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Ali Nourbakhsh, Prashant Chittiboina, Prasad Vannemreddy, Anil Nanda and Bharat Guthikonda

Object

Transpedicular thoracic vertebrectomy (TTV) is a safe alternative to the more standard transthoracic approach. A TTV is most commonly used to address vertebral body fractures due to tumor or trauma.

Transpedicular reconstruction of the anterior column with cage/bone traditionally requires unilateral thoracic nerve root sacrifice. In a cadaveric model, the authors evaluated the feasibility of transpedicular anterior column reconstruction without nerve root sacrifice. If feasible, this may be a reasonable approach that could be extended to the lumbar spine where nerve root sacrifice is not an option.

Methods

A TTV was performed in 8 fixed cadaveric specimens. In each specimen, an alternate vertebra (either odd or even) was removed so that single-level reconstruction could be evaluated. The vertebrectomy included facetectomy, adjacent discectomies, and laminectomy; however, the nerve roots were preserved. The authors then evaluated the feasibility of inserting a titanium mesh cage (Medtronic Sofamor Danek) without neural sacrifice.

Results

Transpedicular anterior cage reconstruction could be safely performed at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice. The internerve root space varied from 18 mm at T2–3 to 27 mm at T11–12; thus, the size of the cage that was used also varied with level.

Conclusions

Cage reconstruction of the anterior column could be safely performed via the transpedicular approach without nerve root sacrifice in this cadaveric study. Removal of the proximal part of the rib in addition to a standard laminectomy with transpedicular vertebrectomy provided an excellent corridor for anterior cage reconstruction at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice.

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Mayur Sharma, Sudheer Ambekar, Bharat Guthikonda, Jessica Wilden and Anil Nanda

Object

The aim of this study was to analyze the incidence of adverse outcomes, complications, inpatient mortality, length of hospital stay, and the factors affecting them between academic and nonacademic centers after deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson's disease (PD). The authors also analyzed the impact of various factors on the total hospitalization charges after this procedure.

Methods

This is a retrospective cohort study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) from 2006 to 2010. Various patient and hospital variables were analyzed from the database. The adverse discharge disposition and the higher cost of hospitalization were taken as the dependent variables.

Results

A total of 2244 patients who underwent surgical treatment for PD were identified from the database. The mean age was 64.22 ± 9.8 years and 68.7% (n = 1523) of the patients were male. The majority of the patients was discharged to home or self-care (87.9%, n = 1972). The majority of the procedures was performed at high-volume centers (64.8%, n = 1453), at academic institutions (85.33%, n = 1915), in urban areas (n = 2158, 96.16%), and at hospitals with a large bedsize (86.6%, n = 1907) in the West or South. Adverse discharge disposition was more likely in elderly patients (OR > 1, p = 0.011) with high comorbidity index (OR 1.508 [95% CI 1.148–1.98], p = 0.004) and those with complications (OR 3.155 [95% CI 1.202–8.279], p = 0.033). A hospital with a larger annual caseload was an independent predictor of adverse discharge disposition (OR 3.543 [95% CI 1.781–7.048], p < 0.001), whereas patients treated by physicians with high case volumes had significantly better outcomes (p = 0.006). The median total cost of hospitalization had increased by 6% from 2006 through 2010. Hospitals with a smaller case volume (OR 0.093, p < 0.001), private hospitals (OR 11.027, p < 0.001), nonteaching hospitals (OR 3.139, p = 0.003), and hospitals in the West compared with hospitals in Northeast and the Midwest (OR 1.885 [p = 0.033] and OR 2.897 [p = 0.031], respectively) were independent predictors of higher hospital cost. The mean length of hospital stay decreased from 2.03 days in 2006 to 1.55 days in 2010. There was no difference in the discharge disposition among academic versus nonacademic centers and rural versus urban hospitals (p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Elderly female patients with nonprivate insurance and high comorbidity index who underwent surgery at low-volume centers performed by a surgeon with a low annual case volume and the occurrence of postoperative complications were correlated with an adverse discharge disposition. High-volume, government-owned academic centers in the Northeast were associated with a lower cost incurred to the hospitals. It can be recommended that the widespread availability of this procedure across small, academic centers in rural areas may not only provide easier access to the patients but also reduces the total cost of hospitalization.

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Shyamal C. Bir, Subhas Konar, Tanmoy Maiti, Anil Nanda and Bharat Guthikonda

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord stimulators (SCSs) appear to be safe and efficacious for chronic intractable back pain. Although there are many reports on percutaneous SCSs, there are very few studies on outcomes of paddle lead SCSs. In addition, the predictors of requirement for SCS revision have not been well established. Here, the authors review the outcome of a case series and attempt to identify the predictors of SCS revisions.

METHODS

The clinical and radiological information of 141 patients with intractable chronic pain who underwent SCS implantation within the past 20 years was retrospectively reviewed. Paddle lead SCSs were used in this series. Statistical analysis was conducted using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional-hazards regression.

RESULTS

Among 141 cases, 90 (64%) did not require any revision after SCS implantations. Removal of the SCS was required in 14 patients. The average pain score was significantly reduced (preimplantation score of 8 vs postimplantation score of 1.38; p < 0.0001). Younger age, male sex, obesity, a preimplantation pain score ≥ 8, and the presence of neuromuscular pain were identified as predictors of the overall requirement for SCS revision. However, only a preimplantation pain score ≥ 8 was identified as a predictor of early failure of the SCS.

CONCLUSIONS

Implantation of a paddle lead SCS is a relatively less invasive, safe, and effective procedure for patients with intractable back pain. Revision of the procedure depends on many factors, including younger age, male sex, associated neuromuscular pain, and severity of the pain. Therefore, patients with these factors, for whom implantation of an SCS is planned, should be closely followed for the possible requirement for revision.

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Tanmoy K. Maiti, Shyamal C. Bir, Devi Prasad Patra, Piyush Kalakoti, Bharat Guthikonda and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Spinal meningiomas are benign tumors with a wide spectrum of clinical and radiological features at presentation. The authors analyzed multiple clinicoradiological factors to predict recurrence and functional outcome in a cohort with a mean follow-up of more than 4 years. The authors also discuss the results of clinical studies regarding spinal meningiomas in the last 15 years.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiological details of patients who underwent surgery for spinal tumors between 2001 and 2015 that were histopathologically confirmed as meningiomas. Demographic parameters, such as age, sex, race, and association with neurofibromatosis Type 2, were considered. Radiological parameters, such as tumor size, signal changes of spinal cord, spinal level, number of levels, location of tumor attachment, shape of tumor, and presence of dural tail/calcification, were noted. These factors were analyzed to predict recurrence and functional outcome. Furthermore, a pooled analysis was performed from 13 reports of spinal meningiomas in the last 15 years.

RESULTS

A total of 38 patients were included in this study. Male sex and tumors with radiological evidence of a dural tail were associated with an increased risk of recurrence at a mean follow-up of 51.2 months. Ventral or ventrolateral location, large tumors, T2 cord signal changes, and poor preoperative functional status were associated with poor functional outcome at 1-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Spine surgeons must be aware of the natural history and risk factors of spinal meningiomas to establish a prognosis for their patients.

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Richard P. Menger, Christopher M. Storey, Bharat Guthikonda, Symeon Missios, Anil Nanda and John M. Cooper

World War I catapulted the United States from traditional isolationism to international involvement in a major European conflict. Woodrow Wilson envisaged a permanent American imprint on democracy in world affairs through participation in the League of Nations. Amid these defining events, Wilson suffered a major ischemic stroke on October 2, 1919, which left him incapacitated. What was probably his fourth and most devastating stroke was diagnosed and treated by his friend and personal physician, Admiral Cary Grayson. Grayson, who had tremendous personal and professional loyalty to Wilson, kept the severity of the stroke hidden from Congress, the American people, and even the president himself. During a cabinet briefing, Grayson formally refused to sign a document of disability and was reluctant to address the subject of presidential succession. Wilson was essentially incapacitated and hemiplegic, yet he remained an active president and all messages were relayed directly through his wife, Edith. Patient-physician confidentiality superseded national security amid the backdrop of friendship and political power on the eve of a pivotal juncture in the history of American foreign policy.

It was in part because of the absence of Woodrow Wilson’s vocal and unwavering support that the United States did not join the League of Nations and distanced itself from the international stage. The League of Nations would later prove powerless without American support and was unable to thwart the rise and advance of Adolf Hitler. Only after World War II did the United States assume its global leadership role and realize Wilson’s visionary, yet contentious, groundwork for a Pax Americana.

The authors describe Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, the historical implications of his health decline, and its impact on United States foreign policy.

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Richard P. Menger, Bharat Guthikonda, Christopher M. Storey, Anil Nanda, Matthew McGirt and Anthony Asher

Neurosurgeons provide direct individualized care to patients. However, the majority of regulations affecting the relative value of patient-related care are drafted by policy experts whose focus is typically system- and population-based. A central, prospectively gathered, national outcomes-related database serves as neurosurgery’s best opportunity to bring patient-centered outcomes to the policy arena.

In this study the authors analyze the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the determination of quality and value in neurosurgery care through the scope, language, and terminology of policy experts. The methods by which the ACA came into law and the subsequent quality implications this legislation has for neurosurgery will be discussed. The necessity of neurosurgical patient-oriented clinical registries will be discussed in the context of imminent and dramatic reforms related to medical cost containment.

In the policy debate moving forward, the strength of neurosurgery’s argument will rest on data, unity, and proactiveness. The National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (N2QOD) allows neurosurgeons to generate objective data on specialty-specific value and quality determinations; it allows neurosurgeons to bring the patient-physician interaction to the policy debate.

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Marc Manix, Piyush Kalakoti, Miriam Henry, Jai Thakur, Richard Menger, Bharat Guthikonda and Anil Nanda

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare neurodegenerative condition with a rapid disease course and a mortality rate of 100%. Several forms of the disease have been described, and the most common is the sporadic type. The most challenging aspect of this disease is its diagnosis—the gold standard for definitive diagnosis is considered to be histopatho-logical confirmation—but newer tests are providing means for an antemortem diagnosis in ways less invasive than brain biopsy. Imaging studies, electroencephalography, and biomarkers are used in conjunction with the clinical picture to try to make the diagnosis of CJD without brain tissue samples, and all of these are reviewed in this article. The current diagnostic criteria are limited; test sensitivity and specificity varies with the genetics of the disease as well as the clinical stage. Physicians may be unsure of all diagnostic testing available, and may order outdated tests or prematurely request a brain biopsy when the diagnostic workup is incomplete. The authors review CJD, discuss the role of brain biopsy in this patient population, provide a diagnostic pathway for the patient presenting with rapidly progressive dementia, and propose newer diagnostic criteria.

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Anil Nanda, Shyamal C. Bir, Tanmoy K. Maiti, Subhas K. Konar, Symeon Missios and Bharat Guthikonda

OBJECTIVE

The clinical significance of the Simpson system for grading the extent of meningioma resection and its role as a predictor of the recurrence of World Health Organization (WHO) Grade I meningiomas have been questioned in the past, echoing changes in meningioma surgery over the years. The authors reviewed their experience in resecting WHO Grade I meningiomas and assessed the association between extent of resection, as evaluated using the Simpson classification, and recurrence-free survival (RFS) of patients after meningioma surgery.

METHODS

Clinical and radiological information for patients with WHO Grade I meningiomas who had undergone resective surgery over the past 20 years was retrospectively reviewed. Simpson and Shinshu grading scales were used to evaluate the extent of resection. Statistical analysis was conducted using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional-hazards regression.

RESULTS

Four hundred fifty-eight patients were eligible for analysis. Overall tumor recurrence rates for Simpson resection Grades I, II, III, and IV were 5%, 22%, 31%, and 35%, respectively. After Cox regression analysis, Simpson Grade I (extensive resection) was revealed as a significant predictor of RFS (p = 0.003). Patients undergoing Simpson Grade I and II resections showed significant improvement in RFS compared with patients undergoing Grade III and IV resections (p = 0.005). Extent of resection had a significant effect on recurrence rates for both skull base (p = 0.047) and convexity (p = 0.012) meningiomas. Female sex and a Karnofsky Performance Scale score > 70 were also identified as independent predictors of RFS after resection of WHO Grade I meningioma.

CONCLUSIONS

In this patient cohort, a significant association was noted between extent of resection and rates of tumor recurrence. In the authors' experience the Simpson grading system maintains its relevance and prognostic value and can serve an important role for patient education. Even though complete tumor resection is the goal, surgery should be tailored to each patient according to the risks and surgical morbidity.

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Sunil Kukreja, Piyush Kalakoti, Richard Murray, Menarvia Nixon, Symeon Missios, Bharat Guthikonda and Anil Nanda

OBJECT

Incidence of C-2 fracture is increasing in elderly patients. Patient age also influences decision making in the management of these fractures. There are very limited data on the national trends of incidence, treatment interventions, and resource utilization in patients in different age groups with isolated C-2 fractures. The aim of this study is to investigate the incidence, treatment, complications, length of stay, and hospital charges of isolated C-2 fracture in patients in 3 different age groups by using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. methods The data were obtained from NIS from 2002 to 2011. Data on patients with closed fractures of C-2 without spinal cord injury were extracted using ICD-9-CM diagnosis code 805.02. Patients with isolated C-2 fractures were identified by excluding patients with other associated injuries. The cohort was divided into 3 age groups: < 65 years, 65–80 years, and > 80 years. Incidence, treatment characteristics, inpatient/postoperative complications, and hospital charges (mean and total annual charges) were compared between the 3 age groups.

RESULTS

A total of 10,336 patients with isolated C-2 fractures were identified. The majority of the patients were in the very elderly age group (> 80 years; 42.3%) followed by 29.7% in the 65- to 80-year age group and 28% in < 65-year age group. From 2002 to 2011, the incidence of hospitalization significantly increased in the 65- to 80-year and > 80-year age groups (p < 0.001). However, the incidence did not change substantially in the < 65-year age group (p = 0.287). Overall, 21% of the patients were treated surgically, and 12.2% of the patients underwent nonoperative interventions (halo and spinal traction). The rate of nonoperative interventions significantly decreased over time in all age groups (p < 0.001). Regardless of treatment given, patients in older age groups had a greater risk of inpatient/postoperative complications, nonroutine discharges, and longer hospitalization. The mean hospital charges were significantly higher in older age groups (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of hospitalization for isolated C-2 fractures is progressively increasing in older age groups. Simultaneously, there has been a steadily decreasing trend in the preference for nonoperative interventions. Due to more complicated hospital stay, longer hospitalizations, and higher rates of nonroutine discharges, the patients in older age groups seem to have a higher propensity for greater health care resource utilization.

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Brian Willis, Vijayakumar Javalkar, Prasad Vannemreddy, Gloria Caldito, Junko Matsuyama, Bharat Guthikonda, Papireddy Bollam and Anil Nanda

Object

The aim of the study was to analyze the outcome of surgical treatment for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in premature infants.

Methods

From 1990 to 2006, 32 premature infants underwent surgical treatment for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus, and their charts were retrospectively reviewed to analyze the complications and outcome with respect to shunt revisions. Multivariate analysis and time series were used to identify factors that influence the outcome in terms of shunt revisions.

Results

The mean gestational age was 27 ± 3.3 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1192 ± 660 g. Temporary reservoir placement was performed in 15 patients, while 17 underwent permanent CSF diversion with a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. In 2 patients, reservoir tapping alone was sufficient to halt the progression of hydrocephalus; 29 patients received VP shunts. The mean follow-up period was 37.3 months. The neonates who received VP shunts first were significantly older (p = 0.02) and heavier (p = 0.04) than those who initially underwent reservoir placement. Shunts were revised in 14 patients; 42% of patients in the reservoir group had their shunts revised, while 53% of infants who had initially received a VP shunt required a revision. The revision rate per patient in the reservoir group was half that in the direct VP shunt group (p = 0.027). No patient in the reservoir group had > 2 revisions. Shunt infections developed in 3 patients (10.3%), and 2 patients in the reservoir group died of nonneurological issues related to prematurity.

Conclusions

Birth weight and age are useful parameters in decision making. Preterm neonates with low birth weights benefit from initial CSF drainage procedures followed by permanent CSF diversion with respect to the number of shunt revisions.