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Andrew S. Little and Kristina Chapple

Object

The short-term cost associated with subspecialized surgical care is an increasingly important metric and economic concern. This study sought to determine factors associated with hospital charges in patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing disease in an effort to identify the drivers of resource utilization.

Methods

The authors analyzed the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) hospital discharge database from 2007 to 2009 to determine factors that influenced hospital charges in patients who had undergone transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing disease. The NIS discharge database approximates a 20% sample of all inpatient admissions to nonfederal US hospitals. A multistep regression model was developed that adjusted for patient demographics, acuity measures, comorbidities, hospital characteristics, and complications.

Results

In 116 hospitals, 454 transsphenoidal operations were performed. The mean hospital charge was $48,272 ± $32,060. A multivariate regression model suggested that the primary driver of resource utilization was length of stay (LOS), followed by surgeon volume, hospital characteristics, and postoperative complications. A 1% increase in LOS increased hospital charges by 0.60%. Patient charges were 13% lower when performed by high-volume surgeons compared with low-volume surgeons and 22% lower in large hospitals compared with small hospitals. Hospital charges were 12% lower in cases with no postoperative neurological complications. The proposed model accounted for 46% of hospital charge variance.

Conclusions

This analysis of hospital charges in transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing disease suggested that LOS, hospital characteristics, surgeon volume, and postoperative complications are important predictors of resource utilization. These findings may suggest opportunities for improvement.

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Hasan A. Zaidi, Kristina Chapple, and Andrew S. Little

Object

Treatment of craniopharyngiomas is one of the most demanding and controversial neurosurgical procedures performed. The authors sought to determine the factors associated with hospital charges and fees for craniopharyngioma treatment to identify possible opportunities for improving the health care economics of inpatient care.

Methods

The authors analyzed the hospital discharge database of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) covering the period from 2007 through 2011 to examine national treatment trends for adults (that is, those older than 18 years) who had undergone surgery for craniopharyngioma. To predict the drivers of in-hospital charges, a multistep regression model was developed that accounted for patient demographics, acuity measures, comorbidities, hospital characteristics, and complications.

Results

The analysis included 606 patients who underwent resection of craniopharyngioma; 353 resections involved a transsphenoidal approach (58%) and 253 a transfrontal approach (42%). The mean age (± SD) of patients was 47.7 ± 16.3 years. The average hospital length of stay (LOS) was 7.6 ± 9 days. The mean hospital charge (± SD) was $92,300 ± $83,356. In total, 48% of the patients experienced postoperative diabetes insipidus or an electrolyte abnormality. A multivariate regression model demonstrated that LOS, hospital volume for the selected procedure, the surgical approach, postoperative complications, comorbidities, and year of surgery were all significant predictors of in-hospital charges. The statistical model accounted for 54% of the variance in in-hospital charge.

Conclusions

This analysis of inpatient hospital charges in patients undergoing craniopharyngioma surgery identified key drivers of charges in the perioperative period. Prospective studies designed to evaluate the long-term resource utilization in this complex patient population would be a useful future direction.

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Andrew S. Little, Kristina Chapple, Heidi Jahnke, and William L. White

Object

An increasingly important measure in the health care field is utilization of hospital resources, particularly in the context of emerging surgical techniques. Despite the recent widespread adoption of the endoscopic transsphenoidal approach for pituitary lesion surgery, the health care resources utilized with this approach have not been compared with those utilized with the traditional microscopic approach. The purpose of this study was to determine the drivers of resource utilization by comparing hospital charges for patients with pituitary tumors who had undergone either endoscopic or microscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

Methods

A complete accounting of all hospital charges for 166 patients prospectively enrolled in a surgical quality-of-life study at a single pituitary center during October 2011–June 2013 was undertaken. Patients were assigned to surgical technique group according to surgeon preference and then managed according to a standard postoperative institutional set of orders. Individual line-item charges were assigned to categories (such as pharmacy, imaging, surgical, laboratory, room, pathology, and recovery unit), and univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were conducted.

Results

Of the 166 patients, 99 underwent microscopic surgery and 67 underwent endoscopic surgery. Baseline demographic descriptors and tumor characteristics did not differ significantly. Mean total hospital charges were $74,703 ± $15,142 and $72,311 ± $16,576 for microscopic and endoscopic surgery patients, respectively (p = 0.33). Furthermore, other than for pathology, charge categories did not differ significantly between groups. A 2-step multivariate regression model revealed that length of stay was the most influential variable, followed by a diagnosis of Cushing's disease, and then by endoscopic surgical technique. The model accounts for 42% of the variance in hospital charges.

Conclusions

Study findings suggest that adoption of the endoscopic transsphenoidal technique for pituitary lesions does not adversely affect utilization of resources for inpatients. The primary drivers of hospital charges, in order of importance, were length of stay, a diagnosis of Cushing's disease, and, to a lesser extent, use of the endoscopic technique. This study also highlights the influence of individual surgeon practice patterns on resource utilization.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Gail Rosseau, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo Carrau, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Judith O'Leary, Kristina Chapple, Peter Nakaji, and William L. White

Object

Patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL) end points are becoming increasingly important health care metrics. To date, no nasal morbidity instrument specifically designed for patients undergoing endonasal skull base surgery has been developed. In this study, the authors describe the development and validation of a site-specific nasal morbidity instrument to assess patient-reported rhinological outcomes following endonasal skull base surgery.

Methods

Eligible patients included those with planned endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for sellar pathology identified in outpatient neurosurgical clinics of 3 skull base centers from October 2011 to July 2012. An initial 23-question pool was developed by subject matter experts, review of the literature, and from the results of a previous validation study to assess for common rhinological complaints. Symptoms were ranked by patients from “No Problem” to “Severe Problem” on a 6-point Likert scale. Exploratory factor analysis, change scores, and importance rank were calculated to define the final instrument consisting of 12 items (The Anterior Skull Base Nasal Inventory-12, or ASK Nasal-12). Psychometric validation of the final instrument was performed using standard statistical techniques.

Results

One hundred four patients enrolled in the study. All patients completed the preoperative survey and 100 patients (96%) completed the survey 2–4 weeks after surgery. Internal consistency of the final instrument was 0.88. Concurrent validity measures demonstrated a strong correlation between overall nasal functioning and total scores (p < 0.001). Test-retest reliability measures demonstrated a significant intraclass correlation between responses (p < 0.001). Effect size as calculated by standardized response mean suggested a large effect (0.84). Discriminant validity calculations demonstrated that the instrument was able to discriminate between preoperative and postoperative patients (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

This prospective study demonstrates that the ASK Nasal-12 is a validated, site-specific, unidimensional rhinological outcomes tool sensitive to clinical change. It can be used in conjunction with multidimensional QOL instruments to assess patient-reported nasal perceptions in endonasal skull base surgery. This instrument is being used as a primary outcome measure in an ongoing multicenter nasal morbidity study. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01504399 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Tsinsue Chen, Zaman Mirzadeh, Kristina M. Chapple, Margaret Lambert, Holly A. Shill, Guillermo Moguel-Cobos, Alexander I. Tröster, Rohit Dhall, and Francisco A. Ponce

OBJECTIVE

Recent studies have shown similar clinical outcomes between Parkinson disease (PD) patients treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS) under general anesthesia without microelectrode recording (MER), so-called “asleep” DBS, and historical cohorts undergoing “awake” DBS with MER guidance. However, few studies include internal controls. This study aims to compare clinical outcomes after globus pallidus internus (GPi) and subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS using awake and asleep techniques at a single institution.

METHODS

PD patients undergoing awake or asleep bilateral GPi or STN DBS were prospectively monitored. The primary outcome measure was stimulation-induced change in motor function off medication 6 months postoperatively, measured using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS-III). Secondary outcomes included change in quality of life, measured by the 39-item Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), change in levodopa equivalent daily dosage (LEDD), stereotactic accuracy, stimulation parameters, and adverse events.

RESULTS

Six-month outcome data were available for 133 patients treated over 45 months (78 GPi [16 awake, 62 asleep] and 55 STN [14 awake, 41 asleep]). UPDRS-III score improvement with stimulation did not differ between awake and asleep groups for GPi (awake, 20.8 points [38.5%]; asleep, 18.8 points [37.5%]; p = 0.45) or STN (awake, 21.6 points [40.3%]; asleep, 26.1 points [48.8%]; p = 0.20) targets. The percentage improvement in PDQ-39 and LEDD was similar for awake and asleep groups for both GPi (p = 0.80 and p = 0.54, respectively) and STN cohorts (p = 0.85 and p = 0.49, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

In PD patients, bilateral GPi and STN DBS using the asleep method resulted in motor, quality-of-life, and medication reduction outcomes that were comparable to those of the awake method.

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Tsinsue Chen, Zaman Mirzadeh, Kristina M. Chapple, Margaret Lambert, Virgilio G. H. Evidente, Guillermo Moguel-Cobos, Srivadee Oravivattanakul, Padma Mahant, and Francisco A. Ponce

OBJECTIVE

Ventral intermediate nucleus deep brain stimulation (DBS) for essential tremor is traditionally performed with intraoperative test stimulation and conscious sedation, without general anesthesia (GA). Recently, the authors reported retrospective data on 17 patients undergoing DBS after induction of GA with standardized anatomical coordinates on T1-weighted MRI sequences used for indirect targeting. Here, they compare prospectively collected data from essential tremor patients undergoing DBS both with GA and without GA (non-GA).

METHODS

Clinical outcomes were prospectively collected at baseline and 3-month follow-up for patients undergoing DBS surgery performed by a single surgeon. Stereotactic, euclidean, and radial errors of lead placement were calculated. Functional (activities of daily living), quality of life (Quality of Life in Essential Tremor [QUEST] questionnaire), and tremor severity outcomes were compared between groups.

RESULTS

Fifty-six patients underwent surgery: 16 without GA (24 electrodes) and 40 with GA (66 electrodes). The mean baseline functional scores and QUEST summary indices were not different between groups (p = 0.91 and p = 0.59, respectively). Non-GA and GA groups did not differ significantly regarding mean postoperative percentages of functional improvement (non-GA, 47.9% vs GA, 48.1%; p = 0.96) or QUEST summary indices (non-GA, 79.9% vs GA, 74.8%; p = 0.50). Accuracy was comparable between groups (mean radial error 0.9 ± 0.3 mm for non-GA and 0.9 ± 0.4 mm for GA patients) (p = 0.75). The mean euclidean error was also similar between groups (non-GA, 1.1 ± 0.6 mm vs GA, 1.2 ± 0.5 mm; p = 0.92). No patient had an intraoperative complication, and the number of postoperative complications was not different between groups (non-GA, n = 1 vs GA, n = 10; p = 0.16).

CONCLUSIONS

DBS performed with the patient under GA to treat essential tremor is as safe and effective as traditional DBS surgery with intraoperative test stimulation while the patient is under conscious sedation without GA.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel F. Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo L. Carrau, Gail Rosseau, Garni Barkhoudarian, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Kathryn L. Jelinek, Kristina Chapple, and William L. White

OBJECT

Despite the widespread adoption of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas, the sinonasal quality of life (QOL) and health status in patients who have undergone this technique have not been compared with these findings in patients who have undergone the traditional direct uninostril microsurgical technique. In this study, the authors compared the sinonasal QOL and patient-reported health status after use of these 2 surgical techniques.

METHODS

The study design was a nonblinded prospective cohort study. Adult patients with sellar pathology and planned transsphenoidal surgery were screened at 4 pituitary centers in the US between October 2011 and August 2013. The primary end point of the study was postoperative patient-reported sinonasal QOL as measured by the Anterior Skull Base Nasal Inventory–12 (ASK Nasal-12). Supplementary end points included patient-reported health status estimated by the 8-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-8) and EuroQol (EQ)-5D-5L instruments, and sinonasal complications. Patients were followed for 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 301 patients were screened and 235 were enrolled in the study. Of these, 218 were analyzed (111 microsurgery patients, 107 endoscopic surgery patients). Demographic and tumor characteristics were similar between groups (p ≥ 0.12 for all comparisons). The most common complication in both groups was sinusitis (7% in the microsurgery group, 13% in the endoscopic surgery group; p = 0.15). Patients treated with the endoscopic technique were more likely to have postoperative nasal debridements (p < 0.001). The ASK Nasal-12 and SF-8 scores worsened substantially for both groups at 2 weeks after surgery, but then returned to baseline at 3 months. At 3 months after surgery, patients treated with endoscopy reported statistically better sinonasal QOL compared with patients treated using the microscopic technique (p = 0.02), but there were no significant differences at any of the other postoperative time points.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first multicenter study to examine the effect of the transsphenoidal surgical technique on sinonasal QOL and health status. The study showed that surgical technique did not significantly impact these patient-reported measures when performed at high-volume centers.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01504399 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Colin J. Przybylowski, Xiaochun Zhao, Jacob F. Baranoski, Leandro Borba Moreira, Sirin Gandhi, Kristina M. Chapple, Kaith K. Almefty, Nader Sanai, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Andrew S. Little, and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

The controversy continues over the clinical utility of preoperative embolization for reducing tumor vascularity of intracranial meningiomas prior to resection. Previous studies comparing embolization and nonembolization patients have not controlled for detailed tumor parameters before assessing outcomes.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the cases of all patients who underwent resection of a WHO grade I intracranial meningioma at their institution from 2008 to 2016. Propensity score matching was used to generate embolization and nonembolization cohorts of 52 patients each, and a retrospective review of clinical and radiological outcomes was performed.

RESULTS

In total, 52 consecutive patients who underwent embolization (mean follow-up 34.8 ± 31.5 months) were compared to 52 patients who did not undergo embolization (mean follow-up 32.8 ± 28.7 months; p = 0.63). Variables controlled for included patient age (p = 0.82), tumor laterality (p > 0.99), tumor location (p > 0.99), tumor diameter (p = 0.07), tumor invasion into a major dural sinus (p > 0.99), and tumor encasement around the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery (p > 0.99). The embolization and nonembolization cohorts did not differ in terms of estimated blood loss during surgery (660.4 ± 637.1 ml vs 509.2 ± 422.0 ml; p = 0.17), Simpson grade IV resection (32.7% vs 25.0%; p = 0.39), perioperative procedural complications (26.9% vs 19.2%; p = 0.35), development of permanent new neurological deficits (5.8% vs 7.7%; p = 0.70), or favorable modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score (a score of 0–2) at last follow-up (96.0% vs 92.3%; p = 0.43), respectively. When comparing the final mRS score to the preoperative mRS score, patients in the embolization group were more likely than patients in the nonembolization group to have an improvement in mRS score (50.0% vs 28.8%; p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

After controlling for patient age, tumor size, tumor laterality, tumor location, tumor invasion into a major dural sinus, and tumor encasement of the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery, preoperative meningioma embolization intended to decrease tumor vascularity did not improve the surgical outcomes of patients with WHO grade I intracranial meningiomas, but it did lead to a greater chance of clinical improvement compared to patients not treated with embolization.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo L. Carrau, Gail Rosseau, Garni Barkhoudarian, Bradley A. Otto, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Kathryn L. Jelinek, Kristina Chapple, and William L. White

OBJECT

Despite the increasing application of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary lesions, the prognostic factors that are associated with sinonasal quality of life (QOL) and nasal morbidity are not well understood. The authors examine the predictors of sinonasal QOL and nasal morbidity in patients undergoing fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

METHODS

An exploratory post hoc analysis was conducted of patients who underwent endoscopic pituitary surgery and were enrolled in a prospective multicenter QOL study. End points of the study included patient-reported sinonasal QOL and objective nasal endoscopy findings. Multivariate models were developed to determine the patient and surgical factors that correlated with QOL at 2 weeks through 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

This study is a retrospective review of a subgroup of patients studied in the clinical trial “Rhinological Outcomes in Endonasal Pituitary Surgery” (clinical trial no. NCT01504399, clinicaltrials.gov). Data from 100 patients who underwent fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery were included. Predictors of a lower postoperative sinonasal QOL at 2 weeks were use of nasal splints (p = 0.039) and female sex at the trend level (p = 0.061); at 3 months, predictors of lower QOL were the presence of sinusitis (p = 0.025), advancing age (p = 0.044), and use of absorbable nasal packing (p = 0.014). Health status (multidimensional QOL) was also predictive at 2 weeks (p = 0.001) and 3 months (p < 0.001) and was the only significant predictor of sinonasal QOL at 6 months (p < 0.001). A Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to study time to resolution of nasal crusting, mucopurulence, and synechia as observed during nasal endoscopy after surgery. The mean time (± SEM) to absence of nasal crusting was 16.3 ± 2.1 weeks, mucopurulence was 6.2 ± 1.1 weeks, and synechia was 4.4 ± 0.5 weeks. Use of absorbable nasal packing was associated with more severe mucopurulence.

CONCLUSIONS

Sinonasal QOL following endoscopic pituitary surgery reaches a nadir at 2 weeks and recovers by 3 months postoperatively. Use of absorbable packing and nasal splints, while used in a minority of patients, negatively correlates with early sinonasal QOL. Sinonasal QOL and overall health status are well correlated in the postoperative period, suggesting the important influence of sinonasal QOL on the patient experience.

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S. Harrison Farber, David J. Mauler, Soumya Sagar, Mark A. Pacult, Corey T. Walker, Michael A. Bohl, Laura A. Snyder, Kristina M. Chapple, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Juan S. Uribe, Jay D. Turner, Steve W. Chang, and U. Kumar Kakarla

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common and robust procedure performed on the cervical spine. Literature on ACDF for 4 or more segments is sparse. Increasing the number of operative levels increases surgical complexity, tissue retraction, and risks of complications, particularly dysphagia. The overall risks of these complications and rates of dysphagia are not well studied for surgery on 4 or more segments. In this study, the authors evaluated their institution’s perioperative experience with 4- and 5-level ACDFs.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent 4- or 5-level ACDF at their institution over a 6-year period (May 2013–May 2019). Patient demographics, perioperative complications, readmission rates, and swallowing outcomes were recorded. Outcomes were analyzed with a multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS

A total of 174 patients were included (167 had 4-level and 7 had 5-level ACDFs). The average age was 60.6 years, and 54.0% of patients (n = 94) were men. A corpectomy was performed in 12.6% of patients (n = 22). After surgery, 56.9% of patients (n = 99) experienced dysphagia. The percentage of patients with dysphagia decreased to 22.8% (37/162) at 30 days, 12.9% (17/132) at 90 days, and 6.3% (5/79) and 2.8% (1/36) at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Dysphagia was more likely at 90 days postoperatively in patients with gastroesophageal reflux (OR 4.4 [95% CI 1.5–12.8], p = 0.008), and the mean (± SD) lordosis change was greater in patients with dysphagia than those without at 90 days (19.8° ± 13.3° vs 9.1° ± 10.2°, p = 0.003). Dysphagia occurrence did not differ with operative implants, including graft and interbody type. The mean length of time to solid food intake was 2.4 ± 2.1 days. Patients treated with dexamethasone were more likely to achieve solid food intake prior to discharge (OR 4.0 [95% CI 1.5–10.6], p = 0.004). Postsurgery, 5.2% of patients (n = 9) required a feeding tube due to severe approach-related dysphagia. Other perioperative complication rates were uniformly low. Overall, 8.6% of patients (n = 15) returned to the emergency department within 30 days and 2.9% (n = 5) required readmission, whereas 1.1% (n = 2) required unplanned return to surgery within 30 days.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest series of patients undergoing 4- and 5-level ACDFs reported to date. This procedure was performed safely with minimal intraoperative complications. More than half of the patients experienced in-hospital dysphagia, which increased their overall length of stay, but dysphagia decreased over time.