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Zoe E. Teton, Barry Cheaney II, James T. Obayashi and Khoi D. Than

OBJECTIVE

Common interbody graft options for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) include allograft and polyetheretherketone (PEEK). PEEK has gained popularity due to its radiolucent properties and a modulus of elasticity similar to that of bone. PEEK devices also result in higher billing costs than allograft, which may drive selection. A previous study found a 5-fold higher rate of pseudarthrosis with the use of PEEK devices compared with structural allograft in single-level ACDF. Here the authors report on the occurrence of pseudarthrosis with PEEK devices versus structural allograft in patients who underwent multilevel ACDF.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 81 consecutive patients who underwent a multilevel ACDF and had radiographic follow-up for at least 1 year. Data were collected on age, sex, BMI, tobacco use, pseudarthrosis, and rate of reoperation for pseudarthrosis. Logistic regression was used for data analysis.

RESULTS

Of 81 patients, 35 had PEEK implants and 46 had structural allograft. There were no significant differences between age, sex, smoking status, or BMI in the 2 groups. There were 26/35 (74%) patients with PEEK implants who demonstrated radiographic evidence of pseudarthrosis, compared with 5/46 (11%) patients with structural allograft (p < 0.001, OR 22.2). Five patients (14%) with PEEK implants required reoperation for pseudarthrosis, compared with 0 patients with allograft (p = 0.013).

CONCLUSIONS

This study reinforces previous findings on 1-level ACDF outcomes and suggests that the use of PEEK in multilevel ACDF results in statistically significantly higher rates of radiographic pseudarthrosis and need for revision surgery than allograft. Surgeons should consider these findings when determining graft options, and reimbursement policies should reflect these discrepancies.

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Daniel Blatt, Barry Cheaney II, Katherine Holste, Seshadri Balaji and Ahmed M. Raslan

OBJECTIVE

Congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) provides an opportunity for neurosurgical intervention. Medication and implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD)–refractory patients often require left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD) via anterior video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). However, this approach has major pulmonary contraindications and risks, with a common concern in children being their inability to tolerate single-lung ventilation. At Oregon Health & Science University, the authors have developed a posterior approach—extrapleural, minimally invasive, T1–5 LCSD—that minimizes this risk.

METHODS

A 9-year-old girl with LQTS type III presented to the emergency department while experiencing ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) with multiple ICD firings. Medical management failed to resolve the VF/VT. VATS was attempted but could not be safely performed due to respiratory insufficiency. The patient was reintubated for dual-lung ventilation and repositioned prone. Her respiratory insufficiency resolved. Using METRx serial dilating tubes under the microscope, the left T1–5 sympathetic ganglia were sectioned and removed.

RESULTS

Postoperatively, the patient had no episodes of VF/VT, pneumothorax, hemothorax, or Horner syndrome. With mexiletine and propranolol, she has remained largely VF/VT free, with only one VT episode during the 2-year follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive, posterior, extrapleural, T1–5 LCSD is safe and effective for treating congenital LQTS in children, while minimizing the risks associated with VATS.