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William B. Schueler, Timothy B. Mapstone and Naina L. Gross

The authors present a case of migration of a ventricular tapping system into the third ventricle of a 6-year-old boy who is was born prematurely. As an infant, the patient was treated with serial lumbar punctures for hydrocephalus associated with intraventricular hemorrhage. The patient progressed to requiring a ventricular tapping reservoir and eventually a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. The patient presented for suspected shunt malfunction 4 years after placement of his ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and the migrated ventricular tapping system was discovered. The authors discuss several management strategies that could be used to prevent this complication.

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Joshua D. Burks, Andrew K. Conner, Robert G. Briggs, Chad A. Glenn, Phillip A. Bonney, Ahmed A. Cheema, Sixia Chen, Naina L. Gross and Timothy B. Mapstone

OBJECTIVE

Experience has led us to suspect an association between shunt malfunction and recent abdominal surgery, yet information about this potential relationship has not been explored in the literature. The authors compared shunt survival in patients who underwent abdominal surgery to shunt survival in our general pediatric shunt population to determine whether such a relationship exists.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases in which pediatric patients underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunt operations at their institution during a 7-year period. Survival time in shunt operations that followed abdominal surgery was compared with survival time of shunt operations in patients with no history of abdominal surgery. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with failure.

RESULTS

A total of 141 patients who underwent 468 shunt operations during the period of study were included; 107 of these 141 patients had no history of abdominal surgery and 34 had undergone a shunt operation after abdominal surgery. Shunt surgery performed more than 2 weeks after abdominal surgery was not associated with time to shunt failure (p = 0.86). Shunt surgery performed within 2 weeks after abdominal surgery was associated with time to failure (adjusted HR 3.6, 95% CI 1.3–9.6).

CONCLUSIONS

Undergoing shunt surgery shortly after abdominal surgery appears to be associated with shorter shunt survival. When possible, some patients may benefit from shunt placement utilizing alternative termini.

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Andrew T. Hale, P. David Adelson, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Brent O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, Tae Sung Park, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Chevis N. Shannon, David D. Limbrick Jr. and for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

METHODS

Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

RESULTS

The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16–0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34–1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12–0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02–2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31–3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67–5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.