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Matthew G. Stovell, Rasheed Zakaria, Jonathan R. Ellenbogen, Mathew J. Gallagher, Michael D. Jenkinson, Caroline Hayhurst, and Conor L. Mallucci

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is an effective treatment for obstructive hydrocephalus and avoids the risk for foreign-body infection associated with ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts. The short-term failure rate of ETV strongly depends on the indications for its use but is generally thought to be lower in the long term than that of VP shunts. However, few studies are available with long-term follow-up data of ETV for hydrocephalus in children. The authors reviewed the long-term success of ETV at their institution to investigate the rate of any late failures of this procedure.

METHODS

Between April 1998 and June 2006, 113 children (including neonates and children up to 16 years old) had primary or secondary ETV for different causes of hydrocephalus. The patients' medical records and the authors' electronic operation database were reviewed for evidence of additional surgery (i.e., repeat ETV or VP shunt insertion). These records were checked at both the pediatric and adult neurosurgical hospitals for those patients who had their care transferred to adult services.

RESULTS

The median length of follow-up was 8.25 years (range 1 month to 16 years). Long-term follow-up data for 96 patients were available, 47 (49%) of whom had additional ETV or VP shunt insertion for ETV failure. Twenty patients (21%) had a second procedure within 1 month, 17 patients (18%) between 1 and 12 months, 7 patients (7%) between 1 and 5 years, and 3 patients (3%) between 5 and 8 years.

CONCLUSIONS

In the authors' series, ETV had an initial early failure rate for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus as reported previously, and this rate significantly depended on patient age and hydrocephalus etiology. Once stabilized and effective, ETV appeared to be durable but not guaranteed, and some late decline in effectiveness was observed, with some ETV failures occurring many years later. Thus, successful ETV in children cannot be guaranteed for life, and some form of follow-up is recommended long term into adulthood.

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Melissa LoPresti, Sandi Lam, Katie Orrico, Samuel R. Browd, Richard G. Ellenbogen, and Jonathan Martin

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric neurosurgeons are unswerving advocates for public health–related issues in children, with most providers participating in local, regional, national, or international efforts. Collective advocacy efforts by organized pediatric neurosurgeons have not been undertaken to date.

METHODS

A 10-item survey was administered to members of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) in order to evaluate attitudes and opinions regarding the development of a formal advocacy effort by the organization.

RESULTS

Seventy-nine of 178 registered members of the ASPN (44.38%) participated in the survey. Participants were 82.61% male, with age, stage of career, and practice type varied. Although there was unequivocal support for participation in organized advocacy, respondents were divided on methods and topics for advocacy. In this survey, the ASPN membership prioritized public health and clinical issues over economic issues that affected children.

CONCLUSIONS

Most respondents favored the drafting of position statements on key issues and partnerships with larger organizations to pursue an advocacy agenda. The survey provides data regarding pediatric neurosurgeons’ attitudes that may assist with the design of a successful advocacy program.

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Mueez Waqar, Jonathan R. Ellenbogen, Ram Kumar, Christine Sneade, Bassel Zebian, Dawn Williams, and Benedetta L. Pettorini

Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) is a reversible treatment that reduces muscle tone to ameliorate spasticity and dystonia in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). The resulting decrease in energy expenditure allows patients to gain much-needed weight, albeit temporarily. Modern techniques require sufficient abdominal musculature and subcutaneous fat to permit the implantation of an indwelling pump. In patients with extremely low muscle bulk, visceral pumps may be impractical or impossible, with increased risks of dehiscence and infection. The authors describe a variation of the classical procedure in a young patient with severe cachexia.

A 10-year-old boy with spastic-dystonic quadriplegic CP was admitted to the neuromedical unit. Numerous drug trials had failed, and surgical intervention was deemed necessary but was complicated by his cachectic body habitus. The authors inserted a lumbar intrathecal catheter and subcutaneously tunneled it to the anterolateral abdomen, where it was connected to a subcutaneous injection port. Baclofen was continuously infused into the subcutaneous port using a noncoring needle connected to an external pump. The needle and line were changed every 5 days to minimize the risk of sepsis.

Although other techniques, such as intraventricular baclofen delivery, have been described, these are largely dependent upon sufficient musculature to support a visceral pump. A subcutaneous injection port system represents an alternative approach that reduces the risk of sepsis and may be better tolerated in cachectic patients.

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Luciano Furlanetti, Jonathan Ellenbogen, Hortensia Gimeno, Laura Ainaga, Vijay Narbad, Harutomo Hasegawa, Jean-Pierre Lin, Keyoumars Ashkan, and Richard Selway

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment for pediatric dystonia. The accuracy of electrode implantation is multifactorial and remains a challenge in this age group, mainly due to smaller anatomical targets in very young patients compared to adults, and also due to anatomical abnormalities frequently associated with some etiologies of dystonia. Data on the accuracy of robot-assisted DBS surgery in children are limited. The aim of the current paper was to assess the accuracy of robot-assisted implantation of DBS leads in a series of patients with childhood-onset dystonia.

METHODS

Forty-five children with dystonia undergoing implantation of DBS leads under general anesthesia between 2017 and 2019 were included. Robot-assisted stereotactic implantation of the DBS leads was performed. The final position of the electrodes was verified with an intraoperative 3D scanner (O-arm). Coordinates of the planned electrode target and actual electrode position were obtained and compared, looking at the radial error, depth error, absolute error, and directional error, as well as the euclidean distance. Functional assessment data prospectively collected by a multidisciplinary pediatric complex motor disorders team were analyzed with regard to motor skills, individualized goal achievement, and patients’ and caregivers’ expectations.

RESULTS

A total of 90 DBS electrodes were implanted and 48.5% of the patients were female. The mean age was 11.0 ± 0.6 years (range 3–18 years). All patients received bilateral DBS electrodes into the globus pallidus internus. The median absolute errors in x-, y-, and z-axes were 0.85 mm (range 0.00–3.25 mm), 0.75 mm (range 0.05–2.45 mm), and 0.75 mm (range 0.00–3.50 mm), respectively. The median euclidean distance from the target to the actual electrode position was 1.69 ± 0.92 mm, and the median radial error was 1.21 ± 0.79. The robot-assisted technique was easily integrated into the authors’ surgical practice, improving accuracy and efficiency, and reducing surgical time significantly along the learning curve. No major perioperative complications occurred.

CONCLUSIONS

Robot-assisted stereotactic implantation of DBS electrodes in the pediatric age group is a safe and accurate surgical method. Greater accuracy was present in this cohort in comparison to previous studies in which conventional stereotactic frame-based techniques were used. Robotic DBS surgery and neuroradiological advances may result in further improvement in surgical targeting and, consequently, in better clinical outcome in the pediatric population.

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Paige J. Ostahowski, Nithya Kannan, Mark S. Wainwright, Qian Qiu, Richard B. Mink, Jonathan I. Groner, Michael J. Bell, Christopher C. Giza, Douglas F. Zatzick, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Linda Ng Boyle, Pamela H. Mitchell, Monica S. Vavilala, and for the PEGASUS (Pediatric Guideline Adherence and Outcomes) Study

OBJECTIVE

Posttraumatic seizure is a major complication following traumatic brain injury (TBI). The aim of this study was to determine the variation in seizure prophylaxis in select pediatric trauma centers. The authors hypothesized that there would be wide variation in seizure prophylaxis selection and use, within and between pediatric trauma centers.

METHODS

In this retrospective multicenter cohort study including 5 regional pediatric trauma centers affiliated with academic medical centers, the authors examined data from 236 children (age < 18 years) with severe TBI (admission Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8, ICD-9 diagnosis codes of 800.0–801.9, 803.0–804.9, 850.0–854.1, 959.01, 950.1–950.3, 995.55, maximum head Abbreviated Injury Scale score ≥ 3) who received tracheal intubation for ≥ 48 hours in the ICU between 2007 and 2011.

RESULTS

Of 236 patients, 187 (79%) received seizure prophylaxis. In 2 of the 5 centers, 100% of the patients received seizure prophylaxis medication. Use of seizure prophylaxis was associated with younger patient age (p < 0.001), inflicted TBI (p < 0.001), subdural hematoma (p = 0.02), cerebral infarction (p < 0.001), and use of electroencephalography (p = 0.023), but not higher Injury Severity Score. In 63% cases in which seizure prophylaxis was used, the patients were given the first medication within 24 hours of injury, and 50% of the patients received the first dose in the prehospital or emergency department setting. Initial seizure prophylaxis was most commonly with fosphenytoin (47%), followed by phenytoin (40%).

CONCLUSIONS

While fosphenytoin was the most commonly used medication for seizure prophylaxis, there was large variation within and between trauma centers with respect to timing and choice of seizure prophylaxis in severe pediatric TBI. The heterogeneity in seizure prophylaxis use may explain the previously observed lack of relationship between seizure prophylaxis and outcomes.