To evaluate the interobserver agreement for the Neoplastic Spine Instability Score (SINS) among spine surgeons with or without experience in vertebral metastasis treatment and physicians in other specialties.
Case descriptions were produced based on the medical records of 40 patients with vertebral metastases. The descriptions were then published online. Physicians were invited to evaluate the descriptions by answering questions according to the Neoplastic Spine Instability Score (SINS). The agreement among physicians was calculated using the kappa coefficient.
Seventeen physicians agreed to participate: three highly experienced spine surgeons, seven less-experienced spine surgeons, three surgeons of other specialties, and four general practitioners (n = 17). The agreement for the final SINS score among all participants was fair, and it varied according to the SINS component. The agreement was substantial for the spine location only. The agreement was higher among experienced surgeons. The agreement was nearly perfect for spinal location among the spine surgeons who were highly experienced in vertebral metastases.
This study demonstrates that the experience of the evaluator has an impact on SINS scale classification. The interobserver agreement was only fair among physicians who were not spine surgeons and among spine surgeons who were not experienced in the treatment of vertebral metastases, which may limit the use of the SINS scale for the screening of unstable lesions by less-experienced evaluators.
Spine; Health Services Research; Models, Statistical; Observer Variation
Craniopharyngiomas are benign but aggressive neoplasms arising along the craniopharyngeal duct. It is frequently located in the suprasellar region. Primarily pituitary stalk craniopharyngioma is unusual and uncommonly early diagnosed, before it enlarges and extends to supra or parasselar region. This unusual location and the small size pose therapeutic dilemmas, since it has the ability to grow larger. Currently, no consensus exists regarding the optimal management. The authors have recommended complete resection.
The standard therapy for patients with high-level spinal cord injury is long-term mechanical ventilation through a tracheostomy. However, in some cases, this approach results in death or disability. The aim of this study is to highlight the anesthetics and perioperative aspects of patients undergoing insertion of a diaphragmatic pacemaker.
Five patients with quadriplegia following high cervical traumatic spinal cord injury and ventilator-dependent chronic respiratory failure were implanted with a laparoscopic diaphragmatic pacemaker after preoperative assessments of their phrenic nerve function and diaphragm contractility through transcutaneous nerve stimulation. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01385384.
The diaphragmatic pacemaker placement was successful in all of the patients. Two patients presented with capnothorax during the perioperative period, which resolved without consequences. After six months, three patients achieved continuous use of the diaphragm pacing system, and one patient could be removed from mechanical ventilation for more than 4 hours per day.
The implantation of a diaphragmatic phrenic system is a new and safe technique with potential to improve the quality of life of patients who are dependent on mechanical ventilation because of spinal cord injuries. Appropriate indication and adequate perioperative care are fundamental to achieving better results.
Spinal Cord Injury; Quadriplegia; Pacemaker; Artificial Diaphragm; Anesthetic; Perioperative Management
Central post-stroke pain (CPSP) is a neuropathic pain syndrome associated with somatosensory abnormalities due to central nervous system lesion following a cerebrovascular insult. Post-stroke pain (PSP) refers to a broader range of clinical conditions leading to pain after stroke, but not restricted to CPSP, including other types of pain such as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), painful shoulder, lumbar and dorsal pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and spasticity-related pain. Despite its recognition as part of the general PSP diagnostic possibilities, the prevalence of MPS has never been characterized in patients with CPSP patients. We performed a cross-sectional standardized clinical and radiological evaluation of patients with definite CPSP in order to assess the presence of other non-neuropathic pain syndromes, and in particular, the role of myofascial pain syndrome in these patients.
CPSP patients underwent a standardized sensory and motor neurological evaluation, and were classified according to stroke mechanism, neurological deficits, presence and profile of MPS. The Visual Analogic Scale (VAS), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and Beck Depression Scale (BDS) were filled out by all participants.
Forty CPSP patients were included. Thirty-six (90.0%) had one single ischemic stroke. Pain presented during the first three months after stroke in 75.0%. Median pain intensity was 10 (5 to 10). There was no difference in pain intensity among the different lesion site groups. Neuropathic pain was continuous-ongoing in 34 (85.0%) patients and intermittent in the remainder. Burning was the most common descriptor (70%). Main aggravating factors were contact to cold (62.5%). Thermo-sensory abnormalities were universal. MPS was diagnosed in 27 (67.5%) patients and was more common in the supratentorial extra-thalamic group (P <0.001). No significant differences were observed among the different stroke location groups and pain questionnaires and scales scores. Importantly, CPSP patients with and without MPS did not differ in pain intensity (VAS), MPQ or BDS scores.
The presence of MPS is not an exception after stroke and may present in association with CPSP as a common comorbid condition. Further studies are necessary to clarify the role of MPS in CPSP.
Debilitating stump pain following amputation surgery is a major problem when it affects the patient’s quality of life, often making the patient totally dependent on others for their day-to-day care. Attempts have been made to treat those patients through pharmacological, psychological, and physical therapies, but in many cases these fail to relieve the pain. This article focuses on three patients with chronic, intense, and debilitating stump pain who were previously treated with pain medications, but with little success. These patients underwent nine sessions of low-intensity laser therapy (LILT) to the stump – this is a new treatment that has been used to treat other pain disorders. All patients reported a decrease in the intensity of their pain and increased ability to perform daily living activities during a 4-month follow-up.
pain; laser therapy; amputation stumps
Takayasu's arteritis is a disease that affects large vessels and may cause neurological symptoms either by stenoses/occlusions or embolisms from vessels with an inflammatory process. Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound can provide useful information for diagnosis and monitoring during the active phase of the disease. Cerebral embolic signals can be detected by TCD and have been considered a risk factor for vascular events. We report a patient in whom TCD ultrasound was used to monitor cerebral embolic signals during the active phase of the disease. This case report suggests that embolic activity in Takayasu's arteritis may represent disease activity, and its monitoring may be useful for evaluating the response to therapy.
Takayasu's arteritis; Transcranial Doppler; Embolic activity; Cerebral ischemia
Chordomas are rare tumors that arise from the remnants of embryonic notochord anywhere along the neuroaxis. Even though they may occur in an extraosseous intradural location, the most common sites include the sacrococcygeal and clivus regions. The authors report a unique presentation encompassing the pineal region with metastasis to the peritoneum after a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt procedure and review the current knowledge about their pathophysiology and management. The presentation and clinical history endorse the idea that intradural extraosseous chordomas may be distinct from ecchordosis physaliphora and probably do not derive from it.
An 18-year-old male with previous history of VP shunt presented to the emergency room with pain and abdominal distension. Computed tomography (CT) scans revealed a mass in the pineal region and in the abdominal cavity. Histopathologic exams showed chordoma in both abdominal and cranial samples. The patient died due to systemic complications.
The authors hypothesized that notochord remnants may subsist within the brain and occasionally may generate a neoplastic lesion.
Chordoma; metastasis; notochord; pineal region; ventriculoperitoneal shunt
1) To correlate the methylation status of the O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter to its gene and protein expression levels in glioblastoma and 2) to determine the most reliable method for using MGMT to predict the response to adjuvant therapy in patients with glioblastoma.
The MGMT gene is epigenetically silenced by promoter hypermethylation in gliomas, and this modification has emerged as a relevant predictor of therapeutic response.
Fifty-one cases of glioblastoma were analyzed for MGMT promoter methylation by methylation-specific PCR and pyrosequencing, gene expression by real time polymerase chain reaction, and protein expression by immunohistochemistry.
MGMT promoter methylation was found in 43.1% of glioblastoma by methylation-specific PCR and 38.8% by pyrosequencing. A low level of MGMT gene expression was correlated with positive MGMT promoter methylation (p = 0.001). However, no correlation was found between promoter methylation and MGMT protein expression (p = 0.297). The mean survival time of glioblastoma patients submitted to adjuvant therapy was significantly higher among patients with MGMT promoter methylation (log rank = 0.025 by methylation-specific PCR and 0.004 by pyrosequencing), and methylation was an independent predictive factor that was associated with improved prognosis by multivariate analysis.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:
MGMT promoter methylation status was a more reliable predictor of susceptibility to adjuvant therapy and prognosis of glioblastoma than were MGMT protein or gene expression levels. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and pyrosequencing methods were both sensitive methods for determining MGMT promoter methylation status using DNA extracted from frozen tissue.
Glioblastoma; MGMT promoter methylation; MGMT gene; MGMT protein; Prognosis
Sodium disorders are the most common and most poorly understood electrolyte disorders in neurological patients. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of sodium disorders and its association with different traumatic brain injuries. This prospective study was conducted in 80 patients diagnosed with moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries. All patients underwent cerebral computed tomography. Incidence of sodium disorders, presence of injuries in the first computed tomography after traumatic brain injury, and level of consciousness were analyzed. Patients that presented other potential causes of sodium disorders and systemic trauma were excluded from the study. The incidence of sodium disturbances was 45%: 20 patients presented hypernatremia and 16 hyponatremia. Refers to all patients with sodium disturbances 53% were detected in the first sample. We recorded at least one measurement <125 mEq/L in 50% of the patients with hyponatremia. A greater incidence of sodium disorders was found in patients with subdural, intracerebral hematoma and with diffuse axonal injury. The incidence of sodium disorders among the patients with diffuse lesions was greater than in the group of patients with brain contusion (P = 0.022). The incidence of sodium disorders is higher in patients with diffuse traumatic brain injuries. No association was found between focal lesions and proportion of sodium disorders.
brain trauma; hypernatremia; hyponatremia
We systematically reviewed the literature concerning the anterior cranial fossa schwannomas to understand their pathogenesis, determine their origin, and standardize the terminology. We performed a MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Science Citation Index Expanded search of the literature; age, gender, clinical presentation, presence or absence of hyposmia, radiological features, and apparent origin were analyzed and tabulated. Cases in a context of neurofibromatosis and nasal schwannomas with intracranial extension were not included. Age varied between 14 and 63 years (mean = 30.9). There were 22 male and 11 female patients. The clinical presentation included seizures (n = 15), headache (n = 16), visual deficits (n = 7), cognitive disturbances (n = 3), and rhinorrhea (n = 1). Hyposmia was present in 14 cases, absent in 13 cases (39.3%), and unreported in five. Homogeneous and heterogeneous contrast enhancement was observed in 14 and 15 cases, respectively. The region of the olfactory groove was the probable site in 96.5%. Olfactory tract could be identified in 39.3%. The most probable origin is the meningeal branches of trigeminal nerve or anterior ethmoidal nerves. Thus, olfactory groove schwannoma would better describe its origin and pathogenesis and should be the term preferentially used to name it.
Anterior cranial fossa; olfactory groove; olfactory nerve; schwannomas; subfrontal tumors
Penetrating injury of the skull and brain are relatively uncommon events, representing about 0.4% of all head injuries. Transorbital penetrating brain injury is an unusual occurrence in emergency practice and presents with controversial management. We report the case of a 10-year-old boy who fell forward on a bamboo stick while playing with other children, causing a penetrating transorbital injury, resulting in meningitis. We performed a combined surgical approach with neurosurgeons and ophthalmogic surgeons. Upon discharge, the patient had a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15, no motor deficit and no visual loss. We discuss the management of this case and review current literature.
transorbital penetrating brain injury; brain trauma; penetrating head trauma
Objective. Subdural hygroma is reported to occur in 5%–20% of all patients with closed head trauma, the treatment is controversial and in symptomatic cases surgical drainage is need. We report on a new case with remote acute epidural hematoma (AEH) after subdural hygroma drainage. Case Presentation. A 38-year-old man suffered blunt head trauma and had diffuse axonal injury grade III in CT scan. A CT scan that was late performed showed an increasing subdural fluid collection with mild mass effect and some effacement of the left lateral ventricle. We perform a trepanation with drainage of a hypertensive subdural collection with citrine aspect. Postoperative tomography demonstrated a large left AEH. Craniotomy and evacuation of the hematoma were performed. Conclusion. The mechanism of remote postoperative AEH formation is unclear. Complete reliance on neurologic monitoring, trust in an early CT scan, and a relative complacency after an apparently successful initial surgery for hygroma drainage may delay the diagnosis of this postoperative AEH.
Traumatic aneurysms comprise less than 1% of all intracranial aneurysms. Most of these aneurysms are actually false aneurysms, or pseudoaneurysms, which are caused by the rupture of entire vessel wall layers, with the wall of the aneurysm being formed by the surrounding cerebral structures. Traumatic pseudoaneurysms of the middle meningeal artery are also rare. Only four cases have been reported in the literature with intracerebral hematoma. In this paper, the authors report a case of a patient with a ruptured traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the MMA who presented with an intracerebral hematoma in the left temporal region immediately after trauma; the patient underwent endovascular treatment.