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Does diabetes affect outcome or reoperation rate after lumbar decompression or arthrodesis? A matched analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database data set

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

James Mooney, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Daniel Zeitouni, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Michael Y. Wang, Domagoj Coric, Andrew K. Chan, Daniel C. Lu, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Jacob L. Goldberg, Ibrahim Hussain, Michael S. Virk, Nitin Agarwal, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Dean Chou, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Luis M. Tumialán, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Eric A. Potts, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a known risk factor for postsurgical and systemic complications after lumbar spinal surgery. Smaller studies have also demonstrated diminished improvements in patient-reported outcomes (PROs), with increased reoperation and readmission rates after lumbar surgery in patients with DM. The authors aimed to examine longer-term PROs in patients with DM undergoing lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database was queried for patients undergoing elective lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology. Patients were grouped into DM and non-DM groups and optimally matched in a 1:1 ratio on 31 baseline variables, including the number of operated levels. Outcomes of interest were readmissions and reoperations at 30 and 90 days after surgery in addition to improvements in Oswestry Disability Index, back pain, and leg pain scores and quality-adjusted life-years at 90 days after surgery.

RESULTS

The matched decompression cohort comprised 7836 patients (3236 [41.3] females) with a mean age of 63.5 ± 12.6 years, and the matched arthrodesis cohort comprised 7336 patients (3907 [53.3%] females) with a mean age of 64.8 ± 10.3 years. In patients undergoing lumbar decompression, no significant differences in nonroutine discharge, length of stay (LOS), readmissions, reoperations, and PROs were observed. In patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, nonroutine discharge (15.7% vs 13.4%, p < 0.01), LOS (3.2 ± 2.0 vs 3.0 ± 3.5 days, p < 0.01), 30-day (6.5% vs 4.4%, p < 0.01) and 90-day (9.1% vs 7.0%, p < 0.01) readmission rates, and the 90-day reoperation rate (4.3% vs 3.2%, p = 0.01) were all significantly higher in the DM group. For DM patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, subgroup analyses demonstrated a significantly higher risk of poor surgical outcomes with the open approach.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with and without DM undergoing lumbar spinal decompression alone have comparable readmission and reoperation rates, while those undergoing arthrodesis procedures have a higher risk of poor surgical outcomes up to 90 days after surgery. Surgeons should target optimal DM control preoperatively, particularly for patients undergoing elective lumbar arthrodesis.

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What factors influence surgical decision-making in anterior versus posterior surgery for cervical myelopathy? A QOD analysis

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Sally El Sammak, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay Turner, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Nauman S. Chaudhry, Regis W. Haid Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to explore the preoperative patient characteristics that affect surgical decision-making when selecting an anterior or posterior operative approach in patients diagnosed with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

This was a multi-institutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy module. Patients aged 18 years or older diagnosed with primary CSM who underwent multilevel (≥ 2-level) elective surgery were included. Demographics and baseline clinical characteristics were collected.

RESULTS

Of the 841 patients with CSM in the database, 492 (58.5%) underwent multilevel anterior surgery and 349 (41.5%) underwent multilevel posterior surgery. Surgeons more often performed a posterior surgical approach in older patients (mean 64.8 ± 10.6 vs 58.5 ± 11.1 years, p < 0.001) and those with a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists class (class III or IV: 52.4% vs 46.3%, p = 0.003), a higher rate of motor deficit (67.0% vs 58.7%, p = 0.014), worse myelopathy (mean modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score 11.4 ± 3.1 vs 12.4 ± 2.6, p < 0.001), and more levels treated (4.3 ± 1.3 vs 2.4 ± 0.6, p < 0.001). On the other hand, surgeons more frequently performed an anterior surgical approach when patients were employed (47.2% vs 23.2%, p < 0.001) and had intervertebral disc herniation as an underlying pathology (30.7% vs 9.2%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The selection of approach for patients with CSM depends on patient demographics and symptomology. Posterior surgery was performed in patients who were older and had worse systemic disease, increased myelopathy, and greater levels of stenosis. Anterior surgery was more often performed in patients who were employed and had intervertebral disc herniation.

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Greater improvement in Neck Disability Index scores in women after surgery for cervical myelopathy: an analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database

Arati Patel, Sravani Kondapavulur, Gray Umbach, Andrew K. Chan, Vivian P. Le, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Dean Chou, Steve D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Regis W. Haid, Oren Gottfried, Scott Meyer, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

There is a high prevalence of cervical myelopathy that requires surgery; as such, it is important to identify how different groups benefit from surgery. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry, that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome data to measure the safety and quality of neurosurgical procedures. In this study, the authors assessed the impact of gender on patient-reported outcomes in patients who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 1152 patients who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy and were included in the QOD cervical module. Univariate comparison of baseline patient characteristics between males and females who underwent surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy was performed. Baseline characteristics that significantly differed between males and females were included in a multivariate generalized linear model comparing baseline and 1-year postoperative Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores.

RESULTS

This study included 546 females and 604 males. Females demonstrated significantly greater improvement in NDI score 1 year after surgery (p = 0.036). In addition to gender, the presence of axial neck pain and insurance status were also significantly predictive of improvement in NDI score after surgery (p = 0.0013 and p = 0.0058, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Females were more likely to benefit from surgery for cervical myelopathy compared with males. It is important to identify gender differences in postoperative outcomes after surgery in order to deliver more personalized and patient-centric care.

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Systematic review and meta-analysis of topical tranexamic acid in spine surgery

Chiemela Izima, Shailen G. Sampath, Anthony J. Tang, Vardhaan S. Ambati, Dean Chou, and Andrew K. Chan

OBJECTIVE

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic drug associated with reduced blood loss in a range of surgical specialties, including neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and cardiac surgery. Concerns about venous thromboembolism and seizures from intravenous (IV) TXA have led to increased use of topical TXA. Given the relative scarcity of the literature on topical TXA compared with that on IV TXA within neurosurgery, the authors aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the safety, efficacy, and optimal administration of topical TXA in a wide range of spinal procedures and pathologies.

METHODS

The PRISMA guidelines, Cochrane risk of bias tool, and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale were used to extract randomized controlled trials and high-quality case-control and cross-sectional/cohort studies (adult studies only) from PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Embase published between 2016 and 2023. Studies were analyzed by two independent reviewers for variables including dosage, TXA administration route, type of spine procedure, blood loss, adverse events including thromboembolism and infection, postoperative hemoglobin level, and hospitalization length. Pooled analysis comparing intraoperative and postoperative blood loss, postoperative hemoglobin levels, and hospitalization length of stay on the basis of route of TXA administration was conducted.

RESULTS

Four cohort studies, 1 cross-sectional study, 1 case-control study, and 12 randomized controlled trials, together involving 2045 patients, were included. The most common route of topical TXA administration was via TXA in saline solution. Other routes of topical TXA included retrograde injection and TXA-soaked Gelfoam. In pooled analysis, topical TXA significantly reduced visible blood loss (standardized mean difference [SMD] −0.22, 95% CI −0.45 to −0.00001), postoperative blood loss (SMD −1.63, 95% CI −2.03 to −1.22), and length of hospital stay (SMD −1.02, 95% CI −1.42 to −0.61), as well as higher postoperative hemoglobin (SMD 0.59, 95% CI 0.34–0.83), compared with non-TXA controls. No significant differences in outcomes were found between topical and IV TXA or between combined (topical and IV) and IV TXA. Thromboembolism and infection rates did not significantly differ between any TXA administration group and non-TXA controls.

CONCLUSIONS

In pooled analyses, topical TXA was associated with decreased perioperative blood loss in a wide range of scenarios, including cervical spine surgery and thoracolumbar trauma, as well as in patients with a thromboembolic history.

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Three-level ACDF versus 3-level laminectomy and fusion: are there differences in outcomes? An analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database cervical spondylotic myelopathy cohort

Vardhaan S. Ambati, Mohamed Macki, Andrew K. Chan, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Vivian P. Le, Alysha B. Jamieson, Dean Chou, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Brandon A. Sherrod, Regis W. Haid Jr., Mohamad Bydon, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to compare 3-level anterior with posterior fusion surgical procedures for the treatment of multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

The authors analyzed prospective data from the 14 highest enrolling sites of the Quality Outcomes Database CSM module. They compared 3-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (PCF) surgical procedures, excluding surgical procedures crossing the cervicothoracic junction. Rates of reaching the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were compared at 24 months postoperatively. Multivariable analyses adjusted for potential confounders elucidated in univariable analysis.

RESULTS

Overall, 199 patients met the inclusion criteria: 123 ACDF (61.8%) and 76 PCF (38.2%) patients. The 24-month follow-up rates were similar (ACDF 90.2% vs PCF 92.1%, p = 0.67). Preoperatively, ACDF patients were younger (60.8 ± 10.2 vs 65.0 ± 10.3 years, p < 0.01), and greater proportions were privately insured (56.1% vs 36.8%, p = 0.02), actively employed (39.8% vs 22.8%, p = 0.04), and independently ambulatory (14.6% vs 31.6%, p < 0.01). Otherwise, the cohorts had equivalent baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA), Neck Disability Index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS)–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D scores (p > 0.05). ACDF patients had reduced hospitalization length (1.6 vs 3.9 days, p < 0.01) and a greater proportion had nonroutine discharge (7.3% vs 22.8%, p < 0.01), but they had a higher rate of postoperative dysphagia (13.5% vs 3.5%, p = 0.049). Compared with baseline values, both groups demonstrated improvements in all outcomes at 24 months (p < 0.05). In multivariable analyses, after controlling for age, insurance payor, employment status, ambulation status, and other potential clinically relevant confounders, ACDF was associated with a greater proportion of patients with maximum satisfaction on the North American Spine Society Patient Satisfaction Index (NASS) (NASS score of 1) at 24 months (69.4% vs 53.7%, OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.17–5.09, adjusted p = 0.02). Otherwise, the cohorts shared similar 24-month outcomes in terms of reaching the MCID for mJOA, NDI, NRS–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D score (adjusted p > 0.05). There were no differences in the 3-month readmission (ACDF 4.1% vs PCF 3.9%, p = 0.97) and 24-month reoperation (ACDF 13.5% vs PCF 18.6%, p = 0.36) rates.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort limited to 3-level fusion surgical procedures, ACDF was associated with reduced blood loss, shorter hospitalization length, and higher routine home discharge rates; however, PCF resulted in lower rates of postoperative dysphagia. The procedures yielded comparably significant improvements in functional status (mJOA score), neck and arm pain, neck pain–related disability, and quality of life at 3, 12, and 24 months. ACDF patients had significantly higher odds of maximum satisfaction (NASS score 1). Given comparable outcomes, patients should be counseled on each approach’s complication profile to aid in surgical decision-making.

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Cervical laminoplasty versus laminectomy and posterior cervical fusion for cervical myelopathy: propensity-matched analysis of 24-month outcomes from the Quality Outcomes Database

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Eunice Yang, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Dean Chou, Mohamad Bydon, Erica F. Bisson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Andrew K. Chan

OBJECTIVE

Compared with laminectomy with posterior cervical fusion (PCF), cervical laminoplasty (CL) may result in different outcomes for those operated on for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). The aim of this study was to compare 24-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs) for laminoplasty versus PCF by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM data set.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study using an augmented data set from the prospectively collected QOD Registry Cervical Module. Patients undergoing laminoplasty or PCF for CSM were included. Using the nearest-neighbor method, the authors performed 1:1 propensity matching based on age, operated levels, and baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain scores. The 24-month PROs, i.e., mJOA, Neck Disability Index (NDI), VAS neck pain, VAS arm pain, EQ-5D, EQ-VAS, and North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction scores, were compared. Only cases in the subaxial cervical region were included; those that crossed the cervicothoracic junction were excluded.

RESULTS

From the 1141 patients included in the QOD CSM data set who underwent anterior or posterior surgery for cervical myelopathy, 946 (82.9%) had 24 months of follow-up. Of these, 43 patients who underwent laminoplasty and 191 who underwent PCF met the inclusion criteria. After matching, the groups were similar for baseline characteristics, including operative levels (CL group: 4.0 ± 0.9 vs PCF group: 4.2 ± 1.1, p = 0.337) and baseline PROs (p > 0.05), except for a higher percentage involved in activities outside the home in the CL group (95.3% vs 81.4%, p = 0.044). The 24-month follow-up for the matched cohorts was similar (CL group: 88.4% vs PCF group: 83.7%, p = 0.534). Patients undergoing laminoplasty had significantly lower estimated blood loss (99.3 ± 91.7 mL vs 186.7 ± 142.7 mL, p = 0.003), decreased length of stay (3.0 ± 1.6 days vs 4.5 ± 3.3 days, p = 0.012), and a higher rate of routine discharge (88.4% vs 62.8%, p = 0.006). The CL cohort also demonstrated a higher rate of return to activities (47.2% vs 21.2%, p = 0.023) after 3 months. Laminoplasty was associated with a larger improvement in 24-month NDI score (−19.6 ± 18.9 vs −9.1 ± 21.9, p = 0.031). Otherwise, there were no 3- or 24-month differences in mJOA, mean NDI, VAS neck pain, VAS arm pain, EQ-5D, EQ-VAS, and distribution of NASS satisfaction scores (p > 0.05) between the cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with PCF, laminoplasty was associated with decreased blood loss, decreased length of hospitalization, and higher rates of home discharge. At 3 months, laminoplasty was associated with a higher rate of return to baseline activities. At 24 months, laminoplasty was associated with greater improvements in neck disability. Otherwise, laminoplasty and PCF shared similar outcomes for functional status, pain, quality of life, and satisfaction. Laminoplasty and PCF achieved similar neck pain scores, suggesting that moderate preoperative neck pain may not necessarily be a contraindication for laminoplasty.

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Developing nonlinear k-nearest neighbors classification algorithms to identify patients at high risk of increased length of hospital stay following spine surgery

Shane Shahrestani, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Jian Guan, Regis W. Haid, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Spondylolisthesis is a common operative disease in the United States, but robust predictive models for patient outcomes remain limited. The development of models that accurately predict postoperative outcomes would be useful to help identify patients at risk of complicated postoperative courses and determine appropriate healthcare and resource utilization for patients. As such, the purpose of this study was to develop k-nearest neighbors (KNN) classification algorithms to identify patients at increased risk for extended hospital length of stay (LOS) following neurosurgical intervention for spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) spondylolisthesis data set was queried for patients receiving either decompression alone or decompression plus fusion for degenerative spondylolisthesis. Preoperative and perioperative variables were queried, and Mann-Whitney U-tests were performed to identify which variables would be included in the machine learning models. Two KNN models were implemented (k = 25) with a standard training set of 60%, validation set of 20%, and testing set of 20%, one with arthrodesis status (model 1) and the other without (model 2). Feature scaling was implemented during the preprocessing stage to standardize the independent features.

RESULTS

Of 608 enrolled patients, 544 met prespecified inclusion criteria. The mean age of all patients was 61.9 ± 12.1 years (± SD), and 309 (56.8%) patients were female. The model 1 KNN had an overall accuracy of 98.1%, sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 84.6%, positive predictive value (PPV) of 97.9%, and negative predictive value (NPV) of 100%. Additionally, a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for model 1, showing an overall area under the curve (AUC) of 0.998. Model 2 had an overall accuracy of 99.1%, sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 92.3%, PPV of 99.0%, and NPV of 100%, with the same ROC AUC of 0.998.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, these findings demonstrate that nonlinear KNN machine learning models have incredibly high predictive value for LOS. Important predictor variables include diabetes, osteoporosis, socioeconomic quartile, duration of surgery, estimated blood loss during surgery, patient educational status, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, BMI, insurance status, smoking status, sex, and age. These models may be considered for external validation by spine surgeons to aid in patient selection and management, resource utilization, and preoperative surgical planning.

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Which supervised machine learning algorithm can best predict achievement of minimum clinically important difference in neck pain after surgery in patients with cervical myelopathy? A QOD study

Christine Park, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Anthony J. Tang, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Regis W. Haid Jr., Mohamad Bydon, and Andrew K. Chan

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of different supervised machine learning algorithms to predict achievement of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in neck pain after surgery in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database CSM cohort. The data set was divided into an 80% training and a 20% test set. Various supervised learning algorithms (including logistic regression, support vector machine, decision tree, random forest, extra trees, gaussian naïve Bayes, k–nearest neighbors, multilayer perceptron, and extreme gradient boosted trees) were evaluated on their performance to predict achievement of MCID in neck pain at 3 and 24 months after surgery, given a set of predicting baseline features. Model performance was assessed with accuracy, F1 score, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, precision, recall/sensitivity, and specificity.

RESULTS

In total, 535 patients (46.9%) achieved MCID for neck pain at 3 months and 569 patients (49.9%) achieved it at 24 months. In each follow-up cohort, 501 patients (93.6%) were satisfied at 3 months after surgery and 569 patients (100%) were satisfied at 24 months after surgery. Of the supervised machine learning algorithms tested, logistic regression demonstrated the best accuracy (3 months: 0.76 ± 0.031, 24 months: 0.773 ± 0.044), followed by F1 score (3 months: 0.759 ± 0.019, 24 months: 0.777 ± 0.039) and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (3 months: 0.762 ± 0.027, 24 months: 0.773 ± 0.043) at predicting achievement of MCID for neck pain at both follow-up time points, with fair performance. The best precision was also demonstrated by logistic regression at 3 (0.724 ± 0.058) and 24 (0.780 ± 0.097) months. The best recall/sensitivity was demonstrated by multilayer perceptron at 3 months (0.841 ± 0.094) and by extra trees at 24 months (0.817 ± 0.115). Highest specificity was shown by support vector machine at 3 months (0.952 ± 0.013) and by logistic regression at 24 months (0.747 ± 0.18).

CONCLUSIONS

Appropriate selection of models for studies should be based on the strengths of each model and the aims of the studies. For maximally predicting true achievement of MCID in neck pain, of all the predictions in this balanced data set the appropriate metric for the authors’ study was precision. For both short- and long-term follow-ups, logistic regression demonstrated the highest precision of all models tested. Logistic regression performed consistently the best of all models tested and remains a powerful model for clinical classification tasks.

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Duration of neurological deficit and outcomes in the surgical treatment of spinal coccidioidomycosis

Alexa Semonche, Justin K. Scheer, Vinil N. Shah, Monica Fung, Lee A. Tan, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Sigurd H. Berven, Christopher P. Ames, Vedat Deviren, Alekos A. Theologis, and Aaron J. Clark

OBJECTIVE

Vertebral osteomyelitis is a rare complication of coccidioidomycosis infection. Surgical intervention is indicated when there is failure of medical management or presence of neurological deficit, epidural abscess, or spinal instability. The relationship between timing of surgical intervention and recovery of neurological function has not been previously described. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the duration of neurological deficits at presentation affects neurological recovery after surgical intervention.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis involving the spine at a single tertiary care center between 2012 and 2021. Data collected included patient demographics, clinical presentation, radiographic information, and surgical intervention. The primary outcome was change in neurological examination after surgical intervention, quantified according to the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale. The secondary outcome was the complication rate. Logistic regression was used to test if the duration of neurological deficits was associated with improvement in the neurological examination after surgery.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven patients presented with spinal coccidioidomycosis between 2012 and 2021; 20 of these patients had vertebral involvement on spinal imaging with a median follow-up of 8.7 months (IQR 1.7–71.2 months). Of the 20 patients with vertebral involvement, 12 (60.0%) presented with a neurological deficit with a median duration of 20 days (range 1–61 days). Most patients presenting with neurological deficit (11/12, 91.7%) underwent surgical intervention. Nine (81.2%) of these 11 patients had an improved neurological examination after surgery and the other 2 had stable deficits. Seven patients had improved recovery sufficient to improve by 1 grade according to the AIS. The duration of neurological deficits on presentation was not significantly associated with neurological improvement after surgery (p = 0.49, Fisher’s exact test).

CONCLUSIONS

The duration of neurological deficits on presentation should not deter surgeons from operative intervention in cases of spinal coccidioidomycosis.

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Research using the Quality Outcomes Database: accomplishments and future steps toward higher-quality real-world evidence

Anthony L. Asher, Regis W. Haid, Ann R. Stroink, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, A. Yohan Alexander, Daniel Zeitouni, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, John J. Knightly, Katie O. Orrico, Michael Y. Wang, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was established in 2012 by the NeuroPoint Alliance, a nonprofit organization supported by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Currently, the QOD has launched six different modules to cover a broad spectrum of neurosurgical practice—namely lumbar spine surgery, cervical spine surgery, brain tumor, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), functional neurosurgery for Parkinson’s disease, and cerebrovascular surgery. This investigation aims to summarize research efforts and evidence yielded through QOD research endeavors.

METHODS

The authors identified all publications from January 1, 2012, to February 18, 2023, that were produced by using data collected prospectively in a QOD module without a prespecified research purpose in the context of quality surveillance and improvement. Citations were compiled and presented along with comprehensive documentation of the main study objective and take-home message.

RESULTS

A total of 94 studies have been produced through QOD efforts during the past decade. QOD-derived literature has been predominantly dedicated to spinal surgical outcomes, with 59 and 22 studies focusing on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, respectively, and 6 studies focusing on both. More specifically, the QOD Study Group—a research collaborative between 16 high-enrolling sites—has yielded 24 studies on lumbar grade 1 spondylolisthesis and 13 studies on cervical spondylotic myelopathy, using two focused data sets with high data accuracy and long-term follow-up. The more recent neuro-oncological QOD efforts, i.e., the Tumor QOD and the SRS Quality Registry, have contributed 5 studies, providing insights into the real-world neuro-oncological practice and the role of patient-reported outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Prospective quality registries are an important resource for observational research, yielding clinical evidence to guide decision-making across neurosurgical subspecialties. Future directions of the QOD efforts include the development of research efforts within the neuro-oncological registries and the American Spine Registry—which has now replaced the inactive spinal modules of the QOD—and the focused research on high-grade lumbar spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy.