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Omar M. Uddin, Raqeeb Haque, Patrick A. Sugrue, Yousef M. Ahmed, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Joel M. Press, Tyler Koski and Richard G. Fessler

OBJECT

Back pain is an increasing concern for the aging population. This study aims to evaluate if minimally invasive surgery presents cost-minimization benefits compared with open surgery in treating adult degenerative scoliosis.

METHODS

Seventy-one patients with adult degenerative scoliosis received 2-stage, multilevel surgical correction through either a minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) approach with posterior instrumentation (n = 38) or an open midline (Open) approach (n = 33). Costs were derived from hospital and rehabilitation charges. Length of stay, blood loss, and radiographic outcomes were obtained from electronic medical records. Functional outcomes were measured with Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) surveys.

RESULTS

Patients in both cohorts were similar in age (AgeMIS = 65.68 yrs, AgeOpen = 63.58 yrs, p = 0.28). The mean follow-up was 18.16 months and 21.82 months for the MIS and Open cohorts, respectively (p = 0.34). MIS and Open cohorts had an average of 4.37 and 7.61 levels of fusion, respectively (p < 0.01). Total inpatient charges were lower for the MIS cohort ($269,807 vs $391,889, p < 0.01), and outpatient rehabilitation charges were similar ($41,072 vs $49,272, p = 0.48). MIS patients experienced reduced length of hospital stay (7.03 days vs 14.88 days, p < 0.01) and estimated blood loss (EBL) (EBLMIS = 470.26 ml, EBLOpen= 2872.73 ml, p < 0.01). Baseline ODI scores were lower in the MIS cohort (40.03 vs 48.04, p = 0.03), and the cohorts experienced similar 1-year improvement (ΔODIMIS = −15.98, ΔODIOpen = −21.96, p = 0.25). Baseline VAS scores were similar (VASMIS = 6.56, VASOpen= 7.10, p = 0.32), but MIS patients experienced less reduction after 1 year (ΔVASMIS = −3.36, ΔVASOpen = −4.73, p = 0.04). Preoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) were comparable (preoperative SVAMIS = 63.47 mm, preoperative SVAOpen = 71.3 mm, p = 0.60), but MIS patients had larger postoperative SVA (postoperative SVAMIS = 51.17 mm, postoperative SVAOpen = 28.17 mm, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive surgery demonstrated reduced costs, blood loss, and hospital stays, whereas open surgery exhibited greater improvement in VAS scores, deformity correction, and sagittal balance. Additional studies with more patients and longer follow-up will determine if MIS provides cost-minimization opportunities for treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis.

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Cody B. Wolfe, Joyce Koueik, Bradley E. Weprin, Bermans J. Iskandar and Angela V. Price

Neuroendoscopy has demonstrated safety and efficacy in the treatment of a host of pediatric neurosurgical pathologies. With the increase in its applicability, several associated complications have been described in the literature. A common practice in pediatric neurosurgery is the use of Gelfoam sponge pledget in the burr hole, followed by bone fragments and dust (obtained from the created burr hole), to cover the dural defect. This technique is used to enhance burr hole sealing and potentially prevent CSF leakage from the surgical site. Reports on intracranial bone dust migration associated with this technique are scarce. The authors report 2 cases of intracranial migration of bone fragments after an endoscopic third ventriculostomy and an endoscopic colloid cyst resection. The bone fragment migration was thought to be caused by negative pressure from a lumbar puncture in one case and external trauma to the head in the other. As endoscopy becomes more widely used, it is important to be aware of this potential complication that may in some cases require an intervention. A review of the cases reported in the literature is provided and a technique is suggested to help prevent this complication.

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Nader S. Dahdaleh, Cort D. Lawton, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Alexander T. Nixon, Najib E. El Tecle, Sanders Oh, Richard G. Fessler and Zachary A. Smith

Object

Evidence-based medicine is used to examine the current treatment options, timing of surgical intervention, and prognostic factors in the management of patients with traumatic central cord syndrome (TCCS).

Methods

A computerized literature search of the National Library of Medicine database, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar was performed for published material between January 1966 and February 2013 using key words and Medical Subject Headings. Abstracts were reviewed and selected, with the articles segregated into 3 main categories: surgical versus conservative management, timing of surgery, and prognostic factors. Evidentiary tables were then assembled, summarizing data and quality of evidence (Classes I–III) for papers included in this review.

Results

The authors compiled 3 evidentiary tables summarizing 16 studies, all of which were retrospective in design. Regarding surgical intervention versus conservative management, there was Class III evidence to support the superiority of surgery for patients presenting with TCCS. In regards to timing of surgery, most Class III evidence demonstrated no difference in early versus late surgical management. Most Class III studies agreed that older age, especially age greater than 60–70 years, correlated with worse outcomes.

Conclusions

No Class I or Class II evidence was available to determine the efficacy of surgery, timing of surgical intervention, or prognostic factors in patients managed for TCCS. Hence, there is a need to perform well-controlled prospective studies and randomized controlled clinical trials to further investigate the optimal management (surgical vs conservative) and timing of surgical intervention in patients suffering from TCCS.

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Youssef J. Hamade, Najib E. El Tecle, Samer G. Zammar, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Byron K. Yip and Bernard R. Bendok

We report the case of a 62-year-old female who presented for stent-assistant coiling of an incidental 11-mm complex bilobed left superior hypophyseal internal carotid artery aneurysm. A microcatheter was navigated into the aneurysm and trapped by a 37-mm stent. Using three-dimensional and two-dimensional coils, the elongated aneurysm was coiled. The bigger lobe was coiled first followed by the smaller lobe. Minimal residual filling of the smaller lobe will be re-evaluated at 6-month follow up. The patient tolerated the procedure well and no complications were encountered.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/TrXfsaICQVo.

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Salah G. Aoun, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Najib E. El Tecle, Marc R. Daou, Joseph G. Adel, Christine S. Park, H. Hunt Batjer and Bernard R. Bendok

OBJECT

Microsurgical skills remain an integral component of neurosurgical education. There is a need for an objective scale to assess microsurgical skills. The objective of this study was to assess the face and construct validity of a benchtraining microanastomosis module and an objective assessment scale, i.e., the Northwestern Objective Microanastomosis Assessment Tool (NOMAT).

METHODS

Medical students, neurosurgical residents, and postdoctoral research fellows at Northwestern University were enrolled in the study. Trainees were divided into 3 groups based on microsurgical experience: 1) experienced, 2) exposed, and 3) novices. Each trainee completed two end-to-end microanastomoses using a 1-mm and a 3-mm synthetic vessel. Two cameras were installed to capture procedural footage. One neurosurgeon blindly graded the performance of trainees using both objective and subjective methods to assess construct validity. Two neurosurgeons reviewed the contents of the simulation module to assess face validity.

RESULTS

Twenty-one trainees participated in the study, including 6 experienced, 6 exposed, and 9 novices. The mean NOMAT score for experienced trainees on the 1-mm module was 47.3/70 compared with 26.0/70 and 25.8/70 for exposed and novice trainees, respectively (p = 0.02). Using subjective grading, experienced trainees performed significantly better on the 1-mm module (64.2/100) compared with exposed or novice trainees (23.3/100 and 25.0/100, respectively; p = 0.02). No statistical difference between groups was noted for the 3-mm module with both NOMAT and subjective grading. Experienced trainees took less time to perform both tasks compared with the others.

CONCLUSIONS

Face and construct validities of the microanastomosis module were established. The scale and the microanastomosis module could help assess the microsurgical skills of neurosurgical trainees and serve as a basis for the creation of a microsurgical curriculum.

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Pasquale Gallina, Giancarlo Lastrucci, Saverio Caini and Beradino Porfirio

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Eva M. Wu, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Cameron M. McDougall, Salah G. Aoun, Nikhil Mehta, Om James Neeley, Aaron Plitt, Vin Shen Ban, Rafael Sillero, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Babu G. Welch

OBJECTIVE

Endovascular embolization has been established as an adjuvant treatment strategy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). A growing body of literature has discussed curative embolization for select lesions. The transition of endovascular embolization from an adjunctive to a definitive treatment modality remains controversial. Here, the authors reviewed the literature to assess the lesional characteristics, technical factors, and angiographic and clinical outcomes of endovascular embolization of AVMs with intent to cure.

METHODS

Electronic databases—Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and PubMed—were searched for studies in which there was evidence of AVMs treated using endovascular embolization with intent to cure. The primary outcomes of interest were angiographic obliteration immediately postembolization and at follow-up. The secondary outcomes of interest were complication rates. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates and means.

RESULTS

Fifteen studies with 597 patients and 598 AVMs treated with intent-to-cure embolization were included in this analysis. Thirty-four percent of AVMs were Spetzler-Martin grade III. Complete obliteration immediately postembolization was reported in 58.3% of AVMs that had complete treatment and in 45.8% of AVMs in the entire patient cohort. The overall clinical complication rate was 24.1%. The most common complication was hemorrhage, occurring in 9.7% of patients. Procedure-related mortality was 1.5%.

CONCLUSIONS

While endovascular embolization with intent to cure can be an option for select AVMs, the reported complication rates appear to be increased compared with those in studies in which adjunctive embolization was the goal. Given the high complication rate related to a primary embolization approach, the risks and benefits of such a treatment strategy should be discussed among a multidisciplinary team. Curative embolization of AVMs should be considered an unanticipated benefit of such therapy rather than a goal.

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Matthew R. Reynolds, Robert T. Buckley, Santoshi S. Indrakanti, Ali H. Turkmani, Gerald Oh, Emanuela Crobeddu, Kyle M. Fargen, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Andrew M. Naidech, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Giuseppe Lanzino, Brian L. Hoh, Bernard R. Bendok and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECT

Vasopressor-induced hypertension (VIH) is an established treatment for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who develop vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). However, the safety of VIH in patients with coincident, unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms is uncertain.

METHODS

This retrospective multiinstitutional study identified 1) patients with aneurysmal SAH and 1 or more unruptured, unprotected aneurysms who required VIH therapy (VIH group), and 2) patients with aneurysmal SAH and 1 or more unruptured, unprotected aneurysms who did not require VIH therapy (non-VIH group). All patients had previously undergone surgical or endovascular treatment for the presumed ruptured aneurysm. Comparisons between the VIH and non-VIH patients were made in terms of the patient characteristics, clinical and radiographic severity of SAH, total number of aneurysms, number of ruptured/unruptured aneurysms, aneurysm location/size, number of unruptured and unprotected aneurysms during VIH, severity of vasospasm, degree of hypervolemia, and degree and duration of VIH therapy.

RESULTS

For the VIH group (n = 176), 484 aneurysms were diagnosed, 231 aneurysms were treated, and 253 unruptured aneurysms were left unprotected during 1293 total days of VIH therapy (5.12 total years of VIH therapy for unruptured, unprotected aneurysms). For the non-VIH group (n = 73), 207 aneurysms were diagnosed, 93 aneurysms were treated, and 114 unruptured aneurysms were left unprotected. For the VIH and non-VIH groups, the mean sizes of the ruptured (7.2 ± 0.3 vs 7.8 ± 0.6 mm, respectively; p = 0.27) and unruptured (3.4 ± 0.2 vs 3.2 ± 0.2 mm, respectively; p = 0.40) aneurysms did not differ. The authors observed 1 new SAH from a previously unruptured, unprotected aneurysm in each group (1 of 176 vs 1 of 73 patients; p = 0.50). Baseline patient characteristics and comorbidities were similar between groups. While the degree of hypervolemia was similar between the VIH and non-VIH patients (fluid balance over the first 10 days of therapy: 3146.2 ± 296.4 vs 2910.5 ± 450.7 ml, respectively; p = 0.67), VIH resulted in a significant increase in mean arterial pressure (mean increase over the first 10 days of therapy relative to baseline: 125.1% ± 1.0% vs 98.2% ± 1.2%, respectively; p < 0.01) and systolic blood pressure (125.6% ± 1.1% vs. 104.1% ± 5.2%, respectively; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

For small, unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms in SAH patients, the frequency of aneurysm rupture during VIH therapy is rare. The authors do not recommend withholding VIH therapy from these patients.

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Eva M. Wu, Benjamin Kafka, James P. Caruso, Om J. Neeley, Aaron Plitt, Salah G. Aoun, Daiwai M. Olson, Robert A. Ruchinskas, C. Munro Cullum, Samuel Barnett, Babu G. Welch, H. Hunt Batjer and Jonathan A. White

OBJECTIVE

A short-term lumbar drain (LD) trial is commonly used to assess the response of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) patients to CSF diversion. However, it remains unknown whether the predictors of passing an LD trial match the predictors of improvement after ventriculoperitoneal shunting. The aim of this study was to examine outcomes, complication rates, and associations between predictors and outcomes after an LD trial in patients with NPH.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 254 patients with probable NPH who underwent an LD trial between March 2008 and September 2017. Multivariate regression models were constructed to examine predictors of passing the LD trial. Complications associated with the LD trial procedure were recorded.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 77 years and 56.7% were male. The mean durations of gait disturbance, cognitive decline, and urinary incontinence were 29 months, 32 months, and 28 months, respectively. Of the 254 patients, 30% and 16% reported objective and subjective improvement after the LD trial, respectively. Complications included a sheared LD catheter, meningitis, lumbar epidural abscess, CSF leak at insertion site, transient lower extremity numbness, slurred speech, refractory headaches, and hyponatremia. Multivariate analyses using MAX-R revealed that a prior history of stroke predicted worse outcomes, while disproportionate subarachnoid spaces (uneven enlargement of supratentorial spaces) predicted better outcomes after the LD trial (r2 = 0.12, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The LD trial is generally safe and well tolerated. The best predictors of passing the LD trial include a negative history of stroke and having disproportionate subarachnoid spaces.

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Salah G. Aoun, Sonja E. Stutzman, Phuong-Uyen N. Vo, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Mohamed Osman, Om Neeley, Aaron Plitt, James P. Caruso, Venkatesh Aiyagari, Folefac Atem, Babu G. Welch, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Daiwai M. Olson

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral vasospasm causing delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a source of significant morbidity after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Transcranial Doppler is used at most institutions to detect sonographic vasospasm but has poor positive predictive value for DCI. Automated assessment of the pupillary light reflex has been increasingly used as a reliable way of assessing pupillary reactivity, and the Neurological Pupil Index (NPi) has been shown to decrease hours prior to the clinical manifestation of ischemic injury or herniation syndromes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of automated pupillometry in the setting of SAH, as a potential adjunct to TCD.

METHODS

Our analysis included patients that had been diagnosed with aneurysmal SAH and admitted to the neuro–intensive care unit of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center between November 2015 and June 2017. A dynamic infrared pupillometer was used for all pupillary measurements. An NPi value ranging from 3 to 5 was considered normal, and from 0 to 2.9 abnormal. Sonographic vasospasm was defined as middle cerebral artery velocities greater than 100 cm/sec with a Lindegaard ratio greater than 3 on either side on transcranial Doppler. Most patients had multiple NPi readings daily and we retained the lowest value for our analysis. We aimed to study the association between DCI and sonographic vasospasm, and DCI and NPi readings.

RESULTS

A total of 56 patients were included in the final analysis with 635 paired observations of daily TCD and NPi data. There was no statistically significant association between the NPi value and the presence of sonographic vasospasm. There was a significant association between DCI and sonographic vasospasm, χ2(1) = 6.4112, p = 0.0113, OR 1.6419 (95% CI 1.1163–2.4150), and between DCI and an abnormal decrease in NPi, χ2(1) = 38.4456, p < 0.001, OR 3.3930 (95% CI 2.2789–5.0517). Twelve patients experienced DCI, with 7 showing a decrease of their NPi to an abnormal range. This change occurred > 8 hours prior to the clinical decline 71.4% of the time. The NPi normalized in all patients after treatment of their vasospasm.

CONCLUSIONS

Isolated sonographic vasospasm does not seem to correlate with NPi changes, as the latter likely reflects an ischemic neurological injury. NPi changes are strongly associated with the advent of DCI and could be an early herald of clinical deterioration.