Sherman C. Stein, Neil R. Malhotra, and Mark G. Burnett
R. Carter Clement, Brendan G. Carr, Michael J. Kallan, Catherine Wolff, Patrick M. Reilly, and Neil R. Malhotra
A positive correlation between outcomes and the volume of patients seen by a provider has been supported by numerous studies. Volume-outcome relationships (VORs) have been well documented in the setting of both neurosurgery and trauma care and have shaped regionalization policies to optimize patient outcomes. Several authors have also investigated the correlation between patient volume and cost of care, known as the volume-cost relationship (VCR), with mixed results. The purpose of the present study was to investigate VORs and VCRs in the treatment of common intracranial injuries by testing the hypotheses that outcomes suffer at small-volume centers and costs rise at large-volume centers.
The authors performed a cross-sectional cohort study of patients with neurological trauma using the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest nationally representative all-payer data set. Patients were identified using ICD-9 codes for subdural, subarachnoid, and extradural hemorrhage following injury. Transfers were excluded from the study. In the primary analysis the association between a facility's neurotrauma patient volume and patient survival was tested. Secondary analyses focused on the relationships between patient volume and discharge status as well as between patient volume and cost. Analyses were performed using logistic regression.
In-hospital mortality in the overall cohort was 9.9%. In-hospital mortality was 14.9% in the group with the smallest volume of patients, that is, fewer than 6 cases annually. At facilities treating 6–11, 12–23, 24–59, and 60+ patients annually, mortality was 8.0%, 8.3%, 9.5%, and 10.0%, respectively. For these groups there was a significantly reduced risk of in-hospital mortality as compared with the group with fewer than 6 annual patients; the adjusted ORs (and corresponding 95% CIs) were 0.45 (0.29–0.68), 0.56 (0.38–0.81), 0.63 (0.44–0.90), and 0.59 (0.41–0.87), respectively. For these same groups (once again using < 6 cases/year as the reference), there were no statistically significant differences in either estimated actual cost or duration of hospital stay.
A VOR exists in the treatment of neurotrauma, and a meaningful threshold for significantly improved mortality is 6 cases per year. Emergency and interfacility transport policies based on this threshold might improve national outcomes. Cost of care does not differ significantly with patient volume.
Bradley C. Lega, Shabbar F. Danish, Neil R. Malhotra, Seema S. Sonnad, and Sherman C. Stein
Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH), a condition much more common in the elderly, presents an increasing challenge as the population ages. Treatment strategies for CSDH include bur-hole craniostomy (BHC), twist-drill craniostomy (TDC), and craniotomy. Decision analysis was used to organize existing data and develop recommendations for effective treatment.
A Medline search was used to identify articles about treatment of CSDH. Direct assessment by health care professionals of the relative health impact of common complications and recurrences was used to generate utility values for treatment outcomes. Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analyses allowed comparisons across treatment strategies. A second simulation examined whether intraoperative irrigation or postoperative drainage affect the outcomes following BHC.
On a scale from 0 to 1, the utility of BHC was found to be 0.9608, compared with 0.9202 for TDC (p = 0.001) and 0.9169 for craniotomy (p = 0.006). Sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of these values. Craniotomy yielded fewer recurrences, but more frequent and more serious complications than did BHC. There were no significant differences for BHC with or without irrigation or postoperative drainage.
Bur-hole craniostomy is the most efficient choice for surgical drainage of uncomplicated CSDH. Bur-hole craniostomy balances a low recurrence rate with a low incidence of highly morbid complications. Decision analysis provides statistical and empirical guidance in the absence of well-controlled large trials and despite a confusing range of previously reported morbidity and recurrence.
Dmitriy Petrov, Michael Spadola, Connor Berger, Gregory Glauser, Ahmad F. Mahmoud, Bert O’Malley, and Neil R. Malhotra
Chordomas are rare, locally aggressive neoplasms that develop from remnants of the notochord. The typical approach to chordomas of the clivus and axial cervical spine often limits successful en bloc resection. In this case report, authors describe the first-documented transoral approach using both transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for exposure and the Sonopet bone scalpel under navigational guidance to achieve en bloc resection of a cervical chordoma. This 27-year-old man had no significant past medical history (Charlson Comorbidity Index 0). During a trauma workup following a motor vehicle collision, a CT of the patient’s cervical spine demonstrated an incidental 2.2-cm lesion situated along the posterior aspect of the C2 vertebral body. Postoperative imaging showed successful en bloc resection with adequate placement of hardware, and the pathology report demonstrated negative resection margins. The patient tolerated the procedure well, and because of the successful en bloc resection, radiation has been deferred. At 7 months postoperatively, the patient returned to work in New York City. Contrasted MRI at 15 months postoperatively showed the patient to be disease free. This approach offers a promising way forward in the treatment of these complex tumors.
Jared M. Pisapia, Nikhil R. Nayak, Ryan D. Salinas, Luke Macyszyn, John Y. K. Lee, Timothy H. Lucas, Neil R. Malhotra, H. Isaac Chen, and James M. Schuster
As odontoid process fractures become increasingly common in the aging population, a technical understanding of treatment approaches is critical. 3D image guidance can improve the safety of posterior cervical hardware placement, but few studies have explored its utility in anterior approaches. The authors present in a stepwise fashion the technique of odontoid screw placement using the Medtronic O-arm navigation system and describe their initial institutional experience with this surgical approach.
The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases of anterior odontoid screw fixation for Type II fractures at an academic medical center between 2006 and 2015. Patients were identified from a prospectively collected institutional database of patients who had suffered spine trauma. A standardized protocol for navigated odontoid screw placement was generated from the collective experience at the authors' institution. Secondarily, the authors compared collected variables, including presenting symptoms, injury mechanism, surgical complications, blood loss, operative time, radiographically demonstrated nonunion rate, and clinical outcome at most recent follow-up, between navigated and nonnavigated cases.
Ten patients (three female; mean age 61) underwent odontoid screw placement. Most patients presented with neck pain without a neurological deficit after a fall. O-arm navigation was used in 8 patients. An acute neck hematoma and screw retraction, each requiring surgery, occurred in 2 patients in whom navigation was used. Partial vocal cord paralysis occurred after surgery in one patient in whom no navigation was used. There was no difference in blood loss or operative time with or without navigation. One patient from each group had radiographic nonunion. No patient reported a worsening of symptoms at follow-up (mean duration 9 months).
The authors provide a detailed step-by-step guide to the navigated placement of an odontoid screw. Their surgical experience suggests that O-arm–assisted odontoid screw fixation is a viable approach. Future studies will be needed to rigorously compare the accuracy and efficiency of navigated versus nonnavigated odontoid screw placement.
Matthew R. Sanborn, Jayesh P. Thawani, Robert G. Whitmore, Michael Shmulevich, Benjamin Hardy, Conrad Benedetto, Neil R. Malhotra, Paul Marcotte, William C. Welch, Stephen Dante, and Sherman C. Stein
There is considerable variation in the use of adjunctive technologies to confirm pedicle screw placement. Although there is literature to support the use of both neurophysiological monitoring and isocentric fluoroscopy to confirm pedicle screw positioning, there are no studies examining the cost-effectiveness of these technologies. This study compares the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of isocentric O-arm fluoroscopy, neurophysiological monitoring, and postoperative CT scanning after multilevel instrumented fusion for degenerative lumbar disease.
Retrospective data were collected from 4 spine surgeons who used 3 different strategies for monitoring of pedicle screw placement in multilevel lumbar degenerative disease. A decision analysis model was developed to analyze costs and outcomes of the 3 different monitoring strategies. A total of 448 surgeries performed between 2005 and 2010 were included, with 4 cases requiring repeat operation for malpositioned screws. A sample of 64 of these patients was chosen for structured interviews in which the EuroQol-5D questionnaire was used. Expected costs and quality-adjusted life years were calculated based on the incidence of repeat operation and its negative effect on quality of life and costs.
The decision analysis model demonstrated that the O-arm monitoring strategy is significantly (p < 0.001) less costly than the strategy of postoperative CT scanning following intraoperative uniplanar fluoroscopy, which in turn is significantly (p < 0.001) less costly than neurophysiological monitoring. The differences in effectiveness of the different monitoring strategies are not significant (p = 0.92).
Use of the O-arm for confirming pedicle screw placement is the least costly and therefore most cost-effective strategy of the 3 techniques analyzed.
Peter Syre III, Leonardo Rodriguez-Cruz, Rajiv Desai, Karl A. Greene, Robert Hurst, James Schuster, Neil R. Malhotra, and Paul Marcotte
Gunshot wounds to the atlantoaxial spine are uncommon injuries and rarely require treatment, as a bullet traversing this segment often results in a fatal injury. Additionally, these injuries are typically biomechanically stable. The authors report a series of 10 patients with gunshot wounds involving the lateral mass and/or bodies of the atlantoaxial complex. Their care is discussed and conclusions are drawn from these cases to identify the optimal treatment for these injuries.
A retrospective review was conducted of patients presenting to the emergency rooms of 3 institutions with gunshot wounds involving the atlantoaxial spine. Mechanism of injury and neurological status were obtained, as was the extent of the osteoligamentous, vascular, and neurological injuries. Nonoperative and operative treatment, complications, and clinical and radiographic outcome were recorded. The data were then analyzed to determine the neurological and biomechanical prognosis of these injuries, the utility of the various diagnostic modalities in the acute management of the injuries, and the nature and effectiveness of the nonoperative and operative treatment modalities.
Ten patients with gunshot wounds involving the lateral mass and/or bodies of the atlantoaxial complex were identified. All but 2 patients sustained a vertebral artery injury. Each patient was evaluated using cervical radiographs, CT scans, and vascular imaging, 8 in the form of digital subtraction angiography and 2 with high-resolution CT angiography. Uncomplicated patients were treated conservatively using cervical collar immobilization, local wound care, and antibiotics. One patient was treated using a halo for instability and 1 underwent posterior fusion following a posterolateral decompression for delayed myelopathy. One patient underwent transoral resection of a bullet fragment. One patient underwent embolization for a symptomatic arteriovenous fistula and a second patient underwent a neck exploration and a jugular vein ligation. None of the patients received anticoagulation therapy. The mean follow-up duration was 13 months. All but 2 patients regained their previous functional status and all ultimately attained a mechanically stable spine.
These 10 patients represent a rare form of cervical spine penetrating injury. Unilateral gunshot wounds to the atlantoaxial complex are usually stable and the need for acute surgical intervention is rare. Unilateral vertebral artery injury is well tolerated and any information provided by angiography does not alter the acute management of the patient. Vascular complications from gunshot wounds can be managed effectively by endovascular techniques.
Donald K. Detchou, Gregory Glauser, Ryan Dimentberg, Eileen Maloney Wilensky, Daniel Yoshor, and Neil R. Malhotra
Luis Perez-Orribo, Samuel Kalb, Laura A. Snyder, Forrest Hsu, Devika Malhotra, Richard D. Lefevre, Ali M. Elhadi, Anna G. U. S. Newcomb, Nicholas Theodore, and Neil R. Crawford
The rule of Spence is inaccurate for assessing integrity of the transverse atlantal ligament (TAL). Because CT is quick and easy to perform at most trauma centers, the authors propose a novel sequence of obtaining 2 CT scans to improve the diagnosis of TAL impairment. The sensitivity of a new CT-based method for diagnosing a TAL injury in a cadaveric model was assessed.
Ten human cadaveric occipitocervical specimens were mounted horizontally in a supine posture with wooden inserts attached to the back of the skull to maintain a neutral or flexed (10°) posture. Specimens were scanned in neutral and flexed postures in a total of 4 conditions (3 conditions in each specimen): 1) intact (n = 10); either 2A) after a simulated Jefferson fracture with an intact TAL (n = 5) or 2B) after a TAL disruption with no Jefferson fracture (n = 5); and 3) after TAL disruption and a simulated Jefferson fracture (n = 10). The atlantodental interval (ADI) and cross-sectional canal area were measured.
From the neutral to the flexed posture, ADI increased an average of 2.5% in intact spines, 6.25% after a Jefferson fracture without TAL disruption, 34% after a TAL disruption without fracture, and 25% after TAL disruption with fracture. The increase in ADI was significant with both TAL disruption and TAL disruption and fracture (p < 0.005) but not in the other 2 conditions (p > 0.6). Changes in spinal canal area were not significant (p > 0.70).
This novel method was more sensitive than the rule of Spence for evaluating the integrity of the TAL on CT and does not increase the risk of further neurological damage.
Ian F. Caplan, Gregory Glauser, Stephen Goodrich, H. Isaac Chen, Timothy H. Lucas, John Y. K. Lee, Scott D. McClintock, and Neil R. Malhotra
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is known to be associated with negative outcomes and is underdiagnosed. The STOP-Bang questionnaire is a screening tool for OSA that has been validated in both medical and surgical populations. Given that readmission after surgical intervention is an undesirable event, the authors sought to investigate, among patients not previously diagnosed with OSA, the capacity of the STOP-Bang questionnaire to predict 30-day readmissions following craniotomy for a supratentorial neoplasm.
For patients undergoing craniotomy for treatment of a supratentorial neoplasm within a multiple-hospital academic medical center, data were captured in a prospective manner via the Neurosurgery Quality Improvement Initiative (NQII) EpiLog tool. Data were collected over a 1-year period for all supratentorial craniotomy cases. An additional criterion for study inclusion was that the patient was alive at 30 postoperative days. Statistical analysis consisted of simple logistic regression, which assessed the ability of the STOP-Bang questionnaire and additional variables to effectively predict outcomes such as 30-day readmission, 30-day emergency department (ED) visit, and 30-day reoperation. The C-statistic was used to represent the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, which analyzes the discrimination of a variable or model.
Included in the sample were all admissions for supratentorial neoplasms treated with craniotomy (352 patients), 49.72% (n = 175) of which were female. The average STOP-Bang score was 1.91 ± 1.22 (range 0–7). A 1-unit higher STOP-Bang score accurately predicted 30-day readmissions (OR 1.31, p = 0.017) and 30-day ED visits (OR 1.36, p = 0.016) with fair accuracy as confirmed by the ROC curve (C-statistic 0.60–0.61). The STOP-Bang questionnaire did not correlate with 30-day reoperation (p = 0.805) or home discharge (p = 0.315).
The results of this study suggest that undiagnosed OSA, as assessed via the STOP-Bang questionnaire, is a significant predictor of patient health status and readmission risk in the brain tumor craniotomy population. Further investigations should be undertaken to apply this prediction tool in order to enhance postoperative patient care to reduce the need for unplanned readmissions.