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Ian McCarthy, Michael O'Brien, Christopher Ames, Chessie Robinson, Thomas Errico, David W. Polly Jr. and Richard Hostin

Object

Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis is critical to the efficient allocation of health care resources; however, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) has eluded the literature, due in part to inherent empirical difficulties when comparing surgical and nonsurgical patients. Using observed preoperative health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients who later underwent surgery, this study builds a statistical model to predict hypothetical quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) without surgical treatment. The analysis compares predicted QALYs to observed postoperative QALYs and forms the resulting ICER.

Methods

This was a single-center (Baylor Scoliosis Center) retrospective analysis of consecutive patients undergoing primary surgery for ASD. Total costs (expressed in 2010 dollars) incurred by the hospital for each episode of surgical care were collected from administrative data and QALYs were calculated from the 6-dimensional Short-Form Health Survey, each discounted at 3.5% per year. Regression analysis was used to predict hypothetical QALYs without surgery based on preoperative longitudinal data for 124 crossover surgical patients with similar diagnoses, baseline HRQOL, age, and sex compared with the surgical cohort. Results were projected through 10-year follow-up, and the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) was estimated using nonparametric bootstrap methods.

Results

Three-year follow-up was available for 120 (66%) of 181 eligible patients, who were predominantly female (89%) with average age of 50. With discounting, total costs averaged $125,407, including readmissions, with average QALYs of 1.93 at 3-year follow-up. Average QALYs without surgery were predicted to be 1.6 after 3 years. At 3- and 5-year follow-up, the ICER was $375,000 and $198,000, respectively. Projecting through 10-year follow-up, the ICER was $80,000. The 10-year CEAC revealed a 40% probability that the ICER was $80,000 or less, a 90% probability that the ICER was $90,000 or less, and a 100% probability that the ICER was less than $100,000.

Conclusions

Based on the WHO's suggested upper threshold for cost-effectiveness (3 times per capita GDP, or $140,000 in 2010 dollars), the analysis reveals that surgical treatment for ASD is cost-effective after a 10-year period based on predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. The ICER well exceeds the WHO threshold at earlier follow-up intervals, highlighting the importance of the durability of surgical treatment in assessing the value of surgical intervention. Due to the study's methodology, the results are dependent on the predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. As such, the results may not extend to patients whose HRQOL would remain steady without surgery. Future research should therefore pursue a direct comparison of QALYs for surgical and nonsurgical patients to better understand the cost-effectiveness of surgery for the average ASD patient.

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Dallas L. Sheinberg, David J. McCarthy, Omar Elwardany, Jean-Paul Bryant, Evan Luther, Stephanie H. Chen, John W. Thompson and Robert M. Starke

Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction is known to contribute to cerebral aneurysm (CA) pathogenesis. Evidence shows that damage or injury to the EC layer is the first event in CA formation. The mechanisms behind EC dysfunction in CA disease are interrelated and include hemodynamic stress, hazardous nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, oxidative stress, estrogen imbalance, and endothelial cell-to-cell junction compromise. Abnormal variations in hemodynamic stress incite pathological EC transformation and inflammatory zone formation, ultimately leading to destruction of the vascular wall and aneurysm dilation. Hemodynamic stress activates key molecular pathways that result in the upregulation of chemotactic cytokines and adhesion molecules, leading to inflammatory cell recruitment and infiltration. Concurrently, oxidative stress damages EC-to-EC junction proteins, resulting in interendothelial gap formation. This further promotes leukocyte traffic into the vessel wall and the release of matrix metalloproteinases, which propagates vascular remodeling and breakdown. Abnormal hemodynamic stress and inflammation also trigger adverse changes in NOS activity, altering proper EC mediation of vascular tone and the local inflammatory environment. Additionally, the vasoprotective hormone estrogen modulates gene expression that often suppresses these harmful processes. Crosstalk between these sophisticated pathways contributes to CA initiation, progression, and rupture. This review aims to outline the complex mechanisms of EC dysfunction in CA pathogenesis.

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Mario Zanaty, Susanna Howard, Jorge A. Roa, Carlos M. Alvarez, David K. Kung, David J. McCarthy, Edgar A. Samaniego, Daichi Nakagawa, Robert M. Starke, Kaustubh Limaye, Sami Al Kasab, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, James Torner, Daniel Tranel and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Revascularization of a symptomatic, medically refractory, cervical chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) using endovascular techniques (ETs) has surfaced as a viable alternative to extracranial-intracranial bypass. The authors aimed to assess the safety, success, and neurocognitive outcomes of recanalization of COICA using ETs or hybrid treatment (ET plus carotid endarterectomy) and to identify candidate radiological markers that could predict success.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of their prospectively collected institutional database and used their previously published COICA classification to assess the potential benefits of ETs or hybrid surgery to revascularize symptomatic patients with COICA. Subjects who had undergone CT perfusion (CTP) imaging and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) testing, both pre- and postprocedure, were included. The authors then performed a review of the literature on patients with COICA to further evaluate the success and safety of these treatment alternatives.

RESULTS

The single-center study revealed 28 subjects who had undergone revascularization of symptomatic COICA. Five subjects had CTP imaging and MoCA testing pre- and postrevascularization and thus were included in the study. All 5 patients had very large penumbra involving the entire hemisphere supplied by the ipsilateral COICA, which resolved postoperatively. Significant improvement in neurocognitive outcome was demonstrated by MoCA testing after treatment (preprocedure: 19.8 ± 2.4, postprocedure: 27 ± 1.6; p = 0.0038). Moreover, successful revascularization of COICA led to full restoration of cerebral hemodynamics in all cases. Review of the literature identified a total of 333 patients with COICA. Of these, 232 (70%) showed successful recanalization after ETs or hybrid surgery, with low major and minor complication rates (3.9% and 2.7%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

ETs and hybrid surgery are safe and effective alternatives to revascularize patients with symptomatic COICA. CTP imaging could be used as a radiological marker to assess cerebral hemodynamics and predict the success of revascularization. Improvement in CTP parameters is associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive functions.

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Christopher P. Ames, Sigurd H. Berven, Joseph H. Perra, Richard E. McCarthy, D. Raymond Knapp Jr. and Christopher I. Shaffrey

Object

Patients with varied medical comorbidities often present with spinal pathology for which operative intervention is potentially indicated, but few studies have examined risk stratification in determining morbidity and mortality rates associated with the operative treatment of spinal disorders. This study provides an analysis of morbidity and mortality data associated with 22,857 cases reported in the multicenter, multisurgeon Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database stratified by American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification, a commonly used system to describe preoperative physical status and to predict operative morbidity.

Methods

The Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality database was queried for the year 2007, the year in which ASA data were collected. Inclusion criterion was a reported ASA grade. Cases were categorized by operation type and disease process. Details on the surgical approach and type of instrumentation were recorded. Major perioperative complications and deaths were evaluated. Two large subgroups—patients with adult degenerative lumbar disease and patients with major deformity—were also analyzed separately. Statistical analyses were performed with the chi-square test.

Results

The population studied comprised 22,857 patients. Spinal disease included degenerative disease (9409 cases), scoliosis (6782 cases), spondylolisthesis (2144 cases), trauma (1314 cases), kyphosis (831 cases), and other (2377 cases). The overall complication rate was 8.4%. Complication rates for ASA Grades 1 through 5 were 5.4%, 9.0%, 14.4%, 20.3%, and 50.0%, respectively (p = 0.001). In patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar diseases and major adult deformity, similarly increasing rates of morbidity were found in higher-grade patients. The mortality rate was also higher in higher-grade patients. The incidence of major complications, including wound infections, hematomas, respiratory problems, and thromboembolic events, was also greater in patients with higher ASA grades.

Conclusions

Patients with higher ASA grades undergoing spinal surgery had significantly higher rates of morbidity than those with lower ASA grades. Given the common application of the ASA system to surgical patients, this grade may prove helpful for surgical decision making and preoperative counseling with regard to risks of morbidity and mortality.

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John W. Thompson, Omar Elwardany, David J. McCarthy, Dallas L. Sheinberg, Carlos M. Alvarez, Ahmed Nada, Brian M. Snelling, Stephanie H. Chen, Samir Sur and Robert M. Starke

Cerebral aneurysm rupture is a devastating event resulting in subarachnoid hemorrhage and is associated with significant morbidity and death. Up to 50% of individuals do not survive aneurysm rupture, with the majority of survivors suffering some degree of neurological deficit. Therefore, prior to aneurysm rupture, a large number of diagnosed patients are treated either microsurgically via clipping or endovascularly to prevent aneurysm filling. With the advancement of endovascular surgical techniques and devices, endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms is becoming the first-line therapy at many hospitals. Despite this fact, a large number of endovascularly treated patients will have aneurysm recanalization and progression and will require retreatment. The lack of approved pharmacological interventions for cerebral aneurysms and the need for retreatment have led to a growing interest in understanding the molecular, cellular, and physiological determinants of cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis, maturation, and rupture. To this end, the use of animal cerebral aneurysm models has contributed significantly to our current understanding of cerebral aneurysm biology and to the development of and training in endovascular devices. This review summarizes the small and large animal models of cerebral aneurysm that are being used to explore the pathophysiology of cerebral aneurysms, as well as the development of novel endovascular devices for aneurysm treatment.

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Wesley Hsu, Ahmed Mohyeldin, Sagar R. Shah, Colette M. ap Rhys, Lakesha F. Johnson, Neda I. Sedora-Roman, Thomas A. Kosztowski, Ola A. Awad, Edward F. McCarthy, David M. Loeb, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

Chordoma is a malignant bone neoplasm hypothesized to arise from notochordal remnants along the length of the neuraxis. Recent genomic investigation of chordomas has identified T (Brachyury) gene duplication as a major susceptibility mutation in familial chordomas. Brachyury plays a vital role during embryonic development of the notochord and has recently been shown to regulate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in epithelial-derived cancers. However, current understanding of the role of this transcription factor in chordoma is limited due to the lack of availability of a fully characterized chordoma cell line expressing Brachyury. Thus, the objective of this study was to establish the first fully characterized primary chordoma cell line expressing gain of the T gene locus that readily recapitulates the original parental tumor phenotype in vitro and in vivo.

Methods

Using an intraoperatively obtained tumor sample from a 61-year-old woman with primary sacral chordoma, a chordoma cell line (JHC7, or Johns Hopkins Chordoma Line 7) was established. Molecular characterization of the primary tumor and cell line was conducted using standard immunostaining and Western blotting. Chromosomal aberrations and genomic amplification of the T gene in this cell line were determined. Using this cell line, a xenograft model was established and the histopathological analysis of the tumor was performed. Silencing of Brachyury and changes in gene expression were assessed.

Results

The authors report, for the first time, the successful establishment of a chordoma cell line (JHC7) from a patient with pathologically confirmed sacral chordoma. This cell line readily forms tumors in immunodeficient mice that recapitulate the parental tumor phenotype with conserved histological features consistent with the parental tumor. Furthermore, it is demonstrated for the first time that silencing of Brachyury using short hairpin RNA renders the morphology of chordoma cells to a more differentiated-like state and leads to complete growth arrest and senescence with an inability to be passaged serially in vitro.

Conclusions

This report represents the first xenograft model of a sacral chordoma line described in the literature and the first cell line established with stable Brachyury expression. The authors propose that Brachyury is an attractive therapeutic target in chordoma and that JHC7 will serve as a clinically relevant model for the study of this disease.

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Kai-Ming G. Fu, Justin S. Smith, David W. Polly Jr., Christopher P. Ames, Sigurd H. Berven, Joseph H. Perra, Steven D. Glassman, Richard E. McCarthy, D. Raymond Knapp Jr., Christopher I. Shaffrey and Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee

Object

Currently, few studies regarding morbidity and mortality associated with operative treatment of spinal disorders in children are available to guide the surgeon. This study provides more detailed morbidity and mortality data with an analysis of 23,918 pediatric cases reported in the multicenter, multisurgeon Scoliosis Research Society morbidity and mortality database.

Methods

The Scoliosis Research Society morbidity and mortality database was queried for the years from 2004 to 2007. The inclusion criterion was age 18 years or younger. Cases were categorized by operation type and diagnosis. Details on the surgical approach, use of neurophysiological monitoring, and type of instrumentation were recorded. Major perioperative complications and deaths were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed with chi-square testing, with a p value < 0.05 considered significant.

Results

A total of 23,918 patients were included. The mean age was 13 ± 3.6 years (± SD). Spinal pathology included the following: scoliosis (in 19,642 patients), kyphosis (in 1455), spondylolisthesis (in 748), trauma (in 478), and other (in 1595 patients). The overall complication rate was 8.5%. Major complications included wound infections (2.7%), new neurological deficits (1.4%), implant-related complications (1.6%), and hematomas (0.4%). The most common medical complications were respiratory related (0.9%). Morbidity rates differed based on pathology, with patients undergoing treatment for kyphosis and spondylolisthesis having higher overall rates of morbidity (14.7% and 9.6%, respectively). Patients undergoing revision procedures (2034) or corrective osteotomies (2787) were more likely to suffer a complication or new neurological deficit. The majority of these deficits improved at least partially. Thirty-one deaths were reported for an overall rate of 1.3 per 1000. Respiratory complications were the most common cause of mortality (13 cases). Twenty-six of the deaths occurred in children undergoing scoliosis correction.

Conclusions

Spinal surgery in children is associated with a range of complications depending on the type of operation. Mortality rates for all indications and operations were low. Patients undergoing more aggressive corrective procedures for deformity are more likely to suffer complications and new neurological deficits.

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Robert M. Starke, David J. McCarthy, Ching-Jen Chen, Hideyuki Kano, Brendan McShane, John Lee, David Mathieu, Lucas T. Vasas, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Wei Gang Wang, Inga S. Grills, Mohana Rao Patibandla, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gabriella Paisan, John A. Vargo, Tomas Chytka, Ladislava Janouskova, Caleb E. Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Daniel A. Tonetti, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

In this multicenter study, the authors reviewed the results obtained in patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and determined predictors of outcome.

METHODS

Data from a cohort of 114 patients who underwent GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as dAVF obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and dAVF characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome in a multivariate logistic regression analysis; dAVF-free obliteration was calculated in a competing-risk survival analysis; and Youden indices were used to determine optimal radiosurgical dose.

RESULTS

A mean margin dose of 21.8 Gy was delivered. The mean follow-up duration was 4 years (range 0.5–18 years). The overall obliteration rate was 68.4%. The postradiosurgery actuarial rates of obliteration at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 41.3%, 61.1%, 70.1%, and 82.0%, respectively. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients (annual risk of 0.9%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 10.4% of patients; 5.2% were symptomatic, and 3.5% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 63.2% of patients. Patients with middle fossa and tentorial dAVFs (OR 2.4, p = 0.048) and those receiving a margin dose greater than 23 Gy (OR 2.6, p = 0.030) were less likely to achieve a favorable outcome. Commonly used grading scales (e.g., Borden and Cognard) were not predictive of outcome. Female sex (OR 1.7, p = 0.03), absent venous ectasia (OR 3.4, p < 0.001), and cavernous carotid location (OR 2.1, p = 0.019) were predictors of GKRS-induced dAVF obliteration.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for cerebral dAVFs achieved obliteration and avoided permanent complications in the majority of patients. Those with cavernous carotid location and no venous ectasia were more likely to have fistula obliteration following radiosurgery. Commonly used grading scales were not reliable predictors of outcome following radiosurgery.

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Robert M. Starke, David J. McCarthy, Ching-Jen Chen, Hideyuki Kano, Brendan J. McShane, John Lee, Mohana Rao Patibandla, David Mathieu, Lucas T. Vasas, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Wei Gang Wang, Inga S. Grills, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gabriella Paisan, John Vargo, Tomas Chytka, Ladislava Janouskova, Caleb E. Feliciano, Nanthiya Sujijantarat, Charles Matouk, Veronica Chiang, Judith Hess, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Daniel A. Tonetti, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a study to evaluate the hemorrhagic rates of cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and the risk factors of hemorrhage following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS).

METHODS

Data from a cohort of patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. The annual posttreatment hemorrhage rate was calculated as the number of hemorrhages divided by the patient-years at risk. Risk factors for dAVF hemorrhage prior to GKRS and during the latency period after radiosurgery were evaluated in a multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 147 patients with dAVFs were treated with GKRS. Thirty-six patients (24.5%) presented with hemorrhage. dAVFs that had any cortical venous drainage (CVD) (OR = 3.8, p = 0.003) or convexity or torcula location (OR = 3.3, p = 0.017) were more likely to present with hemorrhage in multivariate analysis. Half of the patients had prior treatment (49.7%). Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients, with an overall annual risk of 0.84% during the latency period. The annual risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage for Borden type 2–3 dAVFs and Borden type 2–3 hemorrhagic dAVFs were 1.45% and 0.93%, respectively. No hemorrhage occurred after radiological confirmation of obliteration. Independent predictors of hemorrhage following GKRS included nonhemorrhagic neural deficit presentation (HR = 21.6, p = 0.027) and increasing number of past endovascular treatments (HR = 1.81, p = 0.036).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients have similar rates of hemorrhage before and after radiosurgery until obliteration is achieved. dAVFs that have any CVD or are located in the convexity or torcula were more likely to present with hemorrhage. Patients presenting with nonhemorrhagic neural deficits and a history of endovascular treatments had higher risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage.