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Justin Baum, Stephanus V. Viljoen, Connor S. Gifford, Amy J. Minnema, Ammar Shaikhouni, Andrew J. Grossbach, Shahid Nimjee, and H. Francis Farhadi

OBJECTIVE

Despite the increasing incidence of spinal epidural abscess (SEA), the baseline parameters potentially predictive of treatment failure remain poorly characterized. In this study, the authors identify the relevant baseline parameters that predict multimodal treatment failure in patients with either intravenous drug use (IVDU)–associated SEA or non-IVDU–associated SEA.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the electronic medical records of a large institutional series of consecutive patients with diagnosed SEA between January 2011 and December 2017 to characterize epidemiological trends as well as the complement of baseline measures that are predictive of failure after multimodal treatment in patients with and without concomitant IVDU. The independent impact of clinical and imaging factors in detecting treatment failure was assessed by performing stepwise binary logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 324 consecutive patients with diagnosed SEA were identified. Overall, 226 patients (69.8%) had SEA related to other causes and 98 (30.2%) had a history of recent IVDU. While non-IVDU SEA admission rates remained constant, year-over-year admissions of patients with IVDU SEA nearly tripled. At baseline, patients with IVDU SEA were distinct in many respects including younger age, greater unemployment and disability, less frequent diabetes mellitus (DM), and more frequent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. However, differences in length of stay, loss to follow-up, and treatment failure did not reach statistical significance between the groups. The authors constructed independent multivariate logistic regression models for treatment failure based on identified parameters in the two cohorts. For the non-IVDU cohort, the authors identified four variables as independent factors: DM, hepatitis B/C, osteomyelitis, and compression deformity severity. In contrast, for patients with IVDU, the authors identified three variables: albumin, endocarditis, and endplate destruction. Receiver operating characteristic and area under the curve (AUC) analyses were undertaken for the multivariate models predicting the likelihood of treatment failure in the two cohorts (AUC = 0.88 and 0.89, respectively), demonstrating that the derived models could adequately predict the risk of multimodal treatment failure. Treatment failure risk factor point scales were derived for the identified variables separately for both cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with IVDU SEA represent a unique population with a distinct set of baseline parameters that predict treatment failure. Identification of relevant prognosticating factors will allow for the design of tailored treatment and follow-up regimens.

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Tae Seok Jeong, Seong Son, Sang Gu Lee, Yong Ahn, Jong Myung Jung, and Byung Rhae Yoo

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to compare, after a long-term follow-up, the incidence and features of adjacent segment disease (ASDis) following lumbar fusion surgery performed via an open technique using conventional interbody fusion plus transpedicular screw fixation or a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) using a tubular retractor together with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective chart review of patients with a follow-up period > 10 years who had undergone instrumented lumbar fusion at the L4–5 level between January 2004 and December 2010. The patients were divided into an open surgery group and MIS group based on the surgical method performed. Baseline characteristics and radiological findings, including factors related to ASDis, were compared between the two groups. Additionally, the incidence of ASDis and related details, including diagnosis, time to diagnosis, and treatment, were analyzed.

RESULTS

Among 119 patients who had undergone lumbar fusion at the L4–5 level in the study period, 32 were excluded according to the exclusion criteria. The remaining 87 patients were included as the final study cohort and were divided into an open group (n = 44) and MIS group (n = 43). The mean follow-up period was 10.50 (range 10.0–14.0) years in the open group and 10.16 (range 10.0–13.0) years in the MIS group. The overall facet joint violation rate was significantly higher in the open group than in the MIS group (54.5% vs 30.2%, p = 0.022). However, in terms of adjacent segment degeneration, there were no significant differences in corrected disc height, segmental angle, range of motion, or degree of listhesis of the adjacent segments between the two groups during follow-up. The overall incidence of ASDis was 33.3%, with incidences of 31.8% in the open group and 34.9% in the MIS group, showing no significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.822). Additionally, detailed diagnosis and treatment factors were not different between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS

After a minimum 10-year follow-up, the incidence of ASDis did not differ significantly between patients who had undergone open fusion and those who had undergone MIS fusion at the L4–5 level.

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Travis J. Atchley, Blake Sowers, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, Curtis J. Rozzelle, and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

The advent of neuroendoscopy revolutionized the management of complex hydrocephalus. Fenestration of the septum pellucidum (septostomy) is often a therapeutic and/or necessary intervention in neuroendoscopy. However, these procedures are not without risk. The authors sought to record the incidence and types of complications. They attempted to discern if there was decreased likelihood of septostomy complications in patients who underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV)/choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) as compared with those who underwent other procedures and those with larger ventricles preoperatively. The authors investigated different operative techniques and their possible relationships to septostomy complications.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all neuroendoscopic procedures with Current Procedural Terminology code 62161 performed from January 2003 until June 2019 at their institution. Septostomy, either alone or in conjunction with other procedures, was performed in 118 cases. Basic demographic characteristics, clinical histories, operative details/findings, and adverse events (intraoperative and postoperative) were collected. Pearson chi-square and univariate logistic regression analyses were performed. Patients with incomplete records were excluded.

RESULTS

Of 118 procedures, 29 (24.5%) septostomies had either intraoperative or postoperative complications. The most common intraoperative complication was bleeding, as noted in 12 (10.2%) septostomies. Neuroendocrine dysfunction, including apnea, bradycardia, neurological deficit, seizure, etc., was the most common postoperative complication and seen after 15 (12.7%) procedures. No significant differences in complications were noted between ventricular size or morphology or between different operative techniques or ventricular approaches. There was no significant difference between the complication rate of patients who underwent ETV/CPC and that of patients who underwent septostomy as a part of other procedures. Greater length of surgery (OR 1.013) was associated with septostomy complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Neuroendoscopy for hydrocephalus due to varying etiologies provides significant utility but is not without risk. The authors did not find associations between larger ventricular size or posterior endoscope approach and lower complication rates, as hypothesized. No significant difference in complication rates was noted between septostomy performed during ETV/CPC and other endoscopic procedures requiring septostomy.

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Scheherazade Le, Viet Nguyen, Leslie Lee, S. Charles Cho, Carmen Malvestio, Eric Jones, Robert Dodd, Gary Steinberg, and Jaime López

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) often require resection due to their aggressive natural history causing hemorrhage and progressive neurological deficits. The authors report a novel intraoperative neuromonitoring technique of direct brainstem somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) for functional mapping intended to help guide surgery and subsequently prevent and minimize postoperative sensory deficits.

METHODS

Between 2013 and 2019 at the Stanford University Hospital, intraoperative direct brainstem stimulation of primary somatosensory pathways was attempted in 11 patients with CMs. Stimulation identified nucleus fasciculus, nucleus cuneatus, medial lemniscus, or safe corridors for incisions. SSEPs were recorded from standard scalp subdermal electrodes. Stimulation intensities required to evoke potentials ranged from 0.3 to 3.0 mA or V.

RESULTS

There were a total of 1 midbrain, 6 pontine, and 4 medullary CMs—all with surrounding hemorrhage. In 7/11 cases, brainstem SSEPs were recorded and reproducible. In cases 1 and 11, peripheral median nerve and posterior tibial nerve stimulations did not produce reliable SSEPs but direct brainstem stimulation did. In 4/11 cases, stimulation around the areas of hemosiderin did not evoke reliable SSEPs. The direct brainstem SSEP technique allowed the surgeon to find safe corridors to incise the brainstem and resect the lesions.

CONCLUSIONS

Direct stimulation of brainstem sensory structures with successful recording of scalp SSEPs is feasible at low stimulation intensities. This innovative technique can help the neurosurgeon clarify distorted anatomy, identify safer incision sites from which to evacuate clots and CMs, and may help reduce postoperative neurological deficits. The technique needs further refinement, but could potentially be useful to map other brainstem lesions.

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Rebecca A. Reynolds and John C. Wellons III

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Justin R. Mascitelli, Michael T. Lawton, Benjamin K. Hendricks, Trevor A. Hardigan, James S. Yoon, Kurt A. Yaeger, Christopher P. Kellner, Reade A. De Leacy, Johanna T. Fifi, Joshua B. Bederson, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Andrew F. Ducruet, Lee A. Birnbaum, Jean Louis R. Caron, Pavel Rodriguez, and J Mocco

OBJECTIVE

Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the superiority of endovascular therapy (EVT) compared to microsurgery (MS) for ruptured aneurysms suitable for treatment or when therapy is broadly offered to all presenting aneurysms; however, wide neck aneurysms (WNAs) are a challenging subset that require more advanced techniques and warrant further investigation. Herein, the authors sought to investigate a prospective, multicenter WNA registry using rigorous outcome assessments and compare EVT and MS using propensity score analysis (PSA).

METHODS

Untreated, ruptured, saccular WNAs were included in the analysis. A WNA was defined as having a neck ≥ 4 mm or a dome/neck ratio (DNR) < 2. The primary outcome was the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at 1 year posttreatment, as assessed by blinded research nurses (good outcome: mRS scores 0–2) and compared using PSA.

RESULTS

The analysis included 87 ruptured aneurysms: 55 in the EVT cohort and 32 in the MS cohort. Demographics were similar in the two cohorts, including Hunt and Hess grade (p = 0.144) and modified Fisher grade (p = 0.475). WNA type inclusion criteria were similar in the two cohorts, with the most common type having a DNR < 2 (EVT 60.0% vs MS 62.5%). More anterior communicating artery aneurysms (27.3% vs 18.8%) and posterior circulation aneurysms (18.2% vs 0.0%) were treated with EVT, whereas more middle cerebral artery aneurysms were treated with MS (34.4% vs 18.2%, p = 0.025). Within the EVT cohort, 43.6% underwent stand-alone coiling, 50.9% balloon-assisted coiling, 3.6% stent-assisted coiling, and 1.8% flow diversion. The 1-year mRS score was assessed in 81 patients (93.1%), and the primary outcome demonstrated no increased risk for a poor outcome with MS compared to EVT (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.13–1.45, p = 0.177). The durability of MS was higher, as evidenced by retreatment rates of 12.7% and 0% for EVT and MS, respectively (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

EVT and MS had similar clinical outcomes at 1 year following ruptured WNA treatment. Because of their challenging anatomy, WNAs may represent a population in which EVT’s previously demonstrated superiority for ruptured aneurysm treatment is less relevant. Further investigation into the treatment of ruptured WNAs is warranted.

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Bethany Hung, Zach Pennington, Andrew M. Hersh, Andrew Schilling, Jeff Ehresman, Jaimin Patel, Albert Antar, Jose L. Porras, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have suggested the possibility of racial disparities in surgical outcomes for patients undergoing spine surgery, although this has not been thoroughly investigated in those with spinal metastases. Given the increasing prevalence of spinal metastases requiring intervention, knowledge about potential discrepancies in outcomes would benefit overall patient care. The objective in the present study was to investigate whether race was an independent predictor of postoperative complications, nonroutine discharge, and prolonged length of stay (LOS) after surgery for spinal metastasis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined patients at a single comprehensive cancer center who had undergone surgery for spinal metastasis between April 2013 and April 2020. Demographic information, primary pathology, preoperative clinical characteristics, and operative outcomes were collected. Factors achieving p values < 0.15 on univariate regression were entered into a stepwise multivariable logistic regression to generate predictive models. Nonroutine discharge was defined as a nonhome discharge destination and prolonged LOS was defined as LOS greater than the 75th percentile for the entire cohort.

RESULTS

Three hundred twenty-eight patients who had undergone 348 operations were included: 240 (69.0%) White and 108 (31.0%) Black. On univariable analysis, cohorts significantly differed in age (p = 0.02), marital status (p < 0.001), insurance status (p = 0.03), income quartile (p = 0.02), primary tumor type (p = 0.04), and preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score (p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis, race was an independent predictor for nonroutine discharge: Black patients had significantly higher odds of nonroutine discharge than White patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28–3.92, p = 0.005). Older age (AOR 1.06 per year, 95% CI 1.03–1.09, p < 0.001), preoperative KPS score ≤ 70 (AOR 3.30, 95% CI 1.93–5.65, p < 0.001), preoperative Frankel grade A–C (AOR 3.48, 95% CI 1.17–10.3, p = 0.02), insurance status (p = 0.005), being unmarried (AOR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35–0.97, p = 0.04), number of levels (AOR 1.17 per level, 95% CI 1.05–1.31, p = 0.004), and thoracic involvement (AOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.02–2.88, p = 0.04) were also predictive of nonroutine discharge. However, race was not independently predictive of postoperative complications or prolonged LOS. Higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (AOR 1.22 per point, 95% CI 1.04–1.43, p = 0.01), low preoperative KPS score (AOR 1.84, 95% CI 1.16–2.92, p = 0.01), and number of levels (AOR 1.15 per level, 95% CI 1.05–1.27, p = 0.004) were predictive of complications, while insurance status (p = 0.05), income quartile (p = 0.01), low preoperative KPS score (AOR 1.64, 95% CI 1.03–2.72, p = 0.05), and number of levels (AOR 1.16 per level, 95% CI 1.05–1.30, p = 0.004) were predictive of prolonged LOS.

CONCLUSIONS

Race, insurance status, age, baseline functional status, and marital status were all independently associated with nonroutine discharge. This suggests that a combination of socioeconomic factors and functional status, rather than medical comorbidities, may best predict postdischarge disposition in patients treated for spinal metastases. Further investigation in a prospective cohort is merited.

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M. Harrison Snyder, Ching-Jen Chen, Faraz Farzad, Natasha Ironside, Ryan T. Kellogg, Andrew M. Southerland, Min S. Park, Jason P. Sheehan, and Dale Ding

OBJECTIVE

A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (ARUBA) suggested that medical management afforded outcomes superior to those following intervention for unruptured arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), but its findings have been controversial. Subsequent studies of AVMs that would have met the eligibility requirements of ARUBA have supported intervention for the management of some cases. The present meta-analysis was conducted with the object of summarizing interventional outcomes for ARUBA-eligible patients reported in the literature.

METHODS

A systematic literature search (PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar) for AVM intervention studies that used inclusion criteria identical to those of ARUBA (age ≥ 18 years, no history of AVM hemorrhage, no prior intervention) was performed. The primary outcome was death or symptomatic stroke. Secondary outcomes included AVM obliteration, hemorrhage, death, and poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≥ 2 at final follow-up). Bias assessment was performed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and the results were synthesized as pooled proportions.

RESULTS

Of the 343 articles identified through database searches, 13 studies met the inclusion criteria, yielding an overall study cohort of 1909 patients. The primary outcome occurred in 11.2% of patients (pooled = 11%, 95% CI 8%–13%). The rates of AVM obliteration, hemorrhage, poor outcome, and death were 72.7% (pooled = 78%, 95% CI 70%–85%), 8.4% (pooled = 8%, 95% CI 6%–11%), 9.9% (pooled = 10%, 95% CI 7%–13%), and 3.5% (pooled = 2%, 95% CI 1%–4%), respectively. Annualized primary outcome and hemorrhage risks were 1.85 (pooled = 2.05, 95% CI 1.31–2.94) and 1.34 (pooled = 1.41, 95% CI 0.83–2.13) per 100 patient-years, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Intervention for unruptured AVMs affords acceptable outcomes for appropriately selected patients. The risk of hemorrhage following intervention compared favorably to the natural history of unruptured AVMs. The included studies were retrospective and varied in treatment and AVM characteristics, thereby limiting the generalizability of their data. Future studies from prospective registries may clarify patient, nidus, and intervention selection criteria that will refine the challenging management of patients with unruptured AVMs.

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Can Sarica, Anton Fomenko, Christian Iorio-Morin, Ajmal Zemmar, Kazuaki Yamamoto, Artur Vetkas, Andres M. Lozano, and Alfonso Fasano