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Radek Frič and Per Kristian Eide

OBJECTIVE

Several lines of evidence suggest common pathophysiological mechanisms in Chiari malformation Type I (CMI) and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). It has been hypothesized that tonsillar ectopy, a typical finding in CMI, is the result of elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) combined with a developmentally small posterior cranial fossa (PCF). To explore this hypothesis, the authors specifically investigated whether ICP is comparable in CMI and IIH and whether intracranial volumes (ICVs) are different in patients with CMI and IIH, which could explain the tonsillar ectopy in CMI. The authors also examined whether the symptom profile is comparable in these 2 patient groups.

METHODS

The authors identified all CMI and IIH patients who had undergone overnight diagnostic ICP monitoring during the period from 2002 to 2014 and reviewed their clinical records and radiological examinations. Ventricular CSF volume (VV), PCF volume (PCFV), and total ICV were calculated from initial MRI studies by using volumetric software. The static and pulsatile ICP scores during overnight monitoring were analyzed. Furthermore, the authors included a reference (REF) group consisting of patients who had undergone ICP monitoring due to suspected idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus or chronic daily headache and showed normal pressure values.

RESULTS

Sixty-six patients with CMI and 41 with IIH were identified, with comparable demographics noted in both groups. The occurrence of some symptoms (headache, nausea, and/or vomiting) was comparable between the cohorts. Dizziness and gait ataxia were significantly more common in patients with CMI, whereas visual symptoms, diplopia, and tinnitus were significantly more frequent in patients with IIH. The cranial volume measurements (VV, PCFV, and ICV) of the CMI and IIH patients were similar. Notably, 7.3% of the IIH patients had tonsillar descent qualifying for diagnosis of CMI (that is, > 5 mm). The extent of tonsillar ectopy was significantly different between the CMI and IIH cohorts (p < 0.001) but also between these 2 cohorts and the REF group. Pulsatile ICP was elevated in both cohorts without any significant between-group differences; however, static ICP was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in the IIH group.

CONCLUSIONS

This study showed comparable and elevated pulsatile ICP, indicative of impaired intracranial compliance, in both CMI and IIH cohorts, while static ICP was higher in the IIH cohort. The data did not support the hypothesis that reduced PCFV combined with increased ICP causes tonsillar ectopy in CMI. Even though impaired intracranial compliance seems to be a common pathophysiological mechanism behind both conditions, the mechanisms explaining the different clinical and radiological presentations of CMI and IIH remain undefined.

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Tryggve Lundar, Bernt Johan Due-Tønnessen, Radek Frič, Petter Brandal and Paulina Due-Tønnessen

OBJECTIVE

Ependymoma is the third most common posterior fossa tumor in children; however, there is a lack of long-term follow-up data on outcomes after surgical treatment of posterior fossa ependymoma (PFE) in pediatric patients. Therefore, the authors sought to investigate the long-term outcomes of children treated for PFE at their institution.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of outcome data from children who underwent treatment for PFE and survived for at least 5 years.

RESULTS

The authors identified 22 children (median age at the time of surgery 3 years, range 0–18 years) who underwent primary tumor resection of PFE during the period from 1945 to 2014 and who had at least 5 years of observed survival. None of these 22 patients were lost to follow-up, and they represent the long-term survivors (38%) from a total of 58 pediatric PFE patients treated. Nine (26%) of the 34 children treated during the pre-MRI era (1945–1986) were long-term survivors, while the observed 5-year survival rate in the children treated during the MRI era (1987–2014) was 13 (54%) of 24 patients. The majority of patients (n = 16) received adjuvant radiotherapy, and 4 of these received proton-beam irradiation. Six children had either no adjuvant treatment (n = 3) or only chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment (n = 3). Fourteen patients were alive at the time of this report. According to MRI findings, all of these patients were tumor free except 1 patient (age 78 years) with a known residual tumor after 65 years of event-free survival.

Repeat resections for residual or recurrent tumor were performed in 9 patients, mostly for local residual disease with progressive clinical symptoms; 4 patients underwent only 1 repeated resection, whereas 5 patients each had 3 or more resections within 15 years after their initial surgery. At further follow-up, 5 of the patients who underwent a second surgery were found to be dead from the disease with or without undergoing additional resections, which were performed from 6 to 13 years after the second procedure. The other 4 patients, however, were tumor free on the latest follow-up MRI, performed from 6 to 27 years after the last resection. Hence, repeated surgery appears to increase the chance of tumor control in some patients, along with modern (proton-beam) radiotherapy. Six of 8 patients with more than 20 years of survival are in a good clinical condition, 5 of them in full-time work and 1 in part-time work.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric PFE occurs mostly in young children, and there is marked risk for local recurrence among 5-year survivors even after gross-total resection and postoperative radiotherapy. Repeated resections are therefore an important part of treatment and may lead to persistent tumor control. Even though the majority of children with PFE die from their tumor disease, some patients survive for more than 50 years with excellent functional outcome and working capacity.

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Erlend Aambø Langvatn, Radek Frič, Bernt J. Due-Tønnessen and Per Kristian Eide

OBJECTIVE

Reduced intracranial volume (ICV) and raised intracranial pressure (ICP) are assumed to be principal pathophysiological mechanisms in childhood craniosynostosis. This study examined the association between ICV and ICP and whether ICV can be used to estimate the ICP.

METHODS

The authors analyzed ICV and ICP measurements from children with craniosynostosis without concurrent hydrocephalus and from age-matched individuals without craniosynostosis who underwent diagnostic ICP measurement.

RESULTS

The study included 19 children with craniosynostosis (mean age 2.2 ± 1.9 years) and 12 reference individuals without craniosynostosis (mean age 2.5 ± 1.6 years). There was no difference in ICV between the patient and reference cohorts. Both mean ICP (17.1 ± 5.6 mm Hg) and mean wave amplitude (5.9 ± 2.6 mm Hg) were higher in the patient cohort. The results disclosed no significant association between ICV and ICP values in the patient or reference cohorts, and no association was seen between change in ICV and ICP values after cranial vault expansion surgery (CVES) in 5 children in whom ICV and ICP were measured before and after CVES.

CONCLUSIONS

In this cohort of children with craniosynostosis, there was no significant association between ICV and ICP values prior to CVES and no significant association between change in ICV and ICP values after CVES in a subset of patients. Therefore, ICV could not reliably estimate the ICP values. The authors suggest that intracranial hypertension in childhood craniosynostosis may not be caused by reduced ICV alone but rather by a distorted relationship between ICV and the volume of intracranial content (brain tissue, CSF, and blood).

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Tryggve Lundar, Bernt Johan Due-Tønnessen, Radek Frič, Bård Krossnes, Petter Brandal, Einar Stensvold and Paulina Due-Tønnessen

OBJECTIVE

The authors conducted a study to delineate the long-term results of the surgical treatment of pediatric pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas (PXAs).

METHODS

All consecutive children and adolescents (0–20 years) who underwent primary tumor resection for a PXA during the years 1972–2015 were included in this retrospective study on surgical morbidity, mortality rate, academic achievement, and/or work participation. Gross motor function and activities of daily living were scored according to the Barthel Index.

RESULTS

Of the 12 patients, 8 patients were in the 1st decade of life and 4 in the 2nd. The male/female ratio was 6:6. No patient was lost to follow-up. One patient presented with severe progressive tumor disease and died within 3 months after repeated resection. Another child died 3 days following a second surgical procedure involving gross-total resection (GTR) 8 years after the initial operation. The other 10 patients were alive at the latest follow-up when they reached the median age of 34 years (range 11–60 years). The median follow-up duration was 22 years (range 2–41 years). Barthel Index score was 100 in all 10 survivors. A total 18 tumor resections were performed. Five patients underwent a second tumor resection after MRI/CT confirmed recurrent tumor disease, from 6 months up to 17 years after the initial operation. Only one of our patients received adjuvant therapy: a 19-year-old male who underwent resection (GTR) for a right-sided temporal tumor in 1976. This particular tumor was originally classified as astrocytoma WHO grade IV, and postoperative radiotherapy (54 Gy) was given. The histology was reclassified to that of a PXA. Seven of 8 children whose primary tumor resection was performed more than 20 years ago are alive as of this writing—i.e., 88% observed 20-year survival. These are long-term survivors with good clinical function and all are in full- or part-time work.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric patients with PXA can be treated with resection alone with rewarding results. Recurrences are not uncommon, but repeated surgery is well tolerated and should be considered in low-grade cases before adjuvant therapy is implemented. Follow-up including repeated MRI is important during the first postoperative years, since individual patients may have a more aggressive tumor course.