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Brief intraoperative heparinization and blood loss in anterior lumbar spine surgery

Emma M. Sim, Matthew H. Claydon, Rhiannon M. Parker, and Gregory M. Malham

OBJECT

The anterior approach to the lumbar spine may be associated with iliac artery thrombosis. Intraoperative heparin can be administered to prevent thrombosis; however, there is a concern that this will increase the procedural blood loss. The aim of this study was to examine whether intraoperative heparin can be administered without increasing blood loss in anterior lumbar spine surgery.

METHODS

A prospective study of consecutive anterior approaches for lumbar spine surgery was performed between January 2009 and June 2014 by a single vascular surgeon and a single spine surgeon. Patients underwent an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at L4–5 and/or L5–S1, a total disc replacement (TDR) at L4–5 and/or L5–S1, or a hybrid procedure with a TDR at L4–5 and an ALIF at L5–S1. Heparin was administered intravenously when arterial flow to the lower limbs was interrupted during the procedure. Heparin was usually reversed on removal of the causative retraction.

RESULTS

The cohort consisted of 188 patients with a mean age of 41.7 years; 96 (51.1%) were male. Eighty-four patients (44.7%) had an ALIF, 57 (30.3%) had a TDR, and 47 (25.0%) had a hybrid operation with a TDR at L4–5 and an ALIF at L5–S1. One hundred thirty-four patients (71.3%) underwent a single-level procedure (26.9% L4–5 and 73.1% L5–S1) and 54 (28.7%) underwent a 2-level procedure (L4–5 and L5–S1). Seventy-two patients (38.3%) received heparinization intraoperatively. Heparin was predominantly administered during hybrid operations (68.1%), 2-level procedures (70.4%), and procedures involving the L4–5 level (80.6%).

There were no intraoperative ischemic vascular complications reported in this series. There was 1 postoperative deep venous thrombosis.

The overall mean estimated blood loss (EBL) for the heparin group (389.7 ml) was significantly higher than for the nonheparin group (160.5 ml) (p < 0.0001). However, when all variables were analyzed with multiple linear regression, only the prosthesis used and level treated were found to be significant in blood loss (p < 0.05). The highest blood loss occurred in hybrid procedures (448.1 ml), followed by TDR (302.5 ml) and ALIF (99.7 ml). There were statistically significant differences between the EBL during ALIF compared with TDR and hybrid (p < 0.0001), but not between TDR and hybrid. The L4–5 level was associated with significantly higher blood loss (384.9 ml) compared with L5–S1 (111.4 ml) (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

During an anterior exposure for lumbar spine surgery, the administration of heparin does not significantly increase blood loss. The prosthesis used and level treated were found to significantly increase blood loss, with TDR and the L4–5 level having greater blood loss compared with ALIF and L5–S1, respectively. Heparin can be administered safely to help prevent thrombotic intraoperative vascular complications without increasing blood loss.

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Continuum of the United States military’s traumatic brain injury care: adjusting to the changing battlefield

Rachel Lazarus, Katherine Helmick, Saafan Malik, Emma Gregory, Yll Agimi, and Donald Marion

Over the past 8 years, advances in the US Military Health System (MHS) have led to extensive changes in the way combat casualty care is provided to deployed service members with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Changes include the application of cutting-edge Clinical Practice Guidelines, use of pioneering technologies, and advances in evacuation procedures. Compared with previous engagements, current operations occur on a much smaller scale, and more frequently in austere environments, such that effective medical support is increasingly challenging. In this paper, the authors describe key aspects of the current continuum of TBI care in the US military, from the point of injury through rehabilitation, with an emphasis on how emerging technologies and evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines assist MHS clinicians with providing the best clinical care possible in the changing battlefield.

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Shunt infection prevention practices in Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network–Quality: a new quality improvement network for hydrocephalus management

Mandeep S. Tamber, Hailey Jensen, Jason Clawson, Nichol Nunn, John C. Wellons III, Jodi Smith, Jonathan E. Martin, and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

Knowledge-based tools used to standardize perioperative care, such as the shunt infection prevention protocol of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN), have demonstrated their ability to reduce surgeon-based and center-based variations in outcomes and improve patient care. The mere presence of high-quality evidence, however, does not necessarily translate into improved patient outcomes owing to the implementation gap. To advance understanding of how knowledge-based tools are being utilized in the routine clinical care of children with hydrocephalus, the HCRN-Quality (HCRNq) network was started in 2019. With a focus on CSF shunt infection, the authors present baseline data regarding CSF shunt infection rates and current shunt infection prevention practices in use at HCRNq sites.

METHODS

Baseline shunt surgery practices, infection rate, and risk factor data were prospectively collected within HCRNq. No standard infection protocol was recommended, but site use of a protocol was implied if at least 3 of 6 common shunt infection prevention practices were used in > 80% of shunt surgical procedures. Univariable and multivariable analyses of shunt infection risk factors were performed.

RESULTS

Thirty sites accrued data on 2437 procedures between November 2019 and June 2021. The unadjusted infection rate across all sites was 3.9% (range 0%–13%) and did not differ among shunt insertion, shunt revision, or shunt insertion after infection. Protocol use was implied for only 15/30 centers and 60% of shunt operations. On univariable analysis, iodine/DuraPrep (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.37–0.88, p = 0.02) and the use of an antibiotic-impregnated catheter in any segment of the shunt (or both) decreased infection risk (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.34–0.82, p = 0.01). Iodine-based prep solutions (OR 0.56, 95% 0.36–0.86, p = 0.02) and the use of antibiotic-impregnated catheters (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.34–0.81, p = 0.01) retained significance in the multivariable model, but no relationship between protocol use and infection risk was demonstrated in this baseline analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors have demonstrated that children undergoing CSF shunt surgery at HCRNq sites share similar demographic characteristics with other large North American multicenter cohorts, with similar observed baseline infection rates and risk factors. Many centers have implemented standardized shunt infection prevention practices, but considerable practice variation remains. As such, there is an opportunity to decrease shunt infection rates in these centers through continued standardization of care.

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Surgical treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations: clinical outcomes of patients included in the registry of a pragmatic randomized trial

Tim E. Darsaut, Elsa Magro, Michel W. Bojanowski, Chiraz Chaalala, Lorena Nico, Emma Bacchus, Ruby Klink, Daniela Iancu, Alain Weill, Daniel Roy, Jean-Francois Sabatier, Christophe Cognard, Anne-Christine Januel, Isabelle Pelissou-Guyotat, Omer Eker, Pierre-Hugues Roche, Thomas Graillon, Hervé Brunel, Francois Proust, Rémy Beaujeux, Sorin Aldea, Michel Piotin, Philippe Cornu, Eimad Shotar, Thomas Gaberel, Charlotte Barbier, Marine Le Corre, Vincent Costalat, Vincent Jecko, Xavier Barreau, Xavier Morandi, Jean-Yves Gauvrit, Stéphane Derrey, Chrysanthi Papagiannaki, Thanh N. Nguyen, Mohamad Abdalkader, Rabih G. Tawk, Thien Huynh, Geraldine Viard, Guylaine Gevry, Jean-Christophe Gentric, Jean Raymond, and the TOBAS Collaborative Group

OBJECTIVE

The Treatment of Brain Arteriovenous Malformations Study (TOBAS) is a pragmatic study that includes 2 randomized trials and registries of treated or conservatively managed patients. The authors report the results of the surgical registry.

METHODS

TOBAS patients are managed according to an algorithm that combines clinical judgment and randomized allocation. For patients considered for curative treatment, clinicians selected from surgery, endovascular therapy, or radiation therapy as the primary curative method, and whether observation was a reasonable alternative. When surgery was selected and observation was deemed unreasonable, the patient was not included in the randomized controlled trial but placed in the surgical registry. The primary outcome of the trial was mRS score > 2 at 10 years (at last follow-up for the current report). Secondary outcomes include angiographic results, perioperative serious adverse events, and permanent treatment-related complications leading to mRS score > 2.

RESULTS

From June 2014 to May 2021, 1010 patients were recruited at 30 TOBAS centers. Surgery was selected for 229/512 patients (44%) considered for curative treatment; 77 (34%) were included in the surgery versus observation randomized trial and 152 (66%) were placed in the surgical registry. Surgical registry patients had 124/152 (82%) ruptured and 28/152 (18%) unruptured arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), with the majority categorized as low-grade Spetzler-Martin grade I–II AVM (118/152 [78%]). Thirteen patients were excluded, leaving 139 patients for analysis. Embolization was performed prior to surgery in 78/139 (56%) patients. Surgical angiographic cure was obtained in 123/139 all-grade (89%, 95% CI 82%–93%) and 105/110 low-grade (95%, 95% CI 90%–98%) AVM patients. At the mean follow-up of 18.1 months, 16 patients (12%, 95% CI 7%–18%) had reached the primary safety outcome of mRS score > 2, including 11/16 who had a baseline mRS score ≥ 3 due to previous AVM rupture. Serious adverse events occurred in 29 patients (21%, 95% CI 15%–28%). Permanent treatment-related complications leading to mRS score > 2 occurred in 6/139 patients (4%, 95% CI 2%–9%), 5 (83%) of whom had complications due to preoperative embolization.

CONCLUSIONS

The surgical treatment of brain AVMs in the TOBAS registry was curative in 88% of patients. The participation of more patients, surgeons, and centers in randomized trials is needed to definitively establish the role of surgery in the treatment of unruptured brain AVMs.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02098252 (ClinicalTrials.gov)

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Endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations: clinical outcomes of patients included in the registry of a pragmatic randomized trial

Jean Raymond, Jean-Christophe Gentric, Elsa Magro, Lorena Nico, Emma Bacchus, Ruby Klink, Christophe Cognard, Anne-Christine Januel, Jean-François Sabatier, Daniela Iancu, Alain Weill, Daniel Roy, Michel W. Bojanowski, Chiraz Chaalala, Xavier Barreau, Vincent Jecko, Chrysanthi Papagiannaki, Stéphane Derrey, Eimad Shotar, Philippe Cornu, Omer F. Eker, Isabelle Pelissou-Guyotat, Michel Piotin, Sorin Aldea, Rémy Beaujeux, François Proust, René Anxionnat, Vincent Costalat, Marine Le Corre, Jean-Yves Gauvrit, Xavier Morandi, Hervé Brunel, Pierre-Hugues Roche, Thomas Graillon, Emmanuel Chabert, Denis Herbreteau, Hubert Desal, Denis Trystram, Charlotte Barbier, Thomas Gaberel, Thanh N. Nguyen, Geraldine Viard, Guylaine Gevry, Tim E. Darsaut, and the TOBAS Collaborative Group

OBJECTIVE

The role of endovascular treatment in the management of patients with brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains uncertain. AVM embolization can be offered as stand-alone curative therapy or prior to surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) (pre-embolization). The Treatment of Brain AVMs Study (TOBAS) is an all-inclusive pragmatic study that comprises two randomized trials and multiple registries.

METHODS

Results from the TOBAS curative and pre-embolization registries are reported. The primary outcome for this report is death or dependency (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score > 2) at last follow-up. Secondary outcomes include angiographic results, perioperative serious adverse events (SAEs), and permanent treatment-related complications leading to an mRS score > 2.

RESULTS

From June 2014 to May 2021, 1010 patients were recruited in TOBAS. Embolization was chosen as the primary curative treatment for 116 patients and pre-embolization prior to surgery or SRS for 92 patients. Clinical and angiographic outcomes were available in 106 (91%) of 116 and 77 (84%) of 92 patients, respectively. In the curative embolization registry, 70% of AVMs were ruptured, and 62% were low-grade AVMs (Spetzler-Martin grade I or II), while the pre-embolization registry had 70% ruptured AVMs and 58% low-grade AVMs. The primary outcome of death or disability (mRS score > 2) occurred in 15 (14%, 95% CI 8%–22%) of the 106 patients in the curative embolization registry (4 [12%, 95% CI 5%–28%] of 32 unruptured AVMs and 11 [15%, 95% CI 8%–25%] of 74 ruptured AVMs) and 9 (12%, 95% CI 6%–21%) of the 77 patients in the pre-embolization registry (4 [17%, 95% CI 7%–37%] of 23 unruptured AVMs and 5 [9%, 95% CI 4%–20%] of 54 ruptured AVMs) at 2 years. Embolization alone was confirmed to occlude the AVM in 32 (30%, 95% CI 21%–40%) of the 106 curative attempts and in 9 (12%, 95% CI 6%–21%) of 77 patients in the pre-embolization registry. SAEs occurred in 28 of the 106 attempted curative patients (26%, 95% CI 18%–35%, including 21 new symptomatic hemorrhages [20%, 95% CI 13%–29%]). Five of the new hemorrhages were in previously unruptured AVMs (n = 32; 16%, 95% CI 5%–33%). Of the 77 pre-embolization patients, 18 had SAEs (23%, 95% CI 15%–34%), including 12 new symptomatic hemorrhages [16%, 95% CI 9%–26%]). Three of the hemorrhages were in previously unruptured AVMs (3/23; 13%, 95% CI 3%–34%).

CONCLUSIONS

Embolization as a curative treatment for brain AVMs was often incomplete. Hemorrhagic complications were frequent, even when the specified intent was pre-embolization before surgery or SRS. Because the role of endovascular treatment remains uncertain, it should preferably, when possible, be offered in the context of a randomized trial.

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Persistent postconcussive symptoms in children and adolescents with mild traumatic brain injury receiving initial head computed tomography

Lennart Riemann, Daphne C. Voormolen, Katrin Rauen, Klaus Zweckberger, Andreas Unterberg, Alexander Younsi, and the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) Investigators and Participants

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the prevalence of postconcussive symptoms and their relation to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in pediatric and adolescent patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) who received head CT imaging during initial assessment.

METHODS

Patients aged between 5 and 21 years with mTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 13–15) and available Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire (RPQ) at 6 months of follow-up in the multicenter, prospectively collected CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI) study were included. The prevalence of postconcussive symptoms was assessed, and the occurrence of postconcussive syndrome (PSC) based on the ICD-10 criteria, was analyzed. HRQOL was compared in patients with and without PCS using the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) questionnaire.

RESULTS

A total of 196 adolescent or pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging were included. High-energy trauma was prevalent in more than half of cases (54%), abnormalities on head CT scans were detected in 41%, and admission to the regular ward or intensive care unit was necessary in 78%. Six months postinjury, 36% of included patients had experienced at least one moderate or severe symptom on the RPQ. PCS was present in 13% of adolescents and children when considering symptoms of at least moderate severity, and those patients had significantly lower QOLIBRI total scores, indicating lower HRQOL, compared with young patients without PCS (57 vs 83 points, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescent and pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging show signs of increased trauma severity. Postconcussive symptoms are present in up to one-third of those patients, and PCS can be diagnosed in 13% 6 months after injury. Moreover, PCS is significantly associated with decreased HRQOL.