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Oliver Y. Tang, James S. Yoon, Anna R. Kimata and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Previous research has demonstrated the association between increased hospital volume and improved outcomes for a wide range of neurosurgical conditions, including adult neurotrauma. The authors aimed to determine if such a relationship was also present in the care of pediatric neurotrauma patients.

METHODS

The authors identified 106,146 pediatric admissions for traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (tICH) in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) for the period 2002–2014 and 34,017 admissions in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) for 2012–2015. Hospitals were stratified as high volume (top 20%) or low volume (bottom 80%) according to their pediatric tICH volume. Then the association between high-volume status and favorable discharge disposition, inpatient mortality, complications, and length of stay (LOS) was assessed. Multivariate regression modeling was used to control for patient demographics, severity metrics, hospital characteristics, and performance of neurosurgical procedures.

RESULTS

In each database, high-volume hospitals treated over 60% of pediatric tICH admissions. In the NIS, patients at high-volume hospitals presented with worse severity metrics and more frequently underwent neurosurgical intervention over medical management (all p < 0.001). After multivariate adjustment, admission to a high-volume hospital was associated with increased odds of a favorable discharge (home or short-term facility) in both databases (both p < 0.001). However, there were no significant differences in inpatient mortality (p = 0.208). Moreover, high-volume hospital patients had lower total complications in the NIS and lower respiratory complications in both databases (all p < 0.001). Although patients at high-volume hospitals in the NTDB had longer hospital stays (β-coefficient = 1.17, p < 0.001), they had shorter stays in the intensive care unit (β-coefficient = 0.96, p = 0.024). To determine if these findings were attributable to the trauma center level rather than case volume, an analysis was conducted with only level I pediatric trauma centers (PTCs) in the NTDB. Similarly, treatment at a high-volume level I PTC was associated with increased odds of a favorable discharge (OR 1.28, p = 0.009), lower odds of pneumonia (OR 0.60, p = 0.007), and a shorter total LOS (β-coefficient = 0.92, p = 0.024).

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric tICH patients admitted to high-volume hospitals exhibited better outcomes, particularly in terms of discharge disposition and complications, in two independent national databases. This trend persisted when examining level I PTCs exclusively, suggesting that volume alone may have an impact on pediatric neurotrauma outcomes. These findings highlight the potential merits of centralizing neurosurgery and pursuing regionalization policies, such as interfacility transport networks and destination protocols, to optimize the care of children affected by traumatic brain injury.

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Oliver Y. Tang, Krissia M. Rivera Perla, Rachel K. Lim, James S. Yoon, Robert J. Weil and Steven A. Toms

OBJECTIVE

Research has documented significant growth in neurosurgical expenditures and practice consolidation. The authors evaluated the relationship between interhospital competition and inpatient charges or costs in patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery.

METHODS

The authors identified all admissions in 2006 and 2009 from the National Inpatient Sample. Admissions were classified into 5 subspecialties: cerebrovascular, tumor, CSF diversion, neurotrauma, or functional. Hospital-specific interhospital competition levels were quantified using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), an economic metric ranging continuously from 0 (significant competition) to 1 (monopoly). Inpatient charges (hospital billing) were multiplied with reported cost-to-charge ratios to calculate costs (actual resource use). Multivariate regressions were used to assess the association between HHI and inpatient charges or costs separately, controlling for 17 patient, hospital, severity, and economic factors. The reported β-coefficients reflect percentage changes in charges or costs (e.g., β-coefficient = 1.06 denotes a +6% change). All results correspond to a standardized −0.1 change in HHI (increase in competition).

RESULTS

In total, 472,938 nationwide admissions for cranial neurosurgery treated at 896 unique hospitals met inclusion criteria. Hospital HHIs ranged from 0.099 to 0.724 (mean 0.298 ± 0.105). Hospitals in more competitive markets had greater charge/cost markups (β-coefficient = 1.10, p < 0.001) and area wage indices (β-coefficient = 1.04, p < 0.001). Between 2006 and 2009, average neurosurgical charges and costs rose significantly ($62,098 to $77,812, p < 0.001; $21,385 to $22,389, p < 0.001, respectively). Increased interhospital competition was associated with greater charges for all admissions (β-coefficient = 1.07, p < 0.001) as well as cerebrovascular (β-coefficient = 1.08, p < 0.001), tumor (β-coefficient = 1.05, p = 0.039), CSF diversion (β-coefficient = 1.08, p < 0.001), neurotrauma (β-coefficient = 1.07, p < 0.001), and functional neurosurgery (β-coefficient = 1.11, p = 0.037) admissions. However, no significant associations were observed between HHI and costs, except for CSF diversion surgery (β-coefficient = 1.03, p = 0.021). Increased competition was not associated with important clinical outcomes, such as inpatient mortality, favorable discharge disposition, or complication rates, except for lower mortality for brain tumors (OR 0.78, p = 0.026), but was related to greater length of stay for all admissions (β-coefficient = 1.06, p < 0.001). For a sensitivity analysis adjusting for outcomes, all findings for charges and costs remained the same.

CONCLUSIONS

Hospitals in more competitive markets exhibited higher charges for admissions of patients undergoing an in-hospital cranial procedure. Despite this, interhospital competition was not associated with increased inpatient costs except for CSF diversion surgery. There was no corresponding improvement in outcomes with increased competition, with the exception of a potential survival benefit for brain tumor surgery.

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Benjamin K. Hendricks, James S. Yoon, Kurt Yaeger, Christopher P. Kellner, J Mocco, Reade A. De Leacy, Andrew F. Ducruet, Michael T. Lawton and Justin R. Mascitelli

OBJECTIVE

Wide-necked aneurysms (WNAs) are a variably defined subset of cerebral aneurysms that require more advanced endovascular and microsurgical techniques than those required for narrow-necked aneurysms. The neurosurgical literature includes many definitions of WNAs, and a systematic review has not been performed to identify the most commonly used or optimal definition. The purpose of this systematic review was to highlight the most commonly used definition of WNAs.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed for the years 1998–2017, using the terms “wide neck aneurysm” and “broad neck aneurysm” to identify relevant articles. All results were screened for having a minimum of 30 patients and for clearly stating a definition of WNA. Reference lists for all articles meeting the inclusion criteria were also screened for eligibility.

RESULTS

The search of the neurosurgical literature identified 809 records, of which 686 were excluded (626 with < 30 patients; 60 for lack of a WNA definition), leaving 123 articles for analysis. Twenty-seven unique definitions were identified and condensed into 14 definitions. The most common definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm or dome-to-neck ratio < 2, which was used in 49 articles (39.8%). The second most commonly used definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm, which was used in 26 articles (21.1%). The rest of the definitions included similar parameters with variable thresholds. There was inconsistent reporting of the precise dome measurements used to determine the dome-to-neck ratio. Digital subtraction angiography was the only imaging modality used to study the aneurysm morphology in 87 of 122 articles (71.3%).

CONCLUSIONS

The literature has great variability regarding the definition of a WNA. The most prevalent definition is a neck diameter of ≥ 4 mm or a dome-to-neck ratio of < 2. Whether this is the most appropriate and clinically useful definition is an area for future study.

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Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Eric Chen, Alpesh A. Patel, Henry Ahn, Ahmad Nassr, Christopher I. Shaffrey, James Harrop, Gregory D. Schroeder, Amit Agarwala, Marcel F. Dvorak, Daryl R. Fourney, Kirkham B. Wood, Vincent C. Traynelis, S. Tim Yoon, Michael G. Fehlings and Bizhan Aarabi

OBJECT

In this clinically based systematic review of cervical facet fractures, the authors’ aim was to determine the optimal clinical care for patients with isolated fractures of the cervical facets through a systematic review.

METHODS

A systematic review of nonoperative and operative treatment methods of cervical facet fractures was performed. Reduction and stabilization treatments were compared, and analysis of postoperative outcomes was performed. MEDLINE and Scopus databases were used. This work was supported through support received from the Association for Collaborative Spine Research and AOSpine North America.

RESULTS

Eleven studies with 368 patients met the inclusion criteria. Forty-six patients had bilateral isolated cervical facet fractures and 322 had unilateral isolated cervical facet fractures. Closed reduction was successful in 56.4% (39 patients) and 63.8% (94 patients) of patients using a halo vest and Gardner-Wells tongs, respectively. Comparatively, open reduction was successful in 94.9% of patients (successful reduction of open to closed reduction OR 12.8 [95% CI 6.1–26.9], p < 0.0001); 183 patients underwent internal fixation, with an 87.2% success rate in maintaining anatomical alignment. When comparing the success of patients who underwent anterior versus posterior procedures, anterior approaches showed a 90.5% rate of maintenance of reduction, compared with a 75.6% rate for the posterior approach (anterior vs posterior OR 3.1 [95% CI 1.0–9.4], p = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In comparison with nonoperative treatments, operative treatments provided a more successful outcome in terms of failure of treatment to maintain reduction for patients with cervical facet fractures. Operative treatment appears to provide superior results to the nonoperative treatments assessed.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010