David H Harter

NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (16)42.53 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present the first case of pediatric intracranial M abscessus infection in a 16-month-old female with neurofibromatosis type-1. We describe a successful treatment regimen including excisional biopsy combined with high dose steroids and 16 weeks of triple antimicrobial therapy that resulted in clinical cure and an excellent neurologic outcome.
    The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 08/2014; · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathway is thought to be the key driver of pediatric low-grade astrocytoma (PLGA) growth. Sorafenib is a multikinase inhibitor targeting BRAF, VEGFR, PDGFR, and c-kit. This multicenter phase II study was conducted to determine the response rate to sorafenib in patients with recurrent or progressive PLGA. Key eligibility criteria included age ≥2 years, progressive PLGA evaluable on MRI, and at least one prior chemotherapy treatment. Sorafenib was administered twice daily at 200 mg/m(2)/dose (maximum of 400 mg/dose) in continuous 28-day cycles. MRI, including 3-dimensional volumetric tumor analysis, was performed every 12 weeks. BRAF molecular testing was performed on tumor tissue when available. Eleven patients, including 3 with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), were evaluable for response; 5 tested positive for BRAF duplication. Nine patients (82%) came off trial due to radiological tumor progression after 2 or 3 cycles, including 3 patients with confirmed BRAF duplication. Median time to progression was 2.8 months (95% CI, 2.1-31.0 months). Enrollment was terminated early due to this rapid and unexpectedly high progression rate. Tumor tissue obtained from 4 patients after termination of the study showed viable pilocytic or pilomyxoid astrocytoma. Sorafenib produced unexpected and unprecedented acceleration of tumor growth in children with PLGA, irrespective of NF1 or tumor BRAF status. In vitro studies with sorafenib indicate that this effect is likely related to paradoxical ERK activation. Close monitoring for early tumor progression should be included in trials of novel agents that modulate signal transduction.
    Neuro-Oncology 05/2014; · 6.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary malignancy of the central nervous system (CNS). Despite the proven benefit of surgical resection and aggressive treatment with chemo- and radiotherapy, the prognosis remains very poor. Recent advances of our understanding of the biology and pathophysiology of GBM have allowed the development of a wide array of novel therapeutic approaches, which have been developed. These novel approaches include molecularly targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and gene therapy.
    Surgical Neurology International 01/2014; 5:64. · 1.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Object Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The vast majority of these tumors arise from the lateral ependymal surface adjacent to the foramen of Monro, therefore potentially encroaching on one or both foramina, and resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus that necessitates surgical decompression. The indications for surgery, intraoperative considerations, and evolution of the authors' management paradigm are presented. Methods Patients with TSC who underwent craniotomy for SEGA resection at New York University Langone Medical Center between January 1997 and March 2011 were identified. Preoperative imaging, clinical characteristics, management decisions, operative procedures, and outcomes were reviewed. Results Eighteen patients with TSC underwent 22 primary tumor resections for SEGAs. The indication for surgery was meaningful radiographic tumor progression in 16 of 21 cases. The average age at the time of operation was 10.3 years. Average follow-up duration was 52 months (range 12-124 months). The operative approach was intrahemispheric-transcallosal in 16 cases, transcortical-transventricular in 5, and neuroendoscopic in 1. Nine tumors were on the right, 9 on the left, and 3 were bilateral. Gross-total resection was documented in 16 of 22 cases in our series, with radical subtotal resection achieved in 4 cases, and subtotal resection (STR) in 2 cases. Two patients had undergone ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement preoperatively and 7 patients required shunt placement after surgery for moderate to severe ventriculomegaly. Two patients experienced tumor progression requiring reoperation; both of these patients had initially undergone STR. Conclusions The authors present their management strategy for TSC patients with SEGAs. Select patients underwent microsurgical resection of SEGAs with acceptable morbidity. Gross-total resection or radical STR was achieved in 90.9% of our series (20 of 22 primary tumor resections), with no recurrences in this group. Approximately half of our patient series required CSF diversionary procedures. There were no instances of permanent neurological morbidity associated with surgery.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 11/2013; · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surgical resection of epileptic foci relies on accurate localization of the epileptogenic zone, often achieved by subdural and depth electrodes. Our epilepsy center has treated selected children with poorly localized medically refractory epilepsy with a staged surgical protocol, with at least one phase of invasive monitoring for localization and resection of epileptic foci. To evaluate the safety of staged surgical treatments for refractory epilepsy among children. Data were retrospectively collected, including surgical details and complications of all patients who underwent invasive monitoring. 161 children underwent 200 admissions including staged procedures (>1 surgery during one hospital admission), and 496 total surgeries. Average age at surgery was 7y (8m-16.5y). 250 surgeries included resections (and invasive monitoring), and 189 involved electrode placement only. Cumulative total number of surgeries per patient was 2-10 (average 3). Average duration of monitoring was 10 days (1-30). There were no deaths. Follow-up ranged from 1m to 10y. Major complications included unexpected new permanent mild neurological deficits (2%/admission), CNS or bone flap infections (1.5%/admission), intracranial hemorrhage, CSF leak, and a retained strip (each 0.5%/admission). Minor complications included bone absorption (5%/admission), positive surveillance sub/epidural cultures in asymptomatic patients (5.5%/admission), non-infectious fever (5%/admission), and wound complications (3%/admission). 30 complications necessitated additional surgical treatment. Staged epilepsy surgery, with invasive electrode monitoring, is safe in children with poorly localized medically refractory epilepsy. The rate of major complications is low, and appears comparable to that associated with other elective neurosurgical procedures.
    Neurosurgery 10/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 7-year-old white girl presented with left hemiparesis and ischemic stroke secondary to moyamoya syndrome, a progressive cerebrovascular occlusive disorder of uncertain but likely multifactorial etiology. Past medical history revealed hearing loss and developmental delay/intellectual disability. Routine karyotype demonstrated extra chromosomal material on 6p. Single nucleotide polymorphism microarray revealed a previously unreported complex de novo genetic rearrangement involving subtelomeric segments on chromosomes 6p and 12q. The duplicated/deleted regions included several known OMIM-annotated genes. This novel phenotype and genotype provides information about a possible association of genomic copy number variation and moyamoya syndrome. Dosage-sensitive genes in the deleted and duplicated segments may be involved in aberrant vascular proliferation. Our case also emphasizes the importance of comprehensive evaluation of both developmental delay and congenital anomalies such as moyamoya.
    PEDIATRICS 05/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment for intracranial germ cell tumors includes platinum-based chemotherapy and external beam radiation therapy, which are risk factors for hearing loss. In patients who experience significant sensorineural ototoxicity due to cochlear hair cell injury, dose reduction of chemotherapy may be necessary. This report describes an adolescent male, with excellent treatment response for an intracranial nongerminomatous germ cell tumor, who developed sensorineural hearing loss, which was central rather than cochlear in origin and unrelated to carboplatin. This patient highlights the need to carefully differentiate the type and etiology of sensorineural hearing loss in patients with brain tumors receiving ototoxic chemotherapy.
    Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 05/2013; · 0.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Arising from the lateral ependymal surface, these tumors may obstruct one or both foramina of Monro, resulting in hydrocephalus and often requiring treatment. Although interhemispheric-transcallosal and transcortical-transventricular approaches have been the standard methods for resecting these tumors, advances in neuroendoscopic techniques have expanded SEGAs as a potential target for endoscopic resection. The authors present a case of an endoscopically resected SEGA with stereotactic guidance in a 4-year-old girl with TSC. A gross-total resection of an enlarging SEGA was achieved. This represents one of the early case reports of endoscopically resected SEGAs. Although recent advances in medical treatment for SEGAs with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway inhibitors have shown promising initial results, the long-term safety and efficacy of mTOR inhibitors has yet to be determined. The propensity of these tumors to cause obstructive hydrocephalus requires that a surgical option remain. Neuroendoscopic approaches may allow a safe and effective technique.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 04/2012; 9(4):417-20. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intracranial monitoring (IM) is a key diagnostic procedure for select patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE). Seizure focus resection may improve seizure control in both lesional and nonlesional TRE. IM itself is not considered to have therapeutic potential. We describe a cohort of patients with improved seizure control following IM without resective surgery. Over 12.5 years, 161 children underwent 496 surgeries including intracranial monitoring. We retrospectively reviewed the patients' charts, operative reports, and radiologic scans, under an institutional review board-approved protocol. Seventeen patients underwent only IM, without additional resective surgery, and seven had a dramatic improvement in their epilepsy; six of the seven patients are seizure-free (Engel class I), and one rarely has seizures (Engel class II). All seven patients had frequent seizures that led to IM: either daily (five patients) or 1-2 per week (two patients). The mean age (± standard deviation, SD) at seizure onset was 1.6 ± 1.3 years (range 0.5-4 years). Etiologies were tuberous sclerosis (3 patients), trauma (1 patient), and unknown (3 patients). Mean age at surgery (± SD) was 4.1 ± 2 years (range 1-7 years), and duration of epilepsy 2.5 ± 1.1 years (range 0.5-4 years). Duration of IM was 11.7 ± 5.6 days (5-19 days). Six patients had bilateral and one unilateral invasive electrodes. At last follow-up, four patients required fewer antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), one had the same medication but a higher dose, and two patients were taking additional AEDs. Follow-up was 30.6 ± 9.5 months (range 19-41 months). Although uncommon, patients with TRE may improve after IM alone. The explanation for this observation remains unclear; however, perioperative medications including steroids, direct cortical manipulation, or other factors may influence the epileptogenic network.
    Epilepsia 02/2012; 53(2):334-41. · 3.96 Impact Factor
  • Luigi Bassani, David H Harter
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    ABSTRACT: Techniques for the placement of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) systems have been described in detail, with special consideration given to complications from hardware placement. Risks including catheter kinking and migration, hardware erosion through the skin, and lumbar CSF leak are elevated given the often-low body mass index and poor nutritional status of this patient population. The bulk of a spinal catheter and fascial connector within the lumbar wound may increase the potential for the aforementioned risks, leading to potential risks for wound infection and breakdown. The authors' experience has led them to develop a novel method of paraspinal subfascial lumbar catheter placement to address these risks. The authors describe a novel lumbar intrathecal catheter placement technique as part of the ITB system. All patients undergoing placement of an ITB system by the senior author at New York University Langone Medical Center between July 2010 and March 2011 underwent paraspinal subfascial lumbar catheter placement. Patients were followed-up by the surgeon 2 weeks after implantation and followed up and managed by their physiatrist thereafter, for an average of 5 months (range 0.5-9 months). Results Of the 20 patients who underwent this method of intrathecal catheter placement, none developed any hardware erosion, catheter migration, or CSF leak. One patient developed an abdominal wound infection 3 weeks after implantation, necessitating pump removal. In this initial short-term experience, subfascial placement of the lumbar spine intrathecal catheter may be an improvement over the traditional method of catheter placement. There is reduced risk of catheter migration or kinking, hardware erosion, CSF leak, and decreased operative time, all yielding a decreased reoperation rate in this vulnerable population.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 01/2012; 9(1):93-8. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrocephalus caused by stenosis of the foramen of Monro is rare. The authors describe a 28-year-old female patient with bilateral foraminal stenosis treated using endoscopic septostomy and unilateral foraminal balloon plasty (foraminoplasty). The patient's hydrocephalus and symptoms resolved postoperatively. Endoscopic strategies may be employed as first-line therapy in this condition.
    Neurosurgical FOCUS 04/2011; 30(4):E5. · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy is an accepted treatment modality for spasticity and dystonia. Several complications related to ITB have been described, including mechanical malfunctions, infections, cerebrospinal fluid fistula, and baclofen withdrawal or overdose. In this study, we present our institutional experience with ITB therapy, emphasizing complication avoidance and lessons learned. The charts of 87 patients treated with ITB therapy were retrospectively reviewed. The primary surgical technique, complication type and timing, method of treatment, and outcome were analyzed. Thirteen out of 76 (17.1%) patients primarily treated at our department had 25 complications. The first complication occurred 17.5-30.9 months (mean 24.2±6.7) after the pump implantation. Additional four patients with pumps placed elsewhere had six complications and were subsequently treated by our group. The main complications were: catheter fracture (11), subcutaneous fluid collection (5), lumbar wound/CSF infection (3), lumbar catheter or connector protrusion (3), pump malfunction (3), distal catheter migration outside the thecal sac (2), and baclofen withdrawal (1). Of the patients in the NYULMC group, six were treated by a single surgical procedure, six underwent multiple surgical procedures, and one was managed conservatively. In retrospect, changing the surgical technique, or adding an abdominal binder may have prevented 17 complications (54.8%). There were two deaths that were unrelated to the ITB therapy. ITB therapy is associated with complications, many of which require additional surgery. Some of these complications are avoidable by adhering to a strict surgical technique and a proper criterion for patient selection.
    Child s Nervous System 03/2011; 27(3):421-7. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metameric lesions of the spine are rare. The authors present a case of patient with a complex metameric vascular lesion of the thoracic spine and describe a management strategy for this entity.
    Journal of neurosurgery. Spine 05/2010; 12(5):497-502. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, has shown promise in treating recurrent adult high-grade glioma (HGG). However, there is very little data on recurrent or progressive pediatric HGG treated with bevacizumab. We report the results of a single institution experience using bevacizumab and irinotecan in children who relapsed or progressed following standard therapy. Twelve pediatric patients with recurrent or progressive HGG received bevacizumab at 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks with irinotecan at 125 mg/m(2). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed prior to therapy and every 8 weeks subsequently. Ten patients had supratentorial HGG; 2 had DIPG. Radiological responses were defined according to MacDonald's criteria. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and toxicities were analyzed. Ten (83.3%) patients tolerated bevacizumab without serious toxicity. Therapy was discontinued in 1 patient because of anaphylaxis. Another patient developed grade III delayed wound healing and deep vein thrombosis. Two patients (16.7%) experienced a partial response after the first MRI. No complete radiographic responses were seen. Stable disease was noted in 4 (33.3%) patients. The median PFS and OS were 2.25 and 6.25 months, respectively. A diffuse invasive recurrence pattern was noted in 5 (45.5%) patients. Treatment tolerance, toxicity, and recurrence profiles were comparable to adult HGG patients treated with bevacizumab. However, the radiological response rate, response duration, and survival appeared inferior in pediatric patients. Genetic differences in pediatric gliomas might account for this difference.
    Neuro-Oncology 04/2010; 12(9):985-90. · 6.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with symptomatic Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) typically exhibit a chronic, slowly progressive disease course with evolution of symptoms. However, some authors have reported acute neurological deterioration in the setting of CM-I and acquired Chiari malformations. Although brainstem dysfunction has been documented in patients with CM-II and hydrocephalus or shunt malfunction, to the authors' knowledge only 1 report describing ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt malfunction causing neurological deterioration in a patient with CM-I exists. The authors report on their experience with the treatment of previously asymptomatic CM-I in 2 children who experienced quite different manifestations of acute neurological deterioration secondary to VP shunt malfunction. Presumably, VP shunt malfunction created a positive rostral pressure gradient across a stenotic foramen magnum, resulting in tetraparesis from foramen magnum syndrome in 1 patient and acute ataxia and cranial nerve deficits from syringobulbia in the other. Although urgent shunt revisions yielded partial recovery of neurological function in both patients, marked improvement occurred only after posterior fossa decompression.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 09/2009; 4(2):170-5. · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • Robert Elliott, David H Harter
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    ABSTRACT: Rhombencephalosynapsis (RES) is a rare congenital malformation of the cerebellum characterized by hypogenesis or agenesis of the vermis and fusion of the cerebellar hemispheres with or without fusion of the dentate nuclei and superior cerebellar peduncles. No genetic or chromosomal abnormalities have been identified for RES. Although the occurrence of RES is presumed to be sporadic, no clear pattern of inheritance has been identified. The authors report on a 17-year-old girl with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease Type 1 as well as RES.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 01/2009; 2(6):435-7. · 1.63 Impact Factor