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Esther B. Dupepe, Betsy Hopson, James M. Johnston, Curtis J. Rozzelle, W. Jerry Oakes, Jeffrey P. Blount and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

It is generally accepted that cerebrospinal fluid shunts fail most frequently in the first years of life. The purpose of this study was to describe the risk of shunt failure for a given patient age in a well-defined cohort with shunted hydrocephalus due to myelomeningocele (MMC).

METHODS

The authors analyzed data from their institutional spina bifida research database including all patients with MMC and shunted hydrocephalus. For the entire population, the number of shunt revisions in each year of life was determined. Then the number of patients at risk for shunt revision during each year of life was calculated, thus enabling them to calculate the rate of shunt revision per patient in each year of life. In this way, the timing of all shunt revision operations for the entire clinic population and the likelihood of having a shunt revision during each year of life were calculated.

RESULTS

A total of 655 patients were enrolled in the spina bifida research database, 519 of whom had a diagnosis of MMC and whose mean age was 17.48 ± 11.7 years (median 16 years, range 0–63 years). Four hundred seventeen patients had had a CSF shunt for the treatment of hydrocephalus and thus are included in this analysis. There were 94 shunt revisions in the 1st year of life, which represents a rate of 0.23 revisions per patient in that year. The rate of shunt revision per patient-year initially decreased as age increased, except for an increase in revision frequency in the early teen years. Shunt revisions continued to occur as late as 43 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS

These data substantiate the idea that shunt revision surgeries in patients with MMC are most common in the 1st year of life and decrease thereafter, except for an increase in the early teen years. A persistent risk of shunt failure was observed well into adult life. These findings underscore the importance of routine follow-up of all MMC patients with shunted hydrocephalus and will aid in counseling patients and families.

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Esther B. Dupépé, Daxa M. Patel, Brandon G. Rocque, Betsy Hopson, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, E. Ralee' Bishop and Jeffrey P. Blount

OBJECTIVE

Although there are known risk factors for the development of neural tube defects (NTDs), little is known regarding the role of family history. The authors' goal in this study is to describe the family history in their population of patients with NTDs.

METHODS

Surveys were completed for 254 patients who were accompanied by their biological mother during their annual visit to the multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Clinic at Children's of Alabama. An NTD has been diagnosed in all patients who are seen in this clinic (myelomeningocele, lipomeningocele, split cord malformation, and congenital dermal sinus tract). Each mother answered questions regarding known NTD risk factors and their pregnancy, as well as the family history of NTDs, other CNS disorders, and birth defects.

RESULTS

The overall prevalence of family history of NTDs in children with an NTD was 16.9% (n = 43), of which 3.1% (n = 8) were in first-degree relatives. In patients with myelomeningocele, 17.7% (n = 37) had a positive family history for NTDs, with 3.8% in first-degree relatives. Family history in the paternal lineage for all NTDs was 8.7% versus 10.6% in the maternal lineage. Twenty-two patients (8.7%) had a family history of other congenital CNS disorders. Fifteen (5.9%) had a family history of Down syndrome, 12 (4.7%) had a family history of cerebral palsy, and 13 (5.1%) patients had a family history of clubfoot. Fourteen (5.5%) had a family history of cardiac defect, and 13 (5.1%) had a family history of cleft lip or palate.

CONCLUSIONS

The family history of NTDs was 16.9% in children with NTD without a difference between maternal and paternal lineage. This high rate of positive family history suggests that genetics and epigenetics may play a larger role in the pathogenesis of NTD in the modern era of widespread folate supplementation.

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Galal Elsayed, Samuel G. McClugage III, Matthew S. Erwood, Matthew C. Davis, Esther B. Dupépé, Paul Szerlip, Beverly C. Walters and Mark N. Hadley

OBJECTIVE

Insurance disparities can have relevant effects on outcomes after elective lumbar spinal surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between private/public payer status and patient-reported outcomes in adult patients who underwent decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

METHODS

A sample of 100 patients who underwent surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis from 2012 to 2014 was evaluated as part of the prospectively collected Quality Outcomes Database at a single institution. Outcome measures were evaluated at 3 months and 12 months, analyzed in regard to payer status (private insurance vs Medicare/Veterans Affairs insurance), and adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS

At baseline, patients had similar visual analog scale back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and EQ-5D scores. At 3 months postintervention, patients with government-funded insurance reported significantly worse quality of life (mean difference 0.11, p < 0.001) and more leg pain (mean difference 1.26, p = 0.05). At 12 months, patients with government-funded insurance reported significantly worse quality of life (mean difference 0.14, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences at 3 months or 12 months between groups for back pain (p = 0.14 and 0.43) or disability (p = 0.19 and 0.15). Across time points, patients in both groups showed improvement at 3 months and 12 months in all 4 functional outcomes compared with baseline (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Both private and public insurance patients had significant improvement after elective lumbar spinal surgery. Patients with public insurance had slightly less improvement in quality of life after surgery than those with private insurance but still benefited greatly from surgical intervention, particularly with respect to functional status.

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Esther B. Dupépé, Matthew Davis, Galal A. Elsayed, Bonita Agee, Keneshia Kirksey, Amber Gordon and Patrick R. Pritchard

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine the inter-rater reliability of the modified Medical Research Council (MRC) scale for grading motor function in patients with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI).

METHODS

Two neurosurgical residents and 2 faculty members performed motor examinations in 6 chronic incomplete SCI patients for a total of 156 muscle groups. Examinations were performed using the modified MRC grading scale during routine clinic visits for each patient. Informed consent was obtained prior to enrollment. Patients with American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grade A (ASIA A) injuries were excluded. Inter-rater reliability coefficients were calculated using Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).

RESULTS

Sixty-four percent of the tested variables demonstrated extremely strong (W 0.71–0.9) or strong (0.51–0.7) inter-rater reliability using Kendall’s coefficient of concordance and an ICC corresponding to excellent (ICC > 0.75) or fair to good (ICC 0.4–0.75) inter-rater reliability. An additional 7% showed poor inter-rater reliability (ICC < 0.4). The remaining variables tested did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS

The inter-rater reliability of the modified MRC scale was found to be high in the majority of tested variables, but the results suggest that discrepancy among trained observers does exist. Reliability was greatest in the lower-extremity muscle groups and least in the upper-extremity muscle groups in patients with chronic incomplete SCI.

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Galal Elsayed, Samuel G. McClugage III, Matthew S. Erwood, Matthew C. Davis, Esther B. Dupépé, Paul Szerlip, Beverly C. Walters and Mark N. Hadley

OBJECTIVE

Insurance disparities can have relevant effects on outcomes after elective lumbar spinal surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between private/public payer status and patient-reported outcomes in adult patients who underwent decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

METHODS

A sample of 100 patients who underwent surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis from 2012 to 2014 was evaluated as part of the prospectively collected Quality Outcomes Database at a single institution. Outcome measures were evaluated at 3 months and 12 months, analyzed in regard to payer status (private insurance vs Medicare/Veterans Affairs insurance), and adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS

At baseline, patients had similar visual analog scale back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and EQ-5D scores. At 3 months postintervention, patients with government-funded insurance reported significantly worse quality of life (mean difference 0.11, p < 0.001) and more leg pain (mean difference 1.26, p = 0.05). At 12 months, patients with government-funded insurance reported significantly worse quality of life (mean difference 0.14, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences at 3 months or 12 months between groups for back pain (p = 0.14 and 0.43) or disability (p = 0.19 and 0.15). Across time points, patients in both groups showed improvement at 3 months and 12 months in all 4 functional outcomes compared with baseline (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Both private and public insurance patients had significant improvement after elective lumbar spinal surgery. Patients with public insurance had slightly less improvement in quality of life after surgery than those with private insurance but still benefited greatly from surgical intervention, particularly with respect to functional status.

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Galal A. Elsayed, Esther B. Dupépé, Matthew S. Erwood, Matthew C. Davis, Samuel G. McClugage III, Paul Szerlip, Beverly C. Walters and Mark N. Hadley

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to analyze the effect of patient education level on functional outcomes following decompression surgery for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

METHODS

Patients with surgically decompressed symptomatic lumbar stenosis were collected in a prospective observational registry at a single institution between 2012 and 2014. Patient education level was compared to surgical outcomes to elucidate any relationships. Outcomes were defined using the Oswestry Disability Index score, back and leg pain visual analog scale (VAS) score, and the EuroQol–5 Dimensions questionnaire score.

RESULTS

Of 101 patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis, 27 had no college education and 74 had a college education (i.e., 2-year, 4-year, or postgraduate degree). Preoperatively, patients with no college education had statistically significantly greater back and leg pain VAS scores when compared to patients with a college education. However, there was no statistically significant difference in quality of life or disability between those with no college education and those with a college education. Postoperatively, patients in both cohorts improved in all 4 patient-reported outcomes at 3 and 12 months after treatment for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite their education level, both cohorts showed improvement in their functional outcomes at 3 and 12 months after decompression surgery for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.