COVID-19

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Federico Russo, Marco Valentini, Daniele Sabatino, Michele Cerati, Carla Facco, Paolo Battaglia, Mario Turri-Zanoni, Paolo Castelnuovo, and Apostolos Karligkiotis

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents the greatest public health emergency of this century. The primary mode of viral transmission is droplet transmission through direct contact with large droplets generated during breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing. However, the virus can also demonstrate airborne transmission through smaller droplets (< 5 μm in diameter) generated during various medical procedures, collectively termed aerosol-generating procedures. The aim of this study was to analyze droplet contamination of healthcare workers and splatter patterns in the operating theater that resulted from endoscopic transnasal procedures in noninfected patients.

METHODS

A prospective nonrandomized microscopic evaluation of contaminants generated during 10 endoscopic transnasal procedures performed from May 14 to June 11, 2020, in the same operating theater was carried out. A dilution of monosodium fluorescein, repeatedly instilled through nasal irrigation, was used as a marker of contaminants generated during surgical procedures. Contaminants were collected on detectors worn by healthcare workers and placed in standard points in the operating theater. Analysis of number, dimensions, and characteristics of contaminants was carried out with fluorescence microscopy.

RESULTS

A total of 70 samples collected from 10 surgical procedures were analyzed. Liquid droplets and solid-tissue fragments were identified as contaminants on all detectors analyzed. All healthcare workers appeared to have been exposed to a significant number of contaminants. A significant degree of contamination was observed in every site of the operating room. The mean (range) diameter of liquid droplets was 4.1 (1.0–26.6) μm and that of solid fragments was 23.6 (3.5–263.3) μm.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic endonasal surgery is associated with the generation of large amounts of contaminants, some of which measure less than 5 μm. All healthcare workers in the surgical room are exposed to a significant and similar risk of contamination; therefore, adequate personal protective equipment should be employed when performing endoscopic endonasal surgical procedures.

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Alvin Y. Chan, Elliot H. Choi, Michael Y. Oh, Sumeet Vadera, Jefferson W. Chen, Kiarash Golshani, William C. Wilson, and Frank P. K. Hsu

OBJECTIVE

Elective surgical cases generally have lower costs, higher profit margins, and better outcomes than nonelective cases. Investigating the differences in cost and profit between elective and nonelective cases would help hospitals in planning strategies to withstand financial losses due to potential pandemics. The authors sought to evaluate the exact cost and profit margin differences between elective and nonelective supratentorial tumor resections at a single institution.

METHODS

The authors collected economic analysis data in all patients who underwent supratentorial tumor resection at their institution between January 2014 and December 2018. The patients were grouped into elective and nonelective cases. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for heterogeneity of baseline characteristics between the two groups.

RESULTS

There were 143 elective cases and 232 nonelective cases over the 5 years. Patients in the majority of elective cases had private insurance and in the majority of nonelective cases the patients had Medicare/Medicaid (p < 0.01). The total charges were significantly lower for elective cases ($168,800.12) compared to nonelective cases ($254,839.30, p < 0.01). The profit margins were almost 6 times higher for elective than for nonelective cases ($13,025.28 vs $2,128.01, p = 0.04). After propensity score matching, there was still a significant difference between total charges and total cost.

CONCLUSIONS

Elective supratentorial tumor resections were associated with significantly lower costs with shorter lengths of stay while also being roughly 6 times more profitable than nonelective cases. These findings may help future planning for hospital strategies to survive financial losses during future pandemics that require widespread cancellation of elective cases.

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Jasmine A. Thum DiCesare, David J. Segar, Brian V. Nahed, and Maya Babu

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Takuma Hara, Marcus A. Zachariah, Ruichun Li, Rafael Martinez-Perez, Ricardo L. Carrau, and Daniel M. Prevedello

OBJECTIVE

Aerosol-generating procedures, including endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES), are a major risk for physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Techniques for reducing aerosolization and risk of transmission of COVID-19 during these procedures would be valuable to the neurosurgical community. The authors aimed to simulate the generation of small-particle aerosols during EES and craniectomy in order to develop methods to reduce the spread of aerosolized particles, and to test the effectiveness of these methods.

METHODS

This study was performed at the Anatomical Laboratory for Visuospatial Innovations in Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery at The Ohio State University. The following two scenarios were used to measure three different particle sizes (0.3, 2.5, and 10 µm) generated: 1) drilling frontotemporal bone, simulating a craniectomy; and 2) drilling sphenoid bone, simulating an endonasal approach. A suction mask device was created with the aim of reducing particle release. The presence of particles was measured without suction, with a single Frazier tip suction in the field, and with the suction mask device in addition to the Frazier suction tip. Particles were measured 12 cm from the craniectomy or endonasal drilling region.

RESULTS

In the absence of any aerosol-reducing devices, the number of particles measured during craniectomy was significantly higher than that generated by endonasal drilling. This was true regardless of the particle size measured (0.3 µm, p < 0.001; 2.5 µm, p < 0.001; and 10 µm, p < 0.001). The suction mask device reduced the release of particles of all sizes measured in the craniectomy simulation (0.3 µm, p < 0.001; 2.5 µm, p < 0.001; and 10 µm, p < 0.001) and particles of 0.3 µm and 2.5 µm in the single Frazier suction simulation (0.3 µm, p = 0.031; and 2.5 µm, p = 0.026). The suction mask device further reduced the release of particles of all sizes during EES simulation (0.3 µm, p < 0.001; and 2.5 µm, p < 0.001) and particles of 0.3 µm and 2.5 µm in the single Frazier suction simulation (0.3 µm, p = 0.033; and 2.5 µm, p = 0.048). Large particles (10 µm) were not detected during EES.

CONCLUSIONS

The suction mask device is a simple and effective means of reducing aerosol release during EES, and it could potentially be used during mastoidectomies. This could be a valuable tool to reduce the risk of procedure-associated viral transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Christian Hoelscher, Ahmad Sweid, Ritam Ghosh, Fadi Al Saiegh, Kavantissa M. Keppetipola, Christopher J. Farrell, Jack Jallo, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, M. Reid Gooch, Robert H. Rosenwasser, and Syed O. Shah

Herein, the authors present the case of a 54-year-old male diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during a screening test. The patient was asked to self-isolate at home and report with any exacerbations of symptoms. He presented later with pneumonia complicated by encephalopathy at days 14 and 15 from initial diagnosis, respectively. MRI of the brain showed bithalamic and gangliocapsular FLAIR signal abnormality with mild right-sided thalamic and periventricular diffusion restriction. A CT venogram was obtained given the distribution of edema and demonstrated deep venous thrombosis involving the bilateral internal cerebral veins and the vein of Galen. CSF workup was negative for encephalitis, as the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and bacterial cultures were negative. A complete hypercoagulable workup was negative, and the venous thrombosis was attributed to a hypercoagulable state induced by COVID-19. The mental decline was attributed to bithalamic and gangliocapsular venous infarction secondary to deep venous thrombosis. Unfortunately, the patient’s condition continued to decline, and care was withdrawn.

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J. Adair Prall, John D. Davis, and N. Ross Jenkins

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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Nicholas C. Bambakidis, Fred G. Barker II, Bob S Carter, Kevin M. Cockroft, Rose Du, Justin F. Fraser, Mark G. Hamilton, Judy Huang, John A. Jane Jr., Randy L. Jensen, Michael G. Kaplitt, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Julie G. Pilitsis, Howard A. Riina, Michael Schulder, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Lynda J. S. Yang, and Gabriel Zada