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John D. Rolston, Seunggu J. Han, Orin Bloch and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) occur frequently in surgical patients and can manifest as pulmonary emboli (PEs) or deep venous thromboses (DVTs). While many medical therapies have been shown to prevent VTEs, neurosurgeons are concerned about the use of anticoagulants in the postoperative setting. To better understand the prevalence of and the patient-level risk factors for VTE, the authors analyzed data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

Methods

Retrospective data on 1,777,035 patients for the years from 2006 to 2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons NSQIP database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as “neurological surgery.” Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, with 95% confidence intervals used for the resultant risk ratios. Multivariate models were constructed using binary logistic regression with a maximum number of 20 iterations.

Results

Venous thromboembolisms were found in 1.7% of neurosurgical patients, with DVTs roughly twice as common as PEs (1.3% vs 0.6%, respectively). Significant independent predictors included ventilator dependence, immobility (that is, quadriparesis, hemiparesis, or paraparesis), chronic steroid use, and sepsis. The risk of VTE was significantly higher in patients who had undergone cranial procedures (3.4%) than in those who had undergone spinal procedures (1.1%).

Conclusions

Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in neurosurgical patients, and the frequency has not changed appreciably over the past several years. Many factors were identified as independently predictive of VTEs in this population: ventilator dependence, immobility, and malignancy. Less anticipated predictors included chronic steroid use and sepsis. Venous thromboembolisms appear significantly more likely to occur in patients undergoing cranial procedures than in those undergoing spinal procedures. A better appreciation of the prevalence of and the risk factors for VTEs in neurosurgical patients will allow targeting of interventions and a better understanding of which patients are most at risk.

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Orin Bloch, Seunggu J. Han, Soonmee Cha, Matthew Z. Sun, Manish K. Aghi, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Extent of resection (EOR) has been shown to be an important prognostic factor for survival in patients undergoing initial resection of glioblastoma (GBM), but the significance of EOR at repeat craniotomy for recurrence remains unclear. In this study the authors investigate the impact of EOR at initial and repeat resection of GBM on overall survival.

Methods

Medical records were reviewed for all patients undergoing craniotomy for GBM at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center from January 1, 2005, through August 15, 2009. Patients who had a second craniotomy for pathologically confirmed recurrence following radiation and chemotherapy were evaluated. Volumetric EOR was measured and classified as gross-total resection (GTR, > 95% by volume) or subtotal resection (STR, ≤ 95% by volume) after independent radiological review. Overall survival was compared between groups using univariate and multivariate analysis accounting for known prognostic factors, including age, eloquent location, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), and adjuvant therapies.

Results

Multiple resections were performed in 107 patients. Fifty-two patients had initial GTR, of whom 31 (60%) had GTR at recurrence, with a median survival of 20.4 months (standard error [SE] 1.0 months), and 21 (40%) had STR at recurrence, with a median survival of 18.4 months (SE 0.5 months) (difference not statistically significant). Initial STR was performed in 55 patients, of whom 26 (47%) had GTR at recurrence, with a median survival of 19.0 months (SE 1.2 months), and 29 (53%) had STR, with a median survival of 15.9 months (SE 1.2 months) (p = 0.004). A Cox proportional hazards model was constructed demonstrating that age (HR 1.03, p = 0.004), KPS score at recurrence (HR 2.4, p = 0.02), and EOR at repeat resection (HR 0.62, p = 0.02) were independent predictors of survival. Extent of initial resection was not a statistically significant factor (p = 0.13) when repeat EOR was included in the model, suggesting that GTR at second craniotomy could overcome the effect of an initial STR.

Conclusions

Extent of resection at recurrence is an important predictor of overall survival. If GTR is achieved at recurrence, overall survival is maximized regardless of initial EOR, suggesting that patients with initial STR may benefit from surgery with a GTR at recurrence.