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Samantha E. Hoffman, Rafael A. Vega, and Martina Stippler

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted the landscape of traditional neurosurgical subinternships, ramifications of which persist to this day. The outright cancellation of in-person subinternships in 2020 presented not only a challenge to both applicants and programs, but also an opportunity to establish an effective and efficient platform for virtual neurosurgical training. To address this need, the authors designed and trialed a novel virtual neurosurgical subinternship (Virtual Sub-I).

METHODS

The weeklong, case-based Virtual Sub-I program combined flipped-classroom and active learning approaches. Students worked in small groups to discuss neurosurgical cases. Faculty and residents offered personalized mentorship sessions to participants. Surveys were used to assess students’ experience with the authors’ subinternship program, consistent with level 1 of the Kirkpatrick model.

RESULTS

A total of 132 students applied from both international and American medical schools. The final cohort comprised 27 students, of whom 8 (30%) were female and 19 (70%) were male. Students characterized the subinternship as “interactive,” “educational,” and “engaging.” One hundred percent of survey respondents were “very likely” to recommend the Virtual Sub-I to their peers. Faculty involved in the Virtual Sub-I stated that the program allowed them to determine the fit of participating medical students for their neurosurgery residency program, and that information gathered from the Virtual Sub-I had the potential to influence their ranking decisions.

CONCLUSIONS

The Virtual Sub-I recapitulates the educational and interpersonal benefits of the traditional subinternship experience and can serve as a prototype for future virtual surgical education endeavors. Furthermore, the Virtual Sub-I presents a more equitable platform for introducing medical students across the undergraduate medical education spectrum to neurosurgical education and mentorship.

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George Kwok Chu Wong and Wai Sang Poon

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Andrew P. Carlson, Pedro Ramirez, George Kennedy, A. Robb McLean, Cristina Murray-Krezan, and Martina Stippler

Object

Patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) only rarely need neurosurgical intervention; however, there is a subset of patients whose condition will deteriorate. Given the high resource utilization required for interhospital transfer and the relative infrequency of the need for intervention, this study was undertaken to determine how often patients who were transferred required intervention and if there were factors that could predict that need.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of cases involving patients who were transferred to the University of New Mexico Level 1 trauma center for evaluation of mTBI between January 2005 and December 2009. Information including demographic data, lesion type, need for neurosurgical intervention, and short-term outcome was recorded.

Results

During the 4-year study period, 292 patients (age range newborn to 92 years) were transferred for evaluation of mTBI. Of these 292 patients, 182 (62.3%) had an acute traumatic finding of some kind; 110 (60.4%) of these had a follow-up CT to evaluate progression, whereas 60 (33.0%) did not require a follow-up CT. In 15 cases (5.1% overall), the patients were taken immediately to the operating room (either before or after the first CT). Only 4 patients (1.5% overall) had either clinical or radiographic deterioration requiring delayed surgical intervention after the second CT scan. Epidural hematoma (EDH) and subdural hematoma (SDH) were both found to be significantly associated with the need for surgery (OR 29.5 for EDH, 95% CI 6.6–131.8; OR 9.7 for SDH, 95% CI 2.4–39.1). There were no in-hospital deaths in the series, and 97% of patients were discharged with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15.

Conclusions

Most patients who are transferred with mTBI who need neurosurgical intervention have a surgical lesion initially. Only a very small percentage will have a delayed deterioration requiring surgery, with EDH and SDH being more concerning lesions. In most cases of mTBI, triage can be performed by a neurosurgeon and the patient can be observed without interhospital transfer.

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Jacquelyn Corley, Eliana Kim, Chris Ann Philips, Martina Stippler, Ann M. Parr, Jennifer Sweet, and Gail Rosseau

The end of the first 100 years of any endeavor is an appropriate time to look back and peer forward. As neurosurgery celebrates its 1st century as a specialty, the increasing role of women neurosurgeons is a major theme. This article documents the early women pioneers in neurosurgery. The contributions of these trailblazers to the origins, academics, and professional organizations of neurosurgery are highlighted. The formation of Women in Neurosurgery in 1989 is described, as is the important role this organization has played in introducing and promoting talented women in the profession. Contributions of women neurosurgeons to academic medicine and society as a whole are briefly highlighted. Contemporary efforts and initiatives indicate future directions in which women may lead neurosurgery in its 2nd century.

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Martina Stippler, Veronica Ortiz, P. David Adelson, Yue-Fang Chang, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Ericka L. Fink, Patrick M. Kochanek, S. Danielle Brown, and Michael J. Bell

Object

Minimizing secondary brain injuries after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children is critical to maximizing neurological outcome. Brain tissue oxygenation monitoring (as measured by interstitial partial pressure of O2 [PbO2]) is a new tool that may aid in guiding therapies, yet experience in children is limited. This study aims to describe the authors' experience of PbO2 monitoring after TBI. It was hypothesized that PbO2 thresholds could be established that were associated with favorable neurological outcome, and it was determined whether any relationships between PbO2 and other important clinical variables existed.

Methods

Forty-six children with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8 after resuscitation) who underwent PbO2 and brain temperature monitoring between September 2004 and June 2008 were studied. All patients received standard neurocritical care, and 24 were concurrently enrolled in a trial of therapeutic early hypothermia (n = 12/group). The PbO2 was measured in the uninjured frontal cortex. Hourly recordings and calculated daily means of various variables including PbO2, intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), mean arterial blood pressure, partial pressure of arterial O2, and fraction of inspired O2 were compared using several statistical approaches. Glasgow Outcome Scale scores were determined at 6 months after injury.

Results

The mean patient age was 9.4 years (range 0.1–16.5 years; 13 girls) and 8554 hours of monitoring were analyzed (PbO2 range 0.0–97.2 mm Hg). A PbO2 of 30 mm Hg was associated with the highest sensitivity/specificity for favorable neurological outcome at 6 months after TBI, yet CPP was the only factor that was independently associated with favorable outcome. Surprisingly, instances of preserved PbO2 with altered ICP and CPP were observed in some children with unfavorable outcomes.

Conclusions

Monitoring of PbO2 demonstrated complex interactions with clinical variables reflecting intracranial dynamics using this protocol. A higher threshold than reported in studies in adults was suggested as a potential therapeutic target, but this threshold was not associated with improved outcomes. Additional studies to assess the utility of PbO2 monitoring after TBI in children are needed.

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Martina Stippler, Elizabeth Crago, Elad I. Levy, Mary E. Kerr, Howard Yonas, Michael B. Horowitz, and Amin Kassam

Object

Despite the application of current standard therapies, vasospasm continues to result in death or major disability in patients treated for ruptured aneurysms. The authors investigated the effectiveness of continous MgSO4 infusion for vasospasm prophylaxis.

Methods

Seventy-six adults (mean age 54.6 years; 71% women; 92% Caucasian) were included in this comparative matched-cohort study of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage on the basis of computed tomography (CT) findings. Thirty-eight patients who received continuous MgSO4 infusion were matched for age, race, sex, treatment option, Fisher grade, and Hunt and Hess grade to 38 historical control individuals who did not receive MgSO4 infusion. Twelve grams of MgSO4 in 500 ml normal saline was given intravenously daily for 12 days if the patient presented within 48 hours of aneurysm rupture. Vasospasm was diagnosed on the basis of digital substraction angiography, CT angiography, and transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, and evidence of neurological deterioration.

Symptomatic vasospasm was present at a significantly lower frequency in patients who received MgSO4 infusion (18%) compared with patients who did not receive MgSO4 (42%) (p = 0.025). There was no significant difference in mortality rate at discharge (p = 0.328). A trend toward improved outcome as measured by the modifed Rankin Scale (p = 0.084), but not the Glasgow Outcome Scale (p = 1.0), was seen in the MgSO4-treated group.

Conclusions

Analysis of the results suggests that MgSO4 infusion may have a role in cerebral vasospasm prophylaxis if therapy is initiated within 48 hours of aneurysm rupture.

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Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi, Ron L. Alterman, Martina Stippler, Kevin Phan, Abdulrahman Y. Alturki, Efstathios Papavassiliou, Ekkehard M. Kasper, Jeffrey Arle, Christopher S. Ogilvy, and Ajith J. Thomas

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) has a variety of clinical presentations, including hemiparesis. Hemiparesis is of the utmost importance because it is one of the major indications for surgical intervention and influences outcome. In the current study, the authors intended to identify factors influencing the presence of hemiparesis in CSDH patients and to determine the threshold value of hematoma thickness and midline shift for development of hemiparesis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 325 patients (266 with unilateral and 59 with bilateral hematomas) with CSDH who underwent surgical evacuation, regardless of presence or absence of hemiparesis.

RESULTS

In univariate analysis, hematoma loculation, age, hematoma maximal thickness, and midline shift were significantly associated with hemiparesis. Moreover, patients with unilateral hematomas had a higher rate of hemiparesis than patients with bilateral hematomas. Sex, trauma history, anticoagulant and antiplatelet drug use, presence of comorbidities, Glasgow Coma Scale score, hematoma density characteristics on CT scan, and hematoma signal intensity on T1- and T2-weighted MRI were not associated with hemiparesis. In multivariate analysis, the presence of loculation and hematoma laterality (unilateral vs bilateral) influenced hemiparesis. For unilateral hematomas, maximal hematoma thickness of 19.8 mm and midline shift of 6.4 mm were associated with a 50% probability of hemiparesis. For bilateral hematomas, 29.0 mm of maximal hematoma thickness and 6.8 mm of shift were associated with a 50% probability of hemiparesis.

CONCLUSIONS

Presence of loculations, unilateral hematomas, older patient age, hematoma maximal thickness, and midline shift were associated with a higher rate of hemiparesis in CSDH patients. Moreover, 19.8 mm of hematoma thickness and 6.4 mm of midline shift were associated with a 50% probability of hemiparesis in patients with unilateral hematomas.

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Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi, Martina Stippler, Siyu Shi, Nimer Adeeb, Raghav Gupta, Christoph J. Griessenauer, Efstathios Papavassiliou, Ekkehard M. Kasper, Jeffrey Arle, Ron L. Alterman, Christopher S. Ogilvy, and Ajith J. Thomas

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is commonly encountered in neurosurgical practice. However, surgical evacuation remains complicated by a high rate of reoperation. The optimal surgical approach to reduce the reoperation rate has not been determined. In the current study, the authors evaluated the prognostic value of clinical and radiographic factors to predict reoperation in the context of CSDH.

METHODS

A retrospective review of 325 CSDH patients admitted to an academic medical center in the United States, between 2006 and 2016, was performed. Clinical and radiographic factors predictive of the need for CSDH reoperation were identified on univariable and multivariable analyses.

RESULTS

Univariable analysis showed that warfarin use, clopidogrel use, mixed hypo- and isointensity on T1-weighted MRI, greater preoperative midline shift, larger hematoma/fluid residual on first postoperative day CT, lesser decrease in hematoma size after surgery, use of monitored anesthesia care (MAC), and lack of intraoperative irrigation correlated with a significantly higher rate of reoperation. Multivariable analysis, however, showed that only the presence of loculation, clopidogrel or warfarin use, and percent of hematoma change after surgery significantly predicted the need for reoperation. Our results showed that 0% (no reduction), 50%, and 100% hematoma maximum thickness change (complete resolution of hematoma after surgery) were associated with a 41%, 6%, and < 1% rate of reoperation, respectively. The use of drains, either large diameter or small caliber, did not have any effect on the likelihood of reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS

Among many factors, clopidogrel or warfarin use, hematoma loculation on preoperative CT, and the amount of hematoma evacuation on the first postoperative CT were the strongest predictors of reoperation.

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Kristen E. Jones, Ava M. Puccio, Kathy J. Harshman, Bonnie Falcione, Neal Benedict, Brian T. Jankowitz, Martina Stippler, Michael Fischer, Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, Anthony Fabio, Joseph M. Darby, and David O. Okonkwo

Object

Current standard of care for patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is prophylactic treatment with phenytoin for 7 days to decrease the risk of early posttraumatic seizures. Phenytoin alters drug metabolism, induces fever, and requires therapeutic-level monitoring. Alternatively, levetiracetam (Keppra) does not require serum monitoring or have significant pharmacokinetic interactions. In the current study, the authors compare the EEG findings in patients receiving phenytoin with those receiving levetiracetam monotherapy for seizure prophylaxis following severe TBI.

Methods

Data were prospectively collected in 32 cases in which patients received levetiracetam for the first 7 days after severe TBI and compared with data from a historical cohort of 41 cases in which patients received phenytoin monotherapy. Patients underwent 1-hour electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring if they displayed persistent coma, decreased mental status, or clinical signs of seizures. The EEG results were grouped into normal and abnormal findings, with abnormal EEG findings further categorized as seizure activity or seizure tendency.

Results

Fifteen of 32 patients in the levetiracetam group warranted EEG monitoring. In 7 of these 15 cases the results were normal and in 8 abnormal; 1 patient had seizure activity, whereas 7 had seizure tendency. Twelve of 41 patients in the phenytoin group received EEG monitoring, with all results being normal. Patients treated with levetiracetam and phenytoin had equivalent incidence of seizure activity (p = 0.556). Patients receiving levetiracetam had a higher incidence of abnormal EEG findings (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

Levetiracetam is as effective as phenytoin in preventing early posttraumatic seizures but is associated with an increased seizure tendency on EEG analysis.