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Ricky H. Wong, Fabrice Smieliauskas, I-Wen Pan and Sandi K. Lam

OBJECT

Neurosurgery studies traditionally have evaluated the effects of interventions on health care outcomes by studying overall changes in measured outcomes over time. Yet, this type of linear analysis is limited due to lack of consideration of the trend’s effects both pre- and postintervention and the potential for confounding influences. The aim of this study was to illustrate interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) as applied to an example in the neurosurgical literature and highlight ITSA’s potential for future applications.

METHODS

The methods used in previous neurosurgical studies were analyzed and then compared with the methodology of ITSA.

RESULTS

The ITSA method was identified in the neurosurgical literature as an important technique for isolating the effect of an intervention (such as a policy change or a quality and safety initiative) on a health outcome independent of other factors driving trends in the outcome. The authors determined that ITSA allows for analysis of the intervention’s immediate impact on outcome level and on subsequent trends and enables a more careful measure of the causal effects of interventions on health care outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

ITSA represents a significant improvement over traditional observational study designs in quantifying the impact of an intervention. ITSA is a useful statistical procedure to understand, consider, and implement as the field of neurosurgery evolves in sophistication in big-data analytics, economics, and health services research.

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Yimo Lin, I-Wen Pan, Rory R. Mayer and Sandi Lam

OBJECT

Research conducted using large administrative data sets has increased in recent decades, but reports on the fidelity and reliability of such data have been mixed. The goal of this project was to compare data from a large, administrative claims data set with a quality improvement registry in order to ascertain similarities and differences in content.

METHODS

Data on children younger than 12 months with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis who underwent surgery in 2012 were queried in both the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) and the American College of Surgeons Pediatric National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (Peds NSQIP). Data from published clinical craniosynostosis surgery series are reported for comparison.

RESULTS

Among patients younger than 12 months of age, a total of 1765 admissions were identified in KID and 391 in Peds NSQIP in 2012. Only nonsyndromic patients were included. The mean length of stay was 3.2 days in KID and 4 days in Peds NSQIP. The rates of cardiac events (0.5% in KID, 0.3% in Peds NSQIP, and 0.4%-2.2% in the literature), stroke/intracranial bleeds (0.4% in KID, 0.5% in Peds NSQIP, and 0.3%-1.2% in the literature), infection (0.2% in KID, 0.8% in Peds NSQIP, and 0%-8% in the literature), wound disruption (0.2% in KID, 0.5% in Peds NSQIP, 0%-4% in the literature), and seizures (0.7% in KID, 0.8% in Peds NSQIP, 0%-0.8% in the literature) were low and similar between the 2 data sets. The reported rates of blood transfusion (36% in KID, 64% in Peds NSQIP, and 1.7%-100% in the literature) varied between the 2 data sets.

CONCLUSIONS

Both the KID and Peds NSQIP databases provide large samples of surgical patients, with more cases reported in KID. The rates of complications studied were similar between the 2 data sets, with the exception of blood transfusion events where the retrospective chart review process of Peds NSQIP captured almost double the rate reported in KID.

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I-Wen Pan, Grace M. Kuo, Thomas G. Luerssen and Sandi K. Lam

OBJECT

This study explored antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) in pediatric patients undergoing intrathecal baclofen pump (ITBP) surgery and factors associated with perioperative AP compliance with clinical guidelines.

METHODS

Data were obtained from the Pediatric Health Information System. The study cohort comprised patients who underwent ITBP surgery within 3 days of admission, between July 1, 2004, and March 31, 2014, with a minimum prior screening period and follow-up of 180 days. Exclusion criteria were prior infection, antibiotic use within 30 days of admission, and/or missing financial data. Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regressions were used to determine factors associated with compliance with AP guidelines in ITBP surgeries.

RESULTS

A total of 1,534 patients met the inclusion criteria; 91.5% received AP and 37.6% received dual coverage or more. Overall bundled compliance comprised 2 components: 1) perioperative antibiotic administration and 2) < 24-hour postoperative antibiotic course. The most frequently used antibiotics in surgery were cefazolin (n = 873, 62.2%) and vancomycin (n = 351, 25%). Documented bundled AP compliance rates were 70.2%, 62.0%, 66.0%, and 55.2% in West, South, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the US, respectively. Compared with surgeries in the Northeast, procedures carried out in the West (OR 2.0, 95% C11.4-2.9, p < 0.001), Midwest (OR 1.6, 95% C11.1-2.3, p = 0.007), and South (OR 1.5, 95% C11.1-2.0, p = 0.021) were more likely to have documented AP compliance. Black (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55-1.00, p = 0.05) and Hispanic (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.47-0.86, p = 0.004) patients were less likely to have documented AP compliance in ITBP surgeries than white patients. There were no significant differences in compliance rate by age, sex, type of insurance, and diagnosis. AP process measures were associated with shorter length of stay, lower hospitalization costs, and lower 6-month rates of surgical infection/complication. One of the 2 noncompliance subgroups, missed preoperative antibiotic administration, was correlated with a significantly higher 6-month surgical complication/infection rate (27.03%) compared with bundled compliance (20.00%, p = 0.021). For the other subgroup, prolonged antibiotic use > 24 hours postoperatively, the rate was insignificantly higher (22.00%, p = 0.368). Thus, of direct relevance to practicing clinicians, missed preoperative antibiotics was associated with 48% higher risk of adverse complication/infection outcome in a 6-month time frame. Adjusted hospitalization costs associated with baclofen pump surgery differed significantly (p < 0.001) with respect to perioperative antibiotic practices: 22.83, 29.10, 37.66 (× 1000 USD) for bundled compliance, missed preoperative antibiotics, and prolonged antibiotic administration, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant variation in ITBP antibiotic prophylaxis was found. Documented AP compliance was associated with higher value of care, showing favorable clinical and financial outcomes. Of most impact to clinical outcome, missed preoperative antibiotics was significantly associated with higher risk of 6-month surgical complication/infection. Prolonged antibiotic use was associated with significantly higher hospital costs compared with those with overall bundled antibiotic compliance. Future research is warranted to examine factors associated with practice variation and how AP compliance is associated with outcomes and quality, aiming for improving delivery of care to pediatric patients undergoing ITBP procedures.

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Nisha Gadgil, Sandi Lam, Monika Pyarali, Michael Paldino, I-Wen Pan and Robert C. Dauser

OBJECTIVE

Numerous surgical procedures facilitate revascularization of the ischemic brain in patients with moyamoya disease. Dural inversion is a technique in which flaps of dura mater centered around the middle meningeal artery are inverted, encouraging the formation of a rich collateral blood supply. This procedure has been used in combination with encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis for more than 20 years at the authors’ institution for the treatment of pediatric moyamoya disease. The objective of this study was to describe the clinical and radiographic outcomes for a cohort of consecutive pediatric moyamoya patients undergoing dural inversion.

METHODS

Clinical and radiographic data on patients who had undergone dural inversion in the period from 1997 to 2016 were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed to assess the risk of postoperative stroke, functional outcome, and the angiographic degree of revascularization.

RESULTS

Dural inversion was performed on 169 hemispheres in 102 patients. Median follow-up was 4.3 years. Six patients (3.6% of hemispheres) suffered postoperative ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Overall mortality was 1.0%. Good postoperative neurological status (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) was observed in 90 patients (88%); preoperative and postoperative mRS scores showed significant improvement (p < 0.001). Eighty-six percent of hemispheres had Matsushima grade A or B revascularization. Younger age was associated with postoperative stroke and poor functional outcome. Patients with secondary moyamoya syndrome had a significantly worse radiographic outcome. The cumulative 5-year Kaplan-Meier risk for stroke was 6.4%.

CONCLUSIONS

Dural inversion is a useful technique of cerebral revascularization in pediatric moyamoya disease. A 20-year experience demonstrates the safety and efficacy of this technique with a relatively low rate of postoperative stroke, good functional outcomes, and favorable angiographic results.

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Sandi Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen, William E. Whitehead, Andrew Jea and I-Wen Pan

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Sandi Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen, Caroline Hadley, Bradley Daniels, Ben A. Strickland, Jim Brookshier and I-Wen Pan

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to examine factors associated with adherence to recommended treatment among pediatric patients with positional skull deformity by reviewing a single-institution experience (2007–2014) with the treatment of positional plagiocephaly.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was conducted. Risk factors, treatment for positional head shape deformity, and parent-reported adherence were recorded. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the impact of patient clinical and demographic characteristics on adherence.

RESULTS

A total of 991 patients under age 12 months were evaluated for positional skull deformity at the Texas Children's Hospital Cranial Deformity Clinic between 2007 and 2014. According to an age- and risk factor–based treatment algorithm, patients were recommended for repositioning, physical therapy, or cranial orthosis therapy or crossover from repositioning/physical therapy into cranial orthosis therapy. The patients' average chronological age at presentation was 6.2 months; 69.3% were male. The majority were white (40.7%) or Hispanic (32.6%); 38.7% had commercial insurance and 37.9% had Medicaid. The most common initial recommended treatment was repositioning or physical therapy; 85.7% of patients were adherent to the initial recommended treatment.

Univariate analysis showed differences in adherence rates among subgroups. Children's families with Medicaid were less likely to be adherent to treatment recommendations (adherence rate, 80.2%). Families with commercial insurance were more likely to be adherent to the recommended treatment (89.6%). Multivariate logistic regression confirmed that factors associated with parent-reported adherence to recommended treatment included primary insurance payer, diagnosis (plagiocephaly vs brachycephaly), and the nature of the recommended treatment. Families were less likely to be adherent if they had Medicaid, a child with a diagnosis of brachycephaly, or were initially recommended for cranial orthosis therapy than families with commercial insurance, a child with a diagnosis of plagiocephaly, or an initial recommendation for repositioning or physical therapy.

Factors associated with treatment completion included corrected age, insurance, diagnosis, recommended treatment, and distance to provider from patient's residence. Patients with commercial insurance (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.10–2.02, p = 0.009), those diagnosed with both brachycephaly and plagiocephaly (OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.31–3.90, p = 0.003), those recommended for treatment with cranial orthosis (OR 4.55, 95% CI = 3.24–6.38, p < 0.001), and those living in proximity to the provider (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.00–1.96, p = 0.047) were more likely to complete treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

Insurance type, degree of head shape deformity, and types of recommended treatment appear to affect rates of adherence to recommended treatments for positional skull deformation.

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Sandi Lam, I-Wen Pan, Ben A. Strickland, Caroline Hadley, Bradley Daniels, Jim Brookshier and Thomas G. Luerssen

OBJECTIVE

Following institution of the Back to Sleep Campaign, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome decreased while the prevalence of positional skull deformation increased dramatically. The management of positional deformity is controversial, and treatment recommendations and outcomes reporting are variable. The authors reviewed their institutional experience (2008–2014) with the treatment of positional plagiocephaly to explore factors associated with measured improvement.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was conducted with risk factors and treatment for positional head shape deformity recorded. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the impact of these variables on the change in measured oblique diagonal difference (ODD) on head shape surface scanning pre- and posttreatment.

RESULTS

A total of 991 infants aged less than 1 year were evaluated for cranial positional deformity in a dedicated clinical program. The most common deformity was occipital plagiocephaly (69.5%), followed by occipital brachycephaly (18.4%) or a combination of both deformities (12.1%). Recommended treatment included repositioning (RP), physical therapy (PT) if indicated, or orthotic treatment with a customized cranial orthosis (CO) according to an age- and risk factor–dependent algorithm that the authors developed for this clinic. Of the 991 eligible patients, 884 returned for at least 1 follow-up appointment. A total of 552 patients were followed to completion of their treatment and had a full set of records for analysis: these patients had pre- and posttreatment 2D surface scanner evaluations. The average presenting age was 6.2 months (corrected for prematurity for treatment considerations). Of the 991 patients, 543 (54.8%) had RP or PT as first recommended treatment. Of these 543 patients, 137 (25.2%) transitioned to helmet therapy after the condition did not improve over 4–8 weeks. In the remaining cases, RP/PT had already failed before the patients were seen in this program, and the starting treatment recommendation was CO. At the end of treatment, the measured improvements in ODD were 36.7%, 33.5%, and 15.1% for patients receiving CO, RP/PT/CO, and RP/PT, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that sex, race, insurance, diagnosis, sleep position preference, torticollis history, and multiple gestation were not significantly associated with magnitude of ODD change during treatment. On multivariate analysis, corrected age at presentation and type of treatment received were significantly associated with magnitude of ODD change. Orthotic treatment corresponded with the largest ODD change, while the RP/PT group had the least change in ODD. Earlier age at presentation corresponded with larger ODD change.

CONCLUSIONS

Earlier age at presentation and type of treatment impact the degree of measured deformational head shape correction in positional plagiocephaly. This retrospective study suggests that treatment with a custom CO can result in more improvement in objective measurements of head shape.

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Jacob Cherian, Kristen A. Staggers, I-Wen Pan, Melissa Lopresti, Andrew Jea and Sandi Lam

OBJECTIVE

Due to improved nutrition and early detection, myelomeningocele repair is a relatively uncommon procedure. Although previous studies have reviewed surgical trends and predictors of outcomes, they have relied largely on single-hospital experiences or on databases centered on hospital admission data. Here, the authors report 30-day outcomes of pediatric patients undergoing postnatal myelomeningocele repair from a national prospective surgical outcomes database. They sought to investigate the association between preoperative and intraoperative factors on the occurrence of 30-day complications, readmissions, and unplanned return to operating room events.

METHODS

The 2013 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric database (NSQIP-P) was queried for all patients undergoing postnatal myelomeningocele repair. Patients were subdivided on the basis of the size of the repair (< 5 cm vs > 5 cm). Preoperative variables, intraoperative characteristics, and postoperative 30-day events were tabulated from prospectively collected data. Three separate outcomes for complication, unplanned readmission, and return to the operating room were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Rates of associated CSF diversion operations and their timing were also analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 114 patients were included; 54 had myelomeningocele repair for a defect size smaller than 5 cm, and 60 had repair for a defect size larger than 5 cm. CSF shunts were placed concurrently in 8% of the cases. There were 42 NSQIP-defined complications in 31 patients (27%); these included wound complications and infections, in addition to others. Postoperative wound complications were the most common and occurred in 27 patients (24%). Forty patients (35%) had at least one subsequent surgery within 30 days. Twenty-four patients (21%) returned to the operating room for initial shunt placement. Unplanned readmission occurred in 11% of cases. Both complication and return to operating room outcomes were statistically associated with age at repair.

CONCLUSIONS

The NSQIP-P allows examination of 30-day perioperative outcomes from a national prospectively collected database. In this cohort, over one-quarter of patients undergoing postnatal myelomeningocele repair experienced a complication within 30 days. The complication rate was significantly higher in patients who had surgical repair within the first 24 hours of birth than in patients who had surgery after the 1st day of life. The authors also highlight limitations of investigating myelomeningocele repair using NSQIP-P and advocate the importance of disease-specific data collection.

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Sandi Lam, I-Wen Pan, Andrew Jea and Thomas G. Luerssen