A points-based algorithm for prognosticating clinical outcome of Chiari malformation Type I with syringomyelia: results from a predictive model analysis of 82 surgically managed adult patients


Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEAlthough various predictors of postoperative outcome have been previously identified in patients with Chiari malformation Type I (CMI) with syringomyelia, there is no known algorithm for predicting a multifactorial outcome measure in this widely studied disorder. Using one of the largest preoperative variable arrays used so far in CMI research, the authors attempted to generate a formula for predicting postoperative outcome.METHODSData from the clinical records of 82 symptomatic adult patients with CMI and altered hindbrain CSF flow who were managed with foramen magnum decompression, C-1 laminectomy, and duraplasty over an 8-year period were collected and analyzed. Various preoperative clinical and radiological variables in the 57 patients who formed the study cohort were assessed in a bivariate analysis to determine their ability to predict clinical outcome (as measured on the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale [CCOS]) and the resolution of syrinx at the last follow-up. The variables that were significant in the bivariate analysis were further analyzed in a multiple linear regression analysis. Different regression models were tested, and the model with the best prediction of CCOS was identified and internally validated in a subcohort of 25 patients.RESULTSThere was no correlation between CCOS score and syrinx resolution (p = 0.24) at a mean ± SD follow-up of 40.29 ± 10.36 months. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the presence of gait instability, obex position, and the M-line–fourth ventricle vertex (FVV) distance correlated with CCOS score, while the presence of motor deficits was associated with poor syrinx resolution (p ≤ 0.05). The algorithm generated from the regression model demonstrated good diagnostic accuracy (area under curve 0.81), with a score of more than 128 points demonstrating 100% specificity for clinical improvement (CCOS score of 11 or greater). The model had excellent reliability (κ = 0.85) and was validated with fair accuracy in the validation cohort (area under the curve 0.75).CONCLUSIONSThe presence of gait imbalance and motor deficits independently predict worse clinical and radiological outcomes, respectively, after decompressive surgery for CMI with altered hindbrain CSF flow. Caudal displacement of the obex and a shorter M-line–FVV distance correlated with good CCOS scores, indicating that patients with a greater degree of hindbrain pathology respond better to surgery. The proposed points-based algorithm has good predictive value for postoperative multifactorial outcome in these patients.


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