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Chris J. Neal, Kara Mandell, Ellen Tasikas, John J. Delaney, Charles A. Miller, Cody D. Schlaff and Michael K. Rosner

OBJECTIVE

Adult spinal deformity surgery is an effective way of treating pain and disability, but little research has been done to evaluate the costs associated with changes in health outcome measures. This study determined the change in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and the cost per QALY in patients undergoing spinal deformity surgery in the unique environment of a military healthcare system (MHS).

METHODS

Patients were enrolled between 2011 and 2017. Patients were eligible to participate if they were undergoing a thoracolumbar spinal fusion spanning more than 6 levels to treat an underlying deformity. Patients completed the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) prior to surgery and 6 and 12 months after surgery. The authors used paired t-tests to compare SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores between baseline and postsurgery. To estimate the cost per QALY of complex spine surgery in this population, the authors extended the change in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) between baseline and follow-up over 5 years. Data on the cost of surgery were obtained from the MHS and include all facility and physician costs.

RESULTS

HRQOL and surgical data were available for 49 of 91 eligible patients. Thirty-one patients met additional criteria allowing for cost-effectiveness analysis. Over 12 months, patients demonstrated significant improvement (p < 0.01) in SF-36 PCS scores. A majority of patients met the minimum clinically important difference (MCID; 83.7%) and substantive clinical benefit threshold (SCBT; 83.7%). The average change in QALY was an increase of 0.08. Extended across 5 years, including the 3.5% discounting per year, study participants increased their QALYs by 0.39, resulting in an average cost per QALY of $181,649.20. Nineteen percent of patients met the < $100,000/QALY threshold with half of the patients meeting the < $100,000/QALY mark by 10 years. A sensitivity analysis showed that patients who scored below 60 on their preoperative SF-36 PCS had an average increase in QALYs of 0.10 per year or 0.47 over 5 years.

CONCLUSIONS

With a 5-year extended analysis, patients who receive spinal deformity surgery in the MHS increased their QALYs by 0.39, with 19% of patients meeting the $100,000/QALY threshold. The majority of patients met the threshold for MCID and SCBT at 1 year postoperatively. Consideration of preoperative functional status (SF-36 PCS score < 60) may be an important factor in determining which patients benefit the most from spinal deformity surgery.

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M. Benjamin Larkin, Erin K. M. Graves, Jason H. Boulter, Nicholas S. Szuflita, R. Michael Meyer, Michael E. Porambo, John J. Delaney and Randy S. Bell

OBJECTIVE

There are limited data concerning the long-term functional outcomes of patients with penetrating brain injury. Reports from civilian cohorts are small because of the high reported mortality rates (as high as 90%). Data from military populations suggest a better prognosis for penetrating brain injury, but previous reports are hampered by analyses that exclude the point of injury. The purpose of this study was to provide a description of the long-term functional outcomes of those who sustain a combat-related penetrating brain injury (from the initial point of injury to 24 months afterward).

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of cases of penetrating brain injury in patients who presented to the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, from January 2010 to March 2013. The primary outcome of interest was Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at 6, 12, and 24 months from date of injury.

RESULTS

A total of 908 cases required neurosurgical consultation during the study period, and 80 of these cases involved US service members with penetrating brain injury. The mean admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 8.5 (SD 5.56), and the mean admission Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 26.6 (SD 10.2). The GOS score for the cohort trended toward improvement at each time point (3.6 at 6 months, 3.96 at 24 months, p > 0.05). In subgroup analysis, admission GCS score ≤ 5, gunshot wound as the injury mechanism, admission ISS ≥ 26, and brain herniation on admission CT head were all associated with worse GOS scores at all time points. Excluding those who died, functional improvement occurred regardless of admission GCS score (p < 0.05). The overall mortality rate for the cohort was 21%.

CONCLUSIONS

Good functional outcomes were achieved in this population of severe penetrating brain injury in those who survived their initial resuscitation. The mortality rate was lower than observed in civilian cohorts.

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Nicolas Dea, Charles G. Fisher, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Joseph H. Schwab, Laurence D. Rhines, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Chetan Bettegowda, Arjun Sahgal, Áron Lazáry, Alessandro Luzzati, Stefano Boriani, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Ilya Laufer, Raphaële Charest-Morin, Feng Wei, William Teixeira, Niccole M. Germscheid, Francis J. Hornicek, Thomas F. DeLaney, John H. Shin and the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the spectrum of current treatment protocols for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum.

METHODS

A survey on the treatment of spinal chordoma was distributed electronically to members of the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and radiation oncologists from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Survey participants were pre-identified clinicians from centers with expertise in the treatment of spinal tumors. The suvey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS

Thirty-nine of 43 (91%) participants completed the survey. Most (80%) indicated that they favor en bloc resection without preoperative neoadjuvant radiation therapy (RT) when en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity. The main area of disagreement was with the role of postoperative RT, where 41% preferred giving RT only if positive margins were achieved and 38% preferred giving RT irrespective of margin status. When en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity, 33% preferred planned intralesional resection followed by RT, and 33% preferred giving neoadjuvant RT prior to surgery. In total, 8 treatment protocols were identified: 3 in which en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity and 5 in which en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity.

CONCLUSIONS

The results confirm that there is treatment variability across centers worldwide for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum. This information will be used to design an international prospective cohort study to determine the most appropriate treatment strategy for patients with spinal chordoma.