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Editorial: The learning curve in surgical randomized controlled trials

John R. W. Kestle

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Editorial: Bed rest after filum surgery

John R. W. Kestle

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Editorial: Intraventricular hemorrhage and posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus

John R. W. Kestle

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An assessment of academic productivity in pediatric neurosurgery

Clinical article

Ricky R. Kalra and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Various bibliometric indices are now commonly used to assess academic productivity in medicine. Some evidence suggests that these measures are specific to subspecialty areas. The authors' goal was to measure the h index of academic pediatric neurosurgeons and compare it with previously reported results for academic neurosurgeons in general.

Methods

Programs with an Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships–approved fellowship were identified, and the h and g indices of each of their surgeons were calculated. These were correlated with academic rank and compared with published literature on academic neurosurgical departments.

Results

Seventy-two pediatric neurosurgeons had a mean h index of 16.6 and a mean g index of 29.5. Both indices increased with progressive academic rank. The rank-specific mean index for academic pediatric neurosurgeons was similar to that of neurosurgeons from academic departments in general.

Conclusions

Overall, the authors conclude that the h index metric is a reasonable measure of academic productivity in the pediatric neurosurgery arena that provides a robust measure of an individual's contribution to the pediatric neurosurgery literature. Like its counterpart in neurosurgery in general, the h index for pediatric neurosurgeons correlates with institutional rank. The h index calculation also reveals the productivity of the pediatric neurosurgeons to be on par with the productivity of neurosurgeons in general.

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Editorial. Early unplanned reoperation: we need more data

John R. W. Kestle

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A multicenter prospective cohort study of the Strata valve for the management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients

John R. W. Kestle and Marion L. Walker

Object. Previous reports suggest that adjustable valves may improve the survival of cerebrospinal fluid shunts or relieve shunt-related symptoms. To evaluate these claims, the authors conducted a prospective multicenter cohort study of children who underwent placement of Strata valves.

Methods. Patients undergoing initial shunt placement (Group 1) or shunt revision (Group 2) were treated using Strata valve shunt systems. Valves were adjustable to five performance level settings by using an externally applied magnet. The performance levels were checked using an externally applied hand tool and radiography. Patients were followed for 1 year or until they underwent shunt revision surgery.

Between March 2000 and February 2002, 315 patients were enrolled in the study. In Group 1 (201 patients) the common causes of hydrocephalus were myelomeningocele (16%), aqueductal stenosis (14%), and hemorrhage (14%). The overall 1-year shunt survival was 67%. Causes of shunt failure were obstruction (17%), overdrainage (1.5%), loculated ventricles (2%), and infection (10.6%). Patients in Group 2 (114 patients) were older and the causes of hydrocephalus were similar. Among patients in Group 2 the 1-year shunt survival was 71%.

There were 256 valve adjustments. Symptoms completely resolved (26%) or improved (37%) after 63% of adjustments. When symptoms improved or resolved, they did so within 24 hours in 89% of adjustments. Hand-tool and radiographic readings of valve settings were the same in 234 (98%) of 238 assessments.

Conclusions. The 1-year shunt survival for the Strata valve shunt system when used in initial shunt insertion procedures or shunt revisions was similar to those demonstrated for other valves. Symptom relief or improvement following adjustment was observed in 63% of patients. Hand-tool assessment of performance level settings reliably predicted radiographic assessments.

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Prospective multicenter studies in pediatric hydrocephalus

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

John R. W. Kestle and Jay Riva-Cambrin

Prospective multicenter clinical research studies in pediatric hydrocephalus are relatively rare. They cover a broad spectrum of hydrocephalus topics, including management of intraventricular hemorrhage in premature infants, shunt techniques and equipment, shunt outcomes, endoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus, and prevention and treatment of infection. The research methodologies include randomized trials, cohort studies, and registry-based studies. This review describes prospective multicenter studies in pediatric hydrocephalus since 1990. Many studies have included all forms of hydrocephalus and used device or procedure failure as the primary outcome. Although such studies have yielded useful findings, they might miss important treatment effects in specific subgroups. As multicenter study networks grow, larger patient numbers will allow studies with more focused entry criteria based on known and evolving prognostic factors. In addition, increased use of patient-centered outcomes such as neurodevelopmental assessment and quality of life should be measured and emphasized in study results. Well-planned multicenter clinical studies can significantly affect the care of children with hydrocephalus and will continue to have an important role in improving care for these children and their families.

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Editorial: Shunt insertion

John R. W. Kestle

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Editorial

Antibiotic-impregnated external ventricular drains

John R. W. Kestle

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A multicenter prospective cohort study of the Strata valve for the management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients

John R. W. Kestle and Marion L. Walker

Object

Previous reports suggest that adjustable valves may improve the survival of cerebrospinal fluid shunts or relieve shunt-related symptoms. To evaluate these claims, the authors conducted a prospective multicenter cohort study of children who underwent placement of Strata valves.

Methods

Patients undergoing initial shunt placement (Group 1) or shunt revision (Group 2) were treated using Strata valve shunt systems. Valves were adjustable to five performance level settings by using an externally applied magnet. The performance levels were checked using an externally applied hand tool and radiography. Patients were followed for 1 year or until they underwent shunt revision surgery.

Between March 2000 and February 2002, 315 patients were enrolled in the study. In Group 1 (201 patients) the common causes of hydrocephalus were myelomeningocele (16%), aqueductal stenosis (14%), and hemorrhage (14%). The overall 1-year shunt survival was 67%. Causes of shunt failure were obstruction (17%), overdrainage (1.5%), loculated ventricles (2%), and infection (10.6%). Patients in Group 2 (114 patients) were older and the causes of hydrocephalus were similar. Among patients in Group 2 the 1-year shunt survival was 71%.

There were 256 valve adjustments. Symptoms completely resolved (26%) or improved (37%) after 63% of adjustments. When symptoms improved or resolved, they did so within 24 hours in 89% of adjustments. Hand-tool and radiographic readings of valve settings were the same in 234 (98%) of 238 assessments.

Conclusions

The 1-year shunt survival for the Strata valve shunt system when used in initial shunt insertion procedures or shunt revisions was similar to those demonstrated for other valves. Symptom relief or improvement following adjustment was observed in 63% of patients. Hand-tool assessment of performance level settings reliably predicted radiographic assessments.