David Benglis Jr., Derek Covington, Ritwik Bhatia, Sanjiv Bhatia, Mohamed Samy Elhammady, John Ragheb, Glenn Morrison and David I. Sandberg
The natural history of untreated Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is poorly defined. The object of this study was to investigate outcomes in pediatric patients with CM-I who were followed up without surgical intervention.
The authors retrospectively reviewed 124 cases involving patients with CM-I who presented between July 1999 and July 2008 and were followed up without surgery. The patients ranged in age from 0.9 to 19.8 years (mean 7 years). The duration of follow-up ranged from 1.0 to 8.6 years (mean 2.83 years). Imaging findings, symptoms, and findings on neurological examinations were noted at presentation and for the duration of follow-up.
The mean extent of tonsillar herniation at presentation was 8.35 mm (range 5–22 mm). Seven patients had a syrinx at presentation. The syrinx size did not change in these patients on follow-up imaging studies. No new syrinxes developed in the remaining patients who underwent subsequent imaging. The total number of patients with presenting symptoms was 81. Of those 81 patients, 67 demonstrated symptoms that were not typical of CM-I. Of the 14 patients with symptoms attributed to CM-I, 9 had symptoms that were not severe or frequent enough to warrant surgery, and surgery was recommended in the remaining 5 patients. Chiari malformation Type I was also diagnosed in 43 asymptomatic patients who had imaging studies performed for various reasons. No new neurological deficits were noted in any patient for the duration of follow-up.
The majority of patients with CM-I who are followed up without surgery do not progress clinically or radiologically. Longer follow-up of this cohort will be required to determine if symptoms or new neurological findings develop over the course of many years.
Jillian M. Berkman, Jonathan Dallas, Jaims Lim, Ritwik Bhatia, Amber Gaulden, Stephen R. Gannon, Chevis N. Shannon, Adam J. Esbenshade and John C. Wellons III
Little is understood about the role that health disparities play in the treatment and management of brain tumors in children. The purpose of this study was to determine if health disparities impact the timing of initial and follow-up care of patients, as well as overall survival.
The authors conducted a retrospective study of pediatric patients (< 18 years of age) previously diagnosed with, and initially treated for, a primary CNS tumor between 2005 and 2012 at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Primary outcomes included time from symptom presentation to initial neurosurgery consultation and percentage of missed follow-up visits for ancillary or core services (defined as no-show visits). Core services were defined as healthcare interactions directly involved with CNS tumor management, whereas ancillary services were appointments that might be related to overall care of the patient but not directly focused on treatment of the tumor. Statistical analysis included Pearson’s chi-square test, nonparametric univariable tests, and multivariable linear regression. Statistical significance was set a priori at p < 0.05.
The analysis included 198 patients. The median time from symptom onset to initial presentation was 30.0 days. A mean of 7.45% of all core visits were missed. When comparing African American and Caucasian patients, there was no significant difference in age at diagnosis, timing of initial symptoms, or tumor grade. African American patients missed significantly more core visits than Caucasian patients (p = 0.007); this became even more significant when controlling for other factors in the multivariable analysis (p < 0.001). African American patients were more likely to have public insurance, while Caucasian patients were more likely to have private insurance (p = 0.025). When evaluating survival, no health disparities were identified.
No significant health disparities were identified when evaluating the timing of presentation and survival. A racial disparity was noted when evaluating missed follow-up visits. Future work should focus on identifying reasons for differences and whether social determinants of health affect other aspects of treatment.
Andrew T. Hale, Stephen R. Gannon, Shilin Zhao, Michael C. Dewan, Ritwik Bhatia, Michael Bezzerides, Amanda N. Stanton, Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Sumit Pruthi and John C. Wellons III
The authors aimed to evaluate clinical, radiological, and surgical factors associated with posterior fossa tumor resection (PFTR)–related outcomes, including postoperative complications related to dural augmentation (CSF leak and wound infection), persistent hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion after PFTR, and 90-day readmission rate.
Pediatric patients (0–17 years old) undergoing PFTR between 2000 and 2016 at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt University were retrospectively reviewed. Descriptive statistics included the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare means that were nonnormally distributed and the chi-square test for categorical variables. Variables that were nominally associated (p < 0.05) with each outcome by univariate analysis were included as covariates in multivariate linear regression models. Statistical significance was set a priori at p < 0.05.
The cohort consisted of 186 patients with a median age at surgery of 6.62 years (range 3.37–11.78 years), 55% male, 83% Caucasian, and average length of follow-up of 3.87 ± 0.25 years. By multivariate logistic regression, the variables primary dural closure (PDC; odds ratio [OR] 8.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–100, p = 0.04), pseudomeningocele (OR 7.43, 95% CI 2.23–23.76, p = 0.0007), and hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion within 90 days of PFTR (OR 9.25, 95% CI 2.74–31.2, p = 0.0003) were independently associated with CSF leak. PDC versus graft dural closure (GDC; 35% vs 7%, OR 5.88, 95% CI 2.94–50.0, p = 0.03) and hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion (OR 3.30, 95% CI 1.07–10.19, p = 0.0007) were associated with wound infection requiring surgical debridement. By multivariate logistic regression, GDC versus PDC (23% vs 37%, OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.02–0.87, p = 0.04) was associated with persistent hydrocephalus ultimately requiring permanent CSF diversion, whereas pre- or post-PFTR ventricular size, placement of peri- or intraoperative extraventricular drain (EVD), and radiation therapy were not. Furthermore, the addition of perioperative EVD placement and dural closure method to a previously validated predictive model of post-PFTR hydrocephalus improved its performance from area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.69 to 0.74. Lastly, the authors found that autologous (vs synthetic) grafts may be protective against persistent hydrocephalus (p = 0.02), but not CSF leak, pseudomeningocele, or wound infection.
These results suggest that GDC, independent of potential confounding factors, may be protective against CSF leak, wound infection, and hydrocephalus in patients undergoing PFTR. Additional studies are warranted to further evaluate clinical and surgical factors impacting PFTR-associated complications.