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Brian J. Zink and Paul J. Feustel

✓ It has been observed that traumatic brain injury (TBI) increases the susceptibility of the brain to subsequent hypoxia, and prolonged apnea occurs in ethanol (EtOH)-treated animals following brain injury. This investigation tests the hypothesis that EtOH suppresses ventilation and hypercapnic respiratory drive following TBI. Immature pigs were anesthetized with halothane and received a 2 to 3 atm fluid-percussion brain injury. Respiratory parameters, including tidal volume, frequency, ventilation ( E), and arterial blood gases were measured on 100% O2 and on 5% to 6% inspired CO2 in O2 prior to and at 10, 60, 120, and 180 minutes after TBI. Hypercapnic response sensitivity (S) was measured as the change in E per mm Hg increase in PaCO2. Intracranial pressure, mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate, brain temperature, glucose, and EtOH levels were also monitored. Three groups were studied: the first group of six received EtOH (3.5 gm/kg, intragastrically) without brain injury; the second group of six received TBI without EtOH; the third group of eight received EtOH and TBI. Ethanol levels were 121 ± 13 (standard error of the mean) mg/dl in the EtOH/TBI group (136 ± 25 in the EtOH group) at the time of injury, and 175 ± 12 mg/dl in the EtOH/TBI group (200 ± 20 mg/dl in the EtOH group) at 120 minutes after injury. The EtOH/TBI animals had significantly lower E and S, and higher PaCO2 following brain injury (p < 0.05, repeated-measures analysis of variance). No significant differences were identified between groups for pH, PaCO2, intracranial pressure, heart rate, brain temperature, or glucose levels. Ethanol intoxication leads to significant impairment of respiratory control following traumatic brain injury and may contribute to brain injury in intoxicated trauma victims.

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Daniel L. Friedlich, Paul J. Feustel and A. John Popp

Object

The workforce demand for neurosurgeons was quantified by a review and an analysis of journal recruitment advertisements published over the past 13 years.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of recruitment advertisements from July 1985 through June 1998 was performed by examining issues of the Journal of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgery. Advertisement information that appeared in each journal during the last 3 years was collected from alternating months (July to May); information that appeared prior to that time was collected from alternating recruitment years back to 1985. The authors examined the following workforce parameters: practice venue, subspecialization, and practice size.

They found no significant decrease in neurosurgical recruitment advertisements. There was an average of 102.7 ± 22.4 (standard deviation) advertised positions per year during the most recent 3 years compared with 92.6 ± 17.9 advertised positions per year during the preceding decade. Similarly, there has been no decline in advertised positions either in academic (33 ± 6.1/year for the most recent 3 years compared with 32.8 ± 5.9/year for 1985–1995) or private practice (69.7 ± 21.6/year for the most recent 3 years compared with 59.8 ± 13.4/year for 1985–1995). A shift in demand toward subspecialty neurosurgery was observed. During the past 3 years, 31.2 ± 5.9% of advertised positions called for subspecialty expertise, compared with 18.5 ± 2.8% for the preceding decade (p < 0.05). The largest number of subspecialty advertisements designated positions for spine and pediatric neurosurgeons. Private practice advertisements increasingly sought to add neurosurgeons to group practices.

Conclusions

Contrary to previous reports and a prevailing myth, our data show no decrease in workforce demand for neurosurgeons in the United States over the past 3 years compared with the prior decade. A shift toward subspecialist recruitment, particularly for spine neurosurgeons, has been demonstrated in both academic and private practice venues.

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Daniel L. Friedlich, Paul J. Feustel and A. John Popp

Object. The workforce demand for neurosurgeons was quantified by a review and an analysis of journal recruitment advertisements published over the past 13 years.

Methods. A retrospective analysis of recruitment advertisements from July 1985 through June 1998 was performed by examining issues of the Journal of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgery. Advertisement information that appeared in each journal during the last 3 years was collected from alternating months (July to May); information that appeared prior to that time was collected from alternating recruitment years back to 1985. The authors examined the following workforce parameters: practice venue, subspecialization, and practice size.

They found no significant decrease in neurosurgical recruitment advertisements. There was an average of 102.7 ± 22.4 (standard deviation) advertised positions per year during the most recent 3 years compared with 92.6 ± 17.9 advertised positions per year during the preceding decade. Similarly, there has been no decline in advertised positions either in academic (33 ± 6.1/year for the most recent 3 years compared with 32.8 ± 5.9/year for 1985–1995) or private practice (69.7 ± 21.6/year for the most recent 3 years compared with 59.8 ± 13.4/year for 1985–1995). A shift in demand toward subspecialty neurosurgery was observed. During the past 3 years, 31.2 ± 5.9% of advertised positions called for subspecialty expertise, compared with 18.5 ± 2.8% for the preceding decade (p < 0.05). The largest number of subspecialty advertisements designated positions for spine and pediatric neurosurgeons. Private practice advertisements increasingly sought to add neurosurgeons to group practices.

Conclusions. Contrary to previous reports and a prevailing myth, our data show no decrease in workforce demand for neurosurgeons in the United States over the past 3 years compared with the prior decade. A shift toward subspecialist recruitment, particularly for spine neurosurgeons, has been demonstrated in both academic and private practice venues.

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Harold K. Kimelberg, Yiqiang Jin, Carol Charniga and Paul J. Feustel

Object. The authors have previously shown that tamoxifen is effective in protecting brain tissue from ischemic injury in a rat model of reversible focal ischemia. In this study the authors tested whether similar protective effects are found in a rat model of permanent focal ischemia (permanent middle cerebral artery [MCA] occlusion).

Methods. Tamoxifen (20 mg/kg) was given either before or at 1, 3, or 6 hours after permanent MCA occlusion in rats, with sustaining doses given every 12 hours thereafter. The median infarct volume measured after 72 hours was 113 mm3 for the vehicle (dimethyl sulfoxide) groups, compared with 31 mm3 for pretreatment, and 14, 27, and 98 mm3 for treatment beginning at 1, 3, and 6 hours, respectively, after permanent MCA occlusion. The infarct reductions in the pretreated and 1- and 3-hour post—MCA occlusion treatment groups were statistically significant (p < 0.05). At 3 hours after permanent MCA occlusion, tamoxifen also significantly reduced the infarct size at a lower dose of 5 mg/kg but not at 1 mg/kg; the same sustaining doses of 5 and 1 mg/kg were given every 12 hours.

Conclusions. Tamoxifen is as effective in a permanent model of focal ischemia as it is in the reversible model, and the therapeutic window of 3 hours after initiation of ischemia is identical. This effectiveness is likely due to several properties of the drug, including its known ability to cross the blood—brain barrier. Because tamoxifen has been administered safely in humans for treatment of gliomas at similarly high doses to those used in this study, it may be clinically useful as a treatment for ischemic stroke.

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Shiveindra B. Jeyamohan, Tyler J. Kenning, Karen A. Petronis, Paul J. Feustel, Doniel Drazin and Darryl J. DiRisio

OBJECT

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is an effective procedure for the treatment of cervical radiculopathy and/or myelopathy; however, postoperative dysphagia is a significant concern. Dexamethasone, although potentially protective against perioperative dysphagia and airway compromise, could inhibit fusion, a generally proinflammatory process. The authors conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled study of the effects of steroids on swallowing, the airway, and arthrodesis related to multilevel anterior cervical reconstruction in patients who were undergoing ACDF at Albany Medical Center between 2008 and 2012. The objective of this study was to determine if perioperative steroid use improves perioperative dysphagia and airway edema.

METHODS

A total of 112 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive saline or dexamethasone. Data gathered included demographics, functional status (including modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association myelopathy score, neck disability index, 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey score, and patient-reported visual analog scale score of axial and radiating pain), functional outcome swallowing scale score, interval postoperative imaging, fusion status, and complications/reoperations. Follow-up was performed at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months, and CT was performed 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery for fusion assessment.

RESULTS

Baseline demographics were not significantly different between the 2 groups, indicating adequate randomization. In terms of patient-reported functional and pain-related outcomes, there were no differences in the steroid and placebo groups. However, the severity of dysphagia in the postoperative period up to 1 month proved to be significantly lower in the steroid group than in the placebo group (p = 0.027). Furthermore, airway difficulty and a need for intubation trended toward significance in the placebo group (p = 0.057). Last, fusion rates at 6 months proved to be significantly lower in the steroid group but lost significance at 12 months (p = 0.048 and 0.57, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Dexamethasone administered perioperatively significantly improved swallowing function and airway edema and shortened length of stay. It did not affect pain, functional outcomes, or long-term swallowing status. However, it significantly delayed fusion, but the long-term fusion rates remained unaffected.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01065961 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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John B. Fortune, Paul J. Feustel, Carl G. M. Weigle and A. John Popp

✓ Following traumatic brain injury, continuous jugular venous oxygen saturation (SjvO2) measurements have been made and used to assess cerebral oxygenation. Transients of SjvO2 may reflect cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes if measurements are made over a short period of time during which cerebral metabolic rate for oxygen is assumed unchanged. In response to alterations in perfusion pressure, transients of SjvO2 may indicate the extent to which autoregulation has been preserved after injury. The effect of arterial pressure changes on SjvO2 was measured in 14 severely head-injured patients (Glasgow Coma Scale score < 8) within 36 hours of injury. Mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), arterial oxygen saturation, and intracranial pressure (ICP) data were also continuously recorded by a computer at the patients' bedside. The reliability of the SjvO2 oximetry measurements varied among patients, and an average 38% of SjvO2 measurements were off by more than 6% saturation, necessitating recalibration. During periods of satisfactory catheter performance, 120 instances were found in which MABP was elevated more than 8 torr (mean ± standard deviation: 32 ± 13 torr) due to endotracheal suctioning. In 94 of these measurements, there was an associated increase in the ICP of 5 torr or more, averaging 16.6 ± 10.2 torr. The SjvO2 was 0.62 ± 0.10 before the increase in MABP and rose to a peak of 0.77 ± 0.10 during the maximum MABP elevation, suggesting increased CBF during the transient hypertension. In 34 of 37 instances of persistent blood pressure elevations lasting for more than 10 minutes (mean 16.0 ± 8.0 minutes), the SjvO2 elevation persisted (average duration 15.0 ± 12.4 minutes), suggesting impaired or lost autoregulatory vasoconstriction. The presence or absence of hyperemia was unrelated to the extent of the autoregulation response. Results indicate that SjvO2 rises with increasing perfusion pressure during and after endotracheal suctioning, suggesting a feeble or absent autoregulatory response following traumatic brain injury.

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Alan S. Boulos, Eric M. Deshaies, John C. Dalfino, Paul J. Feustel, A. John Popp and Doniel Drazin

Object

Tamoxifen has been shown to be a potent neuroprotectant against stroke in rodents. Because other neuroprotectant medications have failed in human trials, a study of tamoxifen in a large-animal model was necessary to further assess the drug's effectiveness. For this study, the authors developed an endovascular model of anterior circulation infarction in canines to mimic the human clinical condition. They assessed the following hypotheses: 1) that they will be able to consistently produce an internal carotid artery (ICA) terminus infarction and 2) that tamoxifen is an effective neuroprotectant against stroke in canines.

Methods

In 24 male beagles (weight 9–11 kg), bilateral femoral artery cutdowns were performed, and the vertebral artery and left ICA were each selectively catheterized. Under fluoroscopic guidance, a microcatheter was introduced via the vertebral artery, guiding the catheter into the basilar artery, posterior communicating artery, and ICA terminus. A 1-ml clot was injected in the terminus, occluding the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and anterior cerebral artery (ACA) origin. In the first 12 canines, the occlusions were confirmed by angiography. A Canine Stroke Score (CSS) was assigned (score range 0–18 [0 = intact on examination, 18 = comatose]). The animals were then killed and their brains stained with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC). The subsequent 12 canines underwent a blinded randomized study in which the authors compared the results of tamoxifen (5 mg/kg) infused intravenously 1 hour after clot injection with an equal volume of vehicle (dimethylsulfoxide). After 3 hours, the animals underwent MR imaging, were extubated, and clinical examinations were performed. The canines were killed at 8 hours after clot injection, and TTC staining was used.

Results

In the first group, infarct volume and CSSs were consistent with the extent of the occlusion of the angiographic vessels. An occlusion of the ACA, MCA, and posterior cerebral artery resulted in larger infarcts and higher stroke scores than occlusion of the ACA and MCA. In the second group, tamoxifen significantly reduced infarct size and improved clinical outcomes. In tamoxifen-treated animals, the mean infarct volume reduction was 40% (p < 0.05) and the mean CSS was significantly less than vehicle-treated animals (p < 0.001). There were significant correlations among MR imaging-determined volume, TTC-determined volume, and neurological clinical outcome (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Using this endovascular model of stroke, the authors were able to consistently produce an infarction in the canines that was similar in scope to a carotid terminus occlusion in humans. Also, angiography could predict subsequent clinical course and infarct size. Tamoxifen was effective at significantly improving the canine neurological deficits and reducing the size of the stroke. This study took the first step in demonstrating the effectiveness of a promising human neuroprotectant in a large animal.

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A. John Popp, Todd Scrime, Benjamin R. Cohen, Paul J. Feustel, Karen Petronis, Sharon Habiniak, John B. Waldman and Margaret M. Vosburgh

Object

The authors studied factors influencing hospital profitability after craniotomy in patients who underwent craniotomy coded as diagnosis-related group (DRG) 1 (17 years of age with nontraumatic disease without complication) and who met their hospital's craniotomy pathway criteria and had a hospital length of stay 4 days or less during a 20-month period.

Methods

Data in all patients meeting these criteria (76 cases) were collected and collated from various hospital databases. Twenty-one cases were profitable and 55 were not. Variables traditionally influencing cost of care, such as surgeon, procedure, length of operation, and pharmacy use had no significant effect on whether a patient was profitable. The most important influence on profitability was the individual payor. Cases in which care was reimbursed under the prospective payment system based on DRGs were nearly always profitable whereas those covered by per diem plans were nearly always nonprofitable.

Conclusions

1) Hospital information systems should be customized to deliver consolidated data for timely analysis of cost of care for individual patients. This information may be useful in negotiating profitable contracts. 2) A clinical pathway was successful in reducing the difference in cost of care between profitable and nonprofitable postcra-niotomy cases. 3) In today's health care environment both cost containment and revenue assume importance in determining profitability.