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Richard P. Menger, Piyush Kalakoti, Andrew J. Pugely, Anil Nanda and Anthony Sin

OBJECTIVE

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common form of scoliosis. Limited literature exists defining risk factors associated with outcomes during initial hospitalization in these patients. In this study, the authors investigated patient demographics, clinical and hospital characteristics impacting short-term outcomes, and costs in adolescent patients undergoing surgical deformity correction for idiopathic scoliosis. Additionally, the authors elucidate the impact of hospital surgical volume on outcomes for these patients.

METHODS

Using the National Inpatient Sample database and appropriate International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes, the authors identified adolescent patients (10–19 years of age) undergoing surgical deformity correction for idiopathic scoliosis during 2001–2014. For national estimates, appropriate weights provided by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality were used. Multivariable regression techniques were employed to assess the association of risk factors with discharge disposition, postsurgical neurological complications, length of hospital stay, and hospitalization costs.

RESULTS

Overall, 75,106 adolescent patients underwent surgical deformity correction. The rates of postsurgical complications were estimated at 0.9% for neurological issues, 2.8% for respiratory complications, 0.8% for cardiac complications, 0.4% for infections, 2.7% for gastrointestinal complications, 0.1% for venous thromboembolic events, and 0.1% for acute renal failure. Overall, patients stayed at the hospital for an average of 5.72 days (median 5 days) and on average incurred hospitalization costs estimated at $54,997 (median $47,909). As compared with patients at low-volume centers (≤ 50 operations/year), those undergoing surgical deformity correction at high-volume centers (> 50/year) had a significantly lower likelihood of an unfavorable discharge (discharge to rehabilitation) (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.30, p = 0.016) and incurred lower costs (mean $33,462 vs $56,436, p < 0.001) but had a longer duration of stay (mean 6 vs 5.65 days, p = 0.002). In terms of neurological complications, no significant differences in the odds ratios were noted between high- and low-volume centers (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.97–1.55, p = 0.091).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides insight into the clinical characteristics of AIS patients and their postoperative outcomes following deformity correction as they relate to hospital volume. It provides information regarding independent risk factors for unfavorable discharge and neurological complications following surgery for AIS. The proposed estimates could be used as an adjunct to clinical judgment in presurgical planning, risk stratification, and cost containment.

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Anil Nanda, Devi Prasad Patra, Amey Savardekar, Tanmoy K. Maiti and Piyush Kalakoti

Meningiomas arising from the posterior clinoid process pose a great surgical challenge because of their location and propensity to cause critical neurovascular compression. The authors’ patient was a 66-year-old female who had a large posterior clinoid meningioma with significant brainstem compression that was operated on through the retrosigmoid approach. This 3D surgical video emphasizes the various technical concepts that are important to preserving compressed neural and vascular structures during the surgery. It would also be interesting to note the extent of visualization around the posterior clinoid region gained through a retrosigmoid corridor.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/CBmT_0ov0YA.

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Richard P. Menger, Jai Deep Thakur, Gary Jain and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Insurance preauthorization is used as a third-party tool to reduce health care costs. Given the expansion of managed care, the impact of the insurance preauthorization process in delaying health care delivery warrants investigation through a diversified neurosurgery practice.

METHODS

Data for 1985 patients were prospectively gathered over a 12-month period from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2015. Information regarding attending, procedure, procedure type, insurance type, need for insurance approval, number of days for authorization, or insurance denial was obtained. Delay in authorization was defined as any wait period greater than 7 days. Some of the parameters were added retrospectively to enhance this study; hence, the total number of subjects may vary for different variables.

RESULTS

The most common procedure was back surgery with instrumentation (28%). Most of the patients had commercial insurance (57%) while Medicaid was the least common (1%). Across all neurosurgery procedures, insurance authorization, on average, was delayed 9 days with commercial insurance, 10.7 days with Tricare insurance, 8.5 days with Medicare insurance, 11.5 days with Medicaid, and 14.4 days with workers' compensation. Two percent of all patients were denied insurance preauthorization without any statistical trend or association. Of the 1985 patients, 1045 (52.6%) patients had instrumentation procedures. Independent of insurance type, instrumentation procedures were more likely to have delays in authorization (p = 0.001). Independent of procedure type, patients with Tricare (military) insurance were more likely to have a delay in approval for surgery (p = 0.02). Predictably, Medicare insurance was protective against a delay in surgery (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Choice of insurance provider and instrumentation procedures were independent risk factors for a delay in insurance preauthorization. Neurosurgeons, not just policy makers, must take ownership to analyze, investigate, and interpret these data to deliver the best and most efficient care to our patients.

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Rimal Hanif Dossani, John Shaughnessy, Piyush Kalakoti and Anil Nanda

William Edward Gallie (1882–1959) was a Canadian general surgeon with special expertise in orthopedic surgery. His experience with surgical management of cervical spine subluxation led him to invent a method of cervical wiring of the atlas to the axis. His method of C1–2 wiring has since been modified, but it still remains one of the three most commonly taught wiring techniques in neurosurgical training programs. Gallie is also hailed for instituting the first surgical training program in Canada, a curriculum his pupils memorialized as the “Gallie course” in surgery. In this historical vignette, the authors describe Gallie’s life and depict his contributions to surgery.

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Shyamal C. Bir, Anil Nanda, Hugo Cuellar, Hai Sun, Bharat Guthikonda, Cesar Liendo, Alireza Minagar and Oleg Y. Chernyshev

OBJECTIVE

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with the progression of abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms. However, the role of OSA in the overall outcome of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) has not yet been established. Authors of this report investigated the role of OSA in the overall outcome of IAs.

METHODS

Radiological and clinical data on patients (from 2010 through 2015) with confirmed IA were retrospectively reviewed. Significant differences between the OSA and non-OSA groups were determined using a chi-square test. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the predictors of an unfavorable IA outcome.

RESULTS

Among the 283 patients with confirmed IAs, 45 patients (16%) were positively screened for OSA, a proportion that was significantly higher than the prevalence of OSA in nonaneurysmal neurosurgical patients (4%, p = 0.008). The percentage of patients with hypertension (p = 0.018), a body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2 (p < 0.0001), hyperlipidemia (p = 0.034), diabetes mellitus (p = 0.005), chronic heart disease (CHD; p = 0.024), or prior stroke (p = 0.03) was significantly higher in the OSA group than in the non-OSA group. Similarly, the percentage of wide-necked aneurysms (p = 0.00001) and patients with a poor Hunt and Hess Grade IV–V (p = 0.01) was significantly higher in the OSA group than in the non-OSA group. In addition, the percentage of ruptured aneurysms (p = 0.03) and vasospasms (p = 0.03) was significantly higher in the OSA group. The percentage of patients with poor modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores (3–6) was significantly higher in the OSA group (p = 0.03). A separate cohort of patients with ruptured IAs showed similar results. In both univariate (p = 0.01) and multivariate (p = 0.04) regression analyses, OSA was identified as an individual predictor of an unfavorable outcome. In addition, hypertension and prior stroke were revealed as predictors of a poor IA outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Complications of IA such as rupture and vasospasm are often the consequence of uncontrolled OSA. Overall outcome (mRS) of IAs is also affected by the co-occurrence of OSA. Therefore, the coexistence of OSA with IA affects the outcome of IAs. Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for a poor outcome in IA patients.

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David E. Connor Jr. and Anil Nanda

In the 1970s, the membrane of Liliequist became the accepted name for a small band of arachnoid membrane separating the interpeduncular and chiasmatic cisterns, making it one of the most recent of the universally accepted medical eponyms. The story of its discovery, however, cannot be told without a thorough understanding of the man responsible and his contribution to the growth of a specialty. Bengt Liliequist lived during what many would consider the Golden Age of neuroradiology. With his colleagues at the Serafimer Hospital in Stockholm, he helped set the standard for appropriate imaging of the CNS and contributed to more accurate localization of intracerebral as well as spinal lesions. The pneumoencephalographic discovery of the membrane that was to bear his name serves merely as a starting point for a career that spanned five decades and included the defense of two separate doctoral theses, the last of which occurred after his 80th birthday. Although the recognition of neuroradiology as a subspecialty did not occur in his home country of Sweden until after his retirement, and technological progress saw the obsolescence of the procedure that he had mastered, Dr. Liliequist's accomplishments and his contributions to the current understanding of neuroanatomy merit our continued praise.

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Subhas K. Konar, Shyamal C. Bir, Tanmoy K. Maiti and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of primary spinal cord glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in the pediatric age group is very rare. Only a few case series and case reports have been published in the literature; therefore, overall survival (OS) outcome and the as-yet poorly defined management options are not discussed in detail. The authors performed a cumulative survival analysis of all reported cases of pediatric spinal cord GBM to identify the predictive factors related to final survival outcome.

METHODS

A comprehensive search for relevant articles was performed on PubMed's electronic database MEDLINE for the period from 1950 to 2015 using the search words “malignant spinal cord tumor” and “spinal glioblastoma multiforme.” This study was limited to patients younger than 18 years of age. Survival rates for children with various tumor locations and treatments were collected from the published articles and analyzed.

RESULTS

After an extensive literature search, 29 articles met the study inclusion criteria. From the detailed information in these articles, the authors found 53 children eligible for the survival analysis. The majority (45%) of the children were more than 12 years old. Thirty-four percent of the cases were between 7 and 12 years of age, and 21% were younger than 7 years. In the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, children younger than 7 years of age had better survival (13 months) than the children older than 7 years (7–12 years: 10 months, > 12 years: 9 months; p = 0.01, log-rank test). Fifty-five percent of the children were female and 45% were male. A cervical tumor location (32%) was the most common, followed by thoracic (28.3%). Cervicothoracic (18.9%) and conus (18.8%) tumor locations shared the same percentage of cases. Cervical tumors had a worse outcome than tumors in other locations (p = 0.003, log-rank test). The most common presenting symptom was limb weakness (53%), followed by sensory disturbances (25%). Median OS was 10 months. The addition of adjuvant therapy (radiotherapy [RT] and/or chemotherapy [CT]) after surgery significantly improved OS (p = 0.01, log-rank test). Children who underwent gross-total resection and RT had better outcomes than those who underwent subtotal resection and RT (p = 0.04, log-rank test). Cerebrospinal fluid spread, hydrocephalus, brain metastasis, and spinal metastasis were not correlated with OS in primary spinal GBM.

CONCLUSIONS

Adjuvant therapy after surgery had a beneficial effect on overall outcome of spinal GBM in the pediatric age group. Gross-total resection followed by RT produced a better outcome than subtotal resection with RT. Further large-scale prospective study is required to establish the genetic and molecular factors related to OS in primary GBM of the spinal cord in pediatric patients.

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Anil Nanda, Shyamal C. Bir, Tanmoy K. Maiti, Subhas K. Konar, Symeon Missios and Bharat Guthikonda

OBJECTIVE

The clinical significance of the Simpson system for grading the extent of meningioma resection and its role as a predictor of the recurrence of World Health Organization (WHO) Grade I meningiomas have been questioned in the past, echoing changes in meningioma surgery over the years. The authors reviewed their experience in resecting WHO Grade I meningiomas and assessed the association between extent of resection, as evaluated using the Simpson classification, and recurrence-free survival (RFS) of patients after meningioma surgery.

METHODS

Clinical and radiological information for patients with WHO Grade I meningiomas who had undergone resective surgery over the past 20 years was retrospectively reviewed. Simpson and Shinshu grading scales were used to evaluate the extent of resection. Statistical analysis was conducted using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional-hazards regression.

RESULTS

Four hundred fifty-eight patients were eligible for analysis. Overall tumor recurrence rates for Simpson resection Grades I, II, III, and IV were 5%, 22%, 31%, and 35%, respectively. After Cox regression analysis, Simpson Grade I (extensive resection) was revealed as a significant predictor of RFS (p = 0.003). Patients undergoing Simpson Grade I and II resections showed significant improvement in RFS compared with patients undergoing Grade III and IV resections (p = 0.005). Extent of resection had a significant effect on recurrence rates for both skull base (p = 0.047) and convexity (p = 0.012) meningiomas. Female sex and a Karnofsky Performance Scale score > 70 were also identified as independent predictors of RFS after resection of WHO Grade I meningioma.

CONCLUSIONS

In this patient cohort, a significant association was noted between extent of resection and rates of tumor recurrence. In the authors' experience the Simpson grading system maintains its relevance and prognostic value and can serve an important role for patient education. Even though complete tumor resection is the goal, surgery should be tailored to each patient according to the risks and surgical morbidity.