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Epidemiology of pediatric hydrocephalus in Haiti: analysis of a surgical case series

Michael Ragheb, Ashish H. Shah, Sarah Jernigan, Tulay Koru-Sengul, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus is recognized as a common disabling pediatric disease afflicting infants and children disproportionately in the developing world, where access to neurosurgical care is limited and risk of perinatal infection is high. This surgical case series describes the Project Medishare Hydrocephalus Specialty Surgery (PMHSS) program experience treating hydrocephalus in Haiti between 2008 and 2015.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all cases involving children treated for hydrocephalus within the PMHSS program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 2008 through 2015. All relevant epidemiological information of children treated were prospectively collected including relevant demographics, birth history, hydrocephalus etiology, head circumference, and operative notes. All appropriate associations and statistical tests were performed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS

Among the 401 children treated within PMHSS, postinfectious hydrocephalus (PIH) accounted for 39.4% (n = 158) of cases based on clinical, radiographic, and endoscopic findings. The majority of children with hydrocephalus in Haiti were male (54.8%, n = 197), born in the rainy season (59.7%, n = 233), and born in a coastal/inland location (43.3%, n = 61). The most common surgical intervention was endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) (45.7%, n = 175). Multivariate logistic regression analysis yielded coastal birth location (OR 3.76, 95% CI 1.16–12.18) as a statistically significant predictor of PIH. Increasing head circumference (adjusted OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.99–1.13) demonstrated a slight trend toward significance with the incidence of PIH.

CONCLUSIONS

This information will provide the foundation for future clinical and public health studies to better understand hydrocephalus in Haiti. The 39.4% prevalence of PIH falls within observed rates in Africa as does the apparently higher prevalence for those born during the rainy season. Although PIH was the most frequent etiology seen in almost all birth locations, the potential relationship with geography noted in this series will be the focus of further research in an effort to understand the link between climate and PIH in Haiti. The ultimate goal will be to develop an appropriate public health strategy to reduce the burden of PIH on the children of Haiti.

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Economic benefit of neurosurgical intervention for infant hydrocephalus in Haiti

Zachary S. Hubbard, Ashish H. Shah, Michael Ragheb, Shelly Wang, Sarah Jernigan, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Previous models have been utilized in other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to explore and assess the cost, sustainability, and effectiveness of infant hydrocephalus treatment. However, similar models have not been implemented in Haiti due to a paucity of data, epidemiology, and outcomes for hydrocephalus. Therefore, the authors utilized previously described economic modeling to estimate the annual cost and benefit of treating hydrocephalus in infants at a neurosurgery referral center, Hospital Bernard Mevs (HBM), in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of data obtained in all children treated for hydrocephalus at the HBM from 2008 to 2015. The raw data were pooled with previously described surgical outcomes for hydrocephalus in other LMICs. Modeling was performed to determine outcomes, neurosurgical costs, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and economic benefits of Haitian hydrocephalus treatment during this time frame. Standard account methodology was employed to calculate cost per procedure. Using these formulas, the net economic benefit and cost/DALY were determined for hydrocephalus treatment at HBM from 2008 to 2015.

RESULTS

Of the 401 patients treated during the study period, 158 (39.4%) met criteria for postinfectious hydrocephalus, 54 (13.5%) had congenital hydrocephalus, 38 (9.5%) had myelomeningocele, 19 (4.7%) had aqueductal stenosis, and 132 (33%) were not placed into a category. Overall, 317 individuals underwent surgical treatment of their hydrocephalus, averting 3077 DALYs. The total cost of the procedures was $754,000, and the cost per DALY ranged between $86 and $245. The resulting net economic benefit for neurosurgical intervention ranged from $2.5 to $5.5 million.

CONCLUSIONS

This work demonstrates the substantial economic benefit of neurosurgical intervention for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus at a single hospital in Haiti. Based on DALYs averted, the need for additional centers offering basic neurosurgical services is apparent. A single center offering these services for several days each month was able to generate between $2.5 to $5.5 million in economic benefits, suggesting the need to develop neurosurgical capacity building in Haiti. Ultimately, prevention, screening, and early surgical treatment of these infants represent a public health and socioeconomic requisite for Haiti.

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Endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization for the treatment of infantile hydrocephalus in Haiti

Ashish H. Shah, Yudy LaFortune, George M. Ibrahim, Iahn Cajigas, Michael Ragheb, Stephanie H. Chen, Ernest J. Barthélemy, Ariel Henry, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Untreated hydrocephalus poses a significant health risk to children in the developing world. In response to this risk, global neurosurgical efforts have increasingly focused on endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) in the management of infantile hydrocephalus in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Here, the authors report their experience with ETV/CPC at the Hospital Bernard-Mevs/Project Medishare (HBMPM) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of a series of consecutive children who had undergone ETV/CPC for hydrocephalus over a 1-year period at HBMPM. The primary outcome of interest was time to ETV/CPC failure. Univariate and multivariate analyses using a Cox proportional hazards regression were performed to identify preoperative factors that were associated with outcomes.

RESULTS

Of the 82 children who underwent ETV/CPC, 52.2% remained shunt free at the last follow-up (mean 6.4 months). On univariate analysis, the ETV success score (ETVSS; p = 0.002), success of the attempted ETV (p = 0.018), and bilateral CPC (p = 0.045) were associated with shunt freedom. In the multivariate models, a lower ETVSS was independently associated with a poor outcome (HR 0.072, 95% CI 0.016–0.32, p < 0.001). Two children (2.4%) died of postoperative seizures.

CONCLUSIONS

As in other LMICs, ETV/CPC is an effective treatment for hydrocephalus in children in Haiti, with a low but significant risk profile. Larger multinational prospective databases may further elucidate the ideal candidate for ETV/CPC in resource-poor settings.

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Surgical treatment of refractory status epilepticus in children

Clinical article

Sanjiv Bhatia, Faiz Ahmad, Ian Miller, John Ragheb, Glenn Morrison, Prasanna Jayakar, and Michael Duchowny

Object

Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a life-threatening neurological emergency associated with high morbidity and mortality. Affected patients often require prolonged intensive care and can suffer multiple complications. Surgical intervention to control RSE is rarely used but can obviate the risks of prolonged seizures and intensive care treatment. Authors of the present study analyzed their experience with the surgical management of patients suffering from RSE.

Methods

The Epilepsy Surgery Database at Miami Children's Hospital was reviewed for patients who had undergone surgery for RSE. Clinical presentation, electrophysiological profile, radiological data, surgical details, and postoperative course were evaluated.

Results

Between 1990 and 2012, 15 patients underwent surgery for uncontrolled seizures despite high-dose medical suppressive therapy. The mean preoperative duration of status epilepticus was 8 weeks. Ictal SPECT and FDG-PET imaging in conjunction with intraoperative electrophysiological studies helped to outline the extent of resection. Surgical intervention controlled seizures in all patients and facilitated the transition out of intensive care. Adverse events related to a prolonged intensive care unit stay included sepsis and respiratory complications. Four patients had worsened neurological function, developing hemiparesis and dysphasia. There was no operative mortality.

Conclusions

Surgical intervention can successfully control refractory partial status epilepticus, prevent associated morbidity, and decrease intensive care unit stay. Ictal SPECT and PET are valuable in guiding resection.

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Surgical management of quadrigeminal cistern arachnoid cysts: case series and literature review

Michael A. Silva, Henry Chang, John Weng, Nicole E. Hernandez, Ashish H. Shah, Shelly Wang, Toba Niazi, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Quadrigeminal cistern arachnoid cysts (QACs) are congenital lesions that can cause pineal region compression and obstructive hydrocephalus when sufficiently large. Management of these cysts is controversial and rates of reintervention are high. Given the limited data on the management of QACs, the authors retrospectively reviewed 20 years of cases managed at their institution and performed a literature review on this topic.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients treated for QAC at their institution between 2001 and 2021. They also performed a literature review of studies published between 1980 and 2021 that reported at least 5 patients treated for QACs. Patient characteristics, radiographic findings, management course, and postoperative follow-up data were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 12 patients treated for a QAC at the authors’ institution met the inclusion criteria for analysis. Median age was 9 months, mean cyst size was 5.1 cm, and 83% of patients had hydrocephalus. Initial treatment was endoscopic fenestration in 92% of these patients, 27% of whom had an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) performed concurrently. Reintervention was required in 42% of patients. Cases that required reintervention had a statistically significant lower median age at the initial intervention (5 months) than the cases that did not require reintervention (24.33 months; p = 0.018). There were no major complications. At a mean follow-up of 5.42 years, 83% of patients had improvement or resolution of their symptoms. A literature review revealed 7 studies that met the inclusion criteria, totaling 108 patients with a mean age of 8.8 years. Eighty-seven percent of patients had hydrocephalus at presentation. Ninety-two percent of patients were initially treated with endoscopic fenestration, 44% of whom underwent concurrent ETV. Complications occurred in 17.6% of cases, and reintervention was required in 30.6% of cases. The most frequent reason for reintervention was untreated or unresolved hydrocephalus after the initial procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic fenestration is the most common treatment for QACs. While generally safe and effective, there is a high rate of reintervention after initial treatment of QACs, which may be associated with a younger age at the first intervention. Additionally, identifying patients who require initial treatment of hydrocephalus is critically important, as the literature suggests that untreated hydrocephalus is a common cause of reintervention.

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Letter to the Editor: Avoiding routine postoperative head CT in children

Alexander G. Weil, John Ragheb, Toba N. Niazi, and Sanjiv Bhatia

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Initial experience with magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound stereotactic surgery for central brain lesions in young adults

Travis S. Tierney, Kambiz N. Alavian, Nolan Altman, Sanjiv Bhatia, Michael Duchowny, Ann Hyslop, Prasanna Jayakar, Trevor Resnick, Shelly Wang, Ian Miller, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is an incisionless procedure capable of thermoablation through the focus of multiple acoustic beams. Although MRgFUS is currently approved for the treatment of tremor in adults, its safety and feasibility profile for intracranial lesions in the pediatric and young adult population remains unknown.

METHODS

The long-term outcomes of a prospective single-center, single-arm trial of MRgFUS at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, are presented. Patients 15–22 years of age with centrally located lesions were recruited, clinically consistent with WHO grade I tumors that require surgical intervention. This cohort consisted of 4 patients with hypothalamic hamartoma (HH), and 1 patient with tuberous sclerosis complex harboring a subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA).

RESULTS

In each case, high-intensity FUS was used to target the intracranial lesion. Real-time MRI was used to monitor the thermoablations. Primary outcomes of interest were tolerability, feasibility, and safety of FUS. The radiographic ablation volume on intra- and postoperative MRI was also assessed. All 5 patients tolerated the procedure without any complications. Successful thermoablation was achieved in 4 of the 5 cases; the calcified SEGA was undertreated due to intratumor calcification, which prevented attainment of the target ablation temperature. The HHs underwent target tissue thermoablations that led to MR signal changes at the treatment site. For the patients harboring HHs, FUS thermoablations occurred without procedure-related complications and led to improvement in seizure control or hypothalamic hyperphagia. All 5 patients were discharged home on postoperative day 1 or 2, without any readmissions. There were no cases of hemorrhage, electrolyte derangement, endocrinopathy, or new neurological deficit in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

This experience demonstrates that FUS thermoablation of centrally located brain lesions in adolescents and young adults can be performed safely and that it provides therapeutic benefit for associated symptoms.

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Radiological and clinical predictors of scoliosis in patients with Chiari malformation type I and spinal cord syrinx from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium

Jennifer M. Strahle, Rukayat Taiwo, Christine Averill, James Torner, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Gerald F. Tuite, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Jerrel Rutlin, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Lissa C. Baird, Karin Bierbrauer, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Mark R. Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus R. Khan, Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, John Ragheb, Jodi L. Smith, Cormac O. Maher, Stephanie Greene, Michael Kelly, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark D. Krieger, Mandeep Tamber, Susan R. Durham, Greg Olavarria, Scellig S. D. Stone, Bruce A. Kaufman, Gregory G. Heuer, David F. Bauer, Gregory Albert, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Scott D. Wait, Mark D. Van Poppel, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy Mapstone, Joshua S. Shimony, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors’ goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

RESULTS

Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB–C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.

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Complications and outcomes of posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty versus without duraplasty for pediatric patients with Chiari malformation type I and syringomyelia: a study from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium

S. Hassan A. Akbari, Alexander T. Yahanda, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin Bierbrauer, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, George I. Jallo, James M. Johnston, Bruce A. Kaufman, Robert F. Keating, Nicklaus R. Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael S. Muhlbauer, Brent R. O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Joshua S. Shimony, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Mandeep S. Tamber, James C. Torner, Gerald F. Tuite, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine differences in complications and outcomes between posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) and without duraplasty (PFD) for the treatment of pediatric Chiari malformation type I (CM1) and syringomyelia (SM).

METHODS

The authors used retrospective and prospective components of the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium database to identify pediatric patients with CM1-SM who received PFD or PFDD and had at least 1 year of follow-up data. Preoperative, treatment, and postoperative characteristics were recorded and compared between groups.

RESULTS

A total of 692 patients met the inclusion criteria for this database study. PFD was performed in 117 (16.9%) and PFDD in 575 (83.1%) patients. The mean age at surgery was 9.86 years, and the mean follow-up time was 2.73 years. There were no significant differences in presenting signs or symptoms between groups, although the preoperative syrinx size was smaller in the PFD group. The PFD group had a shorter mean operating room time (p < 0.0001), fewer patients with > 50 mL of blood loss (p = 0.04), and shorter hospital stays (p = 0.0001). There were 4 intraoperative complications, all within the PFDD group (0.7%, p > 0.99). Patients undergoing PFDD had a 6-month complication rate of 24.3%, compared with 13.7% in the PFD group (p = 0.01). There were no differences between groups for postoperative complications beyond 6 months (p = 0.33). PFD patients were more likely to require revision surgery (17.9% vs 8.3%, p = 0.002). PFDD was associated with greater improvements in headaches (89.6% vs 80.8%, p = 0.04) and back pain (86.5% vs 59.1%, p = 0.01). There were no differences between groups for improvement in neurological examination findings. PFDD was associated with greater reduction in anteroposterior syrinx size (43.7% vs 26.9%, p = 0.0001) and syrinx length (18.9% vs 5.6%, p = 0.04) compared with PFD.

CONCLUSIONS

PFD was associated with reduced operative time and blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and fewer postoperative complications within 6 months. However, PFDD was associated with better symptom improvement and reduction in syrinx size and lower rates of revision decompression. The two surgeries have low intraoperative complication rates and comparable complication rates beyond 6 months.

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Socioeconomic and demographic factors in the diagnosis and treatment of Chiari malformation type I and syringomyelia

Syed Hassan A. Akbari, Asad A. Rizvi, Travis S. CreveCoeur, Rowland H. Han, Jacob K. Greenberg, James Torner, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Raheel Ahmed, Gerald F. Tuite, Bruce A. Kaufman, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Alexander K. Powers, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Karin Bierbrauer, William Boydston, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Robert C. Dauser, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Paul Klimo Jr., Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, Nickalus R. Khan, Toba N. Niazi, John Ragheb, Chevis N. Shannon, Jodi L. Smith, Laurie L. Ackerman, Andrew H. Jea, Cormac O. Maher, Prithvi Narayan, Gregory W. Albert, Scellig S. D. Stone, Lissa C. Baird, Naina L. Gross, Susan R. Durham, Stephanie Greene, Robert C. McKinstry, Joshua S. Shimony, Jennifer M. Strahle, Matthew D. Smyth, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Tae Sung Park, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to assess the social determinants that influence access and outcomes for pediatric neurosurgical care for patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) and syringomyelia (SM).

METHODS

The authors used retro- and prospective components of the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium database to identify pediatric patients with CM-I and SM who received surgical treatment and had at least 1 year of follow-up data. Race, ethnicity, and insurance status were used as comparators for preoperative, treatment, and postoperative characteristics and outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 637 patients met inclusion criteria, and race or ethnicity data were available for 603 (94.7%) patients. A total of 463 (76.8%) were non-Hispanic White (NHW) and 140 (23.2%) were non-White. The non-White patients were older at diagnosis (p = 0.002) and were more likely to have an individualized education plan (p < 0.01). More non-White than NHW patients presented with cerebellar and cranial nerve deficits (i.e., gait ataxia [p = 0.028], nystagmus [p = 0.002], dysconjugate gaze [p = 0.03], hearing loss [p = 0.003], gait instability [p = 0.003], tremor [p = 0.021], or dysmetria [p < 0.001]). Non-White patients had higher rates of skull malformation (p = 0.004), platybasia (p = 0.002), and basilar invagination (p = 0.036). Non-White patients were more likely to be treated at low-volume centers than at high-volume centers (38.7% vs 15.2%; p < 0.01). Non-White patients were older at the time of surgery (p = 0.001) and had longer operative times (p < 0.001), higher estimated blood loss (p < 0.001), and a longer hospital stay (p = 0.04). There were no major group differences in terms of treatments performed or complications. The majority of subjects used private insurance (440, 71.5%), whereas 175 (28.5%) were using Medicaid or self-pay. Private insurance was used in 42.2% of non-White patients compared to 79.8% of NHW patients (p < 0.01). There were no major differences in presentation, treatment, or outcome between insurance groups. In multivariate modeling, non-White patients were more likely to present at an older age after controlling for sex and insurance status (p < 0.01). Non-White and male patients had a longer duration of symptoms before reaching diagnosis (p = 0.033 and 0.004, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Socioeconomic and demographic factors appear to influence the presentation and management of patients with CM-I and SM. Race is associated with age and timing of diagnosis as well as operating room time, estimated blood loss, and length of hospital stay. This exploration of socioeconomic and demographic barriers to care will be useful in understanding how to improve access to pediatric neurosurgical care for patients with CM-I and SM.