The impact of depression on surgical outcome in Chiari malformation type I: an assessment based on the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore;
  • 2 Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; and
  • 3 Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
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OBJECTIVE

The effect of depression on outcomes in Chiari malformation type I (CM-1) is unclear. The authors sought to determine whether depression affects outcome in a surgical cohort of CM-1 patients by using a validated outcome assessment tool, the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database of 149 adult CM-1 patients undergoing suboccipital decompression with duraplasty and cranioplasty. Baseline presentation characteristics and composite as well as subcomponent CCOS scores at last follow-up were compared between depressed and nondepressed patients. Outcome comparisons included both a univariable analysis and a logistic regression model adjusting for several covariates.

RESULTS

The prevalence of depression in the study cohort was 28% (41/149). Baseline demographic and imaging characteristics were similar between the 2 patient groups. Dizziness (p = 0.019) and imbalance (p = 0.015) were significantly more common among depressed patients, but clinical symptoms and severity were otherwise comparable. On univariable analysis, depressed patients were significantly less likely to experience improvement in pain symptoms (OR 0.14, 95% CI 0.03–0.61, p = 0.003) and functionality (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.03–0.99, p = 0.049). No significant difference was identified in complications, nonpain symptom improvement, or overall composite CCOS improvement. Similar results were obtained on multivariable analysis controlling for several covariates.

CONCLUSIONS

Depression is independently associated with poor surgical outcome in adult CM-1 patients, namely when evaluating improvement in pain symptoms and functionality. Optimizing the management of depression preoperatively and ensuring follow-up for psychiatric comorbidity in the postoperative period may possibly lead to improved outcomes.

ABBREVIATIONS CCOS = Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale; CM-1 = Chiari malformation type I; CSI = Chiari Severity Index.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Judy Huang: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. jhuang24@jhmi.edu.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online April 24, 2020; DOI: 10.3171/2020.2.SPINE2069.

Disclosures Dr. Judy Huang declares stock ownership interest in Longeviti Neuro Solutions.

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