✓ The authors present the case of a 34-year-old man struck over the left mastoid region by a hockey puck, who suffered a fatal rupture of a left vertebral artery berry aneurysm. He became apneic within seconds of the injury and had no brainstem reflex within minutes. The postmortem examination showed massive subarachnoid hemorrhage in the posterior fossa and the remnants of a berry aneurysm near the intradural origin of the left vertebral artery, 11 mm proximal to the posterior inferior cerebellar artery. Rupture of a saccular aneurysm as a result of head trauma is rare. This is the first reported case of a posterior circulation aneurysm rupture as a result of head trauma.
Ramesh L. Sahjpaul, Muwaffak M. Abdulhak, Charles G. Drake and Robert R. Hammond
Blaine S. Nashold Jr., Amr O. El-Naggar, Janice Ovelmen-Levitt and Muwaffak Abdul-Hak
✓ Two new right-angled electrodes have been designed for use at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) of the caudalis nucleus to provide relief of chronic facial pain. The electrode design was based on an anatomical study of the human caudalis nucleus at the cervicomedullary junction. Previously, caudalis nucleus DREZ operations were often followed by ipsilateral ataxia, usually in the arm. The new electrodes have significantly reduced this complication. A group of 21 patients with varied types of chronic facial pain have been treated, with pain relief in 70%.
Mohamed Macki, Azam Basheer, Ian Lee, Ryan Kather, Ilan Rubinfeld and Muwaffak M. Abdulhak
In the past, spine surgeons have avoided the transoral approach to the atlantoaxial segment because of concerns for unacceptable patient morbidity. The objective of this study was to measure 30-day postoperative complications, especially surgical site infection (SSI), after transoral versus posterior approach to atlantoaxial fusion.
The source population was provided by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, which was queried for all patients who underwent atlantoaxial fusion for degenerative/spondylotic disease and/or trauma between 2005 and 2014. To eliminate bias from unequal sample sizes, patients who underwent the transoral approach were matched with patients who underwent the posterior approach (generally 1:5 ratio) based on age ± 5 years and modified frailty index score (a measure of preoperative comorbidity burden). Because of rare SSI incidence, adjusted odds ratios (ORadj) of SSI were calculated using penalized maximum likelihood estimation.
A total of 318 patients were included in the study. There were no statistically significant differences between the transoral cohort (n = 56) and the posterior cohort (n = 262) in terms of 30-day postoperative individual complications, including SSI (1.79% vs 1.91%; p = 0.951) and composite complications (10.71% vs 6.87%; p = 0.323). Controlling for sex and smoking, the odds of SSI in the transoral approach were almost equal to the odds in the posterior approach (ORadj 1.17; p = 0.866). While the unplanned reoperation rate of 5.36% after transoral surgery was higher than the 1.53% rate after posterior surgery, the difference approached, but did not reach, statistical significance (p = 0.076).
Transoral versus posterior surgery for atlantoaxial fusion did not differ in 30-day unexpected outcomes. Therefore, spinal pathology, rather than concern for postoperative complications, should adjudicate the technical approach to the atlantoaxial segment.
Victor Chang, Jason M. Schwalb, David R. Nerenz, Lisa Pietrantoni, Sharon Jones, Michelle Jankowski, Nancy Oja-Tebbe, Stephen Bartol and Muwaffak Abdulhak
Given the scrutiny of spine surgery by policy makers, spine surgeons are motivated to demonstrate and improve outcomes, by determining which patients will and will not benefit from surgery, and to reduce costs, often by reducing complications. Insurers are similarly motivated. In 2013, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) established the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) as a Collaborative Quality Initiative (CQI). MSSIC is one of the newest of 21 other CQIs that have significantly improved—and continue to improve—the quality of patient care throughout the state of Michigan.
MSSIC focuses on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, specifically indications such as stenosis, disk herniation, and degenerative disease. Surgery for tumors, traumatic fractures, deformity, scoliosis, and acute spinal cord injury are currently not within the scope of MSSIC. Starting in 2014, MSSIC consisted of 7 hospitals and in 2015 included another 15 hospitals, for a total of 22 hospitals statewide. A standardized data set is obtained by data abstractors, who are funded by BCBSM/BCN. Variables of interest include indications for surgery, baseline patient-reported outcome measures, and medical history. These are obtained within 30 days of surgery. Outcome instruments used include the EQ-5D general health state score (0 being worst and 100 being the best health one can imagine) and EQ-5D-3 L. For patients undergoing lumbar surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for leg and back pain and the Oswestry Disability Index for back pain are collected. For patients undergoing cervical surgery, a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for arm and neck pain, Neck Disability Index, and the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score are collected. Surgical details, postoperative hospital course, and patient-reported outcome measures are collected at 90-day, 1-year, and 2-year intervals.
As of July 1, 2015, a total of 6397 cases have been entered into the registry. This number reflects 4824 eligible cases with confirmed surgery dates. Of these 4824 eligible cases, 3338 cases went beyond the 120-day window and were considered eligible for the extraction of surgical details, 90-day outcomes, and adverse events. Among these 3338 patients, there are a total of 2469 lumbar cases, 862 cervical cases, and 7 combined procedures that were entered into the registry.
In addition to functioning as a registry, MSSIC is also meant to be a platform for quality improvement with the potential for future initiatives and best practices to be implemented statewide in order to improve quality and lower costs. With its current rate of recruitment and expansion, MSSIC will provide a robust platform as a regional prospective registry. Its unique funding model, which is supported by BCBSM/BCN, will help ensure its longevity and viability, as has been observed in other CQIs that have been active for several years.
Timothy J. Yee, Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Jay K. Nathan, Elyne N. Kahn, Siri S. Khalsa, Kelsey J. Fearer, Michael J. Kirsch, David R. Nerenz, Victor Chang, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak M. Abdulhak and Paul Park
The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is one of the most commonly used patient-reported outcome instruments, but completion of this 10-question survey can be cumbersome. Tools from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) are an alternative, and potentially more efficient, means of assessing physical, mental, and social outcomes in spine surgery. Authors of this retrospective study assessed whether scores on the 4-item surveys of function and pain from the PROMIS initiative correlate with those on the ODI in lumbar spine surgery.
Patients evaluated in the adult neurosurgery spine clinic at a single institution completed the ODI, PROMIS Short Form v2.0 Physical Function 4a (PROMIS PF), and PROMIS Short Form v1.0 Pain Interference 4a (PROMIS PI) at various time points in their care. Score data were retrospectively analyzed using linear regressions with calculation of the Pearson correlation coefficient.
Three hundred forty-three sets of surveys (ODI, PROMIS PF, and PROMIS PI) were obtained from patients across initial visits (n = 147), 3-month follow-ups (n = 107), 12-month follow-ups (n = 52), and 24-month follow-ups (n = 37). ODI scores strongly correlated with PROMIS PF t-scores at baseline (r = −0.72, p < 0.0001), 3 months (r = −0.79, p < 0.0001), 12 months (r = −0.85, p < 0.0001), and 24 months (r = −0.89, p < 0.0001). ODI scores also correlated strongly with PROMIS PI t-scores at baseline (r = 0.71, p < 0.0001), at 3 months (r = 0.82, p < 0.0001), at 12 months (r = 0.86, p < 0.0001), and at 24 months (r = 0.88, p < 0.0001). Changes in ODI scores moderately correlated with changes in PROMIS PF t-scores (r = −0.68, p = 0.0003) and changes in PROMIS PI t-scores (r = 0.57, p = 0.0047) at 3 months postoperatively.
A strong correlation was found between the ODI and the 4-item PROMIS PF/PI at isolated time points for patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Large cohort studies are needed to determine longitudinal accuracy and precision and to assess possible benefits of time savings and improved rates of survey completion.