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Christopher Carr, Lora Kahn, Mansour Mathkour, Erin Biro, Cuong J. Bui and Aaron S. Dumont

OBJECTIVE

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) is an international collaboration and the largest comprehensive investigation of global health disease burden ever conducted. It has been particularly insightful for understanding disease demographics in middle-income nations undergoing rapid development, such as Vietnam, where 6 of the top 10 causes of death are relevant to the neurosurgeon. The burden of stroke—the number one cause of death in Vietnam—is particularly impressive. Likewise, road injuries, with a disproportionate rate of traumatic brain injury, continue to increase in Vietnam following economic development. Low-back and neck pain is the number one cause of disability. Simultaneously, more patients have access to care, and healthcare spending is increased.

METHODS

It is imperative that neurosurgical capital and infrastructure keep pace with Vietnam’s growth. The authors searched the existing literature for assessments of neurosurgical infrastructure or initiatives to address neurosurgical disease burden. Using GBD data, the authors also abstracted data for death by cause and prevalence of years of life lost due to disability (YLD) for common neurosurgical pathologies for Vietnam and comparison nations.

RESULTS

Interventions aimed at primary prevention of risk factors for neurosurgical disease and focused on the transference of self-sustainable technical skills were found to be analogous to those that have been successful in other regions. Efforts toward stroke prevention have been focused on causal risk factors. Multiple investigators have found that interventions aimed at increasing helmet use were successful in preventing traumatic brain injury. Government-led reforms and equipment donation programs have improved technical capacity. Nevertheless, Vietnam lags behind other nations in neurosurgeons per capita; cause-attributable death and YLD attributable to neurosurgical disease are considerably higher in Vietnam and middle-income nations compared to both lower-income nations and upper-income nations.

CONCLUSIONS

More than two-thirds of deaths attributable to neurosurgical pathologies in Vietnam and other middle-income nations were due to stroke, and one-fifth of both cause-attributable death and YLD was associated with neurosurgical pathologies. Vietnam and other middle-income nations continue to assume a global burden of disease profile that ever more closely resembles that of developed nations, with particular cerebrovascular, neurotrauma, and spinal disease burdens, leading to exponentially increased demand for neurosurgeons that threatens to outpace the training of neurosurgeons.

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Joshua A. Hanna, Tyler Scullen, Lora Kahn, Mansour Mathkour, Edna E. Gouveia, Juanita Garces, Leah M. Evans, Georgia Lea, David J. Houghton, Erin Biro, Cuong J. Bui, Olawale A. Sulaiman and Roger D. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the procedure of choice for Parkinson’s disease (PD). It has been used in PD patients younger than 70 years because of better perceived intra- and postoperative outcomes than in patients 70 years or older. However, previous studies with limited follow-up have demonstrated benefits associated with the treatment of elderly patients. This study aims to evaluate the long-term outcomes in elderly PD patients treated with DBS in comparison with a younger population.

METHODS

PD patients treated with DBS at the authors’ institution from 2008 to 2014 were divided into 2 groups: 1) elderly patients, defined as having an age at surgery ≥ 70 years, and 2) young patients, defined as those < 70 years at surgery. Functional and medical treatment outcomes were evaluated using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS III), levodopa-equivalent daily dose (LEDD), number of daily doses, and number of anti-PD medications. Study outcomes were compared using univariate analyses, 1-sample paired t-tests, and 2-sample t-tests.

RESULTS

A total of 151 patients were studied, of whom 24.5% were ≥ 70 years. The most common preoperative Hoehn and Yahr stages for both groups were 2 and 3. On average, elderly patients had more comorbidities at the time of surgery than their younger counterparts (1 vs 0, p = 0.0001) as well as a higher average LEDD (891 mg vs 665 mg, p = 0.008). Both groups experienced significant decreases in LEDD following surgery (elderly 331.38 mg, p = 0.0001; and young 108.6 mg, p = 0.0439), with a more significant decrease seen in elderly patients (young 108.6 mg vs elderly 331.38 mg, p = 0.0153). Elderly patients also experienced more significant reductions in daily doses (young 0.65 vs elderly 3.567, p = 0.0344). Both groups experienced significant improvements in motor function determined by reductions in UPDRS III scores (elderly 16.29 vs young 12.85, p < 0.0001); however, reductions in motor score between groups were not significant. Improvement in motor function was present for a mean follow-up of 3.383 years postsurgery for the young group and 3.51 years for the elderly group. The average follow-up was 40.6 months in the young group and 42.2 months in the elderly group.

CONCLUSIONS

This study found long-term improvements in motor function and medication requirements in both elderly and young PD patients treated with DBS. These outcomes suggest that DBS can be successfully used in PD patients ≥ 70 years. Further studies will expand on these findings.