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Colleen M. Moran, Michael E. Mahla, Brett Reichwage, Stephen Lewis, Keith Peters and Christoph N. Seubert

Papaverine has been associated with transient cranial nerve dysfunction after topical application during craniotomy. The authors report similar dysfunction after the use of papaverine affected brainstem structures. Two patients undergoing craniotomy for clipping of an aneurysm experienced bilateral depression of cortical somatosensory evoked potentials to both median and tibial nerve stimulation after administration of papaverine. Arterial blood gas analysis, hemodynamic parameters, and anesthetic levels remained constant throughout these somatosensory evoked potential changes. In addition, intraoperative angiography and immediate postoperative CT imaging showed intact blood flow with complete exclusion of the aneurysm. Both patients recovered within 1–2 hours and had normal neurological examination findings after extubation. Topical papaverine use may be associated with direct effects on brainstem structures. The transient nature of those changes suggests that aggressive intervention may not be needed. Maneuvers to limit the spread of papaverine to basal cisterns should be considered.

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Robert J. Owen, Adam Z. Khan, Steven J. McAnany, Colleen Peters and Lukas P. Zebala

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare the patient-reported outcome measures Neck Disability Index (NDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) with the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) physical function (PF) and pain interference (PI) measures, respectively, and to determine their correlations in a surgical population longitudinally.

Legacy outcome measures such as NDI and VAS are essential for analyzing treatments in spine surgery for cervical disc herniations with radiculopathy. Despite their usefulness, administrative burdens impose limits on completion of these measures. PROMIS was developed as a patient outcome measure in order to improve reporting of patient symptoms and function and to reduce administrative burden. Despite early positive results of PROMIS in orthopedics, NDI and VAS scores have not been compared with PROMIS scores in patients with cervical disc herniations with radiculopathy.

METHODS

Eighty patients undergoing surgery for cervical disc herniations with radiculopathy were included. All patients were treated at the same tertiary spine center. Patients were seen and PROMIS PF and PI, NDI, and VAS arm and neck pain scores were collected preoperatively and at 1 year postoperatively. Correlations between NDI, VAS, and PROMIS PF and PI were quantified using Pearson correlation coefficients. Two-tailed Student t-tests were used to demonstrate correlation significance, with alpha = 0.05.

RESULTS

All 80 (100%) patients completed all preoperative questionnaires. Fifty-seven (72%) and 75 (94%) patients completed all questionnaires at baseline and at the 6-month and 1-year follow-ups, respectively. PROMIS PF and NDI scores demonstrated a strong negative correlation, with Pearson r values of −0.81, −0.77, and −0.75 at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year. PROMIS PI and VAS neck pain scores demonstrated a moderately positive correlation, with Pearson r values of 0.51, 0.61, and 0.6. PROMIS PI and VAS arm pain scores demonstrated a moderately positive correlation, with Pearson r values of 0.46, 0.47, and 0.45.

CONCLUSIONS

PROMIS PF scores have a strong negative correlation with NDI scores at baseline and in the postoperative course in patients undergoing surgery for cervical disc herniations with radiculopathy. PROMIS PI scores have a moderately positive correlation with VAS neck and arm pain scores at baseline and in the postoperative course. Surgeons may factor these correlation results into the interpretation of patient-reported outcome measures in patients with cervical radiculopathy. Use of PROMIS PF and PI for this patient population may reduce administrative burden while providing reliable outcomes data.

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Panya Luksanapruksa, Jacob M. Buchowski, Neill M. Wright, Frank H. Valone III, Colleen Peters and David B. Bumpass

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of suboccipital spinal metastases is rare but has increased given cancer patients' longer life expectancies. Operative treatment in this region is often challenging because of limited fixation points due to tumor lysis, as well as adjacent neural and vascular anatomy. Few studies have reported on this population of cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical outcomes and complications of patients with suboccipital spinal metastases who had undergone posterior occipitocervical fixation.

METHODS

A single-institution database was reviewed to identify patients with suboccipital metastases who had undergone posterior-only instrumented fusion between 1999 and 2014. Clinical presentation, perioperative complications, and postoperative results were analyzed. Pain was assessed using the visual analog scale. Survival analysis was performed using a Kaplan-Meier curve. The revised Tokuhashi and the Tomita scoring systems were used for prognosis prediction.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients were identified, 10 men and 5 women with mean age of 64.8 ± 11.8 years (range 48–80 years). Severe neck pain without neurological deficit was the most common presentation. Primary tumors included lung, breast, bladder, myeloma, melanoma, and renal cell cancers. All tumors occurred in the axis vertebra. Preoperative Tokuhashi and Tomita scores ranged from 5 to 13 and 3 to 7, respectively. All patients had undergone occipitocervical fusion of a mean of 4.6 levels (range 2–7 levels). Median survival was 10.3 months. In all cases, neck pain markedly improved and patients were able to resume activities of daily living. The average postoperative pain score was significantly improved as compared with the average preoperative score (1.90 ± 2.56 and 5.50 ± 2.99, respectively, p = 0.01). Three patients experienced postoperative medical complications including urinary tract infection, deep vein thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrhythmia. In the follow-up period, no wound infections or reoperations occurred and no patients experienced spinal cord deficits from tumor recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior-only occipitocervical stabilization was highly effective at relieving patients' neck pain. No instrumentation failures were noted, and no neurological complications or tumor progression causing spinal cord deficits was noted in the follow-up period.