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Michael M. Safaee, Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Corinna C. Zygourakis, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is associated with reduced rates of pseudarthrosis and has the potential to decrease the need for revision surgery. There are limited data evaluating the cost-benefit of BMP for pseudarthrosis-related prevention surgery in adult spinal deformity.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective review of 200 consecutive patients with adult spinal deformity. Demographic data and costs of BMP, primary surgery, and revision surgery for pseudarthrosis were collected. Patients with less than 12 months of follow-up or with infection, tumor, or neuromuscular disease were excluded.

RESULTS

One hundred fifty-one patients (107 [71%] women) with a mean age of 65 years met the inclusion criteria. The mean number of levels fused was 10; BMP was used in 98 cases (65%), and the mean follow-up was 23 months. Fifteen patients (10%) underwent surgical revision for pseudarthrosis; BMP use was associated with an 11% absolute risk reduction in the rate of reoperation (17% vs 6%, p = 0.033), with a number needed to treat of 9.2. There were no significant differences in age, sex, upper instrumented vertebra, or number of levels fused in patients who received BMP. In a multivariate model including age, sex, number of levels fused, and the upper instrumented vertebra, only BMP (OR 0.250, 95% CI 0.078–0.797; p = 0.019) was associated with revision surgery for pseudarthrosis. The mean direct cost of primary surgery was $87,653 ± $19,879, and the mean direct cost of BMP was $10,444 ± $4607. The mean direct cost of revision surgery was $52,153 ± $26,985. The authors independently varied the efficacy of BMP, cost of BMP, and cost of reoperation by ± 50%; only reductions in the cost of BMP resulted in a cost savings per 100 patients. Using these data, the authors estimated a price point of $5663 in order for BMP to be cost-neutral.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of BMP was associated with a significant reduction in the rates of revision surgery for pseudarthrosis. At its current price, the direct in-hospital costs for BMP exceed the costs associated with revision surgery; however, this likely underestimates the true value of BMP when considering the savings associated with reductions in rehabilitation, therapy, medication, and additional outpatient costs.

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Toshikazu Kimura, Chikayuki Ochiai, Kensuke Kawai, Akio Morita and Nobuhito Saito

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the risk of bleeding from unruptured cerebral aneurysms (UCAs), previous studies have used Kaplan-Meier analyses without treating the definitive treatment as a competing risk event, which may underestimate the rupture rate. The authors analyzed the survival of patients with UCAs alongside the occurrence of aneurysm bleeding and its competing risk events.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was conducted on 722 patients diagnosed with UCAs in the period from 2000 to 2009 using an institution’s electronic medical records and telephone interviews. The cumulative incidence of aneurysm rupture was examined, and factors contributing to rupture were assessed using regression analyses.

RESULTS

By 2014, 19 patients had experienced aneurysm rupture, with an overall rupture rate of 0.57% per year over 3320.8 person-years. However, cumulative incidence analysis indicated that 1.3% of all patients had a rupture within 2 years after aneurysm identification, and 38.4% of the patients underwent definitive treatment in the same period. Among the patients who experienced rupture, regression analysis revealed that an aneurysm size greater than 5 mm, a location in the anterior or posterior communicating arteries, and an irregular shape contributed to aneurysm rupture, with HRs of 4.4 (95% CI 1.2–15.7), 3.5 (95% CI 1.4–8.7), and 2.1 (95% CI 0.7–6.0), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Rupture rate analyses using the person-year or standard Kaplan-Meier method are not as informative without consideration of the competing risks. The incidence of aneurysm rupture should be presented clearly with those of competing risks.

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Andrej Paľa, Julia Schick, Moritz Klein, Benjamin Mayer, Bernd Schmitz, Christian Rainer Wirtz, Ralph König and Thomas Kapapa

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a major factor contributing to the inferior outcome of patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Nimodipine and induced hypertension using vasopressors are an integral part of standard therapy. Consequences of the opposite effect of nimodipine and vasopressors on blood pressure on patient outcome remain unclear. The authors report the detailed general characteristics and influence of nimodipine and vasopressors on outcome in patients with SAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a 2-center, retrospective, clinical database analysis of 732 SAH patients treated between 2008 and 2016. Demographic and clinical data such as age, sex, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) grade, BMI, Fisher grade, history of arterial hypertension and smoking, aneurysm location, C-reactive protein (CRP) level, and detailed dosage of vasopressors and nimodipine during the treatment period were evaluated. Clinical outcome was analyzed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 6 months after treatment. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed. Additionally, mean arterial pressure (MAP), age, nimodipine, and vasopressor dose cutoff were evaluated with regard to outcome. The level of significance was set at ≤ 0.05.

RESULTS

Follow-up was assessed for 397 patients, 260 (65.5%) of whom achieved a good outcome (defined as an mRS score of 0–3). Univariate and multivariate analyses confirmed that nimodipine (p = 0.049), age (p = 0.049), and CRP level (p = 0.002) are independent predictors of good outcome. WFNS grade, Fisher score, hypertension, initial hydrocephalus, and total vasopressor dose showed significant influence on outcome in univariate analysis, and patient sex, smoking status, BMI, and MAP showed no significant association with outcome. A subgroup analysis of patients with milder initial SAH (WFNS grades I–III) revealed that initial hydrocephalus (p = 0.003) and CRP levels (p = 0.001) had significant influence on further outcome. When evaluating only patients with WFNS grade IV or V, age, CRP level (p = 0.011), vasopressor dose (p = 0.030), and nimodipine dose (p = 0.049) were independent predictors of patient outcome. Patients with an MAP < 93 mm Hg, a nimodipine cutoff dose of 241.8 mg, and cutoff total vasopressor dose of 523 mg had better outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the authors’ results, higher doses of vasopressors can safely provide a situation in which the maximum dose of nimodipine could be administered. Cutoff values of the total vasopressor dose were more than 3 times higher in patients with severe SAH (WFNS grade IV or V), while the nimodipine cutoff remained similar in patients with mild and severe SAH. Hence, it seems encouraging that a maximum nimodipine dosage can be achieved despite the need for a higher vasopressor dose in patients with SAH.

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Thomas K. Mattingly and Stephen P. Lownie

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Peyton L. Nisson, Salman A. Fard, Christina M. Walter, Cameron M. Johnstone, Michael A. Mooney, Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Michael Lang, Helen Kim, Heidi Jahnke, Denise J. Roe, Travis M. Dumont, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Robert F. Spetzler and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the existing Spetzler-Martin (SM), Spetzler-Ponce (SP), and Lawton-Young (LY) grading systems for cerebellar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and to propose a new grading system to estimate the risks associated with these lesions.

METHODS

Data for patients with cerebellar AVMs treated microsurgically in two tertiary medical centers were retrospectively reviewed. Data from patients at institution 1 were collected from September 1999 to February 2013, and at institution 2 from October 2008 to October 2015. Patient outcomes were classified as favorable (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–2) or poor (mRS score 3–6) at the time of discharge. Using chi-square and logistic regression analysis, variables associated with poor outcomes were assigned risk points to design the proposed grading system. The proposed system included neurological status prior to treatment (poor, +2 points), emergency surgery (+1 point), age > 60 years (+1 point), and deep venous drainage (deep, +1 point). Risk point totals of 0–1 comprised grade 1, 2–3 grade 2, and 4–5 grade 3.

RESULTS

A total of 125 cerebellar AVMs of 1328 brain AVMs were reviewed in 125 patients, 120 of which were treated microsurgically and included in the study. With our proposed grading system, we found poor outcomes differed significantly between each grade (p < 0.001), while with the SM, SP, and LY grading systems they did not (p = 0.22, p = 0.25, and p = 1, respectively). Logistic regression revealed grade 2 had 3.3 times the risk of experiencing a poor outcome (p = 0.008), while grade 3 had 9.9 times the risk (p < 0.001). The proposed grading system demonstrated a superior level of predictive accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC] of 0.72) compared with the SM, SP, and LY grading systems (AUROC of 0.61, 0.57, and 0.51, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose a novel grading system for cerebellar AVMs based on emergency surgery, venous drainage, preoperative neurological status, and age that provides a superior prognostication power than the formerly proposed SM, SP, and LY grading systems. This grading system is clinically predictive of patient outcomes and can be used to better guide vascular neurosurgeons in clinical decision-making.

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Chiara Robba, Joseph Donnelly, Danilo Cardim, Tamara Tajsic, Manuel Cabeleira, Giuseppe Citerio, Paolo Pelosi, Peter Smielewski, Peter Hutchinson, David K. Menon and Marek Czosnyka

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial hypertension and impaired cerebral autoregulation are common causes of secondary injuries in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The primary outcome of this study was to assess whether a noninvasive method to estimate intracranial pressure (ICP) based on the ultrasonography of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) measured at the time of neurocritical care unit (NCCU) admission is correlated with the mean ICP during NCCU stay. Secondary outcomes were to assess whether ONSD is correlated with the dose of ICP > 20 mm Hg and impaired autoregulation during NCCU stay and with instantaneous ICP and whether ONSD is associated with NCCU mortality.

METHODS

This prospective observational monocentric study included adults with severe TBI. ONSD was measured at NCCU admission, immediately after invasive ICP insertion. ONSD-predicted noninvasive ICP (nICPONSD) was calculated according the formula: nICPONSD = 5 × ONSD − 14 (nICPONSD in mm Hg, ONSD in mm). Autoregulation was measured using the pressure reactivity index (PRx).

RESULTS

In total, 100 patients were included in this study. ONSD was significantly correlated with mean ICP (r = 0.46, p < 0.0001), with mean PRx (r = 0.21, p = 0.04), and with the dose of ICP > 20 mm Hg during NCCU stay (r = 0.49, p < 0.0001). Admission nICPONSD was shown to be significantly correlated with instantaneous ICP (r = 0.85, p < 0.001). ONSD at admission was significantly correlated with NCCU mortality (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

ONSD measured at NCCU admission can give important information about patients at risk of developing intracranial hypertension and impaired autoregulation. ONSD examination could be useful to screen patients at admission to determine who would benefit from further invasive ICP monitoring.

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Robert S. Heller, Carlos A. David and Carl B. Heilman

OBJECTIVE

Surgical resection of sphenoid wing tumors and intraorbital pathology carries the dual goal of appropriately treating the target pathology as well as correcting proptosis. Residual proptosis following surgery can lead to cosmetic and functional disability. The authors sought to quantitatively assess the effect of orbital volume before and after reconstruction to determine the optimal strategy to achieve proptosis correction.

METHODS

All surgeries involving orbital wall reconstruction for orbital or intracranial pathology that preoperatively resulted in proptosis between 2007 and 2017 were reviewed. Proptosis was measured by the exophthalmos index (EI): the ratio of the distance of the anterior limit of each globe to a line drawn between the anterior limit of the frontal processes of the zygomas, comparing the pathological eye to the normal eye. Postoperative radiographic measurements were taken at least 60 days after surgery to allow surgical swelling to abate. The orbit contralateral to the pathology was used as an internal control for normal anatomical orbital volume. Cases with preoperative EI < 1.10, orbital exenteration, or enucleation were excluded.

RESULTS

Twenty-three patients (16 females and 7 males, with a mean age of 43.6 ± 22.8 years) were treated surgically for tumor-associated proptosis. Nineteen patients harbored meningiomas (11 en-plaque; 8 sphenoid wing), and one patient each harbored an orbital schwannoma, glomangioma, arteriovenous malformation, or cavernous hemangioma. Preoperative EI averaged 1.28 ± 0.10 (range 1.12–1.53). Median time to postoperative imaging was 19 months. Postoperatively, the EI decreased to a mean of 1.07 ± 0.09. Greater increases in size of the reconstructed orbit were positively correlated with greater quantitative reductions in proptosis (p < 0.01). Larger volume of soft tissue pathology was also associated with achieving greater proptosis correction (p < 0.01). Residual exophthalmos (defined as EI > 1.10) was present in 8 patients, while reconstruction in 2 patients resulted in clinically asymptomatic enophthalmos (defined as EI < 0.95). Tumor invasion into the superior orbital fissure sinus was associated with residual proptosis (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Proptosis associated with intracranial and orbital pathology represents a surgical challenge. The EI is a reliable and quantitative assessment of proptosis. For orbital reconstruction in cases of superior orbital fissure involvement, surgeons should consider rebuilding the orbit at slightly larger than anatomical volume.

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Steven O. Tenny, Kyle P. Schmidt and William E. Thorell

OBJECTIVE

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has pushed for more frequent and comprehensive feedback for residents during their training, but there is scant evidence for how neurosurgery residents view the current feedback system as it applies to providing information for self-improvement and goal formation. The authors sought to assess neurosurgery resident and staff perceptions of the current resident feedback system in providing specific, meaningful, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals. The authors then created a pilot project to improve the most unfavorably viewed aspect of the feedback system.

METHODS

The authors conducted an anonymous survey of neurosurgery residents and staff at an academic medical institution to assess SMART goals for resident feedback and used the results to create a pilot intervention to address the most unfavorably viewed aspect of the feedback system. The authors then conducted a postintervention survey to see if perceptions had improved for the target of the intervention.

RESULTS

Neurosurgery residents and staff completed an anonymous online survey, for which the results indicated that resident feedback was not occurring in a timely manner. The authors created a simple anonymous feedback form. The form was distributed monthly to neurosurgery residents, neurosurgical staff, and nurses, and the results were reported monthly to each resident for 6 months. A postintervention survey was then administered, and the results indicated that the opinions of the neurosurgery residents and staff on the timeliness of resident feedback had changed from a negative to a nonnegative opinion (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The required ACGME feedback methods may not be providing adequate feedback for goal formation for self-improvement for neurosurgery residents. Simple interventions, such as anonymous feedback questionnaires, can improve neurosurgery resident and staff perception of feedback to residents for self-improvement and goal formation.

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Sarah K. Bick, Marjan S. Dolatshahi, Benjamin L. Grannan, Andrew J. Cole, Daniel B. Hoch and Emad N. Eskandar

OBJECTIVE

Foramen ovale electrodes (FOEs) are a minimally invasive method to localize mesial temporal seizures in cases in which noninvasive methods are inconclusive. The objective of this study was to identify factors predicting the ability of FOEs to yield a diagnosis in order to determine optimal candidates for this procedure.

METHODS

All cases of diagnostic investigations performed with FOEs at the authors’ institution between 2005 and 2017 were reviewed. FOE investigation was defined as diagnostic if it led to a treatment decision. Demographic and clinical variables for diagnostic and nondiagnostic investigations were compared using a Wilcoxon rank-sum test for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables.

RESULTS

Ninety-three patients underwent investigations performed with FOEs during the study period and were included in the study. FOE investigation was diagnostic in 75.3% of cases. Of patients who underwent anterior temporal lobectomy following diagnostic FOE evaluation, 75.9% were Engel class I at last follow-up (average 40.1 months). When the diagnostic and nondiagnostic FOE groups were compared, patients who had diagnostic investigations were more likely to be male (57.1% male vs 26.1% in the nondiagnostic group, p = 0.015). They were also more likely to have temporal lesions on preoperative MRI (p = 0.018).

CONCLUSIONS

FOEs are a useful, minimally invasive diagnostic modality resulting in a treatment decision in 75% of cases. Male patients and patients with temporal lesions on MRI may be most likely to benefit from FOE investigation.