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Peter Kan, Visish M. Srinivasan, Aditya Srivatsan, Ascher B. Kaufmann, Jacob Cherian, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Jeremiah Johnson, and Edward A. M. Duckworth

OBJECTIVE

In select patients, extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass remains an important tool for cerebral revascularization. Traditionally, superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery (STA-MCA) bypass was performed using one limb of the STA only. In an attempt to augment flow and to direct flow to different ischemic areas of the brain, the authors adopted a “double-barrel” technique in which both branches of the STA are used to revascularize distinct MCA territories.

METHODS

A series of consecutive double-barrel STA-MCA bypasses performed between 2010 and 2020 were reviewed. Each anastomosis was directed to augment flow to a territory most at risk based on preoperative perfusion studies, cerebral angiography, and intraoperative indocyanine green data. CT perfusion and CTA were routinely used to evaluate postoperative augmentation and graft patency. Patient perioperative outcomes, surgical complications, and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at the last follow-up were reported.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients (16 males, 28 females) successfully underwent double-barrel STA-MCA bypass on 54 cerebral hemispheres: 28 operations were for moyamoya disease, 23 for atherosclerotic disease refractory to medical therapy, 2 for complex cerebral aneurysms, and 1 for carotid occlusion as a sequela of cavernous meningioma growth. Ten patients underwent multiple operations, 9 of whom had moyamoya disease/syndrome, with the subsequent operation on the contralateral hemisphere. The average patient age at surgery was 45.1 years (range 14–73 years), with a mean follow-up time of 22.1 months. Intraoperative graft patency was confirmed in 100% of cases, and 101 (98.1%) of the 103 anastomoses with imaging follow-up were patent. Perfusion to the revascularized hemisphere was improved in 88.2% of cases. Perioperative ischemic and hemorrhagic complications occurred in 8 procedures (2 were asymptomatic), whereas remote ischemic and hemorrhagic events occurred in 7 cases. There was no mortality in the series, and the mean patient mRS scores were 1.72 at presentation and 1.15 at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The high rates of intraoperative and postoperative patency support the feasibility of dual-anastomosis STA-MCA bypass for revascularization. The perioperative complication rate is not significantly different from that of single-anastomosis bypass. The functional outcomes at follow-up and perfusion improvement postoperatively support the efficacy and safety of this method as a treatment strategy.

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Esmaeil Mohammadi, Sara Hanaei, Sina Azadnajafabad, Keyvan Tayebi Meybodi, Zohreh Habibi, and Farideh Nejat

OBJECTIVE

The role of tunneling an external ventricular drain (EVD) more than the standard 5 cm for controlling device-related infections remains controversial.

METHODS

This is a randomized, double-blind, 3-arm controlled trial done in the Children’s Medical Center in Tehran, Iran. Pediatric patients (< 18 years old) with temporary hydrocephalus requiring an EVD and no evidence of CSF infection or prior EVD insertion were enrolled. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) into the following arms: 5-cm (standard; group A); 10-cm (group B); or 15-cm (group C) EVD tunnel lengths. The investigators, parents, and person performing the analysis were masked. The surgeon was informed of the length of the EVD by the monitoring board just before operation. Patients were followed until the EVD’s fate was established. Infection rate and other complications related to EVDs were assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 105 patients were enrolled in three random groups (group A = 36, group B = 35, and group C = 34). The EVD was removed because there was no further need in most cases (67.6%), followed by conversion to a new EVD or ventriculoperitoneal shunt (15.2%), infection (11.4%), and spontaneous discharge without further CSF diversion requirement (5.7%). No statistical difference was found in infection rate (p = 0.47) or EVD duration (p = 0.81) between the three groups. No group reached the efficacy point sooner than the standard group (group B: hazard ratio 1.21, 95% CI 0.75–1.94, p = 0.429; group C: hazard ratio 1.03, 95% CI 0.64–1.65, p = 0.91).

CONCLUSIONS

EVD tunnel lengths of 5 cm and longer did not show a difference in the infection rate in pediatric patients. Indeed, tunneling lengths of 5 cm and greater seem to be equally effective in preventing EVD infection.

Clinical trial registration no.: IRCT20160430027680N2 (IRCT.ir)

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Robert E. Harbaugh, Clinton Devin, Michelle B. Leavy, Zoher Ghogawala, Kristin R. Archer, Mohamad Bydon, Christine Goertz, Doron Dinstein, David R. Nerenz, Guy S. Eakin, William Lavelle, William O. Shaffer, Paul M. Arnold, Charles H. Washabaugh, and Richard E. Gliklich

OBJECTIVE

The development of new treatment approaches for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS) has introduced many questions about comparative effectiveness and long-term outcomes. Patient registries collect robust, longitudinal data that could be combined or aggregated to form a national and potentially international research data infrastructure to address these and other research questions. However, linking data across registries is challenging because registries typically define and capture different outcome measures. Variation in outcome measures occurs in clinical practice and other types of research studies as well, limiting the utility of existing data sources for addressing new research questions. The purpose of this project was to develop a minimum set of patient- and clinician-relevant standardized outcome measures that are feasible for collection in DLS registries and clinical practice.

METHODS

Nineteen DLS registries, observational studies, and quality improvement efforts were invited to participate and submit outcome measures. A stakeholder panel was organized that included representatives from medical specialty societies, health systems, government agencies, payers, industries, health information technology organizations, and patient advocacy groups. The panel categorized the measures using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Outcome Measures Framework (OMF), identified a minimum set of outcome measures, and developed standardized definitions through a consensus-based process.

RESULTS

The panel identified and harmonized 57 outcome measures into a minimum set of 10 core outcome measure areas and 6 supplemental outcome measure areas. The measures are organized into the OMF categories of survival, clinical response, events of interest, patient-reported outcomes, and resource utilization.

CONCLUSIONS

This effort identified a minimum set of standardized measures that are relevant to patients and clinicians and appropriate for use in DLS registries, other research efforts, and clinical practice. Collection of these measures across registries and clinical practice is an important step for building research data infrastructure, creating learning healthcare systems, and improving patient management and outcomes in DLS.

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Markus J. Bookland, Edward S. Ahn, Petronella Stoltz, and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to evaluate the accuracy of a novel telehealth-compatible diagnostic software system for identifying craniosynostosis within a newborn (< 1 year old) population. Agreement with gold standard craniometric diagnostics was also assessed.

METHODS

Cranial shape classification software accuracy was compared to that of blinded craniofacial specialists using a data set of open-source (n = 40) and retrospectively collected newborn orthogonal top-down cranial images, with or without additional facial views (n = 339), culled between April 1, 2008, and February 29, 2020. Based on image quality, midface visibility, and visibility of the cranial equator, 351 image sets were deemed acceptable. Accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated for the software versus specialist classification. Software agreement with optical craniometrics was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients.

RESULTS

The cranial shape classification software had an accuracy of 93.3% (95% CI 86.8–98.8; p < 0.001), with a sensitivity of 92.0% and specificity of 94.3%. Intraclass correlation coefficients for measurements of the cephalic index and cranial vault asymmetry index compared to optical measurements were 0.95 (95% CI 0.84–0.98; p < 0.001) and 0.67 (95% CI 0.24–0.88; p = 0.003), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

These results support the use of image processing–based neonatal cranial deformity classification software for remote screening of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis in a newborn population and as a substitute for optical scanner– or CT-based craniometrics. This work has implications that suggest the potential for the development of software for a mobile platform that would allow for screening by telemedicine or in a primary care setting.

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Daniel A. Donoho, Dhiraj J. Pangal, Guillaume Kugener, Martin Rutkowski, Alexander Micko, Shane Shahrestani, Andrew Brunswick, Michael Minneti, Bozena B. Wrobel, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Internal carotid artery injury (ICAI) is a rare, life-threatening complication of endoscopic endonasal approaches that will be encountered by most skull base neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists. Rates of surgical proficiency for managing ICAI are not known, and the role of simulation to improve performance has not been studied on a nationwide scale.

METHODS

Attending and resident neurosurgery and otorhinolaryngology surgeons (n = 177) were recruited from multicenter regional and national training courses to assess training outcomes and validity at scale of a prospective educational intervention to improve surgeon technical skills using a previously validated, perfused human cadaveric simulator. Participants attempted an initial trial (T1) of simulated ICAI control using their preferred technique. An educational intervention including personalized instruction was performed. Participants attempted a second trial (T2). Task success (dichotomous), time to hemostasis (TTH), estimated blood loss (EBL), and surgeon heart rate were measured.

RESULTS

Participant rating scales confirmed that the simulation retained face and construct validity across eight instructional settings. Trial success (ICAI control) improved from 56% in T1 to 90% in T2 (p < 0.0001). EBL and TTH decreased by 37% and 38%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Postintervention resident surgeon performance (TTH, EBL, and success rate) was superior to preintervention attending surgeon performance. The most improved quartile of participants achieved 62% improvement in TTH and 73% improvement in EBL, with trial success improvement from 25.6% in T1 to 100% in T2 (p < 0.0001). Baseline surgeon confidence was uncorrelated with T1 success, while posttraining confidence correlated with T2 success. Tachycardia was measured in 57% of surgeon participants, but was attenuated during T2, consistent with development of resiliency.

CONCLUSIONS

Prior to training, many attending and most resident surgeons could not manage the rare, life-threatening intraoperative complication of ICAI. A simulated educational intervention significantly improved surgeon performance and remained valid when deployed at scale. Simulation also promoted the development of favorable cognitive skills (accurate perception of skill and resiliency). Rare, life-threatening intraoperative complications may be optimal targets for educational interventions using surgical simulation.

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Nicholas M. Rabah, Hammad A. Khan, Robert D. Winkelman, Jay M. Levin, Thomas E. Mroz, and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) was developed as a result of the value-based purchasing initiative by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It allows patients to rate their experience with their provider in the outpatient setting. These ratings are then reported in aggregate and made publicly available, allowing patients to make informed choices during physician selection. In this study, the authors sought to elucidate the primary drivers of patient satisfaction in the office-based spine surgery setting as represented by the CG-CAHPS.

METHODS

All patients who underwent lumbar spine surgery between 2009 and 2017 and completed a patient experience survey were studied. The satisfied group comprised patients who selected a top-box score (9 or 10) for overall provider rating (OPR) on the CG-CAHPS, while the unsatisfied group comprised the remaining patients. Demographic and surgical characteristics were compared using the chi-square test for categorical variables and the Student t-test for continuous variables. A multivariable logistic regression model was developed to analyze the association of patient and surgeon characteristics with OPR. Survey items were then added to the baseline model individually, adjusting for covariates.

RESULTS

The study population included 647 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery. Of these patients, 564 (87%) selected an OPR of 9 or 10 on the CG-CAHPS and were included in the satisfied group. Patient characteristics were similar between the two groups. The two groups did not differ significantly regarding patient-reported health status measures. After adjusting for potential confounders, the following survey items were associated with the greatest odds of selecting a top-box OPR: did this provider show respect for what you had to say? (OR 21.26, 95% CI 9.98–48.10); and did this provider seem to know the important information about your medical history? (OR 20.93, 95% CI 11.96–45.50).

CONCLUSIONS

The present study sought to identify the key drivers of patient satisfaction in the postoperative office-based spine surgery setting and found several important associations. After adjusting for potential confounders, several items relating to physician communication were found to be the strongest predictors of patient satisfaction. This highlights the importance of effective communication in the patient-provider interaction and elucidates avenues for quality improvement efforts in the spine care setting.

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Debbie Y. Madhok, Renee Y. Hsia, and Geoffrey T. Manley

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Vishwa Bharathi Gaonkar, Kanwaljeet Garg, and Manmohan Singh

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Shrijith Murlidharan Bhavaninilayam, Sachin Anil Borkar, Kanwaljeet Garg, Manoj Phalak, and Shashank Sharad Kale

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Jayme A. Bertelli, Neehar Patel, Francisco Soldado, and Elisa Cristiana Winkelmann Duarte

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to describe the anatomy of donor and recipient median nerve motor branches for nerve transfer surgery within the cubital fossa.

METHODS

Bilateral upper limbs of 10 fresh cadavers were dissected after dyed latex was injected into the axillary artery.

RESULTS

In the cubital fossa, the first branch was always the proximal branch of the pronator teres (PPT), whereas the last one was the anterior interosseous nerve (AIN) and the distal motor branch of the flexor digitorum superficialis (DFDS) on a consistent basis. The PT muscle was also innervated by a distal branch (DPT), which emerged from the anterior side of the median nerve and provided innervation to its deep head. The palmaris longus (PL) motor branch was always the second branch after the PPT, emerging as a single branch together with the flexor carpi radialis (FCR) or the proximal branch of the flexor digitorum superficialis. The FCR motor branch was prone to variations. It originated proximally with the PL branch (35%) or distally with the AIN (35%), and less frequently from the DPT. In 40% of dissections, the FDS was innervated by a single branch (i.e., the DFDS) originating close to the AIN. In 60% of cases, a proximal branch originated together with the PL or FCR. The AIN emerged from the posterior side of the median nerve and had a diameter of 2.3 mm, twice that of other branches. When dissections were performed between the PT and FCR muscles at the FDS arcade, we observed the AIN lying lateral and the DFDS medial to the median nerve. After crossing the FDS arcade, the AIN divided into: 1) a lateral branch to the flexor pollicis longus (FPL), which bifurcated to reach the anterior and posterior surfaces of the FPL; 2) a medial branch, which bifurcated to reach the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP); and 3) a long middle branch to the pronator quadratus. The average numbers of myelinated fibers within each median nerve branch were as follows (values expressed as the mean ± SD): PPT 646 ± 249; DPT 599 ± 150; PL 259 ± 105; FCR 541 ± 199; proximal FDS 435 ± 158; DFDS 376 ± 150; FPL 480 ± 309; first branch to the FDP 397 ± 12; and second branch to the FDP 369 ± 33.

CONCLUSIONS

The median nerve's branching pattern in the cubital fossa is predictable. The most important variation involves the FCR motor branch. These anatomical findings aid during nerve transfer surgery to restore function when paralysis results from injury to the radial or median nerves, brachial plexus, or spinal cord.