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Randy S. Bell, Chris J. Neal, and Randall McCafferty

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Joshua J. Wind, Randy S. Bell, William O. Bank, and John S. Myseros

The authors present the case of a 3-month-old boy with a third ventricular tumor consistent with a choroid plexus papilloma. This child presented with macrocephaly, irritability, inability to roll over, and vomiting. He was found to have an enlarged head circumference, a full and tense fontanel, splayed sutures, and forced downward gaze. Imaging revealed severe ventriculomegaly and a brightly enhancing third ventricular lesion consistent with papilloma. Treatment planning included placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt to treat hydrocephalus and to allow the child to grow prior to resection. Due to the vascular nature of these tumors and the age of this child, the tumor was embolized with a plan for eventual resection; however, embolization resulted in involution and total regression of the tumor. There is no residual disease at last follow-up of 16 months. In this specific scenario of a choroid plexus papilloma in an infant, when operative intervention may be technically difficult and associated with significant morbidity, embolization with close observation may be a valid treatment option. If used, the patient would need to be closely followed for evidence of residual or recurrent disease, which would require operative intervention.

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Randy S. Bell, Alexander H. Vo, Patrick B. Cooper, Carrie L. Schmitt, and Michael K. Rosner

✓ Eosinophilic meningitis has been defined as meningitis in which a total cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample is found to have more than 10 eosinophils per millimeter or is composed of greater than 10% eosinophils. The differential diagnosis is broad and the clinical presentation, lacking an internalized CSF diversion system, is often nonspecific. With respect to patients with shunt systems, a positive correlation exists between CSF eosinophilia and eventual shunt failure requiring revision. In this paper the authors present the highest reported level of CSF eosinophilia in conjunction with a rifampin and minocycline–impregnated ventriculostomy catheter recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Callum D. Dewar, Jason H. Boulter, Brian P. Curry, Dana M. Bowers, and Randy S. Bell

Medical malpractice suits within the military have historically been limited by the Feres Doctrine, a legal precedent arising from a Supreme Court decision in 1950, which stated that active-duty personnel cannot bring suit for malpractice against either the United States government or military healthcare providers. This precedent has increasingly become a focus of discussion and reform as multiple cases claiming malpractice have been dismissed. Recently, however, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 initiated the first change to this precedent by creating an administrative body with the sole purpose of evaluating and settling claims of medical malpractice within the military’s $50 billion healthcare system. This article seeks to present the legal history related to military malpractice and the Feres Doctrine as well as discuss the potential future implications that may arise as the Feres Doctrine is modified for the first time in 70 years.

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Sudhakar Vadivelu, Randy Scott Bell, Ben Crandall, Tom DeGraba, and Rocco A. Armonda

Blast-induced neurotrauma is a leading cause of military casualties. Its effects on cerebrovascular structures are not well understood. Vascular injury resulting from overpressure shock wave impact may have a delayed presentation and detection. The authors present the cases of 2 patients who sustained blast-induced craniofacial trauma and brain injury. Detection of a cervical dissection was delayed in one patient, and detection of carotid-cavernous fistulas was delayed in both patients. The authors report the successful obliteration of both the dissection and the carotidcavernous fistulas via an endovascular approach. Endovascular management provides both a reasonable and effective therapeutic option to blast-induced cerebrovascular injuries.

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David W. Herzig, Andrew B. Stemer, Randy S. Bell, Ai-Hsi Liu, Rocco A. Armonda, and William O. Bank

Stenosis of central veins (brachiocephalic vein [BCV] and superior vena cava) occurs in 30% of hemodialysis patients, rarely producing intracranial pathology. The authors present the first cases of BCV stenosis causing perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage and myoclonic epilepsy.

In the first case, a 73-year-old man on hemodialysis presented with headache and blurry vision, and was admitted with presumed idiopathic intracranial hypertension after negative CT studies and confirmatory lumbar puncture. The patient mildly improved until hospital Day 3, when he experienced a seizure; emergency CT scans showed perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage. Cerebral angiography failed to find any vascular abnormality, but demonstrated venous congestion. A fistulogram found left BCV occlusion with jugular reflux. The occlusion could not be reopened percutaneously and required open fistula ligation. Postoperatively, symptoms resolved and the patient remained intact at 7-month follow-up.

In the second case, a 67-year-old woman on hemodialysis presented with right arm weakness and myoclonic jerks. Admission MRI revealed subcortical edema and a possible dural arteriovenous fistula. Cerebral angiography showed venous engorgement, but no vascular malformation. A fistulogram found left BCV stenosis with jugular reflux, which was immediately reversed with angioplasty and stent placement. Postprocedure the patient was seizure free, and her strength improved. Seven months later the patient presented in myoclonic status epilepticus, and a fistulogram revealed stent occlusion. Angioplasty successfully reopened the stent and she returned to baseline; she was seizure free at 4-month follow-up.

Central venous stenosis is common with hemodialysis, but rarely presents with neurological findings. Prompt recognition and endovascular intervention can restore normal venous drainage and resolve symptoms.

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Richard Menger, Benjamin F. Mundell, J. Will Robbins, Peter Letarte, Randy Bell, and in conjunction with Council of State Neurosurgical Societies and AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons

OBJECTIVE

Papers from 2002 to 2017 have highlighted consistent unique socioeconomic challenges and opportunities facing military neurosurgeons. Here, the authors focus on the reserve military neurosurgeon who carries the dual mission of both civilian and military responsibilities.

METHODS

Survey solicitation of current active duty and reserve military neurosurgeons was performed in conjunction with the AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons and the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. Demographic, qualitative, and quantitative data points were compared between reserve and active duty military neurosurgeons. Civilian neurosurgical provider data were taken from the 2016 NERVES (Neurosurgery Executives Resource Value and Education Society) Socio-Economic Survey. Economic modeling was done to forecast the impact of deployment or mobilization on the reserve neurosurgeon, neurosurgery practice, and the community.

RESULTS

Seventy-five percent (12/16) of current reserve neurosurgeons reported that they are satisfied with their military service. Reserve neurosurgeons make significant contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with 75% (12/16) having been deployed during their career. No statistically significant demographic differences were found between those serving on active duty and those in the reserve service. However, those who served in the reserves were more likely to desire opportunities for improvement in the military workflow requirements compared with their active duty counterparts (p = 0.04); 92.9% (13/14) of current reserve neurosurgeons desired more flexible military drill programs specific to the needs of practicing physicians. The risk of reserve deployment is also borne by the practices, hospitals, and communities in which the neurosurgeon serves in civilian practice. This can result in fewer new patient encounters, decreased collections, decreased work relative value unit generation, increased operating costs per neurosurgeon, and intangible limitations on practice development. However, through modeling, the authors have illustrated that reserve physicians joining a larger group practice can significantly mitigate this risk. What remains astonishing is that 91.7% of those reserve neurosurgeons who were deployed noted the experience to be rewarding despite seeing a 20% reduction in income, on average, during the fiscal year of a 6-month deployment.

CONCLUSIONS

Reserve neurosurgeons are satisfied with their military service while making substantial contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with the overwhelming majority of current military reservists having been deployed or mobilized during their reserve commitments. Through the authors’ modeling, the impact of deployment on the military neurosurgeon, neurosurgeon’s practice, and the local community can be significantly mitigated by a larger practice environment.

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Stacy A. Shackelford, Deborah J. del Junco, Michael C. Reade, Randy Bell, Tyson Becker, Jennifer Gurney, Randall McCafferty, and Donald W. Marion

OBJECTIVE

In combat and austere environments, evacuation to a location with neurosurgery capability is challenging. A planning target in terms of time to neurosurgery is paramount to inform prepositioning of neurosurgical and transport resources to support a population at risk. This study sought to examine the association of wait time to craniectomy with mortality in patients with severe combat-related brain injury who received decompressive craniectomy.

METHODS

Patients with combat-related brain injury sustained between 2005 and 2015 who underwent craniectomy at deployed surgical facilities were identified from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry and Joint Trauma System Role 2 Registry. Eligible patients survived transport to a hospital capable of diagnosing the need for craniectomy and performing surgery. Statistical analyses included unadjusted comparisons of postoperative mortality by elapsed time from injury to start of craniectomy, and Cox proportional hazards modeling adjusting for potential confounders. Time from injury to craniectomy was divided into quintiles, and explored in Cox models as a binary variable comparing early versus delayed craniectomy with cutoffs determined by the maximum value of each quintile (quintile 1 vs 2–5, quintiles 1–2 vs 3–5, etc.). Covariates included location of the facility at which the craniectomy was performed (limited-resource role 2 facility vs neurosurgically capable role 3 facility), use of head CT scan, US military status, age, head Abbreviated Injury Scale score, Injury Severity Score, and injury year. To reduce immortal time bias, time from injury to hospital arrival was included as a covariate, entry into the survival analysis cohort was defined as hospital arrival time, and early versus delayed craniectomy was modeled as a time-dependent covariate. Follow-up for survival ended at death, hospital discharge, or hospital day 16, whichever occurred first.

RESULTS

Of 486 patients identified as having undergone craniectomy, 213 (44%) had complete date/time values. Unadjusted postoperative mortality was 23% for quintile 1 (n = 43, time from injury to start of craniectomy 30–152 minutes); 7% for quintile 2 (n = 42, 154–210 minutes); 7% for quintile 3 (n = 43, 212–320 minutes); 19% for quintile 4 (n = 42, 325–639 minutes); and 14% for quintile 5 (n = 43, 665–3885 minutes). In Cox models adjusted for potential confounders and immortal time bias, postoperative mortality was significantly lower when time to craniectomy was within 5.33 hours of injury (quintiles 1–3) relative to longer delays (quintiles 4–5), with an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.28, 95% CI 0.10–0.76 (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative mortality was significantly lower when craniectomy was initiated within 5.33 hours of injury. Further research to optimize craniectomy timing and mitigate delays is needed. Functional outcomes should also be evaluated.