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Ian McCarthy, Michael O'Brien, Christopher Ames, Chessie Robinson, Thomas Errico, David W. Polly Jr. and Richard Hostin

Object

Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis is critical to the efficient allocation of health care resources; however, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) has eluded the literature, due in part to inherent empirical difficulties when comparing surgical and nonsurgical patients. Using observed preoperative health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients who later underwent surgery, this study builds a statistical model to predict hypothetical quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) without surgical treatment. The analysis compares predicted QALYs to observed postoperative QALYs and forms the resulting ICER.

Methods

This was a single-center (Baylor Scoliosis Center) retrospective analysis of consecutive patients undergoing primary surgery for ASD. Total costs (expressed in 2010 dollars) incurred by the hospital for each episode of surgical care were collected from administrative data and QALYs were calculated from the 6-dimensional Short-Form Health Survey, each discounted at 3.5% per year. Regression analysis was used to predict hypothetical QALYs without surgery based on preoperative longitudinal data for 124 crossover surgical patients with similar diagnoses, baseline HRQOL, age, and sex compared with the surgical cohort. Results were projected through 10-year follow-up, and the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) was estimated using nonparametric bootstrap methods.

Results

Three-year follow-up was available for 120 (66%) of 181 eligible patients, who were predominantly female (89%) with average age of 50. With discounting, total costs averaged $125,407, including readmissions, with average QALYs of 1.93 at 3-year follow-up. Average QALYs without surgery were predicted to be 1.6 after 3 years. At 3- and 5-year follow-up, the ICER was $375,000 and $198,000, respectively. Projecting through 10-year follow-up, the ICER was $80,000. The 10-year CEAC revealed a 40% probability that the ICER was $80,000 or less, a 90% probability that the ICER was $90,000 or less, and a 100% probability that the ICER was less than $100,000.

Conclusions

Based on the WHO's suggested upper threshold for cost-effectiveness (3 times per capita GDP, or $140,000 in 2010 dollars), the analysis reveals that surgical treatment for ASD is cost-effective after a 10-year period based on predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. The ICER well exceeds the WHO threshold at earlier follow-up intervals, highlighting the importance of the durability of surgical treatment in assessing the value of surgical intervention. Due to the study's methodology, the results are dependent on the predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. As such, the results may not extend to patients whose HRQOL would remain steady without surgery. Future research should therefore pursue a direct comparison of QALYs for surgical and nonsurgical patients to better understand the cost-effectiveness of surgery for the average ASD patient.

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Eric S. Sussman, Christopher P. Kellner, Eric Nelson, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Rachel A. Bruce, Zong Zhuang and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Ventriculostomy—the placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD)—is a common procedure performed in patients with acute neurological injury. Although generally considered a low-risk intervention, recent studies have cited higher rates of hemorrhagic complications than those previously reported. The authors sought to determine the rate of postventriculostomy hemorrhage in a cohort of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and to identify predictors of hemorrhagic complications of EVD placement.

Methods

Patients with ICH who underwent EVD placement and had both pre- and postprocedural imaging available for analysis were included in this study. Relevant data were prospectively collected for each patient who satisfied inclusion criteria. Variables with a p < 0.20 on univariate analyses were included in a stepwise logistic regression model to identify predictors of postventriculostomy hemorrhage.

Results

Sixty-nine patients were eligible for this analysis. Postventriculostomy hemorrhage occurred in 31.9% of patients. Among all patients with intraparenchymal hemorrhage, the mean hemorrhage volume was 0.66 ± 1.06 cm3. Stratified according to ventricular catheter diameter, patients treated with smaller-diameter catheters had a significantly greater mean hemorrhage volume than patients treated with larger-diameter catheters (0.84 ± 1.2 cm3 vs 0.14 ± 0.12 cm3, p = 0.049). Postventriculostomy hemorrhage was clinically significant in only 1 patient (1.4%). Overall, postventriculostomy hemorrhage was not associated with functional outcome or mortality at either discharge or 90 days. In the multivariate model, an age > 75 years was the only independent predictor of EVD-associated hemorrhage.

Conclusions

Advanced age is predictive of EVD-related hemorrhage in patients with ICH. While postventriculostomy hemorrhage is common, it appears to be of minor clinical significance in the majority of patients.

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Michael M. McDowell, Yin Zhao, Christopher P. Kellner, Sunjay M. Barton, Eric Sussman, Jan Claassen, Andrew F. Ducruet and E. Sander Connolly

OBJECTIVE

Pathophysiological differences that underlie the development and subsequent growth of multiple aneurysms may exist. In this study, the authors assessed the factors associated with the occurrence of multiple aneurysms in patients presenting with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS

Consecutive patients presenting with aneurysmal SAH between 1996 and 2012 were prospectively enrolled in the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Outcome Project. Patients harboring 1, 2, or 3 or more aneurysms were stratified into groups, and the clinical and radiological characteristics of each group were compared using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

Of 1277 patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms, 890 had 1 aneurysm, 267 had 2 aneurysms, and 120 had 3 or more aneurysms. On multinomial regression using the single-aneurysm cohort as base case, risk factors for patients presenting with 2 aneurysms were female sex (relative risk ratio [RRR] 1.80, p < 0.001), higher body mass index (BMI) (RRR 1.02, p = 0.003), more years of smoking (RRR = 1.01, p = 0.004), and black race (RRR 1.83, p = 0.001). The risk factors for patients presenting with 3 or more aneurysms were female sex (RRR 3.10, p < 0.001), higher BMI (RRR 1.03, p < 0.001), aneurysm in the posterior circulation (RRR 2.59, p < 0.001), and black race (RRR 2.15, p = 0.001). Female sex, longer smoking history, aneurysms in the posterior circulation, BMI, and black race were independently associated with the development of multiple aneurysms in our adjusted multivariate multinomial model.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant demographic and clinical differences are found between patients presenting with single and multiple aneurysms in the setting of aneurysmal SAH. These predictors of multiple aneurysms likely reflect a predisposition toward inflammation and endothelial injury.

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Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, William J. Anding, Michael J. Link and Leonardo Rangel-Castilla

OBJECTIVE

Sylvian fissure dissection following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a challenging but fundamental skill in microneurosurgery, and one that has become increasingly difficult to develop during residency, given the overarching management trends. The authors describe a novel rodent model for simulation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions.

METHODS

A standardized microvascular anastomosis model comprising rat femoral arteries and veins was used for the experimental framework. In the experimental protocol, following exposure and skeletonization of the vessels, extensive, superficial (1- to 2-mm) soft-tissue debridement was conducted and followed by wound closure and delayed reexploration at intervals of 7, 14, and 28 days. Two residents dissected 1 rat each per time point (n = 6 rats), completing vessel skeletonization followed by end-to-end artery/vein anastomoses. Videos were reviewed postprocedure to assess scar score and relative difficulty of dissection by blinded raters using 4-point Likert scales.

RESULTS

At all time points, vessels were markedly invested in friable scar, and exposure was subjectively assessed as a reasonable surrogate for sylvian fissure dissection under SAH conditions. Scar score and relative difficulty of dissection both indicated 14 days as the most challenging time point.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experimental model of femoral vessel skeletonization, circumferential superficial soft-tissue injury, and delayed reexploration provides a novel approximation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions. The optimal reexploration interval appears to be 7–14 days. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first model of SAH simulation for microsurgical training, particularly in a live animal system.

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Corinna C. Zygourakis, Seungwon Yoon, Victoria Valencia, Christy Boscardin, Christopher Moriates, Ralph Gonzales and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Disposable supplies constitute a large portion of operating room (OR) costs and are often left over at the end of a surgical case. Despite financial and environmental implications of such waste, there has been little evaluation of OR supply utilization. The goal of this study was to quantify the utilization of disposable supplies and the costs associated with opened but unused items (i.e., “waste”) in neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

Every disposable supply that was unused at the end of surgery was quantified through direct observation of 58 neurosurgical cases at the University of California, San Francisco, in August 2015. Item costs (in US dollars) were determined from the authors' supply catalog, and statistical analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Across 58 procedures (36 cranial, 22 spinal), the average cost of unused supplies was $653 (range $89-$3640, median $448, interquartile range $230–$810), or 13.1% of total surgical supply cost. Univariate analyses revealed that case type (cranial versus spinal), case category (vascular, tumor, functional, instrumented, and noninstrumented spine), and surgeon were important predictors of the percentage of unused surgical supply cost. Case length and years of surgical training did not affect the percentage of unused supply cost. Accounting for the different case distribution in the 58 selected cases, the authors estimate approximately $968 of OR waste per case, $242,968 per month, and $2.9 million per year, for their neurosurgical department.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows a large variation and significant magnitude of OR waste in neurosurgical procedures. At the authors' institution, they recommend price transparency, education about OR waste to surgeons and nurses, preference card reviews, and clarification of supplies that should be opened versus available as needed to reduce waste.

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Christopher S. Eddleman, Michael C. Hurley, Andrew M. Naidech, H. Hunt Batjer and Bernard R. Bendok

The second leading cause of death and disability in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is delayed cerebral ischemia due to vasospasm. Although up to 70% of patients have been shown to have angiographic evidence of vasospasm, only 20–30% will present with clinical changes, including mental status changes and neurological deficits that necessitate acute management. Endovascular capabilities have progressed to become viable options in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. The rationale for intraarterial therapy includes the fact that morbidity and mortality rates have not changed in recent years despite optimized noninvasive medical care. In this report, the authors discuss the most common endovascular options—namely intraarterial vasodilators and transluminal balloon angioplasty—from the standpoint of mechanism, efficacy, limitations, and complications as well as the treatment algorithms for cerebral vasospasm used at our institution.

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Michael M. H. Yang, Ash Singhal, Shahrad Rod Rassekh, Stephen Yip, Patrice Eydoux and Christopher Dunham

The authors describe an infant girl who, at 10 months of age, presented with a large right parietooccipital tumor causing increased intracranial pressure, mass effect, and midline shift. The tumor was completely resected, and the entirety of the histology was consistent with glioblastoma. She was subsequently placed on adjuvant high-dose chemotherapy consisting of carboplatin, vincristine, and temozolomide, according to Head Start III, Regimen C. Three months after the complete resection, tumor recurrence was noted on MR imaging, during the third cycle of chemotherapy, and biopsy revealed malignant astrocytoma. Given the recurrence and the patient's intolerance to chemotherapy, a palliative course was pursued. Unexpectedly, the patient was alive and had made significant developmental improvements 18 months into palliation. Subsequently, however, signs of increased intracranial pressure developed and imaging demonstrated a very large new tumor growth at the site of prior resection. The recurrence was again fully resected, but microscopy surprisingly revealed pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma throughout. The clinicopathological and genetic features of this girl's unusual neoplasm are detailed and potential pathogenic hypotheses are explored in this report.

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Christopher Kenney, Richard Simpson, Christine Hunter, William Ondo, Michael Almaguer, Anthony Davidson and Joseph Jankovic

Object

The object of this study was to assess the long-term safety of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a large population of patients with a variety of movement disorders.

Methods

All patients treated with DBS at the authors' center between 1995 and 2005 were assessed for intraoperative, perioperative, and long-term adverse events (AEs).

A total of 319 patients underwent DBS device implantation. Of these 319, 182 suffered from medically refractory Parkinson disease; the other patients had essential tremor (112 patients), dystonia (19 patients), and other hyperkinetic movement disorders (six patients). Intraoperative AEs were rare and included vasovagal response in eight patients (2.5%), syncope in four (1.2%), severe cough in three (0.9%), transient ischemic attack in one (0.3%), arrhythmia in one (0.3%), and confusion in one (0.3%). Perioperative AEs included headache in 48 patients (15.0%), confusion in 16 (5.0%), and hallucinations in nine (2.8%). Serious intraoperative/perioperative AEs included isolated seizure in four patients (1.2%), intracerebral hemorrhage in two patients (0.6%), intraventricular hemorrhage in two patients (0.6%), and a large subdural hematoma in one patient (0.3%). Persistent long-term complications of DBS surgery included dysarthria (4.0%), worsening gait (3.8%), cognitive dysfunction (4.0%), and infection (4.4%). Revisions were completed in 25 patients (7.8%) for the following reasons: loss of effect, lack of efficacy, infection, lead fracture, and lead migration. Hardware-related complications included 12 lead fractuxres and 10 lead migrations.

Conclusions

The authors conclude that in their 10-year experience, DBS has proven to be safe for the treatment of medically refractory movement disorders.

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Jason S. Cheng, Michael E. Ivan, Christopher J. Stapleton, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Nalin Gupta and Kurtis I. Auguste

Object

Intraoperative dorsal column mapping, transcranial motor evoked potentials (TcMEPs), and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) have been used in adults to assist with the resection of intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) and to predict postoperative motor deficits. The authors sought to determine whether changes in MEP and SSEP waveforms would similarly predict postoperative motor deficits in children.

Methods

The authors reviewed charts and intraoperative records for children who had undergone resection for IMSCTs as well as dorsal column mapping and TcMEP and SSEP monitoring. Motor evoked potential data were supplemented with electromyography data obtained using a Kartush microstimulator (Medtronic Inc.). Motor strength was graded using the Medical Research Council (MRC) scale during the preoperative, immediate postoperative, and follow-up periods. Reductions in SSEPs were documented after mechanical traction, in response to maneuvers with the cavitational ultrasonic surgical aspirator (CUSA), or both.

Results

Data from 12 patients were analyzed. Three lesions were encountered in the cervical and 7 in the thoracic spinal cord. Two patients had lesions of the cervicomedullary junction and upper spinal cord. Intraoperative MEP changes were noted in half of the patients. In these cases, normal polyphasic signals converted to biphasic signals, and these changes correlated with a loss of 1–2 grades in motor strength. One patient lost MEP signals completely and recovered strength to MRC Grade 4/5. The 2 patients with high cervical lesions showed neither intraoperative MEP changes nor motor deficits postoperatively. Dorsal columns were mapped in 7 patients, and the midline was determined accurately in all 7. Somatosensory evoked potentials were decreased in 7 patients. Two patients each had 2 SSEP decreases in response to traction intraoperatively but had no new sensory findings postoperatively. Another 2 patients had 3 traction-related SSEP decreases intraoperatively, and both had new postoperative sensory deficits that resolved. One additional patient had a CUSA-related SSEP decrease intraoperatively, which resolved postoperatively, and the last patient had 3 traction-related sensory deficits and a CUSA-related sensory deficit postoperatively, none of which resolved.

Conclusions

Intraoperative TcMEPs and SSEPs can predict the degree of postoperative motor deficit in pediatric patients undergoing IMSCT resection. This technique, combined with dorsal column mapping, is particularly useful in resecting lesions of the upper cervical cord, which are generally considered to be high risk in this population. Furthermore, the spinal cord appears to be less tolerant of repeated intraoperative SSEP decreases, with 3 successive insults most likely to yield postoperative sensory deficits. Changes in TcMEPs and SSEP waveforms can signal the need to guard against excessive manipulation thereby increasing the safety of tumor resection.

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Evan S. Marlin, John J. Entwistle, Michael A. Arnold, Christopher R. Pierson and Lance S. Governale

Spinal vascular malformations are rare vascular lesions that most frequently present with back pain, radiculopathy, and/or myelopathy. Neurological decline is typically secondary to progressive radiculopathy, myelopathy, venous thrombosis, and stroke. Few case reports have described thoracolumbar spinal vascular malformations that present with both subarachnoid and intraventricular hemorrhage. This is the first reported case of a thoracolumbar spinal vascular malformation presenting with isolated intraventricular hemorrhage on initial imaging followed by acute and fatal rehemorrhage.