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Michael G. Fehlings, Lindsay Tetreault, Patrick C. Hsieh, Vincent Traynelis and Michael Y. Wang

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Lindsay Tetreault, Ahmed Ibrahim, Pierre Côté, Anoushka Singh and Michael G. Fehlings

OBJECT

Although generally safe and effective, surgery for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is associated with complications in 11%–38% of patients. Several predictors of postoperative complications have been proposed but few are used to detect high-risk patients. A standard approach to identifying “at-risk” patients would improve surgeons’ ability to prevent and manage these complications. The authors aimed to compare the complication rates between various surgical procedures used to treat CSM and to identify patient-specific, clinical, imaging, and surgical predictors of complications.

METHODS

The authors conducted a systematic review of the literature and searched MEDLINE, MEDLINE in Process, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1948 to September 2013. Cohort studies designed to evaluate predictors of complications and intervention studies conducted to compare different surgical approaches were included. Each article was critically appraised independently by 2 reviewers, and the evidence was synthesized according to the principles outlined by the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group.

RESULTS

A total of 5472 citations were retrieved. Of those, 60 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. These studies included 36 prognostic cohort studies and 28 comparative intervention studies. High evidence suggests that older patients are at a greater risk of perioperative complications. Based on low evidence, other clinical factors such as body mass index, smoking status, duration of symptoms, and baseline severity score, are not predictive of complications. With respect to surgical factors, low to moderate evidence suggests that estimated blood loss, surgical approach, and number of levels do not affect rates of complications. A longer operative duration (moderate evidence), however, is predictive of perioperative complications and a 2-stage surgery is related to an increased risk of major complications (high evidence). In terms of surgical techniques, higher rates of neck pain were found in patients undergoing laminoplasty compared with anterior spinal fusion (moderate evidence). In addition, with respect to laminoplasty techniques, there was a lower incidence of C-5 palsy in laminoplasty with concurrent foraminotomy compared with nonforaminotomy (low evidence).

CONCLUSIONS

The current review suggests that older patients are at a higher risk of perioperative complications. A longer operative duration and a 2-stage surgery both reflect increased case complexity and can indirectly predict perioperative complications.

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Nardin Samuel, Lindsay Tetreault, Carlo Santaguida, Anick Nater, Nizar Moayeri, Eric M. Massicotte and Michael G. Fehlings

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to identify clinically relevant predictors of progression-free survival and functional outcomes in patients who underwent surgery for intramedullary spinal cord tumors (ISCTs).

METHODS

An institutional spinal tumor registry and billing records were reviewed to identify adult patients who underwent resection of ISCTs between 1993 and 2014. Extensive data were collected from patient charts and operative notes, including demographic information, extent of resection, tumor pathology, and functional and oncological outcomes. Survival analysis was used to determine important predictors of progression-free survival. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between an “optimal” functional outcome on the Frankel or McCormick scale at 1-year follow-up and various clinical and surgical characteristics.

RESULTS

The consecutive case series consisted of 63 patients (50.79% female) who underwent resection of ISCTs. The mean age of patients was 41.92 ± 14.36 years (range 17.60–75.40 years). Complete microsurgical resection, defined as no evidence of tumor on initial postoperative imaging, was achieved in 34 cases (54.84%) of the 62 patients for whom this information was available. On univariate analysis, the most significant predictor of progression-free survival was tumor histology (p = 0.0027). Patients with Grade I/II astrocytomas were more likely to have tumor progression than patients with WHO Grade II ependymomas (HR 8.03, 95% CI 2.07–31.11, p = 0.0026) and myxopapillary ependymomas (HR 8.01, 95% CI 1.44–44.34, p = 0.017). Furthermore, patients who underwent radical or subtotal resection were more likely to have tumor progression than those who underwent complete resection (HR 3.46, 95% CI 1.23–9.73, p = 0.018). Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor pathology was the only significant predictor of tumor progression. On univariate analysis, the most significant predictors of an “optimal” outcome on the Frankel scale were age (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89–0.98, p = 0.0062), preoperative Frankel grade (OR 4.84, 95% CI 1.33–17.63, p = 0.017), McCormick score (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.084–0.57, p = 0.0018), and region of spinal cord (cervical vs conus: OR 0.067, 95% CI 0.012–0.38, p = 0.0023; and thoracic vs conus: OR 0.015: 95% CI 0.001–0.20, p = 0.0013). Age, tumor pathology, and region were also important predictors of 1-year McCormick scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Extent of tumor resection and histopathology are significant predictors of progression-free survival following resection of ISCTs. Important predictors of functional outcomes include tumor histology, region of spinal cord in which the tumor is present, age, and preoperative functional status.

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Lindsay Tetreault, Jefferson R. Wilson, Mark R. N. Kotter, Aria Nouri, Pierre Côté, Branko Kopjar, Paul M. Arnold and Michael G. Fehlings

OBJECTIVE

The minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is defined as the minimum change in a measurement that a patient would identify as beneficial. Before undergoing surgery, patients are likely to inquire about the ultimate goals of the operation and of their chances of experiencing meaningful improvements. The objective of this study was to define significant predictors of achieving an MCID on the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale at 2 years following surgery for the treatment of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).

METHODS

Seven hundred fifty-seven patients were prospectively enrolled in either the AOSpine North America or International study at 26 global sites. Fourteen patients had a perfect preoperative mJOA score of 18 and were excluded from this analysis (n = 743). Data were collected for each participating subject, including demographic information, symptomatology, medical history, causative pathology, and functional impairment. Univariate log-binominal regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between preoperative clinical factors and achieving an MCID on the mJOA scale. Modified Poisson regression using robust error variances was used to create the final multivariate model and compute the relative risk for each predictor.

RESULTS

The sample consisted of 463 men (62.31%) and 280 women (37.69%), with an average age of 56.48 ± 11.85 years. At 2 years following surgery, patients exhibited a mean change in functional status of 2.71 ± 2.89 points on the mJOA scale. Of the 687 patients with available follow-up data, 481 (70.01%) exhibited meaningful gains on the mJOA scale, whereas 206 (29.98%) failed to achieve an MCID. Based on univariate analysis, significant predictors of achieving the MCID on the mJOA scale were younger age; female sex; shorter duration of symptoms; nonsmoking status; a lower comorbidity score and absence of cardiovascular disease; and absence of upgoing plantar responses, lower-limb spasticity, and broad-based unstable gait. The final model included age (relative risk [RR] 0.924, p < 0.0001), smoking status (RR 0.837, p = 0.0043), broad-based unstable gait (RR 0.869, p = 0.0036), and duration of symptoms (RR 0.943, p = 0.0003).

CONCLUSIONS

In this large multinational prospective cohort, 70% of patients treated surgically for DCM exhibited a meaningful functional gain on the mJOA scale. The key predictors of achieving an MCID on the mJOA scale were younger age, shorter duration of symptoms, nonsmoking status, and lack of significant gait impairment.