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Marie Roguski, Kyle Wu, Ron I. Riesenburger and Julian K. Wu

Object

A primary goal in the treatment of patients with warfarin-associated subdural hematoma (SDH) is reversal of coagulopathy with fresh-frozen plasma. Achieving the traditional target international normalized ratio (INR) of 1.3 is often difficult and may expose patients to risks of volume overload and of thromboembolic complications. This retrospective study evaluates the risk of mild elevations of INR from 1.31 to 1.69 at 24 hours after admission in patients presenting with warfarin-associated SDH.

Methods

Sixty-nine patients with warfarin-associated SDH and 197 patients with non–warfarin-associated SDH treated at a single institution between January 2005 and January 2012 were retrospectively identified. Charts were reviewed for patient age, history of trauma, associated injuries, neurological status at presentation, size and chronicity of SDH, associated midline shift, INR at admission and at hospital Day 1 (HD1), concomitant aspirin or Plavix use, platelet count, and medical comorbidities. Patients were stratified according to use of warfarin and by INR at HD1 (INR 0.8–1.3, 1.31–1.69, 1.7–1.99, and ≥ 2). The groups were evaluated for differences the in rate of radiographic expansion of SDH and in the rate of clinically significant SDH expansion resulting in death, unplanned procedure, and/or readmission.

Results

There was no difference in the rate of radiographic versus clinically significant expansion of SDH between patients not on warfarin and those on warfarin (no warfarin: 22.3% vs 20.3%, p = 0.866; warfarin: 10.7% vs 11.6%, p = 0.825), but the rate of medical complications was significantly higher in the warfarin subgroup (13.3% for patients who did not receive warfarin vs 26.1% for those who did; p = 0.023). For warfarin-associated SDH, there was no difference in the rate of radiographic versus clinically significant expansion between patients reversed to HD1 INRs of 0.8–1.3 and 1.31–1.69 (HD1 INR 0.8–1.3: 22.5% vs 20%, p = 1; HD1 INR 1.31–1.69: 15% vs 10%, p = 0.71).

Conclusions

Mild INR elevations of 1.31–1.69 in warfarin-associated SDH are not associated with a markedly increased risk of radiographic or clinically significant expansion of SDH. Larger prospective studies are needed to determine if subtherapeutic INR elevations at HD1 are associated with smaller increases in risk of SDH expansion.

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Ron I. Riesenburger, G. Alexander Jones, Marie Roguski and Ajit A. Krishnaney

Object

The goal of this study was to characterize the anatomy relevant to placement of crossing C-2 translaminar screws, including morphometric data, and to evaluate the risk of violating the vertebral artery (VA) during the screw placement. Placement of bilateral crossing C-2 translaminar screws has become an increasingly popular method for dorsal C-2 instrumentation as it is felt to avoid the known risk of VA injury associated with C1–2 transarticular screw fixation and C-1 lateral mass–C-2 pars screw fixation.

Methods

The source images from 50 CT angiograms of the neck obtained from October to November 2007 were studied. Digital imaging software was used to measure lamina thickness and maximum screw length, perform angulation of screw trajectories in the axial plane, and evaluate the potential for VA injury. In cases where the VA could be injured, the distance between the maximal screw length and artery was measured. Logistic regression was performed to evaluate lamina width, axial angle, and screw length for predicting the potential for VA injury.

Results

Mean lamina thickness, axial angle, and maximal screw length were determined for 100 laminae, and a potential for VA injury was noted in 55 laminae. The anatomically defined ideal screw length was longer in laminae with potential for VA injury than in laminae with no apparent risk (35.2 vs 33.6 mm, p = 0.0131). Only increasing optimal screw length was noted to be a statistically significant predictor of potential VA injury (p = 0.0159). The “buffer zone” (the distance between an optimally placed screw and the VA) was 5.6 ± 1.9 mm (mean ± SD, range 1.8–11.4 mm). A screw limited to 28 mm in length appeared to be safe in all laminae studied.

Conclusions

Crossing C-2 translaminar screws have been reported to be safe and effective. In addition to morphometric characteristics, the authors have found that screws placed in this trajectory could jeopardize the vertebral arteries in the foramen transversarium or the C1–2 interval. A C-2 translaminar screw limited to 28 mm in length appeared to be safe in all 100 screw trajectories studied in this series.

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Mina Safain, Matthew Shepard, Jason Rahal, James Kryzanski, Steven Hwang, Marie Roguski and Ron I. Riesenburger

Treprostinil is a synthetic analog of prostacyclin, which is used for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Continuous subcutaneous administration of treprostinil has been proven in randomized controlled trials to improve quality of life, hemodynamics, and 5-year survival in patients with PAH. The efficacy of treprostinil has been attributed to its vasodilatory and antiplatelet effects. Unfortunately, the efficacy of treprostinil in the treatment of PAH is rapidly reversed upon cessation of the continuous infusion. Furthermore, cases of patients rapidly declining or succumbing to disease progression upon cessation of treprostinil have raised significant concern regarding discontinuation of this medication. To date, there are no reports of emergency craniotomies performed in the setting of continuous subcutaneous infusion of treprostinil. The authors report a case of a patient with PAH, treated with continuous administration of subcutaneous treprostinil as well as warfarin, who developed an acute subdural hematoma (SDH). Despite adequate INR (international normalized ratio) correction, the patient eventually underwent an emergency craniotomy for evacuation of the SDH while on continuous treprostinil administration. This case highlights the neurosurgical dilemma regarding the appropriate management of acute SDHs in patients receiving continuous treprostinil infusion.

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Ron I. Riesenburger, Tejaswy Potluri, Nikhil Kulkarni, William Lavelle, Marie Roguski, Vijay K. Goel and Edward C. Benzel

Object

Both ventral and dorsal operative approaches have been used to treat unilateral cervical facet injuries. The gold standard ventral approach is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. There is, however, no clear gold standard dorsal operation. In this study, the authors tested the stability of multiple posterior constructs, including unilateral lateral mass fixation supplemented by an interspinous cable.

Methods

Six fresh human cervical spine specimens (C3–T1) were tested by applying pure moments to the C-3 vertebral body in increments of 0.5 Nm from 0 Nm to 2.0 Nm. Each specimen was tested in the following 8 conditions (in the order shown): 1) intact; 2) after destabilization via injury to the C5–6 facet; 3) with bilateral C5–6 lateral mass screws and rods; 4) after further destabilization by creating a right unilateral lateral mass fracture of C-5 (which rendered secure screw placement into the right C-5 lateral mass impossible); 5) with unilateral left C5–6 lateral mass screws and rod; 6) with unilateral C5–6 lateral mass screws and rod supplemented with an interspinous cable; 7) with a bilateral multilevel dorsal construct C4–6; and 8) after a C5–6 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedure with a polyetheretherketone graft and plate.

Results

The bilateral C5–6 lateral mass construct reduced the range of C5–6 motion to 33.6% of normal. The unilateral C5–6 lateral mass construct resulted in an increased range of motion to 110.1% of normal. The unilateral lateral mass construct supplemented by an interspinous cable reduced the C5–6 range of motion to 89.4% of normal. The bilateral C4–6 lateral mass construct reduced the C5–6 range of motion to 44.2% of normal. The C5–6 ACDF construct reduced the C5–6 range of motion to 62.6% of normal.

Conclusions

The unilateral lateral mass construct supplemented by an interspinous cable does reduce range of motion compared with an intact specimen, but is significantly inferior to a C4–6 bilateral lateral mass construct. When using a dorsal approach, the unilateral construct with a cable should only be considered in selected instances.

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Marie Roguski, Brent Morel, Megan Sweeney, Jordan Talan, Leslie Rideout, Ron I. Riesenburger, Neel Madan and Steven Hwang

OBJECT

Traumatic head injury (THI) is a highly prevalent condition in the United States, and concern regarding excess radiation-related cancer mortality has placed focus on limiting the use of CT in the evaluation of pediatric patients with THI. Given the success of rapid-acquisition MRI in the evaluation of ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction in pediatric patient populations, this study sought to evaluate the sensitivity of MRI in the setting of acute THI.

METHODS

Medical records of 574 pediatric admissions for THI to a Level 1 trauma center over a 10-year period were retrospectively reviewed to identify patients who underwent both CT and MRI examinations of the head within a 5-day period. Thirty-five patients were found, and diagnostic images were available for 30 patients. De-identified images were reviewed by a neuroradiologist for presence of any injury, intracranial hemorrhage, diffuse axonal injury (DAI), and skull fracture. Radiology reports were used to calculate interrater reliability scores. Baseline demographics and concordance analysis was performed with Stata version 13.

RESULTS

The mean age of the 30-patient cohort was 8.5 ± 6.7 years, and 63.3% were male. The mean Injury Severity Score was 13.7 ± 9.2, and the mean Glasgow Coma Scale score was 9 ± 5.7. Radiology reports noted 150 abnormal findings. CT scanning missed findings in 12 patients; the missed findings included DAI (n = 5), subarachnoid hemorrhage (n = 6), small subdural hematomas (n = 6), cerebral contusions (n = 3), and an encephalocele. The CT scan was negative in 3 patients whose subsequent MRI revealed findings. MRI missed findings in 13 patients; missed findings included skull fracture (n = 5), small subdural hematomas (n = 4), cerebral contusions (n = 3), subarachnoid hemorrhage (n = 3), and DAI (n = 1). MRI was negative in 1 patient whose preceding CT scan was read as positive for injury. Although MRI more frequently reported intracranial findings than CT scanning, there was no statistically significant difference between CT and MRI in the detection of any intracranial injury (p = 0.63), DAI (p = 0.22), or intracranial hemorrhage (p = 0.25). CT scanning tended to more frequently identify skull fractures than MRI (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

MRI may be as sensitive as CT scanning in the detection of THI, DAI, and intracranial hemorrhage, but missed skull fractures in 5 of 13 patients. MRI may be a useful alternative to CT scanning in select stable patients with mild THI who warrant neuroimaging by clinical decision rules.

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Mina Safain, Marie Roguski, Alexander Antoniou, Clemens M. Schirmer, Adel M. Malek and Ron Riesenburger

Object

The traditional methods for managing symptomatic chronic subdural hematoma (SDH) include evacuation via a bur hole or craniotomy, both with or without drain placement. Because chronic SDH frequently occurs in elderly patients with multiple comorbidities, the bedside approach afforded by the subdural evacuating port system (SEPS) is an attractive alternative method that is performed under local anesthesia and conscious sedation. The goal of this study was to evaluate the radiographic and clinical outcomes of SEPS as compared with traditional methods.

Methods

A prospectively maintained database of 23 chronic SDHs treated by bur hole or craniotomy and of 23 chronic SDHs treated by SEPS drainage at Tufts Medical Center was compiled, and a retrospective chart review was performed. Information regarding demographics, comorbidities, presenting symptoms, and outcome was collected. The volume of SDH before and after treatment was semiautomatically measured using imaging software.

Results

There was no significant difference in initial SDH volume (94.5 cm3 vs 112.6 cm3, respectively; p = 0.25) or final SDH volume (31.9 cm3 vs 28.2 cm3, respectively; p = 0.65) between SEPS drainage and traditional methods. In addition, there was no difference in mortality (4.3% vs 9.1%, respectively; p = 0.61), length of stay (11 days vs 9.1 days, respectively; p = 0.48), or stability of subdural evacuation (94.1% vs 83.3%, respectively; p = 0.60) for the SEPS and traditional groups at an average follow-up of 12 and 15 weeks, respectively. Only 2 of 23 SDHs treated by SEPS required further treatment by bur hole or craniotomy due to inadequate evacuation of subdural blood.

Conclusions

The SEPS is a safe and effective alternative to traditional methods of evacuation of chronic SDHs and should be considered in patients presenting with a symptomatic chronic SDH.

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Charles E. Mackel, Patrick J. Cahill, Marie Roguski, Amer F. Samdani, Patrick A. Sugrue, Noriaki Kawakami, Peter F. Sturm, Joshua M. Pahys, Randal R. Betz, Ron El-Hawary and Steven W. Hwang

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a study to identify clinical characteristics of pediatric patients diagnosed with Chiari I malformation and scoliosis associated with a need for spinal fusion after posterior fossa decompression when managing the scoliotic curve.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective review of 44 patients, aged 18 years or younger, diagnosed with Chiari I malformation and scoliosis who underwent posterior fossa decompression from 2000 to 2010. The outcome of interest was the need for spinal fusion after decompression.

RESULTS

Overall, 18 patients (40%) underwent posterior fossa decompression alone, and 26 patients (60%) required a spinal fusion after the decompression. The mean Cobb angle at presentation and the proportion of patients with curves > 35° differed between the decompression-only and fusion cohorts (30.7° ± 11.8° vs 52.1° ± 26.3°, p = 0.002; 5 of 18 vs 17 of 26, p = 0.031). An odds ratio of 1.0625 favoring a need for fusion was established for each 1° of increase in Cobb angle (p = 0.012, OR 1.0625, 95% CI 1.0135–1.1138). Among the 14 patients older than 10 years of age with a primary Cobb angle exceeding 35°, 13 (93%) ultimately required fusion. Patients with at least 1 year of follow-up whose curves progressed more 10° after decompression were younger than those without curve progression (6.1 ± 3.0 years vs 13.7 ± 3.2 years, p = 0.001, Mann-Whitney U-test). Left apical thoracic curves constituted a higher proportion of curves in the decompression-only group (8 of 16 vs 1 of 21, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

The need for fusion after posterior fossa decompression reflected the curve severity at clinical presentation. Patients presenting with curves measuring > 35°, as well as those greater than 10 years of age, may be at greater risk for requiring fusion after posterior fossa decompression, while patients less than 10 years of age may require routine monitoring for curve progression. Left apical thoracic curves may have a better response to Chiari malformation decompression.

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Daniel B. Herrick, Joseph E. Tanenbaum, Marc Mankarious, Sagar Vallabh, Eitan Fleischman, Swamy Kurra, Shane M. Burke, Marie Roguski, Thomas E. Mroz, William F. Lavelle, Jeffrey E. Florman and Ron I. Riesenburger

OBJECTIVE

Use of surgical site drains following posterior cervical spine surgery is variable, and its impact on outcomes remains controversial. Studies of drain use in the lumbar spine have suggested that drains are not associated with reduction of reoperations for wound infection or hematoma. There is a paucity of studies examining this relationship in the cervical spine, where hematomas and infections can have severe consequences. This study aims to examine the relationship between surgical site drains and reoperation for wound-related complications following posterior cervical spine surgery.

METHODS

This study is a multicenter retrospective review of 1799 consecutive patients who underwent posterior cervical decompression with instrumentation at 4 tertiary care centers between 2004 and 2016. Demographic and perioperative data were analyzed for associations with drain placement and return to the operating room.

RESULTS

Of 1799 patients, 1180 (65.6%) had a drain placed. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified history of diabetes (OR 1.37, p = 0.03) and total number of levels operated (OR 1.32, p < 0.001) as independent predictors of drain placement. Rates of reoperation for any surgical site complication were not different between the drain and no-drain groups (4.07% vs 3.88%, p = 0.85). Similarly, rates of reoperation for surgical site infection (1.61% vs 2.58%, p = 0.16) and hematoma (0.68% vs 0.48%, p = 0.62) were not different between the drain and no-drain groups. However, after adjusting for history of diabetes and the number of operative levels, patients with drains had significantly lower odds of returning to the operating room for surgical site infection (OR 0.48, p = 0.04) but not for hematoma (OR 1.22, p = 0.77).

CONCLUSIONS

This large study characterizes current practice patterns in the utilization of surgical site drains during posterior cervical decompression and instrumentation. Patients with drains placed did not have lower odds of returning to the operating room for postoperative hematoma. However, the authors’ data suggest that patients with drains may be less likely to return to the operating room for surgical site infection, although the absolute number of infections in the entire population was small, limiting the analysis.