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Shane Shahrestani, Alexander M. Ballatori, Xiao T. Chen, Andy Ton, Ben A. Strickland, Andrew Brunswick, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas (PAs) are among the most common intracranial tumors. Understanding the clinical effects of various modifiable risk factors (MRFs) and nonmodifiable risk factors (NMRFs) is important in guiding proper treatment, yet there is limited evidence outlining the influence of MRFs and NMRFs on outcomes of PA resection. The aim of this study was to analyze MRFs and NMRFs in patients undergoing resection for PAs.

METHODS

Using the 2016 and 2017 National Readmission Database, the authors identified a cohort of 9472 patients undergoing microscopic or endoscopic resection of a PA. Patients with nonoverlapping MRFs and NMRFs were analyzed for length of stay (LOS), hospital cost, readmission rates, and postoperative complications. From the original cohort, a subset of 373 frail patients (as defined by the Johns Hopkins Frailty Index) were identified and propensity matched to nonfrail patients. Statistical analysis included 1-way ANOVA, Tukey multiple comparisons of means, odds ratios, Wald testing, and unpaired Welch 2-sample t-tests to compare complications, outcomes, and costs between each cohort. Perioperative outcomes and hospital readmission rates were tracked, and predictive algorithms were developed to establish precise relationships between relevant risk factors and neurosurgical outcomes.

RESULTS

Malnourished patients had significantly longer LOSs when compared to nonmalnourished patients (p < 0.001). There was a significant positive correlation between the number of MRFs and readmission at 90 days (p = 0.012) and 180 days (p = 0.020). Obese patients had higher rates of postoperative neurological injury at the 30-day follow-up (p = 0.048) compared to patients with normal BMI. Within this NMRF cohort, frail patients were found to have significantly increased hospital LOS (p < 0.001) and total inpatient costs compared to nonfrail patients (p < 0.001). Predictive analytics showed that frail patients had significantly higher readmission rates at both 90-day (p < 0.001) and 180-day follow-ups (p < 0.001). Lastly, rates of acute postsurgical infection were higher in frail patients compared to nonfrail patients (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

These findings suggest that both MRFs and NMRFs negatively affect the perioperative outcomes following PA resection. Notable risk factors including malnutrition, obesity, elevated lipid panels, and frailty make patients more prone to prolonged LOS, higher inpatient costs, and readmission. Further prospective research with longitudinal data is required to precisely pinpoint the effects of various risk factors on the outcomes of pituitary surgery.

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Brandon M. Lehrich, Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Ronald Sahyouni, and Frank P. K. Hsu

Dr. James Tait Goodrich was an internationally renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who pioneered the neurosurgical procedures for the multistage separation of craniopagus twins. As of March 2020, 59 craniopagus separations had been performed in the world, with Goodrich having performed 7 of these operations. He was the single most experienced surgeon in the field on this complex craniofacial disorder. Goodrich was a humble individual who rapidly rose through the ranks of academic neurosurgery, eventually serving as Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. In this historical vignette, the authors provide context into the history of and sociocultural attitudes toward conjoined twins; the epidemiology and classification of craniopagus twins; the beginnings of surgery in craniopagus twins; Goodrich’s neurosurgical contributions toward advancing treatment for this complex craniofacial anomaly; and vignettes of Goodrich’s unique clinical cases that made mainstream news coverage.

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Alexander Micko, Benjamin I. Rapoport, Brett E. Youngerman, Reginald P. Fong, Jennifer Kosty, Andrew Brunswick, Shane Shahrestani, Gabriel Zada, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Incomplete resection of skull base pathology may result in local tumor recurrence. This study investigates the utility of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) fluorescence during endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to increase visibility of pathologic tissue.

METHODS

This retrospective multicenter series comprises patients with planned resection of an anterior skull base lesion who received preoperative 5-ALA at two tertiary care centers. Diagnostic use of a blue light endoscope was performed during EEA for all cases. Demographic and tumor characteristics as well as fluorescence status, quality, and homogeneity were assessed for each skull base pathology.

RESULTS

Twenty-eight skull base pathologies underwent blue-light EEA with preoperative 5-ALA, including 15 pituitary adenomas (54%), 4 meningiomas (14%), 3 craniopharyngiomas (11%), 2 Rathke’s cleft cysts (7%), as well as plasmacytoma, esthesioneuroblastoma, and sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma. Of these, 6 (21%) of 28 showed invasive growth into surrounding structures such as dura, bone, or compartments of the cavernous sinus. Tumor fluorescence was detected in 2 cases (7%), with strong fluorescence in 1 tuberculum sellae meningioma and vague fluorescence in 1 pituicytoma. In all other cases fluorescence was absent. Faint fluorescence of the normal pituitary gland was seen in 1 (7%) of 15 cases. A comparison between the particular tumor entities as well as a correlation between invasiveness, WHO grade, Ki-67, and positive fluorescence did not show any significant association.

CONCLUSIONS

With the possible exception of meningiomas, 5-ALA fluorescence has limited utility in the majority of endonasal skull base surgeries, although other pathology may be worth investigating.

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Shane Shahrestani, Brandon M. Lehrich, Ali R. Tafreshi, Nolan J. Brown, Brian V. Lien, Seth Ransom, Ryan C. Ransom, Alexander M. Ballatori, Andy Ton, Xiao T. Chen, and Ronald Sahyouni

OBJECTIVE

Frailty is a clinical state of increased vulnerability due to age-associated decline and has been well established as a perioperative risk factor. Geriatric patients have a higher risk of frailty, higher incidence of brain cancer, and increased postoperative complication rates compared to nongeriatric patients. Yet, literature describing the effects of frailty on short- and long-term complications in geriatric patients is limited. In this study, the authors evaluate the effects of frailty in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm between 2010 and 2017 by using the Nationwide Readmission Database. Demographics and frailty were queried at primary admission, and readmissions were analyzed at 30-, 90-, and 180-day intervals. Complications of interest included infection, anemia, infarction, kidney injury, CSF leak, urinary tract infection, and mortality. Nearest-neighbor propensity score matching for demographics was implemented to identify nonfrail control patients with similar diagnoses and procedures. The analysis used Welch two-sample t-tests for continuous variables and chi-square test with odds ratios.

RESULTS

A total of 6713 frail patients and 6629 nonfrail patients were identified at primary admission. At primary admission, frail geriatric patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery had increased odds of developing acute posthemorrhagic anemia (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.23–1.98; p = 0.00020); acute infection (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.70–6.36; p = 0.00022); acute kidney injury (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07–1.62; p = 0.0088); urinary tract infection prior to discharge (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.71–2.29; p < 0.0001); acute postoperative cerebral infarction (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.17–2.11; p = 0.0026); and mortality (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.22–2.24; p = 0.0012) compared to nonfrail geriatric patients receiving the same procedure. In addition, frail patients had a significantly increased inpatient length of stay (p < 0.0001) and all-payer hospital cost (p < 0.0001) compared to nonfrail patients at the time of primary admission. However, no significant difference was found between frail and nonfrail patients with regard to rates of infection, thromboembolism, CSF leak, dural tear, cerebral infarction, acute kidney injury, and mortality at all readmission time points.

CONCLUSIONS

Frailty may significantly increase the risks of short-term acute complications in geriatric patients receiving cranial neurosurgery for a primary CNS neoplasm. Long-term analysis revealed no significant difference in complications between frail and nonfrail patients. Further research is warranted to understand the effects and timeline of frailty in geriatric patients.

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Andrew K. Chan, Michele Santacatterina, Brenton Pennicooke, Shane Shahrestani, Alexander M. Ballatori, Katie O. Orrico, John F. Burke, Geoffrey T. Manley, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael C. Huang, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Anthony M. DiGiorgio

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery is especially susceptible to malpractice claims. Critics of the US medical liability system argue that it drives up costs, whereas proponents argue it deters negligence. Here, the authors study the relationship between malpractice claim density and outcomes.

METHODS

The following methods were used: 1) the National Practitioner Data Bank was used to determine the number of malpractice claims per 100 physicians, by state, between 2005 and 2010; 2) the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for spinal fusion patients; and 3) the Area Resource File was queried to determine the density of physicians, by state. States were categorized into 4 quartiles regarding the frequency of malpractice claims per 100 physicians. To evaluate the association between malpractice claims and death, discharge disposition, length of stay (LOS), and total costs, an inverse-probability-weighted regression-adjustment estimator was used. The authors controlled for patient and hospital characteristics. Covariates were used to train machine learning models to predict death, discharge disposition not to home, LOS, and total costs.

RESULTS

Overall, 549,775 discharges following spinal fusions were identified, with 495,640 yielding state-level information about medical malpractice claim frequency per 100 physicians. Of these, 124,425 (25.1%), 132,613 (26.8%), 130,929 (26.4%), and 107,673 (21.7%) were from the lowest, second-lowest, second-highest, and highest quartile states, respectively, for malpractice claims per 100 physicians. Compared to the states with the fewest claims (lowest quartile), surgeries in states with the most claims (highest quartile) showed a statistically significantly higher odds of a nonhome discharge (OR 1.169, 95% CI 1.139–1.200), longer LOS (mean difference 0.304, 95% CI 0.256–0.352), and higher total charges (mean difference [log scale] 0.288, 95% CI 0.281–0.295) with no significant associations for mortality. For the machine learning models—which included medical malpractice claim density as a covariate—the areas under the curve for death and discharge disposition were 0.94 and 0.87, and the R2 values for LOS and total charge were 0.55 and 0.60, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal fusion procedures from states with a higher frequency of malpractice claims were associated with an increased odds of nonhome discharge, longer LOS, and higher total charges. This suggests that medicolegal climate may potentially alter practice patterns for a given spine surgeon and may have important implications for medical liability reform. Machine learning models that included medical malpractice claim density as a feature were satisfactory in prediction and may be helpful for patients, surgeons, hospitals, and payers.