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Ann R. Stroink, Harold J. Hoffman, E. Bruce Hendrick and Robin P. Humphreys

✓ The authors reviewed the cases of 49 children, ranging in age from 9 months to 15 years, who were diagnosed by computerized tomography (CT) as having brain-stem glioma. Four distinct groups of brain-stem gliomas were identified based on CT scan characteristics: Group I included isodense contrast-enhancing tumors that were dorsally exophytic into the fourth ventricle; Group II(a) included hypodense nonenhancing intrinsic tumors of the brain stem; Group II(b) included intrinsic tumors of the brain stem with hyperdense exophytic components extending ventrally and laterally into the cerebellopontine and prepontine cisterns; Group III included intrinsic cystic tumors with contrast-enhancing capsules; and Group IV included focally intrinsic tumors of the brain stem that were isodense and enhanced brightly on administration of contrast medium.

The clinical presentation, efficacy of surgical intervention, pathology, and prognosis of these tumors were correlated within these groupings. Eleven patients had Group I tumors, all of which were surgically resected; 10 of the 11 lesions were proven to be low-grade gliomas. These patients had an excellent prognosis; 10 of the 11 survived, with a mean follow-up period of 4.5 years. There were 18 patients with Group II(a) tumors; although tumor biopsy was attempted on eight of these, pathological diagnosis at the time of surgery was made in only one case. These patients did poorly; the mean survival time was 6.2 months. The seven Group II(b) tumor patients demonstrated a similarly poor prognosis: all of them died within 23 months of diagnosis, with a mean survival time of 12 months. Only two of six patients undergoing biopsy had sufficient tissue for histological verification. Three of the four patients with Group III tumors died; their mean survival time was 11.5 months. Successful histological examination was carried out in all four cases. The nine Group IV tumor patients did reasonably well; seven of these patients remain alive, with a mean follow-up period of 2.3 years. Histological diagnosis was obtained in three of the seven patients who were explored in this group. This classification system has proven to be of value in determining prognosis and efficacy of surgical intervention.

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Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees.

METHODS

An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26–35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS

Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.