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Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Timothy R. Smith, and Shenandoah Robinson

OBJECTIVES

The goal of this study was to evaluate clinical predictors of abnormal preoperative laboratory values in pediatric neurosurgical patients.

METHODS

Data obtained in children who underwent a neurosurgical operation were extracted from the prospective National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatrics (NSQIP-P, 2012–2013) registry. Multivariable logistic regression evaluated predictors of preoperative laboratory values that might require further evaluation (white blood cell count < 2000/μl, hematocrit < 24%, platelet count < 100,000/μl, international normalized ratio > 1.4, or partial thromboplastin time > 45 seconds) or a preoperative transfusion (within 48 hours prior to surgery). Variables screened included patient demographics; American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical designation classification; comorbidities; recent steroid use, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy; and admission type. Predictive score validation was performed using the NSQIP-P 2014 data.

RESULTS

Of the 6556 patients aged greater than 2 years, 68.9% (n = 5089) underwent laboratory testing, but only 1.9% (n = 125) had a critical laboratory value. Predictors of a laboratory abnormality were ASA class III–V; diabetes mellitus; hematological, hypothrombotic, or oncological comorbidities; nutritional support; recent chemotherapy; systemic inflammatory response syndrome; and a nonelective hospital admission. These 9 variables were used to create a predictive score, with a single point assigned for each predictor. The prevalence of critical values in the validation population (NSQIP-P 2014) of patients greater than 2 years of age was 0.3% with a score of 0, 1.0% in those with a score of 1, 1.6% in those with a score of 2, and 6.2% in those with a score ≥ 3. Higher score was predictive of a critical value (OR 2.33, 95% CI 1.91–2.83, p < 0.001, C-statistic 0.76) and with the requirement of a perioperative transfusion (intraoperatively or within 72 hours postoperatively; OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.22–1.67, p < 0.001) in the validation population. Moreover, when the same score was applied to children aged 2 years or younger, a greater score was predictive of a critical value (OR 2.47, 95% CI 2.15–2.84, p < 0.001, C-statistic 0.76).

CONCLUSIONS

Critical laboratory values in pediatric neurosurgical patients are largely predicted by clinical characteristics, and abnormal preoperative laboratory results are rare in patients older than 2 years of age without comorbidities who are undergoing elective surgery. The NSQIP-P critical preoperative laboratory value scale is proposed to indicate patients with the highest odds of an abnormal value. The scale can assist with triaging preoperative testing based on the surgical risk, as determined by the treating surgeon and anesthesiologist.

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Abdul-Kareem Ahmed, Ann-Christine Duhaime, and Timothy R. Smith

OBJECTIVE

Absent from an analysis of supply is consideration of the geographic distribution of pediatric neurosurgeons. Several patient socioeconomic metrics are known to be associated with outcome in pediatric neurosurgical diseases, such as hydrocephalus. The purpose of this study was to determine current geographic proximity to pediatric neurosurgical care using professional society databases. This study also sought to establish how socioeconomic factors are related to distance to care, using federal government–collected data.

METHODS

A list of currently practicing American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery (ABPNS)–certified neurosurgeons was compiled (ABPNS group). A separate list of practicing members of the Joint Pediatric Section (JPS) of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons was prepared (JPS group). Current primary practice locations were collected from each professional society database for each ABPNS or JPS neurosurgeon and were charted using ArcGIS mapping software (ESRI, version 10.3) on a United States Census Bureau map. The straight distance from the centroid of each zip code tabulation area (ZCTA) to the nearest neurosurgeon was determined by group type of neurosurgeon (ABPNS vs ABPNS + JPS). ZCTA-level data on demographic and socioeconomic factors were acquired from the American Community Survey, including data in children and young adults (0–18 or 0–24 years old) and the general population. These data were compared by distance to care and by groups of neurosurgeons (Pearson’s chi-square analysis; the threshold of significance was set at 0.05).

RESULTS

Three hundred fifty-five practicing neurosurgeons providing pediatric care were located, of whom 215 surgeons were certified by the ABPNS and 140 were JPS members only. The analysis showed that 1 pediatric neurosurgeon is in practice for every 289,799 persons up to the age of 24 years. The average distance between a ZCTA and the nearest pediatric neurosurgeon is 63.3 miles (SE 0.3, range 0.0–499.7 miles). Geographic analysis showed that 27.1% of children live farther than 60 miles from an ABPNS-certified neurosurgeon and 19.7% from either an ABPNS-certified neurosurgeon or a JPS member. ZCTAs with children who live farther than 60 miles from a neurosurgeon providing pediatric care had a marginally higher rate of uninsured children, a higher percentage of families with children living below the federal poverty level, and a higher proportion of persons living in rural areas compared with ZCTAs with children who live within 60 miles of care (p < 0.005 for each finding).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study indicate that there is considerable variation in proximity to pediatric neurosurgical subspecialty care by geographic region. In addition, there is a relationship between distance to neurosurgical care and socioeconomic indicators. Optimization of access to pediatric neurosurgical care may involve strategies to overcome long geographic distances, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Such areas may have disproportionately lower socioeconomic levels, which may further limit access to care and affect outcomes. Both the total number of pediatric neurosurgeons per pediatric population and their geographic distribution could be important in determining appropriate subspecialty supply factors (e.g., the number of accredited pediatric neurosurgical fellowship training programs), as well as being important drivers of neurosurgical patient outcomes.

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Ryan Brewster, Wenya Linda Bi, Timothy R. Smith, William B. Gormley, Ian F. Dunn, and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Baseball maintains one of the highest impact injury rates in all athletics. A principal causative factor is the “beanball,” referring to a pitch thrown directly at a batter’s head. Frequent morbidities elicited demand for the development of protective gear development in the 20th century. In this setting, Dr. Walter Dandy was commissioned to design a “protective cap” in 1941. His invention became widely adopted by professional baseball and inspired subsequent generations of batting helmets. As a baseball aficionado since his youth, Walter Dandy identified a natural partnership between baseball and medical practice for the reduction of beaning-related brain injuries. This history further supports the unique position of neurosurgeons to leverage clinical insights, inform innovation, and expand service to society.

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Timothy R. Smith, David J. Cote, John A. Jane Jr., and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to establish recurrence rates in patients with craniopharyngioma postoperatively treated with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) as a basis for determining the risk of rhGH therapy in the development of recurrent tumor.

METHODS

The study included 739 pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma who were naïve to GH upon entering the Genentech National Cooperative Growth Study (NCGS) for treatment. Reoperation for tumor recurrence was documented as an adverse event. Cox proportional-hazards regression models were developed for time to recurrence, using age as the outcome and enrollment date as the predictor. Patients without recurrence were treated as censored. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the incidence of recurrence with adjustment for the amount of time at risk.

RESULTS

Fifty recurrences in these 739 surgically treated patients were recorded. The overall craniopharyngioma recurrence rate in the NCGS was 6.8%, with a median follow-up time of 4.3 years (range 0.7–6.4 years.). Age at the time of study enrollment was statistically significant according to both Cox (p = 0.0032) and logistic (p < 0.001) models, with patients under 9 years of age more likely to suffer recurrence (30 patients [11.8%], 0.025 recurrences/yr of observation, p = 0.0097) than those ages 9–13 years (17 patients [6.0%], 0.17 recurrences/yr of observation) and children older than 13 years (3 patients [1.5%], 0.005 recurrences/yr of observation).

CONCLUSIONS

Physiological doses of GH do not appear to increase the recurrence rate of craniopharyngioma after surgery in children, but long-term follow-up of GH-treated patients is required to establish a true natural history in the GH treatment era.

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Bobby D. Kim, Timothy R. Smith, Seokchun Lim, George R. Cybulski, and John Y. S. Kim

Object

Unplanned hospital readmission represents a large financial burden on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, commercial insurance payers, hospitals, and individual patients, and is a principal target for cost reduction. A large-scale, multi-institutional study that evaluates risk factors for readmission has not been previously performed in patients undergoing lumbar decompression procedures. The goal of this multicenter retrospective study was to find preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative predictive factors that result in unplanned readmission (UR) after lumbar decompression surgery.

Methods

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was retrospectively reviewed to identify all patients who received lumbar decompression procedures in 2011. Risk-adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate independent predictors of UR.

Results

The overall rate of UR among patients undergoing lumbar decompression was 4.4%. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, anemia (odds ratio [OR] 1.48), dependent functional status (OR 3.03), total operative duration (OR 1.003), and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Class 4 (OR 3.61) remained as independent predictors of UR. Postoperative complications that were significantly associated with UR included overall complications (OR 5.18), pulmonary embolism (OR 3.72), and unplanned reoperation (OR 56.91).

Conclusions

There were several risk factors for UR after lumbar spine decompression surgery. Identification of high-risk patients and appropriate allocation of resources to reduce postoperative incidence may reduce the readmission rate.

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Timothy R. Smith, M. Maher Hulou, Kevin T. Huang, Breno Nery, Samuel Miranda de Moura, David J. Cote, and Edward R. Laws

OBJECT

The purpose of this study was to describe complications associated with the endonasal, transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–positive staining tumors (Cushing's disease [CD] and silent corticotroph adenomas [SCAs]) performed by 1 surgeon at a high-volume academic medical center.

METHODS

Medical records from Brigham and Women's Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Selected for study were 82 patients with CD who during April 2008–April 2014 had consecutively undergone transsphenoidal resection or who had subsequent pathological confirmation of ACTH-positive tumor staining. In addition to demographic, patient, tumor, and surgery characteristics, complications were evaluated. Complications of interest included syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, diabetes insipidus (DI), CSF leakage, carotid artery injury, epistaxis, meningitis, and vision changes.

RESULTS

Of the 82 patients, 68 (82.9%) had CD and 14 (17.1%) had SCAs; 55 patients were female and 27 were male. Most common (n = 62 patients, 82.7%) were microadenomas, followed by macroadenomas (n = 13, 14.7%). A total of 31 (37.8%) patients underwent reoperation. Median follow-up time was 12.0 months (range 3–69 months). The most common diagnosis was ACTH-secreting (n = 68, 82.9%), followed by silent tumors/adenomas (n = 14, 17.1%). ACTH hyperplasia was found in 8 patients (9.8%). Of the 74 patients who had verified tumors, 12 (16.2%) had tumors with atypical features.

The overall (CD and SCA) rate of minor complications was 35.4%; the rate of major complications was 8.5% (n = 7). All permanent morbidity was associated with DI (n = 5, 6.1%). In 16 CD patients (23.5%), transient DI developed. Transient DI was more likely to develop in CD patients who had undergone a second operation (37.9%) than in those who had undergone a first operation only (12.8%, p < 0.05). Permanent DI developed in 4 CD patients (5.9%) and 1 SCA patient (7.1%). For 1 CD patient, intraoperative carotid artery injury required endovascular sacrifice of the injured artery, but the patient remained neurologically intact. For another CD patient, aseptic meningitis developed and was treated effectively with corticosteroids. One CD patient experienced major postoperative epistaxis requiring another operative procedure to achieve hemostasis. For 2 CD patients, development of sinus mucoceles was managed conservatively. For 1 SCA patient, an abdominal wound dehisced at the fat graft site. No patients experienced postoperative CSF leakage, visual impairment, or deep vein thrombosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Transsphenoidal surgery is the treatment of choice for patients with CD and other ACTH-positive staining tumors. Recent advances in endoscopic technology and increasing surgeon comfort with this technology are making transsphenoidal procedures safer, faster, and more effective. Serious complications are uncommon and can be managed successfully.

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Brittany M. Stopa, Maya Harary, Ray Jhun, Arun Job, Saef Izzy, Timothy R. Smith, and William B. Gormley

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, but the true incidence of TBI is unknown.

METHODS

The National Trauma Data Bank National Sample Program (NTDB NSP) was queried for 2007 and 2013, and population-based weighted estimates of TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths were calculated. These data were compared to the 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on TBI, which used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National (“Nationwide” before 2012) Inpatient Sample and National Emergency Department Sample.

RESULTS

In the NTDB NSP the incidence of TBI-related ED visits was 59/100,000 in 2007 and 62/100,000 in 2013. However, in the CDC report there were 534/100,000 in 2007 and 787/100,000 in 2013. The CDC estimate for ED visits was 805% higher in 2007 and 1169% higher in 2013. In the NTDB NSP, the incidence of TBI-related deaths was 5/100,000 in 2007 and 4/100,000 in 2013. In the CDC report, the incidence was 18/100,000 in both years. The CDC estimate for deaths was 260% higher in 2007 and 325% higher in 2013.

CONCLUSIONS

The databases disagreed widely in their weighted estimates of TBI incidence: CDC estimates were consistently higher than NTDB NSP estimates, by an average of 448%. Although such a discrepancy may be intuitive, this is the first study to quantify the magnitude of disagreement between these databases. Given that research, funding, and policy decisions are made based on these estimates, there is a need for a more accurate estimate of the true national incidence of TBI.

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Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Robert F. Rudy, Timothy R. Smith, William B. Gormley, Nirav J. Patel, Kai U. Frerichs, M. Ali Aziz-Sultan, and Rose Du

OBJECTIVE

The complex decision analysis of unruptured intracranial aneurysms entails weighing the benefits of aneurysm repair against operative risk. The goal of the present analysis was to build and validate a predictive scale that identifies patients with the greatest odds of a postsurgical adverse event.

METHODS

Data on patients who underwent surgical clipping of an unruptured aneurysm were extracted from the prospective National Surgical Quality Improvement Program registry (NSQIP; 2007–2014); NSQIP does not systematically collect data on patients undergoing intracranial endovascular intervention. Multivariable logistic regression evaluated predictors of any 30-day adverse event; variables screened included patient demographics, comorbidities, functional status, preoperative laboratory values, aneurysm location/complexity, and operative time. A predictive scale was constructed based on statistically significant independent predictors, which was validated using both NSQIP (2015–2016) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS; 2002–2011).

RESULTS

The NSQIP unruptured aneurysm scale was proposed: 1 point was assigned for a bleeding disorder; 2 points for age 51–60 years, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus, morbid obesity, anemia (hematocrit < 36%), operative time 240–330 minutes; 3 points for leukocytosis (white blood cell count > 12,000/μL) and operative time > 330 minutes; and 4 points for age > 60 years. An increased score was predictive of postoperative stroke or coma (NSQIP: p = 0.002, C-statistic = 0.70; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.61), a medical complication (NSQIP: p = 0.01, C-statistic = 0.71; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.64), and a nonroutine discharge (NSQIP: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.75; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.66) in both validation populations. Greater score was also predictive of increased odds of any adverse event, a major complication, and an extended hospitalization in both validation populations (p ≤ 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

The NSQIP unruptured aneurysm scale may augment the risk stratification of patients undergoing microsurgical clipping of unruptured cerebral aneurysms.

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Enrico Martin, Joeky T. Senders, Aislyn C. DiRisio, Timothy R. Smith, and Marike L. D. Broekman

OBJECTIVE

Ideal timeframes for operating on traumatic stretch and blunt brachial plexus injuries remain a topic of debate. Whereas on the one hand spontaneous recovery might occur, on the other hand, long delays are believed to result in poorer functional outcomes. The goal of this review is to assess the optimal timeframe for surgical intervention for traumatic brachial plexus injuries.

METHODS

A systematic search was performed in January 2017 in PubMed and Embase databases according to the PRISMA guidelines. Search terms related to “brachial plexus injury” and “timing” were used. Obstetric plexus palsies were excluded. Qualitative synthesis was performed on all studies. Timing of operation and motor outcome were collected from individual patient data. Patients were categorized into 5 delay groups (0–3, 3–6, 6–9, 9–12, and > 12 months). Median delays were calculated for Medical Research Council (MRC) muscle grade ≥ 3 and ≥ 4 recoveries.

RESULTS

Forty-three studies were included after full-text screening. Most articles showed significantly better motor outcome with delays to surgery less than 6 months, with some studies specifying even shorter delays. Pain and quality of life scores were also significantly better with shorter delays. Nerve reconstructions performed after long time intervals, even more than 12 months, can still be useful. All papers reporting individual-level patient data described a combined total of 569 patients; 65.5% of all patients underwent operations within 6 months and 27.4% within 3 months. The highest percentage of ≥ MRC grade 3 (89.7%) was observed in the group operated on within 3 months. These percentages decreased with longer delays, with only 35.7% ≥ MRC grade 3 with delays > 12 months. A median delay of 4 months (IQR 3–6 months) was observed for a recovery of ≥ MRC grade 3, compared with a median delay of 7 months (IQR 5–11 months) for ≤ MRC grade 3 recovery.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this systematic review show that in stretch and blunt injury of the brachial plexus, the optimal time to surgery is shorter than 6 months. In general, a 3-month delay appears to be appropriate because while recovery is better in those operated on earlier, this must be considered given the potential for spontaneous recovery.