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Molly E. Hubbard, Matthew A. Hunt, Kristen E. Jones and David W. Polly

Congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebra requires surgical stabilization prior to skeletal maturity if rapidly progressive curve growth occurs. Here the authors present the unique case of a man who, at the age of 12 years, had undergone Harrington rod placement for stabilization of progressive congenital scoliosis due to a T-11 hemivertebra and then, at the age of 53 years, presented with acutely progressive myelopathy due to spinal cord compression from an arachnoid web at T-11 despite a solid fusion mass at the prior surgical site. The patient underwent a posterior midline approach for resection of the T-11 pedicle at the level of the hemivertebra, intradural spinal cord detethering with resection of the arachnoid web at T-11, and T2–L2 instrumented fusion with deformity correction, leading to subsequent resolution of his acute myelopathic symptoms. In conclusion, arachnoid web formation superimposed on preexisting tension on the thoracic spinal cord from congenital scoliosis due to a T-11 hemivertebra caused acute myelopathy in an adult with a previously solid fusion mass from childhood. The resolution of acute myelopathy and halting of further progression occurred with pedicle resection, arachnoid web fenestration, and spinal deformity correction.

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Molly E. Hubbard, Ryan P. Jewell, Travis M. Dumont and Anand I. Rughani

Object

Skiing and snowboarding injuries have increased with the popularity of these sports. Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are a rare but serious event, and a major cause of morbidity and mortality for skiers and snowboarders. The purpose of this study is to characterize the patterns of SCI in skiers and snowboarders.

Methods

The authors queried the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the years 2000–2008 for all patients admitted with skiing or snowboarding as the mechanism of injury, yielding a total of 8634 patients. The injury patterns were characterized by the ICD-9 diagnostic and procedure codes. The codes were searched for those pertaining to vertebral and skull fracture; spinal cord, chest, abdominal, pelvic, and vessel injuries; and fractures and dislocations of the upper and lower extremity. Statistical analysis was performed with ANOVA and Student t-test.

Results

Patients were predominantly male (71%) skiers (61%), with the average age of the skiers being older than that of snowboarders (39.5 vs 23.5 years). The average length of stay for patients suffering from spine trauma was 3.8 days and was increased to 8.9 days in those with SCI. Among hospitalized patients, SCI was seen in 0.98% of individuals and was equally likely to occur in snowboarders and skiers (1.07% vs 0.93%, p < 0.509). Cervical spine trauma was associated with the highest likelihood of SCI (19.6% vs. 10.9% of thoracic and 6% of lumbar injuries, p < 0.0001). Patients who were injured skiing were more likely to sustain a cervical spine injury, whereas those injured snowboarding had higher frequencies of injury to the lumbar spine. The most common injury seen in tandem with spine injury was closed head injury, and it was seen in 13.4% of patients. Conversely, a spine injury was seen in 12.9% of patients with a head injury. Isolated spine fractures were seen in 4.6% of patients.

Conclusions

Skiers and snowboarders evaluated at the hospital are equally likely to sustain spine injuries. Additionally, participants in both sports have an increased incidence of SCI with cervical spine trauma.

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Abdullah Bin Zahid, David Balser, Rebekah Thomas, Margaret Y. Mahan, Molly E. Hubbard and Uzma Samadani

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH) is a highly morbid condition associated with brain atrophy in the elderly. It has a reported 30% 1-year mortality rate. Approximately half of afflicted individuals report either no or relatively unremarkable trauma preceding their diagnosis, raising the possibility that cSDH is a manifestation of degenerative or inflammatory disease rather than trauma. The purpose of this study was to compare the rates of cerebral atrophy before and after cSDH to determine whether it is more likely that cSDH causes atrophy or that atrophy causes cSDH. The authors also compared atrophy rates in patients with cSDH to the rates in patients with and without dementia.

METHODS

The authors developed algorithmic segmentation analysis software to measure whole-brain, CSF, and intracranial space volumes. They then identified military veterans who had undergone at least 4 brain CT scans over a period of 10 years. Within this database, the authors identified 146 patients with 962 head CT scans who had received diagnoses of either cSDH, dementia, or no known dementia condition. Volumetric analyses of brains in 45 patients with dementia (dementia group) and 73 patients without dementia (nondementia group), in whom 262 and 519 head CT scans were obtained, respectively, were compared with 11 patients in whom 81 CT scans were obtained a mean of 4.21 years before a cSDH diagnosis and 17 patients in whom 100 scans were obtained a mean of 4.24 years after SDH. Longitudinal measures were then related to disease status and the time since first scan by using hierarchical models, and atrophy rates between the groups were compared.

RESULTS

Head CT scans from patients were obtained for an average time period of 4.21 years (SD 1.69) starting at a mean patient age of 74 years. Absolute brain volume loss for the 17 patients in the post-SDH group (13 were treated surgically) was significantly greater, at 16.32 ml/year, compared with 6.61 ml/year in patients with dementia, 5.33 ml/year in patients without dementia, and 3.57 ml/year in pre-SDH patients. The atrophy rate for these individuals prior to enrollment in the study was 2.32 ml/year (p = 0.001). In terms of brain volume normalized to cranial cavity size, the post-SDH group had an atrophy rate of 0.7801%/year, compared with 0.4467%/year in patients with dementia, 0.3474%/year in patients without dementia, and 0.2135%/year in the pre-SDH group.

CONCLUSIONS

Prior to development of a cSDH, the atrophy rates in patients who ultimately develop cSDH are similar to those of patients without dementia. After development of a cSDH, the atrophy rates increase to more than twice those of patients with dementia. Chronic subdural hematoma is thus associated with a significant increase in brain atrophy rate. These findings suggest the neurotoxic consequences of cSDH and may have implications for better understanding of the pathophysiology of cerebral atrophy and dementia.