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Zachary S. Hubbard, Ashish H. Shah, Michael Ragheb, Shelly Wang, Sarah Jernigan, and John Ragheb

OBJECTIVE

Previous models have been utilized in other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to explore and assess the cost, sustainability, and effectiveness of infant hydrocephalus treatment. However, similar models have not been implemented in Haiti due to a paucity of data, epidemiology, and outcomes for hydrocephalus. Therefore, the authors utilized previously described economic modeling to estimate the annual cost and benefit of treating hydrocephalus in infants at a neurosurgery referral center, Hospital Bernard Mevs (HBM), in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of data obtained in all children treated for hydrocephalus at the HBM from 2008 to 2015. The raw data were pooled with previously described surgical outcomes for hydrocephalus in other LMICs. Modeling was performed to determine outcomes, neurosurgical costs, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and economic benefits of Haitian hydrocephalus treatment during this time frame. Standard account methodology was employed to calculate cost per procedure. Using these formulas, the net economic benefit and cost/DALY were determined for hydrocephalus treatment at HBM from 2008 to 2015.

RESULTS

Of the 401 patients treated during the study period, 158 (39.4%) met criteria for postinfectious hydrocephalus, 54 (13.5%) had congenital hydrocephalus, 38 (9.5%) had myelomeningocele, 19 (4.7%) had aqueductal stenosis, and 132 (33%) were not placed into a category. Overall, 317 individuals underwent surgical treatment of their hydrocephalus, averting 3077 DALYs. The total cost of the procedures was $754,000, and the cost per DALY ranged between $86 and $245. The resulting net economic benefit for neurosurgical intervention ranged from $2.5 to $5.5 million.

CONCLUSIONS

This work demonstrates the substantial economic benefit of neurosurgical intervention for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus at a single hospital in Haiti. Based on DALYs averted, the need for additional centers offering basic neurosurgical services is apparent. A single center offering these services for several days each month was able to generate between $2.5 to $5.5 million in economic benefits, suggesting the need to develop neurosurgical capacity building in Haiti. Ultimately, prevention, screening, and early surgical treatment of these infants represent a public health and socioeconomic requisite for Haiti.

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Philip L. Perez, Sarah S. Wang, Susan Heath, Jennifer Henderson-Sabes, Danielle Mizuiri, Leighton B. Hinkley, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, Paul S. Larson, and Steven W. Cheung

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to define caudate nucleus locations responsive to intraoperative direct electrical stimulation for tinnitus loudness modulation and relate those locations to functional connectivity maps between caudate nucleus subdivisions and auditory cortex.

METHODS

Six awake study participants who underwent bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode placement in the caudate nucleus as part of a phase I clinical trial were analyzed for tinnitus modulation in response to acute stimulation at 20 locations. Resting-state 3-T functional MRI (fMRI) was used to compare connectivity strength between centroids of tinnitus loudness-reducing or loudness-nonreducing caudate locations and the auditory cortex in the 6 DBS phase I trial participants and 14 other neuroimaging participants with a Tinnitus Functional Index > 50.

RESULTS

Acute tinnitus loudness reduction was observed at 5 caudate locations, 4 positioned at the body and 1 at the head of the caudate nucleus in normalized Montreal Neurological Institute space. The remaining 15 electrical stimulation interrogations of the caudate head failed to reduce tinnitus loudness. Compared to the caudate head, the body subdivision had stronger functional connectivity to the auditory cortex on fMRI (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Acute tinnitus loudness reduction was more readily achieved by electrical stimulation of the caudate nucleus body. Compared to the caudate head, the caudate body has stronger functional connectivity to the auditory cortex. These first-in-human findings provide insight into the functional anatomy of caudate nucleus subdivisions and may inform future target selection in a basal ganglia–centric neuromodulation approach to treat medically refractory tinnitus.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01988688 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Steven W. Cheung, Caroline A. Racine, Jennifer Henderson-Sabes, Carly Demopoulos, Annette M. Molinaro, Susan Heath, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, Andrea L. Bourne, John E. Rietcheck, Sarah S. Wang, and Paul S. Larson

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this open-label, nonrandomized trial was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of bilateral caudate nucleus deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment-resistant tinnitus.

METHODS

Six participants underwent DBS electrode implantation. One participant was removed from the study for suicidality unrelated to brain stimulation. Participants underwent a stimulation optimization period that ranged from 5 to 13 months, during which the most promising stimulation parameters for tinnitus reduction for each individual were determined. These individual optimal stimulation parameters were then used during 24 weeks of continuous caudate stimulation to reach the endpoint. The primary outcome for efficacy was the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), and executive function (EF) safety was a composite z-score from multiple neuropsychological tests (EF score). The secondary outcome for efficacy was the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI); for neuropsychiatric safety it was the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe), and for hearing safety it was pure tone audiometry at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 kHz and word recognition score (WRS). Other monitored outcomes included surgery- and device-related adverse events (AEs). Five participants provided full analyzable data sets. Primary and secondary outcomes were based on differences in measurements between baseline and endpoint.

RESULTS

The treatment effect size of caudate DBS for tinnitus was assessed by TFI [mean (SE), 23.3 (12.4)] and THI [30.8 (10.4)] scores, both of which were statistically significant (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, 1-tailed; alpha = 0.05). Based on clinically significant treatment response categorical analysis, there were 3 responders determined by TFI (≥ 13-point decrease) and 4 by THI (≥ 20-point decrease) scores. Safety outcomes according to EF score, FrSBe, audiometric thresholds, and WRS showed no significant change with continuous caudate stimulation. Surgery-related and device-related AEs were expected, transient, and reversible. There was only one serious AE, a suicide attempt unrelated to caudate neuromodulation in a participant in whom stimulation was in the off mode for 2 months prior to the event.

CONCLUSIONS

Bilateral caudate nucleus neuromodulation by DBS for severe, refractory tinnitus in this phase I trial showed very encouraging results. Primary and secondary outcomes revealed a highly variable treatment effect size and 60%–80% treatment response rate for clinically significant benefit, and no safety concerns. The design of a phase II trial may benefit from targeting refinement for final DBS lead placement to decrease the duration of the stimulation optimization period and to increase treatment effect size uniformity.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01988688 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Marta San Luciano, Amy Robichaux-Viehoever, Kristen A. Dodenhoff, Melissa L. Gittings, Aaron C. Viser, Caroline A. Racine, Ian O. Bledsoe, Christa Watson Pereira, Sarah S. Wang, Philip A. Starr, and Jill L. Ostrem

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy and safety of combined bilateral ventralis oralis posterior/ventralis intermedius (Vop/Vim) deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of acquired dystonia in children and young adults. Pallidal DBS is efficacious for severe, medication-refractory isolated dystonia, providing 50%–60% long-term improvement. Unfortunately, pallidal stimulation response rates in acquired dystonia are modest and unpredictable, with frequent nonresponders. Acquired dystonia, most commonly caused by cerebral palsy, is more common than isolated dystonia in pediatric populations and is more recalcitrant to standard treatments. Given the limitations of pallidal DBS in acquired dystonia, there is a need to explore alternative brain targets. Preliminary evidence has suggested that thalamic stimulation may be efficacious for acquired dystonia.

METHODS

Four participants, 3 with perinatal brain injuries and 1 with postencephalitic symptomatic dystonia, underwent bilateral Vop/Vim DBS and bimonthly evaluations for 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was the change in Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS) and Barry-Albright Dystonia Scale (BADS) scores between the baseline and 12-month assessments. Video documentation was used for blinded ratings. Secondary outcomes included evaluation of spasticity (Modified Ashworth Scale score), quality of life (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory [PedsQL] and modified Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale Part II [UPDRS-II] scores), and neuropsychological assessments. Adverse events were monitored for safety.

RESULTS

All participants tolerated the procedure well, and there were no safety concerns or serious adverse events. There was an average improvement of 21.5% in the BFMDRS motor subscale score, but the improvement was only 1.6% according to the BADS score. Following blinded video review, dystonia severity ratings were even more modest. Secondary outcomes, however, were more encouraging, with the BFMDRS disability subscale score improving by 15.7%, the PedsQL total score by 27%, and the modified UPDRS-II score by 19.3%. Neuropsychological assessment findings were unchanged 1 year after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Bilateral thalamic neuromodulation by DBS for severe, medication-refractory acquired dystonia was well tolerated. Primary and secondary outcomes showed highly variable treatment effect sizes comparable to those of pallidal stimulation in this population. As previously described, improvements in quality of life and disability were not reflected in dystonia severity scales, suggesting a need for the development of scales specifically for acquired dystonia.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03078816 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Nicole C. Swann, Coralie de Hemptinne, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Salman Qasim, Jill L. Ostrem, Nicholas B. Galifianakis, Marta San Luciano, Sarah S. Wang, Nathan Ziman, Robin Taylor, and Philip A. Starr

OBJECTIVE

Dysfunction of distributed neural networks underlies many brain disorders. The development of neuromodulation therapies depends on a better understanding of these networks. Invasive human brain recordings have a favorable temporal and spatial resolution for the analysis of network phenomena but have generally been limited to acute intraoperative recording or short-term recording through temporarily externalized leads. Here, the authors describe their initial experience with an investigational, first-generation, totally implantable, bidirectional neural interface that allows both continuous therapeutic stimulation and recording of field potentials at multiple sites in a neural network.

METHODS

Under a physician-sponsored US Food and Drug Administration investigational device exemption, 5 patients with Parkinson's disease were implanted with the Activa PC+S system (Medtronic Inc.). The device was attached to a quadripolar lead placed in the subdural space over motor cortex, for electrocorticography potential recordings, and to a quadripolar lead in the subthalamic nucleus (STN), for both therapeutic stimulation and recording of local field potentials. Recordings from the brain of each patient were performed at multiple time points over a 1-year period.

RESULTS

There were no serious surgical complications or interruptions in deep brain stimulation therapy. Signals in both the cortex and the STN were relatively stable over time, despite a gradual increase in electrode impedance. Canonical movement-related changes in specific frequency bands in the motor cortex were identified in most but not all recordings.

CONCLUSIONS

The acquisition of chronic multisite field potentials in humans is feasible. The device performance characteristics described here may inform the design of the next generation of totally implantable neural interfaces. This research tool provides a platform for translating discoveries in brain network dynamics to improved neurostimulation paradigms.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01934296 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Jacob S. Young, Andrew K. Chan, Jennifer A. Viner, Sujatha Sankaran, Alvin Y. Chan, Sarah Imershein, Aldea Meary-Miller, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Line Jacques, Manish K. Aghi, Edward F. Chang, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Tracy Ward, Liz Gibson, Mariann M. Ward, Peter Sanftner, Stacy Wong, Dominic Amara, Stephen T. Magill, Joseph A. Osorio, Brinda Venkatesh, Ralph Gonzales, Catherine Lau, Christy Boscardin, Michael Wang, Kim Berry, Laurie McCullagh, Mary Reid, Kayla Reels, Sara Nedkov, Mitchel S. Berger, and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECTIVE

High-value medical care is described as care that leads to excellent patient outcomes, high patient satisfaction, and efficient costs. Neurosurgical care in particular can be expensive for the hospital, as substantial costs are accrued during the operation and throughout the postoperative stay. The authors developed a “Safe Transitions Pathway” (STP) model in which select patients went to the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and then the neuro-transitional care unit (NTCU) rather than being directly admitted to the neurosciences intensive care unit (ICU) following a craniotomy. They sought to evaluate the clinical and financial outcomes as well as the impact on the patient experience for patients who participated in the STP and bypassed the ICU level of care.

METHODS

Patients were enrolled during the 2018 fiscal year (FY18; July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018). The electronic medical record was reviewed for clinical information and the hospital cost accounting record was reviewed for financial information. Nurses and patients were given a satisfaction survey to assess their respective impressions of the hospital stay and of the recovery pathway.

RESULTS

No patients who proceeded to the NTCU postoperatively were upgraded to the ICU level of care postoperatively. There were no deaths in the STP group, and no patients required a return to the operating room during their hospitalization (95% CI 0%–3.9%). There was a trend toward fewer 30-day readmissions in the STP patients than in the standard pathway patients (1.2% [95% CI 0.0%–6.8%] vs 5.1% [95% CI 2.5%–9.1%], p = 0.058). The mean number of ICU days saved per case was 1.20. The average postprocedure length of stay was reduced by 0.25 days for STP patients. Actual FY18 direct cost savings from 94 patients who went through the STP was $422,128.

CONCLUSIONS

Length of stay, direct cost per case, and ICU days were significantly less after the adoption of the STP, and ICU bed utilization was freed for acute admissions and transfers. There were no substantial complications or adverse patient outcomes in the STP group.