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Nickalus R. Khan, Kenneth Moore, Jaafar Basma, David S. Hersh, Asim F. Choudhri, Brandy Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

An ischemic stroke following an elective craniotomy in a child is perceived to be a rare event. However, to date there are few papers on this topic. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of stroke following elective intracranial surgery at a children’s hospital.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients who developed a perioperative stroke following an elective craniotomy from 2010 through 2017. Data were collected using an institutional database that contained demographic, medical, radiological, and outcome variables.

RESULTS

A total of 1591 elective craniotomies were performed at the authors’ institution during the study period. Of these, 28 (1.8%) were followed by a perioperative stroke. Radiographic diagnosis of the infarction occurred at a median of 1.7 days (range 0–9 days) from the time of surgery, and neurological deficits were apparent within 24 hours of surgery in 18 patients (62.5%). Infarcts tended to occur adjacent to tumor resection sites (86% of cases), and in a unilateral (89%), unifocal (93%), and supratentorial (93%) location. Overall, 11 (39.3%) strokes were due to a perforating artery, 10 (35.7%) were due to a large vessel, 4 (14.3%) were venous, and 3 (10.7%) were related to hypoperfusion or embolic causes. Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) was used in 11 of the 28 cases, and 6 (55%) infarcts were not detected, all of which were deep.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of stroke following an elective craniotomy is low, with nearly all cases (86%) occurring after tumor resection. Perforator infarcts were most common but may be missed on iMRI.

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Ryan P. Lee, Raymond Xu, Pooja Dave, Sonia Ajmera, Jock C. Lillard, David Wallace, Austin Broussard, Mustafa Motiwala, Sebastian Norrdahl, Carissa Howie, Oluwatomi Akinduro, Garrett T. Venable, Nickalus R. Khan, Douglas R. Taylor, Brandy N. Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There has been an increasing interest in the quantitative analysis of publishing within the field of neurosurgery at the individual, group, and institutional levels. The authors present an updated analysis of accredited pediatric neurosurgery training programs.

METHODS

All 28 Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship programs were contacted for the names of pediatric neurosurgeons who were present each year from 2011 through 2015. Faculty names were queried in Scopus for publications and citations during this time period. The 5-year institutional Hirsch index [ih(5)-index] and revised 5-year institutional h-index [ir(5)-index] were calculated to rank programs. Each publication was reviewed to determine authorship value, tier of research, clinical versus basic science research, subject matter, and whether it was pediatrics-specific. A unique 3-tier article classification system was introduced to stratify clinical articles by quality and complexity, with tier 3 being the lowest tier of publication (e.g., case reports) and tier 1 being the highest (e.g., randomized controlled trials).

RESULTS

Among 2060 unique publications, 1378 (67%) were pediatrics-specific. The pediatrics-specific articles had a mean of 15.2 citations per publication (median 6), whereas the non–pediatrics-specific articles had a mean of 23.0 citations per publication (median 8; p < 0.0001). For the 46% of papers that had a pediatric neurosurgeon as first or last author, the mean number of citations per publication was 12.1 (median 5.0) compared with 22.5 (median 8.0) for those in which a pediatric neurosurgeon was a middle author (p < 0.0001). Seventy-nine percent of articles were clinical research and 21% were basic science or translational research; however, basic science and translational articles had a mean of 36.9 citations per publication (median 15) compared with 12.6 for clinical publications (median 5.0; p < 0.0001). Among clinical articles, tier 1 papers had a mean of 15.0 citations per publication (median 8.0), tier 2 papers had a mean of 18.7 (median 8.0), and tier 3 papers had a mean of 7.8 (median 3.0). Neuro-oncology papers received the highest number of citations per publication (mean 25.7). The most common journal was the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (20%). MD/PhD faculty members had significantly more citations per publication than MD faculty members (mean 26.7 vs 14.0; p < 0.0001) and also a higher number of publications per author (mean 38.6 vs 20.8). The median ih(5)- and ir(5)-indices per program were 14 (range 5–48) and 10 (range 5.6–37.2), respectively. The mean ir(5)/ih(5)-index ratio was 0.8. The top 5 fellowship programs (in descending order) as ranked by the ih(5)-index corrected for number of faculty members were The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital; Seattle Children’s Hospital; and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

CONCLUSIONS

About two-thirds of publications authored by pediatric neurosurgeons are pediatrics-specific, although non–pediatrics-specific articles averaged more citations. Most of the articles authored by pediatric neurosurgeons are clinical, with basic and translational articles averaging more citations. Neurosurgeons with PhD degrees averaged more total publications and more citations per publication. In all, this is the most advanced and informative analysis of publication productivity in pediatric neurosurgery to date.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Brittany D. Fraser, Vincent Nguyen, Kenneth Moore, Scott Boop, Brandy N. Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Despite established risk factors, abusive head trauma (AHT) continues to plague our communities. Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), depicted as areas of hypodensity on CT scans or diffusion restriction on MR images, is a well-known consequence of AHT, but its etiology remains elusive. The authors hypothesize that a CVA, in isolation or in conjunction with other intracranial injuries, compounds the severity of a child’s injury, which in turn leads to greater health care utilization, including surgical services, and an increased risk of death.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective observational study to evaluate data obtained in all children with AHT who presented to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (LBCH) from January 2009 through August 2016. Demographic, hospital course, radiological, cost, and readmission information was collected. Children with one or more CVA were compared with those without a CVA.

RESULTS

The authors identified 282 children with AHT, of whom 79 (28%) had one or more CVA. Compared with individuals without a CVA, children with a stroke were of similar overall age (6 months), sex (61% male), and race (56% African-American) and had similar insurance status (81% public). Just under half of all children with a stroke (38/79, 48%) were between 1–6 months of age. Thirty-five stroke patients (44%) had a Grade II injury, and 44 (56%) had a Grade III injury. The majority of stroke cases were bilateral (78%), multifocal (85%), associated with an overlying subdural hematoma (86%), and were watershed/hypoperfusion in morphology (73%). Thirty-six children (46%) had a hemispheric stroke. There were a total of 48 neurosurgical procedures performed on 28 stroke patients. Overall median hospital length of stay (11 vs 3 days), total hospital charges ($13.8 vs $6.6 million), and mean charges per patient ($174,700 vs $32,500) were significantly higher in the stroke cohort as a whole, as well as by injury grade (II and III). Twenty children in the stroke cohort (25%) died as a direct result of their AHT, whereas only 2 children in the nonstroke cohort died (1%). There was a 30% readmission rate within the first 180-day postinjury period for patients in the stroke cohort, and of these, approximately 50% required additional neurosurgical intervention(s).

CONCLUSIONS

One or more strokes in a child with AHT indicate a particularly severe injury. These children have longer hospital stays, greater hospital charges, and a greater likelihood of needing a neurosurgical intervention (i.e., bedside procedure or surgery). Stroke is such an important predictor of health care utilization and outcome that it warrants a subcategory for both Grade II and Grade III injuries. It should be noted that the word “stroke” or “CVA” should not automatically imply arterial compromise in this population.

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Garrett T. Venable, Nicholas B. Rossi, G. Morgan Jones, Nickalus R. Khan, Zachary S. Smalley, Mallory L. Roberts and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Shunt surgery consumes a large amount of pediatric neurosurgical health care resources. Although many studies have sought to identify risk factors for shunt failure, there is no consensus within the literature on variables that are predictive or protective. In this era of “quality outcome measures,” some authors have proposed various metrics to assess quality outcomes for shunt surgery. In this paper, the Preventable Shunt Revision Rate (PSRR) is proposed as a novel quality metric.

METHODS

An institutional shunt database was queried to identify all shunt surgeries performed from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2014, at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. Patients' records were reviewed for 90 days following each “index” shunt surgery to identify those patients who required a return to the operating room. Clinical, demographic, and radiological factors were reviewed for each index operation, and each failure was analyzed for potentially preventable causes.

RESULTS

During the study period, there were 927 de novo or revision shunt operations in 525 patients. A return to the operating room occurred 202 times within 90 days of shunt surgery in 927 index surgeries (21.8%). In 67 cases (33% of failures), the revision surgery was due to potentially preventable causes, defined as inaccurate proximal or distal catheter placement, infection, or inadequately secured or assembled shunt apparatus. Comparing cases in which failure was due to preventable causes and those in which it was due to nonpreventable causes showed that in cases in which failure was due to preventable causes, the patients were significantly younger (median 3.1 vs 6.7 years, p = 0.01) and the failure was more likely to occur within 30 days of the index surgery (80.6% vs 64.4% of cases, p = 0.02). The most common causes of preventable shunt failure were inaccurate proximal catheter placement (33 [49.3%] of 67 cases) and infection (28 [41.8%] of 67 cases). No variables were found to be predictive of preventable shunt failure with multivariate logistic regression.

CONCLUSIONS

With economic and governmental pressures to identify and implement “quality measures” for shunt surgery, pediatric neurosurgeons and hospital administrators must be careful to avoid linking all shunt revisions with “poor” or less-than-optimal quality care. To date, many of the purported risk factors for shunt failure and causes of shunt revision surgery are beyond the influence and control of the surgeon. We propose the PSRR as a specific, meaningful, measurable, and—hopefully—modifiable quality metric for shunt surgery in children.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni

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Nicholas B. Rossi, Nickalus R. Khan, Tamekia L. Jones, Jacob Lepard, Joseph H. McAbee and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECT

Ventricular shunts for pediatric hydrocephalus continue to be plagued with high failure rates. Reported risk factors for shunt failure are inconsistent and controversial. The raw or global shunt revision rate has been the foundation of several proposed quality metrics. The authors undertook this study to determine risk factors for shunt revision within their own patient population.

METHODS

In this single-center retrospective cohort study, a database was created of all ventricular shunt operations performed at the authors’ institution from January 1, 2010, through December 2013. For each index shunt surgery, demographic, clinical, and procedural variables were assembled. An “index surgery” was defined as implantation of a new shunt or the revision or augmentation of an existing shunt system. Bivariate analyses were first performed to evaluate individual effects of each independent variable on shunt failure at 90 days and at 180 days. A final multivariate model was chosen for each outcome by using a backward model selection approach.

RESULTS

There were 466 patients in the study accounting for 739 unique (“index”) operations, for an average of 1.59 procedures per patient. The median age for the cohort at the time of the first shunt surgery was 5 years (range 0–35.7 years), with 53.9% males. The 90- and 180-day shunt failure rates were 24.1% and 29.9%, respectively. The authors found no variable—demographic, clinical, or procedural—that predicted shunt failure within 90 or 180 days.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, none of the risk factors that were examined were statistically significant in determining shunt failure within 90 or 180 days. Given the negative findings and the fact that all other risk factors for shunt failure that have been proposed in the literature thus far are beyond the control of the surgeon (i.e., nonmodifiable), the use of an institution’s or individual’s global shunt revision rate remains questionable and needs further evaluation before being accepted as a quality metric.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Garrett T. Venable, Nickalus R. Khan, Douglas R. Taylor, Brandon A. Shepherd, Clinton J. Thompson and Nathan R. Selden

Object

The application of bibliometric techniques to academic neurosurgery has been the focus of several recent publications. The authors provide here a detailed analysis of all active pediatric neurosurgeons in North America and their respective departments.

Methods

Using Scopus and Google Scholar, a bibliometric profile for every known active pediatric neurosurgeon in North America was created using the following citation metrics: h-, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices and the m-quotient. Various subgroups were compared. Departmental productivity from 2008 through 2013 was measured, and departments were ranked on the basis of cumulative h- and e-indices and the total number of publications and citations. Lorenz curves were created, and Gini coefficients were calculated for all departments with 4 or more members.

Results

Three hundred twelve pediatric neurosurgeons (260 male, 52 female) were included for analysis. For the entire group, the median h-index, m-quotient, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices, and the corrected g- and e-indices were 10, 0.59, 7, 18, 17, 1.14, and 1.01, respectively; the range for each index varied widely. Academic pediatric neurosurgeons associated with fellowship programs (compared with unassociated neurosurgeons), academic practitioners (compared with private practitioners), and men (compared with women) had superior measurements. There was no significant difference between American and Canadian pediatric neurosurgeons. The mean Gini coefficient for publications was 0.45 (range 0.18–0.70) and for citations was 0.53 (range 0.25–0.80).

Conclusions

This study represents the most exhaustive evaluation of academic productivity for pediatric neurosurgeons in North America to date. These results should serve as benchmarks for future studies.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Clinton J. Thompson, Michael DeCuypere, Jonathan M. Angotti, Erick Kalobwe, Michael S. Muhlbauer, Francis X. Camillo and Paul Klimo Jr.

Object

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a serious and costly complication of spinal surgery. There have been several conflicting reports on the use of intrawound vancomycin powder in decreasing SSI in spine surgery. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: “Does intrawound vancomycin powder reduce the rate of SSIs in spine surgery?”

Methods

A comprehensive search of multiple electronic databases and bibliographies was conducted to identify clinical studies that evaluated the rates of SSI with and without the use of intrawound vancomycin powder in spine surgery. Independent reviewers extracted data and graded the quality of each paper that met inclusion criteria. A random effects meta-analysis was then performed.

Results

The search identified 9 retrospective cohort studies (Level III evidence) and 1 randomized controlled trial (Level II evidence). There were 2574 cases and 106 infections in the control group (4.1%) and 2518 cases and 33 infections (1.3%) in the treatment group, yielding a pooled absolute risk reduction and relative risk reduction of 2.8% and 68%, respectively. The meta-analysis revealed the use of vancomycin powder to be protective in preventing SSI (relative risk = 0.34, 95% confidence interval 0.17–0.66, p = 0.021). The number needed to treat to prevent 1 SSI was 36. A subgroup analysis found that patients who had implants had a reduced risk of SSI with vancomycin powder (p = 0.023), compared with those who had noninstrumented spinal operations (p = 0.226).

Conclusions

This meta-analysis suggests that the use of vancomycin powder may be protective against SSI in open spinal surgery; however, the exact population in which it should be used is not clear. This benefit may be most appreciated in higher-risk populations or in facilities with a high baseline rate of infection.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Clinton J. Thompson, Douglas R. Taylor, Garrett T. Venable, R. Matthew Wham, L. Madison Michael II and Paul Klimo Jr.

Object

Bibliometrics is defined as the study of statistical and mathematical methods used to quantitatively analyze scientific literature. The application of bibliometrics in neurosurgery is in its infancy. The authors calculate a number of publication productivity measures for almost all academic neurosurgeons and departments within the US.

Methods

The h-index, g-index, m-quotient, and contemporary h-index (hc-index) were calculated for 1225 academic neurosurgeons in 99 (of 101) programs listed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in January 2013. Three currently available citation databases were used: Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science. Bibliometric profiles were created for each surgeon. Comparisons based on academic rank (that is, chairperson, professor, associate, assistant, and instructor), sex, and subspecialties were performed. Departments were ranked based on the summation of individual faculty h-indices. Calculations were carried out from January to February 2013.

Results

The median h-index, g-index, hc-index, and m-quotient were 11, 20, 8, and 0.62, respectively. All indices demonstrated a positive relationship with increasing academic rank (p < 0.001). The median h-index was 11 for males (n = 1144) and 8 for females (n = 81). The h-index, g-index and hc-index significantly varied by sex (p < 0.001). However, when corrected for academic rank, this difference was no longer significant. There was no difference in the m-quotient by sex. Neurosurgeons with subspecialties in functional/epilepsy, peripheral nerve, radiosurgery, neuro-oncology/skull base, and vascular have the highest median h-indices; general, pediatric, and spine neurosurgeons have the lowest median h-indices. By summing the manually calculated Scopus h-indices of all individuals within a department, the top 5 programs for publication productivity are University of California, San Francisco; Barrow Neurological Institute; Johns Hopkins University; University of Pittsburgh; and University of California, Los Angeles.

Conclusions

This study represents the most detailed publication analysis of academic neurosurgeons and their programs to date. The results for the metrics presented should be viewed as benchmarks for comparison purposes. It is our hope that organized neurosurgery will adopt and continue to refine bibliometric profiling of individuals and departments.