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Nolan J. Brown, Chidinma M. Wilson, and Donald K. E. Detchou

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Brandon M. Lehrich, Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Ronald Sahyouni, and Frank P. K. Hsu

Dr. James Tait Goodrich was an internationally renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who pioneered the neurosurgical procedures for the multistage separation of craniopagus twins. As of March 2020, 59 craniopagus separations had been performed in the world, with Goodrich having performed 7 of these operations. He was the single most experienced surgeon in the field on this complex craniofacial disorder. Goodrich was a humble individual who rapidly rose through the ranks of academic neurosurgery, eventually serving as Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. In this historical vignette, the authors provide context into the history of and sociocultural attitudes toward conjoined twins; the epidemiology and classification of craniopagus twins; the beginnings of surgery in craniopagus twins; Goodrich’s neurosurgical contributions toward advancing treatment for this complex craniofacial anomaly; and vignettes of Goodrich’s unique clinical cases that made mainstream news coverage.

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Chidinma M. Wilson, Nolan J. Brown, and Donald K. E. Detchou

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Chidinma M. Wilson, Nolan J. Brown, and Donald K. E. Detchou

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Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Brian V. Lien, Seth C. Ransom, Ali R. Tafreshi, Ryan Chase Ransom, and Ronald Sahyouni

OBJECTIVE

Cervical angina, or pseudoangina pectoris, is a noncardiac syndrome of chest pain that often mimics angina pectoris but is a disease of the spine. Diagnosis of cervical angina can be difficult and is often overlooked, although once identified, it can be successfully managed through conservative therapies and/or a variety of surgical interventions. Ultimately, cervical angina is an important component of the list of differential diagnoses in noncardiac chest pain. In the present study, the authors report the first comprehensive systematic review of the range of cervical and thoracic pathologies associated with cervical angina, as well as the different treatment methods used to manage this condition.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines and using PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases from database inception to April 29, 2020, to identify studies describing spinal pathologies related to cervical angina. The following Boolean search was performed: (“cervical” OR “thoracic”) AND (“angina” OR “chest pain”) AND (“herniation” OR “OPLL”). Variables extracted included patient demographics, cervical angina pain location, pathology and duration of symptoms, treatment and/or management method, and posttreatment pain relief.

RESULTS

Upon careful screening, 22 articles published between 1976 and 2020 met the study’s inclusion/exclusion criteria, including 5 case series, 12 case reports, and 5 retrospective cohort studies. These studies featured a total of 1100 patients, of which 95 met inclusion criteria (mean patient age 51.7 years, age range 24–86 years; 53.6% male). Collectively, symptom durations ranged from 1.5 days to 90 months. Cervical herniation (72.6%) accounted for the majority of cervical angina cases, and surgical interventions (84.4%) predominated over physical therapy (13.0%) and medical management strategies (9.1%). Every patient assessed at follow-up reported relief from symptoms related to cervical angina.

CONCLUSIONS

Cervical angina is a noncardiac syndrome of chest pain associated with a broad range of cervical and thoracic spinal pathologies, the most common of which is cervical disc herniation. Although difficult to diagnose, it can be successfully treated when identified through first-line conservative management or surgical interventions in refractory cases.

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Chidinma M. Wilson, Nolan J. Brown, and Donald K. E. Detchou

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Chidinma M. Wilson, Evalyn S. Mackenzie, Mikhal A. Yudien, Antoinette J. Charles, Marianne I. J. Tissot, Sydney J. Churchill, Nolan J. Brown, Jared M. Shulkin, Donald K. E. Detchou, Vamsi P. Reddy, and Lola B. Chambless

Open access

Matthew A. Liu, Julian L. Gendreau, Joshua J. Loya, Nolan J. Brown, Amber Keith, Ronald Sahyouni, Mickey E. Abraham, David Gonda, and Michael L. Levy

BACKGROUND

Chordomas are rare malignant neoplasms that develop from the primitive notochord with < 5% of the tumors occurring in pediatric patients younger than the age of 20. Of these pediatric chordomas, those affecting the craniocervical junction (C1–C2) are even more rare; therefore, parameters for surgical management of these pediatric tumors are not well characterized.

OBSERVATIONS

In this case, a 3-year-old male was found to have a clival chordoma on imaging with extension to the craniocervical junction resulting in spinal cord compression. Endoscopic-assisted transoral transclival approach for clival tumor resection was performed first. As a second stage, the patient underwent a left-sided far lateral craniotomy and cervical laminectomy for resection of the skull base chordoma and instrumented fusion of the occiput to C3. He made excellent improvements in strength and dexterity during rehab and was discharged after 3 weeks.

LESSONS

In pediatric patients with chordoma with extension to the craniocervical junction and spinal cord compression, decompression with additional occipito-cervical fusion appears to offer a good clinical outcome. Fusion performed as a separate surgery before or at the same time as the initial tumor resection surgery may lead to better outcomes.

Free access

Shane Shahrestani, Brandon M. Lehrich, Ali R. Tafreshi, Nolan J. Brown, Brian V. Lien, Seth Ransom, Ryan C. Ransom, Alexander M. Ballatori, Andy Ton, Xiao T. Chen, and Ronald Sahyouni

OBJECTIVE

Frailty is a clinical state of increased vulnerability due to age-associated decline and has been well established as a perioperative risk factor. Geriatric patients have a higher risk of frailty, higher incidence of brain cancer, and increased postoperative complication rates compared to nongeriatric patients. Yet, literature describing the effects of frailty on short- and long-term complications in geriatric patients is limited. In this study, the authors evaluate the effects of frailty in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm between 2010 and 2017 by using the Nationwide Readmission Database. Demographics and frailty were queried at primary admission, and readmissions were analyzed at 30-, 90-, and 180-day intervals. Complications of interest included infection, anemia, infarction, kidney injury, CSF leak, urinary tract infection, and mortality. Nearest-neighbor propensity score matching for demographics was implemented to identify nonfrail control patients with similar diagnoses and procedures. The analysis used Welch two-sample t-tests for continuous variables and chi-square test with odds ratios.

RESULTS

A total of 6713 frail patients and 6629 nonfrail patients were identified at primary admission. At primary admission, frail geriatric patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery had increased odds of developing acute posthemorrhagic anemia (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.23–1.98; p = 0.00020); acute infection (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.70–6.36; p = 0.00022); acute kidney injury (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07–1.62; p = 0.0088); urinary tract infection prior to discharge (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.71–2.29; p < 0.0001); acute postoperative cerebral infarction (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.17–2.11; p = 0.0026); and mortality (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.22–2.24; p = 0.0012) compared to nonfrail geriatric patients receiving the same procedure. In addition, frail patients had a significantly increased inpatient length of stay (p < 0.0001) and all-payer hospital cost (p < 0.0001) compared to nonfrail patients at the time of primary admission. However, no significant difference was found between frail and nonfrail patients with regard to rates of infection, thromboembolism, CSF leak, dural tear, cerebral infarction, acute kidney injury, and mortality at all readmission time points.

CONCLUSIONS

Frailty may significantly increase the risks of short-term acute complications in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm. Long-term analysis revealed no significant difference in complications between frail and nonfrail patients. Further research is warranted to understand the effects and timeline of frailty in geriatric patients.

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Robert C. Rennert, Michael G. Brandel, Shanmukha Srinivas, Divya Prajapati, Omar M. Al Jammal, Nolan J. Brown, Luis D Diaz-Aguilar, Jennifer Elster, David D. Gonda, John R. Crawford, and Michael L. Levy

OBJECTIVE

Children with nonoperative brain tumors, such as diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), often have life-threatening hydrocephalus. Palliative shunting is common in such cases but can be complicated by hardware infection and mechanical failure. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is a minimally invasive alternative to treat hydrocephalus without implanted hardware. Herein, the authors report their institutional experience with palliative ETV for primary pediatric brain tumors.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of consecutive patients who had undergone palliative ETV for hydrocephalus secondary to nonresectable primary brain tumors over a 10-year period at Rady Children’s Hospital. Collected variables included age, sex, tumor type, tumor location, presence of leptomeningeal spread, use of a robot for ETV, complications, ETV Success Score (ETVSS), functional status, length of survival, and follow-up time. A successful outcome was defined as an ETV performed without clinically significant perioperative complications or secondary requirement for a new shunt.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients met the study inclusion criteria (11 males, 4 females; average age 7.9 years, range 0.8–21 years). Thirteen patients underwent manual ETV, and 2 patients underwent robotic ETV. Preoperative symptoms included gaze palsy, nausea/vomiting, headache, lethargy, hemiparesis, and seizures. Tumor types included DIPG (3), intraventricular/thalamic glioblastoma (2), and leptomeningeal spread of medulloblastoma (2), anaplastic oligo-/astrocytoma (2), rhabdoid tumor (2), primitive neuroectodermal tumor (1), ganglioglioma (1), pineoblastoma (1), and embryonal carcinoma (1). The mean preoperative ETVSS was 79 ± 8.8. There was 1 perioperative complication, a wound breakdown consistent with refractory hydrocephalus. The mean follow-up was 4.9 ± 5.5 months overall, and mean survival for the patients who died was 3.2 ± 3.6 months. Two patients remained alive at a mean follow-up of 15.7 months. Palliative ETV was successful in 7 patients (47%) and unsuccessful in 8 (53%). While patients with successful ETV were significantly older (11.9 ± 5.6 vs 4.4 ± 4.1 years, p = 0.010), there were no significant differences in preoperative ETVSS (p = 0.796) or postoperative survival (p = 0.476) between the successful and unsuccessful groups. Overall, functional outcomes were similar between the two groups; there was no significant difference in posttreatment Karnofsky Performance Status scores (68.6 ± 19.5 vs 61.3 ± 16.3, p = 0.454), suggesting that including ETV in the treatment algorithm did not worsen outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Palliative ETV is a safe and potentially efficacious treatment option in selected pediatric patients with hydrocephalus from nonoperative brain tumors. Close follow-up, especially in younger children, is required to ensure that patients with refractory symptoms receive appropriate secondary CSF diversion.