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Arman Jahangiri, Patrick M. Flanigan, Maxine Arnush, Ankush Chandra, Jonathan W. Rick, Sarah Choi, Alvin Chou, Mitchel S. Berger and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgeons play an important role in advancing medicine through research, the funding of which is historically linked to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The authors defined variables associated with neurosurgical NIH funding, prevalence of funded topics by neurosurgical subspecialty, and temporal trends in NIH neurosurgical funding.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of NIH-funded American Association of Neurological Surgeons members using NIH RePORTER (http://report.nih.gov/) for the years 1991–2015.

RESULTS

The authors followed 6515 neurosurgeons from 1991 to 2015, including 6107 (94%) non–MD-PhD physicians and 408 (6%) MD-PhDs. NIH grants were awarded to 393 (6%) neurosurgeons, with 23.2% of all first-time grants awarded to the top 5 funded institutions. The average total funded grant-years per funded neurosurgeon was 12.5 (range 1–85 grant-years). A higher percentage of MD-PhDs were NIH funded than MDs (22% [n = 91] vs 5% [n = 297], p < 0.0001). The most common grants awarded were R01 (128, 33%), K08 (69, 18%), F32 (60, 15%), M01 (50, 13%), and R21 (39, 10%). F32 and K08 recipients were 9-fold (18% vs 2%, p < 0.001) and 19-fold (38% vs 2%, p < 0.001) more likely to procure an R01 and procured R01 funding earlier in their careers (F32: 7 vs 12 years after residency, p = 0.03; K08: 9 vs 12 years, p = 0.01). Each year, the number of neurosurgeons with active grants linearly increased by 2.2 (R2 = 0.81, p < 0.001), whereas the number of total active grants run by neurosurgeons increased at nearly twice the rate (4.0 grants/year) (R2 = 0.91, p < 0.001). Of NIH-funded neurosurgical grants, 33 (9%) transitioned to funded clinical trial(s). Funded neurosurgical subspecialties included neuro-oncology (33%), functional/epilepsy (32%), cerebrovascular (17%), trauma (10%), and spine (6%). Finally, the authors modeled trends in the number of active training grants and found a linear increase in active R01s (R2 = 0.95, p < 0.001); however, both F32 (R2 = 0.36, p = 0.01) and K08 (R2 = 0.67, p < 0.001) funding had a significant parabolic rise and fall centered around 2003.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed an upward trend in R01s awarded to neurosurgeons during the last quarter century. However, their findings of decreased K08 and F32 training grant funding to neurosurgeons and the impact of these training grants on the ultimate success and time to success for neurosurgeons seeking R01 funding suggests that this upward trend in R01 funding for neurosurgeons will be difficult to maintain. The authors’ work underscores the importance of continued selection and mentorship of neurosurgeons capable of impacting patient care through research, including the MD-PhDs, who are noted to be more represented among NIH-funded neurosurgeons.

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Arman Jahangiri, Patrick M. Flanigan, Maxine Arnush, Ankush Chandra, Jonathan W. Rick, Sarah Choi, Alvin Chou, Mitchel S. Berger and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgeons play an important role in advancing medicine through research, the funding of which is historically linked to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The authors defined variables associated with neurosurgical NIH funding, prevalence of funded topics by neurosurgical subspecialty, and temporal trends in NIH neurosurgical funding.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of NIH-funded American Association of Neurological Surgeons members using NIH RePORTER (http://report.nih.gov/) for the years 1991–2015.

RESULTS

The authors followed 6515 neurosurgeons from 1991 to 2015, including 6107 (94%) non–MD-PhD physicians and 408 (6%) MD-PhDs. NIH grants were awarded to 393 (6%) neurosurgeons, with 23.2% of all first-time grants awarded to the top 5 funded institutions. The average total funded grant-years per funded neurosurgeon was 12.5 (range 1–85 grant-years). A higher percentage of MD-PhDs were NIH funded than MDs (22% [n = 91] vs 5% [n = 297], p < 0.0001). The most common grants awarded were R01 (128, 33%), K08 (69, 18%), F32 (60, 15%), M01 (50, 13%), and R21 (39, 10%). F32 and K08 recipients were 9-fold (18% vs 2%, p < 0.001) and 19-fold (38% vs 2%, p < 0.001) more likely to procure an R01 and procured R01 funding earlier in their careers (F32: 7 vs 12 years after residency, p = 0.03; K08: 9 vs 12 years, p = 0.01). Each year, the number of neurosurgeons with active grants linearly increased by 2.2 (R2 = 0.81, p < 0.001), whereas the number of total active grants run by neurosurgeons increased at nearly twice the rate (4.0 grants/year) (R2 = 0.91, p < 0.001). Of NIH-funded neurosurgical grants, 33 (9%) transitioned to funded clinical trial(s). Funded neurosurgical subspecialties included neuro-oncology (33%), functional/epilepsy (32%), cerebrovascular (17%), trauma (10%), and spine (6%). Finally, the authors modeled trends in the number of active training grants and found a linear increase in active R01s (R2 = 0.95, p < 0.001); however, both F32 (R2 = 0.36, p = 0.01) and K08 (R2 = 0.67, p < 0.001) funding had a significant parabolic rise and fall centered around 2003.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed an upward trend in R01s awarded to neurosurgeons during the last quarter century. However, their findings of decreased K08 and F32 training grant funding to neurosurgeons and the impact of these training grants on the ultimate success and time to success for neurosurgeons seeking R01 funding suggests that this upward trend in R01 funding for neurosurgeons will be difficult to maintain. The authors’ work underscores the importance of continued selection and mentorship of neurosurgeons capable of impacting patient care through research, including the MD-PhDs, who are noted to be more represented among NIH-funded neurosurgeons.

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Ching-Chang Chen, Shao-Wei Chen, Po-Hsun Tu, Yin-Cheng Huang, Zhuo-Hao Liu, Alvin Yi-Chou Wang, Shih-Tseng Lee, Tien-Hsing Chen, Chi-Tung Cheng, Shang-Yu Wang and An-Hsun Chou

OBJECTIVE

Burr hole craniostomy is an effective and simple procedure for treating chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). However, the surgical outcomes and recurrence of CSDH in patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) remain unknown.

METHODS

A nationwide population-based cohort study was retrospectively conducted using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The study included 29,163 patients who underwent first-time craniostomy for CSDH removal between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2013. In total, 1223 patients with LC and 2446 matched non-LC control patients were eligible for analysis. All-cause mortality, surgical complications, repeat craniostomy, extended craniotomy, and long-term medical costs were analyzed.

RESULTS

The in-hospital mortality rate (8.7% vs 3.1% for patients with LC and non-LC patients, respectively), frequency of hospital admission, length of ICU stay, number of blood transfusions, and medical expenditures of patients with LC who underwent craniostomy for CSDH were considerably higher than those of non-LC control patients. Patients with LC tended to require an extended craniotomy to remove subdural hematomas in the hospital or during long-term follow-up. The surgical outcome worsened with an increase in the severity of LC.

CONCLUSIONS

Even for simple procedures following minor head trauma, LC remains a serious comorbidity with a poor prognosis.

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Mun-Chun Yeap, Ching-Chang Chen, Zhuo-Hao Liu, Po-Chuan Hsieh, Cheng-Chi Lee, Yu-Tse Liu, Alvin Yi-Chou Wang, Yin-Cheng Huang, Kuo-Chen Wei, Chieh-Tsai Wu and Po-Hsun Tu

OBJECTIVE

Cranioplasty is a relatively simple and less invasive intervention, but it is associated with a high incidence of postoperative seizures. The incidence of, and the risk factors for, such seizures and the effect of prophylactic antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have not been well studied. The authors’ aim was to evaluate the risk factors that predispose patients to postcranioplasty seizures and to examine the role of seizure prophylaxis in cranioplasty.

METHODS

The records of patients who had undergone cranioplasty at the authors’ medical center between 2009 and 2014 with at last 2 years of follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic and clinical characteristics, the occurrence of postoperative seizures, and postoperative complications were analyzed.

RESULTS

Among the 583 patients eligible for inclusion in the study, 247 had preexisting seizures or used AEDs before the cranioplasty and 336 had no seizures prior to cranioplasty. Of these 336 patients, 89 (26.5%) had new-onset seizures following cranioplasty. Prophylactic AEDs were administered to 56 patients for 1 week after cranioplasty. No early seizures occurred in these patients, and this finding was statistically significant (p = 0.012). Liver cirrhosis, intraoperative blood loss, and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus were risk factors for postcranioplasty seizures in the multivariable analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Cranioplasty is associated with a high incidence of postoperative seizures. The prophylactic use of AEDs can reduce the occurrence of early seizures.

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Po-Chuan Hsieh, Yi-Ming Wu, Alvin Yi-Chou Wang, Ching-Chang Chen, Chien-Hung Chang, Shy-Chyi Chin, Tai-Wei Erich Wu, Chieh-Tsai Wu and Shih-Tseng Lee

OBJECTIVE

Diverse treatment results are observed in patients with poor-grade aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Significant initial perfusion compromise is thought to predict a worse treatment outcome, but this has scant support in the literature. In this cohort study, the authors correlate the treatment outcomes with a novel poor-outcome imaging predictor representing impaired cerebral perfusion on initial CT angiography (CTA).

METHODS

The authors reviewed the treatment results of 148 patients with poor-grade aSAH treated at a single tertiary referral center between 2007 and 2016. Patients with the “venous delay” phenomenon on initial CTA were identified. The outcome assessments used the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at the 3rd month after aSAH. Factors that may have had an impact on outcome were retrospectively analyzed.

RESULTS

Compared with previously identified outcome predictors, the venous delay phenomenon on initial CTA was found to have the strongest correlation with posttreatment outcomes on both univariable (p < 0.0001) and multivariable analysis (OR 4.480, 95% CI 1.565–12.826; p = 0.0052). Older age and a higher Hunt and Hess grade at presentation were other factors that were associated with poor outcome, defined as an mRS score of 3 to 6.

CONCLUSIONS

The venous delay phenomenon on initial CTA can serve as an imaging predictor for worse functional outcome and may aid in decision making when treating patients with poor-grade aSAH.

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Hansen Deng, Andrew K. Chan, Simon G. Ammanuel, Alvin Y. Chan, Taemin Oh, Henry C. Skrehot, Caleb S. Edwards, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy D. Nichols, Catherine Liu, John K. Yue, Sanjay S. Dhall, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Christopher P. Ames and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery causes major morbidity and greatly impedes functional recovery. In the modern era of advanced operative techniques and improved perioperative care, SSI remains a problematic complication that may be reduced with institutional practices. The objectives of this study were to 1) characterize the SSI rate and microbial etiology following spine surgery for various thoracolumbar diseases, and 2) identify risk factors that were associated with SSI despite current perioperative management.

METHODS

All patients treated with thoracic or lumbar spine operations on the neurosurgery service at the University of California, San Francisco from April 2012 to April 2016 were formally reviewed for SSI using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) guidelines. Preoperative risk variables included age, sex, BMI, smoking, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), ambulatory status, history of malignancy, use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Operative variables included surgical pathology, resident involvement, spine level and surgical technique, instrumentation, antibiotic and steroid use, estimated blood loss (EBL), and operative time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors for SSI. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.

RESULTS

In total, 2252 consecutive patients underwent thoracolumbar spine surgery. The mean patient age was 58.6 ± 13.8 years and 49.6% were male. The mean hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 7.4 days. Sixty percent of patients had degenerative conditions, and 51.9% underwent fusions. Sixty percent of patients utilized presurgery CHG showers. The mean operative duration was 3.7 ± 2 hours, and the mean EBL was 467 ± 829 ml. Compared to nonfusion patients, fusion patients were older (mean 60.1 ± 12.7 vs 57.1 ± 14.7 years, p < 0.001), were more likely to have an ASA classification > II (48.0% vs 36.0%, p < 0.001), and experienced longer operative times (252.3 ± 120.9 minutes vs 191.1 ± 110.2 minutes, p < 0.001). Eleven patients had deep SSI (0.49%), and the most common causative organisms were methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients with CAD (p = 0.003) or DM (p = 0.050), and those who were male (p = 0.006), were predictors of increased odds of SSI, and presurgery CHG showers (p = 0.001) were associated with decreased odds of SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

This institutional experience over a 4-year period revealed that the overall rate of SSI by the NHSN criteria was low at 0.49% following thoracolumbar surgery. This was attributable to the implementation of presurgery optimization, and intraoperative and postoperative measures to prevent SSI across the authors’ institution. Despite prevention measures, having a history of CAD or DM, and being male, were risk factors associated with increased SSI, and presurgery CHG shower utilization decreased SSI risk in patients.