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Open access

Fred H. Geisler, Ali Moghaddamjou, Jamie R. F. Wilson, and Michael G. Fehlings

OBJECTIVE

Methylprednisolone (MP) to treat acute traumatic spinal cord injury (ATSCI) remains controversial since the release of the second National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (NASCIS2) in 1990. As two historical studies, NASCIS2 and Sygen in ATSCI, used identical MP dosages, it was possible to construct a new case-level pooled ATSCI data set satisfying contemporary criteria and able to clarify the effect of MP.

METHODS

The new pooled data set was first modernized by excluding patients with injury levels caudal to T10, lower-extremity American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) motor scores (LEMSs) ≥ 46, Glasgow Coma Scale scores ≤ 11, and age < 15 or > 75 years, and then standardized to the ASIA grading and scoring format. A new updated NASCIS2 data set from this pooled data set contained 31.6% fewer patients than the 1990 NASCIS2 data set.

RESULTS

In the new pooled data set, recovery of LEMSs from baseline to 26 weeks, the primary outcome variable, was separated statistically into five different injury severity cohorts (p < 0.0001). The severity cohorts contained groups with severe floor (62.9%) and ceiling (10.7%) effects, which do not contribute to drug effects. The new NASCIS2 data set duplicated the p value for MP versus placebo in the sub-subgroup analysis of MP initiated ≤ 8 hours (the subgroup) and recovery of motor function on only the right side of the body (a further subgroup within the ≤ 8-hour subgroup), presented as the positive MP effect in the original NASCIS2 reporting. However, current statistical interpretation considers results seen only in post hoc sub-subgroups, without multi-test corrections, to be random effects without clinical significance. The combined case-level pooled data set from the NASCIS2 and Sygen studies increased the MP group from 106 to 431 patients, creating a new MP combined group. This new data set served as a surrogate for a contemporary MP study and found that administration of MP did not enhance ASIA motor score improvement in the lower extremities at 26 weeks. Secondary analysis of descending ASIA motor and sensory cervical neurological levels in cervical ATSCI patients at 26 weeks also found no MP drug effect.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of both the new updated NASCIS2 data set and the new case-matched pooled data set from two historical ATSCI studies revealed that administration of MP after spinal cord injury did not demonstrate any enhancement in neurological recovery at 26 weeks. The results of this analysis warrant review by clinical guideline groups.

Full access

Ying Meng, Mathew R. Voisin, Suganth Suppiah, Zamir Merali, Ali Moghaddamjou, Naif M. Alotaibi, Arbelle Manicat-Emo, Shelly Weiss, Cristina Go, Blathnaid McCoy, Elizabeth J. Donner, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) monitoring is an important method of identifying the seizure focus in patients with medically refractory epilepsy. While previous studies have demonstrated low rates of surgical complications, reported rates of surgical site infection (SSI) are highly variable. To date, no studies have specifically evaluated the patient or operative risk factors contributing to SSI. The goals of this study were to examine the rate of SSI after iEEG monitoring for epilepsy workup in pediatric patients and to determine the variables that might contribute to the development of SSI.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of hospital charts at the Hospital for Sick Children was performed for all patients who had undergone iEEG monitoring between 2000 and 2016. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to look for statistically significant variables in relation to SSI.

RESULTS

Among 199 patients eligible for analysis, 8 (4.0%) developed SSIs within a period ranging from 21 to 51 days postoperatively. Univariate analysis yielded 4 factors related to SSI: number of people present in the operating room on electrode insertion (p = 0.02), length of insertion surgery (p = 0.04), previous operation at the same surgical site (p = 0.04), and number of depth electrodes inserted (p = 0.01). Multivariate analysis revealed that both the number of people present during the implant operation (OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01–0.70) and the number of depth electrodes inserted (OR 3.52, 95% CI 1.44–8.59) independently contributed to SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest case series and the first comprehensive review of both patient and operative risk factors in the development of SSI from iEEG monitoring in a pediatric population. The authors’ institution had a lower rate of infection than those in most other studies, which could be explained by their protocol of administering intravenous antibiotics perioperatively and post–implant removal antibiotics for 14 days. The authors found a correlation between SSI and the number of people present during the implant operation, as well as the number of depth electrodes; both may contribute to breaks in sterility.