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## Improving patient care in neurosurgery through postoperative telephone calls: a systematic review and lessons from all surgical specialties

### OBJECTIVE

Postoperative telephone calls are a simple intervention that can be used to improve communication with patients, potentially affecting patient safety and satisfaction. Few studies in the neurosurgical literature have examined the effect of a postoperative telephone call on patient outcomes, although several exist across all surgical specialties. The authors performed a systematic review and analyzed studies published since 2000 to assess the effect of a postoperative telephone call or text message on patient safety and satisfaction across all surgical specialties.

### METHODS

A search of PubMed-indexed articles was performed on June 12, 2021, and was narrowed by the inclusion criteria of studies from surgical specialties with > 50 adult patients published after 1999, in which a postoperative telephone call was made and its effects on safety and satisfaction were assessed. Exclusion criteria included dental, medical, and pediatric specialties; systematic reviews; meta-analyses; and non–English-language articles. Dual review was utilized.

### RESULTS

Overall, 24 articles met inclusion criteria. The majority reported an increase in patient satisfaction scores after a postoperative telephone call was implemented, and half of the studies demonstrated an improvement in safety or outcomes.

### CONCLUSIONS

Taken together, these studies demonstrate that implementation of a postoperative telephone call in a neurosurgical practice is a feasible way to enhance patient care. The major limitations of this study were the heterogeneous group of studies and the limited neurosurgery-specific studies.

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## Insights into potential targeted nonsurgical therapies for the treatment of moyamoya disease

Since its initial description in 1957 as an idiopathic disease, moyamoya disease has proved challenging to treat. Although the basic pathophysiology of this disease involves narrowing of the terminal carotid artery with compensatory angiogenesis, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these changes are far more complex. In this article, the authors review the literature on the molecular and cellular pathophysiology of moyamoya disease with an emphasis on potential therapeutic targets.

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## Direct thrombectomy versus bridging thrombolysis with mechanical thrombectomy in middle cerebral artery stroke: a real-world analysis through National Inpatient Sample data

### OBJECTIVE

A paradigm shift in the management of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) due to large-vessel occlusion (LVO) occurred after 2015 when 7 randomized controlled trials demonstrated better outcomes using second-generation thrombectomy devices combined with best medical management than did stand-alone intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). All recently published landmark trials were designed to study the outcome of mechanical thrombectomy (MT); therefore, the majority of the patients enrolled in these trials received intravenous tPA. Currently, initiating IVT before MT is a matter of debate. Recent trials (DIRECT-MT, DEVT) exploring this clinical question showed noninferiority of MT alone compared with the combined treatment. With this uncertainty, the authors aimed to explore real-world data through the latest National Inpatient Sample (NIS) to compare the safety and outcomes of MT alone with bridging IVT and MT in AIS due to LVO in the middle cerebral artery (MCA).

### METHODS

NIS data from 2017 to 2018 were analyzed to compare the outcomes and safety profiles of patients who underwent MT+IVT with those who underwent MT alone.

### RESULTS

A total of 2895 patients were included in the final analysis (MT, n = 1669; MT+IVT, n = 1226). The mean National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 16.2 (SD 6.1) in the MT group and 16.6 (SD 5.97) in the MT+IVT group (p = 0.04). With respect to comorbidities, the two groups did not differ in rates of hypertension (p = 0.730), atrial fibrillation/flutter (p = 0.828), and smoking status (p = 0.914). The rate of diabetes mellitus was significantly higher in the MT group (28%) than in the MT+IVT group (22.1%) (p < 0.001). The frequency of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in the MT group was 17.7% (n = 296) and 21.5% (n = 263) in the MT+IVT group (p = 0.012). Intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.875), subarachnoid hemorrhage (p = 0.99), and vasospasm (p = 0.976) did not differ significantly between the groups. The primary outcome considered was disability status between the groups; 23.8% of patients in the MT+IVT group had minimal disability versus 18.2% in the MT group (p = 0.001). The risk of progressing to severe disability from minimal disability decreased with the addition of IVT to MT (OR 0.762, 95% CI 0.637–0.912). The adjusted odds ratio for ICH in the MT+IVT group was 1.28 (95% CI 1.043–1.571, p = 0.018) and 2.676 (95% CI 1.259–5.686, p = 0.01) for access-site hemorrhages.

### CONCLUSIONS

In the analysis of the NIS database, the MT+IVT group had significantly higher rates of minimal disability at the time of hospital discharge versus the MT-alone group, despite a higher rate of ICH. The question of whether to treat patients with MT+IVT rather than MT alone is currently being addressed in ongoing prospective clinical trials (SWIFT-DIRECT [NCT03494920], MR CLEAN–NO IV [ISRCTN80619088], and DIRECT-SAFE [NCT03494920]). The results of these studies will contribute to greater understanding and progressive improvement in outcomes for AIS patients.

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## Status of current medicolegal reform in the United States: a neurosurgical perspective

### OBJECTIVE

There are approximately 85,000 lawsuits filed against medical practitioners every year in the US. Among these lawsuits, neurosurgery has been identified as a “high-risk specialty” with exceptional chance of having medical malpractice suits filed. Major issues affecting the overall medicolegal environment include tort reform, the formation of medical review panels, the increasing practice of defensive medicine, and the rising costs of medical insurance. In this study, the authors provide a concise update of the current medicolegal environments of the 50 states and provide a general guide to favorable and unfavorable states in which to practice neurosurgery.

### METHODS

Data were acquired related to state-by-state medical review panel status, noneconomic damage caps, economic damage caps, and civil suit filing fees. States were placed into 5 categories based on the status of their current medicolegal environment.

### RESULTS

Of the 50 states in the US, 18 have established a medical review panel process. Fifteen states have a mandatory medical review process, whereas 3 states rely on a voluntary process. Thirty-five states have tort reform and have placed a cap on noneconomic damages. These caps range from $250,000 to$2,350,000, with the median cap of $465,900. Only 8 states have placed a cap on total economic damages. These caps range from$500,000 to $2,350,000, with the median cap of$1,050,000. All states have a filing fee for a medical malpractice lawsuit. These costs range from $37 to$884, with the median cost for filing of \$335.

### CONCLUSIONS

Medicolegal healthcare reform will continue to play a vital role in physicians’ lives. It will dictate if physicians may practice proactively or be forced to act defensively. With medicolegal reform varying greatly among states, it will ultimately dictate if physicians move into or away from certain states and thus guide the availability of healthcare services. A desirable legal system for neurosurgeons, including caps on economic and noneconomic damages and availability of medical review panels, can lead to safer practice.

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## Jacques Jean Lhermitte and the syndrome of peduncular hallucinosis

Jacques Jean Lhermitte (1877–1959) was among the most accomplished neurologists of the 20th century. In addition to working as a clinician and instructor, he authored more than 800 papers and 16 books on neurology, neuropathology, psychiatry, and mystical phenomena. In addition to the well-known “Lhermitte’s sign,” an electrical shock–like sensation caused by spinal cord irritation in demyelinating disease, Lhermitte was a pioneer in the study of the relationship between the physical substance of the brain and the experience of the mind. A fascinating example of this is the syndrome of peduncular hallucinosis, characterized by vivid visual hallucinations occurring in fully lucid patients. This syndrome, which was initially described as the result of a midbrain insult, also may occur with injury to the thalamus or pons. It has been reported as a presenting symptom of various tumors and as a complication of neurosurgical procedures. Here, the authors review the life of Lhermitte and provide a historical review of the syndrome of peduncular hallucinosis.

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## Role of radiological parameters in predicting overall shunt outcome after ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion in pediatric patients with obstructive hydrocephalus

### OBJECTIVE

Despite significant advances in the medical field and shunt technology, shunt malfunction remains a nightmare of pediatric neurosurgeons. In this setting, the ability to preoperatively predict the probability of shunt malfunction is quite compelling. The authors have compared the preoperative radiological findings in obstructive hydrocephalus and the subsequent clinical course of the patient to determine any association with overall shunt outcome.

### METHODS

This retrospective study included all pediatric patients (age < 18 years) who had undergone ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion for obstructive hydrocephalus. Linear measurements were taken from pre- and postoperative CT or MRI studies to calculate different indices and ratios including Evans' index, frontal horn index (FHI), occipital horn index (OHI), frontooccipital horn ratio (FOHR), and frontooccipital horn index ratio (FOIR). Other morphological features such as bi- or triventriculomegaly, right-left ventricular symmetry, and periventricular lucency (PVL) were also noted. The primary clinical outcomes that were reviewed included the need for shunt revision, time interval to first shunt revision, frequency of shunt revisions, and revision-free survival.

### RESULTS

A total of 121 patients were eligible for the analysis. Nearly half of the patients (47.9%) required shunt revision. The presence of PVL was associated with lower revision rates than those in others (39.4% vs 58.2%, p = 0.03). None of the preoperative radiological indices or ratios showed any correlation with shunt revision. Nearly half of the patients with shunt revision required early revision (< 90 days of primary surgery). The reduction in the FOHR was high in patients who required early shunt revision (20.16% in patients with early shunt revision vs 6.4% in patients with late shunt revision, p = 0.009). Nearly half of the patients (48.3%) requiring shunt revision ultimately needed more than one revision procedure. Greater occipital horn dilation on preoperative images was associated with a lower frequency of shunt revision, as dictated by a high OHI and a low FOIR in patients with a single shunt revision as compared with those in patients who required multiple shunt revisions (p = 0.029 and 0.009, respectively). The mean follow-up was 49.9 months. Age was a significant factor affecting shunt revision–free survival. Patients younger than 6 months of age had significantly less revision-free survival than the patients older than 6 months (median survival of 10.1 vs 94.1 months, p = 0.004).

### CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative radiological linear indices and ratios do not predict the likelihood of subsequent shunt malfunction. However, patients who required early shunt revision tended to have greater reductions in ventricular volumes on postoperative images. Therefore a greater reduction in ventricular volume is not actually desirable, and a ventricular volume high enough to reduce intracranial pressure is instead to be aimed at for long-term shunt compliance.

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## Epidemiology of adult-onset hydrocephalus: institutional experience with 2001 patients

### OBJECTIVE

Adult-onset hydrocephalus is not commonly discussed in the literature, especially regarding its demographic distribution. In contrast to pediatric hydrocephalus, which is related to a primary CSF pathway defect, its development in adults is often secondary to other pathologies. In this study, the authors investigated the epidemiology of adult-onset hydrocephalus as it pertains to different etiologies and in reference to age, sex, and race distributions.

### METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical notes of 2001 patients with adult-onset hydrocephalus who presented to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center within a 25-year span. Significant differences between the groups were analyzed by a chi-square test; p < 0.05 was considered significant.

### RESULTS

The overall mean (± SEM) incidence of adult hydrocephalus in this population was 77 ± 30 per year, with a significant increase in incidence in the past decade (55 ± 3 [1990–2003] vs 102 ± 6 [2004–2015]; p < 0.0001). Hydrocephalus in a majority of the patients had a vascular etiology (45.5%) or was a result of a tumor (30.2%). The incidence of hydrocephalus in different age groups varied according to various pathologies. The incidence was significantly higher in males with normal-pressure hydrocephalus (p = 0.03) or head injury (p = 0.01) and higher in females with pseudotumor cerebri (p < 0.0001). In addition, the overall incidence of hydrocephalus was significantly higher in Caucasian patients (p = 0.0002) than in those of any other race.

### CONCLUSIONS

Knowledge of the demographic variations in adult-onset hydrocephalus is helpful in achieving better risk stratification and better managing the disease in patients. For general applicability, these results should be validated in a large-scale meta-analysis based on a national population database.

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## Spinal meningiomas: clinicoradiological factors predicting recurrence and functional outcome

### OBJECTIVE

Spinal meningiomas are benign tumors with a wide spectrum of clinical and radiological features at presentation. The authors analyzed multiple clinicoradiological factors to predict recurrence and functional outcome in a cohort with a mean follow-up of more than 4 years. The authors also discuss the results of clinical studies regarding spinal meningiomas in the last 15 years.

### METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiological details of patients who underwent surgery for spinal tumors between 2001 and 2015 that were histopathologically confirmed as meningiomas. Demographic parameters, such as age, sex, race, and association with neurofibromatosis Type 2, were considered. Radiological parameters, such as tumor size, signal changes of spinal cord, spinal level, number of levels, location of tumor attachment, shape of tumor, and presence of dural tail/calcification, were noted. These factors were analyzed to predict recurrence and functional outcome. Furthermore, a pooled analysis was performed from 13 reports of spinal meningiomas in the last 15 years.

### RESULTS

A total of 38 patients were included in this study. Male sex and tumors with radiological evidence of a dural tail were associated with an increased risk of recurrence at a mean follow-up of 51.2 months. Ventral or ventrolateral location, large tumors, T2 cord signal changes, and poor preoperative functional status were associated with poor functional outcome at 1-year follow-up.

### CONCLUSIONS

Spine surgeons must be aware of the natural history and risk factors of spinal meningiomas to establish a prognosis for their patients.