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Marco Schiariti, Pablo Goetz, Hussien El-Maghraby, Jignesh Tailor and Neil Kitchen

Object

Hemangiopericytomas are rare tumors that behave aggressively with a high rate of local recurrence and distant metastases. With the aim of determining the outcome and response to various treatment modalities, a series of 39 patients who underwent microsurgical resection for primary meningeal hemangiopericytoma over a 24-year period is presented.

Methods

Patients with hemangiopericytoma were identified from histopathology records and their medical records were analyzed retrospectively by 2 independent reviewers to collect data on surgical treatment, adjuvant therapy, postoperative course, local or distant recurrence, and follow-up.

Results

Of the 39 patients, 19 were male and 20 were female. Mean patient age was 44.1 years. Thirty-four tumors were intracranial and 5 were spinal. The mean follow-up period was 123 months. Twenty-eight patients developed local recurrence. The recurrence rate at 1, 5, and 15 years was 3.5%, 46%, and 92%, respectively. Extraneural metastasis occurred in 8 patients (26%) at an average of 123 months after initial surgery. Recurrences and metastases were treated by surgical excision, external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), chemotherapy, and/or stereotactic radiosurgery. Adjuvant EBRT following initial surgery was found to extend the disease-free interval from 154 months to 254 months, although it did not prevent the development of metastasis. In those patients with EBRT and complete resection, the mean recurrence-free interval was found to be 126.3 months longer (p = 0.04) and overall survival 126 months longer than without EBRT. Furthermore, adjusting for resection, patients undergoing EBRT had 0.33 times increased risk of recurrence compared with those who did not (p = 0.03). A majority of patients remained able to live independently despite revision surgery for recurrence.

Conclusions

The mean follow-up of this patient series represents the longest follow-up duration published to date and demonstrates extended survival in a significant number of patients with hemangiopericytoma. Gross-total resection followed by adjuvant EBRT provides patients with the highest probability of an increased recurrence-free interval and overall survival. Prolonged survival justifies long-term follow-up and aggressive treatment of initial, recurrent, and metastatic disease.

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Andrew Tarnaris, Ahmed. K. Toma, Miles D. Chapman, Geoff Keir, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins

Object

The prognostic value of CSF biomarkers in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) has not been adequately studied to date. The aim of this study was to identify CSF markers of favorable surgical outcome in patients with iNPH undergoing the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Methods

Ventricular CSF was collected intraoperatively from 22 patients with iNPH and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to analyze the levels of amyloid-β 1–42 (Aβ1–42) and total tau protein. The Black grading scale was used to assess outcomes at 6 months. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were obtained and discriminant function analysis was undertaken to provide sensitivity and specificity figures for each marker as well as their combination.

Results

The mean age of the patients was 71.45 years (± 9.5 years [SD]). Follow-up was achieved in 21 patients. Seventeen patients had a favorable outcome and 4 patients had unfavorable outcome at 6 months. An Aβ1–42 level of 180 pg/ml had a sensitivity of 35% and a specificity of 20% for predicting a favorable outcome at 6 months. A total tau level of 767 pg/ml will have a sensitivity of 17% and a specificity of 20% for predicting a favorable outcome at 6 months. A combination of Aβ1–42 and total tau levels predicted favorable outcomes with a sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 82.4%.

Conclusions

In this pilot study a combination of Aβ1–42 levels and total tau protein levels predicted favorable surgical outcomes at 6 months with adequate accuracy to be of clinical use. Further study in a larger group with longer follow-up is warranted.

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Harith Akram, Bilal Mirza, Neil Kitchen and Joanna M. Zakrzewska

Object

The aim of this study was to design a checklist with a scoring system for reporting on studies of surgical interventions for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and to validate it by a review of the recent literature.

Methods

A checklist with a scoring system, the Surgical Trigeminal Neuralgia Score (STNS), was devised partially based on the validated STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria and customized for TN after a literature review and then applied to a series of articles. These articles were identified using a prespecified MEDLINE and Embase search covering the period from 2008 to 2010. Of the 584 articles found, 59 were studies of interventional procedures for TN that fulfilled the inclusion criteria and 56 could be obtained in full. The STNS was then applied independently by 3 of the authors.

Results

The maximum STNS came to 30, and was reliable and reproducible when used by the 3 authors who performed the scoring. The range of scores was 6–23.5, with a mean of 14 for all the journals. The impact factor scores of the journals in which the papers were published ranged from 0 to 4.8. Twenty-four of the studies were published in the Journal of Neurosurgery or in Neurosurgery. Studies published in neurosurgical journals ranked higher on the STNS scale than those published in nonneurosurgical journals. There was no statistically significant correlation between STNS and impact factors. Stereotactic radiosurgery (n = 25) and microvascular decompression (n = 15) were the most commonly reported procedures.

The diagnostic criteria were stated in 35% of the studies, and 4 studies reported subtypes of TN. An increasing number of studies (46%) used the recommended Kaplan-Meier methodology for pain survival outcomes. The follow-up period was unclear in 8 studies, and 26 reported follow-ups of more than 5 years. Complications were reported fairly consistently but the temporal course was not always indicated. Direct interview, telephone conversation, and questionnaires were used to measure outcomes. Independent assessment of outcome was only clearly stated in 7 studies. Only 2 studies used the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey to measure quality of life and 4 studies reported on the severity of preoperative pain. The Barrow Neurological Institute pain questionnaire was the most commonly used outcome measure (n = 13), followed by the visual analog scale.

Conclusions

Similar to the STROBE criteria that provide a checklist of items that should be included in reports of observational studies in general, the authors' suggested checklist for the STNS could help editors and reviewers ensure that quality reports are published, and could prove useful for colleagues when reporting their results specifically on the surgical management of TN. It would help the patient and clinicians make a decision about selecting the appropriate neurosurgical procedure.

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Fiona A. Wilkes, Harith Akram, Jonathan A. Hyam, Neil D. Kitchen, Marwan I. Hariz and Ludvic Zrinzo

OBJECT

Bibliometrics are the methods used to quantitatively analyze scientific literature. In this study, bibliometrics were used to quantify the scientific output of neurosurgical departments throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

METHODS

A list of neurosurgical departments was obtained from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons website. Individual departments were contacted for an up-to-date list of consultant (attending) neurosurgeons practicing in these departments. Scopus was used to determine the h-index and m-quotient for each neurosurgeon. Indices were measured by surgeon and by departmental mean and total. Additional information was collected about the surgeon's sex, title, listed superspecialties, higher research degrees, and year of medical qualification.

RESULTS

Data were analyzed for 315 neurosurgeons (25 female). The median h-index and m-quotient were 6.00 and 0.41, respectively. These were significantly higher for professors (h-index 21.50; m-quotient 0.71) and for those with an additional MD or PhD (11.0; 0.57). There was no significant difference in h-index, m-quotient, or higher research degrees between the sexes. However, none of the 16 British neurosurgery professors were female. Neurosurgeons who specialized in functional/epilepsy surgery ranked highest in terms of publication productivity. The 5 top-scoring departments were those in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge; St. George's Hospital, London; Great Ormond Street Hospital, London; National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London; and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

CONCLUSIONS

The h-index is a useful bibliometric marker, particularly when comparing between studies and individuals. The m-quotient reduces bias toward established researchers. British academic neurosurgeons face considerable challenges, and women remain underrepresented in both clinical and academic neurosurgery in Britain and Ireland.