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Madeline B. Karsten, Steven J. Staffa, Craig D. McClain, Jennifer Amon, and Scellig S. D. Stone

OBJECTIVE

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) requires significant postoperative pain management, traditionally relying heavily on systemic opioids. Concern for short- and long-term effects of these agents has generated interest in reducing systemic opioid administration without sacrificing analgesia. Epidural analgesia has been applied in pediatric patients undergoing SDR; however, whether this reduces systemic opioid use has not been established. In this retrospective cohort study, the authors compared postoperative opioid use and clinical measures between patients treated with SDR who received postoperative epidural analgesia and those who received systemic analgesia only.

METHODS

All patients who underwent SDR at Boston Children’s Hospital between June 2013 and November 2019 were reviewed. Treatment used the same surgical technique. Postoperative systemic opioid dosage (in morphine milligram equivalents per kilogram [MME/kg]), pain scores, need for respiratory support, vomiting, bowel movements, and length of hospital and ICU stay were compared between patients who received postoperative epidural analgesia and those who did not, by using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test or Fisher’s exact test.

RESULTS

A total of 35 patients were identified, including 18 females (51.4%), with a median age at surgery of 6.1 years. Thirteen patients received postoperative epidural and systemic analgesia and 22 patients received systemic analgesia only. Groups were otherwise similar, with treatment selection based solely on surgeon routine. Patients who received epidural analgesia required less systemic morphine milligram equivalents/kg on postoperative days (PODs) 0–4 (p ≤ 0.042). Patients who did not receive epidural analgesia were more likely to require respiratory support on POD 1 (45% vs 8%; p = 0.027). Reported pain scores did not differ between groups, although patients receiving epidural analgesia trended toward less severe pain on PODs 1 and 2. Groups did not differ with respect to postoperative vomiting or time to first bowel movement, although epidural analgesia use was associated with a longer hospital stay (median 7 vs 5 days; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who received postoperative epidural analgesia required less systemic opioid use and had at least equivalent reported pain scores on PODs 1–4, and they required less respiratory support on POD 1, although they remained in the hospital longer when compared to patients who received systemic analgesia only. A larger prospective study is needed to confirm whether epidural analgesia lowers systemic opioid use in children, contributes to a safer postoperative hospital stay, and results in better pain control following SDR.

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Mohammed A. Fouda, Madeline Karsten, Steven J. Staffa, R. Michael Scott, Karen J. Marcus, and Lissa C. Baird

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to identify the independent risk factors for recurrence or progression of pediatric craniopharyngioma and to establish predictors of the appropriate timing of intervention and best management strategy in the setting of recurrence/progression, with the aim of optimizing tumor control.

METHODS

This is a retrospective cohort study of all pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma who were diagnosed and treated at Boston Children’s Hospital between 1990 and 2017. This study was approved by the institutional review board at Boston Children’s Hospital. All statistical analyses were performed using Stata software.

RESULTS

Eighty patients (43 males and 37 females) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 8.6 ± 4.4 years (range 1.2–19.7 years). The mean follow-up was 10.9 ± 6.5 years (range 1.3–24.6 years). Overall, 30/80 (37.5%) patients developed recurrence/progression. The median latency to recurrence/progression was 12.75 months (range 3–108 months). Subtotal resection with no adjuvant radiotherapy (p < 0.001) and fine calcifications (p = 0.008) are independent risk factors for recurrence/progression. An increase (%) in the maximum dimension of the tumor at the time of recurrence/progression was considered a statistically significant predictor of the appropriate timing of intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the identified independent risk factors for tumor recurrence/progression and the predictors of appropriate timing of intervention in the setting of recurrence/progression, the authors propose an algorithm for optimal management of recurrent pediatric craniopharyngioma to increase the likelihood of tumor control.

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Alaa S. Montaser, Harishchandra Lalgudi Srinivasan, Steven J. Staffa, David Zurakowski, Anna L. Slingerland, Darren B. Orbach, Moran Hausman-Kedem, Jonathan Roth, and Edward R. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Ivy sign is a radiographic finding on FLAIR MRI sequences and is associated with slow cortical blood flow in moyamoya. Limited data exist on the utility of the ivy sign as a diagnostic and prognostic tool in pediatric patients, particularly outside of Asian populations. The authors aimed to investigate a modified grading scale with which to characterize the prevalence and extent of the ivy sign in children with moyamoya and evaluate its efficacy as a biomarker in predicting postoperative outcomes, including stroke risk.

METHODS

Pre- and postoperative clinical and radiographic data of all pediatric patients (21 years of age or younger) who underwent surgery for moyamoya disease or moyamoya syndrome at two major tertiary referral centers in the US and Israel, between July 2009 and August 2019, were retrospectively reviewed. Ivy sign scores were correlated to Suzuki stage, Matsushima grade, and postoperative stroke rate to quantify the diagnostic and prognostic utility of ivy sign.

RESULTS

A total of 171 hemispheres in 107 patients were included. The median age at the time of surgery was 9 years (range 3 months–21 years). The ivy sign was most frequently encountered in association with Suzuki stage III or IV disease in all vascular territories, including the anterior cerebral artery (53.7%), middle cerebral artery (56.3%), and posterior cerebral artery (47.5%) territories. Following surgical revascularization, 85% of hemispheres with Matsushima grade A demonstrated a concomitant, statistically significant reduction in ivy sign scores (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.4–20.0; p = 0.013). Postoperatively, revascularized hemispheres that exhibited ivy sign score decreases had significantly lower rates of postoperative stroke (3.4%) compared with hemispheres that demonstrated no reversal of the ivy sign (16.1%) (OR 5.5, 95% CI 1.5–21.0; p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study to date that focuses on the role of the ivy sign in pediatric moyamoya. These data demonstrate that the ivy sign was present in approximately half the pediatric patients with moyamoya with Suzuki stage III or IV disease, when blood flow was most unstable. The authors found that reversal of the ivy sign provided both radiographic and clinical utility as a prognostic biomarker postoperatively, given the statistically significant association with both better Matsushima grades and a fivefold reduction in postoperative stroke rates. These findings can help inform clinical decision-making, and they have particular value in the pediatric population, as the ability to minimize additional radiographic evaluations and tailor radiographic surveillance is requisite.