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James M. Wright, Alankrita Raghavan, Christina H. Wright, Berje Shammassian, Yifei Duan, Martha Sajatovic, and Warren R. Selman

OBJECTIVE

Informed consent, when performed appropriately, serves many roles beyond simply obtaining the prerequisite medicolegal paperwork to perform a surgery. Prior studies have suggested that patient understanding is poor when verbal communication is the sole means of education. Virtual reality platforms have proven effective in enhancing medical education. No studies exist that have demonstrated the utility of virtual reality–facilitated informed consent (VR-IC) in improving the physician-patient alliance. The aim of this study was to determine the utility of VR-IC among patients providing consent for surgery and the impact of this educational and information technology–based strategy on enhancing the physician-patient alliance, patient satisfaction, and resident-physician perception of the consent process.

METHODS

Prospective, single-site, pre- and postconsent surveys were administered to assess patient and resident perception of informed consent performed with the aid of VR-IC at a large tertiary academic medical center in the US. Participants were adult patients (n = 50) undergoing elective surgery for tumor resection and neurosurgical residents (n = 19) who obtained patient informed consent for these surgical procedures. Outcome measures included scores on the Patient-Doctor Relationship Questionnaire (PDRQ-9), the modified Satisfaction with Simulation Experience Scale, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Patient pre- and postconsent data were recorded in real time using a secure online research data platform (REDCap).

RESULTS

A total of 48 patients and 2 family members provided consent using VR-IC and completed the surveys pre- and postconsent; 47.9% of patients were women. The mean patient age was 57.5 years. There was a statistically significant improvement from pre- to post–VR-IC consent in patient satisfaction scores. Measures of patient-physician alliance, trust, and understanding of their illness all increased. Among the 19 trainees, perceived comfort and preparedness with the informed consent process significantly improved.

CONCLUSIONS

VR-IC led to improved patient satisfaction, patient-physician alliance, and patient understanding of their illness as measured by the PDRQ-9. Using VR-IC contributed to residents’ increased comfort in the consent-gathering process and handling patient questions. In an era in which satisfaction scores are directly linked with hospital and service-line outcomes and reimbursement, positive results from VR-IC may augment physician and hospital satisfaction scores in addition to increasing measures of trust between physicians and patients.

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Christina Huang Wright, James Wright, Louisa Onyewadume, Alankrita Raghavan, Isaac Lapite, Antonio Casco-Zuleta, Carlito Lagman, Martha Sajatovic, and Tiffany R. Hodges

OBJECTIVE

Spinal metastases from primary intracranial glioblastoma (GBM) are infrequently reported, and the disease has yet to be well characterized. A more accurate description of its clinical presentation and patient survival may improve understanding of this pathology, guide patient care, and advocate for increased inclusion in GBM research. The authors sought to describe the clinical presentation, treatment patterns, and survival in patients with drop metastases secondary to primary intracranial GBM.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed using the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were queried for abstracts that included patients with primary intracranial GBM and metastases to the spinal axis. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate characteristics of the primary brain lesion, timing of spinal metastases, clinical symptoms, anatomical location of the metastases, and survival and treatment parameters. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank analysis of the survival curves were performed for selected subgroups.

RESULTS

Of 1225 abstracts that resulted from the search, 51 articles were selected, yielding 86 subjects. The patients’ mean age was 46.78 years and 59.74% were male. The most common symptom was lumbago or cervicalgia (90.24%), and this was followed by paraparesis (86.00%). The actuarial median survival after the detection of spinal metastases was 2.8 months and the mean survival was 2.72 months (95% CI 2.59–4.85), with a 1-year cumulative survival probability of 2.7% (95% CI 0.51%–8.33%). A diagnosis of leptomeningeal disease, present in 53.54% of the patients, was correlated, and significantly worse survival was on log-rank analysis in patients with leptomeningeal disease (p = 0.0046; median survival 2.5 months [95% CI 2–3] vs 4.0 months [95% CI 2–6]).

CONCLUSIONS

This study established baseline characteristics of GBMs metastatic to the spinal axis. The prognosis is poor, though these results will provide patients and clinicians with more accurate survival estimates. The quality of studies reporting on this disease pathology is still limited. There is significant need for improved reporting methods for spinal metastases, either through enrollment of these patients in clinical trials or through increased granularity of coding for metastatic central nervous system diseases in cancer databases.