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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Meghan E. Murphy, Daniel L. Shepherd, Patrick R. Maloney, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohamad Bydon and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

The mechanism by which greater institutional case volume translates into improved outcomes after surgical clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is not well established. The authors thus aimed to assess the effect of case volume on the rate of various types of complications after clipping of UIAs.

METHODS

Using information on the outcomes of inpatient admissions for surgical clipping of UIAs collected within a national database, the relationship of institutional case volume to the incidence of different types of complications after clipping was investigated. Complications were subdivided into different categories, which included all complications, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, medical complications, infectious complications, complications related to anesthesia, and wound complications. The relationship of case volume to different types of complications was assessed using linear regression analysis. The relationships between case volume and overall complication and stroke rates were fit with both linear and quadratic equations. The numerical cutoff for institutional case volume above and below which the authors found the greatest differences in mean overall complication and stroke rate was determined using classification and regression tree (CART) analysis.

RESULTS

Between October 2012 and September 2015, 125 health care institutions reported patient outcomes from a total of 6040 cases of clipping of UIAs. On linear regression analysis, increasing case volume was negatively correlated to both overall complications (r2 = 0.046, p = 0.0234) and stroke (r2 = 0.029, p = 0.0557) rate, although the relationship of case volume to the complication (r2 = 0.092) and stroke (r2 = 0.067) rate was better fit with a quadratic equation. On CART analysis, the cutoff for the case number that yielded the greatest difference in overall complications and stroke rate between higher- or lower-volume centers was 6 cases/year and 3 cases/year, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the authors confirm that increasing case volume is associated with reduced complications after clipping of UIAs, their results suggest that the relationship between case volume and complications is not necessarily linear. Moreover, these results indicate that the effect of case volume on outcome is most evident between very-low-volume centers relative to centers with a medium-to-high volume.

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Patrick R. Maloney, Meghan E. Murphy, Molly J. Sullan, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Shelagh A. Cofer, John C. Cheville and Nicholas M. Wetjen

Split cord malformation (SCM) is a rare abnormality of notochord development. The majority of cases occur in the thoracolumbar region, with more than 30 cases of cervical SCM reported. The clinical impact of SCMs involving the cervical cord is therefore largely unknown. In addition, the concomitant finding of brainstem involvement is presumably incompatible with life in the majority of patients, resulting in a paucity of data regarding this clinical scenario. In this paper the authors present the first case, to their knowledge, of an incomplete cervical SCM involving the brainstem and discuss its clinical impact, diagnosis, and management.

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Malcolm D. M. Shaw, Patrick M. Foy, Michael Conway, John D. Pickard, Peter Maloney, John A. Spillane and David W. Chadwick

✓ Recent evidence has suggested that the delayed cerebral ischemic deficits that often follow surgery for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may be due to a proliferative vasculopathy. This vascular pathology may result from an interaction between the platelets and the vessel wall. A single-blind controlled trial of dipyridamole administration in 677 patients presenting with SAH (of whom 348 came to surgery) was undertaken to test the hypothesis that the modification of platelet behavior might reduce the incidence of ischemic deficits. Blind independent assessment of the outcome in the surgical group based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale and the specific neurological deficits revealed no significant differences between the control and treatment groups.

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Benjamin T. Himes, Arnoley S. Abcejo, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Adip G. Bhargav, Katherine Trelstad-Andrist, Patrick R. Maloney, John L. D. Atkinson, Fredric B. Meyer, W. Richard Marsh and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The sitting or semisitting position in neurosurgery allows for several technical advantages, including improved visualization of the surgical field. However, it has also been associated with an increased risk of venous air embolisms and positioning-related complications that limit its commonplace adoption. The authors report a large, single-center series of cervical spine procedures performed with patients in the sitting or prone position in order to assess the perceived risk of intraoperative and postoperative complications associated with the sitting position.

METHODS

Noninstrumented, single-level posterior cervical spine procedures performed with patients in the sitting/semisitting or prone position from 2000 to 2016 at a single institution were reviewed. Institutional abstraction tools (DataMart and Chart Plus) were used to collect data from the medical records. The two positions were compared with regard to preoperative factors, intraoperative variables, and postoperative outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted for 30-day readmission, 30-day return to the operating room, and complication rates.

RESULTS

A total of 750 patients (sitting, n = 480; prone, n = 270) were analyzed. The median age was 53 years for those who underwent surgery in the prone position and 50 years for those who underwent surgery in the sitting position (IQRs 45–62 years and 43–60 years, respectively), and 35% of the patients were female. Sitting cases were associated with significantly longer anesthetic times (221 minutes [range 199–252 minutes] vs 205 minutes [range 179–254 minutes]) and operative times (126 minutes [range 101–163 minutes] vs 149 minutes [120–181 minutes]). Cardiorespiratory events in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) were comparable between the two groups, with the exception of episodes of apnea (2.6% vs 0.6%, p = 0.041) and hypoventilation (4.4% vs 0.8%, p < 0.003), which were more frequent in the prone-position cohort. On multivariable analysis, the effect of the sitting versus the prone position was not significant for 30-day readmission (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.34–1.71, p = 0.52) or reoperation (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.31–1.60, p = 0.40). The sitting position was associated with lower odds of developing any complication (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.16–0.62, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the intraoperative and postoperative complications chosen in this study, the sitting position confers a similar safety profile to the prone position. This can be explained by a more anatomic positioning accounting for reduced temporary neurological deficits and reduced PACU-associated hypoventilation noted in this series. Nevertheless, the findings may also reflect institutional familiarity, experience, and mastery of this position type, and outcomes may not reflect practices in general.

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Meghan E. Murphy, Hannah Gilder, Patrick R. Maloney, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Daniel Shepherd, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Daniel S. Ubl, Cynthia S. Crowson, William E. Krauss, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

With improving medical therapies for chronic conditions, elderly patients increasingly present as candidates for operative intervention for degenerative diseases of the spine. To date, there is a paucity of studies examining complications in lumbar decompression, without fusion, that include patients older than 80 years. Using a multicenter national database, the authors of this study evaluated lumbar decompression in the elderly, including octogenarians, to evaluate for associations between age and patient outcomes.

METHODS

The 2011–2013 American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set was queried for patients 65 years and older with diagnosis and procedure codes inclusive of degenerative spine disease and lumbar decompression without fusion. Morbidity and mortality within the 30-day postoperative period were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes of interest included unplanned readmission within 30 days or discharge to a nonhome facility. Outcomes and operative characteristics were compared using chi-square tests, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and multivariable logistic regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 8744 patients were identified; of these patients 4573 (52.30%) were 65 years and older. Elderly patients were stratified into 3 age categories: 85 years or older (n = 314), 75–84 years (n = 1663), and 65–74 years (n = 2596). Univariate analysis showed that, compared with age younger than 65 years, increased age was associated with the number of levels (≥ 3), readmissions within 30 days, nonhome discharge, any complication, length of stay, and blood transfusion (all p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis and with younger than 65 years as the reference, increased age was associated with any minor complication (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.69–7.13; 75–84 years: OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.45–3.78; and 65–74 years: OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.94–2.20), as well as discharge location other than home (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 13.59, 95% CI 9.47–19.49; 75–84 years: OR 5.64, 95% CI 4.33–7.34; and 65–74 years: OR 2.61, 95% CI 2.05–3.32).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' high-powered, multicenter analysis of lumbar decompression without fusion in the elderly, specifically including patients older than 80 years, demonstrates that increased age is associated with more extensive operations, resulting in longer hospital stays, increased rates of nonhome discharge, and minor complications.