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Jonathan Pindrik, Thierry A. G. M. Huisman, Mahadevappa Mahesh, Aylin Tekes, and Edward S. Ahn

Object

Despite its diagnostic utility, head CT scanning imparts risks of radiation exposure. Children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus exhibit increased risks of radiation toxicity due to the higher vulnerability of developing, immature tissues and frequent scanning. Several methods have been used to achieve dose reduction, including modifications of CT scanner tube current and potential. This retrospective study explores the use of a newly defined limited sequence of axial head CT slices to evaluate children with shunted hydrocephalus and decrease radiation exposure from diagnostic CT scans.

Methods

Consistent sequences of 7 axial slices were extracted from previously performed standard head CT scans in children with shunted hydrocephalus. Chronologically distinct limited sequences of each patient were blindly, retrospectively reviewed by 2 pediatric neuroradiologists and 1 pediatric neurosurgeon. Limited-sequence CT evaluation focused on the adequacy of portraying the ventricular system, changes in ventricular size, and visualization of the proximal catheter. Reviewers assessed all original full series head CT scans at least 4 months later for comparison. Adequacy and accuracy of the limited-sequence CT compared with the gold standard head CT was investigated using descriptive statistics. Effective dose (ED) estimates of the limited-sequence and standard head CT scans were compared using descriptive statistics and the Mann-Whitney test.

Results

Two serial head CT scans from each of 50 patients (age range 0–17 years; mean age 5.5 years) were reviewed both in standard and limited-sequence forms. The limited-sequence CT adequately portrayed the ventricular system in all cases. The inaccuracy rate for assessing changes in ventricular size by majority assessment (2 of 3 reviewers evaluating inaccurately) was 3 (6%) of 50. In 1 case, the inaccurate assessment would not have altered clinical management, corresponding to a 2 (4%) of 50 clinically relevant inaccuracy rate. As compared with the gold standard complete head CT series, the limited-sequence CT exhibited high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (91%) for portraying changes in ventricular caliber. Additionally, the limited-sequence CT displayed the ventricular catheter in 91.7% of scans averaged across 3 observers. Among all scans reviewed, 97 pairs of standard head CT and complementary limited-sequence CT scans contained adequate dosing information to calculate the effective dose (ED). The ED50 of the limited-sequence CT (0.284 mSv) differed significantly from the ED50 of the standard head CT (4.27 mSv) (p < 0.0001). The limited-sequence CT reflected a median absolute reduction of 4.10 mSv and a mean percent reduction of 91.8% in ED compared with standard head CT.

Conclusions

Limited-sequence head CT scanning provided adequate and accurate diagnostic information in children with shunted hydrocephalus. Techniques including minimization of axial slice quantity and modification of CT scanner parameters can achieve significant dose reduction, maintaining a balance between diagnostic utility and patient safety.

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Gunes Orman, Thangamadhan Bosemani, George I. Jallo, Thierry A. G. M. Huisman, and Andrea Poretti

Hypertrophic olivary degeneration (HOD) is a dynamic process caused by disruptive lesions affecting components of the Guillain-Mollaret triangle (GMT). The authors applied diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate longitudinal changes of the GMT components in a child with HOD after neurosurgery for a midbrain tumor. Diffusion tensor imaging data were acquired on a 1.5-T MRI scanner using a balanced pair of diffusion gradients along 20 noncollinear directions 1 day and 3, 6, and 9 months after surgery. Measurements from regions of interest (ROIs) were sampled in the affected inferior olivary nucleus, ipsilateral red nucleus, and contralateral superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles and dentate nucleus. For each ROI, fractional anisotropy and the mean, axial, and radial diffusivities were calculated. In the affected inferior olivary nucleus, the authors found a decrease in fractional anisotropy and an increase in mean, axial, and radial diffusivities 3 months after surgery, while 3 months later fractional anisotropy increased and diffusivities decreased. For all other GMT components, changes in DTI scalars were less pronounced, and fractional anisotropy mildly decreased over time. A detailed analysis of longitudinal DTI scalars in the various GMT components may shed light on a better understanding of the dynamic complex histopathological processes occurring in pediatric HOD over time.

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Nisha Gadgil, Samuel G. McClugage III, Guillermo Aldave, David F. Bauer, Howard L. Weiner, Thierry A. G. M. Huisman, Magdalena Sanz-Cortes, Michael A. Belfort, Lisa Emrick, Gary Clark, Luc Joyeux, and William E. Whitehead

OBJECTIVE

In utero repair of fetal posterior cephaloceles (meningocele and encephalocele) is being performed based on the premise that fetal surgery prevents progressive herniation of neural tissue and brain damage during pregnancy. However, the extent to which progressive herniation occurs during pregnancy, specifically from prenatal diagnosis to after delivery, is not well known. The objective of this study was to describe the natural history of patients with fetal cephaloceles focusing on the incidence of progressive herniation.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients referred to their center for posterior fetal cephalocele between 2006 and 2021. All patients underwent prenatal and postnatal MRI. Progressive herniation (primary outcome) was defined as an increase in the absolute volume of neural tissue within the cephalocele of > 5% or new herniation of a critical structure into the cephalocele. Total brain and cephalocele volumes were calculated to determine herniation progression from prenatal to postnatal MRI. Information on the presence of hydrocephalus, epilepsy, and developmental delay (secondary outcomes) was collected at 1 year of age.

RESULTS

Twenty patients met all study criteria. Ten patients (50%; 95% CI 0.27–0.73) demonstrated progressive herniation from prenatal to postnatal MRI. Three patients with progressive herniation were diagnosed with a meningocele prenatally and had an encephalocele postnatally. Two patients without progression had meningocele identified prenatally that regressed and became atretic by birth. Both prenatal hindbrain herniation (p = 0.03) and prenatal microcephaly (p = 0.05) were predictive of progressive herniation. The rates of hydrocephalus (44%), epilepsy (44%), and developmental delay (63%) were not associated with the occurrence of progressive herniation in this study.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, progressive herniation was not a rare event (50%). Fetal hindbrain herniation and fetal microcephaly were associated with the occurrence of progressive herniation. These results support further investigations into why progressive herniation occurs in utero and if progressive cerebral herniation in utero plays a significant role in determining clinical outcome.

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Gunes Orman, Matthias W. Wagner, Daniel Seeburg, Carlos A. Zamora, Alexander Oshmyansky, Aylin Tekes, Andrea Poretti, George I. Jallo, Thierry A. G. M. Huisman, and Thangamadhan Bosemani

OBJECT

The authors compared the efficacy of combining 2D+3D CT reconstructions with standard 2D CT images in the diagnosis of linear skull fractures in children with head trauma.

METHODS

This was a retrospective evaluation of consecutive head CT studies of children presenting with head trauma. Two experienced pediatric neuroradiologists in consensus created the standard of reference. Three readers independently evaluated the 2D CT images alone and then in combination with the 3D reconstructions for the diagnosis of linear skull fractures. Sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of linear skull fractures utilizing 2D and 2D+3D CT in combination were measured for children less than 2 years of age and for all children for analysis by the 3 readers.

RESULTS

Included in the study were 250 consecutive CT studies of 250 patients (167 boys and 83 girls). The mean age of the children was 7.82 years (range 4 days to 17.4 years). 2D+3D CT combined had a higher sensitivity and specificity (83.9% and 97.1%, respectively) compared with 2D alone (78.2% and 92.8%, respectively) with statistical significance for specificity (p < 0.05) in children less than 2 years of age. 2D+3D CT combined had a higher sensitivity and specificity (81.3% and 90.5%, respectively) compared with 2D alone (74.5% and 89.1%, respectively) with statistical significance for sensitivity (p < 0.05) in all children.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, 2D+3D CT in combination showed increased sensitivity in the diagnosis of linear skull fractures in all children and increased specificity in children less than 2 years of age. In children less than 2 years of age, added confidence in the interpretation of fractures by distinguishing them from sutures may have a significant implication in the setting of nonaccidental trauma. Furthermore, 3D CT is available at no added cost, scan time, or radiation exposure, providing trainees and clinicians with limited experience an additional valuable tool for routine imaging of pediatric head trauma.

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David S. Hersh, Nir Shimony, Mari L. Groves, Gerald F. Tuite, George I. Jallo, Ann Liu, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Thierry A. G. M. Huisman, Ryan J. Felling, Joseph A. Kufera, and Edward S. Ahn

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric cerebral venous sinus thrombosis has been previously described in the setting of blunt head trauma; however, the population demographics, risk factors for thrombosis, and the risks and benefits of detection and treatment in this patient population are poorly defined. Furthermore, few reports differentiate between different forms of sinus pathology. A series of pediatric patients with skull fractures who underwent venous imaging and were diagnosed with intrinsic cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or extrinsic sinus compression is presented.

METHODS

The medical records of patients at 2 pediatric trauma centers were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who were evaluated for blunt head trauma from January 2003 to December 2013, diagnosed with a skull fracture, and underwent venous imaging were included.

RESULTS

Of 2224 pediatric patients with skull fractures following blunt trauma, 41 patients (2%) underwent venous imaging. Of these, 8 patients (20%) had intrinsic sinus thrombosis and 14 patients (34%) displayed extrinsic compression of a venous sinus. Three patients with intrinsic sinus thrombosis developed venous infarcts, and 2 of these patients were treated with anticoagulation. One patient with extrinsic sinus compression by a depressed skull fracture underwent surgical elevation of the fracture. All patients with sinus pathology were discharged to home or inpatient rehabilitation. Among patients who underwent follow-up imaging, the sinus pathology had resolved by 6 months postinjury in 80% of patients with intrinsic thrombosis as well as 80% of patients with extrinsic compression. All patients with intrinsic thrombosis or extrinsic compression had a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5 at their last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

In this series of pediatric trauma patients who underwent venous imaging for suspected thrombosis, the yield of detecting intrinsic thrombosis and/or extrinsic compression of a venous sinus was high. However, few patients developed venous hypertension or infarction and were subsequently treated with anticoagulation or surgical decompression of the sinus. Most had spontaneous resolution and good neurological outcomes without treatment. Therefore, in the setting of pediatric skull fractures after blunt injury, venous imaging is recommended when venous hypertension or infarction is suspected and anticoagulation is being considered. However, there is little indication for pervasive venous imaging after pediatric skull fractures, especially in light of the potential risks of CT venography or MR venography in the pediatric population and the unclear benefits of anticoagulation.