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William P. Vandertop, Rudolf M. Verdaasdonk, and Christiaan F. P. van Swol

Object. Although lasers have proved to be valuable in neuroendoscopy, surgeons are still not comfortable using high-energy laser endoscopic probes in proximity to vital structures such as the basilar artery in third ventriculostomy. The authors have developed a special laser catheter for use in neuroendoscopy; the object of this paper is to present their experimental and clinical experiences using the catheter.

Methods. This laser catheter is fitted with an atraumatic ball-shaped fiber tip that is pretreated with a layer of carbon particles. These carbon particles absorb approximately 90% of the energy emitted, which is very effectively converted into heat. As the heat is generated in this very thin layer of carbon coating, the temperature at the surface of the ball-shaped tip reaches ablative temperatures instantly at powers of only a few watts per second, which has enabled the authors to limit drastically the amount of laser light used and the length of exposure needed, thereby increasing safety even around critical structures.

Conclusions. The authors present experimental data and their clinical experience using these pretreated fiber tips with a neodymium—yttrium aluminum garnet contact laser or a diode contact laser in 49 patients (22 males and 27 females) and a variety of procedures: third ventriculocisternostomy (33 patients), cyst fenestration (nine patients), colloid cyst resection (six patients), and fenestration of the septum pellucidum (one patient). There was no instance of mortality or increased morbidity. To date, the procedure success rate is 100% and the overall outcome success rate is 86%. The authors conclude that pretreated atraumatic ball-shaped fiber tips now make laser application safe and effective in a variety of neuroendoscopic procedures. Because of their low power range (only several watts), compact diode lasers will be the energy source of first choice.

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William P. Vandertop, Akio Asai, Harold J. Hoffman, James M. Drake, Robin P. Humphreys, James T. Rutka, and Laurence E. Becker

✓ Between January, 1981, and July, 1991, 17 infants under 1 month of age were admitted to The Hospital for Sick Children with the signs and symptoms of a Chiari II malformation. These patients' presentation included swallowing difficulty (71%), stridor (59%), apneic spells (29%), aspiration (12%), weakness of cry (18%), and arm weakness (53%). Decompression of the Chiari II malformation was performed in all patients, with a time interval between onset of symptoms and surgery ranging from 1 to 121 days. Fifteen patients (88%) remain alive, all of whom have shown a complete recovery. The mean follow-up period in this group of patients was 65 months. Two patients died, one due to respiratory arrest 8 months after decompression and the other because of shunt infection and peritonitis 7 years after decompression. These results support the concept that compressive forces, rather than a primary intrinsic disorder of the brain-stem nuclei, play a crucial etiological role in the development of a symptomatic Chiari II malformation. Early recognition of the symptoms of Chiari II malformation should be followed by immediate decompressive laminectomy in order to promote a prompt and full neurological recovery.

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René van den Berg, Lung Jeung, René Post, Bert A. Coert, Jantien Hoogmoed, Jonathan M. Coutinho, Charles B. Majoie, Dagmar Verbaan, Bart J. Emmer, and William P. Vandertop

OBJECTIVE

In patients presenting within 6 hours after signs and symptoms of suspected subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), CSF examination is judged to be no longer necessary if a noncontrast CT (NCCT) scan rules out SAH. In this study, the authors evaluated the performance of NCCT to rule out SAH in patients with positive CSF findings.

METHODS

Between January 2006 and April 2018, 1657 patients were admitted with a nontraumatic SAH. Of these patients, 1546 had positive SAH findings on the initial NCCT and 111 patients had an NCCT scan that was reported as negative in the acute setting, but with positive CSF examination for subarachnoid blood. Demographic data, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade, and SAH time points (ictus, time of NCCT, and time of lumbar puncture) were collected. All 111 NCCT scans were reevaluated by an experienced neuroradiologist.

RESULTS

Of the 111 patients with positive CSF findings, SAH was initially missed on NCCT in 25 patients (23%). Reevaluation of 21 patients presenting within 6 hours of symptom onset confirmed NCCT negative findings in 12 (5 aneurysms), an aneurysmal SAH (aSAH) pattern in 8 (7 aneurysms), and a perimesencephalic pattern in 1 patient. Reevaluation of 90 patients presenting after 6 hours confirmed negative NCCT findings in 74 patients (37 aneurysms), aSAH pattern in 10 (4 aneurysms), and a perimesencephalic pattern in 6 (2 aneurysms).

CONCLUSIONS

CSF examination is still mandatory to rule out SAH as NCCT can fail to show blood, even within 6 hours after symptom onset. In addition, the diagnosis SAH was frequently missed during initial reporting.

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Charlotte Y. Adegeest, Jort A. N. van Gent, Janneke M. Stolwijk-Swüste, Marcel W. M. Post, William P. Vandertop, F. Cumhur Öner, Wilco C. Peul, and Paula V. ter Wengel

OBJECTIVE

Secondary health conditions (SHCs) are long-term complications that frequently occur due to traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) and can negatively affect quality of life in this patient population. This study provides an overview of the associations between the severity and level of injury and the occurrence of SHCs in tSCI.

METHODS

A systematic search was conducted in PubMed and Embase that retrieved 44 studies on the influence of severity and/or level of injury on the occurrence of SHCs in the subacute and chronic phase of tSCI (from 3 months after trauma). The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed.

RESULTS

In the majority of studies, patients with motor-complete tSCI (American Spinal Injury Association [ASIA] Impairment Scale [AIS] grade A or B) had a significantly increased occurrence of SHCs in comparison to patients with motor-incomplete tSCI (AIS grade C or D), such as respiratory and urogenital complications, musculoskeletal disorders, pressure ulcers, and autonomic dysreflexia. In contrast, an increased prevalence of pain was seen in patients with motor-incomplete injuries. In addition, higher rates of pulmonary infections, spasticity, and autonomic dysreflexia were observed in patients with tetraplegia. Patients with paraplegia more commonly suffered from hypertension, venous thromboembolism, and pain.

CONCLUSIONS

This review suggests that patients with a motor-complete tSCI have an increased risk of developing SHCs during the subacute and chronic stage of tSCI in comparison with patients with motor-incomplete tSCI. Future studies should examine whether systematic monitoring during rehabilitation and the subacute and chronic phase in patients with motor-complete tSCI could lead to early detection and potential prevention of SHCs in this population.