Clinical Significance of Long-Term Follow-Up of Children with Posttraumatic Skull Base Fracture

Sharon Leibu, Guy Rosenthal, Yigal Shoshan, Mony Benifla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective To assess the incidence of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak and meningitis, and the need for prophylactic antibiotics, antipneumococcal vaccination, and surgical interventions, in children with a skull base fracture. Methods We reviewed the records of children with a skull base fracture who were admitted to our tertiary care center between 2009 and 2014. Results A total of 196 children (153 males), age 1 month to 18 years (mean age, 6 ± 4 years), were hospitalized with skull base fracture. Causes of injury were falls (n = 143), motor vehicle accidents (n = 34), and other (n = 19). Fracture locations were the middle skull base in 112 patients, frontal base in 62, and occipital base in 13. Fifty-four children (28%) had a CSF leak. In 34 of these children (63%), spontaneous resolution occurred within 3 days. Three children underwent surgery on admission owing to a CSF leak from an open wound, 3 underwent CSF diversion by spinal drainage, and 4 (2%) required surgery to repair a dural tear after failure of continuous spinal drainage and acetazolamide treatment. Twenty-eight children (14%) received prophylactic antibiotic therapy, usually due to other injuries, and 11 received pneumococcal vaccination. Two children developed meningitis, and 3 children died. Long-term follow up in 124 children revealed 12 children with delayed hearing loss and 3 with delayed facial paralysis. Conclusions This is the largest pediatric series of skull base fractures reporting rates of morbidity and long-term outcomes published to date. The rate of meningitis following skull base fracture in children is low, supporting a policy of not administering prophylactic antibiotics or pneumococcal vaccine. Long-term follow up is important to identify delayed complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Meningitis
  • Prophylactic antibiotics
  • Skull base fracture
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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