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Paul D. Chumas, Giuseppe Cinalli, Eric Arnaud, Daniel Marchac, and Dominique Renier

Cases of craniosynostosis usually fall into well-demarcated categories: those related to a syndrome or identified by a combination of suture involvement and morphological appearance. Between 1976 and 1995, 53 (3.6%) of 1474 cases in the craniofacial databank were assessed and designated as nonsyndromic but unclassifiable. The records and radiological studies obtained in these patients were retrospectively analyzed and comparisons were made with patients classified in the databank as having simple craniosynostoses.

It proved possible to divide the formerly unclassifiable cases into two groups: those with “two-suture disease” (Group A) and a “complex” group (Group B) in which more than two sutures were affected. Group A consisted of 36 cases (68%) of patients presenting with clear evidence of simultaneous involvement of two sutures but with no progression over time to suggest a more diffuse pansynostosis. Suture involvement was as follows: 17 of 36 sagittal plus one coronal; seven of 36 sagittal plus metopic; six of 36 sagittal plus one lambdoid; and six of 36 metopic plus one coronal. The only significant difference between the Group A cases and the cases of simple craniosynostoses was in the percentage requiring a second operation (24% vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

Group B consisted of 17 cases in which the patients presented at a slightly earlier age (mean 1 year) with severe morphological changes and multiple suture involvement. At the time of surgery, six of 17 patients showed large areas of lacunae within the cranial vault, making craniectomy the only option. In Group B, 10 of 17 patients displayed bilateral lambdoid plus sagittal suture involvement resulting in marked occipital recession posteriorly, whereas anteriorly in six of these 10 patients there was a massive frontal bone associated with posteriorly located coronal sutures. In contrast, there were also four patients in Group B with bilateral coronal plus metopic involvement resulting in a small frontal bone. There was a trend toward a lower intelligence quotient and a worse morphological outcome in the patients in Group B, but again the only result attaining statistical significance when compared to the databank was the rate of second operation (37.5 vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

“Two-suture synostosis” is a relatively straightforward condition and is treatable with standard craniosynostosis techniques. However, possibly as a result of surgical compromise when two sutures are involved, the rate of reoperation is far higher than in simple suture cases. In contrast, patients in the “complex” group presenting with severe multisuture involvement require a more tailor-made approach to their management that often entails a second procedure.

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Paul D. Chumas, Giuseppe Cinalli, Eric Arnaud, Daniel Marchac, and Dominique Renier

✓ Cases of craniosynostosis usually fall into well-demarcated categories: those related to a syndrome or those identified by a combination of suture involvement and morphological appearance. Between 1976 and 1995, 53 (3.6%) of 1474 cases in the craniofacial databank were assessed and designated as nonsyndromic but unclassifiable. The records and radiological studies obtained in these patients were retrospectively analyzed and comparisons were made with patients classified in the databank as having simple craniosynostoses.

It proved possible to divide the formerly unclassifiable cases into two groups: those with “two-suture disease” (Group A) and a “complex” group (Group B) in which more than two sutures were affected. Group A consisted of 36 cases (68%) of patients presenting with clear evidence of simultaneous involvement of two sutures but with no progression over time to suggest a more diffuse pansynostosis. Suture involvement was as follows: 17 of 36 sagittal plus one coronal; seven of 36 sagittal and metopic; six of 36 sagittal plus one lambdoid; and six of 36 metopic plus one coronal. The only significant difference between the Group A cases and the cases of simple craniosynostoses was in the percentage requiring a second operation (24% vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

Group B consisted of 17 cases in which the patients presented at a slightly earlier age (mean 1 year) with severe morphological changes and multiple suture involvement. At the time of surgery, six of 17 patients showed large areas of lacunae within the cranial vault, making craniectomy the only option. In Group B, 10 of 17 patients displayed bilateral lambdoid plus sagittal suture involvement resulting in marked occipital recession posteriorly, whereas anteriorly in six of these 10 patients there was a massive frontal bone associated with posteriorly located coronal sutures. In contrast, there were also four patients in Group B with bilateral coronal plus metopic involvement resulting in a small frontal bone. There was a trend toward a lower intelligence quotient and a worse morphological outcome in the patients in Group B, but again the only result attaining statistical significance when compared to the databank was the rate of second operation (37.5 vs. 5%, p < 0.0001).

“Two-suture synostosis” is a relatively straightforward condition and is treatable with standard craniosynostosis techniques. However, possibly as a result of surgical compromise when two sutures are involved, the rate of reoperation is far higher than in simple suture cases. In contrast, patients in the “complex” group presenting with severe multisuture involvement require a more tailor-made approach to their management that often entails a second procedure.

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Simon Thomson, Atul K. Tyagi, and Paul D. Chumas

✓ Three cases are presented in which progressive hypertrophic calcification formed following ventricular endoscopy. After a ventricular endoscopy has been performed, it has been the authors' practice to seal the burr hole with bone dust. They believe that the calcifications formed from bone dust that fell into the track left by the endoscope. This is the first time this complication has been described.

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Farshid Farzaneh, Ehsan Moradi, Zohreh Habibi, and Farideh Nejat

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Maggie Bellew, Rachel J. Mandela, and Paul D. Chumas

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to ascertain whether age at surgery has an impact on later neurodevelopmental outcomes for children with sagittal synostosis (SS).

METHODS

The developmental outcome data from patients who had surgery for SS and who attended their routine preoperative, 6–7 months postoperative, and 5-year-old developmental assessments (yielding general quotients [GQs]) (n = 50), 10-year-old IQ assessment (n = 54), and 15-year-old IQ assessment (n = 23) were examined, comparing whether they had surgery at < 7 months, 7 to < 12 months, or ≥ 12 months).

RESULTS

There was no significant effect for age at surgery for GQ at 5 years of age, but there was a significant effect (p = 0.0001) for those undergoing surgery at < 7 months in terms of preoperative gross locomotor deficit that resolved by 6–7 months postoperatively (increase of 22.1 points), and had further improved by 5 years of age (total increase of 29.4 points). This effect was lessened when surgery was performed later (total increase of 7.3 points when surgery was performed at ≥ 12 months). At 10 years of age, 1-way ANOVA showed a significant difference in Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) score (p = 0.013), with the highest mean FSIQ being obtained when surgery was performed at < 7 months of age (score 107.0), followed by surgery at 7 to < 12 months (score 94.4), and the lowest when surgery was performed at ≥ 12 months (score 93.6). One-way ANOVA for the Performance IQ (PIQ) was very similar (p = 0.012), with PIQ scores of 101.4, 91.4, and 87.3, respectively. One-way ANOVA for Verbal IQ (VIQ) was again significant (p = 0.05), with VIQ scores of 111.3, 98.9, and 100.4, respectively. At 15 years, 1-way ANOVA showed a significant difference in PIQ (p = 0.006), with the highest mean PIQ being obtained when surgery was performed at < 7 months (score 104.8), followed by surgery at 7 to < 12 months (score 90.0), and the lowest when surgery was at performed at ≥ 12 months of age (score 85.3). There were no significant results for FSIQ and VIQ, although there was a similar trend for better outcomes with early surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of this study add to the literature that suggests that early surgery for SS may result in improved neurodevelopmental outcomes, with surgery optimally undertaken when patients are < 7 months of age, and with those undergoing surgery at ≥ 12 months performing the least well. These results also have potential implications for ensuring early diagnosis and referral and for the type of surgery offered. Further research is needed to control for confounding factors and to identify the mechanism by which late surgery may be associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes.

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Giuseppe Cinalli, Christian Sainte-Rose, Paul Chumas, Michel Zerah, Francis Brunelle, Guillaume LOT, Alain Pierre-Kahn, and Dominique Renier

Object. The goal of this study was to analyze the types of failure and long-term efficacy of third ventriculostomy in children.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed clinical data obtained in 213 children affected by obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus who were treated by third ventriculostomy between 1973 and 1997. There were 120 boys and 93 girls. The causes of the hydrocephalus included: aqueductal stenosis in 126 cases; toxoplasmosis in 23 cases, pineal, mesencephalic, or tectal tumor in 42 cases; and other causes in 22 cases. In 94 cases, the procedure was performed using ventriculographic guidance (Group I) and in 119 cases by using endoscopic guidance (Group II). In 19 cases (12 in Group I and seven in Group II) failure was related to the surgical technique. Three deaths related to the technique were observed in Group I. For the remaining patients, Kaplan—Meier survival analysis showed a functioning third ventriculostomy rate of 72% at 6 years with a mean follow-up period of 45.5 months (range 4 days–17 years). No significant differences were found during long-term follow up between the two groups. In Group I, a significantly higher failure rate was seen in children younger than 6 months of age, but this difference was not observed in Group II. Thirty-eight patients required reoperation (21 in Group I and 17 in Group II) because of persistent or recurrent intracranial hypertension. In 29 patients shunt placement was necessary. In nine patients in whom there was radiologically confirmed obstruction of the stoma, the third ventriculostomy was repeated; this was successful in seven cases. Cine phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies were performed in 15 patients in Group I at least 10 years after they had undergone third ventriculostomy (range 10–17 years, median 14.3 years); this confirmed long-term patency of the stoma in all cases.

Conclusions. Third ventriculostomy effectively controls obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus in more than 70% of children and should be preferred to placement of extracranial cerebrospinal shunts in this group of patients. When performed using ventriculographic guidance, the technique has a higher mortality rate and a higher failure rate in children younger than 6 months of age and is, therefore, no longer preferred. When third ventriculostomy is performed using endoscopic guidance, the same long-term results are achieved in children younger than 6 months of age as in older children and, thus, patient age should no longer be considered as a contraindication to using the technique. Delayed failures are usually secondary to obstruction of the stoma and often can be managed by repeating the procedure. Midline sagittal T2-weighted MR imaging sequences combined with cine PC MR imaging flow measurements provide a reliable tool for diagnosis of aqueductal stenosis and for ascertaining the patency of the stoma during follow-up evaluation.

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Giuseppe Cinalli, Christian Sainte-Rose, Paul Chumas, Michel Zerah, Francis Brunelle, Guillaume Lot, Alain Pierre-Kahn, and Dominique Renier

Object

The goal of this study was to analyze the types of failure and long-term efficacy of third ventriculostomy in children.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed clinical data obtained in 213 children affected by obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus who were treated by third ventriculostomy between 1973 and 1997. There were 120 boys and 93 girls. The causes of the hydrocephalus included: aqueductal stenosis in 126 cases; toxoplasmosis in 23 cases, pineal, mesencephalic, or tectal tumor in 42 cases; and other causes in 22 cases. In 94 cases, the procedure was performed using ventriculographic guidance (Group I) and in 119 cases by using endoscopic guidance (Group II). In 19 cases (12 in Group I and seven in Group II) failure was related to the surgical technique. Three deaths related to the technique were observed in Group I. For the remaining patients, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a functioning third ventriculostomy rate of 72% at 6 years with a mean follow-up period of 45.5 months (range 4 days-17 years). No significant differences were found during long-term follow up between the two groups. In Group I, a significantly higher failure rate was seen in children younger than 6 months of age, but this difference was not observed in Group II. Thirty-eight patients required reoperation (21 in Group I and 17 in Group II) because of persistent or recurrent intracranial hypertension. In 29 patients shunt placement was necessary. In nine patients in whom there was radiologically confirmed obstruction of the stoma, the third ventriculostomy was repeated; this was successful in seven cases. Cine phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies were performed in 15 patients in Group I at least 10 years after they had undergone third ventriculostomy (range 10–17 years, median 14.3 years); this confirmed long-term patency of the stoma in all cases.

Conclusions

Third ventriculostomy effectively controls obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus in more than 70% of children and should be preferred to placement of extracranial cerebrospinal shunts in this group of patients. When performed using ventriculographic guidance, the technique has a higher mortality rate and a higher failure rate in children younger than 6 months of age and is, therefore, no longer preferred. When third ventriculostomy is performed using endoscopic guidance, the same long-term results are achieved in children younger than 6 months of age as in older children and, thus, patient age should no longer be considered as a contraindication to using the technique. Delayed failures are usually secondary to obstruction of the stoma and often can be managed by repeating the procedure. Midline sagittal T2-weighted MR imaging sequences combined with cine PC MR imaging flow measurements provide a reliable tool for diagnosis of aqueductal stenosis and for ascertaining the patency of the stoma during follow-up evaluation.

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Paul D. Chumas, James M. Drake, Marc R. Del Bigio, Marcia Da Silva, and Ursula I. Tuor

✓ The metabolic changes in neonatal hydrocephalus that lead to permanent brain injury are not clearly defined, nor is the extent to which these changes can be prevented by a cerebrospinal fluid shunt. To clarify these processes, cerebral glucose utilization was examined using [14C]2-deoxyglucose autoradiography in 1-month-old kittens, kaolin-induced hydrocephalic littermates, and hydrocephalic kittens in which a ventriculoperitoneal shunt had been inserted 10 days after kaolin injection. The hydrocephalic kittens showed thinning of the cerebral mantle and an anterior-to-posterior gradient of enlargement of the ventricular system, with a ventricle:brain ratio of 24% for the frontal and 35% for the occipital horns compared with control (< 0.5%) and shunted (< 5%) animals. White matter in hydrocephalic animals was edematous. Myelination was delayed in the periventricular region and in the cores of the cerebral gyri.

Glucose utilization in hydrocephalic and shunted animals was unchanged from control animals in all gray-matter regions examined. However, in hydrocephalic animals, the frontal white matter exhibited a significant increase in glucose utilization (25 µmol • 100 gm−1 • min−1) in the cores of gyri compared with normal surrounding white-matter values (14.8 µmol • 100 gm−1 • min−1). Very low values (mean 4 µmol • 100 gm−1 • min−1) were found in areas corresponding to severe white-matter edema, and these areas were surrounded by a halo of increased activity (24 µmol • 100 gm−1 • min−1). In contrast, cytochrome oxidase activity in white matter was homogeneous. Shunting resulted in restoration of the cerebral mantle thickness, a return to normal levels of glucose utilization in the white matter, and an improvement in myelination.

It is suggested that the areas of increased glucose utilization seen in the white matter represent anaerobic glycolysis which, if untreated, progresses to infarction. The pattern of this increased glucose utilization matches that of expected myelination and, during this period of high energy demand, white matter may be susceptible to the hypoperfusion associated with hydrocephalus.

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Paul D. Chumas, Marc R. Del Bigio, James M. Drake, and Ursula I. Tuor

✓ It has recently been reported that pretreatment with a single dose of dexamethasone (0.1 mg/kg) 24 hours before hypoxia in 7-day-old rat pups is protective against an hypoxic-ischemic insult (unilateral carotid artery occlusion followed by 3 hours of hypoxia in 8% O2). The authors now examine whether pretreatment 6 hours before insult is equally effective and compare other agents potentially suitable for prophylaxis in neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, including the calcium antagonists flunarizine (30 mg/kg pretreatment), nimodipine (0.5 mg/kg pretreatment), and the 21-aminosteroid U-74389F (10 mg/kg pre- and posttreatment). For each active agent, there was also a vehicle-treated control group.

Comparison of the mean area of ipsilateral infarction on brain coronal sections showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the various control groups (mean area of infarction 66% ± 4%). Pretreatment with dexamethasone 6 hours prior to hypoxia offered complete protection with no infarction. A beneficial effect was seen following pretreatment with flunarizine (mean area of infarction 33.6% ± 7.8%), although this degree of damage was still significantly different from that seen with dexamethasone pretreatment. Pretreatment with nimodipine or U-74389F offered no protection (mean area of infarction 77.5% ± 4% and 59% ± 10%, respectively). Unlike findings in adult animals and clinical studies, the current studies show that dexamethasone may have a role in the treatment of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia and deserves reappraisal.

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Maggie Bellew, Mark Liddington, Paul Chumas, and John Russell

Object

The object of this study was to clarify whether improved developmental attainment following surgical correction of sagittal synostosis (SS), previously identified at initial postoperative assessment, is maintained at longer-term follow-up at 5 years of age.

Methods

The study involved 32 children with SS who underwent corrective surgery at a mean (± SD) age of 8.5 ± 7.25 months (range 2.8–39.9 months). All the children were assessed preoperatively, at 7 months postoperatively, and at 5 years of age, using the Griffiths Mental Development Scales. A control group consisted of 23 children with SS who had received developmental assessment on 2 or more occasions without surgical intervention (8 of these children had had follow-up at 5 years of age).

Results

The data indicated that, prior to surgical correction, children with SS had poorer Gross Locomotor function than other areas of development and that, following surgical intervention, the deficit resolved (even where there was severe developmental delay). The results further showed that improvement in Gross Locomotor function observed at 7 months postoperatively was further improved upon by 5 years of age. The same was true for their overall General Quotient, even in those children exhibiting severe developmental delay. Lesser improvements across time were shown for other skill areas. The children with SS who did not undergo surgery did not show any improvement in development, and in fact a deterioration in fine locomotor control was identified in these patients.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that corrective surgery for SS has a positive early impact on development, which is maintained and improved upon by 5 years of age, and that this surgery therefore offers more than simply a cosmetic improvement. Furthermore, the results suggest that not operating on children with SS means not only that this opportunity for developmental gain is missed, but that it may also cause an actual deterioration in developmental attainment.