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Sarah Nguyen, Kyril L. Cole, Kathleen H. Timme, and Randy L. Jensen

Neurosurgery residents spend a significant amount of their time teaching patients, families, students, residents, and other health professionals. To help ensure competence in their residents’ teaching abilities, many specialties have established formal residents-as-teachers (RAT) curricula; however, such formalized curricula are often lacking in neurosurgery programs. The authors’ goal was to develop and implement a formal RAT curriculum, designed with neurosurgery residents’ other responsibilities in mind, to improve residents’ formal and informal teaching abilities. Here, the authors report on the design of a formalized teaching curriculum tailored for the needs of neurosurgical residents, with a focus on deliberate practice and minimal time needed for preparation. The curriculum, designed using Kern’s 6 steps of curriculum design as a framework, comprises 5 lecture series spread over 3 years, repeated twice through a resident’s training, with each lecture series outlined with its respective topics and objectives. Opportunities for observed teaching as well as informal and formal evaluation will be provided to residents. The program will be evaluated on a yearly basis using direct and anonymized resident feedback on the RAT curriculum. Measures of program success will also include pre- and postprogram medical student and peer evaluation of residents. These data will be used for continual improvement of the curriculum as it is implemented. Successes and shortcomings of this program will be disseminated by publication, presentations, and placement on the authors’ department website and social media. This paper may serve as a foundation for other neurosurgical programs to develop RAT curricula for greater enhancement of resident teaching abilities.

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Thanh T. Nguyen, Sarah Hill, Thomas M. Austin, Gina M. Whitney, John C. Wellons III, and Humphrey V. Lam


Craniofacial reconstruction surgery (CFR) is often associated with significant blood loss, coagulopathy, and perioperative blood transfusion. Due to transfusion risks, many different approaches have been used to decrease allogeneic blood transfusion for these patients during the perioperative period. Protocols have decreased blood administration during the perioperative period for many types of surgeries. The object of this study was to determine if a protocol involving blood-sparing surgical techniques and a transfusion algorithm decreased intraoperative blood transfusion and blood loss.


A protocol using transfusion algorithms and implementation of blood-sparing surgical techniques for CFR was implemented at Vanderbilt University on January 1, 2013. Following Institutional Review Board approval, blood loss and transfusion data were gathered retrospectively on all children undergoing primary open CFR, using the protocol, for the calendar year 2013. This postprotocol cohort was compared with a preprotocol cohort, which consisted of all children undergoing primary open CFR during the previous calendar year, 2012.


There were 41 patients in the preprotocol and 39 in the postprotocol cohort. There was no statistical difference between the demographics of the 2 groups. When compared with the preprotocol cohort, intraoperative packed red blood cell transfusion volume decreased from 36.9 ± 21.2 ml/kg to 19.2 ± 10.9 ml/kg (p = 0.0001), whereas fresh-frozen plasma transfusion decreased from 26.8 ± 25.4 ml/kg to 1.5 ± 5.7 ml/kg (p < 0.0001) following implementation of the protocol. Furthermore, estimated blood loss decreased from 64.2 ± 32.4 ml/kg to 52.3 ± 33.3 ml/kg (p = 0.015). Use of fresh-frozen plasma in the postoperative period also decreased when compared with the period before implementation of the protocol. There was no significant difference in morbidity and mortality between the 2 groups.


The results of this study suggested that using a multidisciplinary protocol consisting of transfusion algorithms and implementation of blood-sparing surgical techniques during major CFR in pediatric patients is associated with reduced intraoperative administration of blood product, without shifting the transfusion burden to the postoperative period.

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David R. Hallan, Alyssa M. Nguyen, Menglu Liang, Sarah McNutt, Madison Goss, Erin Bell, Shreela Natarajan, Andrea Nichol, Christopher Messner, Elizabeth Bracken, and Michael Glantz


Abstracts act as short, efficient sources of new information. This intentional brevity potentially diminishes scientific reliability of described findings. The authors’ objective was to 1) determine the proportion of abstracts submitted to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual meeting that subsequently are published in peer-reviewed journals, 2) assess AANS abstract publications for publication bias, and 3) assess AANS abstract publications for differing results.


The authors screened all abstracts from the annual 2012 AANS meeting and identified their corresponding full-text publication, if applicable, by searching PubMed/MEDLINE. The abstract and subsequent publication were analyzed for result type (positive or negative) and differences in results.


Overall, 49.3% of abstracts were published as papers. Many (18.1%) of these published papers differed in message from their original abstract. Publication bias exists, with positive abstracts being 40% more likely to be published than negative abstracts. The top journals in which the full-text articles were published were Journal of Neurosurgery (13.1%), Neurosurgery (7.3%), and World Neurosurgery (5.4%).


Here, the authors demonstrate that alone, abstracts are not reliable sources of information. Many abstracts ultimately remain unpublished; therefore, they do not attain a level of scientific scrutiny that merits alteration of clinical care. Furthermore, many that are published have differing results or conclusions. In addition, positive publication bias exists, as positive abstracts are more likely to be published than negative abstracts.