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Editorial: The positives of a negative study

Andrew Jea

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Editorial. Intraoperative neuromonitoring: gold standard or fool’s gold?

Andrew Jea

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Erratum: Off-label rhBMP-2 use in pediatric spine deformity surgery

Andrew Jea

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Editorial: Chiari malformation I surgically treated with atlantoaxial fixation

Andrew Jea

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Letter to the Editor

C-1 lateral mass screw

Shujie Tang

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Letter to the Editor: Safety of epidural steroids during lumbar spine surgery

Faiz U. Ahmad

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PedsQL for prediction of postoperative patient-reported outcomes following Chiari decompression surgery

Shawyon Baygani, Kristin Zieles, and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study is to determine if the preoperative Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) score is predictive of short- and intermediate-term PedsQL outcomes following Chiari decompression surgery. The utility of preoperative patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in predicting pain, opioid consumption, and long-term PROs has been demonstrated in adult spine surgery. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, however, there is currently no widely accepted tool to predict short-, intermediate-, or long-term outcomes after pediatric Chiari decompression surgery.

METHODS

A prospectively maintained database was retrospectively reviewed. Patients who had undergone first-time decompression for symptomatic Chiari malformation were identified and grouped according to their preoperative PedsQL scores: mild disability (score 80–100), moderate disability (score 60–79), and severe disability (score < 60). PedsQL scores at the 6-week, 3-month, and/or 6-month follow-ups were collected. Preoperative PedsQL subgroups were tested for an association with demographic and perioperative characteristics using one-way ANOVA or chi-square analysis. Preoperative PedsQL subgroups were tested for an association with improvements in short- and intermediate-term PedsQL scores using one-way ANOVA and a paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test controlling for statistically different demographic characteristics when appropriate.

RESULTS

A total of 87 patients were included in this analysis. According to their preoperative PedsQL scores, 28% of patients had mild disability, 40% had moderate disability, and 32% had severe disability. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of comorbidities (p = 0.009) and the presenting symptoms of headaches (p = 0.032) and myelopathy (p = 0.047) among the subgroups; however, in terms of other demographic or operative factors, there was no significant difference. Patients with greater preoperative disability demonstrated statistically significantly lower PedsQL scores at all postoperative time points, except in terms of the parent-reported PedsQL at 6 months after surgery (p = 0.195). Patients with severe disability demonstrated statistically significantly greater improvements (compared to preoperative scores) in PedsQL scores at all time points after surgery, except in terms of the 6-week and 6-month PROs and the 6-month parent-reported outcomes (p = 0.068, 0.483, and 0.076, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with severe disability, as assessed by the PedsQL, had lower absolute PedsQL scores at all time points after surgery but greater improvement in short- and intermediate-term PROs. The authors conclude that the PedsQL is an efficient and accurate tool that can quickly assess patient disability in the preoperative period and predict both short- and intermediate-term surgical outcomes.

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Editorial: Lateral mass screws

Paul M. Arnold

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Letter to the Editor: Harrington and scoliosis

Marc Asher

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A standardized protocol to reduce preoperative hypothermia in pediatric spinal fusion surgery: a quality improvement initiative

Katrina Ducis, R. Dianne Seibold, Tylyn Bremer, and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

Hypothermia in adult surgical patients has been correlated with an increase in the occurrence of surgical site wound infections, increased bleeding, slower recovery from anesthetics, prolonged hospitalization, and increased healthcare costs. Pediatric surgical patients are at potentially increased risk for hypothermia because of their smaller body size, limited stores of subcutaneous fat, and less effective regulatory capacity. This risk is exacerbated during pediatric spinal surgery by lower preoperative temperature, increased surface exposure to cold during induction and positioning, and prolonged surgical procedure times. The purpose of this quality improvement initiative was to reduce the duration of hypothermia for pediatric patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

Demographic and clinical data were collected on 162 patients who underwent spinal deformity surgery between October 1, 2017, and July 31, 2019. Data points included patient age, gender, diagnosis, surgical procedure, and temperature readings throughout different phases of perioperative care. Temperatures were obtained upon arrival to the day of surgery, upon presentation to the operating room, during prone positioning, at incision, and at the end of the procedure. Twelve patients were analyzed prior to implementation of a protocol, while 150 patients composed the post-protocol group.

RESULTS

Using descriptive statistics, the authors found that the average body temperature at the time of incision was 34.0°C prior to the adoption of a preoperative warming protocol, and 35.3°C following a preoperative warming protocol (p = 0.001). There were no complications, such as burns, hyperthermia, or arrhythmias, related to preoperative warming of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The placement of a warming blanket on the bed prior to patient arrival and actively targeting normothermia reduced the incidence and duration of hypothermia in pediatric patients undergoing spine surgery with no adverse events.