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Kristopher T. Kahle and Kevin J. Staley

Seizures that occur during the neonatal period do so with a greater frequency than at any other age, have profound consequences for cognitive and motor development, and are difficult to treat with the existing series of antiepileptic drugs. During development, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurotransmission undergoes a switch from excitatory to inhibitory due to a reversal of neuronal chloride (Cl) gradients. The intracellular level of chloride ([Cl]i) in immature neonatal neurons, compared with mature adult neurons, is about 20–40 mM higher due to robust activity of the chloride-importing Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1, such that the binding of GABA to ligand-gated GABAA receptor-associated Cl channels triggers Cl efflux and depolarizing excitation. In adults, NKCC1 expression decreases and the expression of the genetically related chloride-extruding K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 increases, lowering [Cl]i to a level such that activation of GABAA receptors triggers Cl influx and inhibitory hyperpolarization. The excitatory action of GABA in neonates, while playing an important role in neuronal development and synaptogenesis, accounts for the decreased seizure threshold, increased seizure propensity, and poor efficacy of GABAergic anticonvulsants in this age group. Bumetanide, a furosemide-related diuretic already used to treat volume overload in neonates, is a specific inhibitor of NKCC1 at low doses, can switch the GABA equilibrium potential of immature neurons from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing, and has recently been shown to inhibit epileptic activity in vitro and in vivo in animal models of neonatal seizures. The fundamental role of NKCC1 in establishing excitatory GABAergic neurotransmission in the neonate makes it a tempting target of a novel mechanism-based anticonvulsant strategy that could utilize the well-known pharmacology of bumetanide to help treat neonatal seizures.

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Brian P. Walcott, Jean-Valery C. E. Coumans and Kristopher T. Kahle

Disorders of the spine are common in clinical medicine, and spine surgery is being performed with increasing frequency in the US. Although many patients with an established diagnosis of a true surgically treatable lesion are referred to a neurosurgeon, the evaluation of patients with spinal disorders can be complex and fraught with diagnostic pitfalls. While “common conditions are common,” astute clinical acumen and vigilance are necessary to identify lesions that masquerade as surgically treatable spine disease that can lead to erroneous diagnosis and treatment. In this review, the authors discuss musculoskeletal, peripheral nerve, metabolic, infectious, inflammatory, and vascular conditions that mimic the syndromes produced by surgical lesions. It is possible that nonsurgical and surgical conditions coexist at times, complicating treatment plans and natural histories. Awareness of these diagnoses can help reduce diagnostic error, thereby avoiding the morbidity and expense associated with an unnecessary operation.

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Brian P. Walcott, Brian V. Nahed, Kristopher T. Kahle, Navid Redjal and Jean-Valery Coumans

Object

Previous methods to determine stroke prevalence, such as nationwide surveys, are labor-intensive endeavors. Recent advances in search engine query analytics have led to a new metric for disease surveillance to evaluate symptomatic phenomenon, such as influenza. The authors hypothesized that the use of search engine query data can determine the prevalence of stroke.

Methods

The Google Insights for Search database was accessed to analyze anonymized search engine query data. The authors' search strategy utilized common search queries used when attempting either to identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke or to perform stroke education. The search logic was as follows: (stroke signs + stroke symptoms + mini stroke − heat) from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2010.

The relative number of searches performed (the interest level) for this search logic was established for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was calculated from the statespecific stroke prevalence data previously reported.

Results

Web search engine interest level was available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia over the time period for January 1, 2005–December 31, 2010. The interest level was highest in Alabama and Tennessee (100 and 96, respectively) and lowest in California and Virginia (58 and 53, respectively). The Pearson correlation coefficient (r) was calculated to be 0.47 (p = 0.0005, 2-tailed).

Conclusions

Search engine query data analysis allows for the determination of relative stroke prevalence. Further investigation will reveal the reliability of this metric to determine temporal pattern analysis and prevalence in this and other symptomatic diseases.

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Jean-Valery Coumans, Brian P. Walcott, William E. Butler, Brian V. Nahed and Kristopher T. Kahle

Object

Resolution of syringomyelia is common following hindbrain decompression for Chiari malformation, yet little is known about the kinetics governing this process. The authors sought to establish the volumetric rate of syringomyelia resolution.

Methods

A retrospective cohort of patients undergoing hindbrain decompression for a Chiari malformation Type I with preoperative cervical or thoracic syringomyelia was identified. Patients were included in the study if they had at least 3 neuroimaging studies that detailed the entirety of their preoperative syringomyelia over a minimum of 6 months postoperatively. The authors reconstructed the MR images in 3 dimensions and calculated the volume of the syringomyelia. They plotted the syringomyelia volume over time and constructed regression models using the method of least squares. The Akaike information criterion and Bayesian information criterion were used to calculate the relative goodness of fit. The coefficients of determination R 2 (unadjusted and adjusted) were calculated to describe the proportion of variability in each individual data set accounted for by the statistical model.

Results

Two patients were identified as meeting inclusion criteria. Plots of the least-squares best fit were identified as 4.01459e −0.0180804 x and 13.2556e −0.00615859 x. Decay of the syringomyelia followed an exponential model in both patients (R2 = 0.989582 and 0.948864).

Conclusions

Three-dimensional analysis of syringomyelia resolution over time enables the kinetics to be estimated. This technique is yet to be validated in a large cohort. Because syringomyelia is the final common pathway for a number of different pathological processes, it is possible that this exponential only applies to syringomyelia related to treatment of Chiari malformation Type I.

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J. Marc Simard, Kristopher T. Kahle and Volodymyr Gerzanich

Microvascular failure largely underlies the damaging secondary events that accompany traumatic brain injury (TBI). Changes in capillary permeability result in the extravasation of extracellular fluid, inflammatory cells, and blood, thereby producing cerebral edema, inflammation, and progressive secondary hemorrhage (PSH). Recent work in rat models of TBI and stroke have implicated 2 ion transport proteins expressed in brain endothelial cells as critical mediators of edema formation: the constitutively expressed Na+-K+-2Cl cotransporter, NKCC1, and the trauma/ischemia-induced SUR1-regulated NCCa-ATP (SUR1/TRPM4) channel. Whereas NKCC1 function requires adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), activation of SUR1/TRPM4 occurs only after ATP depletion. This opposite dependence on intracellular ATP levels implies that one or the other mechanism will activate/deactivate as ATP concentrations rise and fall during periods of ischemia/reperfusion, resulting in continuous edema formation regardless of cellular energy status. Moreover, with critical ATP depletion, sustained opening of SUR1/TRPM4 channels results in the oncotic death of endothelial cells, leading to capillary fragmentation and PSH. Bumetanide and glibenclamide are 2 well-characterized, safe, FDA-approved drugs that inhibit NKCC1 and the SUR1/TRPM4 channel, respectively. When used alone, these drugs have provided documented beneficial effects in animal models of TBI- and ischemiaassociated cerebral edema and PSH. Given the mechanistic and temporal differences by which NKCC1 and the SUR1/TRPM4 channel contribute to the pathophysiological mechanisms of these events, combination therapy with bumetanide and glibenclamide may yield critical synergy in preventing injury-associated capillary failure.

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Benjamin D. Schanker, Brian P. Walcott, Brian V. Nahed, Kristopher T. Kahle, Yan Michael Li and Jean-Valery C. E. Coumans

Chiari malformations (Types I–IV) are abnormalities of the posterior fossa that affect the cerebellum, brainstem, and the spinal cord with prevalence rates of 0.1%–0.5%. Case reports of familial aggregation of Chiari malformation, twin studies, cosegregation of Chiari malformation with known genetic conditions, and recent gene and genome-wide association studies provide strong evidence of the genetic underpinnings of familial Chiari malformation. The authors report on a series of 3 family pairs with Chiari malformation Type I: 2 mother-daughter pairs and 1 father-daughter pair. The specific genetic causes of familial Chiari malformation have yet to be fully elucidated. The authors review the literature and discuss several candidate genes. Recent advances in the understanding of the genetic influences and pathogenesis of familial Chiari malformation are expected to improve management of affected patients and monitoring of at-risk family members.

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Brian P. Walcott, Jonathan B. Neal, Sameer A. Sheth, Kristopher T. Kahle, Emad N. Eskandar, Jean-Valery Coumans and Brian V. Nahed

Object

Dural closure with synthetic grafts has been suggested to contribute to the incidence of infection and CSF leak. The objective of this study was to assess the contribution of choice of dural closure material, as well as other factors, to the incidence of infection and CSF leak.

Methods

A retrospective, consecutive cohort study of adult patients undergoing elective craniotomy was established between April 2010 and March 2011 at a single center. Exclusion criteria consisted of trauma, bur hole placement alone, and temporary CSF fluid diversion.

Results

Three hundred ninety-nine patients were included (mean follow-up 396.6 days). Nonautologous (synthetic) dural substitute was more likely to be used (n = 106) in cases of reoperation (p = 0.001). Seventeen patients developed a surgical site infection and 12 patients developed a CSF leak. Multivariate logistic regression modeling identified estimated blood loss (OR 1.002, 95% CI 1.001–1.003; p < 0.001) and cigarette smoking (OR 2.198, 95% CI 1.109–4.238; p = 0.019) as significant predictors of infection. Synthetic dural graft was not a predictor of infection in multivariate analysis. Infratentorial surgery (OR 4.348, 95% CI 1.234–16.722; p = 0.024) and more than 8 days of postoperative corticosteroid treatment (OR 3.886, 95% CI 1.052–16.607; p = 0.048) were significant predictors for the development of CSF leak. Synthetic dural graft was associated with a lower likelihood of CSF leak (OR 0.072, 95% CI 0.003–0.552; p = 0.036).

Conclusions

The use of synthetic dural closure material is not associated with surgical site infection and is associated with a reduced incidence of CSF leak. Modifiable risk factors exist for craniotomy complications that warrant vigilance and further study.

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Brian P. Walcott, Brian V. Nahed, Kristopher T. Kahle, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Nutan Sharma and Emad N. Eskandar

Generalized dystonic syndromes may escalate into persistent episodes of generalized dystonia known as status dystonicus that can be life-threatening due to dystonia-induced rhabdomyolysis and/or respiratory compromise. Treatment of these conditions usually entails parenteral infusion of antispasmodic agents and sedatives and occasionally necessitates a medically induced coma for symptom control. The authors report a series of 3 children who presented with medically intractable, life-threatening status dystonicus and were successfully treated with bilateral pallidal deep brain stimulation. Bilateral globus pallidus internus stimulation appears to be effective in the urgent treatment of medically refractory and life-threatening movement disorders.

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Arjun Khanna, Brian P. Walcott, Kristopher T. Kahle and J. Marc Simard

Cerebral edema and hemorrhagic conversion are common, potentially devastating complications of ischemic stroke and are associated with high rates of mortality and poor functional outcomes. Recent work exploring the molecular pathophysiology of the neurogliovascular unit in ischemic stroke suggests that deranged cellular ion homeostasis due to altered function and regulation of ion pumps, channels, and secondary active transporters plays an integral role in the development of cytotoxic and vasogenic edema and hemorrhagic conversion. Among these proteins involved in ion homeostasis, the ischemia-induced, nonselective cation conductance formed by the SUR1-TRPM4 protein complex appears to play a prominent role and is potently inhibited by glibenclamide, an FDA-approved drug commonly used in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Several robust preclinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of glibenclamide blockade of SUR1-TRPM4 activity in reducing edema and hemorrhagic conversion in rodent models of ischemic stroke, prompting the study of the potential protective effects of glibenclamide in humans in an ongoing prospective phase II clinical trial. Preliminary data suggest glibenclamide significantly reduces cerebral edema and lowers the rate of hemorrhagic conversion following ischemic stroke, suggesting the potential use of glibenclamide to improve outcomes in humans.

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Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Andrew B. Koo, Adam J. Kundishora, Fouad Chouairi, Megan Lee, Astrid C. Hengartner, Joaquin Camara-Quintana, Kristopher T. Kahle and Michael L. DiLuna

OBJECTIVE

Health policy changes have led to increased emphasis on value-based care to improve resource utilization and reduce inpatient hospital length of stay (LOS). Recently, LOS has become a major determinant of quality of care and resource utilization. For adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the determinants of extended LOS after elective posterior spinal fusion (PSF) remain relatively unknown. In the present study, the authors investigated the impact of patient and hospital-level risk factors on extended LOS following elective PSF surgery (≥ 4 levels) for AIS.

METHODS

The Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) was queried for the year 2012. Adolescent patients (age range 10–17 years) with AIS undergoing elective PSF (≥ 4 levels) were selected using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification coding system. Extended hospital LOS was defined as greater than the 75th percentile for the entire cohort (> 6 days), and patients were dichotomized as having normal LOS or extended LOS. Patient demographics, comorbidities, complications, LOS, discharge disposition, and total cost were recorded. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the odds ratio for risk-adjusted LOS. The primary outcome was the degree to which patient comorbidities or postoperative complications correlated with extended LOS.

RESULTS

Comorbidities were overall significantly higher in the extended-LOS cohort than the normal-LOS cohort. Patients with extended LOS had a significantly greater proportion of blood transfusion (p < 0.001) and ≥ 9 vertebral levels fused (p < 0.001). The overall complication rates were greater in the extended-LOS cohort (20.3% [normal-LOS group] vs 43.5% [extended-LOS group]; p < 0.001). On average, the extended-LOS cohort incurred $18,916 more in total cost than the normal-LOS group ($54,697 ± $24,217 vs $73,613 ± $38,689, respectively; p < 0.001) and had more patients discharged to locations other than home (p < 0.001) than did patients in the normal-LOS cohort. On multivariate logistic regression, several risk factors were associated with extended LOS, including female sex, obesity, hypertension, fluid electrolyte disorder, paralysis, blood transfusion, ≥ 9 vertebrae fused, dural injury, and nerve cord injury. The odds ratio for extended LOS was 1.95 (95% CI 1.50–2.52) for patients with 1 complication and 5.43 (95% CI 3.35–8.71) for patients with > 1 complication.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ study using the KID demonstrates that patient comorbidities and intra- and postoperative complications all contribute to extended LOS after spinal fusion for AIS. Identifying multimodality interventions focused on reducing LOS, bettering patient outcomes, and lowering healthcare costs are necessary to improve the overall value of care for patients undergoing spinal fusion for AIS.