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Uma V. Mahajan, Harsh Wadhwa, Parastou Fatemi, Samantha Xu, Judy Shan, Deborah L. Benzil, and Corinna C. Zygourakis

OBJECTIVE

Publications are key for advancement within academia. Although women are underrepresented in academic neurosurgery, the rates of women entering residency, achieving board certification, and publishing papers are increasing. The goal of this study was to assess the current status of women in academic neurosurgery publications. Specifically, this study sought to 1) survey female authorship rates in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS [not including JNS: Spine or JNS: Pediatrics]) and Neurosurgery from 2010 to 2019; 2) analyze whether double-blind peer review (started in Neurosurgery in 2011) altered female authorship rates relative to single-blind review (JNS); and 3) evaluate how female authorship rates compared with the number of women entering neurosurgery residency and obtaining neurosurgery board certification.

METHODS

Genders of the first and last authors for JNS and Neurosurgery articles from 2010 to 2019 were obtained. Data were also gathered on the number and percentage of women entering neurosurgery residency and women obtaining American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS) certification between 2010 and 2019.

RESULTS

Women accounted for 13.4% (n = 570) of first authors and 6.8% (n = 240) of last authors in JNS and Neurosurgery publications. No difference in rates of women publishing existed between the two journals (first authors: 13.0% JNS vs 13.9% Neurosurgery, p = 0.29; last authors: 7.3% JNS vs 6.0% Neurosurgery, p = 0.25). No difference existed between women first or last authors in Neurosurgery before and after initiation of double-blind review (p = 0.066). Significant concordance existed between the gender of first and last authors: in publications with a woman last author, the odds of the first author being a woman was increased by twofold (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.43–3.13], p = 0.0001). Women represented a lower proportion of authors of invited papers (8.6% of first authors and 3.1% of last authors were women) compared with noninvited papers (14.1% of first authors and 7.4% of last authors were women) (first authors: OR 0.576 [95% CI 0.410–0.794], p = 0.0004; last authors: OR 0.407 [95% CI 0.198–0.751], p = 0.001). The proportion of women US last authors (7.4%) mirrors the percentage of board-certified women neurosurgeons (5.4% in 2010 and 6.8% in 2019), while the percentage of women US first authors (14.3%) is less than that for women entering neurosurgical residency (11.2% in 2009 and 23.6% in 2018).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first report of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The authors found that single- versus double-blind peer review did not impact female authorship rates at two top neurosurgical journals.

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Harsh Wadhwa, Sumedh S. Shah, Judy Shan, Justin Cheng, Angad S. Beniwal, Jia-Shu Chen, Sabraj A. Gill, Nikhil Mummaneni, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger, and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery is consistently one of the most competitive specialties for resident applicants. The emphasis on research in neurosurgery has led to an increasing number of publications by applicants seeking a successful residency match. The authors sought to produce a comprehensive analysis of research produced by neurosurgical applicants and to establish baseline data of neurosurgery applicant research productivity given the increased emphasis on research output for successful residency match.

METHODS

A retrospective review of publication volume for all neurosurgery interns in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar. Missing data rates were 11% (2009), 9% (2011), and < 5% (all others). The National Resident Matching Program report “Charting Outcomes in the Match” (ChOM) was interrogated for total research products (i.e., abstracts, presentations, and publications). The publication rates of interns at top 40 programs, students from top 20 medical schools, MD/PhD applicants, and applicants based on location of residency program and medical school were compared statistically against all others.

RESULTS

Total publications per neurosurgery intern (mean ± SD) based on PubMed and Google Scholar were 5.5 ± 0.6 in 2018 (1.7 ± 0.3, 2009; 2.1 ± 0.3, 2011; 2.6 ± 0.4, 2014; 3.8 ± 0.4, 2016), compared to 18.3 research products based on ChOM. In 2018, the mean numbers of publications were as follows: neurosurgery-specific publications per intern, 4.3 ± 0.6; first/last author publications, 2.1 ± 0.3; neurosurgical first/last author publications, 1.6 ± 0.2; basic science publications, 1.5 ± 0.2; and clinical research publications, 4.0 ± 0.5. Mean publication numbers among interns at top 40 programs were significantly higher than those of all other programs in every category (p < 0.001). Except for mean number of basic science publications (p = 0.1), the mean number of publications was higher for interns who attended a top 20 medical school than for those who did not (p < 0.05). Applicants with PhD degrees produced statistically more research in all categories (p < 0.05) except neurosurgery-specific (p = 0.07) and clinical research (p = 0.3). While there was no statistical difference in publication volume based on the geographical location of the residency program, students from medical schools in the Western US produced more research than all other regions (p < 0.01). Finally, research productivity did not correlate with likelihood of medical students staying at their home institution for residency.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that the temporal trend toward increased total research products over time in neurosurgery applicants was driven mostly by increased nonindexed research (abstracts, presentations, chapters) rather than by increased peer-reviewed publications. While we also identified applicant-specific factors (MD/PhDs and applicants from the Western US) and an outcome (matching at research-focused institutions) associated with increased applicant publications, further work will be needed to determine the emphasis that programs and applicants will need to place on these publications.

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Brendan F. Judy, Jordan W. Swanson, Wuyang Yang, Phillip B. Storm, Scott P. Bartlett, Jesse A. Taylor, Gregory G. Heuer, and Shih-Shan Lang

OBJECTIVE

Evaluation of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in the pediatric craniosynostosis population based solely on ophthalmological, clinical, and radiographic data is subjective, insensitive, and inconsistent. The aim of this study was to examine the intraoperative ICP before and after craniectomy in this patient population.

METHODS

The authors measured the ICP before and after craniectomy using a subdural ICP monitor in 45 children. They regulated end-tidal carbon dioxide and the monitoring site under general anesthesia to record consistent ICP readings.

RESULTS

The average age of the patient population was 29 months (range 3.8–180.5 months). Thirty-seven patients (82.2%) were undergoing initial craniosynostosis procedures. All craniosynostosis procedures were categorized as one of the following: frontoorbital advancement (n = 24), frontoorbital advancement with distraction osteogenesis (n = 1), posterior vault distraction osteogenesis (n = 10), and posterior vault reconstruction (n = 10). Nineteen of 45 patients (42.2%) had syndromic or multisuture craniosynostosis. The mean postcraniectomy ICP (8.8 mm Hg, range 2–18 mm Hg) was significantly lower than the precraniectomy ICP (16.5 mm Hg, range 6–35 mm Hg) (p < 0.001). Twenty-four patients (53%) had elevated ICP prior to craniectomy, defined as ≥ 15 mm Hg. Only 4 (8.9%) children had papilledema on preoperative funduscopic examination (sensitivity 17%, specificity 100%, negative predictive value 51%, and positive predictive value 100%). There were no significant differences in elevated precraniectomy ICP based on type of craniosynostosis (syndromic/multisuture or nonsyndromic) or age at the time of surgery. Patients undergoing initial surgery in the first 12 months of life were significantly less likely to have elevated precraniectomy ICP compared with patients older than 12 months (26.3% vs 73.1%, p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors report the largest cohort of syndromic and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis patients (n = 45) who underwent precraniectomy and postcraniectomy ICP evaluation. A craniectomy or completed craniotomy cuts for distractors effectively reduced ICP in 43/45 patients. The authors’ findings support the notion that papilledema on funduscopy is a highly specific, however poorly sensitive, indicator of increased ICP, and thus is not a reliable screening method. These findings indicate that even nonsyndromic patients with craniosynostosis are at risk for increased ICP. Furthermore, patients who present prior to 12 months of age appear less likely to have elevated ICP on presentation. Further studies with other noninvasive imaging of the retina may be useful as an adjunct tool for determining elevated ICP.

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Shih-Shan Lang, Bingqing Zhang, Hugues Yver, Judy Palma, Matthew P. Kirschen, Alexis A. Topjian, Benjamin Kennedy, Phillip B. Storm, Gregory G. Heuer, Janell L. Mensinger, and Jimmy W. Huh

OBJECTIVE

External ventricular drains (EVDs) are commonly used in the neurosurgical population. However, very few pediatric neurosurgery studies are available regarding EVD-associated infection rates with antibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters. The authors previously published a large pediatric cohort study analyzing nonantibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters and risk factors associated with infections. In this study, they aimed to analyze the EVD-associated infection rate after implementation of antibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters.

METHODS

A retrospective observational cohort of pediatric patients (younger than 18 years of age) who underwent a burr hole for antibiotic-impregnated EVD placement and who were admitted to a quaternary care ICU between January 2011 and January 2019 were reviewed. The ventriculostomy-associated infection rate in patients with antibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters was compared to the authors’ historical control of patients with nonantibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters.

RESULTS

Two hundred twenty-nine patients with antibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters were identified. Neurological diagnostic categories included externalization of an existing shunt (externalized shunt) in 34 patients (14.9%); brain tumor (tumor) in 77 patients (33.6%); intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in 27 patients (11.8%); traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 6 patients (2.6%); and 85 patients (37.1%) were captured in an “other” category. Two of 229 patients (0.9% of all patients) had CSF infections associated with EVD management, totaling an infection rate of 0.99 per 1000 catheter days. This is a significantly lower infection rate than was reported in the authors’ previously published analysis of the use of nonantibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters (0.9% vs 6%, p = 0.00128).

CONCLUSIONS

In their large pediatric cohort, the authors demonstrated a significant decline in ventriculostomy-associated CSF infection rate after implementation of antibiotic-impregnated EVD catheters at their institution.

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Shih-Shan Lang, Omaditya Khanna, Natalie J. Atkin, Judy E. Palma, Ian Yuan, Phillip B. Storm, Gregory G. Heuer, Benjamin Kennedy, Angela J. Waanders, Yimei Li, and Jimmy W. Huh

OBJECTIVE

The lack of a continuous, noninvasive modality for monitoring intracranial pressure (ICP) is a major obstacle in the care of pediatric patients with hydrocephalus who are at risk for intracranial hypertension. Intracranial hypertension can lead to cerebral ischemia and brain tissue hypoxia. In this study, the authors evaluated the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measure regional cerebral oxygen saturation (rSO2) in symptomatic pediatric patients with hydrocephalus concerning for elevated ICP.

METHODS

The authors evaluated the NIRS rSO2 trends in pediatric patients presenting with acute hydrocephalus and clinical symptoms of intracranial hypertension. NIRS rSO2 values were recorded hourly before and after neurosurgical intervention. To test for significance between preoperative and postoperative values, the authors constructed a linear regression model with the rSO2 values as the outcome and pre- and postsurgery cohorts as the independent variable, adjusted for age and sex, and used the generalized estimating equation method to account for within-subject correlation.

RESULTS

Twenty-two pediatric patients underwent NIRS rSO2 monitoring before and after CSF diversion surgery. The mean durations of NIRS rSO2 recording pre- and postoperatively were 13.95 and 26.82 hours, respectively. The mean pre- and postoperative rSO2 values were 73.84% and 80.65%, respectively, and the adjusted mean difference estimated from the regression model was 5.98% (adjusted p < 0.0001), suggestive of improved cerebral oxygenation after definitive neurosurgical CSF diversion treatment. Postoperatively, all patients returned to baseline neurological status with no clinical symptoms of elevated ICP.

CONCLUSIONS

Cerebral oxygenation trends measured by NIRS in symptomatic pediatric hydrocephalus patients with intracranial hypertension generally improve after CSF diversion surgery.