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Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Zaid Aljuboori and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Opioid abuse is highly prevalent in patients with back pain. The aim of this study was to identify health care utilization and overall costs associated with opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

METHODS

The authors queried the MarketScan database using ICD-9 and CPT-4 codes from 2000 to 2012. Opioid dependency was defined as having a diagnosis of opioid use disorder, having a prescription for opioid use disorder, or having 10 or more opioid prescriptions. Opioid dependency was evaluated in 12-month period leading to surgery and in the period 3–15 months following the procedure. Patients were segregated into 4 groups based on opioid dependence before and after surgery: group NDND (prior nondependent who remain nondependent), group NDD (prior nondependent who become dependent), group DND (prior dependent who become nondependent), and group DD (prior dependent who remain dependent). The outcomes of interest were discharge disposition, hospital length of stay (LOS), complications, and health care resource costs. The 4 groups were compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test and linear contrasts built from generalized regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 10,708 patients were identified, with 81.57%, 3.58%, 8.54%, and 6.32% of patients in groups NDND, NDD, DND, and DD, respectively. In group DD, 96.31% of patients had decompression with fusion, compared with 93.59% in group NDND. Patients in group NDD, DND, and DD had longer hospital LOS compared with those in group NDND. Patients in group DD were less likely to be discharged home compared with those in group NDND (odds ratio 0.639, 95% confidence interval 0.52–0.785). At 3–15 months postdischarge, patients in group DD incurred 21% higher hospital readmission costs compared with those in group NDND. However, patients in groups NDD and DD were likely to incur 2.8 times the overall costs compared with patients in group NDND (p < 0.001) at 3–15 months after surgery (median overall payments: group NDD $20,033 and group DD $19,654, vs group NDND $7994).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who continued to be opioid dependent or became opioid dependent following surgery for DS incurred significantly higher health care utilization and costs within 3 months and in the period 3–15 months after discharge from surgery.

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Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Zaid Aljuboori, Miriam A. Nuño, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

The opioid crisis is identified as a national emergency and epidemic in the United States. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors associated with opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

METHODS

The authors queried MarketScan databases to investigate the factors affecting postsurgery opioid use in patients with DS between 2000 and 2012. The outcome of interest was opioid dependence, which was defined as continued opioid use, > 10 opioid prescriptions, or diagnosis of or prescription for opioid dependence disorder in the period of 1 year before or 3–15 months after the procedure. Comparisons of outcomes were performed using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized regression models.

RESULTS

A cohort of 10,708 patients was identified from the database. The median patient age was 61 years (interquartile range 54–69 years), and 65.1% were female (n = 6975). A majority of patients had decompression with fusion (n = 10,068; 94%) and underwent multilevel procedures (n = 8123; 75.9%). Of 10,708 patients, 14.85% (n = 1591) were identified as having opioid dependence within 12 months prior to the index surgical procedure and 9.90% (n = 1060) were identified as having opioid dependence within 3–15 months after the procedure. Of all the variables, prior opioid dependence (OR 16.29, 95% CI 14.10–18.81, p < 0.001) and younger age (1-year increase in age: OR 0.972, 95% CI 0.963–0.980, p < 0.001) were independent predictors of opioid dependence following surgery for DS. The use of fusion was not associated with opioid dependence following the procedure (p = 0.8396). Following surgery for DS, patients were more likely to become opioid independent than they were to become opioid dependent (8.54% vs 3.58%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of patients underwent fusion for DS. Surgical decompression with fusion was not associated with increased risk of postsurgery opioid dependence in patients with DS. Overall, opioid dependence was reduced by 4.96% after surgery for DS. Prior opioid dependence is associated with increased risk and increasing age is associated with decreased risk of opioid dependence following surgery for DS.

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Yi-Ren Chen, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Eric Burton, Shiao Y. Woo, Maxwell Boakye and Stephen Skirboll

OBJECTIVE

Glioblastoma is a primary glial neoplasm with a median survival of approximately 1 year. There are anecdotal reports that postoperative infection may confer a survival advantage in patients with glioblastoma. However, only a few case reports in the literature, along with 2 retrospective cohort studies, show some potential link between infection and prolonged survival in patients with glioblastoma. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of postoperative infection in patients with glioblastoma using a large national database.

METHODS

The linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)–Medicare database was searched to identify patients 66 years of age and older with glioblastoma, with and without infection, from 1997 to 2010. The primary outcome was survival after diagnosis. The statistical analysis was performed with a graphical representation using Kaplan-Meier curves, univariate analysis with the log-rank test, and multivariate analysis with proportional hazards modeling.

RESULTS

A total of 3784 patients with glioblastoma were identified from the database, and from these, 369 (9.8%) had postoperative infection within 1 month of surgery. In patients with glioblastoma who had an infection within 1 month of surgery, there was no significant difference in survival (median 5 months) compared with patients with no infection (median 6 months; p = 0.17). The study also showed that older age, increased Gagne comorbidity score, and having diabetes may be negatively associated with survival.

CONCLUSIONS

Infection after craniotomy within 1 month was not associated with a survival benefit in patients with glioblastoma.

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Mayur Sharma, Pooja SirDeshpande, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Nicholas Dietz and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Symptomatic perineural or Tarlov cysts (TCs) are a rare cause of chronic low-back pain. Given the rarity of the disease, there is no literature consensus regarding the optimal management of these cysts.

METHODS

The authors conducted a systematic comparative outcome analysis of symptomatic TCs treated with surgery (group A, 32 studies, n = 333) or percutaneous interventions (group B, 6 studies, n = 417) analyzing the demographic characteristics, baseline characteristics of the cysts, clinical presentations, types of interventions, complication rates, and the recurrence rate in both treatment groups. The literature search was performed using the PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane, and Ovid databases up to 2018. The MeSH search terms used were “Tarlov cyst,” “sacral perineural cyst,” “sacral nerve root cyst,” “meningeal cyst of the sacral spine,” “extra meningeal cyst with spinal nerve root fibers,” “spinal extradural arachnoid pouch,” and “cyst of the sacral nerve root sheath.” The authors used statistical tests for two proportions using the “N-1” chi-square test with the free version of MedCalc for Windows for comparison among the groups.

RESULTS

Overall symptomatic improvement was reported in 83.5% of patients in both groups; however, exacerbation of preprocedural symptoms was significantly higher in group B than group A (10.1% vs 3.3%, p = 0.0003). The overall complication rates in the surgical and nonsurgical groups were 21% and 12.47%, respectively. Transient sciatica was the most common complication in both groups (17% vs 8%, respectively; p = 0.017). The incidence of cyst recurrence was much lower in group A than group B (8% vs 20%, p = 0.0018). The mean follow-up duration for the surgical group was 38 ± 29 months (25 studies, n = 279), while that for the nonsurgical group was 15 ± 12 months (4 studies, n = 290) (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors noted that although the surgical interventions were associated with higher postprocedural complication rates, long-term efficacy and success in terms of cyst resolution were superior following surgery compared to percutaneous procedures in the management of symptomatic TCs. There was no difference in symptom recurrence with either of the techniques.

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Mayur Sharma, Nicholas Dietz, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) in patients with spine infections is controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify long-term complications, reoperations, and healthcare utilization associated with rhBMP-2 use in patients with spine infections.

METHODS

This retrospective study extracted data using ICD-9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (2000–2016). Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups (rhBMP-2, no rhBMP-2) based on whether rhBMP-2 was used during fusion surgery for spinal infections. Outcomes of interest were reoperation rates (index level, other levels), readmission rates, discharge disposition, length of stay, complications, and healthcare resource utilization at the index hospitalization and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following discharge. Outcomes were compared using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized linear regression models.

RESULTS

The database search identified 2762 patients with > 24 months’ follow-up; rhBMP-2 was used in 8.4% of their cases. The patients’ median age was 53 years, 52.43% were female, and 15.11% had an Elixhauser Comorbidity Index ≥ 3. Patients in the rhBMP-2 group had higher comorbidity indices, incurred higher costs at index hospitalization, were discharged home in most cases, and had lower complication rates than those in the no–rhBMP-2 group. There was no statistically significant between-groups difference in complication rates 1 month following discharge or in reoperation rates at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following the procedure. Patients in the no–rhBMP-2 group incurred higher utilization of outpatient services and medication refill costs at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing surgery for spine infection, rhBMP-2 use was associated with lower complication rates and higher median payments during index hospitalization compared to cases in which rhBMP-2 was not used. There was no significant between-groups difference in reoperation rates (index and other levels) at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the index operation. Patients treated with rhBMP-2 incurred lower utilization of outpatient services and overall payments. These results indicate that rhBMP-2 can be used safely in patients with spine infections with cost-effective utilization of healthcare resources and without an increase in complications or reoperation rates.

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Nicholas Dietz, Mayur Sharma, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Miriam Nuño, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Spine infection including vertebral osteomyelitis, discitis, paraspinal musculoskeletal infection, and spinal abscess refractory to medical management poses significant challenges to the treating physician. Surgical management is often required in patients suffering neurological deficits or spinal deformity with significant pain. To date, best practices have not been elucidated for the optimization of health outcomes and resource utilization in the setting of surgical intervention for spinal infection. The authors conducted the present study to assess the magnitude of reoperation rates in both fusion and nonfusion groups as well as overall health resource utilization following surgical decompression for spine infection.

METHODS

The authors performed an analysis using MarketScan (2001–2015) to identify health outcomes and healthcare utilization metrics of spine infection following surgical intervention with decompression alone or combined with fusion. Adult patients underwent surgical management for primary or secondary spinal infection and were followed up for at least 12 months postoperatively. Assessed outcomes included reoperation, healthcare utilization and payment at the index hospitalization and within 12 months after discharge, postoperative complications, and infection recurrence.

RESULTS

A total of 2662 patients in the database were eligible for inclusion in this study. Rehospitalization for infection was observed in 3.99% of patients who had undergone fusion and in 11.25% of those treated with decompression alone. Reoperation was needed in 12.7% of the patients without fusion and 8.16% of those with fusion. Complications within 30 days were more common in the nonfusion group (24.64%) than in the fusion group (16.49%). Overall postoperative payments after 12 months totaled $33,137 for the nonfusion group and $23,426 for the fusion group.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large cohort study with a 12-month follow-up, the recurrence of infection, reoperation rates, and complications were higher in patients treated with decompression alone than in those treated with decompression plus fusion. These findings along with imaging characteristics, disease severity, extent of bony resection, and the presence of instability may help surgeons decide whether to include fusion at the time of initial surgery. Further studies that control for selection bias in appropriately matched cohorts are necessary to determine the additive benefits of fusion in spinal infection management.

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Nicholas Dietz, Mayur Sharma, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Miriam A. Nuño, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

There is increasing emphasis on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to quantitatively evaluate quality outcomes from degenerative spine surgery. However, accurate prediction of PROs is challenging due to heterogeneity in outcome measures, patient characteristics, treatment characteristics, and methodological characteristics. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current landscape of independently validated predictive models for PROs in elective degenerative spinal surgery with respect to study design and model generation, training, accuracy, reliability, variance, and utility.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the current predictive models in PROs by performing a search of the PubMed and Ovid databases using PRISMA guidelines and a PICOS (participants, intervention, comparison, outcomes, study design) model. They assessed the common outcomes and variables used across models as well as the study design and internal validation methods.

RESULTS

A total of 7 articles met the inclusion criteria, including a total of 17 validated predictive models of PROs after adult degenerative spine surgery. National registry databases were used in 4 of the studies. Validation cohorts were used in 2 studies for model verification and 5 studies used other methods, including random sample bootstrapping techniques. Reported c-index values ranged from 0.47 to 0.79. Two studies report the area under the curve (0.71–0.83) and one reports a misclassification rate (9.9%). Several positive predictors, including high baseline pain intensity and disability, demonstrated high likelihood of favorable PROs.

CONCLUSIONS

A limited but effective cohort of validated predictive models of spine surgical outcomes had proven good predictability for PROs. Instruments with predictive accuracy can enhance shared decision-making, improve rehabilitation, and inform best practices in the setting of heterogeneous patient characteristics and surgical factors.

Free access

Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Enzo M. Fortuny, Nicolas K. Khattar, Noberto Andaluz, Robert F. James, Brian J. Williams, Maxwell Boakye and Dale Ding

OBJECTIVE

The development and recent widespread dissemination of flow diverters may have reduced the utilization of surgical bypass procedures to treat complex or giant unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to observe trends in cerebral revascularization procedures for UIAs in the United States before and after the introduction of flow diverters by using the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS).

METHODS

The authors extracted data from the NIS database for the years 1998–2015 using the ICD-9/10 diagnostic and procedure codes. Patients with a primary diagnosis of UIA with a concurrent bypass procedure were included in the study. Outcomes and hospital charges were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 216,212 patients had a primary diagnosis of UIA during the study period. The number of patients diagnosed with a UIA increased by 128% from 1998 (n = 7718) to 2015 (n = 17,600). Only 1328 of the UIA patients (0.6%) underwent cerebral bypass. The percentage of patients who underwent bypass in the flow diverter era (2010–2015) remained stable at 0.4%. Most patients who underwent bypass were white (51%), were female (62%), had a median household income in the 3rd or 4th quartiles (57%), and had private insurance (51%). The West (33%) and Midwest/North Central regions (30%) had the highest volume of bypasses, whereas the Northeast region had the lowest (15%). Compared to the period 1998–2011, bypass procedures for UIAs in 2012–2015 shifted entirely to urban teaching hospitals (100%) and to an elective basis (77%). The median hospital stay (9 vs 3 days, p < 0.0001), median hospital charges ($186,746 vs $66,361, p < 0.0001), and rate of any complication (51% vs 17%, p < 0.0001) were approximately threefold higher for the UIA patients with bypass than for those without bypass.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite a significant increase in the diagnosis of UIAs over the 17-year study period, the proportion of bypass procedures performed as part of their treatment has remained stable. Therefore, advances in endovascular aneurysm therapy do not appear to have affected the volume of bypass procedures performed in the UIA population. The authors’ findings suggest a potentially ongoing niche for bypass procedures in the contemporary treatment of UIAs.