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Nicholas Sader, Walter Hader, Aaron Hockley, Valerie Kirk, Adetayo Adeleye, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Chiari 1.5 malformation is a subgroup of the Chiari malformation in which tonsillar descent into the foramen magnum is accompanied by brainstem descent. No data exist on whether operative decompression in patients with Chiari 1.5 improves sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) and whether there are radiological parameters predicting improvement.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of consecutive pediatric patients with Chiari 1.5 malformation and SRBDs at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. An SRBD was characterized using nocturnal polysomnography (PSG), specifically with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), the obstructive apnea index, and the central apnea index. Preoperative values for each of these indices were compared to those following surgical decompression. The authors also compared preoperative radiographic factors as predictors to both preoperative AHI and the change in AHI with surgery. Radiological factors included tonsillar and obex descent beneath the basion–opisthion line, the presence of syringomyelia, the frontooccipital horn ratio, the pB–C2 line, and the clivoaxial angle.

RESULTS

Seven patients (5 males, 2 females) met inclusion criteria. One patient had two surgical decompressions, each with pre- and postoperative PSG studies (n = 8). The median age was 9 years. Before surgical decompression, 75% underwent tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. The majority (87.5%) experienced snoring/witnessed apnea preoperatively. The median tonsillar and obex descent values were 21.3 mm and 11.2 mm, respectively. The median values for the pB–C2 line and clivoaxial angle were 5.4 mm (interquartile range [IQR] 4.5 mm, 6.8 mm) and 144° (IQR 139°, 167°), respectively. There was a statistically significant change from preoperative to postoperative AHI (19.7 vs 5.1, p = 0.015) and obstructive apnea index (4.5 vs 1.0, p = 0.01). There was no significant change in the central apnea index with surgery (0.9 vs 0.3, p = 0.12). No radiological factors were statistically significant in predicting preoperative AHI and change in AHI.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first series of pediatric patients with Chiari 1.5 with SRBDs who demonstrated a marked improvement in their PSG results postdecompression. Sleep apnea has a significant impact on learning and development in children, highlighting the urgency to recognize Chiari 1.5 as a more severe form of the Chiari I malformation.

Free access

Nicholas Sader, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Matthew E. Eagles, Salim Ahmed, Jenna E. Koschnitzky, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

YouTube has become an important information source for pediatric neurosurgical patients and their families. The goal of this study was to determine whether the informative quality of videos of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV + CPC) is associated with metrics of popularity.

METHODS

This cross-sectional study used comprehensive search terms to identify videos pertaining to ETV and ETV + CPC presented on the first 3 pages of search results on YouTube. Two pediatric neurosurgeons, 1 neurosurgery resident, and 2 patient families independently reviewed the selected videos. Videos were assessed for overall informational quality by using a validated 5-point Global Quality Score (GQS) and compared to online metrics of popularity and engagement such as views, likes, likes/views ratio, comments/views ratio, and likes/dislikes ratio. Weighted kappa scores were used to measure agreement between video reviewers.

RESULTS

A total of 58 videos (47 on ETV, 7 on ETV + CPC, 4 on both) of 120 videos assessed met the inclusion criteria. Video styles included “technical” (62%), “lecture” (24%), “patient testimonial” (4%), and “other” (10%). In terms of GQS, substantial agreement was seen between surgeons (kappa 0.67 [95% CI 0.55, 0.80]) and excellent agreement was found between each surgeon and the neurosurgical resident (0.77 [95% CI 0.66, 0.88] and 0.89 [95% CI 0.82, 0.97]). Only fair to moderate agreement was seen between professionals and patient families, with weighted kappa scores ranging from 0.07 to 0.56. Academic lectures were more likely to be rated good or excellent (64% vs 0%, p < 0.001) versus surgical procedure and testimonial video types. There were significant associations between a better GQS and more likes (p = 0.01), views (p = 0.02), and the likes/dislikes ratio (p = 0.016). The likes/views ratio (p = 0.31) and comments/views ratio (p = 0.35) were not associated with GQS. The number of likes (p = 0.02), views (p = 0.03), and the likes/dislikes ratio (p = 0.015) were significantly associated with video style (highest for lecture-style videos).

CONCLUSIONS

Medical professionals tended to agree when assessing the overall quality of YouTube videos, but this agreement was not as strongly seen when compared to parental ratings. The online metrics of likes, views, and likes/dislikes ratio appear to predict quality. Neurosurgeons seeking to increase their online footprint via YouTube would be well advised to focus more on the academic lecture style because these were universally better rated.

Restricted access

Nicholas Sader, Vivek Mehta, Shannon Hart, Lori Bliss, Hanna Moore, Melissa DaSilva, Ruksana Rashid, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis represents the second most common reason for referral to pediatric neurosurgery. However, the quality of life and neurodevelopmental impact of leaving this physical disorder uncorrected is poorly understood.

METHODS

This multicenter cross-sectional study identified previously managed nonsyndromic infants (< 24 months of age) with single-suture craniosynostosis at both pediatric neurosurgical centers in Alberta, Canada. The primary variable of interest was the allocated treatment (surgical vs conservative). The primary outcome was the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL), a validated measure of quality of life examining physical, emotional, social, and school functioning. Treatment decision satisfaction and the reasons for selected management were quantified and collected directly from caregivers.

RESULTS

One hundred fourteen children met the inclusion criteria: 78% underwent surgery and 22% had conservative treatment. The most common suture affected was sagittal (54%), followed by metopic (33%), coronal (10%), and lambdoid (3%). Caregivers most commonly opted for surgery because of severe appearance (80%). Seventy-six percent and 72% of the caregivers of children with conservative management did so due to concerns of surgical risks and mild appearance, respectively. There was a statistically significant relationship between both the parents’ (p < 0.001) and the surgeon’s (p = 0.001) impression of a severe head shape and surgical management. Parental satisfaction with their child’s appearance as well as satisfaction with their treatment decision did not differ between management types. Regarding quality of life, on univariate analysis, the conservative group had a statistically higher physical summary score (p = 0.01), psychosocial summary score (p = 0.004), and mean total scale score (p = 0.003) compared to the surgical group. However, after adjusting for severity and age at consult, no significant independent associations between management type and any of the PedsQL summary scores were found.

CONCLUSIONS

Alberta families have a high number of children with craniosynostosis treated with conservative management. Conservatively managed infants were largely minimally affected patients, particularly those with metopic synostosis. The study found no independent association between management type (surgery vs conservative) and quality of life when adjusted for important patient factors.

Open access

Albert M. Isaacs, Chad G. Ball, Nicholas Sader, Sandeep Muram, David Ben-Israel, Geberth Urbaneja, Jarred Dronyk, Richard Holubkov, and Mark G. Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

Patient outcomes of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery, the mainstay treatment for hydrocephalus in adults, are poor because of high shunt failure rates. The use of neuronavigation or laparoscopy can reduce the risks of proximal or distal shunt catheter failure, respectively, but has less independent effect on overall shunt failures. No adult studies to date have combined both approaches in the setting of a shunt infection prevention protocol to reduce shunt failure. The goal of this study was to determine whether combining neuronavigation and laparoscopy with a shunt infection prevention strategy would reduce the incidence of shunt failures in adult hydrocephalic patients.

METHODS

Adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) undergoing VP shunt surgery at a tertiary care institution prior to (pre–Shunt Outcomes [ShOut]) and after (post-ShOut) the start of a prospective continuous quality improvement (QI) study were compared. Pre-ShOut patients had their proximal and distal catheters placed under conventional freehand approaches. Post-ShOut patients had their shunts inserted with neuronavigational and laparoscopy assistance in placing the distal catheter in the perihepatic space (falciform technique). A shunt infection reduction protocol had been instituted 1.5 years prior to the start of the QI initiative. The primary outcome of interest was the incidence of shunt failure (including infection) confirmed by standardized criteria indicating shunt revision surgery.

RESULTS

There were 244 (115 pre-ShOut and 129 post-ShOut) patients observed over 7 years. With a background of shunt infection prophylaxis, combined neuronavigation and laparoscopy was associated with a reduction in overall shunt failure rates from 37% to 14%, 45% to 22%, and 51% to 29% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively (HR 0.44, p < 0.001). Shunt infection rates decreased from 8% in the pre-ShOut group to 0% in the post-ShOut group. There were no proximal catheter failures in the post-ShOut group. The 2-year rates of distal catheter failure were 42% versus 20% in the pre- and post-ShOut groups, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Introducing a shunt infection prevention protocol, placing the proximal catheter under neuronavigation, and placing the peritoneal catheter in the perihepatic space by using the falciform technique led to decreased rates of infection, distal shunt failure, and overall shunt failure.