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Chester K. Yarbrough, Jacob K. Greenberg, Matthew D. Smyth, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

Object

Historically, assessment of clinical outcomes following surgical management of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) has been challenging due to the lack of a validated instrument for widespread use. The Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS) is a novel system intended to provide a less subjective evaluation of outcomes for patients with CM-I. The goal of this study was to externally validate the performance of the CCOS.

Methods

Patients undergoing surgery for CM-I between 2001 and 2012 were reviewed (n = 292). Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: 1) patients receiving primary posterior fossa decompression; 2) at least 5.5 months of postoperative clinical follow-up; and 3) patients ≤ 18 years of age at the time of surgery. Outcomes were evaluated using the CCOS, along with a “gestalt” impression of whether patients experienced significant improvement after surgery. A subgroup of 118 consecutive patients undergoing operations between 2008 and 2010 was selected for analysis of interrater reliability (n = 73 meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria). In this subgroup, gestalt and CCOS scores were independently determined by 2 reviewers, and interrater reliability was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and kappa (κ) statistic.

Results

The median CCOS score was 14, and 67% of patients had improved gestalt scores after surgery. Overall, the CCOS was effective at identifying patients with improved outcome after surgery (area under curve = 0.951). The interrater reliability of the CCOS (ICC = 0.71) was high, although the reliability of the component scores ranged from poor to good (ICC 0.23–0.89). The functionality subscore demonstrated a low ICC and did not add to the predictive ability of the logistic regression model (likelihood ratio = 1.8, p = 0.18). When analyzing gestalt outcome, there was moderate agreement between raters (κ = 0.56).

Conclusions

In this external validation study, the CCOS was effective at identifying patients with improved outcomes and proved more reliable than the authors' gestalt impression of outcome. However, certain component subscores (functionality and nonpain symptoms) were found to be less reliable, and may benefit from further definition in score assignment. In particular, the functionality subscore does not add to the predictive ability of the CCOS, and may be unnecessary. Overall, the authors found the CCOS to be an improvement over the previously used assessment of outcome at their institution.

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S. Kathleen Bandt, Jacob K. Greenberg, Chester K. Yarbrough, Kenneth B. Schechtman, David D. Limbrick and Jeffrey R. Leonard

Object

There has been an increase in civilian gun violence since the late 1980s, with a disproportionately high increase occurring within the pediatric population. To date, no definite treatment paradigm exists for the management of these patients, nor is there a full understanding of the predictors of favorable clinical outcome in this population.

Methods

The authors completed a retrospective review of all victims of intracranial gunshot injury from birth to age 18 years at a major metropolitan Level 1 trauma center (n = 48) from 2002 to 2011. The predictive values of widely accepted adult clinical and radiographic factors for poor prognosis were investigated.

Results

Eight statistically significant factors (p < 0.05) for favorable outcome were identified. These factors include single hemispheric involvement, absence of a transventricular trajectory, < 3 lobes involved, ≥ 1 reactive pupil on arrival, systolic blood pressure > 100 mm Hg on arrival, absence of deep nuclei and/or third ventricular involvement, initial ICP < 30 mm Hg when monitored, and absence of midline shift. Of these 8 factors, 5 were strong predictors of favorable clinical outcome as defined by Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5. These predictive factors included absence of a transventricular trajectory, < 3 lobes involved, ≥ 1 reactive pupil on arrival, absence of deep nuclei and/or third ventricular involvement, and initial ICP < 30 mm Hg. These findings form the basis of the St. Louis Scale for Pediatric Gunshot Wounds to the Head, a novel metric to inform treatment decisions for pediatric patients who sustain these devastating injuries.

Conclusions

The pediatric population tends to demonstrate more favorable outcomes following intracranial gunshot injury when compared with the adult population; therefore some patients may benefit from more aggressive treatment than is considered for adults. The St. Louis Scale for Pediatric Gunshot Wounds to the Head may provide critical data toward evidence-based guidelines for clinical decision making.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Chad W. Washington, Ridhima Guniganti, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECT

Hospital readmission is a common but controversial quality measure increasingly used to influence hospital compensation in the US. The objective of this study was to evaluate the causes for 30-day hospital readmission following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to determine the appropriateness of this performance metric and to identify potential avenues for improved patient care.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients who received surgical orendovas-cular treatment for aneurysmal SAH at Barnes-Jewish Hospital between 2003 and 2013. Two senior faculty identified by consensus the primary medical/surgical diagnosis associated with readmission as well as the underlying causes of rehospitalization.

RESULTS

Among 778 patients treated for aneurysmal SAH, 89 experienced a total of 97 readmission events, yielding a readmission rate of 11.4%. The median time from discharge to readmission was 9 days (interquartile range 3–17.5 days). Actual hydrocephalus or potential concern for hydrocephalus (e.g., headache) was the most frequent diagnosis (26/97, 26.8%), followed by infections (e.g., wound infection [5/97, 5.2%], urinary tract infection [3/97, 3.1%], and pneumonia [3/97, 3.1%]) and thromboembolic events (8/97, 8.2%). In most cases (75/97, 77.3%), we did not identify any treatment lapses contributing to readmission. The most common underlying causes for readmission were unavoidable development of SAH-related pathology (e.g., hydrocephalus; 36/97, 37.1%) and complications related to neurological impairment and immobility (e.g., thromboembolic event despite high-dose chemoprophylaxis; 21/97, 21.6%). The authors determined that 22/97 (22.7%) of the readmissions were likely preventable with alternative management. In these cases, insufficient outpatient medical care (for example, for hyponatremia; 16/97, 16.5%) was the most common shortcoming.

CONCLUSIONS

Most readmissions after aneurysmal SAH relate to late consequences of hemorrhage, such as hydrocephalus, or medical complications secondary to severe neurological injury. Although a minority of readmissions may potentially be avoided with closer medical follow-up in the transitional care environment, readmission after SAH is an insensitive and likely inappropriate hospital performance metric.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Eric Milner, Chester K. Yarbrough, Kim Lipsey, Jay F. Piccirillo, Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECT

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is a common and often debilitating neurological disease. Efforts to improve treatment of CM-I are impeded by inconsistent and limited methods of evaluating clinical outcomes. To understand current approaches and lay a foundation for future research, the authors conducted a systematic review of the methods used in original published research articles to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Cochrane databases to identify publications between January 2003 and August 2013 that met the following criteria: 1) reported clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I; 2) were original research articles; 3) included at least 10 patients or, if a comparative study, at least 5 patients per group; and 4) were restricted to patients with CM-I.

RESULTS

Among the 74 papers meeting inclusion criteria, there was wide variation in the outcome methods used. However, all approaches were broadly grouped into 3 categories: 1) “gestalt” impression of overall symptomatic improvement (n = 45 papers); 2) postoperative change in specific signs or symptoms (n = 20); or 3) results of various standardized assessment scales (n = 22). Among standardized scales, 11 general function measures were used, compared with 6 disease-specific tools. Only 3 papers used scales validated in patients with CM-I. To facilitate a uniform comparison of these heterogeneous approaches, the authors appraised articles in multiple domains defined a priori as integral to reporting clinical outcomes in CM-I. Notably, only 7 articles incorporated patient-response instruments when reporting outcome, and only 22 articles explicitly assessed quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS

The methods used to evaluate clinical outcomes in CM-I are inconsistent and frequently not comparable, complicating efforts to analyze results across studies. Development, validation, and incorporation of a small number of disease-specific patient-based instruments will improve the quality of research and care of CM-I patients.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Margaret A. Olsen, Chester K. Yarbrough, Travis R. Ladner, Chevis N. Shannon, Jay F. Piccirillo, Richard C. E. Anderson, John C. Wellons III, Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is a common and often debilitating pediatric neurological disease. However, efforts to guide preoperative counseling and improve outcomes research are impeded by reliance on small, single-center studies. Consequently, the objective of this study was to investigate CM-I surgical outcomes using population-level administrative billing data.

METHODS

The authors used Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases (SID) to study pediatric patients undergoing surgical decompression for CM-I from 2004 to 2010 in California, Florida, and New York. They assessed the prevalence and influence of preoperative complex chronic conditions (CCC) among included patients. Outcomes included medical and surgical complications within 90 days of treatment. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for surgical complications.

RESULTS

A total of 936 pediatric CM-I surgeries were identified for the study period. Overall, 29.2% of patients were diagnosed with syringomyelia and 13.7% were diagnosed with scoliosis. Aside from syringomyelia and scoliosis, 30.3% of patients had at least 1 CCC, most commonly neuromuscular (15.2%) or congenital or genetic (8.4%) disease. Medical complications were uncommon, occurring in 2.6% of patients. By comparison, surgical complications were diagnosed in 12.7% of patients and typically included shunt-related complications (4.0%), meningitis (3.7%), and other neurosurgery-specific complications (7.4%). Major complications (e.g., stroke or myocardial infarction) occurred in 1.4% of patients. Among children with CCCs, only comorbid hydrocephalus was associated with a significantly increased risk of surgical complications (OR 4.5, 95% CI 2.5–8.1).

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 1 in 8 pediatric CM-I patients experienced a surgical complication, whereas medical complications were rare. Although CCCs were common in pediatric CM-I patients, only hydrocephalus was independently associated with increased risk of surgical events. These results may inform patient counseling and guide future research efforts.

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Travis R. Ladner, Jacob K. Greenberg, Nicole Guerrero, Margaret A. Olsen, Chevis N. Shannon, Chester K. Yarbrough, Jay F. Piccirillo, Richard C. E. Anderson, Neil A. Feldstein, John C. Wellons III, Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Administrative billing data may facilitate large-scale assessments of treatment outcomes for pediatric Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I). Validated International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code algorithms for identifying CM-I surgery are critical prerequisites for such studies but are currently only available for adults. The objective of this study was to validate two ICD-9-CM code algorithms using hospital billing data to identify pediatric patients undergoing CM-I decompression surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the validity of two ICD-9-CM code algorithms for identifying pediatric CM-I decompression surgery performed at 3 academic medical centers between 2001 and 2013. Algorithm 1 included any discharge diagnosis code of 348.4 (CM-I), as well as a procedure code of 01.24 (cranial decompression) or 03.09 (spinal decompression or laminectomy). Algorithm 2 restricted this group to the subset of patients with a primary discharge diagnosis of 348.4. The positive predictive value (PPV) and sensitivity of each algorithm were calculated.

RESULTS

Among 625 first-time admissions identified by Algorithm 1, the overall PPV for CM-I decompression was 92%. Among the 581 admissions identified by Algorithm 2, the PPV was 97%. The PPV for Algorithm 1 was lower in one center (84%) compared with the other centers (93%–94%), whereas the PPV of Algorithm 2 remained high (96%–98%) across all subgroups. The sensitivity of Algorithms 1 (91%) and 2 (89%) was very good and remained so across subgroups (82%–97%).

CONCLUSIONS

An ICD-9-CM algorithm requiring a primary diagnosis of CM-I has excellent PPV and very good sensitivity for identifying CM-I decompression surgery in pediatric patients. These results establish a basis for utilizing administrative billing data to assess pediatric CM-I treatment outcomes.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Ridhima Guniganti, Eric J. Arias, Kshitij Desai, Chad W. Washington, Yan Yan, Hua Weng, Chengjie Xiong, Emily Fondahn, DeWitte T. Cross, Christopher J. Moran, Keith M. Rich, Michael R. Chicoine, Rajat Dhar, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECTIVE

Despite persisting questions regarding its appropriateness, 30-day readmission is an increasingly common quality metric used to influence hospital compensation in the United States. However, there is currently insufficient evidence to identify which patients are at highest risk for readmission after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The objective of this study was to identify predictors of 30-day readmission after SAH, to focus preventative efforts, and to provide guidance to funding agencies seeking to risk-adjust comparisons among hospitals.

METHODS

The authors performed a case-control study of 30-day readmission among aneurysmal SAH patients treated at a single center between 2003 and 2013. To control for geographic distance from the hospital and year of treatment, the authors randomly matched each case (30-day readmission) with approximately 2 SAH controls (no readmission) based on home ZIP code and treatment year. They evaluated variables related to patient demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, comorbidities, presentation severity (e.g., Hunt and Hess grade), and clinical course (e.g., need for gastrostomy or tracheostomy, length of stay). Conditional logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors, accounting for the matched design of the study.

RESULTS

Among 82 SAH patients with unplanned 30-day readmission, the authors matched 78 patients with 153 nonreadmitted controls. Age, demographics, and socioeconomic factors were not associated with readmission. In univariate analysis, multiple variables were significantly associated with readmission, including Hunt and Hess grade (OR 3.0 for Grade IV/V vs I/II), need for gastrostomy placement (OR 2.0), length of hospital stay (OR 1.03 per day), discharge disposition (OR 3.2 for skilled nursing vs other disposition), and Charlson Comorbidity Index (OR 2.3 for score ≥ 2 vs 0). However, the only significant predictor in the multivariate analysis was discharge to a skilled nursing facility (OR 3.2), and the final model was sensitive to criteria used to enter and retain variables. Furthermore, despite the significant association between discharge disposition and readmission, less than 25% of readmitted patients were discharged to a skilled nursing facility.

CONCLUSIONS

Although discharge disposition remained significant in multivariate analysis, most routinely collected variables appeared to be weak independent predictors of 30-day readmission after SAH. Consequently, hospitals interested in decreasing readmission rates may consider multifaceted, cost-efficient interventions that can be broadly applied to most if not all SAH patients.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Donna B. Jeffe, Christopher R. Carpenter, Yan Yan, Jose A. Pineda, Angela Lumba-Brown, Martin S. Keller, Daniel Berger, Robert J. Bollo, Vijay M. Ravindra, Robert P. Naftel, Michael C. Dewan, Manish N. Shah, Erin C. Burns, Brent R. O’Neill, Todd C. Hankinson, William E. Whitehead, P. David Adelson, Mandeep S. Tamber, Patrick J. McDonald, Edward S. Ahn, William Titsworth, Alina N. West, Ross C. Brownson and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of care and need for repeating neuroimaging among children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) complicated by intracranial injury (ICI). This study’s objective was to investigate physician practice patterns and decision-making processes for these patients in order to identify knowledge gaps and highlight avenues for future investigation.

METHODS

The authors surveyed residents, fellows, and attending physicians from the following pediatric specialties: emergency medicine; general surgery; neurosurgery; and critical care. Participants came from 10 institutions in the United States and an email list maintained by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. The survey asked respondents to indicate management preferences for and experiences with children with mTBI complicated by ICI, focusing on an exemplar clinical vignette of a 7-year-old girl with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 and a 5-mm subdural hematoma without midline shift after a fall down stairs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 52% (n = 536). Overall, 326 (61%) respondents indicated they would recommend ICU admission for the child in the vignette. However, only 62 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that this child was at high risk of neurological decline. Half of respondents (45%; n = 243) indicated they would order a planned follow-up CT (29%; n = 155) or MRI scan (19%; n = 102), though only 64 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that repeat neuroimaging would influence their management. Common factors that increased the likelihood of ICU admission included presence of a focal neurological deficit (95%; n = 508 endorsed), midline shift (90%; n = 480) or an epidural hematoma (88%; n = 471). However, 42% (n = 225) indicated they would admit all children with mTBI and ICI to the ICU. Notably, 27% (n = 143) of respondents indicated they had seen one or more children with mTBI and intracranial hemorrhage demonstrate a rapid neurological decline when admitted to a general ward in the last year, and 13% (n = 71) had witnessed this outcome at least twice in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS

Many physicians endorse ICU admission and repeat neuroimaging for pediatric mTBI with ICI, despite uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of those decisions. These results, combined with evidence that existing practice may provide insufficient monitoring to some high-risk children, emphasize the need for validated decision tools to aid the management of these patients.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Donna B. Jeffe, Christopher R. Carpenter, Yan Yan, Jose A. Pineda, Angela Lumba-Brown, Martin S. Keller, Daniel Berger, Robert J. Bollo, Vijay M. Ravindra, Robert P. Naftel, Michael C. Dewan, Manish N. Shah, Erin C. Burns, Brent R. O’Neill, Todd C. Hankinson, William E. Whitehead, P. David Adelson, Mandeep S. Tamber, Patrick J. McDonald, Edward S. Ahn, William Titsworth, Alina N. West, Ross C. Brownson and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of care and need for repeating neuroimaging among children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) complicated by intracranial injury (ICI). This study’s objective was to investigate physician practice patterns and decision-making processes for these patients in order to identify knowledge gaps and highlight avenues for future investigation.

METHODS

The authors surveyed residents, fellows, and attending physicians from the following pediatric specialties: emergency medicine; general surgery; neurosurgery; and critical care. Participants came from 10 institutions in the United States and an email list maintained by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. The survey asked respondents to indicate management preferences for and experiences with children with mTBI complicated by ICI, focusing on an exemplar clinical vignette of a 7-year-old girl with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 and a 5-mm subdural hematoma without midline shift after a fall down stairs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 52% (n = 536). Overall, 326 (61%) respondents indicated they would recommend ICU admission for the child in the vignette. However, only 62 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that this child was at high risk of neurological decline. Half of respondents (45%; n = 243) indicated they would order a planned follow-up CT (29%; n = 155) or MRI scan (19%; n = 102), though only 64 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that repeat neuroimaging would influence their management. Common factors that increased the likelihood of ICU admission included presence of a focal neurological deficit (95%; n = 508 endorsed), midline shift (90%; n = 480) or an epidural hematoma (88%; n = 471). However, 42% (n = 225) indicated they would admit all children with mTBI and ICI to the ICU. Notably, 27% (n = 143) of respondents indicated they had seen one or more children with mTBI and intracranial hemorrhage demonstrate a rapid neurological decline when admitted to a general ward in the last year, and 13% (n = 71) had witnessed this outcome at least twice in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS

Many physicians endorse ICU admission and repeat neuroimaging for pediatric mTBI with ICI, despite uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of those decisions. These results, combined with evidence that existing practice may provide insufficient monitoring to some high-risk children, emphasize the need for validated decision tools to aid the management of these patients.