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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.

Free access

Zach Pennington, Jeff Ehresman, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, John H. Shin, C. Rory Goodwin, Joseph H. Schwab, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Long-term local control in patients with primary chordoma and sarcoma of the spine and sacrum is increasingly reliant upon en bloc resection with negative margins. At many institutions, adjuvant radiation is recommended; definitive radiation is also recommended for the treatment of unresectable tumors. Because of the high off-target radiation toxicities associated with conventional radiotherapy, there has been growing interest in the use of proton and heavy-ion therapies. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature regarding these therapies.

METHODS

The PubMed, OVID, Embase, and Web of Science databases were queried for articles describing the use of proton, combined proton/photon, or heavy-ion therapies for adjuvant or definitive radiotherapy in patients with primary sarcoma or chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum. A qualitative synthesis of the results was performed, focusing on overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), disease-free survival (DFS), and disease-specific survival (DSS); local control; and postradiation toxicities.

RESULTS

Of 595 unique articles, 64 underwent full-text screening and 38 were included in the final synthesis. All studies were level III or IV evidence with a high risk of bias; there was also significant overlap in the reported populations, with six centers accounting for roughly three-fourths of all reports. Five-year therapy outcomes were as follows: proton-only therapies, OS 67%–82%, PFS 31%–57%, and DFS 52%–62%; metastases occurred in 17%–18% and acute toxicities in 3%–100% of cases; combined proton/photon therapy, local control 62%–85%, OS 78%–87%, PFS 90%, and DFS 61%–72%; metastases occurred in 12%–14% and acute toxicities in 84%–100% of cases; and carbon ion therapy, local control 53%–100%, OS 52%–86%, PFS (only reported for 3 years) 48%–76%, and DFS 50%–53%; metastases occurred in 2%–39% and acute toxicities in 26%–48%. There were no studies directly comparing outcomes between photon and charged-particle therapies or comparing outcomes between radiation and surgical groups.

CONCLUSIONS

The current evidence for charged-particle therapies in the management of sarcomas of the spine and sacrum is limited. Preliminary evidence suggests that with these therapies local control and OS at 5 years are comparable among various charged-particle options and may be similar between those treated with definitive charged-particle therapy and historical surgical cohorts. Further research directly comparing charged-particle and photon-based therapies is necessary.

Restricted access

A. Karim Ahmed, Zachary Pennington, Camilo A. Molina, Yuanxuan Xia, C. Rory Goodwin, and Daniel M. Sciubba

Effective en bloc resection of primary spinal tumors necessitates careful consideration of adjacent anatomical structures in order to achieve negative margins and reduce surgical morbidity. This can be particularly challenging in the cervical spine, where vital neurovascular and connective tissues are present in the region. Early multidisciplinary surgical planning that includes clinicians and engineers can both optimize surgical planning and enable a more feasible resection with oncological margins. The aim of the current work was to demonstrate two cases that involved multidisciplinary surgical planning for en bloc resection of primary cervical spine tumors, successfully utilizing 3D-printed patient models and neoadjuvant therapies.

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

Taylor E. Purvis, C. Rory Goodwin, Camilo A. Molina, Steven M. Frank, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to characterize the association between percentage change in hemoglobin (ΔHb)—i.e., the difference between preoperative Hb and in-hospital nadir Hb concentration—and perioperative adverse events among spine surgery patients.

METHODS

Patients who underwent spine surgery at the authors’ institution between December 4, 2008, and June 26, 2015, were eligible for this retrospective study. Patients who underwent the following procedures were included: atlantoaxial fusion, subaxial anterior cervical fusion, subaxial posterior cervical fusion, anterior lumbar fusion, posterior lumbar fusion, lateral lumbar fusion, excision of intervertebral disc, and excision of spinal cord lesion. Data on intraoperative transfusion were obtained from an automated, prospectively collected, anesthesia data management system. Data on postoperative hospital transfusions were obtained through an Internet-based intelligence portal. Percentage ΔHb was defined as: ([preoperative Hb − nadir Hb]/preoperative Hb) × 100. Clinical outcomes included in-hospital morbidity and length of stay associated with percentage ΔHb.

RESULTS

A total of 3949 patients who underwent spine surgery were identified. Of these, 1204 patients (30.5%) received at least 1 unit of packed red blood cells. The median nadir Hb level was 10.6 g/dl (interquartile range 8.7–12.4 g/dl), yielding a mean percentage ΔHb of 23.6% (SD 15.4%). Perioperative complications occurred in 234 patients (5.9%) and were more common in patients with a larger percentage ΔHb (p = 0.017). Hospital-related infection, which occurred in 60 patients (1.5%), was also more common in patients with greater percentage ΔHb (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Percentage ΔHb is independently associated with a higher risk of developing any perioperative complication and hospital-related infection. The authors’ results suggest that percentage ΔHb may be a useful measure for identifying patients at risk for adverse perioperative events.

Free access

Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, C. Rory Goodwin, Gezzer Ortega, Fizan Abdullah, Edward Cornwell, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Mari L. Groves, Michael Ain, Paul D. Sponseller, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Spinal arthrodesis is routinely performed in the pediatric population. However, there is limited information on the short-term outcomes of pediatric patients who have undergone spine fusion. Thus, the authors conducted a retrospective review of the Pediatric National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database to determine the short-term mortality, complication, reoperation, and readmission rates of pediatric patients who underwent spinal arthrodesis for all indications.

METHODS

The Pediatric NSQIP database was queried for all patients who underwent spinal arthrodesis between 2012 and 2014. Patient demographics, comorbidities, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists classification, and operative time were abstracted. Short-term mortality, reoperation, and readmission rates and complications were also noted. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to delineate patient risk factors that influence short-term mortality, complications, reoperation, and readmission rates.

RESULTS

A total of 4420 pediatric patients who underwent spinal fusion were identified. Common indications for surgical intervention included acquired/idiopathic scoliosis or kyphoscoliosis (71.2%) and genetic/syndromic scoliosis (10.7%). The mean patient age was 13.7 ± 2.9 years, and 70% of patients were female. The overall 30-day mortality was 0.14%. Multivariate analysis showed that female sex and pulmonary comorbidities significantly increased the odds of reoperation, with odds ratios of 1.43 and 1.78, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In the NSQIP database for pediatric patients undergoing spinal arthrodesis for all causes, there was a 3.6% unplanned reoperation rate, a 3.96% unplanned readmission rate, and a 9.0% complication rate. This analysis provides data for risk stratification of pediatric patients undergoing spinal arthrodesis, allowing for optimized care.

Full access

Rachel Sarabia-Estrada, Alejandro Ruiz-Valls, Sagar R. Shah, A. Karim Ahmed, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Hugo Guerrero-Cazares, Ismael Jimenez-Estrada, Esteban Velarde, Betty Tyler, Yuxin Li, Neil A. Phillips, C. Rory Goodwin, Rory J. Petteys, Sanjay K. Jain, Gary L. Gallia, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Chordoma is a slow-growing, locally aggressive cancer that is minimally responsive to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy and has high local recurrence rates after resection. Currently, there are no rodent models of spinal chordoma. In the present study, the authors sought to develop and characterize an orthotopic model of human chordoma in an immunocompromised rat.

METHODS

Thirty-four immunocompromised rats were randomly allocated to 4 study groups; 22 of the 34 rats were engrafted in the lumbar spine with human chordoma. The groups were as follows: UCH1 tumor–engrafted (n = 11), JHC7 tumor–engrafted (n = 11), sham surgery (n = 6), and intact control (n = 6) rats. Neurological impairment of rats due to tumor growth was evaluated using open field and locomotion gait analysis; pain response was evaluated using mechanical or thermal paw stimulation. Cone beam CT (CBCT), MRI, and nanoScan PET/CT were performed to evaluate bony changes due to tumor growth. On Day 550, rats were killed and spines were processed for H & E–based histological examination and immunohistochemistry for brachyury, S100β, and cytokeratin.

RESULTS

The spine tumors displayed typical chordoma morphology, that is, physaliferous cells filled with vacuolated cytoplasm of mucoid matrix. Brachyury immunoreactivity was confirmed by immunostaining, in which samples from tumor-engrafted rats showed a strong nuclear signal. Sclerotic lesions in the vertebral body of rats in the UCH1 and JHC7 groups were observed on CBCT. Tumor growth was confirmed using contrast-enhanced MRI. In UCH1 rats, large tumors were observed growing from the vertebral body. JHC7 chordoma–engrafted rats showed smaller tumors confined to the bone periphery compared with UCH1 chordoma–engrafted rats. Locomotion analysis showed a disruption in the normal gait pattern, with an increase in the step length and duration of the gait in tumor-engrafted rats. The distance traveled and the speed of rats in the open field test was significantly reduced in the UCH1 and JHC7 tumor–engrafted rats compared with controls. Nociceptive response to a mechanical stimulus showed a significant (p < 0.001) increase in the paw withdrawal threshold (mechanical hypalgesia). In contrast, the paw withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus decreased significantly (p < 0.05) in tumor-engrafted rats.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors developed an orthotopic human chordoma model in rats. Rats were followed for 550 days using imaging techniques, including MRI, CBCT, and nanoScan PET/CT, to evaluate lesion progression and bony integrity. Nociceptive evaluations and locomotion analysis were performed during follow-up. This model reproduces cardinal signs, such as locomotor and sensory deficits, similar to those observed clinically in human patients. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first spine rodent model of human chordoma. Its use and further study will be essential for pathophysiology research and the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Full access

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

Benjamin D. Elder, Wataru Ishida, C. Rory Goodwin, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, and Timothy F. Witham

OBJECTIVE

With the advent of new adjunctive therapy, the overall survival of patients harboring spinal column tumors has improved. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the optimal bone graft options following resection of spinal column tumors, due to their relative rarity and because fusion outcomes in this cohort are affected by various factors, such as radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy. Furthermore, bone graft options are often limited following tumor resection because the use of local bone grafts and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are usually avoided in light of microscopic infiltration of tumors into local bone and potential carcinogenicity of BMP. The objective of this study was to review and meta-analyze the relevant clinical literature to provide further clinical insight regarding bone graft options.

METHODS

A web-based MEDLINE search was conducted in accordance with preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, which yielded 27 articles with 383 patients. Information on baseline characteristics, tumor histology, adjunctive treatments, reconstruction methods, bone graft options, fusion rates, and time to fusion were collected. Pooled fusion rates (PFRs) and I2 values were calculated in meta-analysis. Meta-regression analyses were also performed if each variable appeared to affect fusion outcomes. Furthermore, data on 272 individual patients were available, which were additionally reviewed and statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

Overall, fusion rates varied widely from 36.0% to 100.0% due to both inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity, with a PFR of 85.7% (I2 = 36.4). The studies in which cages were filled with morselized iliac crest autogenic bone graft (ICABG) and/or other bone graft options were used for anterior fusion showed a significantly higher PFR of 92.8, compared with the other studies (83.3%, p = 0.04). In per-patient analysis, anterior plus posterior fusion resulted in a higher fusion rate than anterior fusion only (98.8% vs 86.4%, p < 0.001). Although unmodifiable, RT (90.3% vs 98.6%, p = 0.03) and lumbosacral tumors (74.6% vs 97.9%, p < 0.001) were associated with lower fusion rates in univariate analysis. The mean time to fusion was 5.4 ± 1.4 months (range 3–9 months), whereas 16 of 272 patients died before the confirmation of solid fusion with a mean survival of 3.1 ± 2.1 months (range 0.5–6 months). The average time to fusion of patients who received RT and chemotherapy were significantly longer than those who did not receive these adjunctive treatments (RT: 6.1 months vs 4.3 months, p < 0.001; chemotherapy: 6.0 months vs 4.3 months, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Due to inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity in patient, disease, fusion criteria, and treatment characteristics, the optimal surgical techniques and factors predictive of fusion remain unclear. Clearly, future prospective, randomized studies will be necessary to better understand the issues surrounding bone graft selection following resection of spinal column tumors.