Daniel Hansen, Aditya Vedantam, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea
The emphasis on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes is increasing, along with an emphasis on evidence-based medicine. However, there is a notable paucity of validated HRQOL instruments for the pediatric population. Furthermore, no standardization or consensus currently exists concerning which HRQOL outcome measures ought to be used in pediatric neurosurgery. The authors wished to identify HRQOL outcomes used in pediatric neurosurgery research over the past 10 years, their frequency, and usage trends.
Three top pediatric neurosurgical journals were reviewed for the decade from 2005 to 2014 for clinical studies of pediatric neurosurgical procedures that report HRQOL outcomes. Similar studies in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics were also used as a benchmark. Publication year, level of evidence, and HRQOL outcomes were collected for each article.
A total of 31 HRQOL studies were published in the pediatric neurosurgical literature over the study period. By comparison, there were 55 such articles in Pediatrics. The number of publications using HRQOL instruments showed a significant positive trend over time for Pediatrics (B = 0.62, p = 0.02) but did not increase significantly over time for the 3 neurosurgical journals (B = 0.12, p = 0.5). The authors identified a total of 46 different HRQOL instruments used across all journals. Within the neurosurgical journals, the Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire (HOQ) (24%) was the most frequently used, followed by the Health Utilities Index (HUI) (16%), the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) (12%), and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) (12%). Of the 55 articles identified in Pediatrics, 22 (40%) used a version of the PedsQL. No neurosurgical study reached above Level 4 on the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) system. However, multiple studies from Pediatrics achieved OCEBM Level 3, several were categorized as Level 2, and one reached Level 1.
The frequency of studies using HRQOL outcomes in pediatric neurosurgical research has not increased over the past 10 years. Within pediatric neurosurgery, high-quality studies and standardization are lacking, as compared with contemporary studies in Pediatrics. In general, although the HOQ, HUI, PedsQL, and SF-36 instruments are emerging as standards in pediatric neurosurgery, even greater standardization across the specialty is needed, along with the design and implementation of more rigorous studies.
Paul D. Kiely and Matthew E. Cunningham
Sandi K. Lam, Christian M. Niedzwecki, Bradley Daniels, Rory R. Mayer, Mili M. Vakharia and Andrew Jea
Pediatric idiopathic intervertebral disc calcification (PIIVDC) is a rare condition; most cases are reported to be selflimited with conservative management. In this study, we describe a case of PIIVDC presenting with acute incomplete spinal cord injury with Brown-Séquard-plus syndrome that was treated with surgery and demonstrate the subsequent rehabilitation time course.
Ben A. Strickland, Christina Sayama, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea
In a previous study, the authors reported on their experience with the use of sublaminar polyester bands as part of segmental spinal constructs. However, the risk of neurological complications with sublaminar passage of instrumentation, such as spinal cord injury, limits the use of this technique. The present study reports the novel use of subtransverse process polyester bands in posterior instrumented spinal fusions of the thoracic and lumbar spines and sacrum or ilium in 4 patients.
The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographic and procedural data of patients who had undergone posterior instrumented fusion using subtransverse process polyester bands.
Four patients, ranging in age from 11 to 22 years, underwent posterior instrumented fusion for neuromuscular scoliosis (3 patients) and thoracic hyperkyphosis (1 patient). There were 3 instances of transverse process fracture, with application and tensioning of the polyester band in 1 patient. Importantly, there was no instance of spinal cord injury with subtransverse process passage of the polyester band. The lessons learned from this technique are discussed.
This study has shown the “Eleghia” technique of passing subtransverse process bands to be a technically straightforward and neurologically safe method of spinal fixation. Pedicle screws, laminar/pedicle/transverse process hooks, and sublaminar metal wires/bands have been incorporated into posterior spinal constructs; they have been widely reported and used in the thoracic and lumbar spines and sacrum or ilium with varying success. This report demonstrates the promising results of hybrid posterior spinal constructs that include the Eleghia technique of passing subtransverse process polyester bands. This technique incorporates technical ease with minimal risk of neurological injury and biomechanical stability.
I-Wen Pan, Grace M. Kuo, Thomas G. Luerssen and Sandi K. Lam
This study explored antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) in pediatric patients undergoing intrathecal baclofen pump (ITBP) surgery and factors associated with perioperative AP compliance with clinical guidelines.
Data were obtained from the Pediatric Health Information System. The study cohort comprised patients who underwent ITBP surgery within 3 days of admission, between July 1, 2004, and March 31, 2014, with a minimum prior screening period and follow-up of 180 days. Exclusion criteria were prior infection, antibiotic use within 30 days of admission, and/or missing financial data. Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regressions were used to determine factors associated with compliance with AP guidelines in ITBP surgeries.
A total of 1,534 patients met the inclusion criteria; 91.5% received AP and 37.6% received dual coverage or more. Overall bundled compliance comprised 2 components: 1) perioperative antibiotic administration and 2) < 24-hour postoperative antibiotic course. The most frequently used antibiotics in surgery were cefazolin (n = 873, 62.2%) and vancomycin (n = 351, 25%). Documented bundled AP compliance rates were 70.2%, 62.0%, 66.0%, and 55.2% in West, South, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the US, respectively. Compared with surgeries in the Northeast, procedures carried out in the West (OR 2.0, 95% C11.4-2.9, p < 0.001), Midwest (OR 1.6, 95% C11.1-2.3, p = 0.007), and South (OR 1.5, 95% C11.1-2.0, p = 0.021) were more likely to have documented AP compliance. Black (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55-1.00, p = 0.05) and Hispanic (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.47-0.86, p = 0.004) patients were less likely to have documented AP compliance in ITBP surgeries than white patients. There were no significant differences in compliance rate by age, sex, type of insurance, and diagnosis. AP process measures were associated with shorter length of stay, lower hospitalization costs, and lower 6-month rates of surgical infection/complication. One of the 2 noncompliance subgroups, missed preoperative antibiotic administration, was correlated with a significantly higher 6-month surgical complication/infection rate (27.03%) compared with bundled compliance (20.00%, p = 0.021). For the other subgroup, prolonged antibiotic use > 24 hours postoperatively, the rate was insignificantly higher (22.00%, p = 0.368). Thus, of direct relevance to practicing clinicians, missed preoperative antibiotics was associated with 48% higher risk of adverse complication/infection outcome in a 6-month time frame. Adjusted hospitalization costs associated with baclofen pump surgery differed significantly (p < 0.001) with respect to perioperative antibiotic practices: 22.83, 29.10, 37.66 (× 1000 USD) for bundled compliance, missed preoperative antibiotics, and prolonged antibiotic administration, respectively.
Significant variation in ITBP antibiotic prophylaxis was found. Documented AP compliance was associated with higher value of care, showing favorable clinical and financial outcomes. Of most impact to clinical outcome, missed preoperative antibiotics was significantly associated with higher risk of 6-month surgical complication/infection. Prolonged antibiotic use was associated with significantly higher hospital costs compared with those with overall bundled antibiotic compliance. Future research is warranted to examine factors associated with practice variation and how AP compliance is associated with outcomes and quality, aiming for improving delivery of care to pediatric patients undergoing ITBP procedures.
Ricky H. Wong, Fabrice Smieliauskas, I-Wen Pan and Sandi K. Lam
Neurosurgery studies traditionally have evaluated the effects of interventions on health care outcomes by studying overall changes in measured outcomes over time. Yet, this type of linear analysis is limited due to lack of consideration of the trend’s effects both pre- and postintervention and the potential for confounding influences. The aim of this study was to illustrate interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) as applied to an example in the neurosurgical literature and highlight ITSA’s potential for future applications.
The methods used in previous neurosurgical studies were analyzed and then compared with the methodology of ITSA.
The ITSA method was identified in the neurosurgical literature as an important technique for isolating the effect of an intervention (such as a policy change or a quality and safety initiative) on a health outcome independent of other factors driving trends in the outcome. The authors determined that ITSA allows for analysis of the intervention’s immediate impact on outcome level and on subsequent trends and enables a more careful measure of the causal effects of interventions on health care outcomes.
ITSA represents a significant improvement over traditional observational study designs in quantifying the impact of an intervention. ITSA is a useful statistical procedure to understand, consider, and implement as the field of neurosurgery evolves in sophistication in big-data analytics, economics, and health services research.
John R. W. Kestle
Caroline Hadley, Sandi K. Lam, Valentina Briceño, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea
Currently there is no standardized tool for assessment of neurosurgical resident performance in the operating room. In light of enhanced requirements issued by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Milestone Project and the Matrix Curriculum Project from the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the implementation of such a tool seems essential for objective evaluation of resident competence. Beyond compliance with governing body guidelines, objective assessment tools may be useful to direct early intervention for trainees performing below the level of their peers so that they may be given more hands-on teaching, while strong residents can be encouraged by faculty members to progress to conducting operations more independently with passive supervision. The aims of this study were to implement a validated assessment tool for evaluation of operative skills in pediatric neurosurgery and determine its feasibility and reliability.
All neurosurgery residents completing their pediatric rotation over a 6-month period from January 1, 2014, to June 30, 2014, at the authors’ institution were enrolled in this study. For each procedure, residents were evaluated by means of a form, with one copy being completed by the resident and a separate copy being completed by the attending surgeon. The evaluation form was based on the validated Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills for Surgery (OSATS) and used a 5-point Likert-type scale with 7 categories: respect for tissue; time and motion; instrument handling; knowledge of instruments; flow of operation; use of assistants; and knowledge of specific procedure. Data were then stratified by faculty versus resident (self-) assessment; postgraduate year level; and difficulty of procedure. Descriptive statistics (means and SDs) were calculated, and the results were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and Student t-test. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Six faculty members, 1 fellow, and 8 residents completed evaluations for 299 procedures, including 32 ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt revisions, 23 VP shunt placements, 19 endoscopic third ventriculostomies, and 18 craniotomies for tumor resection. There was no significant difference between faculty and resident self-assessment scores overall or in any of the 7 domains scores for each of the involved residents. On self-assessment, senior residents scored themselves significantly higher (p < 0.02) than junior residents overall and in all domains except for “time and motion.” Faculty members scored senior residents significantly higher than junior residents only for the “knowledge of instruments” domain (p = 0.05). When procedure difficulty was considered, senior residents’ scores from faculty members were significantly higher (p = 0.04) than the scores given to junior residents for expert procedures only. Senior residents’ self-evaluation scores were significantly higher than those of junior residents for both expert (p = 0.03) and novice (p = 0.006) procedures.
OSATS is a feasible and reliable assessment tool for the comprehensive evaluation of neurosurgery resident performance in the operating room. The authors plan to use this tool to assess resident operative skill development and to improve direct resident feedback.
Sandi K. Lam, Christina Sayama, Dominic A. Harris, Valentina Briceño, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea
Current national patterns as a function of patient-, hospital-, and procedure-related factors, and complication rates in the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) as an adjunct to the practice of pediatric spine surgery have scarcely been investigated.
The authors conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals, and p values < 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.
The authors identified 9538 hospitalizations in pediatric patients 20 years old or younger who had undergone spinal fusion in the US in 2009; 1541 of these admissions were associated with rhBMP-2 use. By multivariate logistic regression, the following factors were associated with rhBMP-2 use: patient age 15–20 years; length of hospital stay (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.01, p = 0.017); insurance status (private [aOR 1.49, p < 0.001] compared with Medicaid); hospital type (nonchildren's hospital); region (Midwest [aOR 2.49, p = 0.008] compared with Northeast); spinal refusion (aOR 2.20, p < 0.001); spinal fusion approach/segment (anterior lumbar [aOR 1.73, p < 0.001] and occipitocervical [aOR 1.86, p = 0.013] compared with posterior lumbar); short segment length (aOR 1.42, p = 0.016) and midlength (aOR 1.44, p = 0.005) compared with long; and preoperative diagnosis (Scheuermann kyphosis [aOR 1.56, p < 0.017] and spondylolisthesis [aOR 1.93, p < 0.001]).
Use of BMP in pediatric spine procedures now comprises more than 10% of pediatric spinal fusion. Patient-related (age, insurance type, diagnosis); hospital-related (children's hospital vs general hospital, region in the US); and procedure-related (redo fusion, anterior vs posterior approach, spinal levels, number of levels fused) factors are associated with the variation in BMP use in the US.