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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.

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Jonathan Roth, Neal Fischer, David D. Limbrick Jr., Travis CreveCoeur, Liat Ben-Sira and Shlomi Constantini

OBJECTIVE

Solitary posterior fossa low-grade glial tumors (SPFLGT) in children are rarely associated with leptomeningeal dissemination (LMD). To date, there are no clear guidelines regarding the role of screening and surveillance spinal MRI (sMRI) in children with SPFLGT, at diagnosis or during follow-up periods. The current study reviews a cohort of children with SPFLGT, focusing on sMRI findings.

METHODS

In this binational retrospective study, the authors analyzed 229 patients with SPFLGT treated and followed over 13 years. One hundred twelve children had at least 1 total sMRI screening or surveillance examination. One hundred seventeen had no sMRI, but did not present with clinical spinal signs or symptoms. Collected data included demographics, disease characteristics, radiology, pathology, and clinical follow-up data.

RESULTS

For the 112 children with at least 1 sMRI, the mean duration from diagnosis to first sMRI was 11.73 ± 28.66 months (range 0–165 months). All sMRI scans were conducted as screening examinations, with no spinal-related symptoms. One patient was found to have a sacral intradural lesion concurrent to the brain tumor diagnosis. Over the course of 180 radiological and 533 clinical follow-up years for the 112 patients with sMRI, and 582 clinical follow-up years for the 117 patients with no sMRI, there were no additional cases with spinal tumor spread.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of screening sMRI in the absence of cranial metastasis, or spinal symptoms, is extremely low. Because preoperative sMRI is recommended for medulloblastomas and ependymomas, it may be logical to acquire. During the follow-up period the authors recommend limiting sMRI in patients without symptoms suggesting a spinal lesion, in patients without known cranial metastases, or recurrence or residual SPFLGT.