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  • By Author: Kondziolka, Douglas x
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Oren Berkowitz, Kristen Jones, L. Dade Lunsford and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

The definition and determination of quality health care is an important topic. The purpose of this study was to develop a longitudinal method to define a quality procedure by creating a formal approach to pre- and postoperative outcomes documentation. The authors worked to define quality outcomes by first documenting the patient's condition. Goals were determined together by the surgeon and the patient and then were evaluated to see if those goals were met.

Methods

The population consisted of cancer patients with newly diagnosed metastatic brain disease who were scheduled to undergo stereotactic radiosurgery. Surgeons recorded perioperatively objective information related to preoperative goals, clinical findings, surgical performance and/or error, and whether goals were met. In addition, patients completed pre- and postprocedure questionnaires (Rand 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey 1.0 [SF-36]).

Results

Procedural goals, defined as completing radiosurgery without error or complication and same-day discharge, were met in all patients. The clinically predetermined goal of tumor palliation was met in all but 1 patient at follow-up. The SF-36 scores remained stable except for the general health domain, which was lower (p = 0.006).

Conclusions

Procedural goals can be defined and objectively measured serially. The authors think that quality care can be defined as a process that achieves predefined goals without significant error and maintains or improves health.

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Oren Berkowitz, Douglas Kondziolka, David Bissonette, Ajay Niranjan, Hideyuki Kano and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The first North American 201 cobalt-60 source Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) device was introduced at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1987. The introduction of this innovative and largely untested surgical procedure prompted the desire to study patient outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of this technique. The parallel advances in computer software and database technology led to the development of a registry to track patient outcomes at this center. The purpose of this study was to describe the registry's evolution and to evaluate its usefulness.

Methods

A team was created to develop a software database and tracking system to organize and retain information on the usage of GKS. All patients undergoing GKS were systematically entered into this database by a clinician familiar with the technology and the clinical indications. Information included patient demographics and diagnosis as well as the anatomical site of the target and details of the procedure.

Results

There are currently 11,738 patients in the database, which began to be used in August 1987. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has pioneered the evaluation and publication of the GKS technique and outcomes. Data derived from this computer database have facilitated the publication of more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts, more than 200 book chapters, 8 books, and more than 300 published abstracts and scientific presentations. The use of GKS has become a well-established surgical technique that has been performed more than 700,000 times around the world.

Conclusions

The development of a patient registry to track and analyze the use of GKS has given investigators the ability to study patient procedures and outcomes. The future of clinical medical research will rely on the ability of clinical centers to store and to share information.

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Yueh-Ying Han, Oren Berkowitz, Evelyn Talbott, Douglas Kondziolka, Maryann Donovan and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The authors evaluated the potential role of environmental risk factors, including exposure to diagnostic or therapeutic radiation and to wireless phones that emit nonionizing radiation, in the etiology of vestibular schwannoma (VS).

Methods

A total of 343 patients with VSs who underwent Gamma Knife surgery performed between 1997 and 2007 were age and sex matched to 343 control patients from the outpatient degenerative spinal disorders service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The authors obtained information on previous exposure to medical radiation, use of wireless phone technologies, and other environmental factors thought to be associated with the development of a VS. Conditional multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results

After adjusting for race, education, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, occupational exposure to noise, use of cell phones, and family history of cancer, the authors identified only a single factor that was associated with a higher risk of VS: individuals exposed to dental x-rays once a year (aOR = 2.27, 95% CI = 1.01–5.09) or once every 2–5 years (aOR = 2.65, 95% CI = 1.20–5.85), compared with those exposed less than once every 5 years. Of interest, a history of exposure to radiation related to head or head-and-neck computed tomography was associated with a reduced risk of VS (aOR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.30–0.90). No relationship was found between the use of cell phones or cordless phones and VS.

Conclusions

Patients with acoustic neuromas reported significantly more exposure to dental x-rays than a matched cohort control group. Reducing the frequency of dental x-ray examinations may decrease the potential risk of VS.

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Kyung-Jae Park, Douglas Kondziolka, Hideyuki Kano, Oren Berkowitz, Safee Faraz Ahmed, Xiaomin Liu, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Vertebrobasilar ectasia (VBE) is an unusual cause of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The surgical options for patients with medically refractory pain include percutaneous or microsurgical rhizotomy and microvascular decompression (MVD). All such procedures can be technically challenging. This report evaluates the response to a minimally invasive procedure, Gamma Knife surgery (GKS), in patients with TN associated with severe vascular compression caused by VBE.

Methods

Twenty patients underwent GKS for medically refractory TN associated with VBE. The median patient age was 74 years (range 48–95 years). Prior surgical procedures had failed in 11 patients (55%). In 9 patients (45%), GKS was the first procedure they had undergone. The median target dose for GKS was 80 Gy (range 75–85 Gy). The median follow-up was 29 months (range 8–123 months) after GKS. The treatment outcomes were compared with 80 case-matched controls who underwent GKS for TN not associated with VBE.

Results

Intraoperative MR imaging or CT scanning revealed VBE that deformed the brainstem in 50% of patients. The trigeminal nerve was displaced in cephalad or lateral planes in 60%. In 4 patients (20%), the authors could identify only the distal cisternal component of the trigeminal nerve as it entered into the Meckel cave.

After GKS, 15 patients (75%) achieved initial pain relief that was adequate or better, with or without medication (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] pain scale, Grades I–IIIb). The median time until pain relief was 5 weeks (range 1 day–6 months). Twelve patients (60%) with initial pain relief reported recurrent pain between 3 and 43 months after GKS (median 12 months). Pain relief was maintained in 53% at 1 year, 38% at 2 years, and 10% at 5 years. Some degree of facial sensory dysfunction occurred in 10% of patients. Eventually, 14 (70%) of the 20 patients underwent an additional surgical procedure including repeat GKS, percutaneous procedure, or MVD at a median of 14 months (range 5–50 months) after the initial GKS. At the last follow-up, 15 patients (75%) had satisfactory pain control (BNI Grades I–IIIb), but 5 patients (25%) continued to have unsatisfactory pain control (BNI Grade IV or V). Compared with patients without VBE, patients with VBE were much less likely to have initial (p = 0.025) or lasting (p = 0.006) pain relief.

Conclusions

Pain control rates of GKS in patients with TN associated with VBE were inferior to those of patients without VBE. Multimodality surgical or medical management strategies were required in most patients with VBE.