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Jeffrey P. Blount and Michael D. Partington

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Jeffrey P. Blount

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Nathan A. Shlobin, Jordan T. Roach, Vijaya Kancherla, Adrian Caceres, Eylem Ocal, Kemel A. Ghotme, Sandi Lam, Kee B. Park, Gail Rosseau, Jeffrey P. Blount, Frederick A. Boop, and

OBJECTIVE

The global neurosurgery movement arose at the crossroads of unmet neurosurgical needs and public health to address the global burden of neurosurgical disease. The case of folic acid fortification (FAF) of staple foods for the prevention of spina bifida and anencephaly (SBA) represents an example of a new neurosurgical paradigm focused on public health intervention in addition to the treatment of individual cases. The Global Alliance for the Prevention of Spina Bifida-F (GAPSBiF), a multidisciplinary coalition of neurosurgeons, pediatricians, geneticists, epidemiologists, food scientists, and fortification policy experts, was formed to advocate for FAF of staple foods worldwide. This paper serves as a review of the work of GAPSBiF thus far in advocating for universal FAF of commonly consumed staple foods to equitably prevent SBA caused by folic acid insufficiency.

METHODS

A narrative review was performed using the PubMed and Google Scholar databases.

RESULTS

In this review, the authors describe the impact of SBA on patients, caregivers, and health systems, as well as characterize the multifaceted requirements for proper spina bifida care, including multidisciplinary clinics and the transition of care, while highlighting the role of neurosurgeons. Then they discuss prevention policy approaches, including supplementation, fortification, and hybrid efforts with folic acid. Next, they use the example of FAF of staple foods as a model for neurosurgeons’ involvement in global public health through clinical practice, research, education and training, and advocacy. Last, they describe mechanisms for involvement in the above initiatives as a potential academic tenure track, including institutional partnerships, organized neurosurgery, neurosurgical expert groups, nongovernmental organizations, national or international governments, and multidisciplinary coalitions.

CONCLUSIONS

The role of neurosurgeons in caring for children with spina bifida extends beyond treating patients in clinical practice and includes research, education and training, and advocacy initiatives to promote context-specific, evidence-based initiatives to public health problems. Promoting and championing FAF serves as an example of the far-reaching, impactful role that neurosurgeons worldwide may play at the intersection of neurosurgery and public health.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Betsy Hopson, Isaac Shamblin, Tiebin Liu, Elisabeth Ward, Robin Bowman, Andrew B. Foy, Mark Dias, Gregory G. Heuer, Kathryn Smith, and Jeffrey P. Blount

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus is common among children with myelomeningocele and is most frequently treated with a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS). Although much is known about factors related to first shunt failure, relatively less data are available about shunt failures after the first one. The purpose of this study was to use a large data set to explore time from initial VPS placement to first shunt failure in children with myelomeningocele and to explore factors related to multiple shunt failures.

METHODS

Data were obtained from the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry. Children with myelomeningocele who were enrolled within the first 5 years of life and had all lifetime shunt operations recorded in the registry were included. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed to evaluate time from initial shunt placement to first shunt failure. The total number of children who experienced at least 2 shunt failures was calculated. A proportional means model was performed to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for shunt failure on the basis of sex, race/ethnicity, lesion level, and insurance status.

RESULTS

In total, 1691 children met the inclusion criteria. The median length of follow-up was 5.0 years. Fifty-five percent of patients (938 of 1691) experienced at least 1 shunt failure. The estimated median time from initial shunt placement to first failure was 2.34 years (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.91–3.08 years). Twenty-six percent of patients had at least 2 shunt failures, and 14% of patients had at least 3. Male children had higher likelihood of shunt revision (HR 1.25, 95% CI 1.09–1.44). Children of minority race/ethnicity had a lower likelihood of all shunt revisions (non-Hispanic Black children HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55–0.98; Hispanic children HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.62–0.88; children of other ethnicities HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.62–1.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Among the children with myelomeningocele, the estimated median time to shunt failure was 2.34 years. Forty-five percent of children never had shunt failure. The observed higher likelihood of shunt revisions among males and lower likelihood among children of minority race/ethnicity illustrate a possible disparity in hydrocephalus care that warrants additional study. Overall, these results provide important information that can be used to counsel parents of children with myelomeningocele about the expected course of shunted hydrocephalus.

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Nikita G. Alexiades, Belinda Shao, Edward S. Ahn, Jeffrey P. Blount, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Todd C. Hankinson, Cody L. Nesvick, David I. Sandberg, Gregory G. Heuer, Lisa Saiman, Neil A. Feldstein, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Complex tethered spinal cord (cTSC) release in children is often complicated by surgical site infection (SSI). Children undergoing this surgery share many similarities with patients undergoing correction for neuromuscular scoliosis, where high rates of gram-negative and polymicrobial infections have been reported. Similar organisms isolated from SSIs after cTSC release were recently demonstrated in a single-center pilot study. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if these findings are reproducible across a larger, multicenter study.

METHODS

A multicenter, retrospective chart review including 7 centers was conducted to identify all cases of SSI following cTSC release during a 10-year study period from 2007 to 2017. Demographic information along with specific microbial culture data and antibiotic sensitivities for each cultured organism were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 44 SSIs were identified from a total of 655 cases, with 78 individual organisms isolated. There was an overall SSI rate of 6.7%, with 43% polymicrobial and 66% containing at least one gram-negative organism. Half of SSIs included an organism that was resistant to cefazolin, whereas only 32% of SSIs were completely susceptible to cefazolin.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, gram-negative and polymicrobial infections were responsible for the majority of SSIs following cTSC surgery, with approximately half resistant to cefazolin. Broader gram-negative antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for this patient population.

Open access

Kathrin Zimmerman, Arsalaan Salehani, Nathan A. Shlobin, Gabriela R. Oates, Gail Rosseau, Brandon G. Rocque, Sandi Lam, and Jeffrey P. Blount

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Jeffrey P. Blount, Brandon G. Rocque, and Betsy D. Hopson

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Syed Hassan A. Akbari, Gabriela R. Oates, Irina Gonzalez-Sigler, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, Justin McCroskey, Elizabeth N. Alford, Tofey J. Leon, Sarah Rutland, James M. Johnston, Jeffrey P. Blount, Curtis J. Rozzelle, and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

There is little research on the effect of social determinants of health on Chiari malformation type I (CM-I). The authors analyzed data on all children evaluated for CM-I at a single institution to assess how socioeconomic factors and race affect the surgical treatment of this population.

METHODS

Medical records of patients treated for CM-I at the authors’ institution between 1992 and 2017 were reviewed. Area Deprivation Index (ADI) and Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes for each patient were used to measure neighborhood disadvantage. Non-Hispanic White patients were compared to non-White patients and Hispanic patients of any race (grouped together as non-White in this study) in terms of insurance status, ADI, and RUCA. Patients with initially benign CM-I, defined as not having undergone surgery within 9 months of their initial visit, were then stratified by having delayed symptom presentation or not, and compared on these same measures.

RESULTS

The sample included 665 patients with CM-I: 82% non-Hispanic White and 18% non-White. The non-White patients were more likely to reside in disadvantaged (OR 3.4, p < 0.001) and urban (OR 4.66, p < 0.001) neighborhoods and to have public health insurance (OR 3.11, p < 0.001). More than one-quarter (29%) of patients underwent surgery. The non-White and non-Hispanic White patients had similar surgery rates (29.5% vs 28.9%, p = 0.895) at similar ages (8.8 vs 9.7 years, p = 0.406). There were no differences by race/ethnicity for symptoms at presentation. Surgical and nonsurgical patients had similar ADI scores (3.9 vs 4.2, p = 0.194), RUCA scores (2.1 vs 2.3, p = 0.252), and private health insurance rates (73.6% vs 74.2%, p = 0.878). A total of 153 patients underwent surgery within 9 months of their initial visit. The remaining 512 were deemed to have benign CM-I. Of these, 40 (7.8%) underwent decompression surgery for delayed symptom presentation. Patients with delayed symptom presentation were from less disadvantaged (ADI 3.2 vs 4.2; p = 0.025) and less rural (RUCA 1.8 vs 2.3; p = 0.023) areas than those who never underwent surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although non-White patients were more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, race and socioeconomic disadvantage were not associated with undergoing surgical treatment. However, among patients with benign CM-I, those undergoing decompression for delayed symptom presentation resided in more affluent and urban areas.