Is external hydrocephalus a possible differential diagnosis when child abuse is suspected?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1161–1172

Criteria for diagnosing abusive head trauma (AHT) or “shaken baby syndrome” are not well defined; consequently, these conditions might be diagnosed on failing premises.

Methods The authors have collected a total of 28 infants, from the US (20) and Norway (8), suspected of having been violently shaken, and their caregivers had been suspected, investigated, prosecuted or convicted of having performed this action. Among 26 symptomatic infants, there were 18 boys (69%) and 8 girls (31%)—mean age 5.1 month, without age difference between genders.

Results Twenty-one of 26 symptomatic children (81%) had a head circumference at or above the 90 percentile, and 18 had a head circumference at or above the 97 percentile. After macrocephaly, seizure was the most frequent initial symptom in 13 (50%) of the symptomatic infants. Seventeen (65%) of the symptomatic infants had bilateral retinal haemorrhages, and two had unilateral retinal haemorrhages. All infants had neuroimaging compatible with chronic subdural haematomas/hygromas as well as radiological characteristics compatible with benign external hydrocephalus (BEH).

Conclusions BEH with subdural haematomas/hygromas in infants may sometimes be misdiagnosed as abusive head trauma. Based on the authors’ experience and findings of the study, the following measures are suggested to avoid this diagnostic pitfall: medical experts in infant abuse cases should be trained in recognising clinical and radiological BEH features, clinicians with neuro-paediatric experience should always be included in the expert teams and reliable information about the head circumference development from birth should always be available.

The Richmond Acute Subdural Hematoma Score: A Validated Grading Scale to Predict Postoperative Mortality

Neurosurgery 90:278–286, 2022

Traumatic acute subdural hematomas (aSDHs) are common, life-threatening injuries often requiring emergency surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate the Richmond acute subdural hematoma (RASH) score to stratify patients by risk of mortality after aSDH evacuation.

METHODS: The 2016 National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) was queried to identify adult patients with traumatic aSDHs who underwent craniectomy or craniotomy within 4 h of arrival to an emergency department. Multivariate logistic regression modeling identified risk factors independently associated with mortality. The RASH score was developed based on a factor’s strength and level of association with mortality. The model was validated using the 2017 NTDB and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

RESULTS: A total of 2516 cases met study criteria. The patients were 69.3% male with a mean age of 55.7 yr and overall mortality rate of 36.4%. Factors associated with mortality included age between 61 and 79 yr (odds ratio [OR]=2.3, P<.001),age ≥80 yr (OR =6.3, P < .001), loss of consciousness (OR = 2.3, P < .001), Glasgow Coma Scale score of ≤8 (OR = 2.6, P < .001), unilateral (OR = 2.8, P < .001) or bilateral (OR = 3.9, P < .001) unresponsive pupils, and midline shift >5 mm (OR = 1.7, P < .001). Using these risk factors, the RASH score predicted progressively increasing mortality ranging from 0% to 94% for scores of 0 to 8, respectively (AUC = 0.72). Application of the RASH score to 3091 cases from 2017 resulted in similar accuracy (AUC = 0.74).

CONCLUSION: The RASH score is a simple and validated grading scale that uses easily accessible preoperative factors to predict estimated mortality rates in patients with traumatic aSDHs who undergo surgical evacuation.

Blood Biomarkers and Structural Imaging Correlations Post-Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review

Neurosurgery 90:170–179, 2022

Blood biomarkers are of increasing importance in the diagnosis and assessment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, the relationship between them and lesions seen on imaging remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review of the relationship between blood biomarkers and intracranial lesion types, intracranial lesion injury patterns, volume/number of intracranial lesions, and imaging classification systems.

METHODS: We searched Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Excerpta Medica dataBASE, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature from inception to May 2021, and the references of included studies were also screened. Heterogeneity in study design, biomarker types, imaging modalities, and analyses inhibited quantitative analysis, with a qualitative synthesis presented.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine papers were included assessing one or more biomarker to imaging comparisons per paper: 30 assessed imaging classifications or injury patterns, 28 assessed lesion type, and 11 assessed lesion volume or number. Biomarker concentrations were associated with the burden of brain injury, as assessed by increasing intracranial lesion volume, increasing numbers of traumatic intracranial lesions, and positive correlations with imaging classification scores. There were inconsistent findings associating different biomarkers with specific imaging phenotypes including diffuse axonal injury, cerebral edema, and intracranial hemorrhage.

CONCLUSION: Blood-based biomarker concentrations after TBI are consistently demonstrated to correlate burden of intracranial disease. The relation with specific injury types is unclear suggesting a lack of diagnostic specificity and/or is the result of the complex and heterogeneous nature of TBI.

Evolution and Impact of the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines

Neurosurgery 89:1148–1156, 2021

The Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) Guidelines for the Management of Severe Head Injury were the first clinical practice guidelines published by any surgical specialty. These guidelines have earned a reputation for rigor and have been widely adopted around the world. Implementation of these guidelines has been associated with a 50% reduction in mortality and reduced costs of patient care.

Over their 25-yr history the traumatic brain injury (TBI) guidelines have been expanded, refined, and made increasingly more rigorous in conjunction with new clinical evidence and evolving methodologic standards.

Here, we discuss the history and accomplishments of BTF guidelines for TBI as well as their limitations. We also discuss planned changes to future TBI guidelines intended to increase their utility and positive impact in an evolving medical landscape. Perhaps the greatest limitation of TBI guidelines now is the lack of high-quality clinical research as well as novel diagnostics and treatments with which to generate substantially new recommendations.

External Lumbar Drainage following Traumatic Intracranial Hypertension

Neurosurgery 89:395–405, 2021

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results in elevations in intracranial pressure (ICP) that are refractory to standard therapies. Several studies have investigated the utility of external lumbar drainage (ELD) in this setting.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of ELD or lumbar puncture with regard to immediate effect on ICP, durability of the effect on ICP, complications, and neurological outcomes in adults with refractory traumatic intracranial hypertension.

METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted beginning with a comprehensive search of PubMed/EMBASE. Two investigators reviewed studies for eligibility and extracted data. The strength of evidence was evaluated using GRADE methodology. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to calculate pooled estimates.

RESULTS: Nine articles detailing 6 studies (N = 110) were included. There was moderate evidence that ELD has a significant immediate effect on ICP; the pooled effect size was –19.5 mmHg (95% CI –21.0 to –17.9 mmHg). There was low evidence to indicate a durable effect of ELD on ICP up to at least 24 h following ELD. There was low evidence to indicate that ELD was safe and associated with a low rate of clinical cerebral herniation or meningitis. There was very low evidence pertaining to neurological outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Given preliminary data indicating potential safety and feasibility in highly selected cases, the use of ELD in adults with severe TBI and refractory intracranial hypertension in the presence of open basal cisterns and absence of large focal hematoma merits further high-quality investigation; the ideal conditions for potential application remain to be determined.

Minimally invasive posterior percutaneous transarticular C1–C2 screws: how I do it

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2047–2050

Transarticular C1–C2 screw fixation, first described by Magerl, is a widely accepted used technique for C1–C2 instability with a good biomechanical stability and fusion rate.

Method We present a 69-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with a C2 Odontoid fracture type III and primarily treated with conservative treatment and collar. During first 2 weeks of follow-up, the patient developed cervical pain associated with C1–C2 instability. A minimally invasive posterior C1–C2 transarticular screw instrumentation with a percutaneus approach was performed.

Results and conclusion Minimally invasive approach with tubular transmuscular approach for C1–C2 transarticular screws instrumentation is safe and effective for C1–C2 instability.

Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: 2020 Update of the Decompressive Craniectomy Recommendations

Neurosurgery 87:427–434, 2020

When the fourth edition of the Brain Trauma Foundation’s Guidelines for theManagement of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury were finalized in late 2016, it was known that the results of the RESCUEicp (Trial of Decompressive Craniectomy for Traumatic Intracranial Hypertension) randomized controlled trial of decompressive craniectomy would be public after the guidelines were released.

The guideline authors decided to proceed with publication but to update the decompressive craniectomy recommendations later in the spirit of “living guidelines,” whereby topics are updated more frequently, and between new editions, when important new evidence is published.

The update to the decompressive craniectomy chapter presented here integrates the findings of the RESCUEicp study as well as the recently published 12-mo outcome data from the DECRA (Decompressive Craniectomy in Patients With Severe Traumatic Brain Injury) trial. Incorporation of these publications into the body of evidence led to the generation of 3 new level-IIA recommendations; a fourth previously presented level-IIA recommendation remains valid and has been restated. To increase the utility of the recommendations, we added a new section entitled Incorporating the Evidence into Practice.

This summary of expert opinion provides important context and addresses key issues for practitioners, which are intended to help the clinician utilize the available evidence and these recommendations. The full guideline canbe found at: of-severe-tbi-4th-ed#/.

Effect of decompressive craniectomy in the postoperative expansion of traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage: a propensity score–based analysis

J Neurosurg 132:1623–1635, 2020

Traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (TICH) represents approximately 13%–48% of the lesions after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hemorrhagic progression (HP) occurs in 38%–63% of cases. In previous studies, decompressive craniectomy (DC) has been characterized as a risk factor in the HP of TICH; however, few studies have focused exclusively on this relationship. The object of the present study was to analyze the relationship between DC and the growth of TICH and to reveal any correlation with the size of the craniectomy, degree of cerebral parenchymal herniation (CPH), or volumetric expansion of the TICH.

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 497 adult patients who had been consecutively admitted after suffering a severe or moderate closed TBI. An inclusion criterion was presentation with one or more TICHs on the initial or control CT. Demographic, clinical, radiological, and treatment variables were assessed for associations.

RESULTS Two hundred three patients presenting with 401 individual TICHs met the selection criteria. TICH growth was observed in 281 cases (70.1%). Eighty-two cases (20.4%) underwent craniectomy without TICH evacuation. In the craniectomy group, HP was observed in 71 cases (86.6%); in the noncraniectomy group (319 cases), HP occurred in 210 cases (65.8%). The difference in the incidence of HP between the two groups was statistically significant (OR 3.41, p < 0.01). The mean area of the craniectomy was 104.94 ± 27.5 cm2, and the mean CPH distance through the craniectomy was 17.85 ± 11.1 mm. The mean increase in the TICH volume was greater in the groups with a craniectomy area > 115 cm2 and CPH > 25 mm (16.12 and 14.47 cm3, respectively, p = 0.01 and 0.02). After calculating the propensity score (PS), the authors followed three statistical methods—matching, stratification, and inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW)—thereby obtaining an adequate balance of the covariates. A statistically significant relationship was found between HP and craniectomy (OR 2.77, p = 0.004). This correlation was confirmed with the three methodologies based on the PS with odds greater than 2.

CONCLUSIONS DC is a risk factor for the growth of TICH, and there is also an association between the size of the DC and the magnitude of the volume increase in the TICH.


Implementation of cisternostomy as adjuvant to decompressive craniectomy for the management of severe brain trauma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:469–479

Objective To evaluate the value of an adjuvant cisternostomy (AC) to decompressive craniectomy (DC) for the management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI).

Methods A single-center retrospective quality control analysis of a consecutive series of sTBI patients surgically treated with AC or DC alone between 2013 and 2018. A subgroup analysis, “primary procedure” and “secondary procedure”, was also performed. We examined the impact of AC vs. DC on clinical outcome, including long-term (6 months) extended Glasgow outcome scale (GOS-E), the duration of postoperative ventilation, and intensive care unit (ICU) stay, mortality, Glasgow coma scale at discharge, and time to cranioplasty. We also evaluated and analyzed the impact of AC vs. DC on post-procedural intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain tissue oxygen (PbO2) values as well as the need for additional osmotherapy and CSF drainage.

Results Forty patients were examined, 22 patients in the DC group, and 18 in the AC group. Compared with DC alone, AC was associated with significant shorter duration of mechanical ventilation and ICU stay, as well as better Glasgow coma scale at discharge. Mortality rate was similar. At 6-month, the proportion of patients with favorable outcome (GOS-E ≥ 5) was higher in patients with AC vs. DC [10/18 patients (61%) vs. 7/20 (35%)]. The outcome difference was particularly relevant when AC was performed as primary procedure (61.5% vs. 18.2%; p = 0.04). Patients in the AC group also had significant lower average postsurgical ICP values, higher PbO2 values and required less osmotic treatments as compared with those treated with DC alone.

Conclusion Our preliminary single-center retrospective data indicate that AC may be beneficial for the management of severe TBI and is associated with better clinical outcome. These promising results need further confirmation by larger multicenter clinical studies. The potential benefits of cisternostomy should not encourage its universal implementation across trauma care centers by surgeons that do not have the expertise and instrumentation necessary for cisternal microsurgery. Training in skull base and vascular surgery techniques for trauma care surgeons would avoid the potential complications associated with this delicate procedure.

Ultra-Early (<12 Hours) Surgery Correlates With Higher Rate of American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale Conversion After Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, Issue 2, August 2019, Pages 199–203

Cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition with very few treatment options. It remains unclear if early surgery correlated with conversion of American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade A injuries to higher grades.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the optimal time to surgery after cervical SCI through retrospective analysis.

METHODS: We collected data from 48 patients with cervical SCI. Based on the time from Emergency Department (ED) presentation to surgical decompression, we grouped patients into ultra-early (decompression within 12 h of presentation), early (within 12- 24 h), and late groups (>24 h).We compared the improvement in AIS grade fromadmission to discharge, controlling for confounding factors such as AIS grade on admission, injury severity, and age. The mean time from injury to ED for this group of patients was 17 min.

RESULTS: Patients who received surgery within 12 h after presentation had a relative improvement in AIS grade from admission to discharge: the ultra-early group improved on average 1.3. AIS grades compared to 0.5 in the early group (P = .02). In addition, 88.8% of patients with an AIS grade A converted to a higher grade (AIS B or better) in the ultraearly group, compared to 38.4% in the early and late groups (P= .054).

CONCLUSION: These data suggest that surgical decompression after SCI that takes place within 12 hmay lead to a relative improved neurological recovery compared to surgery that takes place after 12 h.


Correlation of magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging parameters with American Spinal Injury Association score for prognostication and long-term outcomes

Neurosurg Focus 46 (3):E2, 2019

Conventional MRI is routinely used to demonstrate the anatomical site of spinal cord injury (SCI). However, quantitative and qualitative imaging parameters have limited use in predicting neurological outcomes. Currently, there are no reliable neuroimaging biomarkers to predict short- and long-term outcome after SCI.

METHODS A prospective cohort of 23 patients with SCI (19 with cervical SCI [CSCI] and 4 with thoracic SCI [TSCI]) treated between 2007 and 2014 was included in the study. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) score was determined at the time of arrival and at 1-year follow-up. Only 15 patients (12 with CSCI and 3 with TSCI) had 1-year follow-up. Whole-cord fractional anisotropy (FA) was determined at C1–2, following which C1–2 was divided into upper, middle, and lower segments and the corresponding FA value at each of these segments was calculated. Correlation analysis was performed between FA and ASIA score at time of arrival and 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS Correlation analysis showed a positive but nonsignificant correlation (p = 0.095) between FA and ASIA score for all patients (CSCI and TCSI) at the time of arrival. Additional regression analysis consisting of only patients with CSCI showed a significant correlation (p = 0.008) between FA and ASIA score at time of arrival as well as at 1-year follow-up (p = 0.025). Furthermore, in case of patients with CSCI, a significant correlation between FA value at each of the segments (upper, middle, and lower) of C1–2 and ASIA score at time of arrival was found (p = 0.017, p = 0.015, and p = 0.002, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS In patients with CSCI, the measurement of diffusion anisotropy of the high cervical cord (C1–2) correlates significantly with injury severity and long-term follow-up. However, this correlation is not seen in patients with TSCI. Therefore, FA can be used as an imaging biomarker for evaluating neural injury and monitoring recovery in patients with CSCI.


Anterior Reduction and Fusion of Cervical Facet Dislocations

Neurosurgery 84:388–395, 2019

Cervical facet dislocations are among the most common traumatic spinal injuries. Posterior, anterior, and combined surgical approaches have been described and are widely debated.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate efficacy in anterior-only surgical management for subaxial cervical facet dislocations.

METHODS: A consistent surgical algorithm for cervical facet dislocation was applied over a 19-yr period and analyzed retrospectively in adults with acute unilateral or bilateral facet dislocation of the subaxial cervical spine. The primary endpoint was maintenance of early cervical alignment. The need for additional posterior instrumented fusion was determined.

RESULTS: A database search identified 96 patients (mean age = 37.9, range = 14-74 yr, 68 (70%) male. The most common affected levels were C4-C5 (30), C5-C6 (29), and C6-C7 (30). Bilateral dislocation occurred in 51 patients (53%). Seventy-eight (81%) patients had neurological deficits, 31 (32%) being complete (Abbreviated Injury Score A) spinal cord injuries. Preoperative closed reductionwas attempted in 60 (63%) patients, with 33 (55%) achieving satisfactory alignment. After anterior cervical discectomy, reduction, allograft placement, and instrumentation, a total of 92 (96%) patients had achieved satisfactory realignment. Median time to surgery was 13.27 h. Eight (8%) patients required posterior fixation due to intraoperative determination of incomplete realignment (4; 4%) and development of early progressive deformity (4; 4%). Mean follow-up was 4.5 mo (range 0.5-24 mo) with 33 (34%) patients lost to follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Anterior approaches are viable for reduction and stabilization of cervical facet dislocations. Further prospective studies are required to evaluate clinical and longterm success.

Novel Temporary Treatment for a Severe Case of Syndrome of Trephined

World Neurosurg. (2018) 120:200-204

Syndrome of the trephined is a unique neurosurgical condition that is seen in patients that have undergone craniectomy. While the symptoms of the condition range from mild to severe, the only definitive treatment for the condition is replacement of the bone flap. This article presents a novel, temporary treatment for syndrome of the trephined in a patient with severe symptoms who was unable to undergo immediate cranioplasty due to infection.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A 25-year-old gentleman with a history of trauma resulting in hydrocephalus, craniectomy, and eventually ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement presented with a cranial wound infection requiring removal of his bone flap. While being treated with antibiotics, with his bone flap removed, he developed severe syndrome of the trephined. An emergency bedside procedure was developed and executed to treat his condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Treating syndrome of the trephined with an external suction device proved useful and lifesaving fort the patient presented. Such a device can be made with common supplies found within any hospital. The technique used to treat the patient is novel and may be useful for others to consider if ever faced with a similar situation.

Motorcycle helmets and cervical spine injuries

J Neurosurg Spine 28:607–611, 2018

Motorcycle helmets have been shown to decrease the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury due to motorcycle crashes. Despite this proven efficacy, some previous reports and speculation suggest that helmet use is associated with a higher likelihood of cervical spine injury (CSI). In this study, the authors examine 1061 cases of motorcycle crash victims who were treated during a 5-year period at a Level 1 trauma center to investigate the association of helmet use with the incidence and severity of CSI. The authors hypothesized that wearing a motorcycle helmet during a motorcycle crash is not associated with an increased risk of CSI and may provide some protective advantage to the wearer.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases in which the patient had been involved in a motorcycle crash and was evaluated at a single Level 1 trauma center in Wisconsin between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2015. Biometric, clinical, and imaging data were obtained from a trauma registry database. The patients were then divided into 2 distinct groups based on whether or not they were wearing helmets at the time of the accident. Baseline and functional characteristics were compared between the 2 groups. The Student t-test was used for continuous variables, and Pearson’s chi-square analysis was used for categorical variables.

RESULTS In total, 1061 patient charts were examined containing data on 738 unhelmeted (69.6%) and 323 helmeted (30.4%) motorcycle riders. On average, helmeted riders had a much lower Injury Severity Score (p < 0.001). Cervical spine injury occurred in 114 unhelmeted riders (15.4%) compared with only 24 helmeted riders (7.4%) (p < 0.001), with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.3 (95% CI 1.44–3.61, p = 0.0005). In the unhelmeted group, 10.8% of patients were found to have a cervical spine fracture compared with only 4.6% of patients in the helmeted group (p = 0.001). Additionally, ligamentous injury occurred more frequently in unhelmeted riders (1.9% vs 0.3%, p = 0.04). No difference was found in the occurrence of cervical strain, cord contusion, or nerve root injury (all p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS The results of this study demonstrate a statistically significant lower likelihood of suffering a CSI among helmeted motorcyclists. Unhelmeted riders sustained a statistically significant higher number of vertebral fractures and ligamentous injuries. The study findings reported here confirm the authors’ hypothesis that helmet use does not increase the risk of developing a cervical spine fracture and may provide some protective advantage.

Management of Odontoid Fractures in the Elderly

Neurosurgery 82:419–430, 2018

Odontoid fractures are the most common fracture of the axis and the most common cervical spine fracture in patients over 65. Despite their frequency, there is considerable ambiguity regarding optimal management strategies for these fractures in the elderly. Poor bone health and medical comorbidities contribute to increased surgical risk in this population; however, nonoperative management is associated with a risk of nonunion or fibrous union.

We provide a review of the existing literature and discuss the classi- fication and evaluation of odontoid fractures. The merits of operative vs nonoperative management, fibrous union, and the choice of operative approach in elderly patients are discussed. A treatment algorithm is presented based on the available literature.

We believe that type I and type III odontoid fractures can be managed in a collar in most cases. Type II fractures with any additonal risk factors for nonunion (displacement, comminution, etc) should be considered for surgical management. However, the risks of surgery in an elderly population must be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. In a frail elderly patient, a fibrous nonunion with close follow-up is an acceptable outcome. If operative management is chosen, a posterior approach is should be chosen when fracture- or patient-related factors make an anterior approach challenging.

The high levels of morbidity and mortality associated with odontoid fractures should encourage all providers to pursue medical co- management and optimization of bone health following diagnosis.

Patterns of C-2 fracture in the elderly: comparison of etiology, treatment, and mortality among speci c fracture types

J Neurosurg Spine 27:494–500, 2017

Previous studies have focused on Type II odontoid fractures and have failed to report on the effect of other C-2 fracture types on treatment and outcome. The purpose of this study was to compare patient characteristics, cause of injury, predisposing factors to fracture, treatments, and mortality rates among C-2 fracture types in a cohort of elderly patients 70 years of age and older.

METHODS A retrospective cohort study design was used. Patients who sustained a C-2 fracture between 2002 and 2011 and who were admitted to the authors’ Level 1 trauma center were identified using the Discharge Abstract Database and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) code S12.1. Fractures were classified as odontoid Type I, II, or III; hangman’s; C-2 complex (hangman’s appearance on sagittal images, Type III odontoid on coronal cuts); and other (miscellaneous). Age, sex, predisposing factors to falls, cause of injury, treatment, presence of autofusion in the subaxial cervical spine, and mortality rates were compared between fracture patterns.

RESULTS One hundred forty-one patients were included; their mean age was 82 years. Fractures included Type II odontoid (57%), complex (19%), Type III odontoid (11%), hangman’s (8%), and other (5%). Falls from a standing height accounted for 47% of injuries, and 65% of patients had ≥ 3 risk factors for falls. Subaxial autofusion was more common in odontoid fractures (p = 0.002). Treatment was mainly nonoperative (p < 0.0001). The 1-year mortality rate was 27%. Four patients died of spinal cord injury.

CONCLUSIONS Although not as common as Type II odontoid fractures, other C-2 fractures including hangman’s, complex, and Type III odontoid fractures accounted for close to half of the injuries in the study cohort. There were few differences between the fracture types with respect to cause of injury, predisposing factors, or mortality rate. However, surgical treatment was more common for Type II odontoid fractures.

Intracranial pressure monitoring after primary decompressive craniectomy in traumatic brain injury

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:615–622

Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring represents an important tool in the management of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although current information exists regarding ICP monitoring in secondary decompressive craniectomy (DC), little is known after primary DC following emergency hematoma evacuation.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. Inclusion criteria were age ≥18 years and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) for TBI and ICP monitoring after primary DC. Exclusion criteria were ICU length of stay (LOS) <1 day and pregnancy. Major objectives were: (1) to analyze changes in ICP/cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) after primary DC, (2) to evaluate the relationship between ICP/CPP and neurological outcome and (3) to characterize and evaluate ICP-driven therapies after DC.

Results: A total of 34 patients were enrolled. Over 308 days of ICP/CPP monitoring, 130 days with at least one episode of intracranial hypertension (26 patients, 76.5%) and 57 days with at least one episode of CPP <60 mmHg (22 patients, 64.7%) were recorded. A statistically significant relationship was discovered between the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores and mean post-decompression ICP (p < 0.04) andbetween GOS and CPP minimum (CPPmin) (p < 0.04). After DC, persisting intracranial hypertension was treated with: barbiturate coma (n = 7, 20.6%), external ventricular drain (EVD) (n = 4, 11.8%), DC diameter widening (n = 1, 2.9%) and removal of newly formed hematomas (n = 3, 8.8%).

Conclusion: Intracranial hypertension and/or low CPP occurs frequently after primary DC; their occurence is associated with an unfavorable neurological outcome. ICP monitoring appears useful in guiding therapy after primary DC.


Elective ICP monitoring: how long is long enough?

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:485–490

Intracranial pressure monitoring is commonly undertaken to assess and manage acute patients following head injury. However, ICP monitoring can also be a useful diagnostic tool in the management of CSF dynamics in elective patients. To date, there is little published research to suggest how long these elective patients require ICP monitoring in order to gain an accurate picture of a patient’s ICP dynamics. At the author’s institution, a minimum of 48-h data collection is currently undertaken in patients with a suspected ICP abnormality.

Methods A retrospective audit was undertaken comparing overall median ICP and overall median pulse amplitude data at three time points, 24 h, 48 h and total time analysed (if longer than 48 h). Paired T-test was used to assess if there were statistically significant differences between 24-h versus 48-h monitoring and total duration of monitoring. All patients admitted over a 6-month period for ICPM who met the inclusion/exclusion criteria were included.

Results Eighteen patients met the criteria. Median age was 45.8 years, range 22–83 years, 12 female and 6 male. No complications were experienced as a result of ICPM. Diagnosis included NPH, IIH, suspected shunt malfunction and Chiari malformation. The results demonstrated that there is no statistical difference between 24 h and 48 h or longer for both overall median ICP and pulse amplitude.

Conclusion The results of this study demonstrate that ICP monitoring of elective adult patients using a Spiegelberg intraparenchymal bolt for 24 h gives an accurate picture of a patient’s ICP dynamics compared with longer periods of monitoring.

Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury, Fourth Edition

Neurosurgery 80:6–15, 2017

The scope and purpose of this work is 2-fold: to synthesize the available evidence and to translate it into recommendations. This document provides recommendations only when there is evidence to support them. As such, they do not constitute a complete protocol for clinical use.

Our intention is that these recommendations be used by others to develop treatment protocols, which necessarily need to incorporate consensus and clinical judgment in areas where current evidence is lacking or insu cient.

We think it is important to have evidence-based recommendations to clarify what aspects of practice currently can and cannot be supported by evidence, to encourage use of evidence-based treatments that exist, and to encourage creativity in treatment and research in areas where evidence does not exist.

The communities of neurosurgery and neuro-intensive care have been early pioneers and supporters of evidence-based medicine and plan to continue in this endeavor. The complete guideline document, which summarizes and evaluates the literature for each topic, and supplemental appendices (A-I) are available online at

Prognostic value of corpus callosum injuries in severe head trauma

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:25–32

This study was performed to investigate the relationship between corpus callosum (CC) injury and prognosis in traumatic axonal injury (TAI).

Method: We retrospectively reviewed 264 patients with severe head trauma who underwent a conventional MR imaging in the first 60 days after injury. They were selected from a prospectively collected database of 1048 patients with severe head trauma admitted in our hospital. TAI lesions were defined as areas of increased signal intensity on T2 and FLAIR or areas of decreased signal on gradient-echo T2. We attempted to determine whether any MR imaging findings of TAI lesions at CC could be related to prognosis. Neurological impairment was assessed at 1 year after injury by means of GOS-E (good outcome being GOS-E 4/5 and bad outcome being GOS-E <4). We adjusted the multivariable analysis for the prognostic factors according to the IMPACT studies: the Core model (age, motor score at admission, and pupillary reactivity) and the Extended model (including CT information and second insults).

Results: We found 97 patients (37 %) with TAI at CC and 167 patients (63 %) without CC lesions at MR. A total of 62 % of the patients with CC lesions had poor outcome, whereas 38 % showed good prognosis. The presence of TAI lesions at the corpus callosum was associated with poor outcome 1 year after brain trauma (p < 0.001, OR 3.8, 95 % CI: 2.04–7.06). The volume of CC lesions measured on T2 and FLAIR se- quences was negatively correlated with the GOS-E after ad- justment for independent prognostic factors (p = 0.01, OR 2.23, 95 % CI:1.17–4.26). Also the presence of lesions at splenium was statistically related to worse prognosis (p = 0.002, OR 8.1, 95 % CI: 2.2–29.82). We did not find statistical significance in outcome between hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic CC lesions.

Conclusions: The presence of CC is associated with a poor outcome. The total volume of the CC lesion is an independent prognostic factor for poor outcome in severe head trauma.

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