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Tomohiro Okunaga, Takayuki Matsuo, Nobuyuki Hayashi, Yukishige Hayashi, Hamisi K. Shabani, Makio Kaminogo, Makoto Ochi, and Izumi Nagata

Object

The authors report on a series of 46 patients harboring vestibular schwannomas (VSs) treated using linear accelerator (LINAC) radiosurgery and an analysis of serial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging data, specifically the changes in tumor volume.

Methods

Fifty-three consecutive patients underwent LINAC radiosurgery for VS between 1993 and 2002. Seven of these patients were lost to follow up. Three-dimensional (3D) spoiled gradient-echo (SPGR) MR imaging was performed at 3- to 4-month intervals after radiosurgery. Tumor volume was measured on Gd-enhanced MR images of each slice.

The median duration of follow-up MR imaging studies was 56.5 months (range 12–120 months). Follow-up imaging studies were conducted for longer than 1 year in 42 of 53 patients. Tumor volume changes were categorized into four types: enlargement (eight lesions [19%]), no change (two lesions [4.8%]), transient enlargement followed by shrinkage (19 lesions [45.2%]), and direct shrinkage (13 lesions [31%]). Two cases (4.8%) with twice the initial tumor volume required repeated radiosurgery. All cases of transient enlargement had subsequent shrinkage within 2 years after radiosurgery.

Nine (21.4%) of 42 patients demonstrated ventricular enlargement on MR images obtained after radiosurgery. Three patients (7.1%) required placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt because of symptomatic hydrocephalus, and another four cases (9.5%) spontaneously resolved.

Conclusions

Volume measurement on 3D-SPGR MR imaging was a suitable method to assess tumor changes. Volume changes beyond twofold or continuous enlargement for longer than 2 years after radiosurgery are key criteria in rating the effects of radiation. Some cases of hydrocephalus after radiosurgery resolved spontaneously and their rates of occurrence were similar to the typical incidence of hydrocephalus associated with VS.

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Andreas Leidinger, Eliana E. Kim, Rodrigo Navarro-Ramirez, Nicephorus Rutabasibwa, Salim R. Msuya, Gulce Askin, Raphael Greving, Hamisi K. Shabani, and Roger Härtl

OBJECTIVE

Spinal trauma is a major cause of disability worldwide. The burden is especially severe in low-income countries, where hospital infrastructure is poor, resources are limited, and the volume of cases is high. Currently, there are no reliable data available on incidence, management, and outcomes of spinal trauma in East Africa. The main objective of this study was to describe, for the first time, the demographics, management, costs of surgery and implants, treatment decision factors, and outcomes of patients with spine trauma in Tanzania.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed prospectively collected data on spinal trauma patients in the single surgical referral center in Tanzania (Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute [MOI]) from October 2016 to December 2017. They collected general demographics and the following information: distance from site of trauma to the center, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS), time to surgery, steroid use, and mechanism of trauma and AOSpine classification and costs. Surgical details and complications were recorded. Primary outcome was neurological status on discharge. The authors analyzed surgical outcome and determined predicting factors for positive outcome.

RESULTS

A total of 180 patients were included and analyzed in this study. The mean distance from site of trauma to MOI was 278.0 km, and the time to admission was on average 5.9 days after trauma. Young males were primarily affected (82.8% males, average age 35.7 years). On admission, 47.2% of patients presented with AIS grade A. Most common mechanisms of injury were motor vehicle accidents (28.9%) and falls from height (32.8%). Forty percent of admitted patients underwent surgery. The mean time to surgery was 33.2 days; 21.4% of patients who underwent surgery improved in AIS grade at discharge (p = 0.030). Overall, the only factor associated with improvement in neurological status was undergoing surgery (p = 0.03) and shorter time to surgery (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to describe the management and outcomes of spinal trauma in East Africa. Due to the lack of referral hospitals, patients are admitted late after trauma, often with severe neurological deficit. Surgery is performed but generally late in the course of hospital stay. The decision to perform surgery and timing are heavily influenced by the availability of implants and economic factors such as insurance status. Patients with incomplete deficits who may benefit most from surgery are not prioritized. The authors’ results suggest that surgery may have a positive impact on patient outcome. Further studies with a larger sample size are needed to confirm our results. These results provide strong support to implement evidence-based protocols for the management of spinal trauma.

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Halinder S. Mangat, Xian Wu, Linda M. Gerber, Hamisi K. Shabani, Albert Lazaro, Andreas Leidinger, Maria M. Santos, Paul H. McClelland, Hanna Schenck, Pascal Joackim, Japhet G. Ngerageza, Franziska Schmidt, Philip E. Stieg, and Roger Hartl

OBJECTIVE

Given the high burden of neurotrauma in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), in this observational study, the authors evaluated the treatment and outcomes of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) accessing care at the national neurosurgical institute in Tanzania.

METHODS

A neurotrauma registry was established at Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute, Dar-es-Salaam, and patients with severe TBI admitted within 24 hours of injury were included. Detailed emergency department and subsequent medical and surgical management of patients was recorded. Two-week mortality was measured and compared with estimates of predicted mortality computed with admission clinical variables using the Corticoid Randomisation After Significant Head Injury (CRASH) core model.

RESULTS

In total, 462 patients (mean age 33.9 years) with severe TBI were enrolled over 4.5 years; 89% of patients were male. The mean time to arrival to the hospital after injury was 8 hours; 48.7% of patients had advanced airway management in the emergency department, 55% underwent cranial CT scanning, and 19.9% underwent surgical intervention. Tiered medical therapies for intracranial hypertension were used in less than 50% of patients. The observed 2-week mortality was 67%, which was 24% higher than expected based on the CRASH core model.

CONCLUSIONS

The 2-week mortality from severe TBI at a tertiary referral center in Tanzania was 67%, which was significantly higher than the predicted estimates. The higher mortality was related to gaps in the continuum of care of patients with severe TBI, including cardiorespiratory monitoring, resuscitation, neuroimaging, and surgical rates, along with lower rates of utilization of available medical therapies. In ongoing work, the authors are attempting to identify reasons associated with the gaps in care to implement programmatic improvements. Capacity building by twinning provides an avenue for acquiring data to accurately estimate local needs and direct programmatic education and interventions to reduce excess in-hospital mortality from TBI.