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Ethan A. Winkler, John K. Yue, Harjus Birk, Caitlin K. Robinson, Geoffrey T. Manley, Sanjay S. Dhall and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECT

Traumatic fractures of the thoracolumbar spine are common injuries, accounting for approximately 90% of all spinal trauma. Lumbar spine trauma in the elderly is a growing public health problem with relatively little evidence to guide clinical management. The authors sought to characterize the complications, morbidity, and mortality associated with surgical and nonsurgical management in elderly patients with traumatic fractures of the lumbar spine.

METHODS

Using the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients ≥ 55 years of age who had traumatic fracture to the lumbar spine. This group was divided into middle-aged (55–69 years) and elderly (≥ 70 years) cohorts. Cohorts were subdivided into nonoperative, vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, noninstrumented surgery, and instrumented surgery. Univariate and multivariable analyses were used to characterize and identify predictors of medical and surgical complications, mortality, hospital length of stay, ICU length of stay, number of days on ventilator, and hospital discharge in each subgroup. Adjusted odds ratios, mean differences, and associated 95% CIs were reported. Statistical significance was assessed at p < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was applied for each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

Between 2003 and 2012, 22,835 people met the inclusion criteria, which represents 94,103 incidents nationally. Analyses revealed a similar medical and surgical complication profile between age groups. The most prevalent medical complications were pneumonia (7.0%), acute respiratory distress syndrome (3.6%), and deep venous thrombosis (3%). Surgical site infections occurred in 6.3% of cases. Instrumented surgery was associated with the highest odds of each complication (p < 0.001). The inpatient mortality rate was 6.8% for all subjects. Multivariable analyses demonstrated that age ≥ 70 years was an independent predictor of mortality (OR 3.16, 95% CI 2.77–3.60), whereas instrumented surgery (multivariable OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28–0.52) and vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.17–0.45) were associated with decreased odds of death. In surviving patients, both older age (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.30–0.34) and instrumented fusion (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.33–0.41) were associated with decreased odds of discharge to home.

CONCLUSIONS

The present study confirms that lumbar surgery in the elderly is associated with increased morbidity. In particular, instrumented fusion is associated with periprocedural complications, prolonged hospitalization, and a decreased likelihood of being discharged home. However, fusion surgery is also associated with reduced mortality. Age alone should not be an exclusionary factor in identifying surgical candidates for instrumented lumbar spinal fusion. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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Ethan A. Winkler, John K. Yue, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Sanjay S. Dhall, Mitchel S. Berger, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important public health concern estimated to affect 300,000 to 3.8 million people annually in the United States. Although injuries to professional athletes dominate the media, this group represents only a small proportion of the overall population. Here, the authors characterize the demographics of sports-related TBI in adults from a community-based trauma population and identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization and increased morbidity and mortality rates.

METHODS

Utilizing the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), the authors retrospectively analyzed sports-related TBI data from adults (age ≥ 18 years) across 5 sporting categories—fall or interpersonal contact (FIC), roller sports, skiing/snowboarding, equestrian sports, and aquatic sports. Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify predictors of prolonged hospital length of stay (LOS), medical complications, inpatient mortality rates, and hospital discharge disposition. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was applied for each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

From 2003 to 2012, in total, 4788 adult sports-related TBIs were documented in the NTDB, which represented 18,310 incidents nationally. Equestrian sports were the greatest contributors to sports-related TBI (45.2%). Mild TBI represented nearly 86% of injuries overall. Mean (± SEM) LOSs in the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU) were 4.25 ± 0.09 days and 1.60 ± 0.06 days, respectively. The mortality rate was 3.0% across all patients, but was statistically higher in TBI from roller sports (4.1%) and aquatic sports (7.7%). Age, hypotension on admission to the emergency department (ED), and the severity of head and extracranial injuries were statistically significant predictors of prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, medical complications, failure to discharge to home, and death. Traumatic brain injury during aquatic sports was similarly associated with prolonged ICU and hospital LOSs, medical complications, and failure to be discharged to home.

CONCLUSIONS

Age, hypotension on ED admission, severity of head and extracranial injuries, and sports mechanism of injury are important prognostic variables in adult sports-related TBI. Increasing TBI awareness and helmet use—particularly in equestrian and roller sports—are critical elements for decreasing sports-related TBI events in adults.

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John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Sanjay S. Dhall, Mitchel S. Berger, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children is a significant public health concern estimated to result in over 500,000 emergency department (ED) visits and more than 60,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Sports activities are one important mechanism leading to pediatric TBI. In this study, the authors characterize the demographics of sports-related TBI in the pediatric population and identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization and of increased morbidity and mortality rates.

METHODS

Utilizing the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), the authors retrospectively analyzed sports-related TBI data from children (age 0–17 years) across 5 sports categories: fall or interpersonal contact (FIC), roller sports, skiing/snowboarding, equestrian sports, and aquatic sports. Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify predictors of prolonged length of stay (LOS) in the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU), medical complications, inpatient mortality rates, and hospital discharge disposition. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.05, and the Bonferroni correction (set at significance threshold p = 0.01) for multiple comparisons was applied in each outcome analysis.

RESULTS

From 2003 to 2012, in total 3046 pediatric sports-related TBIs were recorded in the NTDB, and these injuries represented 11,614 incidents nationally after sample weighting. Fall or interpersonal contact events were the greatest contributors to sports-related TBI (47.4%). Mild TBI represented 87.1% of the injuries overall. Mean (± SEM) LOSs in the hospital and ICU were 2.68 ± 0.07 days and 2.73 ± 0.12 days, respectively. The overall mortality rate was 0.8%, and the prevalence of medical complications was 2.1% across all patients. Severities of head and extracranial injuries were significant predictors of prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, medical complications, failure to discharge to home, and death. Hypotension on admission to the ED was a significant predictor of failure to discharge to home (OR 0.05, 95% CI 0.03–0.07, p < 0.001). Traumatic brain injury incurred during roller sports was independently associated with prolonged hospital LOS compared with FIC events (mean increase 0.54 ± 0.15 days, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In pediatric sports-related TBI, the severities of head and extracranial traumas are important predictors of patients developing acute medical complications, prolonged hospital and ICU LOSs, in-hospital mortality rates, and failure to discharge to home. Acute hypotension after a TBI event decreases the probability of successful discharge to home. Increasing TBI awareness and use of head-protective gear, particularly in high-velocity sports in older age groups, is necessary to prevent pediatric sports-related TBI or to improve outcomes after a TBI.

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John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, Jonathan W. Rick, Hansen Deng, Carlene P. Partow, Pavan S. Upadhyayula, Harjus S. Birk, Andrew K. Chan and Sanjay S. Dhall

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) often occurs in patients with concurrent traumatic injuries in other body systems. These patients with polytrauma pose unique challenges to clinicians. The current review evaluates existing guidelines and updates the evidence for prehospital transport, immobilization, initial resuscitation, critical care, hemodynamic stability, diagnostic imaging, surgical techniques, and timing appropriate for the patient with SCI who has multisystem trauma. Initial management should be systematic, with focus on spinal immobilization, timely transport, and optimizing perfusion to the spinal cord. There is general evidence for the maintenance of mean arterial pressure of > 85 mm Hg during immediate and acute care to optimize neurological outcome; however, the selection of vasopressor type and duration should be judicious, with considerations for level of injury and risks of increased cardiogenic complications in the elderly. Level II recommendations exist for early decompression, and additional time points of neurological assessment within the first 24 hours and during acute care are warranted to determine the temporality of benefits attributable to early surgery. Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis using low-molecular-weight heparin is recommended by current guidelines for SCI. For these patients, titration of tidal volumes is important to balance the association of earlier weaning off the ventilator, with its risk of atelectasis, against the risk for lung damage from mechanical overinflation that can occur with prolonged ventilation. Careful evaluation of infection risk is a priority following multisystem trauma for patients with relative immunosuppression or compromise. Although patients with polytrauma may experience longer rehabilitation courses, long-term neurological recovery is generally comparable to that in patients with isolated SCI after controlling for demographics. Bowel and bladder disorders are common following SCI, significantly reduce quality of life, and constitute a focus of targeted therapies. Emerging biomarkers including glial fibrillary acidic protein, S100β, and microRNAs for traumatic SCIs are presented. Systematic management approaches to minimize sources of secondary injury are discussed, and areas requiring further research, implementation, and validation are identified.

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Hansen Deng, John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, Sanjay S. Dhall, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric firearm injury is a leading cause of death and disability in the youth of the United States. The epidemiology of and outcomes following gunshot wounds to the head (GSWHs) are in need of systematic characterization. Here, the authors analyzed pediatric GSWHs from a population-based sample to identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization, morbidity, and death.

METHODS

All patients younger than 18 years of age and diagnosed with a GSWH in the National Sample Program (NSP) of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) in 2003–2012 were eligible for inclusion in this study. Variables of interest included injury intent, firearm type, site of incident, age, sex, race, health insurance, geographic region, trauma center level, isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypotension in the emergency department, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, and Injury Severity Score (ISS). Risk predictors for a prolonged hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality were identified. Odds ratios, mean increases or decreases (B), and 95% confidence intervals were reported. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.001 accounting for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS

In a weighted sample of 2847 pediatric patients with GSWHs, the mean age was 14.8 ± 3.3 years, 79.2% were male, and 59.0% had severe TBI (GCS score 3–8). The mechanism of assault (63.0%), the handgun as firearm (45.6%), and an injury incurred in a residential area (40.6%) were most common. The mean hospital length of stay was 11.6 ± 14.4 days for the survivors, for whom suicide injuries involved longer hospitalizations (B = 5.9-day increase, 95% CI 3.3–8.6, p < 0.001) relative to those for accidental injuries. Mortality was 45.1% overall but was greater with injury due to suicidal intent (mortality 71.5%, p < 0.001) or caused by a shotgun (mortality 56.5%, p < 0.001). Lower GCS scores, higher ISSs, and emergency room hypotension predicted poorer outcomes. Patients with private insurance had lower mortality odds than those with Medicare/Medicaid (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.7–3.4, p < 0.001) or government insurance (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.2–5.8, p < 0.001). Management at level II centers, compared to level I, was associated with lower odds of returning home (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2–0.5, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

From 2003 to 2012, with regard to pediatric TBI hospitalizations due to GSWHs, their proportion remained stable, those caused by accidental injuries decreased, and those attributable to suicide increased. Overall mortality was 45%. Hypotension, cranial and overall injury severity, and suicidal intent were associated with poor prognoses. Patients treated at level II trauma centers had lower odds of being discharged home. Given the spectrum of risk factors that predispose children to GSWHs, emphasis on screening, parental education, and standardization of critical care management is needed to improve outcomes.

Restricted access

Hansen Deng, John K. Yue, Ethan A. Winkler, Sanjay S. Dhall, Geoffrey T. Manley and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric firearm injury is a leading cause of death and disability in the youth of the United States. The epidemiology of and outcomes following gunshot wounds to the head (GSWHs) are in need of systematic characterization. Here, the authors analyzed pediatric GSWHs from a population-based sample to identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization, morbidity, and death.

METHODS

All patients younger than 18 years of age and diagnosed with a GSWH in the National Sample Program (NSP) of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) in 2003–2012 were eligible for inclusion in this study. Variables of interest included injury intent, firearm type, site of incident, age, sex, race, health insurance, geographic region, trauma center level, isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypotension in the emergency department, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, and Injury Severity Score (ISS). Risk predictors for a prolonged hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality were identified. Odds ratios, mean increases or decreases (B), and 95% confidence intervals were reported. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.001 accounting for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS

In a weighted sample of 2847 pediatric patients with GSWHs, the mean age was 14.8 ± 3.3 years, 79.2% were male, and 59.0% had severe TBI (GCS score 3–8). The mechanism of assault (63.0%), the handgun as firearm (45.6%), and an injury incurred in a residential area (40.6%) were most common. The mean hospital length of stay was 11.6 ± 14.4 days for the survivors, for whom suicide injuries involved longer hospitalizations (B = 5.9-day increase, 95% CI 3.3–8.6, p < 0.001) relative to those for accidental injuries. Mortality was 45.1% overall but was greater with injury due to suicidal intent (mortality 71.5%, p < 0.001) or caused by a shotgun (mortality 56.5%, p < 0.001). Lower GCS scores, higher ISSs, and emergency room hypotension predicted poorer outcomes. Patients with private insurance had lower mortality odds than those with Medicare/Medicaid (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.7–3.4, p < 0.001) or government insurance (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.2–5.8, p < 0.001). Management at level II centers, compared to level I, was associated with lower odds of returning home (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2–0.5, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

From 2003 to 2012, with regard to pediatric TBI hospitalizations due to GSWHs, their proportion remained stable, those caused by accidental injuries decreased, and those attributable to suicide increased. Overall mortality was 45%. Hypotension, cranial and overall injury severity, and suicidal intent were associated with poor prognoses. Patients treated at level II trauma centers had lower odds of being discharged home. Given the spectrum of risk factors that predispose children to GSWHs, emphasis on screening, parental education, and standardization of critical care management is needed to improve outcomes.

Restricted access

Hansen Deng, Andrew K. Chan, Simon G. Ammanuel, Alvin Y. Chan, Taemin Oh, Henry C. Skrehot, Caleb S. Edwards, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy D. Nichols, Catherine Liu, John K. Yue, Sanjay S. Dhall, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Christopher P. Ames and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery causes major morbidity and greatly impedes functional recovery. In the modern era of advanced operative techniques and improved perioperative care, SSI remains a problematic complication that may be reduced with institutional practices. The objectives of this study were to 1) characterize the SSI rate and microbial etiology following spine surgery for various thoracolumbar diseases, and 2) identify risk factors that were associated with SSI despite current perioperative management.

METHODS

All patients treated with thoracic or lumbar spine operations on the neurosurgery service at the University of California, San Francisco from April 2012 to April 2016 were formally reviewed for SSI using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) guidelines. Preoperative risk variables included age, sex, BMI, smoking, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), ambulatory status, history of malignancy, use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Operative variables included surgical pathology, resident involvement, spine level and surgical technique, instrumentation, antibiotic and steroid use, estimated blood loss (EBL), and operative time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors for SSI. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.

RESULTS

In total, 2252 consecutive patients underwent thoracolumbar spine surgery. The mean patient age was 58.6 ± 13.8 years and 49.6% were male. The mean hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 7.4 days. Sixty percent of patients had degenerative conditions, and 51.9% underwent fusions. Sixty percent of patients utilized presurgery CHG showers. The mean operative duration was 3.7 ± 2 hours, and the mean EBL was 467 ± 829 ml. Compared to nonfusion patients, fusion patients were older (mean 60.1 ± 12.7 vs 57.1 ± 14.7 years, p < 0.001), were more likely to have an ASA classification > II (48.0% vs 36.0%, p < 0.001), and experienced longer operative times (252.3 ± 120.9 minutes vs 191.1 ± 110.2 minutes, p < 0.001). Eleven patients had deep SSI (0.49%), and the most common causative organisms were methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients with CAD (p = 0.003) or DM (p = 0.050), and those who were male (p = 0.006), were predictors of increased odds of SSI, and presurgery CHG showers (p = 0.001) were associated with decreased odds of SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

This institutional experience over a 4-year period revealed that the overall rate of SSI by the NHSN criteria was low at 0.49% following thoracolumbar surgery. This was attributable to the implementation of presurgery optimization, and intraoperative and postoperative measures to prevent SSI across the authors’ institution. Despite prevention measures, having a history of CAD or DM, and being male, were risk factors associated with increased SSI, and presurgery CHG shower utilization decreased SSI risk in patients.