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Frederick L. Hitti, Ashwin G. Ramayya, Brendan J. McShane, Andrew I. Yang, Kerry A. Vaughan and Gordon H. Baltuch

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for several movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). While this treatment has been available for decades, studies on long-term patient outcomes have been limited. Here, the authors examined survival and long-term outcomes of PD patients treated with DBS.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis using medical records of their patients to identify the first 400 consecutive patients who underwent DBS implantation at their institution from 1999 to 2007. The medical record was used to obtain baseline demographics and neurological status. The authors performed survival analyses using Kaplan-Meier estimation and multivariate regression using Cox proportional hazards modeling. Telephone surveys were used to determine long-term outcomes.

RESULTS

Demographics for the cohort of patients with PD (n = 320) were as follows: mean age of 61 years, 70% male, 27% of patients had at least 1 medical comorbidity (coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, or deep vein thrombosis). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis on a subset of patients with at least 10 years of follow-up (n = 200) revealed a survival probability of 51% (mean age at death 73 years). Using multivariate regression, the authors found that age at implantation (HR 1.02, p = 0.01) and male sex (HR 1.42, p = 0.02) were predictive of reduced survival. Number of medical comorbidities was not significantly associated with survival (p > 0.5). Telephone surveys were completed by 40 surviving patients (mean age 55.1 ± 6.4 years, 72.5% male, 95% subthalamic nucleus DBS, mean follow-up 13.0 ± 1.7 years). Tremor responded best to DBS (72.5% of patients improved), while other motor symptoms remained stable. Ability to conduct activities of daily living (ADLs) remained stable (dressing, 78% of patients; running errands, 52.5% of patients) or worsened (preparing meals, 50% of patients). Patient satisfaction, however, remained high (92.5% happy with DBS, 95% would recommend DBS, and 75% felt it provided symptom control).

CONCLUSIONS

DBS for PD is associated with a 10-year survival rate of 51%. Survey data suggest that while DBS does not halt disease progression in PD, it provides durable symptomatic relief and allows many individuals to maintain ADLs over long-term follow-up greater than 10 years. Furthermore, patient satisfaction with DBS remains high at long-term follow-up.

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Frederick L. Hitti, Kerry A. Vaughan, Ashwin G. Ramayya, Brendan J. McShane and Gordon H. Baltuch

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has revolutionized the treatment of neurological disease, but its therapeutic efficacy is limited by the lifetime of the implantable pulse generator (IPG) batteries. At the end of the battery life, IPG replacement surgery is required. New IPGs with rechargeable batteries (RC-IPGs) have recently been introduced and allow for decreased reoperation rates for IPG replacements. The authors aimed to examine the merits and limitations of these devices.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent DBS implantation at their institution. RC-IPGs were placed either during initial DBS implantation or during an IPG change. A cost analysis was performed that compared RC-IPGs with standard IPGs, and telephone patient surveys were conducted to assess patient satisfaction.

RESULTS

The authors identified 206 consecutive patients from 2011 to 2016 who underwent RC-IPG placement (mean age 61 years; 67 women, 33%). Parkinson’s disease was the most common indication for DBS (n = 144, 70%), followed by essential tremor (n = 41, 20%), dystonia (n = 13, 6%), depression (n = 5, 2%), multiple sclerosis tremor (n = 2, 1%), and epilepsy (n = 1, 0.5%). DBS leads were typically placed bilaterally (n = 192, 93%) and targeted the subthalamic nucleus (n = 136, 66%), ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (n = 43, 21%), internal globus pallidus (n = 21, 10%), ventral striatum (n = 5, 2%), or anterior nucleus of the thalamus (n = 1, 0.5%). RC-IPGs were inserted at initial DBS implantation in 123 patients (60%), while 83 patients (40%) were converted to RC-IPGs during an IPG replacement surgery. The authors found that RC-IPG implantation resulted in $60,900 of cost savings over the course of 9 years. Furthermore, patient satisfaction was high with RC-IPG implantation. Overall, 87.3% of patients who responded to the survey were satisfied with their device, and only 6.7% found the rechargeable component difficult to use. In patients who were switched from a standard IPG to RC-IPG, the majority who responded (70.3%) preferred the rechargeable IPG.

CONCLUSIONS

RC-IPGs can provide DBS patients with long-term therapeutic benefit while minimizing the need for battery replacement surgery. The authors have implanted rechargeable stimulators in 206 patients undergoing DBS surgery, and here they demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and high patient satisfaction associated with this procedure.

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Ashwin G. Ramayya, H. Isaac Chen, Paul J. Marcotte, Steven Brem, Eric L. Zager, Benjamin Osiemo, Matthew Piazza, Nikhil Sharma, Scott D. McClintock, James M. Schuster, Zarina S. Ali, Patrick Connolly, Gregory G. Heuer, M. Sean Grady, David K. Kung, Ali K. Ozturk, Donald M. O’Rourke and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Although it is known that intersurgeon variability in offering elective surgery can have major consequences for patient morbidity and healthcare spending, data addressing variability within neurosurgery are scarce. The authors performed a prospective peer review study of randomly selected neurosurgery cases in order to assess the extent of consensus regarding the decision to offer elective surgery among attending neurosurgeons across one large academic institution.

METHODS

All consecutive patients who had undergone standard inpatient surgical interventions of 1 of 4 types (craniotomy for tumor [CFT], nonacute redo CFT, first-time spine surgery with/without instrumentation, and nonacute redo spine surgery with/without instrumentation) during the period 2015–2017 were retrospectively enrolled (n = 9156 patient surgeries, n = 80 randomly selected individual cases, n = 20 index cases of each type randomly selected for review). The selected cases were scored by attending neurosurgeons using a need for surgery (NFS) score based on clinical data (patient demographics, preoperative notes, radiology reports, and operative notes; n = 616 independent case reviews). Attending neurosurgeon reviewers were blinded as to performing provider and surgical outcome. Aggregate NFS scores across various categories were measured. The authors employed a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA model with autoregressive variance structure to compute omnibus statistical tests across the various surgery types. Interrater reliability (IRR) was measured using Cohen’s kappa based on binary NFS scores.

RESULTS

Overall, the authors found that most of the neurosurgical procedures studied were rated as “indicated” by blinded attending neurosurgeons (mean NFS = 88.3, all p values < 0.001) with greater agreement among neurosurgeon raters than expected by chance (IRR = 81.78%, p = 0.016). Redo surgery had lower NFS scores and IRR scores than first-time surgery, both for craniotomy and spine surgery (ANOVA, all p values < 0.01). Spine surgeries with fusion had lower NFS scores than spine surgeries without fusion procedures (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

There was general agreement among neurosurgeons in terms of indication for surgery; however, revision surgery of all types and spine surgery with fusion procedures had the lowest amount of decision consensus. These results should guide efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary variability in surgical practice with the goal of effective allocation of healthcare resources to advance the value paradigm in neurosurgery.