCPCS scores were less favorable. Furthermore, NLR was the second most important independent risk factor for a poor outcome (after GCS score). The IMPACT (International Mission for Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials in TBI) adult TBI prediction model applied to this pediatric cohort demonstrated increased accuracy when WCC was incorporated as a risk factor.

CONCLUSIONS

In the largest and first prospective study of isolated pediatric head injury to date, the authors have demonstrated that WCC > 16.1 × 109/L, neutrophil count > 11.9 × 109/L and NLR > 5.2 each have predictive value for lengthy hospital stay and poor PCPCS scores, and NLR is an independent risk factor for poor outcome. Incorporating the initial leukocyte count into TBI prediction models may improve prognostication.

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John Goodden, Barry Pizer, Benedetta Pettorini, Dawn Williams, Jo Blair, Mohammed Didi, Nicky Thorp, and Conor Mallucci

Object

Optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas (OPHGs) are generally benign tumors situated in an exquisitely sensitive brain region. The location and natural history of OPHGs has led to much debate about optimal treatment. This paper revisits the role of and optimal timing of debulking surgery in OPHG.

Methods

This paper presents a series of cases managed by the neuro-oncology team at Alder Hey Children's Hospital and a single surgeon. Data were collected retrospectively for periods prior to 2009 and prospectively thereafter. Tailored treatment strategies were used, including observation and combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Tumor control rates and outcomes are reviewed.

Results

Forty-two patients were treated between 1998 and 2011. Their median age at diagnosis was 5 years 7 months. Nineteen patients were positive for neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) and 23 patients were negative for NF1. The median duration of follow-up was 77 months (range 21.8–142.3 months). Presenting symptoms included visual impairment (in 50% of cases), headache (in 24%), and hypothalamic/pituitary dysfunction (in 29%).

Twenty-two debulking procedures were performed in 21 patients. Four biopsies (3 open, 1 endoscopic) were also performed. The histological diagnosis was pilocytic astrocytoma in 21 patients and pilomyxoid astrocytoma in 2 patients. Ten patients (Group 1) had primary surgical debulking alone and were then observed. Four patients (Group 2) had surgical debulking, plus planned chemotherapy within 3 months. Seven patients (Group 3) required surgical debulking for progressive disease following a variety of treatments. Patient age had the greatest impact on subsequent tumor progression.

In total, 13 patients received chemotherapy, 4 on initial presentation, 4 in combination with surgery, and 5 for further tumor progression. Five patients were treated with radiotherapy, 3 prior to referral to Alder Hey.

Eleven patients required shunt insertion for hydrocephalus. Vision was stabilized for 74% of patients. The number of patients with hypothalamic/pituitary dysfunction increased from 12 at presentation to 16 by the end of treatment. The overall survival rate was 93%. Three patients died—1 from tumor progression, 1 from infective complications from tumor biopsy, and 1 from a spontaneous posterior fossa hemorrhage. NF1 was associated with improved outcome—fewer patients required active intervention and rates of visual impairment and/or or hypothalamic/pituitary dysfunction were lower.

Conclusions

Good long-term survival and functional outcomes can be achieved in children with OPHG. Tumor control was achieved through an individualized approach using surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy in varied combinations. The authors aim to limit radiotherapy to cases involving older children in whom other therapies have failed, due to the well-described and often devastating late effects associated with midline cranial irradiation. Surgery has a clear role for diagnosis, tumor control, and relief of mass effect. In particular, primary surgical debulking of tumor (without adjuvant therapy) is safe and effective. Recent advances in intraoperative MRI may add value and need further assessment.

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Caroline Hayhurst, Tjemme Beems, Michael D. Jenkinson, Patricia Byrne, Simon Clark, Jothy Kandasamy, John Goodden, Rishi D.S. Nandoe Tewarie, and Conor L. Mallucci

Object

As many as 40% of shunts fail in the first year, mainly due to proximal obstruction. The role of catheter position on failure rates has not been clearly demonstrated. The authors conducted a prospective cohort study of navigated shunt placement compared with standard blind shunt placement at 3 European centers to assess the effect on shunt failure rates.

Methods

All adult and pediatric patients undergoing de novo ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement were included (patients with slit ventricles were excluded). The first cohort underwent standard shunt placement using anatomical landmarks. All centers subsequently adopted electromagnetic (EM) navigation for routine shunt placements, forming the second cohort. Catheter position was graded on postoperative CT in both groups using a 3-point scale developed for this study: (1) optimal position free-floating in CSF; (2) touching choroid or ventricular wall; or (3) intraparenchymal. Episodes and type of shunt revision were recorded. Early shunt failure was defined as that occurring within 30 days of surgery. Patients with shunts were followed-up for 12 months in the standard group, for a median of 6 months in the EM-navigated group, or until shunt failure.

Results

A total of 75 patients were included in the study, 41 with standard shunts and 34 with EM-navigated shunts. Seventy-four percent of navigated shunts were Grade 1 compared with 37% of the standard shunts (p = 0.001, chi-square test). There were no Grade 3 placements in the navigated group, but 8 in the standard group, and 75% of these failed. Early shunt failure occurred in 9 patients in the standard group and in 2 in the navigated group, reducing the early revision rate from 22 to 5.9% (p = 0.048, Fisher exact test). Early shunt failures were due to proximal obstruction in 78% of standard shunts (7 of 9) and in 50% of EM-navigated shunts (1 of 2).

Conclusions

Noninvasive EM image guidance in shunt surgery reduces poor shunt placement, resulting in a significant decrease in the early shunt revision rate.

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Otto Major, Lee Walton, John Goodden, Matthias Radatz, Georg Tamas Szeifert, Zoltan Hanzely, Bela Kocsis, Zoltan Nagy, and Andras Kemeny

Object

Progressive obliteration occurs in arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) after radiosurgery; however, the risk of hemorrhage remains until the obliteration process is complete. The authors sought to enhance the radiation effect and reduce the risk of hemorrhage by facilitating faster vessel obliteration. To that end, a combination of a lower radiation dose with the addition of a radiosensitizing agent was compared with the effect of a higher radiation dose alone.

Methods

Using a method described by Mulvany and Halpern, isometric myography measurements were made on isolated rat middle cerebral artery specimens. The vessels were treated with 200 Gy, 80 Gy, 50 Gy, 25 Gy, 20 Gy, or 15 Gy by using Gamma Knife surgery. Taxol (paclitaxel 3 mg/kg/body weight) was administered intravenously to the animals. Survival times posttreatment were 24 hours, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 12 months, or 18 months. After dissection, the middle cerebral arteries were mounted on a small-vessel myograph, and contraction and relaxation studies were performed.

In a second series of experiments these results were validated in human fibroblast culture. When the cultures were 75 to 80% colonized, the samples were treated in vitro with 60Co gamma radiation in similar doses with or without paclitaxel.

Conclusions

Constriction responses were generally decreased in the paclitaxel-treated vessels. Differences were significant at 6 weeks (p < 0.05) and at 1 year (p < 0.05). After 1 year, in the paclitaxel-treated groups vascular reactivity was completely abolished in vessels receiving 50 Gy. In comparison, it took 6 months longer (18 months) for this reaction to be abolished in vessels without paclitaxel treatment.

In tissue cultures Giemsa staining and immunohistochemical reactions for p53, Ki-67, CD-34, and SMA antigens revealed marked fibroblast hypertrophy in all of the paclitaxel-treated groups. Paclitaxel-treated vessels demonstrated decreased reactivity at significantly earlier stages than vessels that had not been treated. It would appear that paclitaxel causes acceleration in the time course of the late biological effect of gamma radiation. This beneficial effect could be used in Gamma Knife surgery in patients with AVMs, thus reducing the risk of posttreatment hemorrhage.

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Ian A. Anderson, Louise F. Saukila, James M. W. Robins, Christopher Y. Akhunbay-Fudge, John R. Goodden, Atul K. Tyagi, Nick Phillips, and Paul D. Chumas

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive benchmark of 30-day ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt failure rates for a single institution over a 5-year study period for both adult and pediatric patients, to compare this with the results in previously published literature, and to establish factors associated with shunt failure.

METHODS

A retrospective database search was undertaken to identify all VP shunt operations performed in a single, regional neurosurgical unit during a 5-year period. Data were collected regarding patient age, sex, origin of hydrocephalus, and whether the shunt was a primary or secondary shunt. Operative notes were used to ascertain the type of valve inserted, which components of the shunt were adjusted/replaced (in revision cases), level of seniority of the most senior surgeon who participated in the operation, and number of surgeons involved in the operation. Where appropriate and where available, postoperative imaging was assessed for grade of shunt placement, using a recognized grading system. Univariate and multivariate models were used to establish factors associated with early (30-day) shunt failure.

RESULTS

Six hundred eighty-three VP shunt operations were performed, of which 321 were pediatric and 362 were adult. The median duration of postoperative follow-up for nonfailed shunts (excluding deaths) was 1263 days (range 525–2226 days). The pediatric 30-day shunt failure rates in the authors’ institution were 8.8% for primary shunts and 23.4% for revisions. In adults, the 30-day shunt failure rates are 17.7% for primary shunts and 25.6% for revisions. In pediatric procedures, the number of surgeons involved in the operating theater was significantly associated with shunt failure rate. In adults, the origin of hydrocephalus was a statistically significant variable. Primary shunts lasted longer than revision shunts, irrespective of patient age.

CONCLUSIONS

A benchmark of 30-day failures is presented and is consistent with current national databases and previously published data by other groups. The number of surgeons involved in shunt operations and the origin of the patient’s hydrocephalus should be described in future studies and should be controlled for in any prospective work. The choice of shunt valve was not a significant predictor of shunt failure. Most previous studies on shunts have concentrated on primary shunts, but the high rate of early shunt failure in revision cases (in both adults and children) is perhaps where future research efforts should be concentrated.

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Ian A. Anderson, Anand Goomany, David T. Bonthron, Maggie Bellew, Mark I. Liddington, Ian M. Smith, John L. Russell, Lachlan M. Carter, Velupandian Guruswamy, John R. Goodden, and Paul D. Chumas

Object

There are no published papers examining the role of ethnicity on suture involvement in nonsyndromic craniosynostosis. The authors sought to examine whether there is a significant difference in the epidemiological pattern of suture(s) affected between different ethnic groups attending a regional craniofacial clinic with a diagnosis of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis.

Methods

A 5-year retrospective case-notes analysis of all cases involving patients attending a regional craniofacial clinic was undertaken. Cases were coded for the patients' declared ethnicity, suture(s) affected by synostosis, and the decision whether to have surgical correction of synostosis. The chi-square test was used to determine whether there were any differences in site of suture affected between ethnic groups.

Results

A total of 312 cases were identified. Of these 312 cases, ethnicity data were available for 296 cases (95%). The patient population was dominated by 2 ethnic groups: white patients (222 cases) and Asian patients (56 cases). There were both more cases of complex synostosis and fewer cases of sagittal synostosis than expected in the Asian patient cohort (χ2 = 9.217, p = 0.027).

Conclusions

There is a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of the various sutures affected within the nonsyndromic craniosynostosis patient cohort when Asian patients are compared with white patients. The data from this study also suggest that nonsyndromic craniosynostosis is more prevalent in the Asian community than in the white community, although there may be inaccuracies in the estimates of the background population data. A larger-scale, multinational analysis is needed to further evaluate the relationship between ethnicity and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis.

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Forniceal glioma in children

Clinical article

Thomas Blauwblomme, Pascale Varlet, John R. Goodden, Marie Laure Cuny, Helene Piana, Thomas Roujeau, Federico DiRocco, Jacques Grill, Virginie Kieffer, Nathalie Boddaert, Christian Sainte-Rose, and Stéphanie Puget

Object

Five to ten percent of pediatric brain tumors are located in the ventricles. Among them, forniceal lesions are rare and their management has not often been described. The aim of this study was to review the clinical, radiological, and histopathological features as well as the feasibility of surgical excision and the outcomes in these patients.

Methods

From a retrospective analysis of 250 cases of supratentorial pediatric glioma, the records of 8 children presenting with forniceal lesions were selected and reviewed.

Results

The median age of patients in the cohort was 13.5 years. Presenting features included intracranial hypertension (7 cases), hypothalamic dysfunction (2), and memory dysfunction (3). Complete resection was possible in only 1 case, where the lesion was mainly exophytic; the remaining patients had either a partial resection or biopsy. On histological review, the tumors were confirmed as pilocytic astrocytoma (4 lesions), WHO Grade II astrocytoma (3), and ganglioglioma (1). Postoperatively, working and retrograde memory was normal for all patients, but the authors found a mild alteration in verbal episodic memory in 5 patients. Despite fatigability for 5 patients, academic achievement was normal for all but 2, both of whom had preoperative school difficulties. Additional treatment was required for 5 patients for tumor progression, with a median interval of 19 months from surgery. At a median follow-up duration of 4.9 years, all patients had stable disease.

Conclusions

In this series, forniceal gliomas were found to be low-grade gliomas. They are surgically challenging, and only exophytic lesions may be cured surgically. Due to the high rate of progression of residual disease, adjuvant therapy is recommended for infiltrative tumors, and it yielded excellent results.