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Rachel E. Tsolinas, John F. Burke, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Leigh H. Thomas, Xuan Duong-Fernandez, Mark H. Harris, John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, Catherine G. Suen, Lisa U. Pascual, Adam R. Ferguson, J. Russell Huie, Jonathan Z. Pan, Debra D. Hemmerle, Vineeta Singh, Abel Torres-Espin, Cleopa Omondi, Nikos Kyritsis, Jenny Haefeli, Philip R. Weinstein, Carlos A. de Almeida Neto, Yu-Hung Kuo, Derek Taggard, Jason F. Talbott, William D. Whetstone, Geoffrey T. Manley, Jacqueline C. Bresnahan, Michael S. Beattie and Sanjay S. Dhall

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a dreaded condition that can lead to paralysis and severe disability. With few treatment options available for patients who have suffered from SCI, it is important to develop prospective databases to standardize data collection in order to develop new therapeutic approaches and guidelines. Here, the authors present an overview of their multicenter, prospective, observational patient registry, Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in SCI (TRACK-SCI).

METHODS

Data were collected using the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) common data elements (CDEs). Highly granular clinical information, in addition to standardized imaging, biospecimen, and follow-up data, were included in the registry. Surgical approaches were determined by the surgeon treating each patient; however, they were carefully documented and compared within and across study sites. Follow-up visits were scheduled for 6 and 12 months after injury.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty patients were enrolled in the TRACK-SCI study. In this overview, basic clinical, imaging, neurological severity, and follow-up data on these patients are presented. Overall, 78.8% of the patients were determined to be surgical candidates and underwent spinal decompression and/or stabilization. Follow-up rates to date at 6 and 12 months are 45% and 36.3%, respectively. Overall resources required for clinical research coordination are also discussed.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors established the feasibility of SCI CDE implementation in a multicenter, prospective observational study. Through the application of standardized SCI CDEs and expansion of future multicenter collaborations, they hope to advance SCI research and improve treatment.

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Michael M. Safaee, Alexander Tenorio, Joseph A. Osorio, Winward Choy, Dominic Amara, Lillian Lai, Annette M. Molinaro, Yalan Zhang, Serena S. Hu, Bobby Tay, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven, Vedat Deviren, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Charles M. Eichler, Christopher P. Ames and Aaron J. Clark

OBJECTIVE

Anterior approaches to the lumbar spine provide wide exposure that facilitates placement of large grafts with high fusion rates. There are limited data on the effects of obesity on perioperative complications.

METHODS

Data from consecutive patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) from 2007 to 2016 at a single academic center were analyzed. The primary outcome was any perioperative complication. Complications were divided into those occurring intraoperatively and those occurring postoperatively. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of obesity and other variables with these complications. An estimation table was used to identify a body mass index (BMI) threshold associated with increased risk of postoperative complication.

RESULTS

A total of 938 patients were identified, and the mean age was 57 years; 511 were females (54.5%). The mean BMI was 28.7 kg/m2, with 354 (37.7%) patients classified as obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Forty patients (4.3%) underwent a lateral transthoracic approach, while the remaining 898 (95.7%) underwent a transabdominal retroperitoneal approach. Among patients undergoing transabdominal retroperitoneal ALIF, complication rates were higher for obese patients than for nonobese patients (37.0% vs 28.7%, p = 0.010), a difference that was driven primarily by postoperative complications (36.1% vs 26.0%, p = 0.001) rather than intraoperative complications (3.2% vs 4.3%, p = 0.416). Obese patients had higher rates of ileus (11.7% vs 7.2%, p = 0.020), wound complications (11.4% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001), and urinary tract infections (UTI) (5.0% vs 2.5%, p = 0.049). In a multivariate model, age, obesity, and number of ALIF levels fused were associated with an increased risk of postoperative complication. An estimation table including 19 candidate cut-points, odds ratios, and adjusted p values found a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 to have the highest association with postoperative complication (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS

Obesity is associated with increased postoperative complications in ALIF, including ileus, wound complications, and UTI. ALIF is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients with a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 should be counseled on their increased risks and warrant careful preoperative medical optimization and close monitoring in the postoperative setting.

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David Dornbos III, Christy Monson, CNP, Andrew Look, Kristin Huntoon, Luke G. F. Smith, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Sanjay S. Dhall and Eric A. Sribnick

OBJECTIVE

While the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been effective in describing severity in traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is no current method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention. This study utilizes a recently developed scoring system, the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI) scale, which was developed to efficiently communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in adult patients with TBI. The objective of this study was to apply the SITI scale to a pediatric population to provide a tool to increase communication of possible surgical urgency.

METHODS

The SITI scale uses both radiographic and clinical findings, including the GCS score on presentation, pupillary examination, and CT findings. To examine the scale in pediatric TBI, a neurotrauma database at a level 1 pediatric trauma center was retrospectively evaluated, and the SITI score for all patients with an admission diagnosis of TBI between 2010 and 2015 was calculated. The primary endpoint was operative intervention, defined as a craniotomy or craniectomy for decompression, performed within the first 24 hours of admission.

RESULTS

A total of 1524 patients met inclusion criteria for the study during the 5-year span: 1469 (96.4%) were managed nonoperatively and 55 (3.6%) patients underwent emergent operative intervention. The mean SITI score was 4.98 ± 0.31 for patients undergoing surgical intervention and 0.41 ± 0.02 for patients treated nonoperatively (p < 0.0001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve was used to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the SITI scale in this pediatric population and was found to be 0.98. Further evaluation of patients presenting with moderate to severe TBI revealed a mean SITI score of 5.51 ± 0.31 in 40 (15.3%) operative patients and 1.55 ± 0.02 in 221 (84.7%) nonoperative patients, with an AUROC curve of 0.95.

CONCLUSIONS

The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective communication tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of this scale to a pediatric population reveals that the score correlated with the perceived need for emergent surgical intervention, further suggesting its potential utility in clinical practice.

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Hansen Deng, Andrew K. Chan, Simon G. Ammanuel, Alvin Y. Chan, Taemin Oh, Henry C. Skrehot, Caleb S. Edwards, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy D. Nichols, Catherine Liu, John K. Yue, Sanjay S. Dhall, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Christopher P. Ames and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery causes major morbidity and greatly impedes functional recovery. In the modern era of advanced operative techniques and improved perioperative care, SSI remains a problematic complication that may be reduced with institutional practices. The objectives of this study were to 1) characterize the SSI rate and microbial etiology following spine surgery for various thoracolumbar diseases, and 2) identify risk factors that were associated with SSI despite current perioperative management.

METHODS

All patients treated with thoracic or lumbar spine operations on the neurosurgery service at the University of California, San Francisco from April 2012 to April 2016 were formally reviewed for SSI using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) guidelines. Preoperative risk variables included age, sex, BMI, smoking, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), ambulatory status, history of malignancy, use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Operative variables included surgical pathology, resident involvement, spine level and surgical technique, instrumentation, antibiotic and steroid use, estimated blood loss (EBL), and operative time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors for SSI. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.

RESULTS

In total, 2252 consecutive patients underwent thoracolumbar spine surgery. The mean patient age was 58.6 ± 13.8 years and 49.6% were male. The mean hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 7.4 days. Sixty percent of patients had degenerative conditions, and 51.9% underwent fusions. Sixty percent of patients utilized presurgery CHG showers. The mean operative duration was 3.7 ± 2 hours, and the mean EBL was 467 ± 829 ml. Compared to nonfusion patients, fusion patients were older (mean 60.1 ± 12.7 vs 57.1 ± 14.7 years, p < 0.001), were more likely to have an ASA classification > II (48.0% vs 36.0%, p < 0.001), and experienced longer operative times (252.3 ± 120.9 minutes vs 191.1 ± 110.2 minutes, p < 0.001). Eleven patients had deep SSI (0.49%), and the most common causative organisms were methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients with CAD (p = 0.003) or DM (p = 0.050), and those who were male (p = 0.006), were predictors of increased odds of SSI, and presurgery CHG showers (p = 0.001) were associated with decreased odds of SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

This institutional experience over a 4-year period revealed that the overall rate of SSI by the NHSN criteria was low at 0.49% following thoracolumbar surgery. This was attributable to the implementation of presurgery optimization, and intraoperative and postoperative measures to prevent SSI across the authors’ institution. Despite prevention measures, having a history of CAD or DM, and being male, were risk factors associated with increased SSI, and presurgery CHG shower utilization decreased SSI risk in patients.

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Sanjay S. Dhall, Shekar N. Kurpad, R. John Hurlbert and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Darryl Lau, Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael Huang, Geoffrey Manley, Vineeta Singh, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael Beattie, Jacqueline Bresnahan, Adam R. Ferguson, Jason F. Talbott, William Whetstone and Sanjay S. Dhall

OBJECTIVE

The elderly are a growing subpopulation within traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. Studies have reported high morbidity and mortality rates in elderly patients who undergo surgery for SCI. In this study, the authors compare the perioperative outcomes of surgically managed elderly SCI patients with those of a younger cohort and those reported in the literature.

METHODS

Data on a consecutive series of adult traumatic SCI patients surgically managed at a single institution in the period from 2007 to 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. The cohort was divided into two groups based on age: younger than 70 years and 70 years or older. Assessed outcomes included complications, in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, hospital length of stay (LOS), disposition, and neurological status.

RESULTS

A total of 106 patients were included in the study: 83 young and 23 elderly. The two groups were similar in terms of imaging features (cord hemorrhage and fracture), operative technique, and American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade. The elderly had a significantly higher proportion of cervical SCIs (95.7% vs 71.1%, p = 0.047). There were no significant differences between the young and the elderly in terms of the ICU stay (13.1 vs 13.3 days, respectively, p = 0.948) and hospital LOS (23.3 vs 21.7 days, p = 0.793). Elderly patients experienced significantly higher complication (73.9% vs 43.4%, p = 0.010) and mortality (13.0% vs 1.2%, p = 0.008) rates; in other words, the elderly patients had 1.7 times and 10.8 times the rate of complications and mortality, respectively, than the younger patients. No elderly patients were discharged home (0.0% vs 18.1%, p = 0.029). Discharge AIS grade and AIS grade change were similar between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Elderly patients had higher complication and mortality rates than those in younger patients and were less likely to be discharged home. However, it does seem that mortality rates have improved compared to those in prior historical reports.

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Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Rachel Tsolinas, Mohanad Alazzeh, Jenny Haefeli, Jason F. Talbott, Adam R. Ferguson, Jacqueline C. Bresnahan, Michael S. Beattie, Geoffrey T. Manley, William D. Whetstone, Praveen V. Mummaneni and Sanjay S. Dhall

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur in approximately 17,000 people in the US each year. The average length of hospital stay is 11 days, and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) rates as high as 65% are reported in these patients. There is no consensus on the appropriate timing of chemical DVT prophylaxis for this critically injured patient cohort. The object of this study was to determine if low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) was safe and effective if given within 24 hours of SCI.

METHODS

The Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in SCIs study is a prospective observational study conducted by the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center. Protocol at this center includes administration of LMWH within 24 hours of SCI. Data were retrospectively reviewed to determine DVT rate, pulmonary embolism (PE) rate, and hemorrhagic complications.

RESULTS

Forty-nine patients were enrolled in the study. There were 3 DVTs (6.1%), 2 PEs (4.1%), and no hemorrhagic complications. Regression modeling did not find an association between DVT and/or PE and age, American Spinal Injury Association grade, sex, race, or having undergone a neurosurgical procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

A standardized protocol in which LMWH is given to patients with SCI within 24 hours of injury is effective in keeping venous thromboembolism at the lower end of the reported range, and is safe, with a zero rate of adverse bleeding events.

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John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, Jonathan W. Rick, Hansen Deng, Carlene P. Partow, Pavan S. Upadhyayula, Harjus S. Birk, Andrew K. Chan and Sanjay S. Dhall

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) often occurs in patients with concurrent traumatic injuries in other body systems. These patients with polytrauma pose unique challenges to clinicians. The current review evaluates existing guidelines and updates the evidence for prehospital transport, immobilization, initial resuscitation, critical care, hemodynamic stability, diagnostic imaging, surgical techniques, and timing appropriate for the patient with SCI who has multisystem trauma. Initial management should be systematic, with focus on spinal immobilization, timely transport, and optimizing perfusion to the spinal cord. There is general evidence for the maintenance of mean arterial pressure of > 85 mm Hg during immediate and acute care to optimize neurological outcome; however, the selection of vasopressor type and duration should be judicious, with considerations for level of injury and risks of increased cardiogenic complications in the elderly. Level II recommendations exist for early decompression, and additional time points of neurological assessment within the first 24 hours and during acute care are warranted to determine the temporality of benefits attributable to early surgery. Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis using low-molecular-weight heparin is recommended by current guidelines for SCI. For these patients, titration of tidal volumes is important to balance the association of earlier weaning off the ventilator, with its risk of atelectasis, against the risk for lung damage from mechanical overinflation that can occur with prolonged ventilation. Careful evaluation of infection risk is a priority following multisystem trauma for patients with relative immunosuppression or compromise. Although patients with polytrauma may experience longer rehabilitation courses, long-term neurological recovery is generally comparable to that in patients with isolated SCI after controlling for demographics. Bowel and bladder disorders are common following SCI, significantly reduce quality of life, and constitute a focus of targeted therapies. Emerging biomarkers including glial fibrillary acidic protein, S100β, and microRNAs for traumatic SCIs are presented. Systematic management approaches to minimize sources of secondary injury are discussed, and areas requiring further research, implementation, and validation are identified.

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Junichi Ohya, Todd D. Vogel, Sanjay S. Dhall, Sigurd Berven and Praveen V. Mummaneni

S-2 alar iliac (S2AI) screw fixation has recently been recognized as a useful technique for pelvic fixation. The authors demonstrate two cases where S2AI fixation was indicated: one case was a sacral insufficiency fracture following a long-segment fusion in a patient with a transitional S-1 vertebra; the other case involved pseudarthrosis following lumbosacral fixation. S2AI screws offer rigid fixation, low profile, and allow easy connection to the lumbosacral rod. The authors describe and demonstrate the surgical technique and nuances for the S2AI screw in a case with transitional S-1 anatomy and in a case with normal S-1 anatomy.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Sj21lk13_aw.