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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee and Michael Tytell

✓ The heat shock or stress response is a highly conserved primary cellular response to injury. Synthesis of stress proteins (also called “heat shock proteins”) is an integral component of this response. Protection from various forms of sublethal stress following increased production of stress proteins has been demonstrated in a number of systems, including the retina. This immunocytochemical study demonstrates the synthesis, accumulation, and redistribution of the 70-kD stress protein following spinal cord injury in rats. The observations confirm that stress protein production is a fundamental feature of the molecular response of the spinal cord to injury, and raise the possibility that augmentation of this response could enhance posttraumatic neuronal survival.

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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee and Michael Tytell

✓ Due to its investiture with bone, the spinal cord can be difficult to study anatomically and histologically. Tissue degradation during immersion fixation or mechanical trauma during extraction of unfixed tissue often produces confusing artifacts. Perfusion fixation eliminates many of these problems, but it is a slow, tedious, and technically demanding procedure. This report demonstrates that microwave irradiation of the spinal cord before its removal from the spine is a rapid and easy method of tissue fixation with an absence of artifacts comparable to that with perfusion fixation.

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Lee L. Thibodeau, George R. Prioleau, Elias E. Manuelidis, Maria J. Merino and Michael D. Heafner

✓ A 20-year-old woman presented with a 3-year history of intermittent focal headaches and a generalized seizure. Computerized tomography demonstrated a hypodense ring-enhancing cystic right parietal lobe lesion. At operation, a chocolate-colored cyst was excised which on histological examination proved to be endometriosis.

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Christopher B. Michael, Andrew G. Lee, James R. Patrinely, Samuel Stal and J. Bob Blacklock

✓ The authors present a case of visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia of the anterior skull base and the surgical management of this case. Preoperative computerized tomography scanning in this patient demonstrated a patent optic foramen and a rapidly growing cystic mass within the orbit, which was responsible for the patient's visual loss. A literature review revealed that this case is typical, in that cystic mass lesions of various types are frequently responsible for visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia. The authors did not find significant evidence in the literature to support the notion that visual loss associated with fibrous dysplasia is the result of progressive optic canal stenosis, thus raising questions about the value of prophylactic optic canal decompression. Instead, as demonstrated by this case and those uncovered in the literature review, most instances of visual loss result from the rapid growth of mass lesions of cystic fibrous dysplasia, mucoceles, or hemorrhage. Findings of the literature review and the present case of fibrous dysplasia of the anterior skull base support a role for extensive surgical resection in these cases and indicate a need for additional prospective analysis of a larger number of patients with this disease.

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Syed K. Mehdi, Vincent J. Alentado, Bryan S. Lee, Thomas E. Mroz, Edward C. Benzel and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a pathological calcification or ossification of the PLL, predominantly occurring in the cervical spine. Although surgery is often necessary for patients with symptomatic neurological deterioration, there remains controversy with regard to the optimal surgical treatment. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors identified differences in complications and outcomes after anterior or posterior decompression and fusion versus after decompression alone for the treatment of cervical myelopathy due to OPLL.

METHODS

A MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and Web of Science search was performed for studies reporting complications and outcomes after decompression and fusion or after decompression alone for patients with OPLL. A meta-analysis was performed to calculate effect summary mean values, 95% CIs, Q statistics, and I2 values. Forest plots were constructed for each analysis group.

RESULTS

Of the 2630 retrieved articles, 32 met the inclusion criteria. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of excellent and good outcomes and of fair and poor outcomes between the decompression and fusion and the decompression-only cohorts. However, the decompression and fusion cohort had a statistically significantly higher recovery rate (63.2% vs 53.9%; p < 0.0001), a higher final Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (14.0 vs 13.5; p < 0.0001), and a lower incidence of OPLL progression (< 1% vs 6.3%; p < 0.0001) compared with the decompression-only cohort. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of complications between the 2 cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

This study represents the only comprehensive review of outcomes and complications after decompression and fusion or after decompression alone for OPLL across a heterogeneous group of surgeons and patients. Based on these results, decompression and fusion is a superior surgical technique compared with posterior decompression alone in patients with OPLL. These results indicate that surgical decompression and fusion lead to a faster recovery, improved postoperative neurological functioning, and a lower incidence of OPLL progression compared with posterior decompression only. Furthermore, decompression and fusion did not lead to a greater incidence of complications compared with posterior decompression only.

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Neil A. Martin, Ravish V. Patwardhan, Michael J. Alexander, Cynthia Zane Africk, Jae Hong Lee, Ehud Shalmon, David A. Hovda and Donald P. Becker

The extent and timing of posttraumatic cerebral hemodynamic disturbances have significant implications for the monitoring and treatment of patients with head injury. This prospective study of cerebral blood flow (CBF) (measured using 133Xe clearance) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) measurements in 125 patients with severe head trauma has defined three distinct hemodynamic phases during the first 2 weeks after injury. The phases are further characterized by measurements of cerebral arteriovenous oxygen difference (AVDO2) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). Phase I (hypoperfusion phase) occurs on the day of injury (Day 0) and is defined by a low CBF15 calculated from cerebral clearance curves integrated to 15 minutes (mean CBF15 32.3 ± 2 ml/100 g/minute), normal middle cerebral artery (MCA) velocity (mean VMCA 56.7 ± 2.9 cm/second), normal hemispheric index (mean HI 1.67 ± 0.11), and normal AVDO2 (mean AVDO2 5.4 ± 0.5 vol%). The CMRO2 is approximately 50% of normal (mean CMRO2 1.77 ± 0.18 ml/100 g/minute) during this phase and remains depressed during the second and third phases. In Phase II (hyperemia phase, Days 1-3), CBF increases (46.8 ± 3 ml/100 g/minute), AVDO2 falls (3.8 ± 0.1 vol%), VMCA velocity rises (86 ± 3.7 cm/second), and the HI remains less than 3 (2.41 ± 0.1). In Phase III (vasospasm phase, Days 4-15), there is a fall in CBF (35.7 ± 3.8 ml/100 g/minute), a further increase in VMCA (96.7 ± 6.3 cm/second), and a pronounced rise in the HI (2.87 ± 0.22).

This is the first study in which CBF, metabolic, and TCD measurements are combined to define the characteristics and time courses of, and to suggest etiological factors for, the distinct cerebral hemodynamic phases that occur after severe craniocerebral trauma. This research is consistent with and builds on the findings of previous investigations and may provide a useful temporal framework for the organization of existing knowledge regarding posttraumatic cerebrovascular and metabolic pathophysiology.

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Varun R. Kshettry, Michael L. Kelly, Benjamin P. Rosenbaum, Andreea Seicean, Lee Hwang and Robert J. Weil

Object

Myelomeningocele repair is an uncommonly performed surgical procedure. The volume of operations has been decreasing in the past 2 decades, probably as the result of public health initiatives for folate supplementation. Because of the rarity of myelomeningocele, data on patient or hospital factors that may be associated with outcome are scarce. To determine these factors, the authors investigated the trends in myelomeningocele surgical repair in the United States over a 23-year period and examined patient and hospital characteristics that were associated with outcome.

Methods

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database for 1988–2010 was queried for hospital admissions for myelomeningocele repair. This database reports patient, hospital, and admission characteristics and surgical trends. The authors used univariate and multivariate logistic regression to assess associations between patient and hospital characteristics and in-hospital deaths, nonroutine discharge, long hospital stay, and shunt placement.

Results

There were 4034 hospitalizations for surgical repair of myelomeningocele. The annual volume decreased since 1988 but plateaued in the last 4 years of the study. The percentages of myelomeningocele patients with low income (30.8%) and Medicaid insurance (48.2%) were disproportionately lower than those for the overall live-born population (p < 0.0001). More operations per 10,000 live births were performed for Hispanic patients (3.2) than for white (2.0) or black (1.5) patients (p < 0.0001). Overall, 56.6% of patients required shunt placement during the same hospital stay as for surgical repair; 95.0% of patients were routinely discharged; and the in-hospital mortality rate was 1.4%. Nonwhite race was associated with increased in-hospital risk for death (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2–6.3) independent of socioeconomic or insurance status.

Conclusions

Overall, the annual surgical volume of myelomeningocele repairs decreased after public health initiatives were introduced but has more recently plateaued. The most disproportionately represented populations are Hispanic, low-income, and Medicaid patients. Among nonwhite patients, increased risk for in-hospital death may represent a disparity in care or a difference in disease severity.

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Michael J. Strong, Trevor Rosenlof, Siddhartha Padmanabha, Roy S. Weiner, Lee Roy Morgan and Marcus I. Ware

The authors describe the case of a patient who initially presented with uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that later metastasized to the spine. The patient was treated at another institution for her primary uterine LMS, undergoing resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. After several years of disease remission, the patient presented in January 2011 to the authors’ institution with recurrent uterine LMS metastatic to the spine, which has been treated with multiple therapeutic modalities in a combination of surgery, radiosurgery, and chemotherapy. As a result of this approach, the patient has been progression free for 35 months since her presentation (April 2011 to March 2014). We herein describe our experience treating this patient with recurrent uterine LMS of the spine and suggest that patients with recurrent uterine LMSs should be considered for treatment using a multimodality approach with emphasis on enrollment into clinical trials.

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Neil A. Martin, Ravish V. Patwardhan, Michael J. Alexander, Cynthia Zane Africk, Jae Hong Lee, Ehud Shalmon, David A. Hovda and Donald P. Becker

✓ The extent and timing of posttraumatic cerebral hemodynamic disturbances have significant implications for the monitoring and treatment of patients with head injury. This prospective study of cerebral blood flow (CBF) (measured using 133Xe clearance) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) measurements in 125 patients with severe head trauma has defined three distinct hemodynamic phases during the first 2 weeks after injury. The phases are further characterized by measurements of cerebral arteriovenous oxygen difference (AVDO2) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). Phase I (hypoperfusion phase) occurs on the day of injury (Day 0) and is defined by a low CBF15 calculated from cerebral clearance curves integrated to 15 minutes (mean CBF15 32.3 ± 2 ml/100 g/minute), normal middle cerebral artery (MCA) velocity (mean VMCA 56.7 ± 2.9 cm/second), normal hemispheric index ([HI], mean HI 1.67 ± 0.11), and normal AVDO2 (mean AVDO2 5.4 ± 0.5 vol%). The CMRO2 is approximately 50% of normal (mean CMRO2 1.77 ± 0.18 ml/100 g/minute) during this phase and remains depressed during the second and third phases. In Phase II (hyperemia phase, Days 1–3), CBF increases (46.8 ± 3 ml/100 g/minute), AVDO2 falls (3.8 ± 0.1 vol%), VMCA rises (86 ± 3.7 cm/second), and the HI remains less than 3 (2.41 ± 0.1). In Phase III (vasospasm phase, Days 4–15), there is a fall in CBF (35.7 ± 3.8 ml/100 g/minute), a further increase in VMCA (96.7 ± 6.3 cm/second), and a pronounced rise in the HI (2.87 ± 0.22).

This is the first study in which CBF, metabolic, and TCD measurements are combined to define the characteristics and time courses of, and to suggest etiological factors for, the distinct cerebral hemodynamic phases that occur after severe craniocerebral trauma. This research is consistent with and builds on the findings of previous investigations and may provide a useful temporal framework for the organization of existing knowledge regarding posttraumatic cerebrovascular and metabolic pathophysiology.

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Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Andrew B. Koo, Adam J. Kundishora, Fouad Chouairi, Megan Lee, Astrid C. Hengartner, Joaquin Camara-Quintana, Kristopher T. Kahle and Michael L. DiLuna

OBJECTIVE

Health policy changes have led to increased emphasis on value-based care to improve resource utilization and reduce inpatient hospital length of stay (LOS). Recently, LOS has become a major determinant of quality of care and resource utilization. For adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the determinants of extended LOS after elective posterior spinal fusion (PSF) remain relatively unknown. In the present study, the authors investigated the impact of patient and hospital-level risk factors on extended LOS following elective PSF surgery (≥ 4 levels) for AIS.

METHODS

The Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) was queried for the year 2012. Adolescent patients (age range 10–17 years) with AIS undergoing elective PSF (≥ 4 levels) were selected using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification coding system. Extended hospital LOS was defined as greater than the 75th percentile for the entire cohort (> 6 days), and patients were dichotomized as having normal LOS or extended LOS. Patient demographics, comorbidities, complications, LOS, discharge disposition, and total cost were recorded. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the odds ratio for risk-adjusted LOS. The primary outcome was the degree to which patient comorbidities or postoperative complications correlated with extended LOS.

RESULTS

Comorbidities were overall significantly higher in the extended-LOS cohort than the normal-LOS cohort. Patients with extended LOS had a significantly greater proportion of blood transfusion (p < 0.001) and ≥ 9 vertebral levels fused (p < 0.001). The overall complication rates were greater in the extended-LOS cohort (20.3% [normal-LOS group] vs 43.5% [extended-LOS group]; p < 0.001). On average, the extended-LOS cohort incurred $18,916 more in total cost than the normal-LOS group ($54,697 ± $24,217 vs $73,613 ± $38,689, respectively; p < 0.001) and had more patients discharged to locations other than home (p < 0.001) than did patients in the normal-LOS cohort. On multivariate logistic regression, several risk factors were associated with extended LOS, including female sex, obesity, hypertension, fluid electrolyte disorder, paralysis, blood transfusion, ≥ 9 vertebrae fused, dural injury, and nerve cord injury. The odds ratio for extended LOS was 1.95 (95% CI 1.50–2.52) for patients with 1 complication and 5.43 (95% CI 3.35–8.71) for patients with > 1 complication.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ study using the KID demonstrates that patient comorbidities and intra- and postoperative complications all contribute to extended LOS after spinal fusion for AIS. Identifying multimodality interventions focused on reducing LOS, bettering patient outcomes, and lowering healthcare costs are necessary to improve the overall value of care for patients undergoing spinal fusion for AIS.