Owoicho Adogwa, Isaac O. Karikari, Kevin R. Carr, Max Krucoff, Divya Ajay, Parastou Fatemi, Edgar L. Perez, Joseph S. Cheng, Carlos A. Bagley and Robert E. Isaacs
A spinal epidural abscess (SEA) is a rare but severe infection requiring prompt recognition and management. The incidence of SEA has doubled in the past decade, owing to an aging population and to increased use of spinal instrumentation and vascular access. The optimal management of SEAs in patients 50 years of age and older remains a matter of considerable debate. In an older patient population with multiple comorbidities, whether intravenous antibiotics alone or in combination with surgery lead to superior outcomes remains unknown. The present study retrospectively analyzes cases of SEAs, in patients 50 years of age and older, treated at Duke University Medical Center over the past 15 years.
Eighty-two patients underwent treatment for a spinal epidural abscess between 1999 and 2013. There were 46 men and 36 women, whose overall mean age (± SD) was 65 ± 8.58 years (range 50–82 years). The mean duration of clinical follow-up was 41.38 ± 86.48 weeks. Thirty patients (37%) underwent surgery for removal of the abscess, whereas 52 (63%) were treated more conservatively, undergoing CT-guided aspiration or receiving antibiotics alone based on the results of blood cultures. The correlation between pretreatment variables and outcomes was evaluated in a multivariate regression analysis.
Back pain and severe motor deficits were the most common presenting symptoms. Compared with baseline neurological status, the majority of patients (68%) reported being neurologically “better” or “unchanged.” Twelve patients (15%) had a good outcome (7 [23%] treated operatively vs 5 [10%] treated nonoperatively, p = 0.03), while clinical status in 41 patients (50%) remained unchanged (10 [33%] treated operatively vs 31 [60%] treated nonoperatively, p = 0.01). Overall, 20 patients (25%) died (9 [30%] treated operatively vs 11 [21%] treated nonoperatively, p = 0.43). In a multivariate logistic regression model, an increasing baseline level of pain, the presence of paraplegia or quadriplegia on initial presentation, and a dorsally located SEA were independently associated with poor outcomes.
The results of the study suggest that in patients 50 years of age and older, early surgical decompression combined with intravenous antimicrobial therapy was not associated with superior clinical outcomes when compared with intravenous antimicrobial therapy alone.
Ankit I. Mehta, Owoicho Adogwa, Isaac O. Karikari, Paul Thompson, Terence Verla, Ulysses T. Null, Allan H. Friedman, Joseph S. Cheng, Carlos A. Bagley and Robert E. Isaacs
Intradural extramedullary (IDEM) neoplasms are uncommon lesions that can pose a challenge for resection. Numerous factors affect the resectability and ultimately the outcome of these lesions. The authors report their 10-year institutional experience with the resection of IDEM neoplasms, focusing on the effect of location on surgical outcomes.
The authors performed a retrospective review of 96 consecutive patients who presented with a cervical and/or thoracic IDEM tumor that was resected between February 2000 and July 2009. All patients underwent MRI, and the axial location of the tumor was categorized as anterior, posterior, or lateral. Postoperative complications were assessed, as was neurological status at the patient's last follow-up clinic visit. Major complications assessed included CSF leakage requiring lumbar drainage, reexploration for epidural hematoma, and major postoperative neurological deficits.
The mean ± SD age at presentation was 51.16 ± 17.87 years. Major surgical approach–related complications occurred in 15% of patients. Major non–approach related surgical complications occurred in 7.1% of patients, while minor complications occurred in 14.2% of patients. Postoperative neurological deficits occurred most commonly in the thoracic spine between T-1 and T-8. Based on axial spinal cord location, the surgery-related complications rates for all anterior tumors (n = 12) was 41.6%, whereas that for all lateral tumors (n = 69) was 4.4% and that for all posteriorly located tumors (n = 17) was 0%.
Spinal IDEM tumors that are anteriorly located in the upper thoracic spine were found to have the highest rate of surgery-related complications and postoperative neurological deficits. This finding may be associated with the unforgiving anatomy of the upper thoracic spine in which there is a higher cord-to-canal ratio and a tenuous vascular supply.
Owoicho Adogwa, Ryan Owens, Isaac Karikari, Vijay Agarwal, Oren N. Gottfried, Carlos A. Bagley, Robert E. Isaacs and Joseph S. Cheng
Despite advances in technology and understanding in spinal physiology, reoperation for symptomatic adjacent-segment disease (ASD), same-level recurrent stenosis, and pseudarthrosis in elderly patients continues to occur. While revision lumbar surgery is effective, attention has turned to questions on the utility and value of the revision decompression and fusion procedure. To date, an analysis of the cost and health state gain associated with revision lumbar surgery in elderly patients with symptomatic pseudarthrosis, ASD, or same-level recurrent lumbar stenosis has yet to be performed. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term outcomes and cost-effectiveness of revision surgery in elderly patients with recurrent or persistent back and leg pain.
After reviewing their institutional database, the authors found 69 patients 65 years of age and older who had undergone revision decompression and instrumented fusion for back and leg pain associated with pseudarthrosis (17 patients), same-level recurrent stenosis (24 patients), or ASD (28 patients) and included them in this study. Total 2-year back-related medical resource utilization and health state values (quality-adjusted life years [QALYs], calculated from the EQ-5D, the EuroQol-5D health survey, with US valuation) were assessed. Two-year resource use was multiplied by unit costs based on Medicare national allowable payment amounts. The mean total 2-year cost per QALY gained after revision surgery was assessed.
The mean (± standard deviation) time between the index surgery and revision surgery was 3.51 ± 3.63 years. A mean cumulative 2-year gain of 0.35 QALY was observed after revision surgery. The mean total 2-year cost of revision surgery was $28,256 ± $3000 (ASD: $28,829 ± $3812, pseudarthrosis: $28,069 ± $2508, same-level recurrent stenosis: $27,871 ± $2375). Revision decompression and extension of fusion was associated with a mean 2-year cost of $80,594 per QALY gained.
Revision decompression and fusion provided a significant gain in health state utility for elderly patients with symptomatic pseudarthrosis, same-level recurrent stenosis, or ASD, with a mean 2-year cost of $80,594 per QALY gained. When indicated, revision surgery for symptomatic ASD, same-level recurrent stenosis, and pseudarthrosis is a valuable treatment option for elderly patients experiencing persistent back and leg pain. Findings in this study provided a value measure of surgery that can be compared with future cost-per-QALY-gained studies of medical management or alternative surgical approaches.