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Paul S. Page and Darnell T. Josiah

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic vertebral artery injuries (TVAIs) are a common finding in cervical spine trauma and can predispose patients to posterior circulation infarction. While extensive research has been conducted regarding the management and criteria for imaging in patients with suspected blunt vascular injury, little research has been conducted highlighting these injuries in the geriatric population.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients evaluated at a level 1 trauma center and found to have TVAIs between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2018. Biometric, clinical, and imaging data were obtained from a trauma registry database. Patients were divided into 2 groups on the basis of age, a geriatric group (age ≥ 65 years) and an adult group (age 18 to < 65 years). Variables evaluated included type of trauma, mortality, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and ICU length of stay. The Student t-test was used for continuous variables, and Pearson’s chi-square test was used for categorical variables.

RESULTS

Of the 2698 of patients identified with traumatic cervical spine injuries, 103 patients demonstrated evidence of TVAI. Of these patients, 69 were < 65 and 34 were ≥ 65 years old at the time of their trauma. There was no difference in the incidence of TVAIs between the 2 groups. The ICU length of stay (4.71 vs 4.32 days, p > 0.05), hospital length of stay (10.71 vs 10.72 days, p > 0.05), and the ISS (21.50 vs 21.32, p > 0.05) did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Mortality was significantly higher in the geriatric group, occurring in 9 of 34 patients (26.5%) compared with only 3 of 69 patients (4.4%) in the adult group (p < 0.001). Ground-level falls were the most common inciting event in the geriatric group (44% vs 14.5%, p < 0.001), whereas motor vehicle accidents were the most common etiology in the younger population (72.5% vs 38.2%, p < 0.001). Incidence of ischemic stroke did not vary significantly between the 2 groups (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

TVAI in the older adult population is associated with a significantly greater risk of mortality than in the younger adult population, despite the 2 groups having similar ISSs. Additionally, low-velocity mechanisms of injury, such as ground-level falls, are a greater risk factor for acquired TVAI in older adults than in younger adults, in whom it is a significantly less common etiology.

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Paul S. Page, Garret P. Greeneway, Simon G. Ammanuel, and Daniel K. Resnick

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar synovial cysts (LSCs) represent a relatively rare clinical pathology that may result in radiculopathy or neurogenic claudication. Because of the potential for recurrence of these cysts, some authors advocate for segmental fusion, as opposed to decompression alone, as a way to eliminate the risk for recurrence. The objective of this study was to create a predictive score for synovial cyst recurrence following decompression without fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was completed of all patients evaluated at a single center over 20 years who were found to have symptomatic LSCs requiring intervention. Only patients undergoing decompression without fusion were included in the analysis. Following this review, baseline characteristics were obtained as well as radiological information. A machine learning method (risk-calibrated supersparse linear integer model) was then used to create a risk stratification score to identify patients at high risk for symptomatic cyst recurrence requiring repeat surgical intervention. Following the creation of this model, a fivefold cross-validation was completed.

RESULTS

In total, 89 patients were identified who had complete radiological information. Of these 89 patients, 11 developed cyst recurrence requiring reoperation. The Lumbar Synovial Cyst Score was then created with an area under the curve of 0.83 and calibration error of 11.0%. Factors predictive of recurrence were found to include facet inclination angle > 45°, canal stenosis > 50%, T2 joint space hyperintensity, and presence of grade I spondylolisthesis. The probability of cyst recurrence ranged from < 5% for a score of 2 or less to > 88% for a score of 7.

CONCLUSIONS

The Lumbar Synovial Cyst Score model is a quick and accurate tool to assist in clinical decision-making in the treatment of LSCs.

Free access

Paul S. Page, Zhikui Wei, and Nathaniel P. Brooks

OBJECTIVE

Motorcycle helmets have been shown to decrease the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury due to motorcycle crashes. Despite this proven efficacy, some previous reports and speculation suggest that helmet use is associated with a higher likelihood of cervical spine injury (CSI). In this study, the authors examine 1061 cases of motorcycle crash victims who were treated during a 5-year period at a Level 1 trauma center to investigate the association of helmet use with the incidence and severity of CSI. The authors hypothesized that wearing a motorcycle helmet during a motorcycle crash is not associated with an increased risk of CSI and may provide some protective advantage to the wearer.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases in which the patient had been involved in a motorcycle crash and was evaluated at a single Level 1 trauma center in Wisconsin between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2015. Biometric, clinical, and imaging data were obtained from a trauma registry database. The patients were then divided into 2 distinct groups based on whether or not they were wearing helmets at the time of the accident. Baseline and functional characteristics were compared between the 2 groups. The Student t-test was used for continuous variables, and Pearson’s chi-square analysis was used for categorical variables.

RESULTS

In total, 1061 patient charts were examined containing data on 738 unhelmeted (69.6%) and 323 helmeted (30.4%) motorcycle riders. On average, helmeted riders had a much lower Injury Severity Score (p < 0.001). Cervical spine injury occurred in 114 unhelmeted riders (15.4%) compared with only 24 helmeted riders (7.4%) (p < 0.001), with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.3 (95% CI 1.44–3.61, p = 0.0005). In the unhelmeted group, 10.8% of patients were found to have a cervical spine fracture compared with only 4.6% of patients in the helmeted group (p = 0.001). Additionally, ligamentous injury occurred more frequently in unhelmeted riders (1.9% vs 0.3%, p = 0.04). No difference was found in the occurrence of cervical strain, cord contusion, or nerve root injury (all p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study demonstrate a statistically significant lower likelihood of suffering a CSI among helmeted motorcyclists. Unhelmeted riders sustained a statistically significant higher number of vertebral fractures and ligamentous injuries. The study findings reported here confirm the authors’ hypothesis that helmet use does not increase the risk of developing a cervical spine fracture and may provide some protective advantage.

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Paul S. Page, Garret P. Greeneway, Wendell B. Lake, Nathaniel P. Brooks, Darnell T. Josiah, Amgad S. Hanna, and Daniel K. Resnick

OBJECTIVE

Extension fractures in the setting of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) represent highly unstable injuries. As a result, these fractures are most frequently treated with immediate surgical fixation to limit any potential risk of associated neurological injury. Although this represents the standard of care, patients with significant comorbidities, advanced age, or medical instability may not be surgical candidates. In this paper, the authors evaluated a series of patients with extension DISH fractures who were treated with orthosis alone and evaluated their outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective review from 2015 to 2022 was conducted at a large level 1 trauma center. Patients with extension-type DISH fractures without neurological deficits were identified. All patients were treated conservatively with orthosis alone. Baseline patient characteristics and adverse outcomes are reported.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven patients were identified as presenting with extension fractures associated with DISH without neurological deficit. Of these, 22 patients had complete follow-up on final chart review. Of these 22 patients, 21 (95.5%) were treated successfully with external orthosis. One patient (4.5%) who was noncompliant with the brace had an acute spinal cord injury 1 month after presentation, requiring immediate surgical fixation and decompression. No other complications, including skin breakdown or pressure ulcers related to bracing, were reported.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of extension-type DISH fractures may be a reasonable option for patients who are not candidates for safe surgical intervention; however, a risk of neurological injury secondary to delayed instability remains, particularly if patients are noncompliant with the bracing regimen. This risk should be balanced against the high complication rate and potential mortality associated with surgical intervention in this patient population.

Open access

Cody J. Falls, Paul S. Page, Garret P. Greeneway, Daniel K. Resnick, and James A. Stadler III

BACKGROUND

Noonan syndrome (NS) is a rare genetic RASopathy with multisystem implications. The disorder is typically characterized by short stature, distinctive facial features, intellectual disability, developmental delay, chest deformity, and congenital heart disease. NS may be inherited or arise secondary to spontaneous mutations of genes in the Ras/mitogen activated protein kinase signaling pathways.

OBSERVATIONS

Numerous case reports exist detailing the association between NS and Chiari I malformation (CM-I), although this relationship has not been fully established. Patients with NS who present with CM-I requiring operation have shown high rates reoperation for failed decompression. The authors reported two patients with NS, CM-I, and syringomyelia who had prior posterior fossa decompressions without syrinx improvement. Both patients received reoperation with successful outcomes.

LESSONS

The authors highlighted the association between NS and CM-I and raised awareness that patients with these disorders may be at higher risk for failed posterior fossa decompression, necessitating reoperation.

Open access

Ayman W. Taher, Paul S. Page, Garret P. Greeneway, Simon Ammanuel, Katherine M. Bunch, Lars Meisner, Amgad Hanna, and Darnell Josiah

BACKGROUND

Fractures in patients with diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) are considered highly unstable injuries with high risk for neurological injury. Surgical intervention is the standard of care for these patients to avoid secondary spinal cord injuries. Despite this, certain cases may necessitate a nonoperative approach. Herein within, the authors describe three cases of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar fractures in the setting of DISH that were successfully treated via orthosis.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present three cases of fractures in patients with DISH. A 74-year-old female diagnosed with an acute fracture of a flowing anterior osteophyte at C6–C7 treated with a cervical orthosis. A 78-year-old male with an anterior fracture of the ankylosed T7–T8 vertebrae managed with a Jewett hyperextension brace. Finally, a 57-year-old male with an L1–L2 disc space fracture treated with a thoraco-lumbo-sacral orthosis. All patients recovered successfully.

LESSONS

In certain cases, conservative treatment may be more appropriate for fractures in the setting of DISH as an alternative to the surgical standard of care. Most fractures in the setting of DISH are unstable, therefore it is necessary to manage these patients on a case-by-case basis.

Restricted access

Harry S. Greenberg, William F. Chandler, Richard F. Diaz, William D. Ensminger, Larry Junck, Michaelyn A. Page, Stephen S. Gebarski, Paul McKeever, Terry W. Hood, Philip L. Stetson, Allen S. Litchter, and Roberta Tankanow

✓ Bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), a nonhypoxic radiosensitizing drug, is a halogenated pyrimidine analog that is incorporated into the deoxyribonucleic acid of dividing cells in a competitive process with thymidine; BUdR also sensitizes these cells to radiation therapy. Neurons and glial cells have a very low mitotic rate. They will not incorporate BUdR and will not be sensitized. Bromodeoxyuridine is best delivered intra-arterially because of its regional advantage, calculated to be between 6 and 16. An 8-week BUdR infusion is delivered before and during radiation therapy through a permanently implanted pump with a catheter placed retrograde into the external carotid artery. Eighteen patients with malignant glioma (15 grade IV, and three grade III) were entered into a Phase I dose-escalation protocol with BUdR dosages ranging from 400 to 600 mg/sq m/day. The maximum dose that can be tolerated appears to be 400 mg/sq m/day for 8 weeks. The 18 patients entered in this study have a median Kaplan-Meier estimated survival time (± standard error of the mean) of 22 ± 5 months with 11 patients still alive. Three patients are alive at 30, 29, and 21 months after diagnosis with no evidence of tumor on computerized tomography. There have been no vascular complications. Side effects in all patients have included anorexia, fatigue, ipsilateral forehead dermatitis, blepharitis, iritis, and nail ridging. Myelosuppression requiring dose reduction occurred in one patient. One patient had a Stevens-Johnson syndrome requiring termination of BUdR. It is concluded that intra-arterial BUdR may improve survival times in patients with malignant gliomas.

Free access

Robert F. James, Nicolas K. Khattar, Zaid S. Aljuboori, Paul S. Page, Elaine Y. Shao, Lacey M. Carter, Kimberly S. Meyer, Michael W. Daniels, John Craycroft, John R. Gaughen Jr., M. Imran Chaudry, Shesh N. Rai, D. Erik Everhart, and J. Marc Simard

OBJECTIVE

Cognitive dysfunction occurs in up to 70% of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) survivors. Low-dose intravenous heparin (LDIVH) infusion using the Maryland protocol was recently shown to reduce clinical vasospasm and vasospasm-related infarction. In this study, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to evaluate cognitive changes in aSAH patients treated with the Maryland LDIVH protocol compared with controls.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of all patients treated for aSAH between July 2009 and April 2014 was conducted. Beginning in 2012, aSAH patients were treated with LDIVH in the postprocedural period. The MoCA was administered to all aSAH survivors prospectively during routine follow-up visits, at least 3 months after aSAH, by trained staff blinded to treatment status. Mean MoCA scores were compared between groups, and regression analyses were performed for relevant factors.

RESULTS

No significant differences in baseline characteristics were observed between groups. The mean MoCA score for the LDIVH group (n = 25) was 26.4 compared with 22.7 in controls (n = 22) (p = 0.013). Serious cognitive impairment (MoCA ≤ 20) was observed in 32% of controls compared with 0% in the LDIVH group (p = 0.008). Linear regression analysis demonstrated that only LDIVH was associated with a positive influence on MoCA scores (β = 3.68, p =0.019), whereas anterior communicating artery aneurysms and fevers were negatively associated with MoCA scores. Multivariable linear regression analysis resulted in all 3 factors maintaining significance. There were no treatment complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This preliminary study suggests that the Maryland LDIVH protocol may improve cognitive outcomes in aSAH patients. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the safety and potential benefit of unfractionated heparin in aSAH patients.