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Ariane Lewis, Aaron Rothstein, and Donato Pacione

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a quality improvement initiative in which daily antibiotics and daily sampling of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were discontinued for patients with lumbar drains.

METHODS

The frequency of surgical site infections (SSIs), antibiotic-related complications (development of Clostridium difficile infection [CDI] and growth of resistant bacteria), and cost for patients with lumbar drains were compared during 3 periods: 1) prolonged prophylactic systemic antibiotics (PPSA) until the time of drain removal and daily CSF sampling (September 2013–2014), 2) PPSA and CSF sampling once after placement then as needed (January 2015–2016), and 3) antibiotics only during placement of the lumbar drain and CSF sampling once after placement then as needed (April 2016–2017).

RESULTS

Thirty-nine patients were identified in period 1, 53 patients in period 2, and 39 patients in period 3. There was no change in the frequency of SSI after discontinuation of routine CSF testing or PPSA (0% in period 1, 2% in period 2, and 0% in period 3). In periods 1 and 2, 3 patients developed infections due to resistant organisms and 2 patients had CDI. In period 3, 1 patient had an infection due to a resistant organism. The median cost of CSF tests per patient was $100.68 (interquartile range [IQR] $100.68–$134.24) for patients in period 1 and $33.56 (IQR $33.56–$33.56) in periods 2 and 3 (p < 0.001). The median cost of antibiotics per patient was $26.32 (IQR $26.32–$30.65) in periods 1 and 2 and $3.29 ($3.29–$3.29) in period 3 (p < 0.001). The cost associated with growth of resistant bacteria and CDI was $91,291 in periods 1 and 2 and $25,573 in period 3.

CONCLUSIONS

After discontinuing daily antibiotics and daily CSF sampling for patients with lumbar drains, the frequency of SSI was unchanged and the frequency of antibiotic-related complications decreased.

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Rajeev D. Sen, Carolina Gesteira Benjamin, Howard A. Riina, and Donato Pacione

The authors report on an 81-year-old woman with a pathologic hangman's fracture secondary to a complex arteriovenous fistula (AVF). The patient presented with severe, unremitting neck pain and was found to have fractures bilaterally through the pars interarticularis of C-2 with significant anterior subluxation of C-2 over C-3 along with widening of the left transverse foramen. Due to an abnormally appearing left vertebral artery (VA) on CT angiography, the patient underwent conventional angiography, which revealed a complex AVF stemming from the left VA at the level of C-2 with dilated posterior cervical veins and a large venous varix. Given the radiographic evidence of bone remodeling and the chronicity of the AVF, it is believed that the C-2 vertebra was weakened over time by the pulsatile and compressive force of the vascular malformation eventually leading to fracture with minimal stress. Coil embolization of the AVF was performed followed by surgical fixation of C-1 to C-4. This case highlights the importance of investigating an underlying disease process in patients who present with significant spinal fractures in the absence of trauma.

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Donato Pacione, Omar Tanweer, Phillip Berman, and David H. Harter

Utilizing advanced 3D printing techniques, a multimaterial model was created for the surgical planning of a complex deformity of the skull base and craniovertebral junction. The model contained bone anatomy as well as vasculature and the previously placed occipital cervical instrumentation. Careful evaluation allowed for a unique preoperative perspective of the craniovertebral deformity and instrumentation options. This patient-specific model was invaluable in choosing the most effective approach and correction strategy, which was not readily apparent from standard 2D imaging. Advanced 3D multimaterial printing provides a cost-effective method of presurgical planning, which can also be used for both patient and resident education.

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Hannah K. Weiss, Donato R. Pacione, Steven Galetta, and Douglas Kondziolka

BACKGROUND

Disruptions of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) in the nondominant temporal lobe can lead to the rare but significant higher visual-processing disturbance of prosopagnosia. Here, the authors describe a 57-year-old right hand-dominant female with a large breast cancer brain metastasis in the right temporal lobe who underwent resection and subsequent Gamma Knife radiosurgery. She presented with difficulty with facial recognition, but following surgical intervention, the prosopagnosia became more profound.

OBSERVATIONS

Even in nondominant cortex, significant deficits can arise when operating near higher visual-processing centers, including the ILF.

LESSONS

This case highlights the utility of imaging-based tractography obtained from preoperative imaging for resective surgical planning even when operating in areas that do not involve what is traditionally considered elegant areas of the brain. To optimize neurological outcomes in metastatic tumor resection, awareness and diffusion tensor imaging of neighboring, displaced white matter tracts may prevent permanent deficits in higher visual processing.

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Donato Pacione, Francine Blei, Orrin Devinsky, Howard L. Weiner, and Jonathan Roth

Object

Surgery is increasingly used to treat children with refractory epilepsy. Before surgery, the authors routinely evaluated the coagulation profile to identify coagulation abnormalities not established by personal and family history, physical examination, and routine screening tests.

Methods

Thirty-nine consecutive children undergoing testing prior to epilepsy surgery were prospectively evaluated. The authors evaluated a detailed hematological history and an elaborative hematological panel including complete blood count, hepatic panel, anticoagulant levels, coagulation profile (prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, international normalized ratio, fibrinogen, thrombin time, von Willebrand antigen, ristocetin cofactor, factor VIII, and individual factor assays when indicated) and platelet aggregation studies (in the presence of adenosine diphosphate, epinephrine, collagen, and ristocetin). Patient variables included tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), age at epilepsy onset, age at surgery, seizure frequency, number and type of antiepileptic drugs, recent or present ketogenic diet, and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Results

Ten children (25.6%) had either coagulation or platelet function abnormalities. Abnormal coagulation was identified in 5 children, and abnormal platelet function was discovered in 6. A diagnosis of TSC was associated with a platelet function abnormality (p = 0.012), whereas children without TSC had a higher rate of coagulopathy (p = 0.041). None of the other characteristics reached statistical significance. In 2 patients (5.1%) with TSC and platelet aggregation abnormalities, the authors noted normal standard screening laboratory studies and an uneventful detailed personal and family history. One of these 2 patients developed a significant intraoperative bleeding complication.

Conclusions

A preoperative screening with standard laboratory studies and detailed history may not be adequate to fully examine underlying coagulation abnormalities in children with refractory epilepsy. Platelet aggregation studies should be considered in patients with TSC.

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Robert Elliott, Stephen Kalhorn, Donato Pacione, Howard Weiner, Jeffrey Wisoff, and David Harter

Patients with symptomatic Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) typically exhibit a chronic, slowly progressive disease course with evolution of symptoms. However, some authors have reported acute neurological deterioration in the setting of CM-I and acquired Chiari malformations. Although brainstem dysfunction has been documented in patients with CM-II and hydrocephalus or shunt malfunction, to the authors' knowledge only 1 report describing ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt malfunction causing neurological deterioration in a patient with CM-I exists.

The authors report on their experience with the treatment of previously asymptomatic CM-I in 2 children who experienced quite different manifestations of acute neurological deterioration secondary to VP shunt malfunction. Presumably, VP shunt malfunction created a positive rostral pressure gradient across a stenotic foramen magnum, resulting in tetraparesis from foramen magnum syndrome in 1 patient and acute ataxia and cranial nerve deficits from syringobulbia in the other. Although urgent shunt revisions yielded partial recovery of neurological function in both patients, marked improvement occurred only after posterior fossa decompression.

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Carolina Gesteira Benjamin, Rajeev D. Sen, John G. Golfinos, Chandra Sen, J. Thomas Roland Jr., Sean McMenomey, and Donato Pacione

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a known complication of surgeries near the major dural venous sinuses. While the majority of CVSTs are asymptomatic, severe sinus thromboses can have devastating consequences. The objective of this study was to prospectively evaluate the true incidence and risk factors associated with postoperative CVST and comment on management strategies.

METHODS

A prospective study of 74 patients who underwent a retrosigmoid, translabyrinthine, or suboccipital approach for posterior fossa tumors, or a supratentorial craniotomy for parasagittal/falcine tumors, was performed. All patients underwent pre- and postoperative imaging to evaluate sinus patency. Demographic, clinical, and operative data were collected. Statistical analysis was performed to identify incidence and risk factors.

RESULTS

Twenty-four (32.4%) of 74 patients had postoperative MR venograms confirming CVST, and all were asymptomatic. No risk factors, including age (p = 0.352), BMI (p = 0.454), sex (p = 0.955), surgical approach (p = 0.909), length of surgery (p = 0.785), fluid balance (p = 0.943), mannitol use (p = 0.136), tumor type (p = 0.46, p = 0.321), or extent of resection (p = 0.253), were statistically correlated with thrombosis. All patients were treated conservatively, with only 1 patient receiving intravenous fluids. There were no instances of venous infarctions, hemorrhages, or neurological deficits. The rate of CSF leakage was significantly higher in the thrombosis group than in the nonthrombosis group (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

This prospective study shows that the radiographic incidence of postoperative CVST is higher than that previously reported in retrospective studies. In the absence of symptoms, these thromboses can be treated conservatively. While no risk factors were identified, there may be an association between postoperative CVST and CSF leak.

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Roee Ber, Dennis London, Samya Senan, Yasmin Youssefi, David H. Harter, John G. Golfinos, and Donato Pacione

OBJECTIVE

Miscommunication and poor coordination among surgical teams are known causes of preventable medical harms and operating room inefficiencies and inhibit surgical training. Technology may help overcome these challenges. This study used the personal experience of one of the authors as a former Air Force F-15 pilot to design a combat aviation pre- and postoperative communication workflow in the neurosurgery department and tested its effect on safety, efficiency, and education. The authors hypothesized that the adoption of this workflow through a tailored technological platform will increase compliance and improve the chances of sustainability.

METHODS

Data were prospectively collected from neurosurgery cases before (January–May 2020) and after (June–October 2020) implementation of this workflow. Briefing and debriefing were executed using a custom mobile platform and were defined as nonmandatory for all participants. All faculty and residents who operated at NYU Langone Medical Center (Tisch campus) during the intervention period were enrolled on the platform. Primary outcomes were morbidity and mortality per the department’s criteria, and intraoperative last-minute requests as reported by operating room staff in a double-blinded fashion. Secondary outcomes were user responses on the subjective questionnaires.

RESULTS

Data were collected from 637 and 893 cases during the preintervention and intervention periods, respectively. The average briefing rates for residents and surgeons were 71% and 81%, respectively, and the average debriefing rates for residents and surgeons were 67% and 88%. There was no significant difference in preoperative risk score between the preintervention and intervention patient populations (p = 0.24). The rate of intraoperative last-minute requests significantly decreased from 16.6% (35/211) to 10.5% (35/334, p = 0.048). There was no significant change in morbidity and mortality between the preintervention and intervention periods. On subjective questionnaires there was a statistically significant improvement in safety, efficiency, and educational aspects of the cases during the intervention period.

CONCLUSIONS

Implementation of aviation-like structured team communication practices in the neurosurgery department through a technological platform improved education and communication between surgical teams and led to a reduction in last-minute surgical requests that could impact costs.

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Ariane Lewis, Rajeev Sen, Travis C. Hill, Herbert James, Jessica Lin, Harpaul Bhamra, Nina Martirosyan, and Donato Pacione

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to determine the effects of eliminating the use of prolonged prophylactic systemic antibiotics (PPSAs) in patients with subdural and subgaleal drains.

METHODS

Using a retrospective database, the authors collected data for patients over the age of 17 years who had undergone cranial surgery at their institution between December 2013 and July 2014 (PPSAs period) or between December 2014 and July 2015 (non-PPSAs period) and had subdural or subgaleal drains left in place postoperatively.

RESULTS

One hundred five patients in the PPSAs period and 80 in the non-PPSAs period were identified. The discontinuation of PPSAs did not result in an increase in the frequency of surgical site infection (SSI). The frequency of Clostridium difficile (CDI) and the growth of resistant bacteria were reduced in the non-PPSAs period in comparison with the PPSAs period. In the 8 months after the drain prophylaxis protocol was changed, $93,194.63 were saved in the costs of antibiotics and complications related to antibiotics.

CONCLUSIONS

After discontinuing PPSAs for patients with subdural or subgaleal drains at their institution, the authors did not observe an increase in the frequency of SSI. They did, however, note a decrease in the frequency of CDI and the growth of resistant organisms. It appears that not only can patients in this population do without PPSAs, but also that complications are avoided when antibiotic use is limited to 24 hours after surgery.

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Carolina Gesteira Benjamin, Zane Schnurman, Kimberly Ashayeri, Eman Kazi, Reed Mullen, Jason Gurewitz, John G. Golfinos, Chandranath Sen, Dimitris G. Placantonakis, Donato Pacione, and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas that arise primarily within the cavernous sinus are often believed to be more indolent in their growth pattern. Despite this perceived growth pattern, disabling symptoms can arise even with small tumors. While research has been done on cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs) and their treatment, very little is known about their natural growth rates. With a better understanding of the growth rate of CSM, patient treatment and guidance can be can optimized and individualized. The goal of this study was to determine volumetric growth rates of untreated CSMs.

METHODS

Thirty-seven patients with 166 MR images obtained between May 2004 and September 2019 were reviewed, with a range of 2–13 MR images per patient (average of 4.5 MR images per patient). These scans were obtained over an average follow-up period of 45.9 months (median 33.8, range 2.8–136.9 months). All imaging prior to any intervention was included in this analysis. Volumetric measurements were performed and assessed over time.

RESULTS

The estimated volumetric growth rate was 23.3% per year (95% CI 10.2%–38.0%, p < 0.001), which is equivalent to an estimated volume doubling time (VDT) of 3.3 years (95% CI 2.1–7.1 years). There was no significant relationship between growth rate and patient age (p = 0.09) or between growth rate and patient sex (p = 0.78). The median absolute growth rate was 41% with a range of −1% to 1793%. With a definition of “growth” as an increase of greater than 20% during the observed period, 65% of tumors demonstrated growth within their observation interval. Growth rates for each tumor were calculated and tumors were segmented based on growth rate. Of 37 patients, 22% (8) demonstrated no growth (< 5% annual growth, equivalent to a VDT > 13.9 years), 32% (12) were designated as slow growth (annual growth rate 5%–20%, VDT 3.5–13.9 years), 38% (14) were found to have medium growth (annual growth rate 20%–100%, VDT 0.7–3.5 years), and 8% were considered fast growing (annual growth rate > 100%, VDT < 0.7 years).

CONCLUSIONS

This study evaluated CSM volumetric growth rates. A deeper understanding of the natural history of untreated CSMs allows for better counseling and management of patients.