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Daniel M. Sciubba, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Chetan Bettegowda, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Jean-Paul Wolinsky

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the local recurrence rate and long-term survival after resection of spinal sarcomas.

METHODS

A retrospective review of patients who underwent resection of primary or metastatic spinal sarcomas between 1997 and 2015 was performed. Tumors were classified according to the Enneking classification, and resection was categorized as Enneking appropriate (EA) if the specimen margins matched the Enneking recommendation, and as Enneking inappropriate (EI) if they did not match the recommendation. The primary outcome measure for all tumors was overall survival; local recurrence was also an outcome measure for primary sarcomas. The association between clinical, surgical, and molecular (tumor biomarker) factors and outcomes was also investigated.

RESULTS

A total of 60 patients with spinal sarcoma were included in this study (28 men and 32 women; median age 38 years). There were 52 primary (86.7%) and 8 metastatic sarcomas (13.3%). Thirty-nine tumors (65.0%) were classified as high-grade, and resection was considered EA in 61.7% of all cases (n = 37). The local recurrence rate was 10 of 52 (19.2%) for primary sarcomas; 36.8% for EI resection and 9.1% for EA resection (p = 0.010). Twenty-eight patients (46.7%) died during the follow-up period, and median survival was 26 months. Overall median survival was longer for patients with EA resection (undefined) compared with EI resection (13 months, p < 0.001). After multivariate analysis, EA resection significantly decreased the hazard of local recurrence (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.06–0.93; p = 0.039). Age 40 years or older (HR 4.23, 95% CI 1.73–10.31; p = 0.002), previous radiation (HR 3.44, 95% CI 1.37–8.63; p = 0.008), and high-grade sarcomas (HR 3.17, 95% CI 1.09–9.23; p = 0.034) were associated with a significantly increased hazard of death, whereas EA resection was associated with a significantly decreased hazard of death (HR 0.22, 95% CI 0.09–0.52; p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The findings in the present study suggest that EA resection may be the strongest independent prognostic factor for improved survival in patients with spinal sarcoma. Additionally, patients who underwent EA resection had lower local recurrence rates. Patients 40 years or older, those with a history of previous radiation, and those with high-grade tumors had an increased hazard of mortality in this study.

Free access

Camilo Molina, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Benjamin D. Elder, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, and Daniel M. Sciubba

Surgical interventions for spinal metastasis are commonly performed for mechanical stabilization, pain relief, preservation of neurological function, and local tumor reduction. Although multiple surgical approaches can be used for the treatment of metastatic spinal lesions, posterior approaches are commonly performed. In this study, the role of posterior surgical procedures in the treatment of spinal metastases was reviewed, including posterior laminectomy with and without instrumentation for stabilization, transpedicular corpectomy, and costotransversectomy. A review of the literature from 1980 to 2015 was performed using Medline, as was a review of the bibliographies of articles meeting preset inclusion criteria, to identify studies on the role of these posterior approaches among adults with spinal metastasis. Thirty-four articles were ultimately analyzed, including 1 randomized controlled trial, 6 prospective cohort studies, and 27 retrospective case reports and/or series. Some of the reviewed articles had Level II evidence indicating that laminectomy with stabilization can be recommended for improvement in neurological outcome and reduction of pain in selected patients. However, the use of laminectomy alone should be carefully considered. Additionally, transpedicular corpectomy and costotransversectomy can be recommended with the expectation of improving neurological outcomes and reducing pain in properly selected patients with spinal metastases. With improvements in the treatment paradigms for patients with spinal metastasis, as well as survival, surgical therapy will continue to play an important role in the management of spinal metastasis. While this review presents a window into determining the utility of posterior approaches, future prospective studies will provide essential data to better define the roles of the various options now available to surgeons in treating spinal metastases.

Full access

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Amit Jain, Emily K. Miller, Nicole Huang, Khaled M. Kebaish, Paul D. Sponseller, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of and factors associated with complications following idiopathic scoliosis surgery in adolescents.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database was used to identify patients 10–18 years of age who had undergone spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) from 2002 to 2011. Twenty-three unique in-hospital postoperative complications, including death, were examined. A series of logistic regressions was used to determine if any demographic, comorbid, or surgical parameter was associated with complication development. Results of multiple logistic regression analyses were reported as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. All analyses were performed after the application of discharge weights to produce national estimates.

RESULTS

A total of 36,335 patients met the study inclusion criteria, 7.6% of whom (95% CI 6.3%–8.9%) developed at least one in-hospital complication. The 3 most common complications were respiratory failure (3.47%), reintubation (1.27%), and implant related (1.14%). Major complications such as death, pancreatitis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, visual loss, spinal cord injury, cardiac arrest, sepsis, nerve root injury, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, shock, malignant hyperthermia, myocardial infarction, and iatrogenic stroke each had an incidence ≤ 0.2%. On multiple logistic regression analysis, an increasing age (OR 0.80) was associated with significantly lower odds of complication development; patients who were male (OR 1.80) or who had anemia (OR 2.10), hypertension (OR 2.51), or hypothyroidism (OR 2.27) or underwent revision procedures (OR 5.55) were at a significantly increased risk for complication development. The rates of postoperative complications for posterior, anterior, and combined approaches were 6.7%, 10.0%, and 19.8%, respectively (p < 0.001). Length of fusion (< 8 vs ≥ 8 levels) was not associated with complication development (p = 0.311).

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of 36,335 patients who had undergone surgery for AIS revealed that younger patients, male patients, patients with a history of anemia, hypertension, or hypothyroidism, as well as those undergoing revision or anterior or combined approaches may have higher rates of postoperative complications. However, the overall complication rate was low (7.6%), and major complications had a rate ≤ 0.2% for each event. These findings suggest that surgery for AIS remains relatively safe, and future prospective investigations may further help to decrease the postoperative morbidity rate.

Free access

Niketh Bhashyam, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Rani Nasser, Ajit Jada, Taylor E. Purvis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Merritt D. Kinon, and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to compare 30-day readmission and reoperation rates after single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) versus those after cervical disc replacement (CDR).

METHODS

The authors used the 2013–2014 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Included were adult patients who underwent first-time single-level ACDF or CDR for cervical spondylosis or disc herniation. Primary outcome measures were readmission and/or reoperation within 30 days of the original surgery. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the independent effect of the procedure (ACDF or CDR) on outcome, and results are presented as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS

A total of 6077 patients met the inclusion criteria; 5590 (92.0%) patients underwent single-level ACDF, and 487 (8.0%) patients underwent CDR. The readmission rates were 2.6% for ACDF and 0.4% for CDR (p = 0.003). When stratified according to age groups, only patients between the ages of 41 and 60 years who underwent ACDF had a significantly higher readmission rate than those who underwent CDR (2.5% vs 0.7%, respectively; p = 0.028). After controlling for patient age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, steroid use, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, patients who underwent CDR were significantly less likely to undergo readmission within 30 days than patients who underwent ACDF (OR 0.23 [95% CI 0.06–0.95]; p = 0.041). Patients with a history of COPD (OR 1.97 [95% CI 1.08–3.57]; p = 0.026) or hypertension (OR 1.62 [95% CI 1.10–2.38]; p = 0.013) and those at ASA Class IV (OR 14.6 [95% CI 1.69–125.75]; p = 0.015) were significantly more likely to require readmission within 30 days. The reoperation rates were 1.2% for ACDF and 0.4% for CDR (p = 0.086), and multivariate analysis revealed that CDR was not associated with lower odds of reoperation (OR 0.60 [95% CI 0.14–2.55]; p = 0.492). However, increasing age was associated with a higher risk (OR 1.02 [95% CI 1.00–1.05]; p = 0.031) of reoperation; a 2% increase in risk per year of age was found.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent single-level ACDF had a higher readmission rate than those who underwent single-level CDR in this study. When stratified according to age, this effect was seen only in the 41- to 60-year age group. No significant difference in the 30-day single-level ACDF and single-level CDR reoperation rates was found. Although patients in the ACDF group were older and sicker, other unmeasured covariates might have accounted for the increased rate of readmission in this group, and further investigation is encouraged.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of spinal tuberculosis (TB) in the US between 2002 and 2011.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2002 to 2011 was used to identify patients with a discharge diagnosis of TB and spinal TB. Demographic and hospital data were obtained for all admissions, and included age, sex, race, comorbid conditions, insurance status, hospital location, hospital teaching status, and hospital region. The incidence rate of spinal TB adjusted for population growth was calculated after application of discharge weights.

RESULTS

A total of 75,858 patients with a diagnosis of TB were identified, of whom 2789 had a diagnosis of spinal TB (3.7%); this represents an average of 278.9 cases per year between 2002 and 2011. The incidence of spinal TB decreased significantly—from 0.07 cases per 100,000 persons in 2002 to 0.05 cases per 100,000 in 2011 (p < 0.001), corresponding to 1 case per 2 million persons in the latter year. The median age for patients with spinal TB was 51 years, and 61% were male; 11.6% were patients with diabetes, 11.4% reported recent weight loss, and 8.1% presented with paralysis. There were 619 patients who underwent spinal surgery for TB, with the most common location being the thoracolumbar spine (61.9% of cases); 50% of patients had instrumentation of 3 or more spinal segments.

CONCLUSIONS

During the examined 10-year period, the incidence of spinal TB was found to significantly decrease over time in the US, reaching a rate of 1 case per 2 million persons in 2011. However, the absolute reduction was relatively small, suggesting that although it is uncommon, spinal TB remains a public health concern and most commonly affects male patients approximately 50 years of age. Approximately 20% of patients with spinal TB underwent surgery, most commonly in the thoracolumbar spine.

Free access

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Rani Nasser, Jacob F. Schulz, Taylor E. Purvis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Merritt D. Kinon, and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

Obesity is an increasing public health concern in the pediatric population. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of body mass index (BMI) on 30-day outcomes after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric database (2013 and 2014) was reviewed. Patients 10–18 years of age who had undergone fusion of 7 or more spinal levels for AIS were included. Thirty-day outcomes (complications, readmissions, and reoperations) were compared based on patient BMI per age- and sex-adjusted growth charts as follows: normal weight (NW; BMI < 85th percentile), overweight (OW; BMI 85th–95th percentile), and obese (OB; BMI > 95th percentile).

RESULTS

Patients eligible for study numbered 2712 (80.1% female and 19.9% male) and had a mean age of 14.4 ± 1.8 years. Average BMI for the entire cohort was 21.9 ± 5.0 kg/m2; 2010 patients (74.1%) were classified as NW, 345 (12.7%) as OW, and 357 (13.2%) as OB. The overall complication rate was 1.3% (36/2712). For NW and OW patients, the complication rate was 0.9% in each group; for OB patients, the rate was 4.2% (p < 0.001). The 30-day readmission rate was 2.0% (55/2712) for all patients, 1.6% for NW patients, 1.2% for OW patients, and 5.0% for OB patients (p < 0.001). The 30-day reoperation rate was 1.4% (39/2712). Based on BMI, this reoperation rate corresponded to 0.9%, 1.2%, and 4.8% for NW, OW, and OB patients, respectively (p < 0.001). After controlling for patient age, number of spinal levels fused, and operative/anesthesia time on multiple logistic regression analysis, obesity remained a significant risk factor for complications (OR 4.61), readmissions (OR 3.16), and reoperations (OR 5.33; all p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Body mass index may be significantly associated with short-term outcomes after long-segment fusion procedures for AIS. Although NW and OW patients may have similar 30-day outcomes, OB patients had significantly higher wound complication, readmission, and reoperation rates and longer hospital stays than the NW patients. The findings of this study may help spine surgeons and patients in terms of preoperative risk stratification and perioperative expectations.

Full access

Hannah M. Carl, A. Karim Ahmed, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Eric W. Sankey, Zachary Pennington, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Justin M. Sacks, C. Rory Goodwin, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Resection of metastatic spine tumors can improve patients’ quality of life by addressing pain or neurological compromise. However, resections are often complicated by wound dehiscence, infection, instrumentation failures, and the need for reoperation. Moreover, when reoperations are needed, the most common indication is surgical site infection and wound breakdown. In turn, wound reoperations increase morbidity as well as the length and cost of hospitalization. The aim of this study was to examine perioperative risk factors associated with increased rate of wound reoperations after metastatic spine tumor resection.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients at a single institution who underwent metastatic spine tumor resection between 2003 and 2013 was conducted. Factors with a p value < 0.200 in a univariate analysis were included in the multivariate model.

RESULTS

A total of 159 patients were included in this study. Karnofsky Performance Scale score > 70, smoking status, hypertension, thromboembolic events, hyperlipidemia, increasing number of vertebral levels, and posterior approach were included in the multivariate analysis. Thromboembolic events (95% CI 1.19–48.5, p = 0.032) and number of levels involved were independently associated with increased wound reoperation rates in the multivariate model. For each additional spinal level involved, the risk for wound reoperations increased by 21% (95% CI 1.03–1.43, p = 0.018).

CONCLUSIONS

Although wound complications and subsequent reoperations are potential risks for all patients with metastatic spine tumor, due to adjuvant radiotherapy and other medical comorbidities, this study identified patients with thromboembolic events or those requiring a larger incision as being at the highest risk. Measures intended to decrease the occurrence of perioperative venous thromboembolism and to improve wound care, especially for long incisions, may decrease wound-related revision surgeries in this vulnerable group of patients.

Full access

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Daniel M. Sciubba, and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

In a meta-analysis, the authors sought to compare outcomes after iliac screw (IS) versus S2 alar-iliac (S2AI) screw fixation in adult patients.

METHODS

A PubMed/MEDLINE database search was performed for studies comparing IS and S2AI screw fixation techniques in adults. Levels of evidence were assigned based on the North American Spine Society guidelines. Three outcomes were examined: 1) revision surgery rate secondary to mechanical failure or wound complications, 2) surgical site infection rate, and 3) screw prominence/pain. Data were pooled and outcomes compared between techniques. Absolute risk reductions (ARRs) were also calculated for outcome measures.

RESULTS

Five retrospective cohort studies (all level III evidence) were included in our analysis. A total of 323 adult patients were included—147 in the IS group (45.5%) and 176 in the S2AI group (54.5%). Overall, revision surgery due to mechanical failure or wound complications was needed in 66 of 323 patients (revision surgery rate 20.4%)—27.9% in the IS group and 14.2% in the S2AI group (13.7% ARR; p < 0.001). Four studies reported wound infections among 278 total patients, with an infection rate of 12.6% (35/278)—25.4% in the IS group and 2.6% in the S2AI group (22.8% ARR; p < 0.001). Three studies examined development of screw prominence/pain; combined, these studies reported screw prominence/pain in 21 of 215 cases (9.8%)—18.1% in the IS group and 1.8% in the S2AI group (16.3% ARR; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

S2AI screw fixation in adults has a significantly lower mechanical failure and complication rate than IS fixation based on the current best available evidence.

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Readmission after spinal epidural abscess management in urban populations: a bi-institutional study

Presented at the 2019 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Michael Longo, Zach Pennington, Yaroslav Gelfand, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Murray Echt, A. Karim Ahmed, Vijay Yanamadala, Daniel M. Sciubba, and Reza Yassari

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of spinal epidural abscess (SEA) is rising, yet there are few reports discussing readmission rates or predisposing factors for readmission after treatment. The aims of the present study were to determine the rate of 90-day readmission following medical or surgical treatment of SEA in an urban population, identify patients at increased risk for readmission, and delineate the principal causes of readmission.

METHODS

Neurosurgery records from two large urban institutions were reviewed to identify patients who were treated for SEA. Patients who died during admission or were discharged to hospice were excluded. Univariate analysis was performed using chi-square and Student t-tests to identify potential predictors of readmission. A multivariate logistic regression model, controlled for age, body mass index, sex, and institution, was used to determine significant predictors of readmission.

RESULTS

Of 103 patients with identified SEA, 97 met the inclusion criteria. Their mean age was 57.1 years, and 56 patients (57.7%) were male. The all-cause 90-day readmission rate was 37.1%. Infection (sepsis, osteomyelitis, persistent abscess, bacteremia) was the most common cause of readmission, accounting for 36.1% of all readmissions. Neither pretreatment neurological deficit (p = 0.16) nor use of surgical versus medical management (p = 0.33) was significantly associated with readmission. Multivariate analysis identified immunocompromised status (p = 0.036; OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1–11.5) and hepatic disease (chronic hepatitis or alcohol abuse) (p = 0.033; OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1–7.7) as positive predictors of 90-day readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

The most common indication for readmission was persistent infection. Readmission was unrelated to baseline neurological status or management strategy. However, both hepatic disease and baseline immunosuppression significantly increased the odds of 90-day readmission after SEA treatment. Patients with these conditions may require closer follow-up upon discharge to reduce overall morbidity and hospital costs associated with SEA.

Free access

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Christine Park, Edwin McCray, Meghan Price, Timothy Y. Wang, Tara Dalton, César Baëta, Melissa M. Erickson, Norah Foster, Zach Pennington, John H. Shin, Daniel M. Sciubba, Khoi D. Than, Isaac O. Karikari, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Reza Yassari, and C. Rory Goodwin

OBJECTIVE

In patients with metastatic spinal disease (MSD), interhospital transfer can potentially impact clinical outcomes as the possible benefits of transferring a patient to a higher level of care must be weighed against the negative effects associated with potential delays in treatment. While the association of clinical outcomes and transfer status has been examined in other specialties, the relationship between transfer status, complications, and risk of mortality in patients with MSD has yet to be explored. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of transfer status on in-hospital mortality and clinical outcomes in patients diagnosed with MSD.

METHODS

The National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was retrospectively queried for adult patients diagnosed with vertebral pathological fracture and/or spinal cord compression in the setting of metastatic disease between 2012 and 2014. Demographics, baseline characteristics (e.g., metastatic spinal cord compression [MSCC] and paralysis), comorbidities, type of intervention, and relevant patient outcomes were controlled in a multivariable logistic regression model to analyze the association of transfer status with patient outcomes.

RESULTS

Within the 10,360 patients meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria, higher rates of MSCC (50.2% vs 35.9%, p < 0.001) and paralysis (17.3% vs 8.4%, p < 0.001) were observed in patients transferred between hospitals compared to those directly admitted. In univariable analysis, a higher percentage of transferred patients underwent surgical intervention (p < 0.001) when compared with directly admitted patients. After controlling for significant covariates and surgical intervention, transferred patients were more likely to develop in-hospital complications (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.18–1.52, p < 0.001), experience prolonged length of stay (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.16–1.52, p < 0.001), and have a discharge disposition other than home (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.46–1.98, p < 0.001), with no significant difference in inpatient mortality rates.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with MSD who were transferred between hospitals demonstrated more severe clinical presentations and higher rates of inpatient complications compared to directly admitted patients, despite demonstrating no difference in in-hospital mortality rates.