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Mark A. MacLean, Charles J. Touchette, Jae H. Han, Sean D. Christie and Gwynedd E. Pickett

OBJECTIVE

Despite efforts toward achieving gender equality in clinical trial enrollment, females are often underrepresented, and gender-specific data analysis is often unavailable. Identifying and reducing gender bias in medical decision-making and outcome reporting may facilitate equitable healthcare delivery. Gender disparity in the utilization of surgical therapy has been exemplified in the orthopedic literature through studies of total joint arthroplasty. A paucity of literature is available to guide the management of lumbar degenerative disease, which stratifies on the basis of demographic factors. The objective of this study was to systematically map and synthesize the adult surgical literature regarding gender differences in pre- and postoperative patient-reported clinical assessment scores for patients with lumbar degenerative disease (disc degeneration, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and spinal canal stenosis).

METHODS

A systematic scoping review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Registry of Controlled Trials were searched from inception to September 2018. Study characteristics including patient demographics, diagnoses, procedures, and pre- and postoperative clinical assessment scores (pain, disability, and health-related quality of life [HRQoL]) were collected.

RESULTS

Thirty articles were identified, accounting for 32,951 patients. Six studies accounted for 84% of patients; 5 of the 6 studies were published by European groups. The most common lumbar degenerative conditions were disc herniation (59.0%), disc degeneration (20.3%), and spinal canal stenosis (15.9%). The majority of studies reported worse preoperative pain (93.3%), disability (81.3%), and HRQoL (75%) among females. The remainder reported equivalent preoperative scores between males and females. The majority of studies (63.3%) did not report preoperative duration of symptoms, and this represents a limitation of the data. Eighty percent of studies found that females had worse absolute postoperative scores in at least one outcome category (pain, disability, or HRQoL). The remainder reported equivalent absolute postoperative scores between males and females. Seventy-three percent of studies reported either an equivalent or greater interval change for females.

CONCLUSIONS

Female patients undergoing surgery for lumbar degenerative disease (disc degeneration, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and spinal canal stenosis) have worse absolute preoperative pain, disability, and HRQoL. Following surgery, females have worse absolute pain, disability, and HRQoL, but demonstrate an equal or greater interval change compared to males. Further studies should examine gender differences in preoperative workup and clinical course.

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Sean D. Christie, Ben Comeau, Tanya Myers, Damaso Sadi, Mark Purdy and Ivar Mendez

Object

Oxidative stress leading to lipid peroxidation is a major cause of secondary injury following spinal cord injury (SCI). The objectives of this study were to determine the duration of lipid peroxidation following acute SCI and the efficacy of short-and long-term administration of methylprednisolone on decreasing lipid peroxidation.

Methods

A total of 226 female Wistar rats underwent clip-compression induced SCI. In the first part of the study, spinal cords of untreated rats were assayed colorimetrically for malondialdehyde (MDA) to determine lipid peroxidation levels at various time points between 0 and 10 days. In the second part of the study, animals were treated with methylprednisolone for either 24 hours or 7 days. Control animals received equal volumes of normal saline. Treated and control rats were killed at various time points between 0 and 7 days.

Results

The MDA levels initially peaked 4 hours postinjury. By 12 hours, the MDA levels returned to baseline. A second increase was observed from 24 hours to 5 days. Both peak values differed statistically from the trough values (p < 0.008). The methylprednisolone reduced MDA levels (p < 0.04) within 12 hours of injury. No effect was seen at 24 hours or later.

Conclusions

The results of this study indicate that oxidative stress persists for 5 days following SCI in rats, and although methylprednisolone reduces MDA levels within the first 12 hours, it has no effect on the second lipid peroxidation peak.

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Nathan Evaniew, David W. Cadotte, Nicolas Dea, Christopher S. Bailey, Sean D. Christie, Charles G. Fisher, Jerome Paquet, Alex Soroceanu, Kenneth C. Thomas, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Neil A. Manson, Michael Johnson, Andrew Nataraj, Hamilton Hall, Greg McIntosh and W. Bradley Jacobs

OBJECTIVE

Recently identified prognostic variables among patients undergoing surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) are limited to two large international data sets. To optimally inform shared clinical decision-making, the authors evaluated which preoperative clinical factors are significantly associated with improvement on the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale by at least the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) 12 months after surgery, among patients from the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN).

METHODS

The authors performed an observational cohort study with data that were prospectively collected from CSM patients at 7 centers between 2015 and 2017. Candidate variables were tested using univariable and multiple binomial logistic regression, and multiple sensitivity analyses were performed to test assumptions about the nature of the statistical models. Validated mJOA MCIDs were implemented that varied according to baseline CSM severity.

RESULTS

Among 205 patients with CSM, there were 64 (31%) classified as mild, 86 (42%) as moderate, and 55 (27%) as severe. Overall, 52% of patients achieved MCID and the mean change in mJOA score at 12 months after surgery was 1.7 ± 2.6 points (p < 0.01), but the subgroup of patients with mild CSM did not significantly improve (mean change 0.1 ± 1.9 points, p = 0.8). Univariate analyses failed to identify significant associations between achieving MCID and sex, BMI, living status, education, smoking, disability claims, or number of comorbidities. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds of achieving MCID were significantly reduced with older age (OR 0.7 per decade, 95% CI 0.5–0.9, p < 0.01) and higher baseline mJOA score (OR 0.8 per point, 95% CI 0.7–0.9, p < 0.01). The effects of symptom duration (OR 1.0 per additional month, 95% CI 0.9–1.0, p = 0.2) and smoking (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2–1.0, p = 0.06) were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery is effective at halting the progression of functional decline with CSM, and approximately half of all patients achieve the MCID. Data from the CSORN confirmed that older age is independently associated with poorer outcomes, but novel findings include that patients with milder CSM did not experience meaningful improvement, and that symptom duration and smoking were not important. These findings support a nuanced approach to shared decision-making that acknowledges some prognostic uncertainty when weighing the various risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgical treatment.