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Mandeep S. Tamber and James T. Rutka

The purpose of this review is to highlight some of the pertinent concepts and controversies surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric supratentorial high-grade gliomas. Unlike the adult counterparts, pediatric high-grade gliomas are likely derived from distinct cytogenetic and molecular alterations. Surgery has been shown to play a role in extending patient survival. Some success is associated with the provision of chemotherapy. Radiotherapy remains an important adjunct in children older than age 3 years. The challenges involved in improving the poor prognosis of children in whom these very aggressive tumors have been diagnosed will be discussed, as well as some of the novel approaches being investigated to improve patient survival and quality of life.

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Mony Benifla, Francesco Sala, John Jane Jr., Hiroshi Otsubo, Ayako Ochi, James Drake, Shelly Weiss, Elizabeth Donner, Ayataka Fujimoto, Stephanie Holowka, Elysa Widjaja, O. Carter Snead III, Mary Lou Smith, Mandeep S. Tamber and James T. Rutka

Object

The authors undertook this study to review their experience with cortical resections in the rolandic region in children with intractable epilepsy.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records obtained in 22 children with intractable epilepsy arising from the rolandic region. All patients underwent preoperative electroencephalography (EEG), MR imaging, prolonged video-EEG recordings, functional MR imaging, magnetoencephalography, and in some instances PET/SPECT studies. In 21 patients invasive subdural grid and depth electrode monitoring was performed. Resection of the epileptogenic zones in the rolandic region was undertaken in all cases. Seizure outcome was graded according to the Engel classification. Functional outcome was determined using validated outcome scores.

Results

There were 10 girls and 12 boys, whose mean age at seizure onset was 3.2 years. The mean age at surgery was 10 years. Seizure duration prior to surgery was a mean of 7.4 years. Nine patients had preoperative hemiparesis. Neuropsychological testing revealed impairment in some domains in 19 patients in whom evaluation was possible. Magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities were identified in 19 patients. Magnetoencephalography was performed in all patients and showed perirolandic spike clusters on the affected side in 20 patients. The mean duration of invasive monitoring was 4.2 days. The mean number of seizures during the period of invasive monitoring was 17. All patients underwent resection that involved primary motor and/or sensory cortex. The most common pathological entity encountered was cortical dysplasia, in 13 children. Immediately postoperatively, 20 patients had differing degrees of hemiparesis, from mild to severe. The hemiparesis improved in all affected patients by 3–6 months postoperatively. With a mean follow-up of 4.1 years (minimum 2 years), seizure outcome in 14 children (64%) was Engel Class I and seizure outcome in 4 (18%) was Engel Class II. In this series, seizure outcome following perirolandic resection was intimately related to the child's age at the time of surgery. By univariate logistic regression analysis, age at surgery was a statistically significant factor predicting seizure outcome (p < 0.024).

Conclusions

Resection of rolandic cortex for intractable epilepsy is possible with expected morbidity. Accurate mapping of regions of functional cortex and epileptogenic zones may lead to improved seizure outcome in children with intractable rolandic epilepsy. It is important to counsel patients and families preoperatively to prepare them for possible worsened functional outcome involving motor, sensory and/or language pathways.

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James M. Drake, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Andrew Jea, Kurtis Auguste, Mandeep Tamber and Maria Lamberti-Pasculli

Object

Complications of specific pediatric neurosurgical procedures are well recognized. However, focused surveillance on a specific neurosurgical unit, for all procedures, may lead to better understanding of the most important complications, and allow targeted strategies for quality improvement.

Methods

The authors prospectively recorded the morbidity and mortality events at a large pediatric neurosurgical unit over a 2-year period. Morbidity was defined as any significant adverse outcome or death (for obstructive shunt failure, within 30 days). Multiple and unrelated complications in the same patient were recorded as separate events.

Results

There were 1082 surgical procedures performed during the evaluation period. One hundred seventy-seven complications (16.4%) occurred in 147 patients. By procedure, the most common complications occurred in vascular surgery (41.7%) and brain tumor surgery (27.9%). The most common complications were CSF leakage (31 cases), a new neurological deficit (27 cases), early shunt or endoscopic third ventriculostomy obstruction (27 cases), and shunt infection (24 cases). Meningitis occurred in 19 cases: in 58% of shunt infections, 13% of CSF leaks, and 10% of wound infections. Sixty-four percent of adverse events required a second procedure, most commonly an external ventricular drain placement or shunt revision.

Conclusions

Complications in pediatric neurosurgical procedures are common, result in significant morbidity, and more than half the time require a repeat surgical procedure. Targeted strategies to prevent common complications, such as shunt infections or CSF leaks, might significantly reduce this burden.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Jerry Butler, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, David D. Limbrick, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN), which comprises 7 pediatric neurosurgical centers in North America, provides a unique multicenter assessment of the current outcomes of CSF shunting in nonselected patients. The authors present the initial results for this cohort and compare them with results from prospective multicenter trials performed in the 1990s.

Methods

Analysis was restricted to patients with newly diagnosed hydrocephalus undergoing shunting for the first time. Detailed perioperative data from 2008 through 2012 for all HCRN centers were prospectively collected and centrally stored by trained research coordinators. Historical control data were obtained from the Shunt Design Trial (1993–1995) and the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial (1996–1999). The primary outcome was time to first shunt failure, which was determined by using Cox regression survival analysis.

Results

Mean age of the 1184 patients in the HCRN cohort was older than mean age of the 720 patients in the historical cohort (2.51 years vs 1.60 years, p < 0.0001). The distribution of etiologies differed (p < 0.0001, chi-square test); more tumors and fewer myelomeningoceles caused the hydrocephalus in the HCRN cohort patients. The hazard ratio for first shunt failure significantly favored the HCRN cohort, even after the model was adjusted for the prognostic effects of age and etiology (adjusted HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.96).

Conclusions

Current outcomes of shunting in general pediatric neurosurgery practice have improved over those from the 1990s, although the reasons remain unclear.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Samuel Browd, David Limbrick, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, Tamara D. Simon, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, W. Jerry Oakes, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Shunt survival may improve when ventricular catheters are placed into the frontal horn or trigone of the lateral ventricle. However, techniques for accurate catheter placement have not been developed. The authors recently reported a prospective study designed to test the accuracy of catheter placement with the assistance of intraoperative ultrasound, but the results were poor (accurate placement in 59%). A major reason for the poor accurate placement rate was catheter movement that occurred between the time of the intraoperative ultrasound image and the first postoperative scan (33% of cases). The control group of non–ultrasound using surgeons also had a low rate of accurate placement (accurate placement in 49%). The authors conducted an exploratory post hoc analysis of patients in their ultrasound study to identify factors associated with either catheter movement or poor catheter placement so that improved surgical techniques for catheter insertion could be developed.

Methods

The authors investigated the following risk factors for catheter movement and poor catheter placement: age, ventricular size, cortical mantle thickness, surgeon experience, surgeon experience with ultrasound prior to trial, shunt entry site, shunt hardware at entry site, ventricular catheter length, and use of an ultrasound probe guide for catheter insertion. Univariate analysis followed by multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine which factors were independent risk factors for either catheter movement or inaccurate catheter location.

Results

In the univariate analyses, only age < 6 months was associated with catheter movement (p = 0.021); cortical mantle thickness < 1 cm was near-significant (p = 0.066). In a multivariate model, age remained significant after adjusting for cortical mantle thickness (OR 8.35, exact 95% CI 1.20–infinity). Univariate analyses of factors associated with inaccurate catheter placement showed that age < 6 months (p = 0.001) and a posterior shunt entry site (p = 0.021) were both associated with poor catheter placement. In a multivariate model, both age < 6 months and a posterior shunt entry site were independent risk factors for poor catheter placement (OR 4.54, 95% CI 1.80–11.42, and OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.14–5.89, respectively).

Conclusions

Catheter movement and inaccurate catheter placement are both more likely to occur in young patients (< 6 months). Inaccurate catheter placement is also more likely to occur in cases involving a posterior shunt entry site than those involving an anterior shunt entry site. Future clinical studies aimed at improving shunt placement techniques must consider the effects of young age and choice of entry site on catheter location.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, David D. Limbrick, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III and William E. Whitehead

Object

The use of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) has been advocated as an alternative to CSF shunting in infants with hydrocephalus. There are limited reports of this procedure in the North American population, however. The authors provide a retrospective review of the experience with combined ETV + CPC within the North American Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods

All children (< 2 years old) who underwent an ETV + CPC at one of 7 HCRN centers before November 2012 were included. Data were collected retrospectively through review of hospital records and the HCRN registry. Comparisons were made to a contemporaneous cohort of 758 children who received their first shunt at < 2 years of age within the HCRN.

Results

Thirty-six patients with ETV + CPC were included (13 with previous shunt). The etiologies of hydrocephalus were as follows: intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity (9 patients), aqueductal stenosis (8), myelomeningocele (4), and other (15). There were no major intraoperative or early postoperative complications. There were 2 postoperative CSF infections. There were 2 deaths unrelated to hydrocephalus and 1 death from seizure. In 18 patients ETV + CPC failed at a median time of 30 days after surgery (range 4–484 days). The actuarial 3-, 6-, and 12-month success for ETV + CPC was 58%, 52%, and 52%. Time to treatment failure was slightly worse for the 36 patients with ETV + CPC compared with the 758 infants treated with shunts (p = 0.012). Near-complete CPC (≥ 90%) was achieved in 11 cases (31%) overall, but in 50% (10 of 20 cases) in 2012 versus 6% (1 of 16 cases) before 2012 (p = 0.009). Failure was higher in children with < 90% CPC (HR 4.39, 95% CI 0.999–19.2, p = 0.0501).

Conclusions

The early North American multicenter experience with ETV + CPC in infants demonstrates that the procedure has reasonable safety in selected cases. The degree of CPC achieved might be associated with a surgeon's learning curve and appears to affect success, suggesting that surgeon training might improve results.

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Ann Marie Flannery, Catherine A. Mazzola, Paul Klimo Jr., Ann-Christine Duhaime, Lissa C. Baird, Mandeep S. Tamber, David D. Limbrick Jr., Dimitrios C. Nikas, Joanna Kemp, Alexander F. Post, Kurtis I. Auguste, Asim F. Choudhri, Laura S. Mitchell and Debby Buffa

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Ann Marie Flannery, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Mandeep S. Tamber and Joanna Kemp

Object

This systematic review was undertaken to answer the following question: Do technical adjuvants such as ventricular endoscopic placement, computer-assisted electromagnetic guidance, or ultrasound guidance improve ventricular shunt function and survival?

Methods

The US National Library of Medicine PubMed/MEDLINE database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words specifically chosen to identify published articles detailing the use of cerebrospinal fluid shunts for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Articles meeting specific criteria that had been delineated a priori were then examined, and data were abstracted and compiled in evidentiary tables. These data were then analyzed by the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines Task Force to consider evidence-based treatment recommendations.

Results

The search yielded 163 abstracts, which were screened for potential relevance to the application of technical adjuvants in shunt placement. Fourteen articles were selected for full-text review. One additional article was selected during a review of literature citations. Eight of these articles were included in the final recommendations concerning the use of endoscopy, ultrasonography, and electromagnetic image guidance during shunt placement, whereas the remaining articles were excluded due to poor evidence or lack of relevance.

The evidence included 1 Class I, 1 Class II, and 6 Class III papers. An evidentiary table of relevant articles was created.

Conclusions

Recommendation: There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of endoscopic guidance for routine ventricular catheter placement. Strength of Recommendation: Level I, high degree of clinical certainty.

Recommendation: The routine use of ultrasound-assisted catheter placement is an option. Strength of Recommendation: Level III, unclear clinical certainty.

Recommendation: The routine use of computer-assisted electromagnetic (EM) navigation is an option. Strength of Recommendation: Level III, unclear clinical certainty.

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Mandeep S. Tamber, Paul Klimo Jr., Catherine A. Mazzola and Ann Marie Flannery

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to answer the following question: What is the optimal treatment strategy for CSF shunt infection in pediatric patients with hydrocephalus?

Methods

The US National Library of Medicine and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to the objective of this systematic review. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected and graded according to their quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Evidentiary tables were constructed that summarized pertinent study results, and based on the quality of the literature, recommendations were made (Levels I–III).

Results

A review and critical appraisal of 27 studies that met the inclusion criteria allowed for a recommendation for supplementation of antibiotic treatment using partial (externalization) or complete shunt hardware removal, with a moderate degree of clinical certainty. However, a recommendation regarding whether complete shunt removal is favored over partial shunt removal (that is, externalization) could not be made owing to severe methodological deficiencies in the existing literature. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of intrathecal antibiotic therapy as an adjunct to systemic antibiotic therapy in the management of routine CSF shunt infections. This also holds true for other clinical scenarios such as when an infected CSF shunt cannot be completely removed, when a shunt must be removed and immediately replaced in the face of ongoing CSF infection, or when the setting is ventricular shunt infection caused by specific organisms (for example, gram-negative bacteria).

Conclusions

Supplementation of antibiotic treatment with partial (externalization) or complete shunt hardware removal are options in the management of CSF shunt infection. There is insufficient evidence to recommend either shunt externalization or complete shunt removal as the preferred surgical strategy for the management of CSF shunt infection. Therefore, clinical judgment is required. In addition, there is insufficient evidence to recommend the combination of intrathecal and systemic antibiotics for patients with CSF shunt infection when the infected shunt hardware cannot be fully removed, when the shunt must be removed and immediately replaced, or when the CSF shunt infection is caused by specific organisms. The potential neurotoxicity of intrathecal antibiotic therapy may limit its routine use.

Recommendation: Supplementation of antibiotic treatment with partial (externalization) or with complete shunt hardware removal is an option in the management of CSF shunt infection. Strength of Recommendation: Level II, moderate degree of clinical certainty.

Recommendation: There is insufficient evidence to recommend either shunt externalization or complete shunt removal as a preferred surgical strategy for the management of CSF shunt infection. Therefore, clinical judgment is required. Strength of Recommendation: Level III, unclear degree of clinical certainty.

Recommendation: There is insufficient evidence to recommend the combination of intrathecal and systemic antibiotics for patients with CSF shunt infection in whom the infected shunt hardware cannot be fully removed or must be removed and immediately replaced, or when the CSF shunt infection is caused by specific organisms. The potential neurotoxicity of intrathecal antibiotic therapy may limit its routine use. Strength of Recommendation: Level III, unclear degree of clinical certainty.