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John R. W. Kestle

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Brandon A. Sherrod, Rajiv R. Iyer and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

Surgical options for managing hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumors have traditionally included ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS) when tumor resection or medical management alone are ineffective. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has emerged as an attractive treatment strategy for tumor-associated hydrocephalus because it offers a lower risk of infection and hardware-related complications; however, relatively little has been written on the topic of ETV specifically for the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus. Here, the authors reviewed the existing literature on the use of ETV in the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus, focusing on the frequency of ETV use and the failure rates in patients with hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumor.

METHODS

The authors queried PubMed for the following terms: “endoscopic third ventriculostomy,” “tumor,” and “pediatric.” Papers with only adult populations, case reports, and papers published before the year 2000 were excluded. The authors analyzed the etiology of hydrocephalus and failure rates after ETV, and they compared failure rates of ETV with those of VPS where reported.

RESULTS

Thirty-two studies with data on pediatric patients undergoing ETV for tumor-related hydrocephalus were analyzed. Tumors, particularly in the posterior fossa, were reported as the etiology of hydrocephalus in 38.6% of all ETVs performed (984 of 2547 ETVs, range 29%–55%). The ETV failure rate in tumor-related hydrocephalus ranged from 6% to 38.6%, and in the largest studies analyzed (> 100 patients), the ETV failure rate ranged from 10% to 38.6%. The pooled ETV failure rate was 18.3% (199 failures after 1087 procedures). The mean or median follow-up for ETV failure assessment ranged from 6 months to 8 years in these studies. Only 5 studies directly compared ETV with VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus, and they reported mixed results in regard to failure rate and time to failure. Overall failure rates appear similar for ETV and VPS over time, and the risk of infection appears to be lower in those patients undergoing ETV. The literature is mixed regarding the need for routine ETV before resection for posterior fossa tumors with associated hydrocephalus.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of tumor-related hydrocephalus with ETV is common and is warranted in select pediatric patient populations. Failure rates are overall similar to those of VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus.

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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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Daniel R. Fassett, James Pingree and John R. W. Kestle

P Myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs) have historically been thought to be benign tumors occurring most frequently in adults. Only 8 to 20% of these tumors occur in the first two decades of life, making this tumor a rarity in pediatric neurosurgery. Five patients with intraspinal MPEs were treated by the authors between 1992 and 2003. Four (80%) of these five patients suffered from disseminated disease of the central nervous system (CNS) at the time of presentation; this incidence is much higher than that reported in the combined adult and pediatric literature.

Combining five pediatric case series reported in the literature with the present series, the authors review a total of 26 cases of pediatric patients with intraspinal MPEs. In nine cases (35%) CNS metastases occurred. In those cases in which patients underwent screening for CNS tumor dissemination, however, the incidence of disseminated disease was 58% (seven of 12 patients).

In pediatric patients MPEs may spread throughout the CNS via cerebrospinal fluid pathways; therefore, MR imaging of the entire CNS axis is recommended at both presentation and follow-up review to detect tumor dissemination.

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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

Antibiotic-impregnated external ventricular drains

John R. W. Kestle

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John R. W. Kestle, D. Douglas Cochrane and James M. Drake

Object

The potential for increased complications related to the arrival of new residents in July each year has not previously been demonstrated in the neurosurgical literature. The authors investigated this phenomenon in children undergoing cerebrospinal fluid shunt surgery.

Methods

Data were obtained from a multicenter hydrocephalus clinical trials database and from hospital admission records in English-speaking Canada. Data pertaining to patients treated in July and August were compared with those pertaining to patients treated during the remainder of the year. The incidence of shunt failure, shunt infection, neurological deficits, wound infection, technical errors, and death were compared using a chi-square test for categorical outcomes, means for continuous outcomes, and survival analysis for time-dependent outcomes.

In the hydrocephalus clinical trials database, 138 of 737 patients were treated in July and August. The median duration of shunt lifespan (hereafter referred to as “shunt survival”) was 1.7 years for patients treated during the summer months and 2.4 years for those treated throughout the rest of the year (p = 0.10); for shunt infection the figures were 13.8 and 8.8% (p = 0.08) of the total number of cases, and for wound dehiscence they were 2.9 and 0.7% (p = 0.05), respectively. When all shunt procedures were included, an examination of shunt survival and infection incidence rates recorded in the Canadian Hospital Discharge Database seemed to imply a significant advantage to having surgery between September and June (log-rank statistic = 7.10, p = 0.008).

Conclusions

The data suggest a “July effect” on some outcomes related to shunt surgery, but the effect was small. Nonetheless, the potential morbidity of shunt failure, infection, and the cost of treatment indicate that continued vigilance and appropriate supervision of new staff by attending surgeons is warranted.