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Robert H. Bonow, James W. Bales, Ryan P. Morton, Michael R. Levitt and Fangyi Zhang

Intracranial hypotension is a rare condition caused by spontaneous or iatrogenic CSF leaks that alter normal CSF dynamics. Symptoms range from mild headaches to transtentorial herniation, coma, and death. Duret hemorrhages have been reported to occur in some patients with this condition and are traditionally believed to be associated with a poor neurological outcome. A 73-year-old man with a remote history of spinal fusion presented with syncope and was found to have small subdural hematomas on head CT studies. He was managed nonoperatively and discharged with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15, only to return 3 days later with obtundation, fixed downward gaze, anisocoria, and absent cranial nerve reflexes. A CT scan showed Duret hemorrhages and subtle enlargement of the subdural hematomas, though the hematomas remained too small to account for his poor clinical condition. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine revealed a large lumbar pseudomeningocele in the area of prior fusion. His condition dramatically improved when he was placed in the Trendelenburg position and underwent repair of the pseudomeningocele. He was kept flat for 7 days and was ultimately discharged in good condition. On long-term follow-up, his only identifiable deficit was diplopia due to an internuclear ophthalmoplegia. Intracranial hypotension is a rare condition that can cause profound morbidity, including tonsillar herniation and brainstem hemorrhage. With proper identification and treatment of the CSF leak, patients can make functional recoveries.

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Ryan P. Morton, Louis J. Kim and Laligam N. Sekhar

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Renee M. Reynolds, Ryan P. Morton, Marion L. Walker, Teresa L. Massagli and Samuel R. Browd

Selective dorsal rhizotomy may have a role in the management of spinal cord injury (SCI)–induced spasticity. Spasticity and spasms are common sequelae of SCI in children. Depending on the clinical scenario, treatments may include physical and occupational therapy, oral medications, chemodenervation, and neurosurgical interventions. Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is used in the management of spasticity in selected children with cerebral palsy, but, to the authors' knowledge, its use has not been reported in children with SCI. The authors describe the cases of 3 pediatric patients with SCI and associated spasticity treated with SDR. Two of the 3 patients have had significant long-term improvement in their preoperative spasticity. Although the third patient also experienced initial relief, his spasticity quickly returned to its preoperative severity, necessitating additional therapies. Selective dorsal rhizotomy may have a place in the treatment of selected children with spasticity due to SCI.

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Ryan P. Morton, Renee M. Reynolds, Rohan Ramakrishna, Michael R. Levitt, Richard A. Hopper, Amy Lee and Samuel R. Browd

Object

In this study, the authors describe their experience with a low-dose head CT protocol for a preselected neurosurgical population at a dedicated pediatric hospital (Seattle Children's Hospital), the largest number of patients with this protocol reported to date.

Methods

All low-dose head CT scans between October 2011 and November 2012 were reviewed. Two different low-dose radiation dosages were used, at one-half or one-quarter the dose of a standard head CT scan, based on patient characteristics agreed upon by the neurosurgery and radiology departments. Patient information was also recorded, including diagnosis and indication for CT scan.

Results

Six hundred twenty-four low-dose head CT procedures were performed within the 12-month study period. Although indications for the CT scans varied, the most common reason was to evaluate the ventricles and catheter placement in hydrocephalic patients with shunts (70%), followed by postoperative craniosynostosis imaging (12%). These scans provided adequate diagnostic imaging, and no patient required a follow-up full-dose CT scan as a result of poor image quality on a low-dose CT scan. Overall physician comfort and satisfaction with interpretation of the images was high. An additional 2150 full-dose head CT scans were performed during the same 12-month time period, making the total number of CT scans 2774. This value compares to 3730 full-dose head CT scans obtained during the year prior to the study when low-dose CT and rapid-sequence MRI was not a reliable option at Seattle Children's Hospital. Thus, over a 1-year period, 22% of the total CT scans were able to be converted to low-dose scans, and full-dose CT scans were able to be reduced by 42%.

Conclusions

The implementation of a low-dose head CT protocol substantially reduced the amount of ionizing radiation exposure in a preselected population of pediatric neurosurgical patients. Image quality and diagnostic utility were not significantly compromised.

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Mahmud Mossa-Basha, Thien J. Huynh, Daniel S. Hippe, Peter Fata, Ryan P. Morton and Michael R. Levitt

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the association between intracranial vessel wall MRI enhancement characteristics and the development of angiographic vasospasm in endovascularly treated aneurysm patients.

METHODS

Consecutive cases of both ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms that were treated endovascularly, followed by intracranial vessel wall MRI in the immediate postoperative period, were included. Two raters blinded to clinical data and follow-up imaging independently evaluated for the presence, pattern, and intensity of wall enhancement. Development of angiographic vasospasm was independently evaluated. Delayed cerebral ischemia; cerebral infarct; procedural details; and presence and grade of subarachnoid, parenchymal, and intraventricular hemorrhage were evaluated. Statistical associations were determined on a per–vessel segment and per-patient basis.

RESULTS

Twenty-nine patients with 30 treated aneurysms (8 unruptured and 22 ruptured) were included in this study. Interobserver agreement was substantial for the presence of enhancement (κ = 0.67) and nearly perfect for distribution (κ = 0.87) and intensity (κ = 0.84) of wall enhancement. Patients with ruptured aneurysms had a significantly greater number of enhancing segments than those with unruptured aneurysms (29.9% vs 7.2%; OR 5.5, 95% CI 2.2–13.7). For ruptured cases, wall enhancement was significantly associated with subsequent angiographic vasospasm while controlling for grade of hemorrhage (adjusted OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.7–9.4). Vessel segments affected by balloon, stent, or flow-diverter use demonstrated greater enhancement than those not affected (OR 22.7, 95% CI 5.3–97.2 for ruptured; and OR 12.9, 95% CI 3.3–49.8 for unruptured).

CONCLUSIONS

Vessel wall enhancement after endovascular treatment of ruptured aneurysms is associated with subsequent angiographic vasospasm.

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Ryan P. Morton, Paul D. Ackerman, Marc T. Pisansky, Monika Krezalek, John P. Leonetti, Michael J.M. Raffin and Douglas E. Anderson

Object

Preservation of facial nerve function in vestibular schwannoma (VS) resections remains a significant operative challenge. Delayed facial palsy (DFP) is one specific challenge yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of this study was to evaluate DFP among VS resection cases to identify significant prognostic factors associated with its incidence and clinical recovery.

Methods

This investigation involves a retrospective review of 104 cases of VS resection that occurred between December 2005 and May 2007. Patients who developed DFP were compared with patients exhibiting no facial palsy postoperatively with regard to surgical approach, severity and day of palsy onset, tumor size, intraoperative facial nerve monitoring, and postoperative recovery and treatment. Patients who demonstrated immediate facial palsy (IFP) following VS resection were also analyzed. Furthermore, specific analyses were performed in 2 distinct DFP patient groups: those who developed DFP after postoperative Day 3 (“late onset DFP”), and those whose palsy worsened after initial DFP identification (“deteriorators”).

Results

Of the 104 patients who underwent VS resection, 25.0% developed DFP and 8.6% demonstrated IFP postoperatively. The DFP group did not differ significantly in any measure when compared with patients with no postoperative facial palsy. However, patients with DFP presented with significantly smaller tumor sizes than patients with IFP. This IFP group averaged significantly smaller intraoperative facial nerve responses than patients without facial palsy, and larger tumor sizes than both the DFP and no facial palsy groups. Within the DFP group, patients with late onset DFP showed diminished intraoperative facial nerve responses when compared with the total DFP patient population. In total, 25 (96.2%) of 26 patients with DFP and 7 (77.8%) of 9 patients with IFP recovered to normal or near-normal facial function (House-Brackmann Grade I or II) at longest clinical follow-up.

Conclusions

Although patients with DFP did not exhibit any distinguishable characteristics when compared with patients without postoperative facial palsy, our analysis identified significant differences in patients with palsy presenting immediately postoperatively. Further study of patients with DFP should be undertaken to predict its incidence following VS resection.

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Ryan P. Morton, Brian W. Hanak, Michael R. Levitt, Kathleen R. Fink, Eric C. Peterson, Marcelo D. Vilela, Louis J. Kim and Randall M. Chesnut

Object

The stroke rate, management, and outcome after blunt cerebrovascular occlusion (Biffl Grade IV injury) is not well defined, given the rarity of the disease. Both hemodynamic failure and embolic mechanisms have been implicated in the pathophysiology of subsequent stroke after blunt cerebrovascular occlusion. In this study, the authors evaluated their center's experience with Biffl Grade IV injuries, focusing on elucidating the mechanisms of stroke and their optimal management.

Methods

A retrospective review identified all internal carotid artery (ICA) or vertebral artery (VA) Biffl Grade IV injuries over a 7-year period at a single institution.

Results

Fifty-nine Biffl Grade IV injuries were diagnosed affecting 11 ICAs, 44 unilateral VAs, and 2 bilateral VAs. The stroke rates were 64%, 9%, and 50%, respectively. Of the 11 Biffl Grade IV ICA injuries, 5 presented with stroke while 2 developed delayed stroke. An ipsilateral posterior communicating artery greater than 1 mm on CT angiography was protective against stroke due to hemodynamic failure (p = 0.015). All patients with Biffl Grade IV injuries affecting the ICA who had at least 8 emboli per hour on transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography developed an embolic pattern of stroke (p = 0.006). Treatment with aspirin versus dual antiplatelet therapy had a similar effect on stroke rate in the ICA group (p = 0.5) and all patients who suffered stroke either died (n = 3) or required a decompressive hemicraniectomy with subsequent poor outcome (n = 4). All 10 strokes associated with Biffl Grade IV VA injuries were embolic and clinically asymptomatic. In VA Biffl Grade IV injury, neither the presence of emboli nor treatment with antiplatelet agents affected stroke rates.

Conclusions

At the authors' institution, traumatic ICA occlusion is rare but associated with a high stroke rate. Robust collateral circulation may mitigate its severity. Embolic monitoring with TCD ultrasonography and prophylactic antiplatelet therapy should be used in all ICA Biffl Grade IV injuries. Unilateral VA Biffl Grade IV injury is the most common type of traumatic occlusion and is associated with significantly less morbidity. Embolic monitoring using TCD and prophylactic antiplatelet therapy do not appear to be beneficial in patients with traumatic VA occlusion.

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Ryan P. Morton, I. Josh Abecassis, Josiah F. Hanson, Jason Barber, John D. Nerva, Samuel N. Emerson, Chibawanye I. Ene, Michelle M. Chowdhary, Michael R. Levitt, Andrew L. Ko, Timothy H. Dellit and Randall M. Chesnut

OBJECTIVE

The authors' aim was to report the largest study on predictors of infection after cranioplasty and to assess the predictive value of intraoperative bone flap cultures before cryopreservation.

METHODS

They retrospectively examined all cranioplasties performed between March 2004 and November 2014. Throughout this study period, the standard protocol during initial craniectomy was to obtain a culture swab of the extracted autologous bone flap (ABF)—prior to its placement in cytostorage—to screen for microbial contamination. Two consecutive protocols were employed for the use and interpretation of the intraoperative swab culture results: A) From March 2004 through June 2013, any culture-positive ABF (+ABF) was discarded and a custom synthetic prosthesis was implanted at the time of cranioplasty. B) From July 2013 through November 2014, any ABF with a skin flora organism was not discarded. Instead, cryopreservation was maintained and the +ABF was reimplanted after a 10-minute soak in bacitracin irrigation as well as a 3-minute soak in betadine.

RESULTS

Over the 10.75-year period, 754 cranioplasty procedures were performed. The median time from craniectomy to cranioplasty was 123 days. Median follow-up after cranioplasty was 237 days for protocol A and 225 days for protocol B. The overall infection rate after cranioplasty was 6.6% (50 cases) occurring at a median postoperative Day 31. Staphylococcus spp. were involved as the causative organisms in 60% of cases.

Culture swabs taken at the time of initial craniectomy were available for 640 ABFs as 114 ABFs were not salvageable. One hundred twenty-six (20%) were culture positive. Eighty-nine +ABFs occurred during protocol A and were discarded in favor of a synthetic prosthesis at the time of cranioplasty, whereas 37 +ABFs occurred under protocol B and were reimplanted at the time of cranioplasty.

Cranioplasty material did not affect the postcranioplasty infection rate. There was no significant difference in the infection rate among sterile ABFs (7%), +ABFs (8%), and synthetic prostheses (5.5%; p = 0.425). All 3 +ABF infections under protocol B were caused by organisms that differed from those in the original intraoperative bone culture from the initial craniectomy. A cranioplasty procedure ≤ 14 days after initial craniectomy was the only significant predictor of postcranioplasty infection (p = 0.007, HR 3.62).

CONCLUSIONS

Cranioplasty procedures should be performed at least 14 days after initial craniectomy to minimize infection risk. Obtaining intraoperative bone cultures at the time of craniectomy in the absence of clinical infection should be discontinued as the culture results were not a useful predictor of postcranioplasty infection and led to the unnecessary use of synthetic prostheses and increased health care costs.

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Alexander G. Weil, John Ragheb, Toba N. Niazi and Sanjiv Bhatia

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David S. Xu, Michael R. Levitt, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Celene B. Mulholland, Isaac J. Abecassis, Ryan P. Morton, John D. Nerva, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Robert F. Spetzler, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Cameron G. McDougall

OBJECTIVE

Fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar aneurysms are rare, challenging lesions. The natural history of these lesions and medium- and long-term patient outcomes are poorly understood. The authors sought to evaluate patient prognosis after diagnosis of fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar aneurysms and to identify clinical and radiographic predictors of neurological deterioration.

METHODS

The authors reviewed multiple, prospectively maintained, single-provider databases at 3 large-volume cerebrovascular centers to obtain data on patients with unruptured, fusiform, basilar artery dolichoectatic aneurysms diagnosed between January 1, 2000, and January 1, 2015.

RESULTS

A total of 50 patients (33 men, 17 women) were identified; mean clinical follow-up was 50.1 months and mean radiographic follow-up was 32.4 months. At last follow-up, 42% (n = 21) of aneurysms had progressed and 44% (n = 22) of patients had deterioration of their modified Rankin Scale scores. When patients were dichotomized into 2 groups— those who worsened and those who did not—univariate analysis showed 5 variables to be statistically significantly different: sex (p = 0.007), radiographic brainstem compression (p = 0.03), clinical posterior fossa compression (p < 0.001), aneurysmal growth on subsequent imaging (p = 0.001), and surgical therapy (p = 0.006). A binary logistic regression was then created to evaluate these variables. The only variable found to be a statistically significant predictor of clinical worsening was clinical symptoms of posterior fossa compression at presentation (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar aneurysms carry a poor prognosis, with approximately one-half of the patients deteriorating or experiencing progression of their aneurysm within 5 years. Despite being high risk, intervention—when carefully timed (before neurological decline)—may be beneficial in select patients.