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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

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Chul Han, Michael J. Lang, Candice L. Nguyen, Ernesto Luna Melendez, Shwetal Mehta, Gregory H. Turner, Michael T. Lawton, and S. Paul Oh

OBJECTIVE

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia is the only condition associated with multiple inherited brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Therefore, a mouse model was developed with a genetics-based approach that conditionally deleted the causative activin receptor-like kinase 1 (Acvrl1 or Alk1) gene. Radiographic and histopathological findings were correlated, and AVM stability and hemorrhagic behavior over time were examined.

METHODS

Alk1-floxed mice were crossed with deleter mice to generate offspring in which both copies of the Alk1 gene were deleted by Tagln-Cre to form brain AVMs in the mice. AVMs were characterized using MRI, MRA, and DSA. Brain AVMs were characterized histopathologically with latex dye perfusion, immunofluorescence, and Prussian blue staining.

RESULTS

Brains of 55 Tagln-Cre+;Alk1 f/f mutant mice were categorized into three groups: no detectable vascular lesions (group 1; 23 of 55, 42%), arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) with no nidus (group 2; 10 of 55, 18%), and nidal AVMs (group 3; 22 of 55, 40%). Microhemorrhage was observed on MRI or MRA in 11 AVMs (50%). AVMs had the angiographic hallmarks of early nidus opacification, a tangle of arteries and dilated draining veins, and rapid shunting of blood flow. Latex dye perfusion confirmed arteriovenous shunting in all AVMs and AVFs. Microhemorrhages were detected adjacent to AVFs and AVMs, visualized by iron deposition, Prussian blue staining, and macrophage infiltration using CD68 immunostaining. Brain AVMs were stable on serial MRI and MRA in group 3 mice (mean age at initial imaging 2.9 months; mean age at last imaging 9.5 months).

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 40% of transgenic mice satisfied the requirements of a stable experimental AVM model by replicating nidal anatomy, arteriovenous hemodynamics, and microhemorrhagic behavior. Transgenic mice with AVFs had a recognizable phenotype of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia but were less suitable for experimental modeling. AVM pathogenesis can be understood as the combination of conditional Alk1 gene deletion during embryogenesis and angiogenesis that is hyperactive in developing and newborn mice, which translates to a congenital origin in most patients but an acquired condition in patients with a confluence of genetic and angiogenic events later in life. This study offers a novel experimental brain AVM model for future studies of AVM pathophysiology, growth, rupture, and therapeutic regression.

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Francesco Sammartino, Rachel Marsh, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Anders Sondergaard, Barbara Kelly Changizi, and Vibhor Krishna

OBJECTIVE

Globus pallidus (GP) lesioning improves motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and is occasionally associated with nonmotor side effects. Although these variable clinical effects were shown to be site-specific within the GP, the motor and nonmotor subregions have not been distinguished radiologically in patients with PD. The GP was recently found to have a distinct radiological signature on diffusion MRI (dMRI), potentially related to its unique cellular content and organization (or tissue architecture). In this study, the authors hypothesize that the magnitude of water diffusivity, a surrogate for tissue architecture, will radiologically distinguish motor from nonmotor GP subregions in patients with PD. They also hypothesize that the therapeutic focused ultrasound pallidotomy lesions will preferentially overlap the motor subregion.

METHODS

Diffusion MRI from healthy subjects (n = 45, test-retest S1200 cohort) and PD patients (n = 33) was parcellated based on the magnitude of water diffusivity in the GP, as measured orientation distribution function (ODF). A clustering algorithm was used to identify GP parcels with distinct ODF magnitude. The individual parcels were used as seeds for tractography to distinguish motor from nonmotor subregions. The locations of focused ultrasound lesions relative to the GP parcels were also analyzed in 11 patients with PD.

RESULTS

Radiologically, three distinct parcels were identified within the GP in healthy controls and PD patients: posterior, central, and anterior. The posterior and central parcels comprised the motor subregion and the anterior parcel was classified as a nonmotor subregion based on their tractography connections. The focused ultrasound lesions preferentially overlapped with the motor subregion (posterior more than central). The hotspots for motor improvement were localized in the posterior GP parcel.

CONCLUSIONS

Using a data-driven approach of ODF-based parcellation, the authors radiologically distinguished GP motor subregions in patients with PD. This method can aid stereotactic targeting in patients with PD undergoing surgical treatments, especially focused ultrasound ablation.

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David C. Lauzier, Joshua W. Osbun, Arindam R. Chatterjee, Christopher J. Moran, and Akash P. Kansagra

OBJECTIVE

Catheter-based cerebral angiography is commonly used for neurovascular diagnosis in children. In this work, the authors aimed to quantify the complication rate of cerebral angiography in children, characterize these complications, and identify risk factors for complications.

METHODS

Relevant clinical data were retrospectively obtained for 587 consecutive cerebral angiography procedures performed in 390 children from March 2002 to March 2020. Complications were categorized as neurological or nonneurological, and severity was graded using a standard schema. Incidences of complications were reported as point estimates. Associations between risk factors and complications were characterized in univariate analysis using the two-tailed Fisher exact test and in multivariate analysis using multiple logistic regression with bidirectional elimination based on the Akaike information criterion. In both univariate and multivariate analyses, statistical significance was corrected for multiple comparisons using the Benjamini-Hochberg method.

RESULTS

Complications occurred in 6.5% of procedures, including neurological complications in 1.9% and nonneurological complications in 4.8%. Permanent deficits occurred in only 0.2% of cases. Overall, 0.5% of procedures resulted in major complications, while 6.0% resulted in minor complications. Female sex and a history of hypertension or ischemic stroke were associated with an increased risk of complications, while femoral artery access was associated with a decreased risk of complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric cerebral angiography was shown to have a low rate of major or permanent complications. Children who were female and those with a history of hypertension or ischemic stroke were shown to be at higher risk of complications, while the use of femoral access carried a lower risk of complications.

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Katherine A. Kelly, Pious D. Patel, Sanjana Salwi, Harold N. Lovvorn III, and Robert Naftel

OBJECTIVE

Low socioeconomic status is a determinant of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) incidence and severity. In this study, the authors used National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) data to evaluate socioeconomic and health disparities among children hospitalized after TBI.

METHODS

This retrospective study identified pediatric patients aged 0 to 19 years with ICD-9 codes for TBI in the NIS database from 2012 to 2015. Socioeconomic variables included race, sex, age, census region, and median income of the patient residential zip code. Outcomes included mechanism of injury, hospital length of stay (LOS), cost, disposition at discharge, death, and inpatient complications. Multivariate linear regressions in log scale were built for LOS and cost. Logistic regressions were built for death, disposition, and inpatient complications.

RESULTS

African American, Hispanic, and Native American patients experienced longer LOSs (β 0.06, p < 0.001; β 0.03, p = 0.03; β 0.13, p = 0.02, respectively) and increased inpatient costs (β 0.13, p < 0.001; β 0.09, p < 0.001; β 0.14, p = 0.03, respectively). Females showed increased rates of medical complications (OR 1.57, p < 0.001), LOS (β 0.025, p = 0.02), and inpatient costs (p = 0.04). Children aged 15 to 19 years were less likely to be discharged home (OR 3.99, p < 0.001), had increased mortality (OR 1.32, p = 0.03) and medical complications (OR 1.84, p < 0.001), and generated increased costs (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results have demonstrated that racial minorities, females, older children, and children in lower socioeconomic groups were at increased risk of poor outcomes following TBI, including increased LOS, medical complications, mortality, inpatient costs, and worse hospital disposition. Public education and targeted funding for these groups will ensure that all children have equal opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes following TBI.

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Jeffrey M. Breton, Calvin G. Ludwig, Michael J. Yang, T. Jayde Nail, Ron I. Riesenburger, Penny Liu, and James T Kryzanski

OBJECTIVE

Spinal anesthesia (SA) is an alternative to general anesthesia (GA) for lumbar spine surgery, including complex instrumented fusion, although there are relatively few outcome data available. The authors discuss their experience using SA in a modern complex lumbar spine surgery practice to describe its utility and implementation.

METHODS

Data from patients receiving SA for lumbar spine surgery by one surgeon from March 2017 to December 2020 were collected via a retrospective chart review. Cases were divided into nonfusion and fusion procedure categories and analyzed for demographics and baseline medical status; pre-, intra-, and postoperative events; hospital course, including Acute Pain Service (APS) consults; and follow-up visit outcome data.

RESULTS

A total of 345 consecutive lumbar spine procedures were found, with 343 records complete for analysis, including 181 fusion and 162 nonfusion procedures and spinal levels from T11 through S1. The fusion group was significantly older (mean age 65.9 ± 12.4 vs 59.5 ± 15.4 years, p < 0.001) and had a significantly higher proportion of patients with American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status Classification class III (p = 0.009) than the nonfusion group. There were no intraoperative conversions to GA, with infrequent need for a second dose of SA preoperatively (2.9%, 10/343) and rare preoperative conversion to GA (0.6%, 2/343) across fusion and nonfusion groups. Rates of complications during hospitalization were comparable to those seen in the literature. The APS was consulted for 2.9% (10/343) of procedures. An algorithm for the integration of SA into a lumbar spine surgery practice, from surgical and anesthetic perspectives, is also offered.

CONCLUSIONS

SA is a viable, safe, and effective option for lumbar spine surgery across a wide range of age and health statuses, particularly in older patients and those who want to avoid GA. The authors’ protocol, based in part on the largest set of data currently available describing complex instrumented fusion surgeries of the lumbar spine completed under SA, presents guidance and best practices to integrate SA into contemporary lumbar spine practices.