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Clinton J. Devin, Anthony L. Asher, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Erica F. Bisson, John J. Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Kevin T. Foley, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The impact of the type of pain presentation on outcomes of spine surgery remains elusive. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of predominant symptom location (predominant arm pain vs predominant neck pain vs equal neck and arm pain) on postoperative improvement in patient-reported outcomes.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database cervical spine module was queried for patients undergoing 1- or 2-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for degenerative spine disease.

RESULTS

A total of 9277 patients were included in the final analysis. Of these patients, 18.4% presented with predominant arm pain, 32.3% presented with predominant neck pain, and 49.3% presented with equal neck and arm pain. Patients with predominant neck pain were found to have higher (worse) 12-month Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores (coefficient 0.24, 95% CI 0.15–0.33; p < 0.0001). The three groups did not differ significantly in odds of return to work and achieving minimal clinically important difference in NDI score at the 12-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis from a national spine registry showed significantly lower odds of patient satisfaction and worse NDI score at 1 year after surgery for patients with predominant neck pain when compared with patients with predominant arm pain and those with equal neck and arm pain after 1- or 2-level ACDF. With regard to return to work, all three groups (arm pain, neck pain, and equal arm and neck pain) were found to be similar after multivariable analysis. The authors’ results suggest that predominant pain location, especially predominant neck pain, might be a significant determinant of improvement in functional outcomes and patient satisfaction after ACDF for degenerative spine disease. In addition to confirmation of the common experience that patients with predominant neck pain have worse outcomes, the authors’ findings provide potential targets for improvement in patient management for these specific populations.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, John J. Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Anthony L. Asher, Luis Tumialan, and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Optimizing patient discharge after surgery has been shown to impact patient recovery and hospital/physician workflow and to reduce healthcare costs. In the current study, the authors sought to identify risk factors for nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy by using a national spine registry.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database cervical module was queried for patients who had undergone surgery for cervical myelopathy between 2016 and 2018. Nonroutine discharge was defined as discharge to postacute care (rehabilitation), nonacute care, or another acute care hospital. A multivariable logistic regression predictive model was created using an array of demographic, clinical, operative, and patient-reported outcome characteristics.

RESULTS

Of the 1114 patients identified, 11.2% (n = 125) had a nonroutine discharge. On univariate analysis, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be older (age ≥ 65 years, 70.4% vs 35.8%, p < 0.001), African American (24.8% vs 13.9%, p = 0.007), and on Medicare (75.2% vs 35.1%, p < 0.001). Among the patients younger than 65 years of age, those who had a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be unemployed (70.3% vs 36.9%, p < 0.001). Overall, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to present with a motor deficit (73.6% vs 58.7%, p = 0.001) and more likely to have nonindependent ambulation (50.4% vs 14.0%, p < 0.001) at presentation. On multivariable logistic regression, factors associated with higher odds of a nonroutine discharge included African American race (vs White, OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.38–5.51, p = 0.004), Medicare coverage (vs private insurance, OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.00–4.65, p = 0.04), nonindependent ambulation at presentation (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.17–4.02, p = 0.01), baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association severe myelopathy score (0–11 vs moderate 12–14, OR 2, 95% CI 1.07–3.73, p = 0.01), and posterior surgical approach (OR 11.6, 95% CI 2.12–48, p = 0.004). Factors associated with lower odds of a nonroutine discharge included fewer operated levels (1 vs 2–3 levels, OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.96, p = 0.009) and a higher quality of life at baseline (EQ-5D score, OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.25–0.73, p = 0.001). On predictor importance analysis, baseline quality of life (EQ-5D score) was identified as the most important predictor (Wald χ2 = 9.8, p = 0.001) of a nonroutine discharge; however, after grouping variables into distinct categories, socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, insurance status, employment status) were identified as the most significant drivers of nonroutine discharge (28.4% of total predictor importance).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results indicate that socioeconomic and demographic characteristics including age, race, gender, insurance, and employment may be the most significant drivers of a nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy.

Open access

Marjorie C. Wang, Frederick A. Boop, Douglas Kondziolka, Daniel K. Resnick, Steven N. Kalkanis, Elizabeth Koehnen, Nathan R. Selden, Carl B. Heilman, Alex B. Valadka, Kevin M. Cockroft, John A. Wilson, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Anthony L. Asher, Richard W. Byrne, Paul J. Camarata, Judy Huang, John J. Knightly, Elad I. Levy, Russell R. Lonser, E. Sander Connolly Jr., Fredric B. Meyer, and Linda M. Liau

The American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) was incorporated in 1940 in recognition of the need for detailed training in and special qualifications for the practice of neurological surgery and for self-regulation of quality and safety in the field. The ABNS believes it is the duty of neurosurgeons to place a patient’s welfare and rights above all other considerations and to provide care with compassion, respect for human dignity, honesty, and integrity. At its inception, the ABNS was the 13th member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which itself was founded in 1933. Today, the ABNS is one of the 24 member boards of the ABMS.

To better serve public health and safety in a rapidly changing healthcare environment, the ABNS continues to evolve in order to elevate standards for the practice of neurological surgery. In connection with its activities, including initial certification, recognition of focused practice, and continuous certification, the ABNS actively seeks and incorporates input from the public and the physicians it serves. The ABNS board certification processes are designed to evaluate both real-life subspecialty neurosurgical practice and overall neurosurgical knowledge, since most neurosurgeons provide call coverage for hospitals and thus must be competent to care for the full spectrum of neurosurgery.

The purpose of this report is to describe the history, current state, and anticipated future direction of ABNS certification in the US.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Clinton J. Devin, Vincent Rossi, Silky Chotai, E. Hunter Dyer, John J. Knightly, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Anthony L. Asher

OBJECTIVE

National databases collect large amounts of clinical information, yet application of these data can be challenging. The authors present the NeuroPoint Alliance and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (NPA-IHI) program as a novel attempt to create a quality improvement (QI) tool informed through registry data to improve the quality of care delivered. Reducing the length of stay (LOS) and readmission after elective lumbar fusion was chosen as the pilot module.

METHODS

The NPA-IHI program prospectively enrolled patients undergoing elective 1- to 3-level lumbar fusions across 8 institutions. A three-pronged approach was taken that included the following phases: 1) Research Phase, 2) Development Phase, and 3) Implementation Phase. Primary outcomes were LOS and readmission. From January to June 2017, a learning system was created utilizing monthly conference calls, weekly data submission, and continuous refinement of the proposed QI tool. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the impact of the QI intervention.

RESULTS

The novel QI tool included the following three areas of intervention: 1) preoperative discharge assessment (location, date, and instructions), 2) inpatient changes (LOS rounding checklist, daily huddle, and pain assessments), and 3) postdischarge calls (pain, primary care follow-up, and satisfaction). A total of 209 patients were enrolled, and the most common procedure was a posterior laminectomy/fusion (60.2%). Seven patients (3.3%) were readmitted during the study period. Preoperative discharge planning was completed for 129 patients (61.7%). A shorter median LOS was seen in those with a known preoperative discharge date (67 vs 80 hours, p = 0.018) and clear discharge instructions (71 vs 81 hours, p = 0.030). Patients with a known preoperative discharge plan also reported significantly increased satisfaction (8.0 vs 7.0, p = 0.028), and patients with increased discharge readiness (scale 0–10) also reported higher satisfaction (r = 0.474, p < 0.001). Those receiving postdischarge calls (76%) had a significantly shorter LOS than those without postdischarge calls (75 vs 99 hours, p = 0.020), although no significant relationship was seen between postdischarge calls and readmission (p = 0.342).

CONCLUSIONS

The NPA-IHI program showed that preoperative discharge planning and postdischarge calls have the potential to reduce LOS and improve satisfaction after elective lumbar fusion. It is our hope that neurosurgical providers can recognize how registries can be used to both develop and implement a QI tool and appreciate the importance of QI implementation as a separate process from data collection/analysis.

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Suyash Singh, Jayesh Sardhara, Anant Mehrotra, and Sanjay Behari

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Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael S. Virk, John Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Andrew K. Chan, Jian Guan, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar decompression without arthrodesis remains a potential treatment option for cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis (i.e., Meyerding grade I). Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have recently been increasingly used because of their touted benefits including lower operating time, blood loss, and length of stay. Herein, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics and postoperative clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between patients undergoing open versus MIS lumbar decompression.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Among more than 200 participating sites, the 12 with the highest enrollment of patients into the lumbar spine module came together to initiate a focused project to assess the impact of fusion on PROs in patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. For the current study, only patients in this cohort from the 12 highest-enrolling sites who underwent a decompression alone were evaluated and classified as open or MIS (tubular decompression). Outcomes of interest included PROs at 2 years; perioperative outcomes such as blood loss and complications; and postoperative outcomes such as length of stay, discharge disposition, and reoperations.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients undergoing decompression were selected, of whom 71 (50.7%) underwent MIS and 69 (49.3%) underwent an open decompression. On univariate analysis, the authors observed no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of PROs at 2-year follow-up, including back pain, leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index score, EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction. On multivariable analysis, compared to MIS, open decompression was associated with higher satisfaction (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.41–23.2, p = 0.0005). Patients undergoing MIS decompression had a significantly shorter length of stay compared to the open group (0.68 days [SD 1.18] vs 1.83 days [SD 1.618], p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In this multiinstitutional prospective study, the authors found comparable PROs as well as clinical outcomes at 2 years between groups of patients undergoing open or MIS decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis.

Free access

Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Kevin T. Foley, Steven D. Glassman, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Jian Guan, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Jonathan R. Slotkin

OBJECTIVE

Return to work (RTW) and satisfaction are important outcome measures after surgery for degenerative spine disease. The authors queried the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) to determine if RTW correlated with patient satisfaction.

METHODS

The QOD was queried for patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The primary outcome of interest was correlation between RTW and patient satisfaction, as measured by the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index (NASS). Secondarily, data on satisfied patients were analyzed to see what patient factors correlated with RTW.

RESULTS

Of 608 total patients in the QOD spondylolisthesis data set, there were 292 patients for whom data were available on both satisfaction and RTW status. Of these, 249 (85.3%) were satisfied with surgery (NASS score 1–2), and 224 (76.7%) did RTW after surgery. Of the 68 patients who did not RTW after surgery, 49 (72.1%) were still satisfied with surgery. Of the 224 patients who did RTW, 24 (10.7%) were unsatisfied with surgery (NASS score 3–4). There were significantly more people who had an NASS score of 1 in the RTW group than in the non-RTW group (71.4% vs 42.6%, p < 0.05). Failure to RTW was associated with lower level of education, worse baseline back pain (measured with a numeric rating scale), and worse baseline disability (measured with the Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]).

CONCLUSIONS

There are a substantial number of patients who are satisfied with surgery even though they did not RTW. Patients who were satisfied with surgery and did not RTW typically had worse preoperative back pain and ODI and typically did not have a college education. While RTW remains an important measure after surgery, physicians should be mindful that patients who do not RTW may still be satisfied with their outcome.

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Robert E. Harbaugh, Anthony L. Asher, Kevin M. Cockroft, John Knightly, and Ganesalingam Narenthiran

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Anthony L. Asher, John Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Matthew J. McGirt, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, Robert E. Harbaugh, and Mohamad Bydon

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), formerly known as the National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD), was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA) in collaboration with relevant national stakeholders and experts. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a centralized, nationally coordinated effort to allow individual surgeons and practice groups to collect, measure, and analyze practice patterns and neurosurgical outcomes. Specific objectives of this registry program were as follows: “1) to establish risk-adjusted national benchmarks for both the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures, 2) to allow practice groups and hospitals to analyze their individual morbidity and clinical outcomes in real time, 3) to generate both quality and efficiency data to support claims made to public and private payers and objectively demonstrate the value of care to other stakeholders, 4) to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical and spine procedures, 5) to develop sophisticated ‘risk models’ to determine which subpopulations of patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions, and 6) to facilitate essential multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies.” The NPA has launched several neurosurgical specialty modules in the QOD program in the 7 years since its inception including lumbar spine, cervical spine, and spinal deformity and cerebrovascular and intracranial tumor. The QOD Spine modules, which are the primary subject of this paper, have evolved into the largest North American spine registries yet created and have resulted in unprecedented cooperative activities within our specialty and among affiliated spine care practitioners. Herein, the authors discuss the experience of QOD Spine programs to date, with a brief description of their inception, some of the key achievements and milestones, as well as the recent transition of the spine modules to the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaboration between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).