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James Feghali, Yuxi Chen, Yangyiran Xie, Christopher Chen and Judy Huang

OBJECTIVE

The effect of depression on outcomes in Chiari malformation type I (CM-1) is unclear. The authors sought to determine whether depression affects outcome in a surgical cohort of CM-1 patients by using a validated outcome assessment tool, the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database of 149 adult CM-1 patients undergoing suboccipital decompression with duraplasty and cranioplasty. Baseline presentation characteristics and composite as well as subcomponent CCOS scores at last follow-up were compared between depressed and nondepressed patients. Outcome comparisons included both a univariable analysis and a logistic regression model adjusting for several covariates.

RESULTS

The prevalence of depression in the study cohort was 28% (41/149). Baseline demographic and imaging characteristics were similar between the 2 patient groups. Dizziness (p = 0.019) and imbalance (p = 0.015) were significantly more common among depressed patients, but clinical symptoms and severity were otherwise comparable. On univariable analysis, depressed patients were significantly less likely to experience improvement in pain symptoms (OR 0.14, 95% CI 0.03–0.61, p = 0.003) and functionality (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.03–0.99, p = 0.049). No significant difference was identified in complications, nonpain symptom improvement, or overall composite CCOS improvement. Similar results were obtained on multivariable analysis controlling for several covariates.

CONCLUSIONS

Depression is independently associated with poor surgical outcome in adult CM-1 patients, namely when evaluating improvement in pain symptoms and functionality. Optimizing the management of depression preoperatively and ensuring follow-up for psychiatric comorbidity in the postoperative period may possibly lead to improved outcomes.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Dwight Saulle, Kai-Ming Fu, Justin S. Smith and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

This study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence of and risk factors associated with the development of dysphagia following same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgeries.

Methods

The records of 30 consecutive patients who underwent same-day combined anterior-posterior cervical spine surgery were reviewed. The presence of dysphagia was assessed by a formalized screening protocol using history/clinical presentation and a bedside swallowing test, followed by formal evaluation by speech and language pathologists and/or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing/modified barium swallow when necessary. Age, sex, previous cervical surgeries, diagnoses, duration of procedure, specific vertebral levels and number of levels operated on, degree of sagittal curve correction, use of anterior plate, estimated blood loss, use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), and length of hospital stay following procedures were analyzed.

Results

In the immediate postoperative period, 13 patients (43.3%) developed dysphagia. Outpatient follow-up data were available for 11 patients with dysphagia, and within this subset, all cases of dysphagia resolved subjectively within 12 months following surgery. The mean numbers of anterior levels surgically treated in patients with and without dysphagia were 5.1 and 4.0, respectively (p = 0.004). All patients (100%) with dysphagia had an anterior procedure that extended above C-4, compared with 58.8% of patients without dysphagia (p = 0.010). Patients with dysphagia had significantly greater mean correction of C2–7 lordosis than patients without dysphagia (p = 0.020). The postoperative sagittal occiput–C2 angle and the change in this angle were not significantly associated with the occurrence of dysphagia (p = 0.530 and p = 0.711, respectively). Patients with postoperative dysphagia had significantly longer hospital stays than those who did not develop dysphagia (p = 0.004). No other significant difference between the dysphagia and no-dysphagia groups was identified; differences with respect to history of previous anterior cervical surgery (p = 0.141), use of an anterior plate (p = 0.613), and mean length of anterior cervical operative time (p = 0.541) were not significant.

Conclusions

The incidence of dysphagia following combined anterior-posterior cervical surgery in this study was comparable to that of previous reports. The risk factors for dysphagia that were identified in this study were increased number of anterior levels exposed, anterior surgery that extended above C-4, and increased surgical correction of C2–7 lordosis.

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Samir Mardini, Lai-Chu See, Lun-Jou Lo, Christopher J. Salgado and Yu-Ray Chen

Object

The authors attempt to provide a standard for volumes of the intracranial space, brain, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in healthy control individuals by using in vivo three-dimensional (3D) computerized tomography (CT) data and to compare these data with those obtained from a group with Crouzon syndrome.

Methods

Fifty-seven individuals underwent 3D head CT scanning for nonintracranial-related disease to produce a set of normal volumes for the intracranial space, brain, and CSF. Prediction limits of 95% were obtained to provide a range of acceptable volumes throughout the growing period and early adulthood. Eleven patients (seven boys and four girls, age range 2.2 months–13.4 years) with Crouzon syndrome underwent identical measurements, which were compared with those of the control patients. The control group comprised 35 boys and 22 girls who ranged in age from 0.26 months to 24.4 years. Intracranial space and brain volume showed a progressive increase with age, with three different slopes from birth to adulthood. Male patients were found to have larger volumes than female patients in the same age group. Volume patterns for CSF were not significantly different within a given age or sex. Six patients with Crouzon syndrome had intracranial and brain volumes within the 95% prediction limit, three patients measured above the limit, and two measured below.

Conclusions

A standard for volumes of intracranial space and structures provides a guideline for the evaluation of patients with intracranial disease. Volumes in patients with Crouzon syndrome can be matched to their normal age- and sex-matched counterparts.

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Thomas J. Buell, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith and Shay Bess

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John Y. K. Lee, H. Isaac Chen, Christopher Urban, Anahita Hojat, Ephraim Church, Sharon X. Xie and John T. Farrar

Object

Outcomes in clinical trials on trigeminal pain therapies require instruments with demonstrated reliability and validity. The authors evaluated the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) in its existing form plus an additional 7 facial-specific items in patients referred to a single neurosurgeon for a diagnosis of facial pain. The complete 18-item instrument is referred to as the BPI-Facial.

Methods

This study was a cross-sectional analysis of patients who completed the BPI-Facial. The diagnosis of classic versus atypical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) was made before analyzing the questionnaire results. A hypothesis-driven factor analysis was used to determine the principal components of the questionnaire. Item reliability and questionnaire validity were tested for these specific constructs.

Results

Data from 156 patients were analyzed, including 114 patients (73%) with classic and 42 (27%) with atypical TN. Using orthomax rotation factor analysis, 3 factors with an eigenvalue > 1.0 were identified—pain intensity, interference with general activities, and facial-specific pain interference—accounting for 97.6% of the observed item variance. Retention of the 3 factors was confirmed via a Cattell scree plot. Internal reliability was demonstrated by calculating Cronbach's α: 0.86 for pain intensity, 0.89 for interference with general activities, 0.95 for facial-specific pain interference, and 0.94 for the entire instrument.

Initial validity of the BPI-Facial instrument was supported by the detection of statistically significant differences between patients with classic versus atypical pain. Patients with atypical TN rated their facial pain as more intense (atypical 6.24 vs classic 5.03, p = 0.013) and as having greater interference in general activities (atypical 6.94 vs classic 5.43, p = 0.0033). Both groups expressed high levels of facial-specific pain interference (atypical 6.34 vs classic 5.95, p = 0.527).

Conclusions

The BPI-Facial is a rigorous measure of facial pain in patients with TN and appears to have sound psychometric properties and is responsive to differences between classic and atypical TN. Future studies must assess the instrument's test-retest reliability, validity in additional populations, and responsiveness with respect to changes in patient outcomes following neurosurgical interventions and medical therapies.

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Bhargav D. Desai, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Thomas J. Buell, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Bhiken I. Naik, Justin S. Smith and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic agent with demonstrated efficacy in reducing blood loss when administered systemically. However, in patients with contraindications to systemic or intravenous TXA, topical TXA (tTXA) has been shown to reduce perioperative blood loss, with some studies suggesting equivalence compared to systemic TXA. However, these studies have been conducted in healthy cohorts without contraindications to systemic TXA. In the surgical management of adult spinal deformity (ASD), comorbid disease is commonly encountered and may preclude use of systemic TXA. In this subset of patients with ASD who have contraindications for systemic TXA, use of tTXA has not been reported.

The primary objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review on the use of tTXA in spine surgery and to present the authors’ initial experience with tTXA as a novel hemostatic technique for 2 patients with medically complex ASD. Both patients had contraindications to systemic TXA use and underwent high-risk, long-segment fusion operations for correction of ASD. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were used to obtain studies related to spine surgery and tTXA from the National Institutes of Health PubMed (www.pubmed.gov) database. Criteria for final selection included a demonstration of quantitative data regarding operative or postoperative blood loss with the use of tTXA, and selection criteria were met by 6 articles.

Topical TXA may offer a potential therapeutic role in reducing intra- and postoperative blood loss following long-segment spinal fusion surgeries, particularly for medically complex patients with contraindications to systemic TXA. It is reasonable to consider the use of tTXA as a salvage technique in complex high-risk patients with contraindications to systemic TXA, although further research is needed to delineate safety, magnitude of benefit, and optimization of dosing.

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Thomas J. Buell, Ching-Jen Chen, James H. Nguyen, Peter A. Christiansen, Saikiran G. Murthy, Avery L. Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Prior reports have demonstrated the efficacy of surgical correction for adult lumbar scoliosis. Many of these reports focused on mild to moderate scoliosis. The authors’ objective was to report their experience and to assess outcomes and complications after deformity correction for severe adult scoliosis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed consecutive adult scoliosis patients with major thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves ≥ 75° who underwent deformity correction at their institution. Those eligible with a minimum 2 years of follow-up were included. Demographic, surgical, coronal and sagittal plane radiographic measurements, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) scores were analyzed.

RESULTS

Among 26 potentially eligible patients, 22 (85%) had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (range 24–89 months) and were included in the study (mean age 57 ± 11 years; 91% women). The cohort comprised 16 (73%), 4 (18%), and 2 (9%) patients with adult idiopathic scoliosis, de novo degenerative scoliosis, and iatrogenic scoliosis, respectively. The surgical approach was posterior-only and multistage anterior-posterior in 18 (82%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. Three-column osteotomy was performed in 5 (23%) patients. Transforaminal and anterior lumbar interbody fusion were performed in 14 (64%) and 4 (18%) patients, respectively. All patients had sacropelvic fixation with uppermost instrumented vertebra in the lower thoracic spine (46% [10/22]) versus upper thoracic spine (55% [12/22]). The mean fusion length was 14 ± 3 levels. Preoperative major TL/L and lumbosacral fractional (L4–S1) curves were corrected from 83° ± 8° to 28° ± 13° (p < 0.001) and 34° ± 8° to 13° ± 6° (p < 0.001), respectively. Global coronal and sagittal balance significantly improved from 5 ± 4 cm to 1 ± 1 cm (p = 0.001) and 9 ± 8 cm to 2 ± 3 cm (p < 0.001), respectively. Pelvic tilt significantly improved from 33° ± 9° to 23° ± 10° (p < 0.001). Significant improvement in HRQL measures included the following: Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) pain score (p = 0.009), SRS appearance score (p = 0.004), and SF-12/SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) score (p = 0.026). Transient and persistent neurological deficits occurred in 8 (36%) and 2 (9%) patients, respectively. Rod fracture/pseudarthrosis occurred in 6 (27%) patients (supplemental rods were utilized more recently in 23%). Revisions were performed in 7 (32%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

In this single-center surgical series for severe adult scoliosis (major curves ≥ 75°), a posterior-only or multistage anterior-posterior approach provided major curve correction of 66% and significant improvements in global coronal and sagittal spinopelvic alignment. Significant improvements were also demonstrated in HRQL measures (SRS pain, SRS appearance, and SF-12/SF-36 PCS). Complications and revisions were comparable to those of other reports involving less severe scoliosis. The results of this study warrant future prospective multicenter studies to further delineate outcomes and complication risks for severe adult scoliosis correction.

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Thomas J. Buell, Davis G. Taylor, Ching-Jen Chen, Lauren K. Dunn, Jeffrey P. Mullin, Marcus D. Mazur, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith and Bhiken I. Naik

OBJECTIVE

Significant blood loss and coagulopathy are often encountered during adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery, and the optimal intraoperative transfusion algorithm is debatable. Rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM), a functional viscoelastometric method for real-time hemostasis testing, may allow early identification of coagulopathy and improve transfusion practices. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of ROTEM-guided blood product management on perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements in ASD patients undergoing correction with pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed patients with ASD who underwent single-level lumbar PSO at the University of Virginia Health System. All patients who received ROTEM-guided blood product transfusion between 2015 and 2017 were matched in a 1:1 ratio to a historical cohort treated using conventional laboratory testing (control group). Co-primary outcomes were intraoperative estimated blood loss (EBL) and total blood product transfusion volume. Secondary outcomes were perioperative transfusion requirements and postoperative subfascial drain output.

RESULTS

The matched groups (ROTEM and control) comprised 17 patients each. Comparison of matched group baseline characteristics demonstrated differences in female sex and total intraoperative dose of intravenous tranexamic acid (TXA). Although EBL was comparable between ROTEM versus control (3200.00 ± 2106.24 ml vs 3874.12 ± 2224.22 ml, p = 0.36), there was a small to medium effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.31) on EBL reduction with ROTEM. The ROTEM group had less total blood product transfusion volume (1624.18 ± 1774.79 ml vs 2810.88 ± 1847.46 ml, p = 0.02), and the effect size was medium to large (Cohen’s d = 0.66). This difference was no longer significant after adjusting for TXA (β = −0.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1995.78 to 671.64, p = 0.32). More cryoprecipitate and less fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were transfused in the ROTEM group patients (cryoprecipitate units: 1.24 ± 1.20 vs 0.53 ± 1.01, p = 0.03; FFP volume: 119.76 ± 230.82 ml vs 673.06 ± 627.08 ml, p < 0.01), and this remained significant after adjusting for TXA (cryoprecipitate units: β = 0.39, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.73, p = 0.04; FFP volume: β = −0.41, 95% CI −772.55 to −76.30, p = 0.02). Drain output was lower in the ROTEM group and remained significant after adjusting for TXA.

CONCLUSIONS

For ASD patients treated using lumbar PSO, more cryoprecipitate and less FFP were transfused in the ROTEM group compared to the control group. These preliminary findings suggest ROTEM-guided therapy may allow early identification of hypofibrinogenemia, and aggressive management of this may reduce blood loss and total blood product transfusion volume. Additional prospective studies of larger cohorts are warranted to identify the appropriate subset of ASD patients who may benefit from intraoperative ROTEM analysis.

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Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Eric Chen, Alpesh A. Patel, Henry Ahn, Ahmad Nassr, Christopher I. Shaffrey, James Harrop, Gregory D. Schroeder, Amit Agarwala, Marcel F. Dvorak, Daryl R. Fourney, Kirkham B. Wood, Vincent C. Traynelis, S. Tim Yoon, Michael G. Fehlings and Bizhan Aarabi

OBJECT

In this clinically based systematic review of cervical facet fractures, the authors’ aim was to determine the optimal clinical care for patients with isolated fractures of the cervical facets through a systematic review.

METHODS

A systematic review of nonoperative and operative treatment methods of cervical facet fractures was performed. Reduction and stabilization treatments were compared, and analysis of postoperative outcomes was performed. MEDLINE and Scopus databases were used. This work was supported through support received from the Association for Collaborative Spine Research and AOSpine North America.

RESULTS

Eleven studies with 368 patients met the inclusion criteria. Forty-six patients had bilateral isolated cervical facet fractures and 322 had unilateral isolated cervical facet fractures. Closed reduction was successful in 56.4% (39 patients) and 63.8% (94 patients) of patients using a halo vest and Gardner-Wells tongs, respectively. Comparatively, open reduction was successful in 94.9% of patients (successful reduction of open to closed reduction OR 12.8 [95% CI 6.1–26.9], p < 0.0001); 183 patients underwent internal fixation, with an 87.2% success rate in maintaining anatomical alignment. When comparing the success of patients who underwent anterior versus posterior procedures, anterior approaches showed a 90.5% rate of maintenance of reduction, compared with a 75.6% rate for the posterior approach (anterior vs posterior OR 3.1 [95% CI 1.0–9.4], p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In comparison with nonoperative treatments, operative treatments provided a more successful outcome in terms of failure of treatment to maintain reduction for patients with cervical facet fractures. Operative treatment appears to provide superior results to the nonoperative treatments assessed.

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Christopher M. Duma, Brian S. Kim, Peter V. Chen, Marianne E. Plunkett, Ralph Mackintosh, Marlon S. Mathews, Ryan M. Casserly, Gustavo A. Mendez, Daniel J. Furman, Garrett Smith, Nathan Oh, Chad A. Caraway, Ami R. Sanathara, Robert O. Dillman, Azzurra-Sky Riley, David Weiland, Lian Stemler, Ruslana Cannell, Daniela Alexandru Abrams, Alexa Smith, Christopher M. Owen, Burton Eisenberg and Michael Brant-Zawadzki

OBJECTIVE

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is composed of cells that migrate through the brain along predictable white matter pathways. Targeting white matter pathways adjacent to, and leading away from, the original contrast-enhancing tumor site (termed leading-edge radiosurgery [LERS]) with single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery as a boost to standard therapy could limit the spread of glioma cells and improve clinical outcomes.

METHODS

Between December 2000 and May 2016, after an initial diagnosis of GBM and prior to or during standard radiation therapy and carmustine or temozolomide chemotherapy, 174 patients treated with radiosurgery to the leading edge (LE) of tumor cell migration were reviewed. The LE was defined as a region outside the contrast-enhancing tumor nidus, defined by FLAIR MRI. The median age of patients was 59 years (range 22–87 years). Patients underwent LERS a median of 18 days from original diagnosis. The median target volume of 48.5 cm3 (range 2.5–220.0 cm3) of LE tissue was targeted using a median dose of 8 Gy (range 6–14 Gy) at the 50% isodose line.

RESULTS

The median overall survival was 23 months (mean 43 months) from diagnosis. The 2-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-year actual overall survival rates after LERS were 39%, 26%, 16%, 10%, and 4%, respectively. Nine percent of patients developed treatment-related imaging-documented changes due to LERS. Nineteen percent of patients were hospitalized for management of edema, 22% for resection of a tumor cyst or new tumor bulk, and 2% for shunting to treat hydrocephalus throughout the course of their disease. Of the patients still alive, Karnofsky Performance Scale scores remained stable in 90% of patients and decreased by 1–3 grades in 10% due to symptomatic treatment-related imaging changes.

CONCLUSIONS

LERS is a safe and effective upfront adjunctive therapy for patients with newly diagnosed GBM. Limitations of this study include a single-center experience and single-institution determination of the LE tumor target. Use of a leading-edge calculation algorithm will be described to achieve a consistent approach to defining the LE target for general use. A multicenter trial will further elucidate its value in the treatment of GBM.