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John A. Jane Sr.

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John A. Jane Sr.

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John A. Jane Sr.

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Jay Jagannathan, G. Edward Vates, Nader Pouratian, Jason P. Sheehan, James Patrie, M. Sean Grady and John A. Jane Sr.

Object

Recently, the Institute of Medicine examined resident duty hours and their impact on patient safety. Experts have suggested that reducing resident work hours to 56 hours per week would further decrease medical errors. Although some reports have indicated that cutbacks in resident duty hours reduce errors and make resident life safer, few authors have specifically analyzed the effect of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour limits on neurosurgical resident education and the perceived quality of training. The authors have evaluated multiple objective surrogate markers of resident performance and quality of training to determine the impact of the 80-hour workweek.

Methods

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 data on neurosurgical applicants entering ACGME-accredited programs between 1998 and 2007 (before and after the implementation of the work-hour rules) were obtained from the Society of Neurological Surgeons. The American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) written examination scores for this group of residents were also acquired. Resident registration for and presentations at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual meetings between 2002 and 2007 were examined as a measure of resident academic productivity. As a case example, the authors analyzed the distribution of resident training hours in the University of Virginia (UVA) neurosurgical training program before and after the institution of the 80-hour workweek. Finally, program directors and chief residents in ACGME-accredited programs were surveyed regarding the effects of the 80-hour workweek on patient care, resident training, surgical experience, patient safety, and patient access to quality care. Respondents were also queried about their perceptions of a 56-hour workweek.

Results

Despite stable mean USMLE Step 1 scores for matched applicants to neurosurgery programs between 2000 and 2008, ABNS written examination scores for residents taking the exam for self-assessment decreased from 310 in 2002 to 259 in 2006 (16% decrease, p < 0.05). The mean scores for applicants completing the written examination for credit also did not change significantly during this period. Although there was an increase in the number of resident registrations to the AANS meetings, the number of abstracts presented by residents decreased from 345 in 2002 to 318 in 2007 (7% decrease, p < 0.05). An analysis of the UVA experience suggested that the 80-hour workweek leads to a notable increase in on-call duty hours with a profound decrease in the number of hours spent in conference and the operating room. Survey responses were obtained from 110 program directors (78% response rate) and 122 chief residents (76% response rate). Most chief residents and program directors believed the 80-hour workweek compromised resident training (96%) and decreased resident surgical experience (98%). Respondents also believed that the 80-hour workweek threatened patient safety (96% of program directors and 78% of chief residents) and access to quality care (82% of program directors and 87% of chief residents). When asked about the effects of a 56-hour workweek, all program directors and 98% of the chief residents indicated that resident training and surgical education would be further compromised. Most respondents (95% of program directors and 84% of chief residents) also believed that additional work-hour restrictions would jeopardize patient care.

Conclusions

Neurological surgery continues to attract top-quality resident applicants. Test scores and levels of participation in national conferences, however, indicate that the 80-hour workweek may adversely affect resident training. Subjectively, neurosurgical program directors and chief residents believe that the 80-hour workweek makes neurosurgical training and the care of patients more difficult. Based on experience with the 80-hour workweek, educators think that a 56-hour workweek would further compromise neurosurgical training and patient care in the US.

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Michael G. Fehlings and Randolph J. Gray

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Jay Jagannathan, Jonathan H. Sherman, Tom Szabo, Christopher I. Shaffrey and John A. Jane Sr.

Object

This study details long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes following single-level posterior cervical foraminotomy for degenerative disc or osteophyte disease.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 162 cases involving patients treated by a single surgeon using a posterior cervical foraminotomy. Inclusion criteria were a minimum of 5 years' clinical and radiographic follow-up and unilateral single-level posterior cervical foraminotomy for degenerative disease between C-3 and C-7. Patients who had undergone previous operations, those who underwent bilateral procedures, and those who underwent foraminotomy as part of a larger laminectomy were excluded. The Neck Disability Index (NDI) was used for clinical follow-up, and radiographic follow-up was performed using static and dynamic lateral radiographs to compare focal and segmental alignment and changes in disc-space height.

Results

The mean presenting NDI score was 18 (range 2–39). The most common presenting symptoms were radiculopathy (110 patients [68%]), neck pain (85 patients [52%]), and subjective weakness (91 patients [56%]). The mean preoperative focal angulation at the surgically treated level was 4.2° (median 4.1°, range 7.3–15.3°), and the mean preoperative segmental curvature between C-2 and C-7 was 18.0° (median 19.3°, range −22.1 to 39.3°). The mean postoperative NDI score was 8 (range 0–39). Improvement in NDI scores was seen in 150 patients (93%). Resolution of radiculopathy was experienced by 104 patients (95% of patients with radiculopathy). The mean radiographic follow-up was 77.3 months (range 60–177 months). No statistically significant changes in focal or segmental kyphosis or disc-space height were seen among the overall cohort with time (Cox proportional hazards analysis and Student t-test, p > 0.05). The mean postoperative focal angulation was 4.1° (median 3.9°, range −9.9° to 15.1°) and mean postoperative segmental angulation was 17.6° (median 15.4°, range −40.2 to 35.3°). Postoperative instability on dynamic imaging was present in 8 patients (4.9%); 7 of these patients were clinically asymptomatic and were treated conservatively, and 1 required cervical fusion. Postoperative loss of lordosis (defined as segmental Cobb angle < 10°) was seen in 30 patients (20%), 9 of whom had clinical symptoms and 4 of whom required further surgical correction. Factors associated with worsening sagittal alignment (Cox proportional hazards analysis, p < 0.05) included age > 60 at initial surgery, the presence of preoperative cervical lordosis of < 10°, and the need for posterior surgery after the initial foraminotomy

Conclusions

The posterior cervical foraminotomy is highly effective in treating patients with cervical radiculopathy and results in long-lasting pain relief and improved quality-of-life outcomes in most patients. Long-term radiographic follow-up shows no significant trend toward kyphosis, although select patient subsets (patients older than 60 years, patients who had previous posterior surgery, and patients with < 10° of lordosis preoperatively) appear to be at higher risk and require closer follow-up.

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Jay Jagannathan, David O. Okonkwo, Hian Kwang Yeoh, Aaron S. Dumont, Dwight Saulle, Julie Haizlip, Jeffrey T. Barth, John A. Jane Sr. and John A. Jane Jr.

Object

The management strategies and outcomes in pediatric patients with elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) following severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are examined in this study.

Methods

This study was a retrospective review of a prospectively acquired pediatric trauma database. More than 750 pediatric patients with brain injury were seen over a 10-year period. Records were retrospectively reviewed to determine interventions for correcting ICP, and surviving patients were contacted prospectively to determine functional status and quality of life. Only patients with 2 years of follow-up were included in the study.

Results

Ninety-six pediatric patients (age range 3–18 years) were identified with a Glasgow Coma Scale score < 8 and elevated ICP > 20 mm Hg on presentation. The mean injury severity score was 65 (range 30–100). All patients were treated using a standardized head injury protocol. The mean time course until peak ICP was 69 hours postinjury (range 2–196 hours). Intracranial pressure control was achieved in 82 patients (85%). Methods employed to achieve ICP control included maximal medical therapy (sedation, hyperosmolar therapy, and paralysis) in 34 patients (35%), ventriculostomy in 23 patients (24%), and surgery in 39 patients (41%). Fourteen patients (15%) had refractory ICP despite all interventions, and all of these patients died. Seventy-two patients (75%) were discharged from the hospital, whereas 24 (25%) died during hospitalization. Univariate and multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of vascular injury, refractory ICP, and cisternal effacement at presentation had the highest correlation with subsequent death (p < 0.05). Mean follow-up was 53 months (range 11–126 months). Three patients died during the follow-up period (2 due to infections and 1 committed suicide). The mean 2-year Glasgow Outcome Scale score was 4 (median 4, range 1–5). The mean patient competency rating at follow-up was 4.13 out of 5 (median 4.5, range 1–4.8). Univariate analysis revealed that the extent of intracranial and systemic injuries had the highest correlation with long-term quality of life (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Controlling elevated ICP is an important factor in patient survival following severe pediatric TBI. The modality used for ICP control appears to be less important. Long-term follow-up is essential to determine neurocognitive sequelae associated with TBI.

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Daniel M. Prevedello, Nader Pouratian, Jonathan Sherman, John A. Jane Jr., Mary Lee Vance, M. Beatriz Lopes and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Object

Outcomes of therapy for Cushing's disease (CD) vary depending on different aspects of presentation and diagnostic studies. The authors designed this study to verify the remission rate and outcomes after transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) for patients with CD who had positive findings on MR imaging.

Methods

Patients who had presented with CD at the University of Virginia for initial treatment between July 1992 and December 2005 were retrospectively reviewed. The patients included in the study were considered to be optimal surgical candidates, defined as an adult (> 18 years of age) with classic clinical features of CD, laboratory studies confirming a central (pituitary/hypothalamic) adrenocorticotropic hormone–dependent source of disease, and an MR imaging study revealing a microadenoma in the sella turcica.

Results

A total of 167 patients fulfilled the criteria. Thirty were men (18%) and 137 were women (82%). The mean age was 42.3 years (range 18.2–77 years). All patients underwent TSS. Surgical remission was achieved in 148 patients (88.6%), which was correlated with the surgeon's intraoperative identification of an adenoma (p = 0.03). Histopathological confirmation of an adrenocorticotropic hormone–secreting adenoma strongly correlated with remission (p = 0.0001). Three patients (1.8%) had postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and 1 patient had meningitis. Transient diabetes insipidus was diagnosed and treated in 10 patients (6%), whereas permanent diabetes insipidus occurred in 8 patients (4.8%). Panhypopituitarism followed the surgery in 14 patients (8.3%), 13 of whom underwent total hypophysectomy (9 initially and 4 with early reoperations), and in 1 of 10 patients who underwent subtotal hypophysectomy. Nineteen patients (12.8%) who were initially in remission developed recurrent CD after an average of 50 months. The mean follow-up for the 167 patients was 39 months (range 6–157 months). Gamma Knife surgery was the most common modality of radiotherapy used to treat 31 patients (18.5%) who did not achieve remission or later presented with recurrent disease. Bilateral adrenalectomies were performed in 10 patients in the series (6%), 2 of whom developed Nelson's syndrome. The overall posttreatment remission rate was 95.8%.

Conclusions

Even in patients with ideal diagnostic criteria of CD, there remain a significant number of cases in which TSS alone is not adequate to assure long-lasting remission. A multidisciplinary approach is essential to the achievement of satisfactory overall remission rates.

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John A. Jane Sr.