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Ting Lei, Evgenii Belykh, Alexander B. Dru, Kaan Yagmurlu, Ali M. Elhadi, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

Chen Jingrun (1933–1996), perhaps the most prodigious mathematician of his time, focused on the field of analytical number theory. His work on Waring's problem, Legendre's conjecture, and Goldbach's conjecture led to progress in analytical number theory in the form of “Chen's Theorem,” which he published in 1966 and 1973. His early life was ravaged by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. On the verge of solving Goldbach's conjecture in 1984, Chen was struck by a bicyclist while also bicycling and suffered severe brain trauma. During his hospitalization, he was also found to have Parkinson's disease. Chen suffered another serious brain concussion after a fall only a few months after recovering from the bicycle crash. With significant deficits, he remained hospitalized for several years without making progress while receiving modern Western medical therapies. In 1988 traditional Chinese medicine experts were called in to assist with his treatment. After a year of acupuncture and oxygen therapy, Chen could control his basic bowel and bladder functions, he could walk slowly, and his swallowing and speech improved. When Chen was unable to produce complex work or finish his final work on Goldbach's conjecture, his mathematical pursuits were taken up vigorously by his dedicated students. He was able to publish Youth Math, a mathematics book that became an inspiration in Chinese education. Although he died in 1996 at the age of 63 after surviving brutal political repression, being deprived of neurological function at the very peak of his genius, and having to be supported by his wife, Chen ironically became a symbol of dedication, perseverance, and motivation to his students and associates, to Chinese youth, to a nation, and to mathematicians and scientists worldwide.

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Sasha Vaziri, Joseph M. Abbatematteo, Max S. Fleisher, Alexander B. Dru, Dennis T. Lockney, Paul S. Kubilis and Daniel J. Hoh

OBJECTIVE

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) online surgical risk calculator uses inherent patient characteristics to provide predictive risk scores for adverse postoperative events. The purpose of this study was to determine if predicted perioperative risk scores correlate with actual hospital costs.

METHODS

A single-center retrospective review of 1005 neurosurgical patients treated between September 1, 2011, and December 31, 2014, was performed. Individual patient characteristics were entered into the NSQIP calculator. Predicted risk scores were compared with actual in-hospital costs obtained from a billing database. Correlational statistics were used to determine if patients with higher risk scores were associated with increased in-hospital costs.

RESULTS

The Pearson correlation coefficient (R) was used to assess the correlation between 11 types of predicted complication risk scores and 5 types of encounter costs from 1005 health encounters involving neurosurgical procedures. Risk scores in categories such as any complication, serious complication, pneumonia, cardiac complication, surgical site infection, urinary tract infection, venous thromboembolism, renal failure, return to operating room, death, and discharge to nursing home or rehabilitation facility were obtained. Patients with higher predicted risk scores in all measures except surgical site infection were found to have a statistically significant association with increased actual in-hospital costs (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Previous work has demonstrated that the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator can accurately predict mortality after neurosurgery but is poorly predictive of other potential adverse events and clinical outcomes. However, this study demonstrates that predicted high-risk patients identified by the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator have a statistically significant moderate correlation to increased actual in-hospital costs. The NSQIP calculator may not accurately predict the occurrence of surgical complications (as demonstrated previously), but future iterations of the ACS universal risk calculator may be effective in predicting actual in-hospital costs, which could be advantageous in the current value-based healthcare environment.