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Nitin Mukerji, Alistair Jenkins, Claire Nicholson and Patrick Mitchell

Object

The pediatric neurosurgery practice over 2 years was reviewed at a tertiary neurosciences center. The intention was to establish the frequency of unplanned reoperations at the center, investigate the factors responsible, and consider using unplanned reoperations as a quality indicator.

Methods

All pediatric neurosurgical operations done between January 2008 and January 2010 were reviewed using data from operation theater logs and hospital records. Data were recorded as per the standard requirements of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons for incorporation into the national database. “Unplanned reoperation” was defined as any unscheduled secondary procedure required for a complication resulting directly or indirectly from the index operation or as an unscheduled return to the operating theater for the same condition. Operations were defined as “urgent” if they had to be performed out of hours (that is, outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), “emergency elective” if they were included on the emergency list but within working hours, and “routine elective” if they were on the scheduled operations list. Both overall and 30-day unplanned reoperation rates were considered. Factors influencing unplanned reoperations were explored using a logistic regression model.

Results

Four hundred ten operations were analyzed. The overall unplanned reoperation rate was 28%. The median time to an unplanned reoperation was 9 days. Risk factors for unplanned reoperations included a CSF diversion procedure (OR 7, p < 0.0001) and an urgent procedure (OR 2.5, p = 0.02, higher unplanned reoperations for urgent procedures relative to routine electives). The 30-day unplanned reoperation rate was 17%. Urgent cases composed 32% of all operations. Trainees performed 52% of the urgent operations. Forty-four percent of all operations were related to CSF diversion. Sixty-four percent of patients had reoperations during the course of the study period, and 44% of these reoperations were unplanned.

Conclusions

An unplanned return to the operation theater is common in the authors' pediatric neurosurgical practice and is procedure specific. Unplanned reoperation rates may be useful for monitoring quality across hospitals and identifying opportunities for quality improvement. The authors propose the use of this index as a quality indicator and advocate its validation in a prospective multicenter study.

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Fredrik P. Nath, Alistair Jenkins, A. David Mendelow, David I. Graham and Graham M. Teasdale

✓ A model of experimental intracerebral hemorrhage is described in which carefully controlled volumes of autologous blood were injected at arterial pressure into the caudate nucleus of the rat. A comparison of intracranial pressure changes and local cerebral blood flow (CBF) was made between three groups of rats, each receiving different injection volumes, and sham-operated control rats by monitoring intraventricular pressure and by obtaining quantitative autoradiographic measurements of CBF within 1 minute of the experimental hemorrhage. Cerebral blood flow was reduced both around the hematoma and in the surrounding brain. This change was strongly volume-dependent and was not accompanied by significant alterations in cerebral perfusion pressure. This finding suggests that the degree of ischemia at the time of an intracerebral bleed depends on the size of the lesion, and implicates local squeezing of the microcirculation by the hematoma, rather than a generalized alteration in perfusion pressure, as the cause of ischemia.

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Alistair Jenkins, Donald M. Hadley, Graham M. Teasdale, Barrie Condon, Peter Macpherson and James Patterson

✓ The feasibility, safety, and diagnostic value of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging versus computerized tomography (CT) scanning were compared in 30 patients with clinical evidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Subarachnoid blood was identified more often and more information was available about the site and source of the hemorrhage on MR imaging than on CT. Magnetic resonance imaging could be used safely both before and after the operation, provided that nonferromagnetic clips were used and that comprehensive monitoring and cardiorespiratory support were available. Postoperative studies showed that artifacts from metallic implants and from patient movement caused less image degradation on MR images than on CT scans.

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Fredrik P. Nath, Paul T. Kelly, Alistair Jenkins, A. David Mendelow, David I. Graham and Graham M. Teasdale

✓ Experimental intracerebral hemorrhage has been shown to cause extensive cerebral ischemia. This study was performed to ascertain the time course of these changes and also to examine the type of brain damage that may occur under such circumstances. Halothane anesthesia was induced in rats, and 25 µl autologous blood was injected into the caudate nucleus; the effects were studied with autoradiographic measurement of local cerebral blood flow and capillary permeability, and also by light microscopy and histochemical techniques. Blood flow returned to normal or to slightly increased levels within the first 3 hours, and ischemic levels of flow were found to persist only to a marginal degree beyond 10 minutes after the lesions were made. Capillary permeability was maximum during the first 30 minutes after the hemorrhage and diminished with time. Structural evidence of ischemic damage was localized to the cortex overlying the hemorrhage, but was not seen in the caudate nucleus. Nevertheless, histochemical investigation did reveal an area of disturbed enzyme function in the striatum. This finding of biochemical disturbance without structural evidence of ischemic damage reveals that there is an area around the hematoma that, although demonstrating disturbed function, does not show structural damage, and the milieu of this partially injured brain may be implicated in the delayed development of the ischemic brain damage that follows intracerebral hemorrhage in man.