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Alireza Mansouri, Benjamin Cooper, Samuel M. Shin and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECT

Randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) are advocated to provide high-level medical evidence. However, in neurosurgery, there are barriers to conducting RCTs. The authors of this study sought to analyze the quality of neurosurgical RCTs since 2000 to determine the adequacy of their design and reporting.

METHODS

A search of the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases (2000–2014) was conducted. The medical subject heading (MeSH) terms used in the search included: “neurosurgery” OR “neurosurgical procedure,” “brain neoplasms,” “infarction” and “decompression,” “carotid stenosis,” “cerebral hemorrhage,” and “spinal fusion.” These studies were limited to RCTs, in humans, and in the English language. The Consolidated Standards for Reporting of Trials (CONSORT) and Jadad scales were used to assess the quality of RCT design and reporting. The standardized median times cited (median citations divided by years since publication) were used to assess impact. A pragmatic-explanatory continuum indicator summary-based scale was used to assess the design of the studies as primarily pragmatic or explanatory.

RESULTS

Sixty-one articles were identified, and the following subspecialties were the most common: vascular (23, 37%), followed by functional neurosurgery and neurooncology (both 13, 21%). The following nations were the primary leaders in RCTs: US (25 studies, 41%), Germany (8 studies, 13%), and the United Kingdom (7 studies, 11%). Median sample size was 100 (interquartile range [IQR] 41.5–279). The majority of the studies (40, 66%) had pragmatic objectives. The median number of times cited overall was 69 (IQR 20.5–193). The combined median CONSORT score was 36 (IQR 27.5–39). Blinding was most deficiently reported. Other areas with a relatively low quality of reporting were sample size calculation (34.2% of surgical, 38.5% of drug, and 20% of device studies), allocation concealment (28.9% of surgical, 23.1% of drug, and 50% of device studies), and protocol implementation (18.4% of surgical, 23% of drug, and 20% of device studies). The quality of reporting did not correlate with the study impact. All studies had a median Jadad score ≤ 3. Thirty-three pragmatic studies (83%) and 5 explanatory studies (25%) met the design objectives. All pragmatic studies based on drug and device trials met their objectives, while 74% of pragmatic surgical trials met their objectives.

CONCLUSIONS

The prevalence of neurosurgical RCTs is low. The quality of RCT design and reporting in neurosurgery is also low. Many study designs are not compatible with stated objectives. Pragmatic studies were more likely to meet design objectives. Given the role of RCTs as one of the highest levels of evidence, it is critical to improve on their methodology and reporting.

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John G. Golfinos, Travis C. Hill, Rae Rokosh, Osamah Choudhry, Matthew Shinseki, Alireza Mansouri, David R. Friedmann, J. Thomas Roland Jr. and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECTIVE

A randomized trial that compares clinical outcomes following microsurgery (MS) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with small- and medium-sized vestibular schwannomas (VSs) is impractical, but would have important implications for clinical decision making. A matched cohort analysis was conducted to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated with MS or SRS.

METHODS

The records of 399 VS patients who were cared for by 2 neurosurgeons and 1 neurotologist between 2001 and 2014 were evaluated. From this data set, 3 retrospective matched cohorts were created to compare hearing preservation (21 matched pairs), facial nerve preservation (83 matched pairs), intervention-free survival, and complication rates (85 matched pairs) between cases managed with SRS and patients managed with MS. Cases were matched for age at surgery (± 10 years) and lesion size (± 0.1 cm). To compare hearing outcomes, cases were additionally matched for preoperative Class A hearing according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery guidelines. To compare facial nerve (i.e., cranial nerve [CN] VII) outcomes, cases were additionally matched for preoperative House-Brackmann (HB) score. Investigators who were not involved with patient care reviewed the clinical and imaging records. The reported outcomes were as assessed at the time of the last follow-up, unless otherwise stated.

RESULTS

The preservation of preoperative Class A hearing status was achieved in 14.3% of MS cases compared with 42.9% of SRS cases (OR 4.5; p < 0.05) after an average follow-up interval of 43.7 months and 30.3 months, respectively. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 42.8% of MS cases compared with 85.7% of SRS cases (OR 8.0; p < 0.01). The rates of postoperative CN VII dysfunction were low for both groups, although significantly higher in the MS group (HB III–IV 11% vs 0% for SRS; OR 21.3; p < 0.01) at a median follow-up interval of 35.7 and 19.0 months for MS and SRS, respectively. There was no difference in the need for subsequent intervention (2 MS patients and 2 SRS patients).

CONCLUSIONS

At this high-volume center, VS resection or radiosurgery for tumors ≤ 2.8 cm in diameter was associated with low overall morbidity. The need for subsequent intervention was the same in both groups. SRS was associated with improved hearing and facial preservation rates and reduced morbidity, but with a shorter average follow-up period. Facial function was excellent in both groups. Since patients were not randomly selected for surgery, different clinical outcomes may be of different value to individual patients. Both anticipated medical outcomes and patient goals remain the drivers of treatment decisions.

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Alireza Mansouri, Soroush Larjani, George Klironomos, Normand Laperriere, Michael Cusimano, Fred Gentili, Michael Schwartz and Gelareh Zadeh

OBJECT

In this paper, the authors’ aim was to determine short-term volumetric and diametric tumor growth and identify clinical, radiological, and dosimetric predictors of adverse radiation events (AREs) following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intracranial WHO Grade I meningiomas.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of all WHO Grade I meningiomas that were treated with SRS (primary or adjuvant) between December 2005 and June 2012 at the University Health Network. Seventy-five patients had at least 24 months of both clinical and radiological follow-up and were, therefore, included in this study. Tumor growth was defined as any volumetric or diametric change greater than 10% per year. Any variation less than +10% was considered growth stability. Volumetric measurements were made using T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced 3-T MRI scans and ITK-SNAP software. Tumor growth rates were calculated using the specific growth rate (SGR). Univariate statistics were used to identify predictors of post-SRS AREs. All statistical analyses were performed using IBM SPSS.

RESULTS

Women accounted for 69.3% of patients, and the mean treatment age was 58.6 years. Median follow-up was 36.2 months. Twenty-one (28%) patients had undergone prior resection. Two (3%) patients required salvage surgical intervention following SRS. The majority of the lesions (56%) were skull base tumors. Median tumor volume and diameter were 5.2 cm3 and 27.5 mm, respectively. The absence of tumor growth was observed in 39 cases (52%) based on the volumetric measurements, while the absence of tumor growth was observed in 69 cases (92%) based on the diametric measurements. Twenty-six patients (34.6%) experienced new-onset AREs, including headache (17.3%), cranial neuropathy (10.6%), speech impairment (2.7%), tremors (2.7%), and ataxia (1.3%). Fourteen patients (18.7%) experienced new-onset edema, and 4 of these patients were symptomatic. A lower conformity index (1.24 vs 1.4) was significantly associated with the development of edema (p < 0.001 power > 0.8). Patients with meningiomas that had growth rates of more than 10% per year were more likely to experience long-term headaches after SRS (p = 0.022).

CONCLUSIONS

Volume-based reporting of SRS outcomes for meningiomas may be a more accurate method given the complex morphology of some lesions. The conformity index was identified as a predictor of edema following radiosurgery.

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Alireza Mansouri, George Klironomos, Shervin Taslimi, Alex Kilian, Fred Gentili, Osaama H. Khan, Kenneth Aldape and Gelareh Zadeh

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to identify the natural history and clinical predictors of postoperative recurrence of skull base and non–skull base meningiomas.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective hospital-based study of all patients with meningioma referred to their institution from September 1993 to January 2014. The cohort constituted both patients with a first-time presentation and those with evidence of recurrence. Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed for analysis of recurrence and differences were assessed using the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to identify potential predictors of recurrence.

RESULTS

Overall, 398 intracranial meningiomas were reviewed, including 269 (68%) non–skull base and 129 (32%) skull base meningiomas (median follow-up 30.2 months, interquartile range [IQR] 8.5–76 months). The 10-year recurrence-free survival rates for patients with gross-total resection (GTR) and subtotal resection (STR) were 90% and 43%, respectively. Skull base tumors were associated with a lower proliferation index (0.041 vs 0.062, p = 0.001), higher likelihood of WHO Grade I (85.3% vs 69.1%, p = 0.003), and younger patient age (55.2 vs 58.3 years, p = 0.01). Meningiomas in all locations demonstrated an average recurrence rate of 30% at 100 months of follow-up. Subsequently, the recurrence of skull base meningiomas plateaued whereas non–skull base lesions had an 80% recurrence rate at 230 months follow-up (p = 0.02). On univariate analysis, a prior history of recurrence (p < 0.001), initial WHO grade following resection (p < 0.001), and the inability to obtain GTR (p < 0.001) were predictors of future recurrence. On multivariate analysis a prior history of recurrence (p = 0.02) and an STR (p < 0.01) were independent predictors of a recurrence. Assessing only patients with primary presentations, STR and WHO Grades II and III were independent predictors of recurrence (p < 0.001 for both).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with skull base meningiomas present at a younger age and have less aggressive lesions overall. Extent of resection is a key predictor of recurrence and long-term follow-up of meningiomas is necessary, especially for non–skull base tumors. In skull base meningiomas, recurrence risk plateaus approximately 100 months after surgery, suggesting that for this specific cohort, follow-up after 100 months can be less frequent.

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Jetan H. Badhiwala, Farshad Nassiri, Christopher D. Witiw, Alireza Mansouri, Saleh A. Almenawer, Leodante da Costa, Michael G. Fehlings and Jefferson R. Wilson

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is a useful adjunct in spine surgery, with proven benefit in scoliosis-correction surgery. However, its utility for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is unclear, as there are few head-to-head comparisons of ACDF outcomes with and without the use of IONM. The authors sought to evaluate the impact of IONM on the safety and cost of ACDF.

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of data from the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project from 2009 to 2013. Patients with a primary procedure code for ACDF were identified, and diagnosis codes were searched to identify cases with postoperative neurological complications. The authors performed univariate and multivariate logistic regression for postoperative neurological complications with use of IONM as the independent variable; additional covariates included age, sex, surgical indication, multilevel fusion, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, and admission type. They also conducted propensity score matching in a 1:1 ratio (nearest neighbor) with the use of IONM as the treatment indicator and the aforementioned variables as covariates. In the propensity score–matched cohort, they compared neurological complications, length of stay (LOS), and hospital charges (in US dollars).

RESULTS

A total of 141,007 ACDF operations were identified. IONM was used in 9540 cases (6.8%). No significant association was found between neurological complications and use of IONM on univariate analysis (OR 0.80, p = 0.39) or multivariate regression (OR 0.82, p = 0.45). By contrast, age ≥ 65 years, multilevel fusion, CCI score > 0, and a nonelective admission were associated with greater incidence of neurological complication. The propensity score–matched cohort consisted of 18,760 patients who underwent ACDF with (n = 9380) or without (n = 9380) IONM. Rates of neurological complication were comparable between IONM and non-IONM (0.17% vs 0.22%, p = 0.41) groups. IONM and non-IONM groups had a comparable proportion of patients with LOS ≥ 2 days (19% vs 18%, p = 0.15). The use of IONM was associated with an additional $6843 (p < 0.01) in hospital charges.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of IONM was not associated with a reduced rate of neurological complications following ACDF. Limitations of the data source precluded a specific assessment of the effectiveness of IONM in preventing neurological complications in patients with more complex pathology (i.e., ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament or cervical deformity).

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Alireza Mansouri, Shervin Taslimi, Aram Abbasian, Jetan H. Badhiwala, Muhammad Ali Akbar, Naif M. Alotaibi, Saleh A. Almenawer, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Lionel Carmant and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to describe the current state of epilepsy surgery and establish estimates of seizure outcomes following surgery for medically intractable epilepsy (MIE) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

METHODS

The MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched without publication date restriction. This search was supplemented by a manual screen of key epilepsy and neurosurgical journals (January 2005 to December 2016). Studies that reported outcomes for at least 10 patients of any age undergoing surgery for MIE in LMICs over a defined follow-up period were included. A meta-analysis with a random-effects model was performed in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement and MOOSE (Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines. Pooled estimates of seizure freedom and favorable seizure outcomes following anterior temporal lobectomy with or without amygdalohippocampectomy (ATL ± AH) were reported.

RESULTS

Twenty studies were selected, of which 16 were from Asian centers. The average age at surgery in all studies was less than 30 years, and the average preoperative duration of epilepsy ranged from 3 to 16.1 years. Mesial temporal sclerosis accounted for 437 of 951 described pathologies, and 1294 of the 1773 procedures were ATL ± AH. Based on 7 studies (646 patients) the pooled seizure freedom estimate following ATL ± AH was 68% (95% CI 55%–82%). Based on 8 studies (1096 patients), the pooled estimate for favorable seizure outcomes was 79% (95% CI 74%–85%).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery for MIE in LMICs shows a high percentage of seizure freedom and favorable outcomes. These findings call for a concerted global effort to improve timely access to surgery for MIE patients in these regions, including investments aimed at refining existing and establishing additional centers.

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Alireza Mansouri, Shervin Taslimi, Jetan H. Badhiwala, Christopher D. Witiw, Farshad Nassiri, Vincent J. J. Odekerken, Rob M. A. De Bie, Suneil K. Kalia, Mojgan Hodaie, Renato P. Munhoz, Alfonso Fasano and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is effective in the management of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). While both the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) are accepted targets, their relative efficacy in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has not been established beyond 12 months. The objective of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis of RCTs to compare outcomes among adults with PD undergoing DBS of GPi or STN at various time points, including 36 months of follow-up.

METHODS

The MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases were searched. Registries for clinical trials, selected conference proceedings, and the table of contents for selected journals were also searched. Screens were conducted independently and in duplicate. Among the 623 studies initially identified (615 through database search, 7 through manual review of bibliographies, and 1 through a repeat screen of literature prior to submission), 19 underwent full-text review; 13 of these were included in the quantitative meta-analysis. Data were extracted independently and in duplicate. The Cochrane Collaboration tool was used to assess the risk of bias. The GRADE evidence profile tool was used to assess the quality of the evidence. Motor scores, medication dosage reduction, activities of daily living, depression, dyskinesias, and adverse events were compared. The influence of disease duration (a priori) and the proportion of male patients within a study (post hoc) were explored as potential subgroups.

RESULTS

Thirteen studies (6 original cohorts) were identified. No difference in motor scores or activities of daily living was identified at 36 months. Medications were significantly reduced with STN stimulation (5 studies, weighted mean difference [WMD] −365.46, 95% CI −599.48 to −131.44, p = 0.002). Beck Depression Inventory scores were significantly better with GPi stimulation (3 studies; WMD 2.53, 95% CI 0.99–4.06 p = 0.001). The motor benefits of GPi and STN DBS for PD are similar.

CONCLUSIONS

The motor benefits achieved with GPi and STN DBS for PD are similar. DBS of STN allows for a greater reduction of medication, but not as significant an advantage as DBS of GPi with respect to mood. This difference is sustained at 36 months. Further long-term studies are necessary.