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Kerry A. Vaughan, Christian Lopez Ramos, Vivek P. Buch, Rania A. Mekary, Julia R. Amundson, Meghal Shah, Abbas Rattani, Michael C. Dewan and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, yet its global surgical burden has yet to be characterized. The authors sought to compile the most current epidemiological data to quantify global prevalence and incidence, and estimate global surgically treatable epilepsy. Understanding regional and global epilepsy trends and potential surgical volume is crucial for future policy efforts and resource allocation.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to determine the global incidence, lifetime prevalence, and active prevalence of epilepsy; to estimate surgically treatable epilepsy volume; and to evaluate regional trends by WHO regions and World Bank income levels. Data were extracted from all population-based studies with prespecified methodological quality across all countries and demographics, performed between 1990 and 2016 and indexed on PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane. The current and annual new case volumes for surgically treatable epilepsy were derived from global epilepsy prevalence and incidence.

RESULTS

This systematic review yielded 167 articles, across all WHO regions and income levels. Meta-analysis showed a raw global prevalence of lifetime epilepsy of 1099 per 100,000 people, whereas active epilepsy prevalence is slightly lower at 690 per 100,000 people. Global incidence was found to be 62 cases per 100,000 person-years. The meta-analysis predicted 4.6 million new cases of epilepsy annually worldwide, a prevalence of 51.7 million active epilepsy cases, and 82.3 million people with any lifetime epilepsy diagnosis. Differences across WHO regions and country incomes were significant. The authors estimate that currently 10.1 million patients with epilepsy may be surgical treatment candidates, and 1.4 million new surgically treatable epilepsy cases arise annually. The highest prevalences are found in Africa and Latin America, although the highest incidences are reported in the Middle East and Latin America. These regions are primarily low- and middle-income countries; as expected, the highest disease burden falls disproportionately on regions with the fewest healthcare resources.

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding of the global epilepsy burden has evolved as more regions have been studied. This up-to-date worldwide analysis provides the first estimate of surgical epilepsy volume and an updated comprehensive overview of current epidemiological trends. The disproportionate burden of epilepsy on low- and middle-income countries will require targeted diagnostic and treatment efforts to reduce the global disparities in care and cost. Quantifying global epilepsy provides the first step toward restructuring the allocation of healthcare resources as part of global healthcare system strengthening.

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Malia McAvoy, Heather J. McCrea, Vamsidhar Chavakula, Hoon Choi, Wenya Linda Bi, Rania A. Mekary, Scellig Stone and Mark R. Proctor

OBJECTIVE

Few studies describe long-term functional outcomes of pediatric patients who have undergone lumbar microdiscectomy (LMD) because of the rarity of pediatric disc herniation and the short follow-up periods. The authors analyzed risk factors, clinical presentation, complications, and functional outcomes of a single-institution series of LMD patients over a 19-year period.

METHODS

A retrospective case series was conducted of pediatric LMD patients at a large pediatric academic hospital from 1998 to 2017. The authors examined premorbid risk factors, clinical presentation, physical examination findings, type and duration of conservative management, indications for surgical intervention, complications, and postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS

Over the 19-year study period, 199 patients underwent LMD at the authors’ institution. The mean age at presentation was 16.0 years (range 12–18 years), and 55.8% were female. Of these patients, 70.9% participated in competitive sports, and among those who did not play sports, 65.0% had a body mass index greater than 25 kg/m2. Prior to surgery, conservative management had failed in 98.0% of the patients. Only 3 patients (1.5%) presented with cauda equina syndrome requiring emergent microdiscectomy. Complications included 4 cases of postoperative CSF leak (2.0%), 1 case of a noted intraoperative CSF leak, and 3 cases of wound infection (1.5%). At the first postoperative follow-up appointment, minimal or no pain was reported by 93.3% of patients. The mean time to return to sports was 9.8 weeks. During a mean follow-up duration of 8.2 years, 72.9% of patients did not present again after routine postoperative appointments. The total risk of reoperation was a rate of 7.5% (3.5% of patients underwent reoperation for the same level; 4.5% underwent adjacent-level decompression, and one patient [0.5%] ultimately underwent a fusion).

CONCLUSIONS

Microdiscectomy is a safe and effective treatment for long-term relief of pain and return to daily activities among pediatric patients with symptomatic lumbar disc disease in whom conservative management has failed.

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Faith C. Robertson, Jacob R. Lepard, Rania A. Mekary, Matthew C. Davis, Ismaeel Yunusa, William B. Gormley, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Muhammad Raji Mahmud, Basant K. Misra, Abbas Rattani, Michael C. Dewan and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Central nervous system (CNS) infections cause significant morbidity and mortality and often require neurosurgical intervention for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, neither the international burden of CNS infection, nor the current capacity of the neurosurgical workforce to treat these diseases is well characterized. The objective of this study was to elucidate the global incidence of surgically relevant CNS infection, highlighting geographic areas for targeted improvement in neurosurgical capacity.

METHODS

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed to capture studies published between 1990 and 2016. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched using variations of terms relating to CNS infection and epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, burden, case fatality, etc.). To deliver a geographic breakdown of disease, results were pooled using the random-effects model and stratified by WHO region and national income status for the different CNS infection types.

RESULTS

The search yielded 10,906 studies, 154 of which were used in the final qualitative analysis. A meta-analysis was performed to compute disease incidence by using data extracted from 71 of the 154 studies. The remaining 83 studies were excluded from the quantitative analysis because they did not report incidence. A total of 508,078 cases of CNS infections across all studies were included, with a total sample size of 130,681,681 individuals. Mean patient age was 35.8 years (range: newborn to 95 years), and the male/female ratio was 1:1.74. Among the 71 studies with incidence data, 39 were based in high-income countries, 25 in middle-income countries, and 7 in low-income countries. The pooled incidence of studied CNS infections was consistently highest in low-income countries, followed by middle- and then high-income countries. Regarding WHO regions, Africa had the highest pooled incidence of bacterial meningitis (65 cases/100,000 people), neurocysticercosis (650/100,000), and tuberculous spondylodiscitis (55/100,000), whereas Southeast Asia had the highest pooled incidence of intracranial abscess (49/100,000), and Europe had the highest pooled incidence of nontuberculous vertebral spondylodiscitis (5/100,000). Overall, few articles reported data on deaths associated with infection. The limited case fatality data revealed the highest case fatality for tuberculous meningitis/spondylodiscitis (21.1%) and the lowest for neurocysticercosis (5.5%). In all five disease categories, funnel plots assessing for publication bias were asymmetrical and suggested that the results may underestimate the incidence of disease.

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis approximates the global incidence of neurosurgically relevant infectious diseases. These results underscore the disproportionate burden of CNS infections in the developing world, where there is a tremendous demand to provide training and resources for high-quality neurosurgical care.