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Dural arteriovenous fistulas misdiagnosed as intracranial neoplasms: illustrative case

Tobias Rossmann, Michael Veldeman, Ville Nurminen, Rahul Raj, and Mika Niemelä

BACKGROUND

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVF) may induce imaging findings attributable to various disease entities including malignant neoplasms. In these cases, diagnosis and adequate treatment are often delayed and patients may be exposed to spurious treatments in addition to the risks inherent to an untreated dAVF with cortical venous drainage.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of a patient referred for surgical treatment of a supratentorial high-grade glioma. Thorough review of imaging data challenged the initial radiological diagnosis and led to proper angiographic workup. As a result, a high-grade dAVF was confirmed and successfully embolized. In addition to this case, we provide an extensive literature review on dAVF initially diagnosed as cerebral neoplasms, including clinical, imaging and follow-up data.

LESSONS

The literature provides diagnostic criteria for dAVF on magnetic resonance imaging; however, those criteria may be only partly applicable in many cases. Misdiagnosis of a neoplasm due to dAVF has been reported but remains rare, especially in supratentorial lesions. Digital subtraction angiography should be pursued to rule out an underlying vascular pathology if any doubt. This may prevent unnecessary interventions such as biopsies, pharmacological treatment and a delay in dAVF treatment, given its associated risk of hemorrhage and nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits.

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Alcohol and mortality after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Rahul Raj, Era D. Mikkonen, Jari Siironen, Juha Hernesniemi, Jaakko Lappalainen, and Markus B. Skrifvars

OBJECT

Experimental studies have shown numerous neuroprotective properties of alcohol (“ethanol”) after TBI, but clinical studies have provided conflicting results. The authors aimed to assess the relationship between positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on hospital admission and mortality after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHODS

The authors searched 8 databases for observational studies reported between January 1, 1990, and October 7, 2013, and investigated the effect of BAC on mortality after moderate to severe TBI. Reviews of each study were conducted, and data were extracted according to the MOOSE and PRISMA guidelines. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. The Mantel-Haenszel fixed effect methodology was used to generate pooled estimates. Heterogeneity was dealt with by multiple sensitivity analyses.

RESULTS

Eleven studies with a total of 95,941 patients (42% BAC positive and 58% BAC negative) were identified for the primary analysis (overall mortality 12%). Primary analysis showed a significantly lower risk of death for BAC-positive patients compared with BAC-negative patients (crude mortality 11.0% vs 12.3%, pooled OR 0.84 [95% CI 0.81–0.88]), although flawed by heterogeneity (I2 = 68%). Multiple sensitivity analyses, including 55,949 and 51,772 patients, yielded similar results to the primary analysis (crude mortality 12.2% vs 14.0%, pooled OR 0.87 [95% CI 0.83–0.92] and crude mortality 8.7% vs 10.7%, pooled OR 0.78 [95% CI 0.74–0.83]) but with good study homogeneity (I2 = 36% and 14%).

CONCLUSIONS

Positive BAC was significantly associated with lower mortality rates in moderate to severe TBI. Whether this observation is due to selection bias or neuroprotective effects of alcohol remains unknown. Future prospective studies adjusting for TBI heterogeneity is advocated to establish the potential favorable effects of alcohol on outcome after TBI.

Free access

Incidence of surgery for chronic subdural hematoma in Finland during 1997–2014: a nationwide study

Pihla Tommiska, Teemu Luostarinen, Jaakko Kaprio, Miikka Korja, Kimmo Lönnrot, Riku Kivisaari, and Rahul Raj

OBJECTIVE

The number of surgeries performed for chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) has increased. However, these changes have been poorly reported. The authors aimed to assess the national incidence of surgeries for CSDH in Finland during an 18-year time period from 1997 to 2014. They hypothesized that the incidence of CSDH surgeries has continued to increase, particularly among the elderly.

METHODS

A nationwide register-based follow-up study was performed using the Finnish Care Register for Health Care. All adult patients undergoing primary CSDH surgeries during 1997–2014 were included. The study population was followed up from the time of CSDH surgery until death or the end of follow-up on December 31, 2017. The incidences of CSDH surgery per 100,000 person-years were calculated separately in each age group and sex. Age standardization was performed for those 20 years of age and older with weights from the 2013 European Standard Population. Negative binomial regression models were used to assess changes in incidence rate ratios (IRRs) during the study period.

RESULTS

In total, 9280 patients were identified. The age-standardized incidence of CSDH surgery increased from 12.2 to 16.5 per 100,000 person-years during 1997–2014. The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of CSDH surgery increased by 30% (IRR 1.30, 95% CI 1.20–1.41). The age- and sex-adjusted incidence increased more in the older age groups, with an IRR of 1.24 for those aged 60–69 years, 1.32 for those 70–79 years, 1.46 for those 80–89 years, and 1.85 for those aged 90 years or older. The adjusted incidence did not increase for those aged 18–59 years. The sex difference (2:1 men/women) was consistent throughout the study period, with a higher incidence among men. One year after the primary surgery, 19% of the population had a resurgery, and the 1-year case fatality rate was 15%. The median age of patients increased from 73 to 76 years.

CONCLUSIONS

During the past 2 decades, the age- and sex-adjusted incidence of CSDH surgery has increased in Finland, with major increases for those aged 60 years or older. This increase is likely to continue in parallel with the aging population and increased life expectancies.

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One-year costs of intensive care in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury

Era D. Mikkonen, Markus B. Skrifvars, Matti Reinikainen, Stepani Bendel, Ruut Laitio, Sanna Hoppu, Tero Ala-Kokko, Atte Karppinen, and Rahul Raj

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the pediatric population. The authors assessed 1-year costs of intensive care in pediatric TBI patients.

METHODS

In this retrospective multicenter cohort study of four academic ICUs in Finland, the authors used the Finnish Intensive Care Consortium database to identify children aged 0–17 years treated for TBI in ICUs between 2003 and 2013. The authors reviewed all patient health records and head CT scans for admission, treatment, and follow-up data. Patient outcomes included functional outcome (favorable outcome defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4–5) and death within 6 months. Costs included those for the index hospitalization, rehabilitation, and social security up to 1 year after injury. To assess costs, the authors calculated the effective cost per favorable outcome (ECPFO).

RESULTS

In total, 293 patients were included, of whom 61% had moderate to severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 3–12) and 40% were ≥ 13 years of age. Of all patients, 82% had a favorable outcome and 9% died within 6 months of injury. The mean cost per patient was €48,719 ($54,557) (95% CI €41,326–€56,112). The index hospitalization accounted for 66%, rehabilitation costs for 27%, and social security costs for 7% of total healthcare costs. The ECPFO was €59,727 ($66,884) (95% CI €52,335–€67,120). A higher ECPFO was observed among patients with clinical and treatment-related variables indicative of parenchymal swelling and high intracranial pressure. Lower ECPFO was observed among patients with higher admission GCS scores and those who had epidural hematomas.

CONCLUSIONS

Greater injury severity increases ECPFO and is associated with higher postdischarge costs in pediatric TBI patients. In this pediatric cohort, over two-thirds of all resources were spent on patients with favorable functional outcome, indicating appropriate resource allocation.

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Validation of prognostic models in intensive care unit–treated pediatric traumatic brain injury patients

Era D. Mikkonen, Markus B. Skrifvars, Matti Reinikainen, Stepani Bendel, Ruut Laitio, Sanna Hoppu, Tero Ala-Kokko, Atte Karppinen, and Rahul Raj

OBJECTIVE

There are few specific prognostic models specifically developed for the pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) population. In the present study, the authors tested the predictive performance of existing prognostic tools, originally developed for the adult TBI population, in pediatric TBI patients requiring stays in the ICU.

METHODS

The authors used the Finnish Intensive Care Consortium database to identify pediatric patients (< 18 years of age) treated in 4 academic ICUs in Finland between 2003 and 2013. They tested the predictive performance of 4 classification systems—the International Mission for Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials (IMPACT) TBI model, the Helsinki CT score, the Rotterdam CT score, and the Marshall CT classification—by assessing the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the explanatory variation (pseudo-R2 statistic). The primary outcome was 6-month functional outcome (favorable outcome defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4–5).

RESULTS

Overall, 341 patients (median age 14 years) were included; of these, 291 patients had primary head CT scans available. The IMPACT core-based model showed an AUC of 0.85 (95% CI 0.78–0.91) and a pseudo-R2 value of 0.40. Of the CT scoring systems, the Helsinki CT score displayed the highest performance (AUC 0.84, 95% CI 0.78–0.90; pseudo-R2 0.39) followed by the Rotterdam CT score (AUC 0.80, 95% CI 0.73–0.86; pseudo-R2 0.34).

CONCLUSIONS

Prognostic tools originally developed for the adult TBI population seemed to perform well in pediatric TBI. Of the tested CT scoring systems, the Helsinki CT score yielded the highest predictive value.

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Incidence and risk factors of posttraumatic hydrocephalus and its association with outcome following intensive care unit treatment for traumatic brain injury: a multicenter observational study

Matias Lindfors, Juho Vehviläinen, Stepani Bendel, Matti Reinikainen, Ruut Laitio, Tero Ala-Kokko, Sanna Hoppu, Jari Siironen, Markus B. Skrifvars, and Rahul Raj

OBJECTIVE

Posttraumatic hydrocephalus (PTH) is a recognized long-term complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The authors assessed the incidence and risk factors of PTH and its association with outcome in patients with TBI who were treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

METHODS

The authors used the Finnish Intensive Care Consortium (FICC) database to retrospectively identify all adult patients with TBI treated in 4 Finnish tertiary ICUs during 2003–2013. All patients were followed up from hospital discharge to a diagnosis of PTH, death, or the end of 2016. PTH was defined as a need for a postdischarge ventriculoperitoneal or ventriculoatrial shunt. The authors collected data on shunt-insertion procedures, mortality, and disability status from nationwide registries cross-linked to the FICC database. The authors calculated the occurrence and incidence rates of PTH and used multivariable logistic regression modeling to determine risk factors for PTH and its association with outcome.

RESULTS

Sixty-one of 2882 patients (2.1%) developed PTH during a median follow-up time of 4.6 years, with a median of 102 days (interquartile range 54–220 days) between hospital discharge and PTH. Risk factors for PTH were increasing age (OR 1.02 per year, 95% CI 1.01–1.04); a midline shift of > 5 mm (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.01–3.48); traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (OR 3.59, 95% CI 1.79–7.21); external ventricular drainage (OR 3.54, 95% CI 1.68–7.46); and decompressive craniectomy (OR 3.68, 95% CI 1.37–9.88). PTH was independently associated with permanent disability after case-mix adjustment (OR 3.62, 95% CI 2.11–6.22).

CONCLUSIONS

PTH is an uncommon long-term complication of TBI, with several risk factors that are identifiable early during neurointensive care. The development of PTH is independently associated with poor functional outcome. Whether earlier detection and treatment of PTH leads to improved outcomes remains unknown, highlighting the importance of adequate follow-up and prompt detection and treatment of the condition.

Open access

Analysis of intracranial pressure pulse waveform in traumatic brain injury patients: a CENTER-TBI study

Agnieszka Uryga, Arkadiusz Ziółkowski, Agnieszka Kazimierska, Agata Pudełko, Cyprian Mataczyński, Erhard W. Lang, Marek Czosnyka, Magdalena Kasprowicz, and the CENTER-TBI High-Resolution ICU (HR ICU) Sub-Study Participants and Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial pressure (ICP) pulse waveform analysis may provide valuable information about cerebrospinal pressure-volume compensation in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The authors applied spectral methods to analyze ICP waveforms in terms of the pulse amplitude of ICP (AMP), high frequency centroid (HFC), and higher harmonics centroid (HHC) and also used a morphological classification approach to assess changes in the shape of ICP pulse waveforms using the pulse shape index (PSI).

METHODS

The authors included 184 patients from the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) High-Resolution Sub-Study in the analysis. HFC was calculated as the average power-weighted frequency within the 4- to 15-Hz frequency range of the ICP power density spectrum. HHC was defined as the center of mass of the ICP pulse waveform harmonics from the 2nd to the 10th. PSI was defined as the weighted sum of artificial intelligence–based ICP pulse class numbers from 1 (normal pulse waveform) to 4 (pathological waveform).

RESULTS

AMP and PSI increased linearly with mean ICP. HFC increased proportionally to ICP until the upper breakpoint (average ICP of 31 mm Hg), whereas HHC slightly increased with ICP and then decreased significantly when ICP exceeded 25 mm Hg. AMP (p < 0.001), HFC (p = 0.003), and PSI (p < 0.001) were significantly greater in patients who died than in patients who survived. Among those patients with low ICP (< 15 mm Hg), AMP, PSI, and HFC were greater in those with poor outcome than in those with good outcome (all p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Whereas HFC, AMP, and PSI could be used as predictors of mortality, HHC may potentially serve as an early warning sign of intracranial hypertension. Elevated HFC, AMP, and PSI were associated with poor outcome in TBI patients with low ICP.

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Persistent postconcussive symptoms in children and adolescents with mild traumatic brain injury receiving initial head computed tomography

Lennart Riemann, Daphne C. Voormolen, Katrin Rauen, Klaus Zweckberger, Andreas Unterberg, Alexander Younsi, and the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) Investigators and Participants

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the prevalence of postconcussive symptoms and their relation to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in pediatric and adolescent patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) who received head CT imaging during initial assessment.

METHODS

Patients aged between 5 and 21 years with mTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 13–15) and available Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire (RPQ) at 6 months of follow-up in the multicenter, prospectively collected CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI) study were included. The prevalence of postconcussive symptoms was assessed, and the occurrence of postconcussive syndrome (PSC) based on the ICD-10 criteria, was analyzed. HRQOL was compared in patients with and without PCS using the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) questionnaire.

RESULTS

A total of 196 adolescent or pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging were included. High-energy trauma was prevalent in more than half of cases (54%), abnormalities on head CT scans were detected in 41%, and admission to the regular ward or intensive care unit was necessary in 78%. Six months postinjury, 36% of included patients had experienced at least one moderate or severe symptom on the RPQ. PCS was present in 13% of adolescents and children when considering symptoms of at least moderate severity, and those patients had significantly lower QOLIBRI total scores, indicating lower HRQOL, compared with young patients without PCS (57 vs 83 points, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescent and pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging show signs of increased trauma severity. Postconcussive symptoms are present in up to one-third of those patients, and PCS can be diagnosed in 13% 6 months after injury. Moreover, PCS is significantly associated with decreased HRQOL.

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Abstracts of the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Lumbar Spine Research Society Chicago, Illinois • April 9–10, 2015

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2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Los Angeles, CA • April 22–26, 2017