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Daniel A. Donoho, Dhiraj J. Pangal, Guillaume Kugener, Martin Rutkowski, Alexander Micko, Shane Shahrestani, Andrew Brunswick, Michael Minneti, Bozena B. Wrobel, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Internal carotid artery injury (ICAI) is a rare, life-threatening complication of endoscopic endonasal approaches that will be encountered by most skull base neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists. Rates of surgical proficiency for managing ICAI are not known, and the role of simulation to improve performance has not been studied on a nationwide scale.

METHODS

Attending and resident neurosurgery and otorhinolaryngology surgeons (n = 177) were recruited from multicenter regional and national training courses to assess training outcomes and validity at scale of a prospective educational intervention to improve surgeon technical skills using a previously validated, perfused human cadaveric simulator. Participants attempted an initial trial (T1) of simulated ICAI control using their preferred technique. An educational intervention including personalized instruction was performed. Participants attempted a second trial (T2). Task success (dichotomous), time to hemostasis (TTH), estimated blood loss (EBL), and surgeon heart rate were measured.

RESULTS

Participant rating scales confirmed that the simulation retained face and construct validity across eight instructional settings. Trial success (ICAI control) improved from 56% in T1 to 90% in T2 (p < 0.0001). EBL and TTH decreased by 37% and 38%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Postintervention resident surgeon performance (TTH, EBL, and success rate) was superior to preintervention attending surgeon performance. The most improved quartile of participants achieved 62% improvement in TTH and 73% improvement in EBL, with trial success improvement from 25.6% in T1 to 100% in T2 (p < 0.0001). Baseline surgeon confidence was uncorrelated with T1 success, while posttraining confidence correlated with T2 success. Tachycardia was measured in 57% of surgeon participants, but was attenuated during T2, consistent with development of resiliency.

CONCLUSIONS

Prior to training, many attending and most resident surgeons could not manage the rare, life-threatening intraoperative complication of ICAI. A simulated educational intervention significantly improved surgeon performance and remained valid when deployed at scale. Simulation also promoted the development of favorable cognitive skills (accurate perception of skill and resiliency). Rare, life-threatening intraoperative complications may be optimal targets for educational interventions using surgical simulation.

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Janelle Cyprich, Dhiraj J. Pangal, Martin Rutkowski, Daniel A. Donoho, Mark Shiroishi, Chia-Shang Jason Liu, John D. Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Sociodemographic disparities in health outcomes are well documented, but the effects of such disparities on preoperative presentation of pituitary adenomas (PA) and surgical outcomes following resection are not completely understood. In this study the authors sought to compare the preoperative clinical characteristics and postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing PA resection at a private hospital (PH) versus a safety-net hospital (SNH).

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review over a 36-month period of patients with PAs who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery performed by the same attending neurosurgeon at either a PH or an SNH at a single academic medical institution.

RESULTS

A total of 92 PH patients and 69 SNH patients were included. SNH patients were more likely to be uninsured or have Medicaid (88.4% vs 10.9%, p < 0.0001). A larger percentage of SNH patients were Hispanic (98.7% vs 32.6% p < 0.0001), while PH patients were more likely to be non-Hispanic white (39.1% vs 4.3%, p < 0.0001). SNH patients had a larger mean PA diameter (26.2 vs 22.4 mm, p = 0.0347) and a higher rate of bilateral cavernous sinus invasion (13% vs 4.3%, p = 0.0451). SNH patients were more likely to present with headache (68.1% vs 45.7%, p = 0.0048), vision loss (63.8% vs 35.9%, p < 0.0005), panhypopituitarism (18.8% vs 4.3%, p = 0.0031), and pituitary apoplexy (18.8% vs 7.6%, p = 0.0334). Compared to PH patients, SNH patients were as likely to undergo gross-total resection (73.9% vs 76.1%, p = 0.7499) and had similar rates of postoperative improvement in headache (80% vs 89%, p = 0.14) and vision (82% vs 84%, p = 0.74), but had higher rates of postoperative panhypopituitarism (23% vs 10%, p = 0.04) driven by preoperative endocrinopathies. Although there were no differences in tumor recurrence or progression, loss to follow-up was seen in 7.6% of PH versus 18.6% (p = 0.04) of SNH patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients presenting to the SNH were more often uninsured or on Medicaid and presented with larger, more advanced pituitary tumors. SNH patients were more likely to present with headaches, vision loss, and apoplexy, likely translating to greater improvements in headache and vision observed after surgery. These findings highlight the association between medically underserved populations and more advanced disease states at presentation, and underscore the likely role of academic tertiary multidisciplinary care teams and endoscopic PA resection in somewhat mitigating sociodemographic factors known to portend poorer outcomes, though longer-term follow-up is needed to confirm these findings.