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Brandon M. Lehrich, Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Ronald Sahyouni, and Frank P. K. Hsu

Dr. James Tait Goodrich was an internationally renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who pioneered the neurosurgical procedures for the multistage separation of craniopagus twins. As of March 2020, 59 craniopagus separations had been performed in the world, with Goodrich having performed 7 of these operations. He was the single most experienced surgeon in the field on this complex craniofacial disorder. Goodrich was a humble individual who rapidly rose through the ranks of academic neurosurgery, eventually serving as Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. In this historical vignette, the authors provide context into the history of and sociocultural attitudes toward conjoined twins; the epidemiology and classification of craniopagus twins; the beginnings of surgery in craniopagus twins; Goodrich’s neurosurgical contributions toward advancing treatment for this complex craniofacial anomaly; and vignettes of Goodrich’s unique clinical cases that made mainstream news coverage.

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Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Brian V. Lien, Seth C. Ransom, Ali R. Tafreshi, Ryan Chase Ransom, and Ronald Sahyouni

OBJECTIVE

Cervical angina, or pseudoangina pectoris, is a noncardiac syndrome of chest pain that often mimics angina pectoris but is a disease of the spine. Diagnosis of cervical angina can be difficult and is often overlooked, although once identified, it can be successfully managed through conservative therapies and/or a variety of surgical interventions. Ultimately, cervical angina is an important component of the list of differential diagnoses in noncardiac chest pain. In the present study, the authors report the first comprehensive systematic review of the range of cervical and thoracic pathologies associated with cervical angina, as well as the different treatment methods used to manage this condition.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines and using PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases from database inception to April 29, 2020, to identify studies describing spinal pathologies related to cervical angina. The following Boolean search was performed: (“cervical” OR “thoracic”) AND (“angina” OR “chest pain”) AND (“herniation” OR “OPLL”). Variables extracted included patient demographics, cervical angina pain location, pathology and duration of symptoms, treatment and/or management method, and posttreatment pain relief.

RESULTS

Upon careful screening, 22 articles published between 1976 and 2020 met the study’s inclusion/exclusion criteria, including 5 case series, 12 case reports, and 5 retrospective cohort studies. These studies featured a total of 1100 patients, of which 95 met inclusion criteria (mean patient age 51.7 years, age range 24–86 years; 53.6% male). Collectively, symptom durations ranged from 1.5 days to 90 months. Cervical herniation (72.6%) accounted for the majority of cervical angina cases, and surgical interventions (84.4%) predominated over physical therapy (13.0%) and medical management strategies (9.1%). Every patient assessed at follow-up reported relief from symptoms related to cervical angina.

CONCLUSIONS

Cervical angina is a noncardiac syndrome of chest pain associated with a broad range of cervical and thoracic spinal pathologies, the most common of which is cervical disc herniation. Although difficult to diagnose, it can be successfully treated when identified through first-line conservative management or surgical interventions in refractory cases.

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Shane Shahrestani, Brandon M. Lehrich, Ali R. Tafreshi, Nolan J. Brown, Brian V. Lien, Seth Ransom, Ryan C. Ransom, Alexander M. Ballatori, Andy Ton, Xiao T. Chen, and Ronald Sahyouni

OBJECTIVE

Frailty is a clinical state of increased vulnerability due to age-associated decline and has been well established as a perioperative risk factor. Geriatric patients have a higher risk of frailty, higher incidence of brain cancer, and increased postoperative complication rates compared to nongeriatric patients. Yet, literature describing the effects of frailty on short- and long-term complications in geriatric patients is limited. In this study, the authors evaluate the effects of frailty in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm between 2010 and 2017 by using the Nationwide Readmission Database. Demographics and frailty were queried at primary admission, and readmissions were analyzed at 30-, 90-, and 180-day intervals. Complications of interest included infection, anemia, infarction, kidney injury, CSF leak, urinary tract infection, and mortality. Nearest-neighbor propensity score matching for demographics was implemented to identify nonfrail control patients with similar diagnoses and procedures. The analysis used Welch two-sample t-tests for continuous variables and chi-square test with odds ratios.

RESULTS

A total of 6713 frail patients and 6629 nonfrail patients were identified at primary admission. At primary admission, frail geriatric patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery had increased odds of developing acute posthemorrhagic anemia (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.23–1.98; p = 0.00020); acute infection (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.70–6.36; p = 0.00022); acute kidney injury (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07–1.62; p = 0.0088); urinary tract infection prior to discharge (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.71–2.29; p < 0.0001); acute postoperative cerebral infarction (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.17–2.11; p = 0.0026); and mortality (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.22–2.24; p = 0.0012) compared to nonfrail geriatric patients receiving the same procedure. In addition, frail patients had a significantly increased inpatient length of stay (p < 0.0001) and all-payer hospital cost (p < 0.0001) compared to nonfrail patients at the time of primary admission. However, no significant difference was found between frail and nonfrail patients with regard to rates of infection, thromboembolism, CSF leak, dural tear, cerebral infarction, acute kidney injury, and mortality at all readmission time points.

CONCLUSIONS

Frailty may significantly increase the risks of short-term acute complications in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm. Long-term analysis revealed no significant difference in complications between frail and nonfrail patients. Further research is warranted to understand the effects and timeline of frailty in geriatric patients.

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Alvin Y. Chan, Brian V. Lien, Elliot H. Choi, Andrew K. Chan, George Hanna, Alexander M. Lopez, Nolan J. Brown, Sandra Gattas, Lydia Kirillova, David Horton, Gianna Fote, Brian Hanst, Ryan Perry, Yu-Po Lee, Kiarash Golshani, Frank P. K. Hsu, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery (MIS ALIF) is a technique that restores disc height and lumbar lordosis through a smaller exposure and less soft-tissue trauma compared to open approaches. The mini-open and laparoscopic assistance techniques are two main forms of MIS ALIF. The authors conducted a systematic review that sought to critically summarize the literature on back pain following MIS ALIF.

METHODS

In March 2020, the authors searched the PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases for studies describing back pain visual analog scale (VAS) outcomes after MIS ALIF. The following exclusion criteria were applied to studies evaluated in full text: 1) the study included fewer than 20 patients, 2) the mean follow-up duration was shorter than 12 months, 3) the study did not report back pain VAS score as an outcome measure, and 4) MIS ALIF was not studied specifically. The methodology for the included studies were evaluated for potential biases and assigned a level of evidence.

RESULTS

There were a total of 552 patients included from 13 studies. The most common biases were selection and interviewer bias. The majority of studies were retrospective. The mean sample size was 42.3 patients. The mean follow-up duration was approximately 41.8 months. The mean postoperative VAS reduction was 5.1 points. The mean VAS reduction for standalone grafts was 5.9 points, and 5.0 points for those augmented with posterior fixation. The most common complications included bladder or urinary dysfunction, infection, and hardware-related complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This was a systematic review of back pain outcomes following MIS ALIF. Back pain VAS score was reduced postoperatively across all studies. The complication rates were low overall. MIS ALIF is safe and effective at reducing back pain in appropriate patient populations.