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  • Author or Editor: Ronald E. Warnick x
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Ellen L. Air, James L. Leach, Ronald E. Warnick and Christopher M. McPherson

Object

Frameless stereotactic biopsy has been shown in multiple studies to be a safe and effective tool for the diagnosis of brain lesions. However, no study has directly evaluated its safety in lesions located in eloquent regions in comparison with noneloquent locations. In this study, the authors determine whether an increased risk of neurological decline is associated with biopsy of lesions in eloquent regions of the brain.

Methods

Medical records, including imaging studies, were reviewed for 284 cases in which frameless stereotactic biopsy procedures were performed by 19 neurosurgeons at 7 institutions between January 2000 and December 2006. Lesion location was classified as eloquent or noneloquent in each patient. The incidence of neurological decline was calculated for each group.

Results

During the study period, 160 of the 284 biopsies predominately involved eloquent regions of the brain. In evaluation of the complication rate with respect to biopsy site, neurological decline occurred in 9 (5.6%) of 160 biopsies in eloquent brain areas and 10 (8.1%) of 124 biopsies in noneloquent regions; this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.416). A higher number of needle passes was associated with the presence of a postoperative hemorrhage at the biopsy site, although not with a change in the result of neurological examination.

Conclusions

Frameless stereotactic biopsy of lesions located in eloquent brain regions is as safe and effective as biopsy of lesions in noneloquent regions. Therefore, with careful planning, frameless stereotactic biopsy remains a valuable and safe tool for diagnosis of brain lesions, independent of lesion location.

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Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Andrew J. Ringer, Christopher M. McPherson, Ronald E. Warnick, Charles Kuntz IV, Mario Zuccarello and John M. Tew Jr.

Object

Health care reform debate includes discussions regarding outcomes of surgical interventions. Yet quality of medical care, when judged as a health outcome, is difficult to define because of impediments affecting accuracy in data collection, analysis, and reporting. In this prospective study, the authors report the outcomes for neurosurgical treatment based on point-of-care interactions recorded in the electronic medical record (EMR).

Methods

The authors' neurosurgery practice collected outcome data for 19 physicians and ancillary personnel using the EMR. Data were analyzed for 5361 consecutive surgical cases, either elective or emergency procedures, performed during 2009 at multiple hospitals, offices, and an ambulatory spine surgery center. Main outcomes included complications, length of stay (LOS), and discharge disposition for all patients and for certain frequently performed procedures. Physicians, nurses, and other medical staff used validated scales to record the hospital LOS, complications, disposition at discharge, and return to work.

Results

Of the 5361 surgical procedures performed, two-thirds were spinal procedures and one-third were cranial procedures. Organization-wide compliance with reporting rates of major complications improved throughout the year, from 80.7% in the first quarter to 90.3% in the fourth quarter. Auditing showed that rates of unreported complications decreased from 11% in the first quarter to 4% in the fourth quarter. Complication data were available for 4593 procedures (85.7%); of these, no complications were reported in 4367 (95.1%). Discharge dispositions reported were home in 86.2%, rehabilitation center in 8.9%, and nursing home in 2.5%. Major complications included culture-proven infection in 0.61%, CSF leak in 0.89%, reoperation within the same hospitalization in 0.38%, and new neurological deficits in 0.77%. For the commonly performed procedures, the median hospital LOS was 3 days for craniotomy for aneurysm or intraaxial tumor and less than 1 day for angiogram, anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, or lumbar discectomy.

Conclusions

With prospectively collected outcome data for more than 5000 surgeries, the authors achieved their primary end point of institution-wide compliance and data accuracy. Components of this process included staged implementation with physician pilot studies and oversight, nurse participation, point-of-service data capture, EMR form modification, data auditing, and confidential surgeon reports.