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Robert G. Whitmore, Jill N. Curran, Zarina S. Ali, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Robert F. Heary, Michael G. Kaiser, Anthony L. Asher, Neil R. Malhotra, Joseph S. Cheng, John Hurlbert, Justin S. Smith, Subu N. Magge, Michael P. Steinmetz, Daniel K. Resnick and Zoher Ghogawala

OBJECT

The authors have established a multicenter registry to assess the efficacy and costs of common lumbar spinal procedures using prospectively collected outcomes. Collection of these data requires an extensive commitment of resources from each site. The aim of this study was to determine whether outcomes data from shorter-interval follow-up could be used to accurately estimate long-term outcome following lumbar discectomy.

METHODS

An observational prospective cohort study was completed at 13 academic and community sites. Patients undergoing single-level lumbar discectomy for treatment of disc herniation were included. SF-36 and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were obtained preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) data were calculated using SF-6D utility scores. Correlations among outcomes at each follow-up time point were tested using the Spearman rank correlation test.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-eight patients were enrolled over 1 year. Their mean age was 46 years (49% female). Eleven patients (7.4%) required a reoperation by 1 year postoperatively. The overall 1-year follow-up rate was 80.4%. Lumbar discectomy was associated with significant improvements in ODI and SF-36 scores (p < 0.0001) and with a gain of 0.246 QALYs over the 1-year study period. The greatest gain occurred between baseline and 3-month follow-up and was significantly greater than improvements obtained between 3 and 6 months or 6 months and 1 year(p < 0.001). Correlations between 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year outcomes were similar, suggesting that 3-month data may be used to accurately estimate 1-year outcomes for patients who do not require a reoperation. Patients who underwent reoperation had worse outcomes scores and nonsignificant correlations at all time points.

CONCLUSIONS

This national spine registry demonstrated successful collection of high-quality outcomes data for spinal procedures in actual practice. Three-month outcome data may be used to accurately estimate outcome at future time points and may lower costs associated with registry data collection. This registry effort provides a practical foundation for the acquisition of outcome data following lumbar discectomy.

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Robert G. Grossman, Ralph F. Frankowski, Keith D. Burau, Elizabeth G. Toups, John W. Crommett, Michele M. Johnson, Michael G. Fehlings, Charles H. Tator, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Susan J. Harkema, Jonathan E. Hodes, Bizhan Aarabi, Michael K. Rosner, James D. Guest and James S. Harrop

Object

The aim of this multicenter, prospective study was to determine the spectrum, incidence, and severity of complications during the initial hospitalization of patients with spinal cord injury.

Methods

The study was conducted at 9 university-affiliated hospitals that comprise the clinical centers of the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) for Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury. The study population comprised 315 patients admitted to NACTN clinical centers between June 25, 2005, and November 2, 2010, who had American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grades of A–D and were 18 years of age or older. Patients were managed according to a standardized protocol.

Results

The study population was 79% male with a median age of 44 years. The leading causes of injury were falls (37%) and motor vehicle accidents (28%). The distribution of initial ASIA grades were A (40%), B (16%), C (15%), and D (29%). Fifty-eight percent of patients sustained 1 or more severe, moderate, or mild complications. Complications were associated with more severe ASIA grade: 84% of patients with Grade A and 25% of patients with Grade D had at least 1 complication. Seventy-eight percent of complications occurred within 14 days of injury. The most frequent types of severe and moderate complications were respiratory failure, pneumonia, pleural effusion, anemia, cardiac dysrhythmia, and severe bradycardia. The mortality rate was 3.5% and was associated with increased age and preexisting morbidity.

Conclusions

Knowledge of the type, frequency, time of occurrence, and severity of specific complications that occur after spinal cord injury can aid in their early detection, treatment, and prevention. The data are of importance in evaluating and selecting therapy for clinical trials.

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Christopher J. Balamucki, Volker W. Stieber, Thomas L. Ellis, Stephen B. Tatter, Allan F. DeGuzman, Kevin P. McMullen, James Lovato, Edward G. Shaw, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, J. Daniel Bourland, Michael T. Munley, Michael Robbins and Charles Branch

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a treatment option for patients with refractory typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN), TN with atypical features, and atypical types of facial pain. The Gamma Knife’s 201 60Co sources decay with a half-life of 5.26 years. The authors examined whether the decrease in dose rate over 4.6 years between Co source replacements affected the control rates of facial pain in patients undergoing GKS.

Methods

The authors collected complete follow-up data on 239 of 326 GKS procedures performed in patients with facial pain. Patients were classified by their type of pain. The isocenter of a 4-mm collimator helmet was targeted at the proximal trigeminal nerve root, and the dose (80–90 Gy) was prescribed at the 100% isodose line. Patients reported the amount of pain control following radiosurgery by answering a standardized questionnaire.

Eighty percent of patients experienced greater than 50% pain relief, and 56% of patients experienced complete pain relief after GKS. Neither dose rate nor treatment time was significantly associated with either the control rate or degree of pain relief. A significant association between the type of facial pain and the pain control rate after GKS was observed (p < 0.001; Pearson chi-square test).

In their statistical analysis, the authors accounted for changes in prescription dose over time to prevent the dose rate from being a confounding variable. There was no observable effect of the dose rate or of the treatment duration within the typical period to source replacement.

Conclusions

Patients with facial pain appear to receive consistent treatment with GKS at any time during the first half-life of the Co sources.

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Michael A. Garcia, Ann Lazar, Sai Duriseti, David R. Raleigh, Christopher P. Hess, Shannon E. Fogh, Igor J. Barani, Jean L. Nakamura, David A. Larson, Philip Theodosopoulos, Michael McDermott, Penny K. Sneed and Steve Braunstein

OBJECTIVE

High-resolution double-dose gadolinium-enhanced Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery-planning MRI (GK MRI) on the day of GK treatment can detect additional brain metastases undiagnosed on the prior diagnostic MRI scan (dMRI), revealing increased intracranial disease burden on the day of radiosurgery, and potentially necessitating a reevaluation of appropriate management. The authors identified factors associated with detecting additional metastases on GK MRI and investigated the relationship between detection of additional metastases and postradiosurgery patient outcomes.

METHODS

The authors identified 326 patients who received GK radiosurgery at their institution from 2010 through 2013 and had a prior dMRI available for comparison of numbers of brain metastases. Factors predictive of additional brain metastases on GK MRI were investigated using logistic regression analysis. Overall survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier method, and postradiosurgery distant intracranial failure was estimated by cumulative incidence measures. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards model and Fine-Gray regression modeling assessed potential risk factors of overall survival and distant intracranial failure, respectively.

RESULTS

The mean numbers of brain metastases (SD) on dMRI and GK MRI were 3.4 (4.2) and 5.8 (7.7), respectively, and additional brain metastases were found on GK MRI in 48.9% of patients. Frequencies of detecting additional metastases for patients with 1, 2, 3–4, and more than 4 brain metastases on dMRI were 29.5%, 47.9%, 55.9%, and 79.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). An index brain metastasis with a diameter greater than 1 cm on dMRI was inversely associated with detecting additional brain metastases, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.57 (95% CI 0.4–0.9, p = 0.02). The median time between dMRI and GK MRI was 22 days (range 1–88 days), and time between scans was not associated with detecting additional metastases. Patients with additional brain metastases did not have larger total radiosurgery target volumes, and they rarely had an immediate change in management (abortion of radiosurgery or addition of whole-brain radiation therapy) due to detection of additional metastases. Patients with additional metastases had a higher incidence of distant intracranial failure than those without additional metastases (p = 0.004), with an adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio of 1.4 (95% CI 1.0–2.0, p = 0.04). Significantly worse overall survival was not detected for patients with additional brain metastases on GK MRI (log-rank p = 0.07), with the relative adjusted hazard ratio of 1.07, (95% CI 0.81–1.41, p = 0.65).

CONCLUSIONS

Detecting additional brain metastases on GK MRI is strongly associated with the number of brain metastases on dMRI and inversely associated with the size of the index brain metastasis. The discovery of additional brain metastases at time of GK radiosurgery is very unlikely to lead to aborting radiosurgery but is associated with a higher incidence of distant intracranial failure. However, there is not a significant difference in survival.

▪ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: prognostic; study design: retrospective cohort trial; evidence: Class IV.

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Christopher D. Duntsch, Qihong Zhou, Himangi R. Jayakar, James D. Weimar, Jon H. Robertson, Lawrence M. Pfeffer, Lie Wang, Zixiu Xiang and Michael A. Whitt

Object. The purpose of this study was to evaluate both replication-competent and replication-restricted recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vectors as therapeutic agents for high-grade gliomas by using an organotypic brain tissue slice—glioma coculture system.

Methods. The coculture system involved growing different brain structures together to allow neurons from these tissues to develop synaptic connections similar to those found in vivo. Rat C6 or human U87 glioma cells were then introduced into the culture to evaluate VSV as an oncolytic therapy. The authors found that recombinant wild-type VSV (rVSV-wt) rapidly eliminated C6 glioma cells from the coculture, but also caused significant damage to neurons, as measured by a loss of microtubule-associated protein 2 immunoreactivity and a failure in electrophysiological responses from neurons in the tissue slice. Nonetheless, pretreatment with interferon beta (IFNβ) virtually eliminated VSV infection in healthy tissues without impeding any oncolytic effects on tumor cells. Despite the protective effects of the IFNβ pretreatment, the tissue slices still showed signs of cytopathology when exposed to rVSV-wt. In contrast, pretreatment with IFNβ and inoculation with a replication-restricted vector with its glycoprotein gene deleted (rVSV-ΔG) effectively destroyed rat C6 and human U87 glioma cells in the coculture, without causing detectable damage to the neuronal integrity and electrophysiological properties of the healthy tissue in the culture.

Conclusions. Data in this study provide in vitro proof-of-principle that rVSV-ΔG is an effective oncolytic agent that has minimal toxic side effects to neurons compared with rVSV-wt and therefore should be considered for development as an adjuvant to surgery in the treatment of glioma.

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Grace F. Donzelli, Jeffrey Nelson, David McCoy, Charles E. McCulloch, Steven W. Hetts, Matthew R. Amans, Christopher F. Dowd, Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida, Michael T. Lawton, Helen Kim and Daniel L. Cooke

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is performed to facilitate resection, although its impact on surgical performance has not been clearly defined. The authors tested for associations between embolization and surgical performance metrics.

METHODS

The authors analyzed AVM cases resected by one neurosurgeon from 2006 to 2017. They tested whether cases with and without embolization differed from one another with respect to patient and AVM characteristics using t-tests for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables. They used simple and multivariable regression models to test whether surgical outcomes (blood loss, resection time, surgical clip usage, and modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score) were associated with embolization. Additional regression analyses integrated the peak arterial afferent contrast normalized for the size of the region of interest (Cmax/ROI) into models as an additional predictor.

RESULTS

The authors included 319 patients, of whom 151 (47%) had preoperative embolization. Embolized AVMs tended to be larger (38% with diameter > 3 cm vs 19%, p = 0.001), less likely to have hemorrhaged (48% vs 63%, p = 0.013), or be diffuse (19% vs 29%, p = 0.045). Embolized AVMs were more likely to have both superficial and deep venous drainage and less likely to have exclusively deep drainage (32% vs 17% and 12% vs 23%, respectively; p = 0.002). In multivariable analysis, embolization was not a significant predictor of blood loss or mRS score changes, but did predict longer operating times (+29 minutes, 95% CI 2–56 minutes; p = 0.034) and increased clip usage (OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.45–4.71; p = 0.001). Cmax/ROI was not a significant predictor, although cases with large Cmax/ROI tended to have longer procedure times (+25 minutes per doubling of Cmax/ROI, 95% CI 0–50 minutes; p = 0.051).

CONCLUSIONS

In this series, preoperative embolization was associated with longer median resection times and had no association with intraoperative blood loss or mRS score changes.

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Timothy Y. Kim, Christopher M. Jackson, Yuanxuan Xia, Leila A. Mashouf, Kisha K. Patel, Eileen S. Kim, Alice L. Hung, Adela Wu, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Matthew T. Bender, Chetan Bettegowda, John Y. K. Lee and Michael Lim

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain disorder characterized by severe, lancinating facial pain that is commonly treated with neuropathic medication, percutaneous rhizotomy, and/or microvascular decompression (MVD). Patients who are not found to have distinct arterial compression during MVD present a management challenge. In 2013, the authors reported on a small case series of such patients in whom glycerin was injected intraoperatively into the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve. The objective of the authors’ present study was to report their updated experience with this technique to further validate this novel approach.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data obtained in patients in whom glycerin was directly injected into the inferior third of the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve. Seventy-four patients, including 14 patients from the authors’ prior study, were identified, and demographic information, intraoperative findings, postoperative course, and complications were recorded. Fisher’s exact test, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves using Mantel log-rank test were used to compare the 74 patients with a cohort of 476 patients who received standard MVD by the same surgeon.

RESULTS

The 74 patients who underwent MVD and glycerin injection had an average follow-up of 19.1 ± 18.0 months, and the male/female ratio was 1:2.9. In 33 patients (44.6%), a previous intervention for TN had failed. On average, patients had an improvement in the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score from 4.1 ± 0.4 before surgery to 2.1 ± 1.2 after surgery. Pain improvement after the surgery was documented in 95.9% of patients. Thirteen patients (17.6%) developed burning pain following surgery. Five patients developed complications (6.7%), including incisional infection, facial palsy, CSF leak, and hearing deficit, all of which were minor.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative injection of glycerin into the trigeminal nerve is a generally safe and potentially effective treatment for TN when no distinct site of arterial compression is identified during surgery or when decompression of the nerve is deemed to be inadequate.

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Zeev Feldman, Malcolm J. Kanter, Claudia S. Robertson, Charles F. Contant, Christopher Hayes, Michael A. Sheinberg, Cynthia A. Villareal, Raj K. Narayan and Robert G. Grossman

✓ The traditional practice of elevating the head in order to lower intracranial pressure (ICP) in head-injured patients has been challenged in recent years. Some investigators argue that patients with intracranial hypertension should be placed in a horizontal position, the rationale being that this will increase the cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) and thereby improve cerebral blood flow (CBF). However, ICP is generally significantly higher when the patient is in the horizontal position. This study was undertaken to clarify the issue of optimal head position in the care of head-injured patients. The effect of 0° and 30° head elevation on ICP, CPP, CBF, mean carotid pressure, and other cerebral and systemic physiological parameters was studied in 22 head-injured patients. The mean carotid pressure was significantly lower when the patient's head was elevated at 30° than at 0° (84.3 ± 14.5 mm Hg vs. 89.5 ± 14.6 mm Hg), as was the mean ICP (14.1 ± 6.7 mm Hg vs. 19.7 ± 8.3 mm Hg). There was no statistically significant change in CPP, CBF, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen, arteriovenous difference of lactate, or cerebrovascular resistance associated with the change in head position. The data indicate that head elevation to 30° significantly reduced ICP in the majority of the 22 patients without reducing CPP or CBF.

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Hideyuki Kano, Jason Sheehan, Penny K. Sneed, Heyoung L. McBride, Byron Young, Christopher Duma, David Mathieu, Zachary Seymour, Michael W. McDermott, Douglas Kondziolka, Aditya Iyer and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECT

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a potentially important option for patients with skull base chondrosarcomas. The object of this study was to analyze the outcomes of SRS for chondrosarcoma patients who underwent this treatment as a part of multimodality management.

METHODS

Seven participating centers of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium (NAGKC) identified 46 patients who underwent SRS for skull base chondrosarcomas. Thirty-six patients had previously undergone tumor resections and 5 had been treated with fractionated radiation therapy (RT). The median tumor volume was 8.0 cm3 (range 0.9–28.2 cm3), and the median margin dose was 15 Gy (range 10.5–20 Gy). Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to calculate progression-free and overall survival rates.

RESULTS

At a median follow-up of 75 months after SRS, 8 patients were dead. The actuarial overall survival after SRS was 89% at 3 years, 86% at 5 years, and 76% at 10 years. Local tumor progression occurred in 10 patients. The rate of progression-free survival (PFS) after SRS was 88% at 3 years, 85% at 5 years, and 70% at 10 years. Prior RT was significantly associated with shorter PFS. Eight patients required salvage resection, and 3 patients (7%) developed adverse radiation effects. Cranial nerve deficits improved in 22 (56%) of the 39 patients who deficits before SRS. Clinical improvement after SRS was noted in patients with abducens nerve paralysis (61%), oculomotor nerve paralysis (50%), lower cranial nerve dysfunction (50%), optic neuropathy (43%), facial neuropathy (38%), trochlear nerve paralysis (33%), trigeminal neuropathy (12%), and hearing loss (10%).

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery for skull base chondrosarcomas is an important adjuvant option for the treatment of these rare tumors, as part of a team approach that includes initial surgical removal of symptomatic larger tumors.