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Farhad Pirouzmand

Object

In this study the author documents the epidemiology of spine and spinal cord injuries (SCIs) over 2 decades at the largest Level I adult trauma center in Canada. He describes the current state of spine injuries (SIs), their changing patterns over the years, and the relative distribution of different demographic factors in a defined group of trauma patients.

Methods

Data on all trauma patients admitted to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre between 1986 and 2006 were collected from the Sunnybrook Trauma Registry Database. Aggregate data on SIs and SCIs, including demographic information, etiology, severity of injuries (injury severity score [ISS]), and associated injuries, were recorded. The data were analyzed in a main category of spinal fracture and/or dislocation with or without SI and in two subgroups of patients with SIs, one encompassing all forms of SCIs and the other including only complete SCIs (CSCIs). Collected data were evaluated using univariate techniques to depict the trend of variables over the years. The number of deaths per year and the length of stay (LOS) were used as crude measures of outcome. Several multivariate analysis techniques, including Poisson regression, were used to model the frequency of death and LOS as functions of various trauma variables.

Results

There were 12,192 trauma patients in the study period with 23.2% having SIs, 5.4% having SCIs, and 3% having CSCIs. The SCIs constituted 23.3% of all SIs. The respective characteristics of the SI, SCI, and CSCI groups were as follows: median age 36, 33, and 30 years; median LOS 18, 27, and 29 days; median ISS 29, 30, and 34; female sex ratio 34, 24, and 23%; and case fatality rate 16.7, 16.6, and 21%. Seventy-nine percent of patients had associated head injuries; conversely, 24% of patients with head injuries had SIs. The mean admission age of patients increased by ~ 10 years over the study period, from the early 30s to the early 40s. The relative incidence of SIs remained stable at ~ 23%, but the incidence of SCIs decreased ~ 40% over time to 4.5%. Motor vehicle accidents remained the principal etiology of trauma, although falling and violence became more frequent contributors of SIs. The average annual ISS remained stable over time, but the LOS was reduced by 50% in both the SI and SCI groups. Age, ISS, and SCIs were associated with a longer LOS. The case fatality rate remained relatively unchanged over time. Poisson analysis suggested that the presence of an SCI does not change the case fatality rate.

Conclusions

Data in this analysis will provide useful information to guide future studies on changing SI patterns, possible etiologies, and efficient resource allocation for the management of these diseases.

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Farhad Pirouzmand, M. Christopher Wallace, and Robert Willinsky

✓ A spinal epidural arteriovenous fistula with secondary reflux into the perimedullary veins is a rare entity. The authors present such a case with a discussion of its pathophysiology and treatment. The mechanism for formation of a spinal dural arteriovenous fistula is outlined based on the anatomical substrates in this region.

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David W. Cadotte, Shobhan Vachhrajani, and Farhad Pirouzmand

Object

This study documents the epidemiology of head injury over the course of 22 years in the largest Level I adult trauma center in Canada. This information defines the current state, changing pattern, and relative distribution of demographic factors in a defined group of trauma patients. It will aid in hypothesis generation to direct etiological research, administrative resource allocation, and preventative strategies.

Methods

Data on all the trauma patients treated at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) from 1986 to 2007 were collected in a consecutive, prospective fashion. The authors reviewed these data from the Sunnybrook Trauma Registry Database in a retrospective fashion. The aggregate data on head injury included demographic data, cause of injury, and Injury Severity Score (ISS). The collected data were analyzed using univariate techniques to depict the trend of variables over years. The authors used the length of stay (LOS) and number of deaths per year (case fatality rate) as crude measures of outcome.

Results

A total of 16,678 patients were treated through the Level I trauma center at SHSC from January 1986 to December 2007. Of these, 9315 patients met the inclusion criteria (ISS > 12, head Abbreviated Injury Scale score > 0). The median age of all trauma patients was 36 years, and 69.6% were male. The median ISS of the head-injury patients was 27. The median age of this group of patients increased by 12 years over the study period. Motorized vehicle accidents accounted for the greatest number of head injuries (60.3%) although the relative percentage decreased over the study period. The median transfer time of patients sustaining a head injury was 2.58 hours, and there was an approximately 45 minute improvement over the 22-year study period. The median LOS in our center decreased from 19 to 10 days over the study period. The average case fatality rate was 17.4% over the study period. In multivariate analysis, more severe injuries were associated with increased LOS as was increasing time from injury to hospital presentation. Age and injury severity were independently predictive of mortality.

Conclusions

These data will provide useful information to guide future studies on the changing patterns of head injury, possible mechanisms of injury, and efficient resource allocation for management of this condition.

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Letter to the Editor

Spinal cord injury

Sanjeev Lalwani, Purva Mathur, Neetu Jain, Bijayini Behera, and Mahesh C. Misra

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Ami Baba, Ashirbani Saha, Melissa D. McCradden, Kanwar Boparai, Shudong Zhang, Farhad Pirouzmand, Kim Edelstein, Gelareh Zadeh, and Michael D. Cusimano

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas can have significant impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Patient-centered, disease-specific instruments for assessing HRQOL in these patients are lacking. To this end, the authors sought to develop and validate a meningioma-specific HRQOL questionnaire through a standardized, patient-centered questionnaire development methodology.

METHODS

The development of the questionnaire involved three main phases: item generation, item reduction, and validation. Item generation consisted of semistructured interviews with patients (n = 30), informal caregivers (n = 12), and healthcare providers (n = 8) to create a preliminary list of items. Item reduction with 60 patients was guided by the clinical impact method, multiple correspondence analysis, and hierarchical cluster analysis. The validation phase involved 162 patients and collected evidence on extreme-groups validity; concurrent validity with the SF-36, FACT-Br, and EQ-5D; and test-retest reliability. The questionnaire takes on average 11 minutes to complete.

RESULTS

The meningioma-specific quality-of-life questionnaire (MQOL) consists of 70 items representing 9 domains. Cronbach’s alpha for each domain ranged from 0.61 to 0.91. Concurrent validity testing demonstrated construct validity, while extreme-groups testing (p = 1.45E-11) confirmed the MQOL’s ability to distinguish between different groups of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The MQOL is a validated, reliable, and feasible questionnaire designed specifically for evaluating QOL in meningioma patients. This disease-specific questionnaire will be fundamentally helpful in better understanding and capturing HRQOL in the meningioma patient population and can be used in both clinical and research settings.