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Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Zaid Aljuboori and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Opioid abuse is highly prevalent in patients with back pain. The aim of this study was to identify health care utilization and overall costs associated with opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

METHODS

The authors queried the MarketScan database using ICD-9 and CPT-4 codes from 2000 to 2012. Opioid dependency was defined as having a diagnosis of opioid use disorder, having a prescription for opioid use disorder, or having 10 or more opioid prescriptions. Opioid dependency was evaluated in 12-month period leading to surgery and in the period 3–15 months following the procedure. Patients were segregated into 4 groups based on opioid dependence before and after surgery: group NDND (prior nondependent who remain nondependent), group NDD (prior nondependent who become dependent), group DND (prior dependent who become nondependent), and group DD (prior dependent who remain dependent). The outcomes of interest were discharge disposition, hospital length of stay (LOS), complications, and health care resource costs. The 4 groups were compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test and linear contrasts built from generalized regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 10,708 patients were identified, with 81.57%, 3.58%, 8.54%, and 6.32% of patients in groups NDND, NDD, DND, and DD, respectively. In group DD, 96.31% of patients had decompression with fusion, compared with 93.59% in group NDND. Patients in group NDD, DND, and DD had longer hospital LOS compared with those in group NDND. Patients in group DD were less likely to be discharged home compared with those in group NDND (odds ratio 0.639, 95% confidence interval 0.52–0.785). At 3–15 months postdischarge, patients in group DD incurred 21% higher hospital readmission costs compared with those in group NDND. However, patients in groups NDD and DD were likely to incur 2.8 times the overall costs compared with patients in group NDND (p < 0.001) at 3–15 months after surgery (median overall payments: group NDD $20,033 and group DD $19,654, vs group NDND $7994).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who continued to be opioid dependent or became opioid dependent following surgery for DS incurred significantly higher health care utilization and costs within 3 months and in the period 3–15 months after discharge from surgery.

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Zaid Aljuboori, Jacob Archer, Wei Huff, Amee Moreno and Andrew Jea

Intrathecal baclofen has been suggested as an effective and safe treatment for intractable spasticity and dystonia. Techniques of lumbar and intraventricular catheter placement have been previously described. The purpose of this study was to describe a technique to implant catheters for intrathecal baclofen infusion through C1–2 puncture.

Four of 5 consecutively treated patients underwent successful placement of catheters for intrathecal baclofen. There were no instances of infection, CSF leak, or catheter migration seen during a follow-up period of at least 6 months; furthermore, there were no occurrences of vertebral artery or spinal cord injury. All patients had an effective stabilization or reduction of their upper-extremity, lower-extremity, or trunk tone. There were no cases of worsening hypertonia.

The authors’ preliminary experience with C1–2 puncture for placement of the intrathecal baclofen catheter seems to indicate that this is a safe and efficacious technique. Lessons learned from the failed attempt at C1–2 puncture will be delineated.

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Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Zaid Aljuboori, Miriam A. Nuño, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

The opioid crisis is identified as a national emergency and epidemic in the United States. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors associated with opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

METHODS

The authors queried MarketScan databases to investigate the factors affecting postsurgery opioid use in patients with DS between 2000 and 2012. The outcome of interest was opioid dependence, which was defined as continued opioid use, > 10 opioid prescriptions, or diagnosis of or prescription for opioid dependence disorder in the period of 1 year before or 3–15 months after the procedure. Comparisons of outcomes were performed using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized regression models.

RESULTS

A cohort of 10,708 patients was identified from the database. The median patient age was 61 years (interquartile range 54–69 years), and 65.1% were female (n = 6975). A majority of patients had decompression with fusion (n = 10,068; 94%) and underwent multilevel procedures (n = 8123; 75.9%). Of 10,708 patients, 14.85% (n = 1591) were identified as having opioid dependence within 12 months prior to the index surgical procedure and 9.90% (n = 1060) were identified as having opioid dependence within 3–15 months after the procedure. Of all the variables, prior opioid dependence (OR 16.29, 95% CI 14.10–18.81, p < 0.001) and younger age (1-year increase in age: OR 0.972, 95% CI 0.963–0.980, p < 0.001) were independent predictors of opioid dependence following surgery for DS. The use of fusion was not associated with opioid dependence following the procedure (p = 0.8396). Following surgery for DS, patients were more likely to become opioid independent than they were to become opioid dependent (8.54% vs 3.58%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of patients underwent fusion for DS. Surgical decompression with fusion was not associated with increased risk of postsurgery opioid dependence in patients with DS. Overall, opioid dependence was reduced by 4.96% after surgery for DS. Prior opioid dependence is associated with increased risk and increasing age is associated with decreased risk of opioid dependence following surgery for DS.

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Robert F. James, Nicolas K. Khattar, Zaid S. Aljuboori, Paul S. Page, Elaine Y. Shao, Lacey M. Carter, Kimberly S. Meyer, Michael W. Daniels, John Craycroft, John R. Gaughen Jr., M. Imran Chaudry, Shesh N. Rai, D. Erik Everhart and J. Marc Simard

OBJECTIVE

Cognitive dysfunction occurs in up to 70% of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) survivors. Low-dose intravenous heparin (LDIVH) infusion using the Maryland protocol was recently shown to reduce clinical vasospasm and vasospasm-related infarction. In this study, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to evaluate cognitive changes in aSAH patients treated with the Maryland LDIVH protocol compared with controls.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of all patients treated for aSAH between July 2009 and April 2014 was conducted. Beginning in 2012, aSAH patients were treated with LDIVH in the postprocedural period. The MoCA was administered to all aSAH survivors prospectively during routine follow-up visits, at least 3 months after aSAH, by trained staff blinded to treatment status. Mean MoCA scores were compared between groups, and regression analyses were performed for relevant factors.

RESULTS

No significant differences in baseline characteristics were observed between groups. The mean MoCA score for the LDIVH group (n = 25) was 26.4 compared with 22.7 in controls (n = 22) (p = 0.013). Serious cognitive impairment (MoCA ≤ 20) was observed in 32% of controls compared with 0% in the LDIVH group (p = 0.008). Linear regression analysis demonstrated that only LDIVH was associated with a positive influence on MoCA scores (β = 3.68, p =0.019), whereas anterior communicating artery aneurysms and fevers were negatively associated with MoCA scores. Multivariable linear regression analysis resulted in all 3 factors maintaining significance. There were no treatment complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This preliminary study suggests that the Maryland LDIVH protocol may improve cognitive outcomes in aSAH patients. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the safety and potential benefit of unfractionated heparin in aSAH patients.