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Jennifer L. Quon, Ryan A. Grant and Michael L. DiLuna

OBJECT

Extradural decompression is a minimally invasive technique for treating Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) that avoids the complications of dural opening. While there is no agreement on which surgical method is optimal, mounting evidence demonstrates that extradural decompression effectively treats clinical symptoms, with a minimal reoperation rate. Neurological symptoms such as headache may be related to obstructed flow of CSF, and one aspect of successful extradural decompression is improved CSF dynamics. In this series, the authors report on their use of phase-contrast cine flow MRI to assess CSF flow as well as satisfactory decompression.

METHODS

The authors describe their first surgical series of 18 patients with CM-I undergoing extradural decompression and correlate clinical improvement with radiological changes. Patients were categorized as having complete, partial, or no resolution of their symptoms. Posterior fossa area, cisterna magna area, and tonsillar herniation were assessed on T2-weighted MRI, whereas improvement of CSF flow was evaluated with phase-contrast cine flow MRI. All patients received standard pre- and postoperative MRI studies; 8 (44.4%) patients had pre- and postoperative phase-contrast cine, while the rest underwent cine studies only postoperatively.

RESULTS

All 18 patients presented with symptomatic CM-I, with imaging studies demonstrating tonsillar herniation ≥ 5 mm, and 2 patients had associated syringomelia. All patients underwent suboccipital decompression and C-1 laminectomy with splitting of the dura. Patients with complete resolution of their symptoms had a greater relative increase in cisterna magna area compared with those with only partial improvement (p = 0.022). In addition, in those with complete improvement the preoperative cisterna magna area was smaller than in those who had either partial (0.020) or no (0.025) improvement. Ten (91%) of the 11 patients with improved flow also had improvement in their symptoms. There was 1 postoperative complication of dysphagia and dysphonia. None of the patients have required a second operation.

CONCLUSIONS

Extradural decompression has the potential to be the first-line treatment for CM-I but has been lacking an objective measure by which to assess surgical success as well as the need for reoperation. An increase in the CSF spaces and improved CSF dynamics may be associated with resolution of clinical symptoms. Including cine imaging as part of routine pre- and postoperative evaluation can help identify which patients are most likely to benefit from surgery.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Michael L. DiLuna and Dennis D. Spencer

✓ The authors describe a patient who experienced stereotypical episodes of dyspnea and presyncopal sensation without loss of consciousness during a 4-month period. Further evaluation established intermittent arterial O2 desaturations associated with this dyspnea. After an extensive cardiopulmonary workup was performed for presumptive diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, a brain magnetic resonance image revealed a right medial temporal lobe lesion. The patient's dyspnea was then suspected to be a symptom of a seizure. His shortness of breath and O2 desaturation resolved with administration of phenytoin. This case, to the authors' knowledge, is the first documented example of simple partial seizures presenting with episodic autonomic cardiopulmonary symptoms in the absence of other ictal behavior. This case may also illustrate one specific limbic autonomic network.

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Matthew R. Sanborn, Michael L. DiLuna, Robert G. Whitmore and Phillip B. Storm

Fractures through the ring of the C-1 vertebrae are very rare in the pediatric patient population. In this report, the authors describe the case of a widely displaced fracture of the C-1 anterior arch in a 6-year-old boy. The fracture was initially treated using a fluoroscopy-guided, transoral, closed reduction with subsequent halo vest immobilization. Although conservative management of C-1 fractures is generally adequate and efficacious in the pediatric population, mechanistic and anatomical considerations in this case were concerning for potential instability in extension, and prompted an unusual method of closed reduction followed by treatment in a halo vest.

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Brian J. McHugh, Ryan A. Grant, Alyssa B. Zupon and Michael L. DiLuna

The etiology of os odontoideum has been debated in the literature since the condition was initially described. The authors present the case of a 4-year-old girl who was found to have an os odontoideum with atlantoaxial instability after a motor vehicle collision. Imaging performed 3 years earlier demonstrated an incompletely ossified, cartilaginous, orthotopic os separated from the body of the odontoid process at the level of the secondary ossification center with a short odontoid process. This case presents the earliest imaging demonstration of the presence of a congenital orthotopic os odontoideum at the secondary ossification center. The authors review the pertinent literature and propose that the etiology of os odontoideum is multifactorial and related to the embryology and vascular supply to the odontoid process.

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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.

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

OBJECTIVE

In the past decade, a gradual transition of health policy to value-based healthcare has brought increased attention to measuring the quality of care delivered. In spine surgery, adolescents with scoliosis are a population particularly at risk for depression, anxious feelings, and impaired quality of life related to back pain and cosmetic appearance of the deformity. With the rising prevalence of mental health ailments, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of concurrent affective disorders on patient care after spinal surgery in adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact that affective disorders have on perioperative complication rates, length of stay (LOS), and total costs in adolescents undergoing elective posterior spinal fusion (PSF) (≥ 4 levels) for idiopathic scoliosis.

METHODS

A retrospective study of the Kids’ Inpatient Database for the year 2012 was performed. Adolescent patients (age range 10–17 years old) with AIS undergoing elective PSF (≥ 4 levels) were selected using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification coding system. Patients were categorized into 2 groups at discharge: affective disorder or no affective disorder. Patient demographics, comorbidities, complications, LOS, discharge disposition, and total cost were assessed. The primary outcomes were perioperative complication rates, LOS, total cost, and discharge dispositions.

RESULTS

There were 3759 adolescents included in this study, of whom 164 (4.4%) were identified with an affective disorder (no affective disorder: n = 3595). Adolescents with affective disorders were significantly older than adolescents with no affective disorders (affective disorder: 14.4 ± 1.9 years vs no affective disorder: 13.9 ± 1.8 years, p = 0.001), and had significantly different proportions of race (p = 0.005). Aside from hospital region (p = 0.016), no other patient- or hospital-level factors differed between the cohorts. Patient comorbidities did not differ significantly between cohorts. The number of vertebral levels involved was similar between the cohorts, with the majority of patients having 9 or more levels involved (affective disorder: 76.8% vs no affective disorder: 79.5%, p = 0.403). Postoperative complications were similar between the cohorts, with no significant difference in the proportion of patients experiencing a postoperative complication (p = 0.079) or number of complications (p = 0.124). The mean length of stay and mean total cost were similar between the cohorts. Moreover, the routine and nonroutine discharge dispositions were also similar between the cohorts, with the majority of patients having routine discharges (affective disorder: 93.9% vs no affective disorder: 94.9%, p = 0.591).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that affective disorders may not have a significant impact on surgical outcomes in adolescent patients undergoing surgery for scoliosis in comparison with adults. Further studies are necessary to elucidate how affective disorders affect adolescent patients with idiopathic scoliosis, which may improve provider approach in managing these patients perioperatively and at follow-up in hopes to better the overall patient satisfaction and quality of care delivered.

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Jennifer A. Moliterno, Michael L. DiLuna, Shreya Sood, Kurt E. Roberts and Charles C. Duncan

✓ Gastric bypass surgery has become a safe and acceptable surgical weight loss treatment for individuals who suffer from morbid obesity. Patients who undergo this procedure are subject to vitamin deficiencies due to an iatrogenic malabsorptive state. Folate, a vitamin known for its role in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs), can be part of the deficiency spectrum resulting from this procedure. The authors describe the case of a woman who was nonadherent to multivitamin treatment after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Her lack of understanding and appreciation of the relationship between gastric bypass surgery, folate deficiency, and NTDs may have contributed to her noncompliance with daily multivitamin consumption. As a result, her potential problems with folate absorption could have contributed to her subsequently giving birth to a child with a myelomeningocele. Thus, patient awareness and counseling along with aggressive vitamin supplementation among this particular population may help prevent the occurrence of NTDs after gastric bypass surgery.

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Ozlem Guzeloglu-Kayisli, Umit A. Kayisli, Nduka M. Amankulor, Jennifer R. Voorhees, Ozgun Gokce, Michael L. Diluna, Maxwell S. H. Laurans, Guven Luleci and Murat Gunel

Object. Molecular genetic studies of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) have identified three loci, CCM1–3, that can lead to CCM when mutated. Examination of the CCM1 locus established KRIT1 (Krev1 Interaction Trapped gene 1) as the CCM1 gene. Despite the identification of KRIT1 as the gene mutated in CCM1, little has been learned regarding its function. The authors recently demonstrated specific KRIT1 expression in endothelial cells. Based on this result and the fact that the CCM phenotype features defects in microvasculature, we hypothesized that KRIT1 may take an active part in normal angiogenesis.

Methods. In this study, the authors investigated the spatial and temporal expression of KRIT1 during normal vessel development and maturation by examining KRIT1 protein in both in vitro and in vivo angiogenic systems with the use of postconfluent endothelial cell cultures along with placental tissues from different developmental stages.

Conclusions. The results demonstrate that KRIT1 is expressed during capillary-like tube formation in the early stages of angiogenesis in vitro. Histological examination of placental tissue, a well-established in vivo model of angiogenesis, shows KRIT1 expression in active angiogenic and vasculogenic areas of the immature placental villi. As the placenta matures, KRIT1 expression is restricted to microvascular and small arterial endothelial cells with little or no expression seen in the intima of large vessels. It can therefore be concluded that KRIT1 is expressed during early angiogenesis by endothelial cells and may play a key role in vessel formation and/or development.

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Andy J. Redmond, Michael L. DiLuna, Ryan Hebert, Jennifer A. Moliterno, Rani Desai, Jonathan P. S. Knisely and Veronica L. Chiang

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) improves overall survival in patients with malignant melanoma metastatic to the brain. In this study the authors investigated which patient- or treatment-specific factors influence survival of patients with melanoma brain metastases; they pay particular interest to pre- and post-GKS hemorrhage.

Methods

Demographic, treatment, and survival data on 59 patients with a total of 208 intracranial metastases who underwent GKS between 1998 and 2007 were abstracted from treatment records and from the Connecticut Tumor Registry. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors that independently affected survival.

Results

Survival was significantly better in patients with solitary metastasis (p = 0.04), lesions without evidence of pre-GKS hemorrhage (p = 0.004), and in patients with total tumor volume treated < 4 cm3 (p = 0.02). Intratumoral bleeding occurred in 23.7% of patients pre-GKS. Intratumoral bleeding occurred at a mean of 1.8 months post-GKS at a rate of 15.2%. Unlike the marked effect of pretreatment bleeding, posttreatment bleeding did not independently affect survival. Sex, systemic control, race, metastases location, whole-brain radiation therapy, chemotherapy, history of antithrombotic medications, and cranial surgery had no independent association with survival.

Conclusions

These data corroborate previous findings that tumor burden (either as increased number or total volume of lesions) at the time of GKS is associated with diminished patient survival in those with intracerebral melanoma metastases. Patients who were noted to have hemorrhagic melanoma metastases prior to GKS appear to have a worse prognosis following GKS compared with patients with nonhemorrhagic metastases, despite similar rates of bleeding pre- and post-GKS treatment. Gamma Knife surgery itself does not appear to increase the rate of hemorrhage.

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Benjamin C. Kennedy, Randy S. D’Amico, Brett E. Youngerman, Michael M. McDowell, Kristopher G. Hooten, Daniel Couture, Andrew Jea, Jeffrey Leonard, Sean M. Lew, David W. Pincus, Luis Rodriguez, Gerald F. Tuite, Michael L. Diluna, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Richard C. E. Anderson and Pediatric Craniocervical Society

OBJECT

The long-term consequences of atlantoaxial (AA) and occipitocervical (OC) fusion and instrumentation in young children are unknown. Anecdotal reports have raised concerns regarding altered growth and alignment of the cervical spine after surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of these surgeries on the growth and alignment of the maturing spine.

METHODS

A multiinstitutional retrospective chart review was conducted for patients less than or equal to 6 years of age who underwent OC or AA fusion with rigid instrumentation at 9 participating centers. All patients had at least 3 years of clinical and radiographic follow-up data and radiographically confirmed fusion. Preoperative, immediate postoperative, and most recent follow-up radiographs and/or CT scans were evaluated to assess changes in spinal growth and alignment.

RESULTS

Forty children (9 who underwent AA fusion and 31 who underwent OC fusion) were included in the study (mean follow-up duration 56 months). The mean vertical growth over the fused levels in the AA fusion patients represented 30% of the growth of the cervical spine (range 10%–50%). Three different vertical growth patterns of the fusion construct developed among the 31 OC fusion patients during the follow-up period: 1) 16 patients had substantial growth (13%–46% of the total growth of the cervical spine); 2) 9 patients had no meaningful growth; and 3) 6 patients, most of whom presented with a distracted atlantooccipital dislocation, had a decrease in the height of the fused levels (range 7–23 mm). Regarding spinal alignment, 85% (34/40) of the patients had good alignment at follow-up, with straight or mildly lordotic cervical curvatures. In 1 AA fusion patient (11%) and 5 OC fusion patients (16%), we observed new hyperlordosis (range 43°–62°). There were no cases of new kyphosis or swan-neck deformity, evidence of subaxial instability, or unintended subaxial fusion. No preoperative predictors of these growth patterns or alignment were evident.

CONCLUSIONS

These results demonstrate that most young children undergoing AA and OC fusion with rigid internal fixation continue to have good cervical alignment and continued growth within the fused levels during a prolonged follow-up period. However, some variability in vertical growth and alignment exists, highlighting the need to continue close long-term follow-up.