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Daniel García-Pérez, Irene Panero-Pérez, Carla Eiriz Fernández, Luis Miguel Moreno-Gomez, Olga Esteban-Sinovas, Blanca Navarro-Main, Pedro A. Gómez López, Ana M. Castaño-León and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

Acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Surgical evacuation is the mainstay of treatment in patients with altered neurological status or significant mass effect. Nevertheless, concerns regarding surgical indication still persist. Given that clinicians often make therapeutic decisions on the basis of their prognosis assessment, to accurately evaluate the prognosis is of great significance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of specific and reliable prognostic models. In addition, the interdependence of certain well-known predictive variables usually employed to guide surgical decision-making in ASDH has been proven. Because gray matter and white matter are highly susceptible to secondary insults during the early phase after TBI, the authors aimed to assess the extent of these secondary insults with a brain parenchyma densitometric quantitative CT analysis and to evaluate its prognostic capacity.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis among their prospectively collected cohort of patients with moderate to severe TBI. Patients with surgically evacuated, isolated, unilateral ASDH admitted between 2010 and 2017 were selected. Thirty-nine patients were included. For each patient, brain parenchyma density in Hounsfield units (HUs) was measured in 10 selected slices from the supratentorial region. In each slice, different regions of interest (ROIs), including and excluding the cortical parenchyma, were defined. The injured hemisphere, the contralateral hemisphere, and the absolute differences between them were analyzed. The outcome was evaluated using the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended at 1 year after TBI.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients (38.5%) had a favorable outcome. Collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data did not show significant differences between favorable and unfavorable outcomes. In contrast, the densitometric analysis demonstrated that greater absolute differences between both hemispheres were associated with poor outcome. These differences were detected along the supratentorial region, but were greater at the high convexity level. Moreover, these HU differences were far more marked at the cortical parenchyma. It was also detected that these differences were more prone to ischemic and/or edematous insults than to hyperemic changes. Age was significantly correlated with the side-to-side HU differences in patients with unfavorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The densitometric analysis is a promising prognostic tool in patients diagnosed with ASDH. The supplementary prognostic information provided by the densitometric analysis should be evaluated in future studies.

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Robert J. Dambrino IV, Scott L. Zuckerman, Bradley S. Guidry, Henry J. Domenico, Reid C. Thompson, Mitchell B. Galloway, James W. Pichert and William O. Cooper

OBJECTIVE

The number of unsolicited patient complaints (UPCs) about surgeons correlates with surgical complications and malpractice claims. Using a large, national patient complaint database, the authors sought to do the following: 1) compare the rates of UPCs for neurosurgeons to those for other physicians, 2) analyze the risk of UPCs with individual neurosurgeon characteristics, and 3) describe the types of UPCs made about neurosurgeons.

METHODS

Patient and family complaint reports among 36,265 physicians, including 423 neurosurgeons, 8292 other surgeons, and 27,550 nonsurgeons who practiced at 33 medical centers (22 academic and 11 regional) from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2017, were coded with a previously validated Patient Advocacy Reporting System (PARS) algorithm.

RESULTS

Among 423 neurosurgeons, 93% were male, and most (71%) practiced in academic medical centers. Neurosurgical subspecialties included general practice (25%), spine (25%), tumor (16%), vascular (13%), functional (10%), and pediatrics (10%). Neurosurgeons had more average total UPCs per physician (8.68; 95% CI 7.68–9.67) than nonsurgeons (3.40; 95% CI 3.33–3.47) and other surgeons (5.01; 95% CI 4.85–5.17; p < 0.001). In addition, a significantly higher percentage of neurosurgeons received at least one UPC (71.6%; 95% CI 67.3%–75.9%) than did nonsurgeons (50.2%; 95% CI 49.6%–50.8%) and other surgeons (58.2%; 95% CI 57.1%–59.3%; p < 0.001). Factors most associated with increased average UPCs were younger age, measured as median medical school graduation year (1990.5 in the 0-UPC group vs 1993 in the 14+-UPC group, p = 0.009) and spine subspecialty (13.4 mean UPCs in spine vs 7.9 mean UPCs in other specialties, 95% CI 2.3–8.5, p < 0.001). No difference in complaints was seen in those who graduated from non-US versus US medical schools (p = 0.605). The most common complaint types were related to issues surrounding care and treatment, communication, and accessibility, each of which was significantly more common for neurosurgeons than other surgical specialties (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgeons were more likely to generate UPCs than other surgical specialties, and almost 3 out of 4 neurosurgeons (71.6%) had at least one UPC during the study period. Prior studies have shown that feedback to physicians about behavior can result in fewer UPCs. These results suggest that neurosurgeons have opportunities to reduce complaints and potentially improve the overall quality of care delivered.

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Yoji Ogura, Jeffrey L. Gum, Portia Steele, Charles H. Crawford III, Mladen Djurasovic, R. Kirk Owens II, Joseph L. Laratta, Morgan Brown, Christy Daniels, John R. Dimar II, Steven D. Glassman and Leah Y. Carreon

OBJECTIVE

Unexpected nonhome discharge causes additional costs in the current reimbursement models, especially to the payor. Nonhome discharge is also related to longer length of hospital stay and therefore higher healthcare costs to society. With increasing demand for spine surgery, it is important to minimize costs by streamlining discharges and reducing length of hospital stay. Identifying factors associated with nonhome discharge can be useful for early intervention for discharge planning. The authors aimed to identify the drivers of nonhome discharge in patients undergoing 1- or 2-level instrumented lumbar fusion.

METHODS

The electronic medical records from a single-center hospital administrative database were analyzed for consecutive patients who underwent 1- to 2-level instrumented lumbar fusion for degenerative lumbar conditions during the period from 2016 to 2018. Discharge disposition was determined as home or nonhome. A logistic regression analysis was used to determine associations between nonhome discharge and age, sex, body mass index (BMI), race, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, smoking status, marital status, insurance type, residence in an underserved zip code, and operative factors.

RESULTS

A total of 1502 patients were included. The majority (81%) were discharged home. Factors associated with a nonhome discharge were older age, higher BMI, living in an underserved zip code, not being married, being on government insurance, and having more levels fused. Patients discharged to a nonhome facility had longer lengths of hospital stay (5.6 vs 3.0 days, p < 0.001) and significantly increased hospital costs ($21,204 vs $17,518, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Increased age, greater BMI, residence in an underserved zip code, not being married, and government insurance are drivers for discharge to a nonhome facility after a 1- to 2-level instrumented lumbar fusion. Early identification and intervention for these patients, even before admission, may decrease the length of hospital stay and medical costs.

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Michael D. Staudt, Ilknur Telkes and Julie G. Pilitsis

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Shyam J. Kurian, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Jad Zreik, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Brett A. Freedman and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) and National Readmissions Database (NRD) are two widely used databases for research studies. However, they may not provide generalizable information in regard to individual institutions. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to evaluate 30-day readmissions following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior lumbar fusion (PLF) procedures by using these two national databases and an institutional cohort.

METHODS

The NSQIP and NRD were queried for patients undergoing elective ACDF and PLF, with the addition of an institutional cohort. The outcome of interest was 30-day readmissions following ACDF and PLF, which were unplanned and related to the index procedure. Subsequently, univariable and multivariable analyses were conducted to determine the predictors of 30-day readmissions by using both databases and the institutional cohort.

RESULTS

Among all identified risk factors, only hypertension was found to be a common risk factor between NRD and the institutional cohort following ACDF. NSQIP and the institutional cohort both showed length of hospital stay to be a significant predictor for 30-day related readmission following PLF. There were no overlapping variables among all 3 cohorts for either ACDF or PLF. Additionally, the national databases identified a greater number of risk factors for 30-day related readmissions than did the institutional cohort for both procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, significant differences were seen among all 3 cohorts with regard to top predictors of 30-day unplanned readmissions following ACDF and PLF. The higher quantity of significant predictors found in the national databases may suggest that looking at single-institution series for such analyses may result in underestimation of important variables affecting patient outcomes, and that big data may be helpful in addressing this concern.

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Martin H. Weiss, Gabriel Zada, John D. Carmichael and William T. Couldwell

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Ben A. Strickland, Michelle Wedemeyer, Saman Sizdahkhani and Steven L. Giannotta

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Tyler S. Cole and Robert F. Spetzler

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Christian Iorio-Morin and Mathieu Levesque

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Christine Park, Rasheedat T. Zakare-Fagbamila, Wes Dickson, Alessandra N. Garcia and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a survey that assesses patient satisfaction, which is an important measure of the quality of hospital care and ultimately the overall hospital rating (OHR). However, the survey covers several elements of patient satisfaction beyond the patient-surgeon interaction. In this study, authors investigated which admission and experience factors had the highest impact on the OHR.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort analysis of HCAHPS surveys from patients who, in the period between August 1, 2016, and January 31, 2018, had been discharged from the neurosurgical or orthopedic service at three hospitals serving a single metropolitan area. The top-box score was defined as the highest rating obtainable for each survey question. Baseline admission attributes were obtained, and multivariate logistic regression was used to determine predictors of the top-box OHR.

RESULTS

After application of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 1470 patients remained in the analysis. Categories on the HCAHPS included OHR, communication, education, environment, pain management, and responsiveness. After excluding identifying questions from the survey and adjusting for subspecialty and hospital, 7 of 17 HCAHPS survey items were significant predictors of OHR. Only 2 of these were related to the surgeon: 1) discharge, “Did you get information in writing about what symptoms or health problems to look out for after you left the hospital?” (OR 5.93, 95% CI 2.52–13.94); and 2) doctor, “Did doctors explain things in a way you could understand?” (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.73–4.46). The top three strongest correlating items were 1) discharge; 2) nursing, “Did nurses treat you with courtesy and respect?” (OR 3.86, 95% CI 2.28–6.52); and 3) hospital environment, “Were your room and bathroom kept clean?” (OR 2.86, 95% CI 1.96–4.17).

CONCLUSIONS

The study findings demonstrated that there are several nonmodifiable factors (i.e., specialty, experience) and items that are not under the direct purview of the neurosurgeon (e.g., nursing communication, hospital environment) that are significant influences on overall inpatient satisfaction on the HCAHPS survey. Furthermore, components of the survey that ultimately influence the OHR vary across different hospitals. Hence, HCAHPS survey results should be broadly interpreted as a way to make health systems more aware of the overall hospital factors that can improve quality of care and patient experience.