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Edward R. Smith, William E. Butler, and Fred G. Barker II

Object. Death after ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery is uncommon, and therefore it has been difficult to study. The authors used a population-based national hospital discharge database to examine the relationship between annual hospital and surgeon volume of VP shunt surgery in pediatric patients and in-hospital mortality rates.

Methods. All children in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (1998–2000, age 90 days—18 years) who underwent VP shunt placement or shunt revision as the principal procedure were included. Main outcome measures were in-hospital mortality rates, length of stay (LOS), and total hospital charges.

Overall, 5955 admissions were analyzed (253 hospitals, 411 surgeons). Mortality rates were lower at high-volume centers and for high-volume surgeons. In terms of hospital volume, the mortality rate was 0.8% at lowest-quartile-volume centers (< 28 admissions/year) and 0.3% at highest-quartile-volume centers (> 121 admissions/year). In terms of surgeon volume, the mortality rate was 0.8% for lowest-quartile-volume providers (< nine admissions/year) and 0.1% for highest-quartile-volume providers (> 65 admissions/year). After multivariate adjustment for demographic variables, emergency admission and presence of infection, hospital volume of care remained a significant predictor of death (odds ratio [OR] for a 10-fold increase in caseload 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.18–0.81). Surgeon volume of care was statistically significant in a similar multivariate model (OR for a 10-fold increase in caseload 0.3; 95% CI 0.13–0.69). Length of stay was slightly shorter and total hospital charges were slightly higher at higher-volume centers, but the differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions. Pediatric shunt procedures performed at high-volume hospitals or by high-volume surgeons were associated with lower in-hospital mortality rates, with no significant difference in LOS or hospital charges.

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Edward R. Smith, William E. Butler, and Fred G. Barker II

Object

Concern for patient safety, among other reasons, recently prompted sweeping changes in resident work policies in the US. Some have speculated that the arrival of new interns and residents at teaching hospitals each July might cause an annual transient increase in poor patient outcomes and inefficient care.

Methods

Data were analyzed for 4323 craniotomies for tumor resection and 22,072 shunt operations performed in pediatric patients between 1988 and 2000 in US nonfederal hospitals (Nationwide Inpatient Sample, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD). In-hospital mortality rates, discharge outcome, complications, and efficiency measures (length of stay [LOS] and hospital charges) for patients treated in July and August were compared with similar data for patients in other months.

There were no significant increases in any adverse end point for either tumor or shunt operations in July and August. Odds ratios (95% confidence interval [CI]) for outcome of tumor craniotomies performed in July and August compared with outcome for tumor craniotomies performed in other months were as follows: for mortality rate, 0.43 (0.14–1.32); for adverse discharge disposition, 1.03 (0.71–1.51); for neurological complications, 1.00 (0.63–1.59); for transfusion, 0.70 (0.41–1.19). Hospital charges were 0.5% lower (range −6 to 5%) in July and August, and LOS was 3% shorter (range −8 to 3%). Odds ratios (95% CI) for July or August shunt surgery compared with shunt surgery performed in other months were as follows: for mortality rate, 0.96 (0.58–1.60); for adverse discharge disposition, 0.85 (0.66–1.11); for neurological complications, 1.27 (0.75–2.16); for transfusion, 0.81 (0.48–1.37). Hospital charges were 0.2% higher in July and August (range −3 to 3%), and LOS was 3% shorter (range −5 to 0.5%).

Conclusions

Although moderate increases in some adverse end points could not be excluded, there was no evidence that brain tumor or shunt surgery performed in pediatric patients at US teaching hospitals during July and August is associated with more frequent adverse patient outcome or inefficient care than similar surgery performed during other months.

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Jean-Valery Coumans, Brian P. Walcott, William E. Butler, Brian V. Nahed, and Kristopher T. Kahle

Object

Resolution of syringomyelia is common following hindbrain decompression for Chiari malformation, yet little is known about the kinetics governing this process. The authors sought to establish the volumetric rate of syringomyelia resolution.

Methods

A retrospective cohort of patients undergoing hindbrain decompression for a Chiari malformation Type I with preoperative cervical or thoracic syringomyelia was identified. Patients were included in the study if they had at least 3 neuroimaging studies that detailed the entirety of their preoperative syringomyelia over a minimum of 6 months postoperatively. The authors reconstructed the MR images in 3 dimensions and calculated the volume of the syringomyelia. They plotted the syringomyelia volume over time and constructed regression models using the method of least squares. The Akaike information criterion and Bayesian information criterion were used to calculate the relative goodness of fit. The coefficients of determination R 2 (unadjusted and adjusted) were calculated to describe the proportion of variability in each individual data set accounted for by the statistical model.

Results

Two patients were identified as meeting inclusion criteria. Plots of the least-squares best fit were identified as 4.01459e −0.0180804 x and 13.2556e −0.00615859 x. Decay of the syringomyelia followed an exponential model in both patients (R2 = 0.989582 and 0.948864).

Conclusions

Three-dimensional analysis of syringomyelia resolution over time enables the kinetics to be estimated. This technique is yet to be validated in a large cohort. Because syringomyelia is the final common pathway for a number of different pathological processes, it is possible that this exponential only applies to syringomyelia related to treatment of Chiari malformation Type I.

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Christopher J. Stapleton, Brian P. Walcott, William E. Butler, and Christopher S. Ogilvy

OBJECT

Intraprocedural rerupture (IPR) of intracranial aneurysms during coil embolization is associated with significant periprocedural disability and death. However, whether this morbidity and mortality are secondary to an increased risk of vasospasm and hydrocephalus is unknown. The authors undertook this study to determine the in-hospital and long-term neurological outcomes for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) treated with coil embolization who suffer aneurysm rerupture during treatment.

METHODS

The records of 156 patients admitted with SAH from previously untreated, ruptured, intracranial aneurysms and treated with endovascular coiling between January 2007 and January 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Twelve patients (7.7%) experienced IPR during coil embolization.

RESULTS

Compared with the cohort of patients with uncomplicated coil embolization procedures, patients with aneurysm rerupture were more likely to require external ventricular drain (EVD) placement (91.7% vs 58.3%, p = 0.02) and postprocedural EVD placement (36.4% vs 7.1%, p = 0.01), to undergo permanent ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement (50.0% vs 18.8%, p = 0.02), to develop symptomatic vasospasm (50.0% vs 18.1%, p = 0.02), and to have longer lengths of hospital stay (median 21.5 days vs 15.0 days, p = 0.04). Admission Hunt and Hess, modified Fisher, and Barrow Neurological Institute grades did not differ between the 2 cohorts, nor did long-term functional neurological outcomes as assessed by the modified Rankin Scale.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraprocedural rerupture during coil embolization for ruptured intracranial aneurysms is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic vasospasm and need for temporary and permanent cerebrospinal fluid diversion for hydrocephalus.

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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, William E. Butler, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Bob S. Carter, and Fred G. Barker II

Object. The authors assessed the results of extracranial—intracranial (EC—IC) bypass surgery in the treatment of occlusive cerebrovascular disease and intracranial aneurysms in the US between 1992 and 2001 by using population-based methods.

Methods. This is a retrospective cohort study based on data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD). Five hundred fifty-eight operations were performed at 158 hospitals by 115 identified surgeons. The indications for surgery were cerebral ischemia in 74% of the operations (2.4% mortality rate), unruptured aneurysms in 19% of the operations (7.7% mortality rate), and ruptured aneurysms in 7% of the operations (21% mortality rate). Overall, 4.6% of the patients died and 4.7% of the patients were discharged to long-term facilities, 16.4% to short-term facilities, and 74.2% to their homes. The annual number of admissions in the US increased from 190 per year (1992–1996) to 360 per year (1997–2001), whereas the mortality rates increased from 2.8% (1992–1996) to 5.7% (1997–2001).

The median annual number of procedures was three per hospital (range one–27 operations) or two per surgeon (range one–21 operations). For 29% of patients, their bypass procedure was the only one recorded at their particular hospital during that year; for these institutions the mean annual caseload was 0.4 admissions per year. For 42% of patients, their particular surgeon performed no other bypass procedure during that year. Older patient age (p < 0.001) and African-American race (p = 0.005) were risk factors for adverse outcome. In a multivariate analysis in which adjustments were made for age, sex, race, diagnosis, admission type, geographic region, medical comorbidity, and year of surgery, high-volume hospitals less frequently had an adverse discharge disposition (odds ratio 0.54, p = 0.03).

Conclusions. Most EC—IC bypasses performed in the US during the last decade were performed for occlusive cerebrovascular disease. Community mortality rates for aneurysm treatment including bypass procedures currently exceed published values from specialized centers and, during the period under study, the mortality rates increased with time for all diagnostic subgroups. This technically demanding procedure has become a very low-volume operation at most US centers.

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Rahul A. Sastry, Matthew J. Koch, Benjamin L. Grannan, Christopher J. Stapleton, William E. Butler, and Aman B. Patel

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is a common treatment for noncommunicating hydrocephalus. Although rare, vascular injury and traumatic pseudoaneurysm development during ETV have been reported. The authors present the case of a 13-year-old boy who underwent repeat ETV (rETV) for shunt and ETV failure, and who suffered an intraoperative subarachnoid hemorrhage due to iatrogenic injury to the basilar tip, with subsequent development of a pseudoaneurysm. Despite initial primary coil embolization, the aneurysm recurred and was definitively treated with flow diversion. In this report, the authors review complication rates associated with ETV and rETV as well as the emerging use of flow diversion and its applications in vessel reconstruction within the pediatric population.

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Fred G. Barker II, William E. Butler, Sue Lyons, Ethan Cascio, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Jay S. Loeffler, and Paul H. Chapman

Object. The use of radiosurgery for the treatment of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and other lesions demands an accurate understanding of the risk of radiation-related complications. Some commonly used formulas for predicting risk are based on extrapolation from small numbers of animal experiments, pilot human treatment series, and theoretical radiobiological considerations. The authors studied the incidence of complications after AVM radiosurgery in relation to dose, volume, and other factors in a large patient series.

Methods. A retrospective review was conducted in 1329 patients with AVM treated by Dr. Raymond Kjellberg at the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory (HCL) between 1965 and 1993. Dose and volume were obtained from HCL records, and information about patient follow up was derived from concurrent clinical records, questionnaires, and contact with referring physicians. Multivariate logistic regression with bootstrapped confidence intervals was used.

Follow up was available in 1250 patients (94%); the median follow-up duration was 6.5 years. The median radiation dose was 10.5 Gy and the median treatment volume was 33.7 cm3. Twenty-three percent of treated lesions were smaller than 10 cm3. Fifty-one permanent radiation-related deficits occurred (4.1%). Of 1043 patients treated with a dose predicted by the Kjellberg isoeffective centile curve to have a less than 1% complication risk, 1.8% suffered radiation-related complications. Actual complication rates were 4.7% for 128 patients treated at Kjellberg risk centile doses of 1 to 1.8%, and 34% for 61 patients treated at risk centile doses of 2 to 2.5%. The fitted logistic model showed that complication risk was related to treatment dose and volume, thalamic or brainstem location, and patient age.

Conclusions. The Kjellberg isoeffective risk centile curve significantly underpredicted actual risks of permanent complications after proton beam radiosurgery for AVMs. Actual risks were best predicted using a model that accounted for treatment dose and volume, lesion location, and patient age.

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Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

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R. Michael Scott

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Jay Riva-Cambrin, John R. W. Kestle, Richard Holubkov, Jerry Butler, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James Drake, William E. Whitehead, John C. Wellons III, Chevis N. Shannon, Mandeep S. Tamber, David D. Limbrick Jr., Curtis Rozzelle, Samuel R. Browd, Tamara D. Simon, and The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECT

The rate of CSF shunt failure remains unacceptably high. The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) conducted a comprehensive prospective observational study of hydrocephalus management, the aim of which was to isolate specific risk factors for shunt failure.

METHODS

The study followed all first-time shunt insertions in children younger than 19 years at 6 HCRN centers. The HCRN Investigator Committee selected, a priori, 21 variables to be examined, including clinical, radiographic, and shunt design variables. Shunt failure was defined as shunt revision, subsequent endoscopic third ventriculostomy, or shunt infection. Important a priori–defined risk factors as well as those significant in univariate analyses were then tested for independence using multivariate Cox proportional hazard modeling.

RESULTS

A total of 1036 children underwent initial CSF shunt placement between April 2008 and December 2011. Of these, 344 patients experienced shunt failure, including 265 malfunctions and 79 infections. The mean and median length of follow-up for the entire cohort was 400 days and 264 days, respectively. The Cox model found that age younger than 6 months at first shunt placement (HR 1.6 [95% CI 1.1–2.1]), a cardiac comorbidity (HR 1.4 [95% CI 1.0–2.1]), and endoscopic placement (HR 1.9 [95% CI 1.2–2.9]) were independently associated with reduced shunt survival. The following had no independent associations with shunt survival: etiology, payer, center, valve design, valve programmability, the use of ultrasound or stereotactic guidance, and surgeon experience and volume.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest prospective study reported on children with CSF shunts for hydrocephalus. It confirms that a young age and the use of the endoscope are risk factors for first shunt failure and that valve type has no impact. A new risk factor—an existing cardiac comorbidity—was also associated with shunt failure.