Browse

You are looking at 1 - 3 of 3 items for :

  • Neurosurgical Focus x
  • By Author: Laws, Edward R. x
  • By Author: Wong, Judith M. x
Clear All
Full access

Judith M. Wong, Angela M. Bader, Edward R. Laws, A. John Popp and Atul A. Gawande

Neurosurgery is a high-risk specialty currently undertaking the pursuit of systematic approaches to reducing risk and to measuring and improving outcomes. The authors performed a review of patterns and frequencies of adverse events in neurosurgery as background for future efforts directed at the improvement of quality and safety in neurosurgery.

They found 6 categories of contributory factors in neurosurgical adverse events, categorizing the events as influenced by issues in surgical technique, perioperative medical management, use of and adherence to protocols, preoperative optimization, technology, and communication. There was a wide distribution of reported occurrence rates for many of the adverse events, in part due to the absence of definitive literature in this area and to the lack of standardized reporting systems.

On the basis of their analysis, the authors identified 5 priority recommendations for improving outcomes for neurosurgical patients at a population level: 1) development and implementation of a national registry for outcome data and monitoring; 2) full integration of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist into the operating room workflow, which improves fundamental aspects of surgical care such as adherence to antibiotic protocols and communication within surgical teams; and 3–5) activity by neurosurgical societies to drive increased standardization for the safety of specialized equipment used by neurosurgeons (3), more widespread regionalization and/or subspecialization (4), and establishment of data-driven guidelines and protocols (5). The fraction of adverse events that might be avoided if proposed strategies to improve practice and decrease variability are fully adopted remains to be determined. The authors hope that this consolidation of what is currently known and practiced in neurosurgery, the application of relevant advances in other fields, and attention to proposed strategies will serve as a basis for informed and concerted efforts to improve outcomes and patient safety in neurosurgery.

Free access

Judith M. Wong, John E. Ziewacz, Allen L. Ho, Jaykar R. Panchmatia, Angela M. Bader, Hugh J. Garton, Edward R. Laws and Atul A. Gawande

Object

As part of a project to devise evidence-based safety interventions for specialty surgery, the authors sought to review current evidence in CSF shunt surgery concerning the frequency of adverse events in practice, their patterns, and the state of knowledge regarding methods for their reduction. This review may also inform future and ongoing efforts for the advancement of neurosurgical quality.

Methods

The authors performed a PubMed search using search terms “cerebral shunt,” “cerebrospinal fluid shunt,” “CSF shunt,” “ventriculoperitoneal shunt,” “cerebral shunt AND complications,” “cerebrospinal fluid shunt AND complications,” “CSF shunt AND complications,” and “ventriculoperitoneal shunt AND complications.” Only papers that specifically discussed the relevant complication rates were included. Papers were chosen to be included to maximize the range of rates of occurrence for the adverse events reported.

Results

In this review of the neurosurgery literature, the reported rate of mechanical malfunction ranged from 8% to 64%. The use of programmable valves has increased but remains of unproven benefit even in randomized trials. Infection was the second most common complication, with the rate ranging from 3% to 12% of shunt operations. A meta-analysis that included 17 randomized controlled trials of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis demonstrated a decrease in shunt infection by half (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.73). Similarly, use of detailed protocols including perioperative antibiotics, skin preparation, and limitation of OR personnel and operative time, among other steps, were shown in uncontrolled studies to decrease shunt infection by more than half.

Other adverse events included intraabdominal complications, with a reported incidence of 1% to 24%, intracerebral hemorrhage, reported to occur in 4% of cases, and perioperative epilepsy, with a reported association with shunt procedures ranging from 20% to 32%. Potential management strategies are reported but are largely without formal evaluation.

Conclusions

Surgery for CSF shunt placement or revision is associated with a high complication risk due primarily to mechanical issues and infection. Concerted efforts aimed at large-scale monitoring of neurosurgical complications and consistent quality improvement within these highlighted realms may significantly improve patient outcomes.

Free access

Judith M. Wong, Jaykar R. Panchmatia, John E. Ziewacz, Angela M. Bader, Ian F. Dunn, Edward R. Laws and Atul A. Gawande

Object

Neurosurgery is a high-risk specialty currently undertaking the pursuit of systematic approaches to measuring and improving outcomes. As part of a project to devise evidence-based safety interventions for specialty surgery, the authors sought to review current evidence in cranial tumor resection concerning the frequency of adverse events in practice, their patterns, and current methods of reducing the occurrence of these events. This review represents part of a series of papers written to consolidate information about these events and preventive measures as part of an ongoing effort to ascertain the utility of devising system-wide policies and safety tools to improve neurosurgical practice.

Methods

The authors performed a PubMed search using search terms “intracranial neoplasm,” “cerebral tumor,” “cerebral meningioma,” “glioma,” and “complications” or “adverse events.” Only papers that specifically discussed the relevant complication rates were included. Papers were chosen to maximize the range of rates of occurrence for the reported adverse events.

Results

Review of the tumor neurosurgery literature showed that documented overall complication rates ranged from 9% to 40%, with overall mortality rates of 1.5%–16%. There was a wide range of types of adverse events overall. Deep venous thromboembolism (DVT) was the most common adverse event, with a reported incidence of 3%–26%. The presence of new or worsened neurological deficit was the second most common adverse event found in this review, with reported rates ranging from 0% for the series of meningioma cases with the lowest reported rate to 20% as the highest reported rate for treatment of eloquent glioma. Benign tumor recurrence was found to be a commonly reported adverse event following surgery for intracranial neoplasms. Rates varied depending on tumor type, tumor location, patient demographics, surgical technique, the surgeon's level of experience, degree of specialization, and changes in technology, but these effects remain unmeasured. The incidence on our review ranged from 2% for convexity meningiomas to 36% for basal meningiomas. Other relatively common complications were dural closure–related complications (1%–24%), postoperative peritumoral edema (2%–10%), early postoperative seizure (1%–12%), medical complications (6%–7%), wound infection (0%–4%), surgery-related hematoma (1%–2%), and wrong-site surgery.

Strategies to minimize risk of these events were evaluated. Prophylactic techniques for DVT have been widely demonstrated and confirmed, but adherence remains unstudied. The use of image guidance, intraoperative functional mapping, and real-time intraoperative MRI guidance can allow surgeons to maximize resection while preserving neurological function. Whether the extent of resection significantly correlates with improved overall outcomes remains controversial.

Discussion

A significant proportion of adverse events in intracranial neoplasm surgery may be avoidable by use of practices to encourage use of standardized protocols for DVT, seizure, and infection prophylaxis; intraoperative navigation among other steps; improved teamwork and communication; and concentrated volume and specialization. Systematic efforts to bundle such strategies may significantly improve patient outcomes.