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Daniel Wilson, Diana L. Jin, Timothy Wen, John D. Carmichael, Steven Cen, William J. Mack and Gabriel Zada

OBJECT

Cushing's disease (CD) is a potentially lethal neuroendocrinopathy that often requires specialized multidisciplinary treatment to achieve optimized outcomes. The authors analyzed data pertaining to patient, hospital, and admission characteristics as they relate to outcomes following transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) in more than 5500 patients treated for CD.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was used to identify all patients admitted with CD between 2002 and 2010. A variety of patient demographic data (e.g., age, sex, race, payer status), hospital variables (e.g., bed size, TSS volume, teaching status), and admission subtypes (e.g., elective, emergency) were tested for association with postoperative endocrine and nonendocrine complications, mortality, nonroutine discharge, length of stay, and total hospital charges. All tests were performed using univariate analysis followed by multivariate analysis, with 4 models tested via an additive methodology. Statistical significance was defined as a p value < 0.05 for all analyses.

RESULTS

From 2002 to 2010, 5527 individuals who were admitted for TSS (54 biopsies, 4254 partial resections, and 1271 total resections; 5579 total TSS procedures) were identified as patients with CD. There were 25 deaths following TSS, resulting in a mortality incidence rate of 0.45%. Nonendocrine and endocrine complications were reported in 22.4% and 11.1% of patients, respectively. The most common nonendocrine complications were postoperative neurological complications (6.98%) and mechanical ventilation (1.71%). Diabetes insipidus was reported in 14.79% of patients. In a multivariate analysis, patients with Medicare were at increased risk of nonendocrine complications (relative risk [RR] 2.24, 95% CI 1.15–4.38; p = 0.02). Patients with Medicare had increased risk of higher charges (RR 1.89, 95% CI 1.04–3.45; p = 0.04), as did those with Medicaid (RR 1.93, 95% CI 1.10–3.41; p = 0.02). Additionally, as compared with white patients, Hispanic patients had an increased rate of higher charges (RR 1.86, 95% CI 1.12–3.10; p = 0.02). Patients whose age was less than 40 years had a higher risk of developing diabetes insipidus (RR 1.39, 95% CI 1.0–1.93; p = 0.05). When compared with those in northeast hospitals, patients in western hospitals were more likely to experience nonendocrine complications (RR 1.85, 95% CI 0.99–3.46; p = 0.05) and endocrine complications (RR 1.98, 95% CI 1.28–3.07; p < 0.01). Patients treated in teaching hospitals were at significantly lower risk of incurring higher hospital charges (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.85; p = 0.01). Patients with emergency admissions had a risk of higher hospital charges (RR 3.06, 95% CI 1.26–7.46; p = 0.01) and nonendocrine complications (RR 3.18, 95% CI 1.22–8.28; p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

This review of NIS data in more than 5500 patients treated surgically for CD pointed to major outcome disparities predicted primarily by payer status, admission type, and hospital region. Identification and targeting of such barriers to quality health care in patients with CD may help optimize patient outcomes on a national level and present an opportunity to improve access of high-risk patient subgroups to specialty centers of excellence.

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Timothy Wen, Shuhan He, Frank Attenello, Steven Y. Cen, May Kim-Tenser, Peter Adamczyk, Arun P. Amar, Nerses Sanossian and William J. Mack

Object

As health care administrators focus on patient safety and cost-effectiveness, methodical assessment of quality outcome measures is critical. In 2008 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a series of “never events” that included 11 hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) for which related costs of treatment are not reimbursed. Cerebrovascular procedures (CVPs) are complex and are often performed in patients with significant medical comorbidities.

Methods

This study examines the impact of patient age and medical comorbidities on the occurrence of CMS-defined HACs, as well as the effect of these factors on the length of stay (LOS) and hospitalization charges in patients undergoing common CVPs.

Results

The HACs occurred at a frequency of 0.49% (1.33% in the intracranial procedures and 0.33% in the carotid procedures). Falls/trauma (n = 4610, 72.3% HACs, 357 HACs per 100,000 CVPs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (n = 714, 11.2% HACs, 55 HACs per 100,000 CVPs) were the most common events. Age and the presence of ≥ 2 comorbidities were strong independent predictors of HACs (p < 0.0001). The occurrence of HACs negatively impacts both LOS and hospital costs. Patients with at least 1 HAC were 10 times more likely to have prolonged LOS (≥ 90th percentile) (p < 0.0001), and 8 times more likely to have high inpatient costs (≥ 90th percentile) (p < 0.0001) when adjusting for patient and hospital factors.

Conclusions

Improved quality protocols focused on individual patient characteristics might help to decrease the frequency of HACs in this high-risk population. These data suggest that risk adjustment according to underlying patient factors may be warranted when considering reimbursement for costs related to HACs in the setting of CVPs.

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Daniel A. Donoho, Timothy Wen, Jonathan Liu, Hosniya Zarabi, Eisha Christian, Steven Cen, Gabriel Zada, J. Gordon McComb, Mark D. Krieger, William J. Mack and Frank J. Attenello

OBJECTIVE

Although current pediatric neurosurgery guidelines encourage the treatment of pediatric malignant brain tumors at specialized centers such as pediatric hospitals, there are limited data in support of this recommendation. Previous studies suggest that children treated by higher-volume surgeons and higher-volume hospitals may have better outcomes, but the effect of treatment at dedicated children’s hospitals has not been investigated.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) from 2000–2009 and included all patients undergoing a craniotomy for malignant pediatric brain tumors based on ICD-9-CM codes. They investigated the effects of patient demographics, tumor location, admission type, and hospital factors on rates of routine discharge and mortality.

RESULTS

From 2000 through 2009, 83.6% of patients had routine discharges, and the in-hospital mortality rate was 1.3%. In multivariate analysis, compared with children treated at an institution designated as a pediatric hospital by NACHRI (National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions), children receiving treatment at a pediatric unit within an adult hospital (OR 0.5, p < 0.01) or a general hospital without a designated pediatric unit (OR 0.4, p < 0.01) were less likely to have routine discharges. Treatment at a large hospital (> 400 beds; OR 1.8, p = 0.02) and treatment at a teaching hospital (OR 1.7, p = 0.02) were independently associated with greater likelihood of routine discharge. However, patients transferred between facilities had a significantly decreased likelihood of routine discharge (OR 0.5, p < 0.01) and an increased likelihood of mortality (OR 5.0, p < 0.01). Procedural volume was not associated with rate of routine discharge or mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings may have implications for planning systems of care for pediatric patients with malignant brain tumors. The authors hope to motivate future research into the specific factors that may lead to improved outcomes at designated pediatric hospitals.

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Joshua Bakhsheshian, Diana L. Jin, Ki-Eun Chang, Ben A. Strickland, Dan A. Donoho, Steven Cen, William J. Mack, Frank Attenello, Eisha A. Christian and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Patient demographic characteristics, hospital volume, and admission status have been shown to impact surgical outcomes of sellar region tumors in adults; however, the data available following the resection of craniopharyngiomas in the pediatric population remain limited. The authors sought to identify potential risk factors associated with outcomes following surgical management of pediatric craniopharyngiomas.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database and Kids' Inpatient Database were analyzed to include admissions for pediatric patients (≤ 18 years) who underwent a transcranial or transsphenoidal craniotomy for resection of a craniopharyngioma. Patient-level factors, including age, race, comorbidities, and insurance type, as well as hospital factors were collected. Outcomes analyzed included mortality rate, endocrine and nonendocrine complications, hospital charges, and length of stay. A multivariate model controlling for variables analyzed was constructed to examine significant independent risk factors.

RESULTS

Between 2000 and 2011, 1961 pediatric patients were identified who underwent a transcranial (71.2%) or a transsphenoidal (28.8%) craniotomy for resection of a craniopharyngioma. A major predilection for age was observed with the selection of a transcranial (23.4% in < 7-year-olds, 28.1% in 7- to 12-year-olds, and 19.7% in 13- to 18-year-olds) versus transphenoidal (2.9% in < 7-year-olds, 7.4% in 7- to 12-year-olds, and 18.4% in 13- to 18-year-olds) approach. No significant outcomes were associated with a particular surgical approach, except that 7- to 12-year-old patients had a higher risk of nonendocrine complications (relative risk [RR] 2.42, 95% CI 1.04–5.65, p = 0.04) with the transsphenoidal approach when compared with 13- to 18-year-old patients. The overall inpatient mortality rate was 0.5% and the most common postoperative complication was diabetes insipidus (64.2%). There were no independent factors associated with inpatient mortality rates and no significant differences in outcomes among groups based on sex and race. The average length of stay was 11.8 days, and the mean hospital charge was $116,5 22. Hospitals with medium and large bed capacity were protective against nonendocrine complications (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.3–0.93, p = 0.03 [medium]; RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.25–0.8, p < 0.01 [large]) and total complications (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.55–0.97, p = 0.03 [medium]; RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.51–0.9, p < 0.01 [large]) when compared with hospitals with small bed capacity (< 200 beds). Patients admitted to rural hospitals had an increased risk for nonendocrine complications (RR 2.56, 95% CI 1.11–5.9, p = 0.03). The presence of one or more medical comorbidities increased the risk of higher total complications (RR 1.38, 95% CI 1.14–1.68), p < 0.01 [1 comorbidity]; RR 2.37, 95% CI 1.98–2.84, p < 0.01 [≥ 2 comorbidities]) and higher total hospital charges (RR 2.9, 95% CI 1.08–7.81, p = 0.04 [1 comorbidity]; RR 9.1, 95% CI 3.74–22.12, p < 0.01 [≥ 2 comorbidities]).

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis identified patient age, comorbidities, insurance type, hospital bed capacity, and rural or nonteaching hospital status as independent risk factors for postoperative complications and/or increased hospital charges in pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma. Transsphenoidal surgery in younger patients with craniopharyngioma was a risk factor for nonendocrine complications.

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Frank J. Attenello, Eisha Christian, Timothy Wen, Steven Cen, Gabriel Zada, Erin N. Kiehna, Mark D. Krieger, J. Gordon McComb and William J. Mack

OBJECT

Recently published data have suggested an increase in adverse outcomes in pediatric patients after insertion or revision of a ventricular CSF diversion shunt after a same-day weekend procedure. The authors undertook an evaluation of the impact of weekend admission and time to shunting on surgery-related quality outcomes in pediatric patients who underwent ventricular shunt insertion or revision.

METHODS

Pediatric patients with hydrocephalus who underwent ventriculoperitoneal, ventriculoatrial, or ventriculopleural shunt placement were selected from the 2000–2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Kids’ Inpatient Database. Multivariate regression analyses (adjusted for patient, hospital, case severity, and time to shunting) were used to determine the differences in inpatient mortality and routine discharge rates among patients admitted on a weekday versus those among patients admitted on a weekend.

RESULTS

There were 99,472 pediatric patients with shunted hydrocephalus, 16% of whom were admitted on a weekend. After adjustment for disease severity, time to procedure, and admission acuity, weekend admission was not associated with an increase in the inpatient mortality rate (p = 0.46) or a change in the percentage of routine discharges (p = 0.98) after ventricular shunt procedures. In addition, associations were unchanged after an evaluation of patients who underwent shunt revision surgery. High-volume centers were incidentally noted in multivariate analysis to have increased rates of routine discharge (OR 1.04 [95% CI 1.01–1.07]; p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Contrary to those of previous studies, the authors’ data suggest that weekend admission is not associated with poorer outcomes for ventricular shunt insertion or revision. Increased rates of routine discharge were noted at high-volume centers.

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Eisha A. Christian, Diana L. Jin, Frank Attenello, Timothy Wen, Steven Cen, William J. Mack, Mark D. Krieger and J. Gordon McComb

OBJECT

Even with improved prenatal and neonatal care, intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) occurs in approximately 25%–30% of preterm infants, with a subset of these patients developing hydrocephalus. This study was undertaken to describe current trends in hospitalization of preterm infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID).

METHODS

The KID and NIS were combined to generate data for the years 2000–2010. All neonatal discharges with ICD-9-CM codes for preterm birth with IVH alone or with IVH and hydrocephalus were included.

RESULTS

There were 147,823 preterm neonates with IVH, and 9% of this group developed hydrocephalus during the same admission. Of patients with Grade 3 and 4 IVH, 25% and 28%, respectively, developed hydrocephalus in comparison with 1% and 4% of patients with Grade 1 and 2 IVH, respectively. Thirty-eight percent of patients with PHH had permanent ventricular shunts inserted. Mortality rates were 4%, 10%, 18%, and 40%, respectively, for Grade 1, 2, 3, and 4 IVH during initial hospitalization. Length of stay has been trending upward for both groups of IVH (49 days in 2000, 56 days in 2010) and PHH (59 days in 2000, 70 days in 2010). The average hospital cost per patient (adjusted for inflation) has also increased, from $201,578 to $353,554 (for IVH) and $260,077 to $495,697 (for PHH) over 11 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The number of neonates admitted with IVH has increased despite a decrease in the number of preterm births. Rates of hydrocephalus and mortality correlated closely with IVH grade. The incidence of hydrocephalus in preterm infants with IVH remained stable between 8% and 10%. Over an 11-year period, there was a progressive increase in hospital cost and length of stay for preterm neonates with IVH and PHH that may be explained by a concurrent increase in the proportion of patients with congenital cardiac anomalies.

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Frank J. Attenello, Alvin Ng, Timothy Wen, Steven Y. Cen, Nerses Sanossian, Arun P. Amar, Gabriel Zada, Mark D. Krieger, J. Gordon McComb and William J. Mack

OBJECT

Racial and socioeconomic disparities within the US health care system are a growing concern. Despite extensive research and efforts to narrow such disparities, minorities and economically disadvantaged patients continue to exhibit inferior health care outcomes. Disparities in the delivery of pediatric neurosurgical care are understudied. Authors of this study examine the impact of race and socioeconomic status on outcomes following pediatric CSF shunting procedures.

METHODS

Discharge information from the 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database for individuals (age < 21 years) with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus who had undergone CSF shunting procedures was abstracted for analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analyses, adjusting for patient and hospital factors and annual CSF shunt procedure volume, were performed to evaluate the effects of race and payer status on the likelihood of inpatient mortality and nonroutine hospital discharge (that is, not to home).

RESULTS

African American patients (p < 0.05) had an increased likelihood of inpatient death and nonroutine discharge compared with white patients. Furthermore, Medicaid patients had a significantly higher likelihood of nonroutine discharge (p < 0.05) as compared with privately insured patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Findings in this study, which utilized US population-level data, suggest the presence of racial and socioeconomic status outcome disparities following pediatric CSF shunting procedures. Further studies on health disparities in this population are warranted.

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Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees.

METHODS

An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26–35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS

Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.