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  • Author or Editor: Ryan S. Kitagawa x
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Ryan S. Kitagawa, Robert M. Van Haren, Shoji Yokobori, David Cohen, Samuel R. Beckerman, Faiz Ahmad and M. Ross Bullock


Simultaneous traumatic brain injury (TBI) and aortic injury has been considered unsurvivable for many years because treatments such as sedation and blood pressure goals conflict for these 2 conditions. Additionally, surgical interventions for aortic injury often require full anticoagulation, which is contraindicated in patients with TBI. For these reasons, and due to the relative rarity of aortic injury/TBI, little data are available to guide treating physicians.


A retrospective review was performed on all simultaneous TBI and aortic injury cases from 2000 to 2012 at a university-affiliated, Level I trauma center. Patient demographics, imaging studies, interventions, and outcomes were analyzed. Traumatic brain injury/aortic injury cases treated with endovascular stenting were specifically studied to determine trends in procedure timing, use of anticoagulation, and neurological outcome.


Thirty-three patients with concurrent TBI and aortic injury were identified over a 12-year period. The median patient age was 44 years (range 16–86 years) and the overall mortality rate after imaging diagnosis was 46%. All surviving patients were awake and neurologically functional at discharge, and 83% were discharged home or to rehabilitation facilities. Patients who died had a higher Injury Severity Scale score (p = 0.006). Severe TBI (p = 0.045) or hemodynamic instability (p = 0.015) upon arrival to the hospital was also correlated with increased mortality rates. Thirty-three percent of aortic injury/TBI patients (n = 11) underwent endovascular stenting, and 7 of these patients received intravenous anticoagulation therapy at the time of surgery. Six of these 7 anticoagulation-treated patients experienced no significant progression on postoperative brain CT, whereas 1 patient died of hemodynamic instability prior to undergoing further imaging.


Simultaneous TBI and aortic injury is a rare condition with a historically poor prognosis. However, these results suggest that many patients can survive with a good quality of life. Technological advances such as endovascular aortic stenting may improve patient outcome, and anticoagulation is not absolutely contraindicated after TBI.

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Ryan S. Kitagawa, Michel E. Mawad, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Thomas G. Luersen and Andrew Jea

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) within the spinal canal and in the paraspinal region are unusual. Spinal cord and dural AVMs or arteriovenous fistulas have been the subject of numerous reports, but paraspinal malformations causing venous congestion or hemorrhage in the spinal canal are rare and present special diagnosis and management challenges. The authors review previously published reports on 16 children with paraspinal AVMs. They also describe the 17th case of a child with a paraspinal AVM who presented with a spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there has been no other case of a spinal epidural hematoma associated with a paraspinal AVM. In each of the 17 cases, the vascular lesion was successfully obliterated using endovascular therapy. Embolization with permanent occlusive agents is an effective treatment for these rare but potentially debilitating lesions.

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Joseph P. Herbert, Sidish S. Venkataraman, Ali H. Turkmani, Liang Zhu, Marcia L. Kerr, Rajan P. Patel, Irma T. Ugalde, Stephen A. Fletcher, David I. Sandberg, Charles S. Cox Jr., Ryan S. Kitagawa, Arthur L. Day and Manish N. Shah


The objective of this study was to assess the incidence, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) at a busy Level 1 trauma center and to develop a tool for accurately predicting pediatric BCVI and the need for diagnostic testing.


This is a retrospective cohort study of a prospectively collected database of pediatric patients who had sustained blunt trauma (patient age range 0–15 years) and were treated at a Level 1 trauma center between 2005 and 2015. Digital subtraction angiography, MR angiography, or CT angiography was used to confirm BCVI. Recently, the Utah score has emerged as a screening tool specifically targeted toward evaluating BCVI risk in the pediatric population. Using logistical regression and adding mechanism of injury as a logit, the McGovern score was able to use the Utah score as a starting point to create a more sensitive screening tool to identify which pediatric trauma patients should receive angiographic imaging due to a high risk for BCVI.


A total of 12,614 patients (mean age 6.6 years) were admitted with blunt trauma and prospectively registered in the trauma database. Of these, 460 (3.6%) patients underwent angiography after blunt trauma: 295 (64.1%), 107 (23.3%), 6 (1.3%), and 52 (11.3%) patients underwent CT angiography, MR angiography, digital subtraction angiography, and a combination of imaging modalities, respectively. The BCVI incidence (n = 21; 0.17%) was lower than that in a comparable adult group (p < 0.05). The mean patient was age 10.4 years with a mean follow-up of 7.5 months. Eleven patients (52.4%) were involved in a motor vehicle collision, with a mean Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8.6. There were 8 patients (38.1%) with carotid canal fracture, 6 patients (28.6%) with petrous bone fracture, and 2 patients (9.5%) with infarction on initial presentation. Eight patients (38.1%) were managed with observation alone. The Denver, modified Memphis, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST), and Utah scores, which are the currently used screening tools for BCVI, misclassified 6 (28.6%), 6 (28.6%), 7 (33.3%), and 10 (47.6%) patients with BCVI, respectively, as “low risk” and not in need of subsequent angiographic imaging. By incorporating the mechanism of injury into the score, the McGovern score only misclassified 4 (19.0%) children, all of whom were managed conservatively with no treatment or aspirin.


With a low incidence of pediatric BCVI and a nonsurgical treatment paradigm, a more conservative approach than the Biffl scale should be adopted. The Denver, modified Memphis, EAST, and Utah scores did not accurately predict BCVI in our equally large cohort. The McGovern score is the first BCVI screening tool to incorporate the mechanism of injury into its screening criteria, thereby potentially allowing physicians to minimize unnecessary radiation and determine which high-risk patients are truly in need of angiographic imaging.