Publications by authors named "Anthony Asher"

176 Publications

Adjacent-Segment Disease Following Spinal Arthroplasty.

Neurosurg Clin N Am 2021 Oct 29;32(4):505-510. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, 225 Baldwin Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA; Atrium Musculoskeletal Institute, Charlotte, NC, USA.

Intuitively, the introduction of artificial discs into spinal surgery offered the promise of reducing the incidence of adjacent segment (AS) reoperation compared with fusion. Several early clinical studies reported nonstatistically significant differences in AS disease between total disc replacement and fusion. Given the relatively low rate of AS reoperation (∼1%-2% per year) following fusion, any appropriately powered study designed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference compared with arthroplasty would require thousands of patients and/or long-term follow-up (>5 years). Therefore, these differences only become apparent with large study size or meta-analyses and longer follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nec.2021.05.009DOI Listing
October 2021

Does reduction of the Meyerding grade correlate with outcomes in patients undergoing decompression and fusion for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis?

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Sep 17:1-8. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Objective: Reduction of Meyerding grade is often performed during fusion for spondylolisthesis. Although radiographic appearance may improve, correlation with patient-reported outcomes (PROs) is rarely reported. In this study, the authors' aim was to assess the impact of spondylolisthesis reduction on 24-month PRO measures after decompression and fusion surgery for Meyerding grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion for spondylolisthesis with a minimum 24-month follow-up, and quantitative correlation between Meyerding slippage reduction and PROs was performed. Baseline and 24-month PROs, including the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, Numeric Rating Scale (NRS)-back pain (NRS-BP), NRS-leg pain (NRS-LP), and satisfaction (North American Spine Society patient satisfaction questionnaire) scores were noted. Multivariable regression models were fitted for 24-month PROs and complications after adjusting for an array of preoperative and surgical variables. Data were analyzed for magnitude of slippage reduction and correlated with PROs. Patients were divided into two groups: < 3 mm reduction and ≥ 3 mm reduction.

Results: Of 608 patients from 12 participating sites, 206 patients with complete data were identified in the QOD and included in this study. Baseline patient demographics, comorbidities, and clinical characteristics were similarly distributed between the cohorts except for depression, listhesis magnitude, and the proportion with dynamic listhesis (which were accounted for in the multivariable analysis). One hundred four (50.5%) patients underwent lumbar decompression and fusion with slippage reduction ≥ 3 mm (mean 5.19, range 3 to 11), and 102 (49.5%) patients underwent lumbar decompression and fusion with slippage reduction < 3 mm (mean 0.41, range 2 to -2). Patients in both groups (slippage reduction ≥ 3 mm, and slippage reduction < 3 mm) reported significant improvement in all primary patient reported outcomes (all p < 0.001). There was no significant difference with regard to the PROs between patients with or without intraoperative reduction of listhesis on univariate and multivariable analyses (ODI, EQ-5D, NRS-BP, NRS-LP, or satisfaction). There was no significant difference in complications between cohorts.

Conclusions: Significant improvement was found in terms of all PROs in patients undergoing decompression and fusion for lumbar spondylolisthesis. There was no correlation with clinical outcomes and magnitude of Meyerding slippage reduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.3.SPINE202059DOI Listing
September 2021

Adherence to Guidelines for Managing Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children.

Am J Crit Care 2021 09;30(5):402-406

Carolyn S. Quinsey is an assistant professor and associate program director, Department of Neurosurgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) protocols vary widely among institutions, despite the existence of published guidelines. This study seeks to identify significant differences in management of pediatric TBI across several institutions. Severe pediatric TBI protocols were collected from major US pediatric hospitals through direct communication with trauma staff. Of 24 institutions identified and contacted, 10 did not respond and 5 did not have a pediatric TBI protocol. Pediatric TBI protocols were successfully collected from 9 institutions. These 9 protocols were separated into treatment tiers analogous to those in the 2019 Society of Critical Care Medicine and World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies guidelines, and the intervention variables were identified and compared across the 9 institutions. First-line therapies were similar between institutions, including seizure prophylaxis, maintenance of normoglycemia and normothermia, and avoidance of hypoxia, hyponatremia, and hypotension. However, significant variation across institutions was found regarding timing of cerebrospinal fluid drainage, hyperventilation, and neuromuscular blockade. When included in institutional protocols, most therapies are in line with the 2019 guidelines, except for diversion of cerebrospinal fluid, hyperventilation, maintenance of cerebral perfusion pressure, and use of neuromuscular blocking agents. Although these variations may represent differences in style or preference, the optimal timing of these specific treatment variations should be studied to determine the impact of each protocol on clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2021111DOI Listing
September 2021

Launching the Quality Outcomes Database Tumor Registry: rationale, development, and pilot data.

J Neurosurg 2021 Aug 6:1-10. Epub 2021 Aug 6.

4Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Objective: Neurosurgeons generate an enormous amount of data daily. Within these data lie rigorous, valid, and reproducible evidence. Such evidence can facilitate healthcare reform and improve quality of care. To measure the quality of care provided objectively, evaluating the safety and efficacy of clinical activities should occur in real time. Registries must be constructed and collected data analyzed with the precision akin to that of randomized clinical trials to accomplish this goal.

Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) Tumor Registry was launched in February 2019 with 8 sites in its initial 1-year pilot phase. The Tumor Registry was proposed by the AANS/CNS Tumor Section and approved by the QOD Scientific Committee in the fall of 2018. The initial pilot phase aimed to assess the feasibility of collecting outcomes data from 8 academic practices across the United States; these outcomes included length of stay, discharge disposition, and inpatient complications.

Results: As of November 2019, 923 eligible patients have been entered, with the following subsets: intracranial metastasis (17.3%, n = 160), high-grade glioma (18.5%, n = 171), low-grade glioma (6%, n = 55), meningioma (20%, n = 184), pituitary tumor (14.3%, n = 132), and other intracranial tumor (24%, n = 221).

Conclusions: The authors have demonstrated here, as a pilot study, the feasibility of documenting demographic, clinical, operative, and patient-reported outcome characteristics longitudinally for 6 common intracranial tumor types.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.1.JNS201115DOI Listing
August 2021

Impact of predominant symptom location among patients undergoing cervical spine surgery on 12-month outcomes: an analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Jul 9:1-11. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

4Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Objective: The impact of the type of pain presentation on outcomes of spine surgery remains elusive. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of predominant symptom location (predominant arm pain vs predominant neck pain vs equal neck and arm pain) on postoperative improvement in patient-reported outcomes.

Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database cervical spine module was queried for patients undergoing 1- or 2-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for degenerative spine disease.

Results: A total of 9277 patients were included in the final analysis. Of these patients, 18.4% presented with predominant arm pain, 32.3% presented with predominant neck pain, and 49.3% presented with equal neck and arm pain. Patients with predominant neck pain were found to have higher (worse) 12-month Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores (coefficient 0.24, 95% CI 0.15-0.33; p < 0.0001). The three groups did not differ significantly in odds of return to work and achieving minimal clinically important difference in NDI score at the 12-month follow-up.

Conclusions: Analysis from a national spine registry showed significantly lower odds of patient satisfaction and worse NDI score at 1 year after surgery for patients with predominant neck pain when compared with patients with predominant arm pain and those with equal neck and arm pain after 1- or 2-level ACDF. With regard to return to work, all three groups (arm pain, neck pain, and equal arm and neck pain) were found to be similar after multivariable analysis. The authors' results suggest that predominant pain location, especially predominant neck pain, might be a significant determinant of improvement in functional outcomes and patient satisfaction after ACDF for degenerative spine disease. In addition to confirmation of the common experience that patients with predominant neck pain have worse outcomes, the authors' findings provide potential targets for improvement in patient management for these specific populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.12.SPINE202002DOI Listing
July 2021

Rapid-sequence MRI for evaluation of pediatric traumatic brain injury: a systematic review.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Jun 25:1-9. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

1Department of Neurosurgery and.

Objective: Rapid-sequence MRI (RSMRI) of the brain is a limited-sequence MRI protocol that eliminates ionizing radiation exposure and reduces imaging time. This systematic review sought to examine studies of clinical RSMRI use for pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to evaluate various RSMRI protocols used, including their reported accuracy as well as clinical and systems-based limitations to implementation.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases were searched, and clinical articles reporting the use of a limited brain MRI protocol in the setting of pediatric head trauma were identified.

Results: Of the 1639 articles initially identified and reviewed, 13 studies were included. An additional article that was in press at the time was provided by its authors. The average RSMRI study completion time was variable, spanning from 1 minute to 16 minutes. RSMRI with "blood-sensitive" sequences was more sensitive for detection of hemorrhage compared with head CT (HCT), but less sensitive for detection of skull fractures. Compared with standard MRI, RSMRI had decreased sensitivity for all evidence of trauma.

Conclusions: Protocols and uses of RSMRI for pediatric TBI were variable among the included studies. While traumatic pathology missed by RSMRI, such as small hemorrhages and linear, nondisplaced skull fractures, was frequently described as clinically insignificant, in some cases these findings may be prognostically and/or forensically significant. Institutions should integrate RSMRI into pediatric TBI management judiciously, relying on clinical context and institutional capabilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.2.PEDS20852DOI Listing
June 2021

Characteristics of Patients ≥ 10 Years of Age with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma: A Report from the International DIPG Registry.

Neuro Oncol 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH.

Background: DIPG generally occurs in young school-age children, although can occur in adolescents and young adults. The purpose of this study was to describe clinical, radiological, pathologic, and molecular characteristics in patients ≥10 years of age with DIPG enrolled in the International DIPG Registry (IDIPGR).

Methods: Patients ≥10 years of age at diagnosis enrolled in the IDIPGR with imaging confirmed DIPG diagnosis were included. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS) categorized as long-term survivors (LTS) (≥24 months) or short-term survivors (STS) (<24 months).

Results: Among 1010 patients, 208 (21%) were ≥10 years of age at diagnosis; 152 were eligible with a median age of 12 years [range 10-26.8]. Median OS was 13 [2-82] months. The 1-, 3- and 5- years OS was 61.9%, 3.7%, and 1.5%, respectively. The 18/152 (11.8%) LTS were more likely to be older (P<0.01) and present with longer symptom duration (P<0.01). Biopsy and/or autopsy were performed in 50 (33%) patients; 77%, 61%, 33%, and 6% of patients tested had H3K27M (H3F3A or HIST1H3B), TP53, ATRX, and ACVR1 mutations/genome alterations, respectively. Two of 18 patients with IDH1 testing were IDH1-mutant and one was a LTS. The presence or absence of H3 alterations did not affect survival.

Conclusion: Patients ≥10 years old with DIPG have a median survival of 13 months. LTS present with longer symptom duration and are likely to be older at presentation compared to STS. ATRX mutation rates were higher in this population than the general DIPG population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab140DOI Listing
June 2021

Preoperative Radiosurgery for Resected Brain Metastases: The PROPS-BM Multicenter Cohort Study.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 May 29. Epub 2021 May 29.

Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina; Southeast Radiation Oncology Group, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Purpose: Preoperative radiosurgery (SRS) is a feasible alternative to postoperative SRS, with potential benefits in adverse radiation effect (ARE) and leptomeningeal disease (LMD) relapse. However, previous studies are limited by small patient numbers and single-institution designs. Our aim was to evaluate preoperative SRS outcomes and prognostic factors from a large multicenter cohort (Preoperative Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases [PROPS-BM]).

Methods And Materials: Patients with brain metastases (BM) from solid cancers who had at least 1 lesion treated with preoperative SRS and underwent a planned resection were included from 5 institutions. SRS to synchronous intact BM was allowed. Radiographic meningeal disease (MD) was categorized as either nodular or classical "sugarcoating" (cLMD).

Results: The cohort included 242 patients with 253 index lesions. Most patients (62.4%) had a single BM, 93.7% underwent gross total resection, and 98.8% were treated with a single fraction to a median dose of 15 Gray to a median gross tumor volume of 9.9 cc. Cavity local recurrence (LR) rates at 1 and 2 years were 15% and 17.9%, respectively. Subtotal resection (STR) was a strong independent predictor of LR (hazard ratio, 9.1; P < .001). One and 2-year rates of MD were 6.1% and 7.6% and of any grade ARE were 4.7% and 6.8% , respectively. The median overall survival (OS) duration was 16.9 months and the 2-year OS rate was 38.4%. The majority of MD was cLMD (13 of 19 patients with MD; 68.4%). Of 242 patients, 10 (4.1%) experienced grade ≥3 postoperative surgical complications.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this multicenter study represents the largest cohort treated with preoperative SRS. The favorable outcomes previously demonstrated in single-institution studies, particularly the low rates of MD and ARE, are confirmed in this expanded multicenter analysis, without evidence of an excessive postoperative surgical complication risk. STR, though infrequent, is associated with significantly worse cavity LR. A randomized trial between preoperative and postoperative SRS is warranted and is currently being designed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.05.124DOI Listing
May 2021

Identifying patients at risk for nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy: an analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 May 7:1-9. Epub 2021 May 7.

15Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Objective: Optimizing patient discharge after surgery has been shown to impact patient recovery and hospital/physician workflow and to reduce healthcare costs. In the current study, the authors sought to identify risk factors for nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy by using a national spine registry.

Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database cervical module was queried for patients who had undergone surgery for cervical myelopathy between 2016 and 2018. Nonroutine discharge was defined as discharge to postacute care (rehabilitation), nonacute care, or another acute care hospital. A multivariable logistic regression predictive model was created using an array of demographic, clinical, operative, and patient-reported outcome characteristics.

Results: Of the 1114 patients identified, 11.2% (n = 125) had a nonroutine discharge. On univariate analysis, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be older (age ≥ 65 years, 70.4% vs 35.8%, p < 0.001), African American (24.8% vs 13.9%, p = 0.007), and on Medicare (75.2% vs 35.1%, p < 0.001). Among the patients younger than 65 years of age, those who had a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be unemployed (70.3% vs 36.9%, p < 0.001). Overall, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to present with a motor deficit (73.6% vs 58.7%, p = 0.001) and more likely to have nonindependent ambulation (50.4% vs 14.0%, p < 0.001) at presentation. On multivariable logistic regression, factors associated with higher odds of a nonroutine discharge included African American race (vs White, OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.38-5.51, p = 0.004), Medicare coverage (vs private insurance, OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.00-4.65, p = 0.04), nonindependent ambulation at presentation (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.17-4.02, p = 0.01), baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association severe myelopathy score (0-11 vs moderate 12-14, OR 2, 95% CI 1.07-3.73, p = 0.01), and posterior surgical approach (OR 11.6, 95% CI 2.12-48, p = 0.004). Factors associated with lower odds of a nonroutine discharge included fewer operated levels (1 vs 2-3 levels, OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1-0.96, p = 0.009) and a higher quality of life at baseline (EQ-5D score, OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.25-0.73, p = 0.001). On predictor importance analysis, baseline quality of life (EQ-5D score) was identified as the most important predictor (Wald χ2 = 9.8, p = 0.001) of a nonroutine discharge; however, after grouping variables into distinct categories, socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, insurance status, employment status) were identified as the most significant drivers of nonroutine discharge (28.4% of total predictor importance).

Conclusions: The study results indicate that socioeconomic and demographic characteristics including age, race, gender, insurance, and employment may be the most significant drivers of a nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.11.SPINE201442DOI Listing
May 2021

Patient-reported outcome improvements at 24-month follow-up after fusion added to decompression for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: a multicenter study using the Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Apr 16:1-10. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

16Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California.

Objective: The ideal surgical management of grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis has not been determined despite extensive prior investigations. In this cohort study, the authors used data from the large, multicenter, prospectively collected Quality Outcomes Database to bridge the gap between the findings in previous randomized trials and those in a more heterogeneous population treated in a typical practice. The objective was to assess the difference in patient-reported outcomes among patients undergoing decompression alone or decompression plus fusion.

Methods: The primary outcome measure was change in 24-month Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in ODI score change and 30% change in ODI score at 24 months were also evaluated. After adjusting for patient-specific and clinical factors, multivariable linear and logistic regressions were employed to evaluate the impact of fusion on outcomes. To account for differences in age, sex, body mass index, and baseline listhesis, a sensitivity analysis was performed using propensity score analysis to match patients undergoing decompression only with those undergoing decompression and fusion.

Results: In total, 608 patients who had grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis were identified (85.5% with at least 24 months of follow-up); 140 (23.0%) underwent decompression alone and 468 (77.0%) underwent decompression and fusion. The 24-month change in ODI score was significantly greater in the fusion plus decompression group than in the decompression-only group (-25.8 ± 20.0 vs -15.2 ± 19.8, p < 0.001). Fusion remained independently associated with 24-month ODI score change (B = -7.05, 95% CI -10.70 to -3.39, p ≤ 0.001) in multivariable regression analysis, as well as with achieving the MCID for the ODI score (OR 1.767, 95% CI 1.058-2.944, p = 0.029) and 30% change in ODI score (OR 2.371, 95% CI 1.286-4.371, p = 0.005). Propensity score analysis resulted in 94 patients in the decompression-only group matched 1 to 1 with 94 patients in the fusion group. The addition of fusion to decompression remained a significant predictor of 24-month change in the ODI score (B = 2.796, 95% CI 2.228-13.275, p = 0.006) and of achieving the 24-month MCID ODI score (OR 2.898, 95% CI 1.214-6.914, p = 0.016) and 24-month 30% change in ODI score (OR 2.300, 95% CI 1.014-5.216, p = 0.046).

Conclusions: These results suggest that decompression plus fusion in patients with grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis may be associated with superior outcomes at 24 months compared with decompression alone, both in reduction of disability and in achieving clinically meaningful improvement. Longer-term follow-up is warranted to assess whether this effect is sustained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.9.SPINE201082DOI Listing
April 2021

Leptomeningeal disease and neurologic death after surgical resection and radiosurgery for brain metastases: A multi-institutional analysis.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2021 Mar-Apr;6(2):100644. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Purpose: Postoperative stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is associated with up to 30% risk of subsequent leptomeningeal disease (LMD). Radiographic patterns of LMD (classical sugarcoating [cLMD] vs. nodular [nLMD]) in this setting has been shown to be prognostic. However, the association of these findings with neurologic death (ND) is not well described.

Methods And Materials: The records for patients with brain metastases who underwent surgical resection and adjunctive SRS to 1 lesion (SRS to other intact lesions was allowed) and subsequently developed LMD were combined from 7 tertiary care centers. Salvage radiation therapy (RT) for LMD was categorized according to use of whole-brain versus focal cranial RT.

Results: The study cohort included 125 patients with known cause of death. The ND rate in these patients was 79%, and the rate in patients who underwent LMD salvage treatment (n = 107) was 76%. Univariate logistic regression demonstrated radiographic pattern of LMD (cLMD vs. nLMD, odds ratio: 2.9; = .04) and second LMD failure after salvage treatment (odds ratio: 3.9; = .02) as significantly associated with ND. The ND rate was 86% for cLMD versus 68% for nLMD. Whole-brain RT was used in 95% of patients with cLMD and 52% with nLMD. In the nLMD cohort (n = 58), there was no difference in ND rate based on type of salvage RT (whole-brain RT: 67% vs. focal cranial RT: 68%, = .92).

Conclusions: LMD after surgery and SRS for brain metastases is a clinically significant event with high rates of ND. Classical LMD pattern (vs. nodular) and second LMD failure after salvage treatment were significantly associated with a higher risk of ND. Patients with nLMD treated with salvage focal cranial RT did not have higher ND rates compared with WBRT. Methods to decrease LMD and the subsequent high risk of ND in this setting warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2021.100644DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940785PMC
January 2021

Electrochromic shift supports the membrane destabilization model of Tat-mediated transport and shows ion leakage during Sec transport.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 03;118(12)

Plant Biology Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

The mechanism and pore architecture of the Tat complex during transport of folded substrates remain a mystery, partly due to rapid dissociation after translocation. In contrast, the proteinaceous SecY pore is a persistent structure that needs only to undergo conformational shifts between "closed" and "opened" states when translocating unfolded substrate chains. Where the proteinaceous pore model describes the SecY pore well, the toroidal pore model better accounts for the high-energy barrier that must be overcome when transporting a folded substrate through the hydrophobic bilayer in Tat transport. Membrane conductance behavior can, in principle, be used to distinguish between toroidal and proteinaceous pores, as illustrated in the examination of many antimicrobial peptides as well as mitochondrial Bax and Bid. Here, we measure the electrochromic shift (ECS) decay as a proxy for conductance in isolated thylakoids, both during protein transport and with constitutively assembled translocons. We find that membranes with the constitutively assembled Tat complex and those undergoing Tat transport display conductance characteristics similar to those of resting membranes. Membranes undergoing Sec transport and those with the substrate-engaged SecY pore result in significantly more rapid electric field decay. The responsiveness of the ECS signal in membranes with active SecY recalls the steep relationship between applied voltage and conductance in a proteinaceous pore, while the nonaccelerated electric field decay with both Tat transport and the constitutive Tat complex under the same electric field is consistent with the behavior of a toroidal pore.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2018122118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8000419PMC
March 2021

The Association Between Radiation Therapy Dose and Overall Survival in Patients With Intracranial Infiltrative Low-Grade Glioma Treated With Concurrent and/or Adjuvant Chemotherapy.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2021 Jan-Feb;6(1):100577. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Purpose: Previous trials have shown no benefit for radiation therapy (RT) dose escalation when RT is given as adjuvant monotherapy for infiltrative low-grade glioma (LGG). However, the current standard of care for high-risk LGG is RT with concurrent and/or adjuvant chemotherapy. The effect of RT dose escalation on overall survival (OS) in the setting of concurrent and/or adjuvant chemotherapy is not well established.

Methods And Materials: We used the National Cancer Database to select records for adult patients with intracranial grade 2 LGG diagnosed between 2004 and 2015. Patients must have received adjuvant external beam RT with concurrent and/or adjuvant chemotherapy. RT dose level was categorized as standard (45-54 Gy) or high (>54-65 Gy). Multivariable and propensity score matched analyses were used.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 1043 patients, of whom 644 (62%) received standard dose (median, 54 Gy) and 399 (38%) received high-dose RT (median, 60 Gy). RT dose level was not associated with OS (hazard ratio, 1.2; = .1) in multivariable analysis. Propensity score matching yielded 380 matched pairs (n = 760). There was no difference in OS for high-dose versus standard-dose RT in the matched cohort (5-year OS 64% vs 69%; = .14) or in the 2 prespecified subgroups of astrocytoma histology and 1p/19q noncodeleted.

Conclusions: Adjuvant RT dose escalation above 54 Gy in the setting of concurrent and/or adjuvant chemotherapy was not associated with improved OS for patients with infiltrative LGG in this National Cancer Database retrospective study. This was also true for the subgroups with less chemotherapy-sensitive disease, including astrocytoma histology and 1p/19q noncodeleted, although these analyses were limited by small size. Methods to improve OS other than RT dose escalation in the setting of concurrent and/or adjuvant chemotherapy should be considered for patients with poor-prognosis LGG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2020.09.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7897756PMC
October 2020

Impact of surgeon and hospital factors on surgical decision-making for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: a Quality Outcomes Database analysis.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Feb 19:1-11. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami, Florida.

Objective: Surgical treatment for degenerative spondylolisthesis has been proven to be clinically challenging and cost-effective. However, there is a range of thresholds that surgeons utilize for incorporating fusion in addition to decompressive laminectomy in these cases. This study investigates these surgeon- and site-specific factors by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD).

Methods: The QOD was queried for all cases that had undergone surgery for grade 1 spondylolisthesis from database inception to February 2019. In addition to patient-specific covariates, surgeon-specific covariates included age, sex, race, years in practice (0-10, 11-20, 21-30, > 30 years), and fellowship training. Site-specific variables included hospital location (rural, suburban, urban), teaching versus nonteaching status, and hospital type (government, nonfederal; private, nonprofit; private, investor owned). Multivariable regression and predictor importance analyses were performed to identify predictors of the treatment performed (decompression alone vs decompression and fusion). The model was clustered by site to account for site-specific heterogeneity in treatment selection.

Results: A total of 12,322 cases were included with 1988 (16.1%) that had undergone decompression alone. On multivariable regression analysis clustered by site, adjusting for patient-level clinical covariates, no surgeon-specific factors were found to be significantly associated with the odds of selecting decompression alone as the surgery performed. However, sites located in suburban areas (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.09-4.84, p = 0.03) were more likely to perform decompression alone (reference = urban). Sites located in rural areas had higher odds of performing decompression alone than hospitals located in urban areas, although the results were not statistically significant (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.59-2.61, p = 0.49). Nonteaching status was independently associated with lower odds of performing decompression alone (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19-0.97, p = 0.04). Predictor importance analysis revealed that the most important determinants of treatment selection were dominant symptom (Wald χ2 = 34.7, accounting for 13.6% of total χ2) and concurrent diagnosis of disc herniation (Wald χ2 = 31.7, accounting for 12.4% of total χ2). Hospital teaching status was also found to be relatively important (Wald χ2 = 4.2, accounting for 1.6% of total χ2) but less important than other patient-level predictors.

Conclusions: Nonteaching centers were more likely to perform decompressive laminectomy with supplemental fusion for spondylolisthesis. Suburban hospitals were more likely to perform decompression only. Surgeon characteristics were not found to influence treatment selection after adjustment for clinical covariates. Further large database registry experience from surgeons at high-volume academic centers at which surgically and medically complex patients are treated may provide additional insight into factors associated with treatment preference for degenerative spondylolisthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.8.SPINE201015DOI Listing
February 2021

Does communication between neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists improve preoperative efficiency?

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2021 02 5;201:106461. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, United States. Electronic address:

Background: Suboptimal communication can lead to preventable preoperative delays. In our study, we aimed to identify factors delaying surgery in the immediate preoperative period. Our outcomes of interest were the anesthesia release to incision time (RIT) and preoperative expectations of neurosurgery and anesthesia providers. Additionally, we introduced new communication goals prior to induction, to examine the impact on preoperative efficiency.

Methods: The study is a prospective cohort analysis evaluating communication in the immediate preoperative period. In 42 consecutive cranial neurosurgical cases, a questionnaire was given to neurosurgical and anesthesia providers, and their responses were recorded. Halfway through this study, a formal pre-induction checklist was implemented that included expected duration of surgery, expected blood loss, surgical positioning, and intraoperative medication requirements.

Results: Comparing the cohorts before and after implementing the checklist, no difference in release to incision time was observed. However, the difference in estimated procedure time was significantly decreased after implementation of the formal pre-induction checklist. Further, there was a trend towards better agreement in estimated blood loss, although results did not achieve statistical significance. These delays all demonstrated a statistically significant decrease after the new communication goals were executed.

Conclusion: While no statistically significant change in release to incision time was uncovered during our study, there was evidence that communication between teams improved after implementation of the checklist. Additionally, we observed less discrepancy in estimated case length and blood loss, suggesting focused communication goals aligned expectations of the neurosurgical and anesthesia teams.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2020.106461DOI Listing
February 2021

Overcoming barriers to establishing autopsy procurement programs in pediatric patients with central nervous system tumors: a call to develop regional centers.

J Neurooncol 2021 Mar 27;152(1):107-114. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Division of Oncology, Department of Pediatrics College of Medicine, Brain Tumor Center, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, 45229-3026, USA.

Background: While autopsy-repository programs with a variety of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumor types are a critical resource for preclinical neuro-oncology research, few exist and there is no published guidance on how to develop one. The goal of this prospective Pediatric Brain Tumor Repository (PBTR) study was to develop such a program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and then publish the quantitative and experiential data as a guide to support the development of similar programs.

Methods: Protocols and infrastructure were established-to educate oncologists and families, establish eligibility, obtain consent, address pre- and post-autopsy logistics (e.g., patient and tissue transportation), process and authenticate tissue samples, and collect and analyze data.

Results: Of the 129 pediatric CNS tumor patients at CCHMC who died between 2013 and 2018, 109 were eligible for our study. Of these, 74% (81 of 109) were approached for PBTR donation, and 68% (55 of 81) consented. In the final year of the study, approach and consent rates were 93% and 85%, respectively. Median time from death to autopsy (postmortem interval, PMI) was 10 h (range, 1.5-30). In the outpatient setting, PMI increased with distance (from the hospice/home where the patient died to CCHMC). In all patients, PMI appeared to be lower, when consent was obtained more than 24 h before death.

Conclusions: Procurement of autopsy specimens need not be a barrier in neuro-oncology research. Regional centers, strict timing-of-consent, patient education, and dedicated staff are all needed to minimize PMI and, thereby, increase the value of the procured tissue for an array of basic and translational research applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-020-03679-2DOI Listing
March 2021

Impact of Surgical and Medical Treatment on Survival of Patients with Cerebral Aspergillosis: Systematic Review of the Literature.

World Neurosurg 2021 05 20;149:244-248.e13. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Cerebral aspergillosis carries a high mortality. Rapid diagnosis and treatment can increase survival, but symptoms and imaging findings are nonspecific. The literature on cerebral aspergillosis consists mostly of case reports and case series and lacks large-scale review of data.

Methods: We performed a review of the literature using PubMed in March 2019. We recorded the year of publication, age and sex of patients, neurosurgical involvement, the antifungals administered, use of intrathecal antifungals, and the outcome of patients. The relationships among variables were tested using bivariant statics and linear regression.

Results: A total of 324 studies met the eligibility criteria, and 198 studies including 248 patients were included. Surgical resection (odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25-0.80; P < 0.01) and administration of voriconazole (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.18-0.55; P < 0.001) or itraconazole (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.16-0.72; P < 0.001) were shown to be significantly associated with survival.

Conclusions: Given the significant survival benefits for patients who received voriconazole and surgical intervention, we suggest early antifungal medical treatment and resection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2021.01.033DOI Listing
May 2021

Local failure after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intracranial metastasis: analysis from a cooperative, prospective national registry.

J Neurooncol 2021 Apr 22;152(2):299-311. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, 1300 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA, 22908, USA.

Introduction: Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been increasingly employed to treat patients with intracranial metastasis, both as a salvage treatment after failed whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) and as an initial treatment. "Several studies have shown that SRS may be as effective as WBRT with the added benefit of preserving neuro-cognition". However, some patients may have local failure following SRS for intracranial metastasis, defined as increase in total lesion volume by 25% after at least 3 months of follow up.

Methods: The SRS registry, established by the Neuro point alliance (NPA) under the auspices of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), was queried for patients with intracranial metastasis receiving SRS at the participating sites. Demographic, clinical symptoms, tumor, and treatment characteristics as well as follow up status were summarized for the cohort. A multivariable explanatory cox- regression was performed to evaluate the impact of each of the factors on time to local failure.at last follow-up.

Results: A total of 441 patients with 1255 intracranial metastatic lesions undergoing SRS were identified. The most common primary cancer histology was non-small cell lung cancer (43.8%, n = 193). More than half of the cohort had more than 1 metastatic lesion (2-3 lesions: 29.5%, n = 130; more than 3 lesions: 25.2% (n = 111). The average duration of follow-up for the cohort was found to be 8.4 months (SD = 7.61). The mean clinical treatment volume (CTV), after adding together the volume of each lesion for each patient was 5.39 cc (SD = 7.6) at baseline. A total of 20.2% (n = 89) had local failure (increase in volume by  > 25%) with a mean time to progression of 7.719 months (SD = 6.09). The progression free survival (PFS) for the cohort at 3, 6 and 12 months were found to be 94.9%, 84.3%, and 69.4%, respectively. On multivariable cox regression analysis, factors associated with increased hazard of local failure included male gender (HR 1.65, 95% CI 1.03-2.66, p = 0.037), chemotherapy at or before SRS (HR = 2.39, 95% CI 1.41-4.05, p = 0.001), WBRT at or before SRS (HR = 2.21, 95% CI 1.16- 4.22, p = 0.017), while surgical resection (HR 0.45, 95% CI 0.21-0. 97, p = 0.04) and immunotherapy (0.34, 95% CI 0.16-0.50, p = 0.014) were associated with lower hazard of local failure.

Conclusion: Factors found to be predictive of local failure included higher RPA score and those receiving chemotherapy, while patients undergoing surgical resection and those with occipital lobe lesions were less likely to experience local failure. Our analyses not only corroborate those previously reported but also demonstrate the utility of a multi-institutional registry to advance real-world SRS research for patients with intracranial metastatic lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-021-03698-7DOI Listing
April 2021

"July Effect" Revisited: July Surgeries at Residency Training Programs are Associated with Equivalent Long-term Clinical Outcomes Following Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Surgery.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Jun;46(12):836-843

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, Ca.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of a prospective registry.

Objective: We utilized the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) registry to investigate the "July Effect" at QOD spondylolisthesis module sites with residency trainees.

Summary Of Background Data: There is a paucity of investigation on the long-term outcomes following surgeries involving new trainees utilizing high-quality, prospectively collected data.

Methods: This was an analysis of 608 patients who underwent single-segment surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis at 12 high-enrolling sites. Surgeries were classified as occurring in July or not in July (non-July). Outcomes collected included estimated blood loss, length of stay, operative time, discharge disposition, complications, reoperation and readmission rates, and patient-reported outcomes (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Numeric Rating Scale [NRS] Back Pain, NRS Leg Pain, EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D] and the North American Spine Society [NASS] Satisfaction Questionnaire). Propensity score-matched analyses were utilized to compare postoperative outcomes and complication rates between the July and non-July groups.

Results: Three hundred seventy-one surgeries occurred at centers with a residency training program with 21 (5.7%) taking place in July. In propensity score-matched analyses, July surgeries were associated with longer operative times ( average treatment effect = 22.4 minutes longer, 95% confidence interval 0.9-449.0, P = 0.041). Otherwise, July surgeries were not associated with significantly different outcomes for the remaining perioperative parameters (estimated blood loss, length of stay, discharge disposition, postoperative complications), overall reoperation rates, 3-month readmission rates, and 24-month ODI, NRS back pain, NRS leg pain, EQ-5D, and NASS satisfaction score (P > 0.05, all comparisons).

Conclusion: Although July surgeries were associated with longer operative times, there were no associations with other clinical outcomes compared to non-July surgeries following lumbar spondylolisthesis surgery. These findings may be due to the increased attending supervision and intraoperative education during the beginning of the academic year. There is no evidence that the influx of new trainees in July significantly affects long-term patient-centered outcomes.Level of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003903DOI Listing
June 2021

Clinically Meaningful Improvement Following Cervical Spine Surgery: 30% Reduction Versus Absolute Point-change MCID Values.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 Jun;46(11):717-725

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected registry data.

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the performance of 30% reduction to established absolute point-change values for measures of disability and pain in patients undergoing elective cervical spine surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: Recent studies recommend using a proportional change from baseline instead of an absolute point-change value to define minimum clinically important difference (MCID).

Methods: Analyses included 13,179 patients who underwent cervical spine surgery for degenerative disease between April 2013 and February 2018. Participants completed a baseline and 12-month follow-up assessment that included questionnaires to assess disability (Neck Disability Index [NDI]), neck and arm pain (Numeric Rating Scale [NRS-NP/AP], and satisfaction [NASS scale]). Participants were classified as met or not met 30% reduction from baseline in each of the respective measures. The 30% reduction in scores at 12 months was compared to a wide range of established absolute point-change MCID values using receiver-operating characteristic curves, area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUROC), and logistic regression analyses. These analyses were conducted for the entire patient cohort, as well as for subgroups based on baseline severity and surgical approach.

Results: Thirty percent reduction in NDI and NRS-NP/AP scores predicted satisfaction with more accuracy than absolute point-change values for the total population and ACDF and posterior fusion procedures (P < 0.05). The largest AUROC differences, in favor of 30% reduction, were found for the lowest disability (ODI 0-20%: 16.8%) and bed-bound disability (ODI 81%-100%: 16.6%) categories. For pain, there was a 1.9% to 11% and 1.6% to 9.6% AUROC difference for no/mild neck and arm pain (NRS 0-4), respectively, in favor of a 30% reduction threshold.

Conclusion: A 30% reduction from baseline is a valid method for determining MCID in disability and pain for patients undergoing cervical spine surgery.Level of Evidence: 3.
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June 2021

A rapid pre-implementation evaluation to inform a family engagement navigator program during COVID-19.

Implement Sci Commun 2020 Dec 9;1(1):110. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

Background: Innovative models of family engagement and support are needed in the intensive care unit (ICU) during times of restricted visitation such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited understanding of the factors affecting the uptake and outcomes of different family support models hinders the implementation of best practices. We aimed to conduct a rapid pre-implementation evaluation of stakeholder-perceived facilitators and barriers to design implementation strategies to support a novel program using medical students to facilitate family-centered care in the ICU.

Methods: We conducted a 2-step process. In step 1, we gathered contextual data via interview-style open-ended questions sent to clinicians and navigator stakeholders via email. We used electronic data collection due to the physical distancing requirements, the need to prioritize brief data collection for respondent burden, and the need for rapid knowledge gain. A codebook based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), an integrated framework from the field of implementation science, was used to analyze the findings. In step 2, a pilot of the intervention was implemented with 3 navigators over 2 weeks. Implementation strategies were developed to target barriers identified by the pre-implementation evaluation.

Results: Fourteen (70%) of the identified stakeholders responded to the survey. Ten constructs encompassing all five CFIR domains were present in responses as implementation influencers, with the Intervention domain most frequently represented. Through these results and operational feedback from navigators during the pilot period, stakeholders selected multiple implementation strategies: audit and provide feedback, develop educational materials, conduct ongoing training, promote adaptability, assess and redesign workflow, identify and prepare champions, and engage community resources.

Conclusions: We demonstrated how a conceptually based pre-implementation program evaluation can be used to rapidly inform optimal implementation strategies. We report key factors to inform design and implementation strategies for a novel ICU family engagement navigator program that may be useful to others wishing to adopt similar programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s43058-020-00098-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7724442PMC
December 2020

Characterizing temporal genomic heterogeneity in pediatric low-grade gliomas.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2020 11 5;8(1):182. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Brain Tumor Center, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA.

Recent discoveries have provided valuable insight into the genomic landscape of pediatric low-grade gliomas (LGGs) at diagnosis, facilitating molecularly targeted treatment. However, little is known about their temporal and therapy-related genomic heterogeneity. An adequate understanding of the evolution of pediatric LGGs' genomic profiles over time is critically important in guiding decisions about targeted therapeutics and diagnostic biopsy at recurrence. Fluorescence in situ hybridization, mutation-specific immunohistochemistry, and/or targeted sequencing were performed on paired tumor samples from primary diagnostic and subsequent surgeries. Ninety-four tumor samples from 45 patients (41 with two specimens, four with three specimens) from three institutions underwent testing. Conservation of BRAF fusion, BRAF mutation, and FGFR1 rearrangement status was observed in 100%, 98%, and 96% of paired specimens, respectively. No loss or gain of IDH1 mutations or NTRK2, MYB, or MYBL1 rearrangements were detected over time. Histologic diagnosis remained the same in all tumors, with no acquired H3K27M mutations or malignant transformation. Changes in CDKN2A deletion status at recurrence occurred in 11 patients (42%), with acquisition of hemizygous CDKN2A deletion in seven and loss in four. Shorter time to progression and shorter time to subsequent surgery were observed among patients with acquired CDKN2A deletions compared to patients without acquisition of this alteration [median time to progression: 5.5 versus 16.0 months (p = 0.048); median time to next surgery: 17.0 months versus 29.0 months (p = 0.031)]. Most targetable genetic aberrations in pediatric LGGs, including BRAF alterations, are conserved at recurrence and following chemotherapy or irradiation. However, changes in CDKN2A deletion status over time were demonstrated. Acquisition of CDKN2A deletion may define a higher risk subgroup of pediatric LGGs with a poorer prognosis. Given the potential for targeted therapies for tumors harboring CDKN2A deletions, biopsy at recurrence may be indicated in certain patients, especially those with rapid progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-01054-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7643477PMC
November 2020

Continuous improvement in patient safety and quality in neurological surgery: the American Board of Neurological Surgery in the past, present, and future.

J Neurosurg 2020 Oct 16:1-7. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

22Department of Neurosurgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California.

The American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) was incorporated in 1940 in recognition of the need for detailed training in and special qualifications for the practice of neurological surgery and for self-regulation of quality and safety in the field. The ABNS believes it is the duty of neurosurgeons to place a patient's welfare and rights above all other considerations and to provide care with compassion, respect for human dignity, honesty, and integrity. At its inception, the ABNS was the 13th member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which itself was founded in 1933. Today, the ABNS is one of the 24 member boards of the ABMS.To better serve public health and safety in a rapidly changing healthcare environment, the ABNS continues to evolve in order to elevate standards for the practice of neurological surgery. In connection with its activities, including initial certification, recognition of focused practice, and continuous certification, the ABNS actively seeks and incorporates input from the public and the physicians it serves. The ABNS board certification processes are designed to evaluate both real-life subspecialty neurosurgical practice and overall neurosurgical knowledge, since most neurosurgeons provide call coverage for hospitals and thus must be competent to care for the full spectrum of neurosurgery.The purpose of this report is to describe the history, current state, and anticipated future direction of ABNS certification in the US.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.6.JNS202066DOI Listing
October 2020

Outcomes After Decompressive Craniectomy for Ischemic Stroke: A Volumetric Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2021 01 14;145:e267-e273. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

Background: Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) is a treatment of space-occupying hemispheric infarct. Current surgical guidelines use criteria of age <60 years and surgery within 48 hours of stroke onset.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the neurologic outcome after DHC and evaluate the relationship of stroke volume and outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of patients undergoing DHC for cerebral infarct from 2016 to 2019. Unfavorable outcome was defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score >3. Patients with precraniectomy magnetic resonance imaging were selected as a subset for volumetric stroke volume analysis using RAPID software (iSchemaView, Redwood City, California), with stroke volume defined as apparent diffusion coefficient <620 on diffusion-weighted imaging.

Results: Fifty-two patients met the inclusion criteria. At 90 days, favorable outcome was achieved in 11 patients (21.2%), and 41 patients (78.8%) had unfavorable outcomes (15 [29%] died). Surgery after 48 hours, age >60 years, and multivessel distribution did not significantly affect 90-day mRS score (P = 0.091, 0.111, and 0.664, respectively). In volumetric subset analysis, 10 patients of 41 (31.3%) achieved favorable outcomes, and no patients with volume of infarct >280 mL had a favorable outcome. There was a trend of lower volumes associated with favorable outcomes, but this did not meet significance (favorable 207 ± 68.7 vs. unfavorable 262 ± 117.1; P = 0.163).

Conclusions: Outcomes after DHC for malignant hemispheric infarct were not affected by current accepted guidelines. Volume of infarct may have an effect on outcome after DHC. Further research to aid in predicting which patients benefit from decompressive craniectomy is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.10.036DOI Listing
January 2021

Mild and Severe Obesity Reduce the Effectiveness of Lumbar Fusions: 1-Year Patient-Reported Outcomes in 8171 Patients.

Neurosurgery 2021 01;88(2):285-294

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Background: Elevated body mass index (BMI) is a well-known risk factor for surgical complications in lumbar surgery. However, its effect on surgical effectiveness independent of surgical complications is unclear.

Objective: To determine increasing BMI's effect on functional outcomes following lumbar fusion surgery, independent of surgical complications.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a prospectively built, patient-reported, quality of life registry representing 75 hospital systems. We evaluated 1- to 3-level elective lumbar fusions. Patients who experienced surgical complications were excluded. A stepwise multivariate regression model assessed factors independently associated with 1-yr Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), preop to 1-yr ODI change, and achievement of minimal clinically important difference (MCID).

Results: A total of 8171 patients met inclusion criteria: 2435 with class I obesity (BMI 30-35 kg/m2), 1328 with class II (35-40 kg/m2), and 760 with class III (≥40 kg/m2). Increasing BMI was independently associated with worse 12-mo ODI (t = 8.005, P < .001) and decreased likelihood of achieving MCID (odds ratio [OR] = 0.977, P < .001). One year after surgery, mean ODI, ODI change, and percentage achieving MCID worsened with class I, class II, and class III vs nonobese cohorts (P < .001) in stepwise fashion.

Conclusion: Increasing BMI is associated with decreased effectiveness of 1- to 3-level elective lumbar fusion, despite absence of surgical complications. BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 is, therefore, a risk factor for both surgical complication and reduced benefit from lumbar fusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa414DOI Listing
January 2021

Complications and Complication Avoidance With Cervical Total Disc Replacement.

Int J Spine Surg 2020 Aug;14(s2):S50-S56

Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Complications with cervical arthroplasty can be generalized to errors in patient selection or surgical technique. Patients with advanced spondylosis or osteophytic disease, severe facet arthropathy, osteoporosis, sagittal deformity, or preoperative instability are poor candidates for arthroplasty and are more prone to complications. Poor surgical technique can result in subsidence, expulsion, and kyphosis, and it can contribute to heterotopic ossification. Additionally, all of the inherent complications from an anterior cervical approach may occur with cervical artificial disc placement. This article will focus on the complications uniquely associated with cervical arthroplasty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14444/7091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7528766PMC
August 2020

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement-NeuroPoint Alliance collaboration to decrease length of stay and readmission after lumbar spine fusion: using national registries to design quality improvement protocols.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Aug 21:1-10. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

4Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Neuroscience and Musculoskeletal Institutes, Atrium Health Charlotte, North Carolina.

Objective: National databases collect large amounts of clinical information, yet application of these data can be challenging. The authors present the NeuroPoint Alliance and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (NPA-IHI) program as a novel attempt to create a quality improvement (QI) tool informed through registry data to improve the quality of care delivered. Reducing the length of stay (LOS) and readmission after elective lumbar fusion was chosen as the pilot module.

Methods: The NPA-IHI program prospectively enrolled patients undergoing elective 1- to 3-level lumbar fusions across 8 institutions. A three-pronged approach was taken that included the following phases: 1) Research Phase, 2) Development Phase, and 3) Implementation Phase. Primary outcomes were LOS and readmission. From January to June 2017, a learning system was created utilizing monthly conference calls, weekly data submission, and continuous refinement of the proposed QI tool. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the impact of the QI intervention.

Results: The novel QI tool included the following three areas of intervention: 1) preoperative discharge assessment (location, date, and instructions), 2) inpatient changes (LOS rounding checklist, daily huddle, and pain assessments), and 3) postdischarge calls (pain, primary care follow-up, and satisfaction). A total of 209 patients were enrolled, and the most common procedure was a posterior laminectomy/fusion (60.2%). Seven patients (3.3%) were readmitted during the study period. Preoperative discharge planning was completed for 129 patients (61.7%). A shorter median LOS was seen in those with a known preoperative discharge date (67 vs 80 hours, p = 0.018) and clear discharge instructions (71 vs 81 hours, p = 0.030). Patients with a known preoperative discharge plan also reported significantly increased satisfaction (8.0 vs 7.0, p = 0.028), and patients with increased discharge readiness (scale 0-10) also reported higher satisfaction (r = 0.474, p < 0.001). Those receiving postdischarge calls (76%) had a significantly shorter LOS than those without postdischarge calls (75 vs 99 hours, p = 0.020), although no significant relationship was seen between postdischarge calls and readmission (p = 0.342).

Conclusions: The NPA-IHI program showed that preoperative discharge planning and postdischarge calls have the potential to reduce LOS and improve satisfaction after elective lumbar fusion. It is our hope that neurosurgical providers can recognize how registries can be used to both develop and implement a QI tool and appreciate the importance of QI implementation as a separate process from data collection/analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.5.SPINE20457DOI Listing
August 2020

Development and Validation of Cervical Prediction Models for Patient-Reported Outcomes at 1 Year After Cervical Spine Surgery for Radiculopathy and Myelopathy.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Nov;45(22):1541-1552

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected registry data.

Objective: To develop and validate prediction models for 12-month patient-reported outcomes of disability, pain, and myelopathy in patients undergoing elective cervical spine surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: Predictive models have the potential to be utilized preoperatively to set expectations, adjust modifiable characteristics, and provide a patient-centered model of care.

Methods: This study was conducted using data from the cervical module of the Quality Outcomes Database. The outcomes of interest were disability (Neck Disability Index:), pain (Numeric Rating Scale), and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score for myelopathy. Multivariable proportional odds ordinal regression models were developed for patients with cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy. Patient demographic, clinical, and surgical covariates as well as baseline patient-reported outcomes scores were included in all models. The models were internally validated using bootstrap resampling to estimate the likely performance on a new sample of patients.

Results: Four thousand nine hundred eighty-eight patients underwent surgery for radiculopathy and 2641 patients for myelopathy. The most important predictor of poor postoperative outcomes at 12-months was the baseline Neck Disability Index score for patients with radiculopathy and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score for patients with myelopathy. In addition, symptom duration, workers' compensation, age, employment, and ambulatory and smoking status had a statistically significant impact on all outcomes (P < 0.001). Clinical and surgical variables contributed very little to predictive models, with posterior approach being associated with higher odds of having worse 12-month outcome scores in both the radiculopathy and myelopathy cohorts (P < 0.001). The full models overall discriminative performance ranged from 0.654 to 0.725.

Conclusions: These predictive models provide individualized risk-adjusted estimates of 12-month disability, pain, and myelopathy outcomes for patients undergoing spine surgery for degenerative cervical disease. Predictive models have the potential to be used as a shared decision-making tool for evidence-based preoperative counselling.

Level Of Evidence: 2.
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November 2020

The effect of adjuvant radiotherapy on overall survival in adults with intracranial ependymoma.

Neurooncol Pract 2020 Jul 19;7(4):391-399. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, Charlotte, NC.

Background: Adult intracranial ependymoma is rare, and the role for adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) is not well defined.

Methods: We used the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to select adults (age ≥ 22 years) with grade 2 to 3 intracranial ependymoma status postresection between 2004 and 2015 and treated with adjuvant RT vs observation. Four cohorts were generated: (1) all patients, (2) grade 2 only, (3) grade 2 status post-subtotal resection only, (4) and grade 3 only. The association between adjuvant RT use and overall survival (OS) was assessed using multivariate Cox and propensity score matched analyses.

Results: A total of 1787 patients were included in cohort 1, of which 856 patients (48%) received adjuvant RT and 931 (52%) were observed. Approximately two-thirds of tumors were supratentorial and 80% were grade 2. Cohorts 2, 3, and 4 included 1471, 345, and 316 patients, respectively. There was no significant association between adjuvant RT use and OS in multivariate or propensity score matched analysis in any of the cohorts. Older age, male sex, urban location, higher comorbidity score, earlier year of diagnosis, and grade 3 were associated with increased risk of death.

Conclusions: This large NCDB study did not demonstrate a significant association between adjuvant RT use and OS for adults with intracranial ependymoma, including for patients with grade 2 ependymoma status post-subtotal resection. The conflicting results regarding the efficacy of adjuvant RT in this patient population highlight the need for high-quality studies to guide therapy recommendations in adult ependymoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nop/npz070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393282PMC
July 2020

Patients with a depressive and/or anxiety disorder can achieve optimum Long term outcomes after surgery for grade 1 spondylolisthesis: Analysis from the quality outcomes database (QOD).

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2020 10 17;197:106098. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Department of Neurologic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States.

Introduction: In the current study, we sought to compare baseline demographic, clinical, and operative characteristics, as well as baseline and follow-up patient reported outcomes (PROs) of patients with any depressive and/or anxiety disorder undergoing surgery for low-grade spondylolisthesis using a national spine registry.

Patients And Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients undergoing surgery for Meyerding grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis undergoing 1-2 level decompression or 1 level fusion at 12 sites with the highest number of patients enrolled in QOD with 2-year follow-up data.

Results: Of the 608 patients identified, 25.6 % (n = 156) had any depressive and/or anxiety disorder. Patients with a depressive/anxiety disorder were less likely to be discharged home (p < 0.001). At 3=months, patients with a depressive/anxiety disorder had higher back pain (p < 0.001), lower quality of life (p < 0.001) and higher disability (p = 0.013); at 2 year patients with depression and/or anxiety had lower quality of life compared to those without (p < 0.001). On multivariable regression, depression was associated with significantly lower odds of achieving 20 % or less ODI (OR 0.44, 95 % CI 0.21-0.94,p = 0.03). Presence of an anxiety disorder was not associated with decreased odds of achieving that milestone at 3 months. The presence of depressive-disorder, anxiety-disorder or both did not have an impact on ODI at 2 years. Finally, patient satisfaction at 2-years did not differ between the two groups (79.8 % vs 82.7 %,p = 0.503).

Conclusion: We found that presence of a depressive-disorder may impact short-term outcomes among patients undergoing surgery for low grade spondylolisthesis but longer term outcomes are not affected by either a depressive or anxiety disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2020.106098DOI Listing
October 2020
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