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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Meghan E. Murphy, Daniel L. Shepherd, Patrick R. Maloney, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohamad Bydon and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

The mechanism by which greater institutional case volume translates into improved outcomes after surgical clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is not well established. The authors thus aimed to assess the effect of case volume on the rate of various types of complications after clipping of UIAs.

METHODS

Using information on the outcomes of inpatient admissions for surgical clipping of UIAs collected within a national database, the relationship of institutional case volume to the incidence of different types of complications after clipping was investigated. Complications were subdivided into different categories, which included all complications, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, medical complications, infectious complications, complications related to anesthesia, and wound complications. The relationship of case volume to different types of complications was assessed using linear regression analysis. The relationships between case volume and overall complication and stroke rates were fit with both linear and quadratic equations. The numerical cutoff for institutional case volume above and below which the authors found the greatest differences in mean overall complication and stroke rate was determined using classification and regression tree (CART) analysis.

RESULTS

Between October 2012 and September 2015, 125 health care institutions reported patient outcomes from a total of 6040 cases of clipping of UIAs. On linear regression analysis, increasing case volume was negatively correlated to both overall complications (r2 = 0.046, p = 0.0234) and stroke (r2 = 0.029, p = 0.0557) rate, although the relationship of case volume to the complication (r2 = 0.092) and stroke (r2 = 0.067) rate was better fit with a quadratic equation. On CART analysis, the cutoff for the case number that yielded the greatest difference in overall complications and stroke rate between higher- or lower-volume centers was 6 cases/year and 3 cases/year, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the authors confirm that increasing case volume is associated with reduced complications after clipping of UIAs, their results suggest that the relationship between case volume and complications is not necessarily linear. Moreover, these results indicate that the effect of case volume on outcome is most evident between very-low-volume centers relative to centers with a medium-to-high volume.

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Meghan E. Murphy, Hannah Gilder, Patrick R. Maloney, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Daniel Shepherd, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Daniel S. Ubl, Cynthia S. Crowson, William E. Krauss, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

With improving medical therapies for chronic conditions, elderly patients increasingly present as candidates for operative intervention for degenerative diseases of the spine. To date, there is a paucity of studies examining complications in lumbar decompression, without fusion, that include patients older than 80 years. Using a multicenter national database, the authors of this study evaluated lumbar decompression in the elderly, including octogenarians, to evaluate for associations between age and patient outcomes.

METHODS

The 2011–2013 American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set was queried for patients 65 years and older with diagnosis and procedure codes inclusive of degenerative spine disease and lumbar decompression without fusion. Morbidity and mortality within the 30-day postoperative period were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes of interest included unplanned readmission within 30 days or discharge to a nonhome facility. Outcomes and operative characteristics were compared using chi-square tests, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and multivariable logistic regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 8744 patients were identified; of these patients 4573 (52.30%) were 65 years and older. Elderly patients were stratified into 3 age categories: 85 years or older (n = 314), 75–84 years (n = 1663), and 65–74 years (n = 2596). Univariate analysis showed that, compared with age younger than 65 years, increased age was associated with the number of levels (≥ 3), readmissions within 30 days, nonhome discharge, any complication, length of stay, and blood transfusion (all p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis and with younger than 65 years as the reference, increased age was associated with any minor complication (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.69–7.13; 75–84 years: OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.45–3.78; and 65–74 years: OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.94–2.20), as well as discharge location other than home (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 13.59, 95% CI 9.47–19.49; 75–84 years: OR 5.64, 95% CI 4.33–7.34; and 65–74 years: OR 2.61, 95% CI 2.05–3.32).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' high-powered, multicenter analysis of lumbar decompression without fusion in the elderly, specifically including patients older than 80 years, demonstrates that increased age is associated with more extensive operations, resulting in longer hospital stays, increased rates of nonhome discharge, and minor complications.