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Jeremiah N. Johnson and Michael Y. Wang

Bilateral pedicle fractures in the spine are uncommon in the absence of bony abnormality, previous surgery, or trauma. The authors report a case of spontaneous bilateral lumbar pedicle fracture in a 50-year-old sedentary woman, which caused intractable pain and did not respond to months of conservative management. The fractures were surgically treated using a percutaneous, minimally invasive technique with screws placed directly through the fractures into the vertebral body. The pedicles were strategically tapped to achieve the lag effect and reapproximate the posterior fragment with the anterior elements. The patient tolerated the procedure well and experienced early improvement of her symptoms, and follow-up imaging showed evidence of fracture healing. Transpedicular fixation and the use of the lag effect could be a useful strategy in the treatment of future cases involving poorly healing pedicle fractures causing persistent symptoms.

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Kimon Bekelis, Symeon Missios, Shannon Coy, and Jeremiah N. Johnson

OBJECTIVE

The accuracy of public reporting in health care, especially from private vendors, remains an issue of debate. The authors investigated the association of the publicly reported physician complication rates in an online platform with real-world adverse outcomes of the same physicians for patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study involving physicians performing posterior lumbar fusions between 2009 and 2013 who were registered in the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database. This cohort was merged with publicly available data over the same time period from ProPublica, a private company. Mixed-effects multivariable regression models were used to investigate the association of publicly available complication rates with the rate of discharge to a rehabilitation facility, length of stay, mortality, and hospitalization charges for the same surgeons.

RESULTS

During the selected study period, there were 8,457 patients in New York State who underwent posterior lumbar fusion performed by the 56 surgeons represented in the ProPublica Surgeon Scorecard over the same time period. Using a mixed-effects multivariable regression model, the authors demonstrated that publicly reported physician-level complication rates were not associated with the rate of discharge to a rehabilitation facility (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.72–1.31), length of stay (adjusted difference −0.1, 95% CI −0.5 to 0.2), mortality (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.49–1.55), and hospitalization charges (adjusted difference $18,735, 95% CI −$59,177 to $96,647). Similarly, no association was observed when utilizing propensity score–adjusted models, and when restricting the cohort to a predefined subgroup of Medicare patients.

CONCLUSIONS

After merging a comprehensive all-payer posterior lumbar fusion cohort in New York State with data from the ProPublica Surgeon Scorecard over the same time period, the authors observed no association of publicly available physician complication rates with objective outcomes.

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Peter Kan, Visish M. Srinivasan, Aditya Srivatsan, Ascher B. Kaufmann, Jacob Cherian, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Jeremiah Johnson, and Edward A. M. Duckworth

OBJECTIVE

In select patients, extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass remains an important tool for cerebral revascularization. Traditionally, superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery (STA-MCA) bypass was performed using one limb of the STA only. In an attempt to augment flow and to direct flow to different ischemic areas of the brain, the authors adopted a “double-barrel” technique in which both branches of the STA are used to revascularize distinct MCA territories.

METHODS

A series of consecutive double-barrel STA-MCA bypasses performed between 2010 and 2020 were reviewed. Each anastomosis was directed to augment flow to a territory most at risk based on preoperative perfusion studies, cerebral angiography, and intraoperative indocyanine green data. CT perfusion and CTA were routinely used to evaluate postoperative augmentation and graft patency. Patient perioperative outcomes, surgical complications, and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at the last follow-up were reported.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients (16 males, 28 females) successfully underwent double-barrel STA-MCA bypass on 54 cerebral hemispheres: 28 operations were for moyamoya disease, 23 for atherosclerotic disease refractory to medical therapy, 2 for complex cerebral aneurysms, and 1 for carotid occlusion as a sequela of cavernous meningioma growth. Ten patients underwent multiple operations, 9 of whom had moyamoya disease/syndrome, with the subsequent operation on the contralateral hemisphere. The average patient age at surgery was 45.1 years (range 14–73 years), with a mean follow-up time of 22.1 months. Intraoperative graft patency was confirmed in 100% of cases, and 101 (98.1%) of the 103 anastomoses with imaging follow-up were patent. Perfusion to the revascularized hemisphere was improved in 88.2% of cases. Perioperative ischemic and hemorrhagic complications occurred in 8 procedures (2 were asymptomatic), whereas remote ischemic and hemorrhagic events occurred in 7 cases. There was no mortality in the series, and the mean patient mRS scores were 1.72 at presentation and 1.15 at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The high rates of intraoperative and postoperative patency support the feasibility of dual-anastomosis STA-MCA bypass for revascularization. The perioperative complication rate is not significantly different from that of single-anastomosis bypass. The functional outcomes at follow-up and perfusion improvement postoperatively support the efficacy and safety of this method as a treatment strategy.

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Jeremiah Johnson, John Ragheb, Ruchira Garg, William Patten, David I. Sandberg, and Sanjiv Bhatia

Neurogenic stunned myocardium (NSM) is a syndrome of cardiac stunning after a neurological insult. It is commonly observed after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage but is increasingly being reported after other neurological events. The underlying mechanism of NSM is believed to be a hypothalamic-mediated sympathetic surge causing weakened cardiac contractility and even direct cardiac myocyte damage. The authors report 2 cases of NSM in pediatric patients after acute hydrocephalus. Both patients experienced severe cardiac dysfunction in the acute phase but ultimately had a good neurological outcome and a full cardiac recovery. The identification, treatment, and outcome in 2 rare pediatric cases of NSM are discussed, and the history of the brain-cardiac connection is reviewed.

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Alina Mohanty, Visish M. Srinivasan, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Jeremiah Johnson, Akash J. Patel, Sameer A. Sheth, Ashwin Viswanathan, Daniel Yoshor, and Peter Kan

OBJECTIVE

Telemedicine has rapidly expanded in the recent years as technologies have afforded healthcare practitioners the ability to diagnose and treat patients remotely. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nonessential clinical visits were greatly limited, and much of the outpatient neurosurgical practice at the authors’ institution was shifted quickly to telehealth. Although there are prior data suggesting that the use of telemedicine is satisfactory in other surgical fields, data in neurosurgery are limited. This study aimed to investigate both patient and provider satisfaction with telemedicine and its strengths and limitations in outpatient neurosurgery visits.

METHODS

This quality improvement study was designed to analyze provider and patient satisfaction with telemedicine consultations in an outpatient neurosurgery clinic setting at a tertiary care, large-volume, academic center. The authors designed an 11-question survey for neurosurgical providers and a 13-question survey for patients using both closed 5-point Likert scale responses and multiple choice responses. The questionnaires were administered to patients and providers during the period when the clinic restricted in-person visits. At the conclusion of the study, the overall data were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.

RESULTS

During the study period, 607 surveys were sent out to patients seen by telehealth at the authors’ academic center, and 122 responses were received. For the provider survey, 85 surveys were sent out to providers at the authors’ center and other academic centers, and 40 surveys were received. Ninety-two percent of patients agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with that particular telehealth visit. Eighty-eight percent of patients agreed that their telehealth visit was more convenient for them than an in-person visit, but only 36% of patients stated they would like their future visits to be telehealth. Sixty-three percent of providers agreed that telehealth visits were more convenient for them than in-person visits, and 85% of responding providers stated that they wished to incorporate telehealth into their future practice.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the authors’ transition to telehealth was both rapid and unexpected, most providers and patients reported positive experiences with their telemedicine visits and found telemedicine to be an effective form of ambulatory neurosurgical care. Not all patients preferred telemedicine visits over in-person visits, but the high satisfaction with telemedicine by both providers and patients is promising to the future expansion of telehealth in ambulatory neurosurgery.

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Gary K. Steinberg, Douglas Kondziolka, Lawrence R. Wechsler, L. Dade Lunsford, Anthony S. Kim, Jeremiah N. Johnson, Damien Bates, Gene Poggio, Casey Case, Michael McGrogan, Ernest W. Yankee, and Neil E. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes associated with stereotactic surgical implantation of modified bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells (SB623) in patients with stable chronic ischemic stroke.

METHODS

This was a 2-year, open-label, single-arm, phase 1/2a study; the selected patients had chronic motor deficits between 6 and 60 months after nonhemorrhagic stroke. SB623 cells were administered to the target sites surrounding the subcortical stroke region using MRI stereotactic image guidance.

RESULTS

A total of 18 patients were treated with SB623 cells. All experienced at least 1 treatment-emergent adverse event (TEAE). No patients withdrew due to adverse events, and there were no dose-limiting toxicities or deaths. The most frequent TEAE was headache related to the surgical procedure (88.9%). Seven patients experienced 9 serious adverse events, which resolved without sequelae. In 16 patients who completed 24 months of treatment, statistically significant improvements from baseline (mean) at 24 months were reported for the European Stroke Scale (ESS) score, 5.7 (95% CI 1.4–10.1, p < 0.05); National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, −2.1 (95% CI −3.3 to −1.0, p < 0.01), Fugl-Meyer (F-M) total score, 19.4 (95% CI 9.9–29.0, p < 0.01); and F-M motor scale score, 10.4 (95% CI 4.0–16.7, p < 0.01). Measures of efficacy reached plateau by 12 months with no decline thereafter. There were no statistically significant changes in the modified Rankin Scale score. The size of transient lesions detected by T2-weighted FLAIR imaging in the ipsilateral cortex at weeks 1–2 postimplantation significantly correlated with improvement in ESS (0.619, p < 0.05) and NIHSS (−0.735, p < 0.01) scores at 24 months.

CONCLUSIONS

In this completed 2-year phase 1/2a study, implantation of SB623 cells in patients with stable chronic stroke was safe and was accompanied by improvements in clinical outcomes.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01287936 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Kathryn Wagner, Aditya Srivatsan, Alina Mohanty, Visish M. Srinivasan, Yasir Saleem, Jacob Cherian, Robert F. James, Stephen Chen, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Jeremiah Johnson, and Peter Kan

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion is increasingly used to treat a variety of intracranial aneurysms with good safety and efficacy; however, there is some evidence that this treatment is associated with a larger postoperative ischemic burden on imaging than that with other traditional endovascular modalities. These findings typically do not manifest as neurological deficits, but any subtle effects on cognition remain unknown. In this study, the authors describe the neurocognitive performance of a cohort of patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) before and after treatment with flow diversion. This is the first report of cognitive outcomes following aneurysm treatment with flow diversion.

METHODS

The authors prospectively collected data on cognitive function using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) tool in patients with UIAs who were undergoing endovascular aneurysm treatment with flow diversion between June 2017 and July 2019. Patients completed the MoCA prior to intervention, at the 1-month follow-up after treatment, and again at 6 months after the procedure. All patients with UIAs treated with flow diversion were included regardless of age, aneurysm location, or morphology, unless their functional status precluded completion of the MoCA instrument. A repeated-measures linear mixed-effects model was used to compare preintervention and postintervention cognitive status at the time intervals outlined.

RESULTS

Fifty-one patients with 61 aneurysms underwent endovascular aneurysm treatment with flow diversion (mean age 52.5 years, 90.2% females). There was no difference between baseline and postprocedure MoCA scores at any time interval (p > 0.05). The MoCA scores at baseline, 1 month postprocedure, and 6 months postprocedure were 26.1, 26.2, and 26.6, respectively. There was also no difference between pre- and postprocedure scores on any individual domain of the instrument (visuospatial, naming, attention, language, abstraction, delayed recall, and orientation) at any time interval (p > 0.05). Thirty-four patients had follow-up MRI or CT imaging, 5 of whom showed radiographic changes or ischemia. All patients with follow-up clinical evaluation had a 6-month modified Rankin Scale score ≤ 2.

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion is increasingly used in the treatment of intracranial aneurysms. This study suggests that this treatment may not alter neurocognitive function. Larger patient samples and longer follow-ups with other tests of cognitive functions are needed to confirm these findings.

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Mario Teo, Jeremiah N. Johnson, Teresa E. Bell-Stephens, Michael P. Marks, Huy M. Do, Robert L. Dodd, Michael B. Bober, and Gary K. Steinberg

OBJECTIVE

Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism Type II (MOPD II) is a rare genetic disorder. Features of it include extremely small stature, severe microcephaly, and normal or near-normal intelligence. Previous studies have found that more than 50% of patients with MOPD II have intracranial vascular anomalies, but few successful surgical revascularization or aneurysm-clipping cases have been reported because of the diminutive arteries and narrow surgical corridors in these patients. Here, the authors report on a large series of patients with MOPD II who underwent surgery for an intracranial vascular anomaly.

METHODS

In conjunction with an approved prospective registry of patients with MOPD II, a prospectively collected institutional surgical database of children with MOPD II and intracranial vascular anomalies who underwent surgery was analyzed retrospectively to establish long-term outcomes.

RESULTS

Ten patients with MOPD II underwent surgery between 2005 and 2012; 5 patients had moyamoya disease (MMD), 2 had intracranial aneurysms, and 3 had both MMD and aneurysms. Patients presented with transient ischemic attack (TIA) (n = 2), ischemic stroke (n = 2), intraparenchymal hemorrhage from MMD (n = 1), and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (n = 1), and 4 were diagnosed on screening. The mean age of the 8 patients with MMD, all of whom underwent extracranial-intracranial revascularization (14 indirect, 1 direct) was 9 years (range 1–17 years). The mean age of the 5 patients with aneurysms was 15.5 years (range 9–18 years). Two patients experienced postoperative complications (1 transient weakness after clipping, 1 femoral thrombosis that required surgical repair). During a mean follow-up of 5.9 years (range 3–10 years), 3 patients died (1 of subarachnoid hemorrhage, 1 of myocardial infarct, and 1 of respiratory failure), and 1 patient had continued TIAs. All of the surviving patients recovered to their neurological baseline.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with MMD presented at a younger age than those in whom aneurysms were more prevalent. Microneurosurgery with either intracranial bypass or aneurysm clipping is extremely challenging but feasible at expert centers in patients with MOPD II, and good long-term outcomes are possible.

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Kathryn Wagner, Aditya Srivatsan, Alina Mohanty, Visish M. Srinivasan, Yasir Saleem, Jacob Cherian, Robert F. James, Stephen Chen, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Jeremiah Johnson, and Peter Kan

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion is increasingly used to treat a variety of intracranial aneurysms with good safety and efficacy; however, there is some evidence that this treatment is associated with a larger postoperative ischemic burden on imaging than that with other traditional endovascular modalities. These findings typically do not manifest as neurological deficits, but any subtle effects on cognition remain unknown. In this study, the authors describe the neurocognitive performance of a cohort of patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) before and after treatment with flow diversion. This is the first report of cognitive outcomes following aneurysm treatment with flow diversion.

METHODS

The authors prospectively collected data on cognitive function using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) tool in patients with UIAs who were undergoing endovascular aneurysm treatment with flow diversion between June 2017 and July 2019. Patients completed the MoCA prior to intervention, at the 1-month follow-up after treatment, and again at 6 months after the procedure. All patients with UIAs treated with flow diversion were included regardless of age, aneurysm location, or morphology, unless their functional status precluded completion of the MoCA instrument. A repeated-measures linear mixed-effects model was used to compare preintervention and postintervention cognitive status at the time intervals outlined.

RESULTS

Fifty-one patients with 61 aneurysms underwent endovascular aneurysm treatment with flow diversion (mean age 52.5 years, 90.2% females). There was no difference between baseline and postprocedure MoCA scores at any time interval (p > 0.05). The MoCA scores at baseline, 1 month postprocedure, and 6 months postprocedure were 26.1, 26.2, and 26.6, respectively. There was also no difference between pre- and postprocedure scores on any individual domain of the instrument (visuospatial, naming, attention, language, abstraction, delayed recall, and orientation) at any time interval (p > 0.05). Thirty-four patients had follow-up MRI or CT imaging, 5 of whom showed radiographic changes or ischemia. All patients with follow-up clinical evaluation had a 6-month modified Rankin Scale score ≤ 2.

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion is increasingly used in the treatment of intracranial aneurysms. This study suggests that this treatment may not alter neurocognitive function. Larger patient samples and longer follow-ups with other tests of cognitive functions are needed to confirm these findings.

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Visish M. Srinivasan, Joy Gumin, Kevin M. Camstra, Stephen R. Chen, Jeremiah N. Johnson, Yuzaburo Shimizu, Brittany C. Parker Kerrigan, Elizabeth J. Shpall, Frederick F. Lang, and Peter Kan

OBJECTIVE

Bone marrow–derived human mesenchymal stem cells (BM-hMSCs) have been used in clinical trials for the treatment of several neurological disorders. MSCs have been explored as a delivery modality for targeted viral therapeutic agents in the treatment of intracranial pathologies. Delta-24-RGD, a tumor-selective oncolytic adenovirus designed to target malignant glioma cells, has been shown to be effective in animal models and in a recent clinical trial. However, the most efficient strategy for delivering oncolytic therapies remains unclear. BM-hMSCs have been shown to home toward glioma xenografts after intracarotid delivery. The feasibility of selective intraarterial infusion of BM-hMSCs loaded with Delta-24-RGD (BM-hMSC-Delta-24) to deliver the virus to the tumor is being investigated. To evaluate the feasibility of endovascular intraarterial delivery, the authors tested in vitro the compatibility of BM-hMSC-Delta-24 with a variety of commercially available, clinically common microcatheters.

METHODS

BM-hMSCs were cultured, transfected with Delta-24-RGD, and resuspended in 1% human serum albumin. The solution was then injected via 4 common neuroendovascular microcatheters of different inner diameters (Marathon, Echelon-14, Marksman, and SL-10). Cell count and viability after injection through the microcatheters were assessed, including tests of injection velocity and catheter configuration. Transwell assays were performed with the injected cells to test the efficacy of BM-hMSC-Delta-24 activity against U87 glioma cells. BM-hMSC-Delta-24 compatibility was also tested with common neuroendovascular medications: Omnipaque, verapamil, and heparin.

RESULTS

The preinfusion BM-hMSC-Delta-24 cell count was 1.2 × 105 cells/ml, with 98.7% viability. There was no significant difference in postinfusion cell count or viability for any of the catheters. Increasing the injection velocity from 1.0 ml/min to 73.2 ml/min, or modifying the catheter shape from straight to tortuous, did not significantly reduce cell count or viability. Cell count and viability remained stable for up to 5 hours when the cell solution was stored on ice. Mixing BM-hMSC-Delta-24 with clinical concentrations of Omnipaque, verapamil, and heparin prior to infusion did not alter cell count or viability. Transwell experiments demonstrated that the antiglioma activity of BM-hMSC-Delta-24 was maintained after infusion.

CONCLUSIONS

BM-hMSC-Delta-24 is compatible with a wide variety of microcatheters and medications commonly used in neuroendovascular therapy. Stem cell viability and viral agent activity do not appear to be affected by catheter configuration or injection velocity. Commercially available microcatheters can be used to deliver stem cell neurotherapeutics via intraarterial routes.