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Nikita Lakomkin and Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis

OBJECTIVE

Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) significantly compromise patient safety, and have been identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as events that will be associated with penalties for surgeons. The mitigation of HACs must be an important consideration during the postoperative management of patients undergoing spine tumor resection. The purpose of this study was to identify the risk factors for HACs and to characterize the relationship between HACs and other postoperative adverse events following spine tumor resection.

METHODS

The 2008–2014 American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was used to identify adult patients undergoing the resection of intramedullary, intradural extramedullary, and extradural spine lesions via current procedural terminology and ICD-9 codes. Demographic, comorbidity, and operative variables were evaluated via bivariate statistics before being incorporated into a multivariable logistic regression model to identify the independent risk factors for HACs. Associations between HACs and other postoperative events, including death, readmission, prolonged length of stay, and various complications were determined through multivariable analysis while controlling for other significant variables. The c-statistic was computed to evaluate the predictive capacity of the regression models.

RESULTS

Of the 2170 patients included in the study, 195 (9.0%) developed an HAC. Only 2 perioperative variables, functional dependency and high body mass index, were risk factors for developing HACs (area under the curve = 0.654). Hospital-acquired conditions were independent predictors of all examined outcomes and complications, including death (OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.24–4.11, p = 0.007), prolonged length of stay (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.98–3.80, p < 0.001), and readmission (OR 9.16, 95% CI 6.27–13.37, p < 0.001). The areas under the curve for these models ranged from 0.750 to 0.917.

CONCLUSIONS

The comorbidities assessed in this study were not strongly predictive of HACs. Other variables, including hospital-associated factors, may play a role in the development of these conditions. The presence of an HAC was found to be an independent risk factor for a variety of adverse events. These findings highlight the need for continued development of evidence-based protocols designed to reduce the incidence and severity of HACs.

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Spinal cord injury in the United States Army Special Forces

Presented at the 2020 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Remi A. Kessler, Ansh Bhammar, Nikita Lakomkin, Raj K. Shrivastava, Jonathan J. Rasouli, Jeremy Steinberger, Joshua Bederson, Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis and Deborah L. Benzil

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is an area of key interest in military medicine but has not been studied among the US Army Special Forces (SF), the most elite group of US soldiers. SF soldiers make up a disproportionate 60% of all Special Operations casualties. The objective of this study was to better understand SCI incidence in the SF, its mechanisms of acquisition, and potential areas for intervention by addressing key issues pertaining to protective equipment and body armor use.

METHODS

An electronic survey questionnaire was formulated with the close collaboration of US board-certified neurosurgeons from the Mount Sinai Hospital and Cleveland Clinic Departments of Neurosurgery, retired military personnel of the SF, and operational staff of the Green Beret Foundation. The survey was sent to approximately 6000 SF soldiers to understand SCI diagnosis and its associations with various health and military variables.

RESULTS

The response rate was 8.2%. Among the 492 respondents, 94 (19.1%) self-reported an SCI diagnosis. An airborne operation was the most commonly attributed cause (54.8%). Moreover, 87.1% of SF soldiers reported wearing headgear at the time of injury, but only 36.6% reported wearing body armor, even though body armor use has significantly increased in post-9/11 SF soldiers compared with that in their pre-9/11 counterparts. SCI was significantly associated with traumatic brain injury, arthritis, low sperm count, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, tinnitus, hyperacusis, sleep apnea, posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Only 16.5% of SF soldiers diagnosed with SCI had been rescued via medical evacuation (medevac) for treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

A high number of SF soldiers self-reported an SCI diagnosis. Airborne operations landings were the leading cause of SCI, which coincided with warfare tactics employed during the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and other conflicts. A majority of SCIs occurred while wearing headgear and no body armor, suggesting the need for improvements in protective equipment use and design. The low rate of medevac rescue for these injuries may suggest that medical rescue was not attainable at the time or that certain SCIs were deemed minor at the time of injury.