Publications by authors named "Beatrice Ugiliweneza"

88 Publications

Burden of Pre-operative Opioid Use and Its Impact on Healthcare Utilization After Primary Single Level Lumbar Discectomy.

Spine J 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, 200 Abraham Flexner Hwy, Louisville, KY, U.S.A. 40202. Electronic address:

Background Context: The complication profile and higher cost of care associated with pre-operative opioid use and spinal fusion is well described. However, the burden of opioid use and its impact in patients undergoing lumbar discectomy is not known. Knowledge of this, especially for a relatively benign and predictable procedure will be important in bundled and value-based payment models.

Purpose: To study the burden of pre-operative opioid use and its effect on post-operative healthcare utilization, cost, and opioid use in patients undergoing primary single level lumbar discectomy.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study PATIENT SAMPLE: 29,745 patients undergoing primary single level lumbar discectomy from the IBM® MarketScan® (2000-2018) database.

Outcome Measures: 90-day and 1-year utilization of lumbar epidural steroid injections (ESIs), emergency department (ED) services, lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), hospital readmission, and revision lumbar surgery. Continued opioid use beyond 3-months post-operatively until 1-year was also studied. We have reported costs associated with healthcare utilization among opioid groups.

Methods: Patients were categorized in opioid use groups based on the duration and number of oral prescriptions prior to discectomy (opioid naïve, < 3-months opioid use, chronic pre-operative use, chronic pre-operative opioid use with 3-month gap before surgery, and other). The risk of association of pre-operative opioid use with outcome measures was studied using multivariable logistic regression analysis with adjustment for various demographic and clinical variables.

Results: A total of 29,745 patients with mean age of 45.3± 9.6 years were studied. Pre-operatively, 29.0% were opioid naïve, 35.0% had < 3-months use and 12.0% were chronic opioid users. There was a significantly higher rate of post-operative lumbar ESIs, MRI, ED visits, readmission and revision surgery within 90-days and 1-year after surgery in chronic pre-operative opioid users as compared to patients with < 3-months use and opioid naïve patients (p<0.001). Chronic post-operative opioid use was present in 62.6% of the pre-operative chronic opioid users as compared to 5.6% of patients with < 3-months opioid use. A 3-month prescription free period before surgery in chronic pre-operative opioid users cut the incidence of chronic post-operative opioid use by more than half, at 25.7%. Cost of care and adjusted analysis of risk have been described.

Conclusion: Chronic pre-operative opioid use was present in 12% of a national cohort of lumbar discectomy patients. Such opioid use was associated with significantly higher post-operative healthcare utilization, risk of revision surgery, and costs at 90-days and 1-year post-operatively. Two-third of chronic pre-operative opioid users had continued long-term post-operative opioid use. However, a 3-month prescription free period before surgery in chronic opioid users reduces the risk of long-term post-operative use. This data will be useful for patient education, pre-operative opioid use optimization, and risk-adjustment in value-based payment models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2021.04.013DOI Listing
April 2021

Patterns and Impact of Electronic Health Records-Defined Depression Phenotypes in Spine Surgery.

Neurosurgery 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, Washington, USA.

Background: Preoperative depression is a risk factor for poor outcomes after spine surgery.

Objective: To understand effects of depression on spine surgery outcomes and healthcare resource utilization.

Methods: Using IBM's MarketScan Database, we identified 52 480 patients who underwent spinal fusion. Retained patients were classified into 6 depression phenotype groups based on International Classification of Disease, 9th/10th Revision (ICD-9/10) codes and use/nonuse of antidepressant medications: major depressive disorder (MDD), other depression (OthDep), antidepressants for other psychiatric condition (PsychRx), antidepressants for physical (nonpsychiatric) condition (NoPsychRx), psychiatric condition only (PsychOnly), and no depression (NoDep). We analyzed baseline demographics, comorbidities, healthcare utilization/payments, and chronic opioid use.

Results: Breakdown of groups in our cohort: MDD (15%), OthDep (12%), PsychRx (13%), NonPsychRx (15%), PsychOnly (12%), and NoDep (33%). Postsurgery: increased outpatient resource utilization, admissions, and medication refills at 1, 2, and 5 yr in the NoDep, PsychOnly, NonPsychRx, PsychRx, and OthDep groups, and highest in MDD. Postoperative opioid usage rates remained unchanged in MDD (44%) and OthDep (36%), and reduced in PsychRx (40%), NonPsychRx (31%), and PsychOnly (20%), with greatest reduction in NoDep (13%). Reoperation rates: 1 yr after index procedure, MDD, OthDep, PsychRx, NonPsychRx, and PsychOnly had more reoperations compared to NoDep, and same at 2 and 5 yr. In NoDep patients, 45% developed new depressive phenotype postsurgery.

Conclusion: EHR-defined classification allowed us to study in depth the effects of depression in spine surgery. This increased understanding of the interplay of mental health will help providers identify cohorts at risk for high complication rates, and health care utilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyab096DOI Listing
April 2021

Health Care Utilization and Associated Economic Burden of Postoperative Surgical Site Infection after Spinal Surgery with Follow-Up of 24 Months.

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2021 Apr 12. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background:  Surgical site infection (SSI) may lead to vertebral osteomyelitis, diskitis, paraspinal musculoskeletal infection, and abscess, and remains a significant concern in postoperative management of spinal surgery. SSI is associated with greater postoperative morbidity and increased health care payments.

Methods:  We conducted a retrospective analysis using MarketScan to identify health care utilization payments and risk factors associated with SSI that occurs postoperatively. Known patient- or procedure-related risk factors were searched across those receiving spine surgery who developed postoperative infection.

Results:  A total of 33,061 patients who developed infection after spinal surgery were identified in Marketscan. Overall payments at 6 months, including index hospitalization for those with infection, were $53,573 and $46,985 for the cohort with no infection. At 24 months, the infection group had overall payments of $83,280 and $66,221 for no infection. Risk factors with largest effect size most likely to contribute to infection versus no infection were depression (4.6%), diabetes (3.7), anemia (3.3%), two or more levels (2.8%), tobacco use (2.2%), trauma (2.1%), neoplasm (1.8%), congestive heart failure (1.3%), instrumentation (1.1%), renal failure (0.9%), intravenous drug use (0.8%), and malnutrition (0.5%).

Conclusions:  SSIs were associated with significant health care utilization payments at 24 months of follow-up. The following clinical and procedural risk factors appear to be predictive of postoperative SSI: depression, diabetes, anemia, two or more levels, tobacco use, trauma, neoplasm, congestive heart failure, instrumentation, renal failure, intravenous drug use, and malnutrition. Interpretation of modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for infection informs surgeons of expected postoperative course and preoperative risk for this most common and deleterious postoperative complication to spinal surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1720984DOI Listing
April 2021

Clinical Trial Designs for Neuromodulation in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Using Epidural Stimulation.

Neuromodulation 2021 Apr 1;24(3):405-415. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Neurological Surgery, and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

Study Design: This is a narrative review focused on specific challenges related to adequate controls that arise in neuromodulation clinical trials involving perceptible stimulation and physiological effects of stimulation activation.

Objectives: 1) To present the strengths and limitations of available clinical trial research designs for the testing of epidural stimulation to improve recovery after spinal cord injury. 2) To describe how studies can control for the placebo effects that arise due to surgical implantation, the physical presence of the battery, generator, control interfaces, and rehabilitative activity aimed to promote use-dependent plasticity. 3) To mitigate Hawthorne effects that may occur in clinical trials with intensive supervised participation, including rehabilitation.

Materials And Methods: Focused literature review of neuromodulation clinical trials with integration to the specific context of epidural stimulation for persons with chronic spinal cord injury.

Conclusions: Standard of care control groups fail to control for the multiple effects of knowledge of having undergone surgical procedures, having implanted stimulation systems, and being observed in a clinical trial. The irreducible effects that have been identified as "placebo" require sham controls or comparison groups in which both are implanted with potentially active devices and undergo similar rehabilitative training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ner.13381DOI Listing
April 2021

Long-term impact of abusive head trauma in young children: Outcomes at 5 and 11 years old.

J Pediatr Surg 2021 Feb 19. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of California, Davis Medical Center, 2335 Stockton Blvd, Room 5107, Sacramento, CA, United States; Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Biostatistics, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA, United States.

Background: Abusive head trauma (AHT) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among young children. We aimed to evaluate the long-term impact of AHT.

Methods: Using administrative claims from 2000-2018, children <3 years old with documented AHT who had follow-up through ages 5 and 11 years were identified. The primary outcome was incidence of neurodevelopmental disability and the secondary outcome was the effect of age at time of AHT on long-term outcomes.

Results:   1,165 children were identified with follow-up through age 5; 358 also had follow-up through age 11.  The incidence of neurodevelopmental disability was 68.0% (792/1165) at 5 years of age and 81.6% (292/358) at 11 years of age.  The incidence of disability significantly increased for the 358 children followed from 5 to 11 years old (+14.3 percentage points, p<0.0001).  Children <1 year old at the time of AHT were more likely to develop disabilities when compared to 2 year olds.

Conclusions: AHT is associated with significant long-term disability by age 5 and the incidence increased by age 11 years.  There is an association between age at time of AHT and long-term outcomes. Efforts to improve comprehensive follow-up as children continue to age is important.

Level Of Evidence: IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.02.019DOI Listing
February 2021

Bladder and bowel responses to lumbosacral epidural stimulation in uninjured and transected anesthetized rats.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 8;11(1):3268. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, MDR, 511 S. Floyd St., Room 111, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) mapping at L5-S1 was performed to identify parameters for bladder and bowel inhibition and/or contraction. Using spinally intact and chronic transected rats of both sexes in acute urethane-anesthetized terminal preparations, scES was systematically applied using a modified Specify 5-6-5 (Medtronic) electrode during bladder filling/emptying cycles while recording bladder and colorectal pressures and external urethral and anal sphincter electromyography activity. The results indicate frequency-dependent effects on void volume, micturition, bowel peristalsis, and sphincter activity just above visualized movement threshold intensities that differed depending upon neurological intactness, with some sex-dependent differences. Thereafter, a custom-designed miniature 15-electrode array designed for greater selectivity was tested and exhibited the same frequency-dependent urinary effects over a much smaller surface area without any concurrent movements. Thus, select activation of autonomic nervous system circuitries with scES is a promising neuromodulation approach for expedient translation to individuals with SCI and potentially other neurologic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81822-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7870824PMC
February 2021

Preoperative and Postoperative Opioid Dependence in Patients Undergoing Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion for Degenerative Spinal Disorders.

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2021 Feb 4. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background:  Anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a procedure for effectively relieving radiculopathy. Opioids are commonly overprescribed in postsurgical settings and prescriptions vary widely among providers. We identify trends in opioid dependence before and after ACDF.

Methods:  We used the Truven Health MarketScan data to identify adult patients undergoing ACDF for degenerative cervical spine conditions between 2009 and 2015. Patients were segregated in four cohorts of preoperative and postoperative opioid nondependence (ND) or dependence (D) with 15 months of postoperative follow-up.

Results:  A total of 25,403 patients with median age of 52 years (18-92) who underwent ACDF met the inclusion criteria. Breakdown of the four cohorts was as follows: prior nondependent who remain nondependent (NDND): 62.76% ( = 15,944); prior nondependent who become dependent (NDD): 4.6% ( = 1,168); prior dependent who become nondependent (DND): 14.03% ( = 3,564); and prior dependent who remain dependent (DD): 18.61% ( = 4,727). Opioid dependence decreased 9.43% postoperatively. Overall payments and 30-day readmissions increased 1.96 and 1.79 times for opioid dependent versus nondependent cohorts, respectively. Adjusted payments at 3 to 15 months were significantly increased for dependent cohorts with 3.56-fold increase for the DD cohort when compared with the NDND cohort. Length of stay, complications, medication refills, outpatient measures, and hospital admissions were also higher in those groups with postoperative opioid dependence when compared with those who were not opioid dependent.

Conclusions:  Opioid dependence after ACDF is associated with increased hospital readmissions, complication rates at 30 days, and payments within 3 months and 3 to 15 months postdischarge. Overall opioid dependence was decreased after ACDF procedure, however, a smaller number of opioid-dependent and opioid-naive patients became dependent postoperatively and should be followed carefully.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1718759DOI Listing
February 2021

Improvements in Bladder Function Following Activity-Based Recovery Training With Epidural Stimulation After Chronic Spinal Cord Injury.

Front Syst Neurosci 2020 5;14:614691. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in profound neurologic impairment with widespread deficits in sensorimotor and autonomic systems. Voluntary and autonomic control of bladder function is disrupted resulting in possible detrusor overactivity, low compliance, and uncoordinated bladder and external urethral sphincter contractions impairing storage and/or voiding. Conservative treatments managing neurogenic bladder post-injury, such as oral pharmacotherapy and catheterization, are important components of urological surveillance and clinical care. However, as urinary complications continue to impact long-term morbidity in this population, additional therapeutic and rehabilitative approaches are needed that aim to improve function by targeting the recovery of underlying impairments. Several human and animal studies, including our previously published reports, have documented gains in bladder function due to activity-based recovery strategies, such as locomotor training. Furthermore, epidural stimulation of the spinal cord (scES) combined with intense activity-based recovery training has been shown to produce volitional lower extremity movement, standing, as well as improve the regulation of cardiovascular function. In our center, several participants anecdotally reported improvements in bladder function as a result of training with epidural stimulation configured for motor systems. Thus, in this study, the effects of activity-based recovery training in combination with scES were tested on bladder function, resulting in improvements in overall bladder storage parameters relative to a control cohort (no intervention). However, elevated blood pressure elicited during bladder distention, characteristic of autonomic dysreflexia, was not attenuated with training. We then examined, in a separate, large cross-sectional cohort, the interaction between detrusor pressure and blood pressure at maximum capacity, and found that the functional relationship between urinary bladder distention and blood pressure regulation is disrupted. Regardless of one's bladder emptying method (indwelling suprapubic catheter vs. intermittent catheterization), autonomic instability can play a critical role in the ability to improve bladder storage, with SCI enhancing the vesico-vascular reflex. These results support the role of intersystem stimulation, integrating scES for both bladder and cardiovascular function to further improve bladder storage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2020.614691DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813989PMC
January 2021

Predictors of volitional motor recovery with epidural stimulation in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Brain 2021 03;144(2):420-433

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) has enabled volitional lower extremity movements in individuals with chronic and clinically motor complete spinal cord injury and no clinically detectable brain influence. The aim of this study was to understand whether the individuals' neuroanatomical characteristics or positioning of the scES electrode were important factors influencing the extent of initial recovery of lower limb voluntary movements in those with clinically motor complete paralysis. We hypothesized that there would be significant correlations between the number of joints moved during attempts with scES prior to any training interventions and the amount of cervical cord atrophy above the injury, length of post-traumatic myelomalacia and the amount of volume coverage of lumbosacral enlargement by the stimulation electrode array. The clinical and imaging records of 20 individuals with chronic and clinically motor complete spinal cord injury who underwent scES implantation were reviewed and analysed using MRI and X-ray integration, image segmentation and spinal cord volumetric reconstruction techniques. All individuals that participated in the scES study (n = 20) achieved, to some extent, lower extremity voluntary movements post scES implant and prior to any locomotor, voluntary movement or cardiovascular training. The correlation results showed that neither the cross-section area of spinal cord at C3 (n = 19, r = 0.33, P = 0.16) nor the length of severe myelomalacia (n = 18, r = -0.02, P = 0.93) correlated significantly with volitional lower limb movement ability. However, there was a significant, moderate correlation (n = 20, r = 0.59, P = 0.006) between the estimated percentage of the lumbosacral enlargement coverage by the paddle electrode as well as the position of the paddle relative to the maximal lumbosacral enlargement and the conus tip (n = 20, r = 0.50, P = 0.026) with the number of joints moved volitionally. These results suggest that greater coverage of the lumbosacral enlargement by scES may improve motor recovery prior to any training, possibly because of direct modulatory effects on the spinal networks that control lower extremity movements indicating the significant role of motor control at the level of the spinal cord.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa423DOI Listing
March 2021

Single and sequential voluntary cough in children with chronic spinal cord injury.

Respir Physiol Neurobiol 2021 Mar 24;285:103604. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, 220 Abraham Flexner Way 15(th) floor, Louisville, KY, 40202, United States. Electronic address:

We investigated the impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on cough capacity in 10 children (Mean ± SD, age 8 ± 4 years) and compared it to 15 typically developing children (age 8 ± 3 years). Participants underwent spirometry, single and sequential cough assessment with surface-electromyography from respiratory muscles. Inspiratory phase duration, inspiratory phase peak flow, inspiratory phase rise time, compression phase duration, expiratory phase rise time, expiratory phase peak airflow (EPPF) and cough volume acceleration (CVA) parameters of single and sequential cough were measured. Root mean square (RMS) values of right pectoralis-major, intercostal, rectus-abdominus (RA), and oblique (OB) muscles were calculated and mean of three trials were compared. The significance criterion was set at P < 0.05. The SCI group produced significantly lower lung volumes, EPPF, CVA, and RMS values of RA and OB during expiratory phases of single and sequential coughs. The decrease in activation in expiratory muscles in the SCI group accounts for the impaired expiratory flow and may contribute to risk of respiratory complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2020.103604DOI Listing
March 2021

Contribution of Trunk Muscles to Upright Sitting with Segmental Support in Children with Spinal Cord Injury.

Children (Basel) 2020 Dec 8;7(12). Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.

To investigate and compare trunk control and muscle activation during uncompensated sitting in children with and without spinal cord injury (SCI). Static sitting trunk control in ten typically developing (TD) children (5 females, 5 males, mean (SD) age of 6 (2)y) and 26 children with SCI (9 females, 17 males, 5(2)y) was assessed and compared using the Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control (SATCo) test while recording surface electromyography (EMG) from trunk muscles. The SCI group scored significantly lower on the SATCo compared to the TD group. The SCI group produced significantly higher thoracic-paraspinal activation at the lower-ribs, and, below-ribs support levels, and rectus-abdominus activation at below-ribs, pelvis, and no-support levels than the TD group. The SCI group produced significantly higher lumbar-paraspinal activation at inferior-scapula and no-support levels. Children with SCI demonstrated impaired trunk control with the ability to activate trunk muscles above and below the injury level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children7120278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7762575PMC
December 2020

Low-Dose Intravenous Heparin Infusion After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage is Associated With Decreased Risk of Delayed Neurological Deficit and Cerebral Infarction.

Neurosurgery 2021 02;88(3):523-530

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Patients who survive aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) are at risk for delayed neurological deficits (DND) and cerebral infarction. In this exploratory cohort comparison analysis, we compared in-hospital outcomes of aSAH patients administered a low-dose intravenous heparin (LDIVH) infusion (12 U/kg/h) vs those administered standard subcutaneous heparin (SQH) prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis (DVT; 5000 U, 3 × daily).

Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of LDIVH in aSAH patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 556 consecutive cases of aSAH patients whose aneurysm was secured by clipping or coiling at a single institution over a 10-yr period, including 233 administered the LDIVH protocol and 323 administered the SQH protocol. Radiological and outcome data were compared between the 2 cohorts using multivariable logistic regression and propensity score-based inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW).

Results: The unadjusted rate of cerebral infarction in the LDIVH cohort was half that in SQH cohort (9 vs 18%; P = .004). Multivariable logistic regression showed that patients in the LDIVH cohort were significantly less likely than those in the SQH cohort to have DND (odds ratio (OR) 0.53 [95% CI: 0.33, 0.85]) or cerebral infarction (OR 0.40 [95% CI: 0.23, 0.71]). Analysis following IPTW showed similar results. Rates of hemorrhagic complications, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and DVT were not different between cohorts.

Conclusion: This cohort comparison analysis suggests that LDIVH infusion may favorably influence the outcome of patients after aSAH. Prospective studies are required to further assess the benefit of LDIVH infusion in patients with aSAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa473DOI Listing
February 2021

Tumors in the cauda equina: A SEER analysis of tumor types and predictors of outcome.

J Clin Neurosci 2020 Nov 14;81:227-233. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Neurological Surgery, Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center; University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.

Caudaequinatumors are histologically diverse. International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O3) confers dedicated site code (C72. 1) for cauda equina. This code is excluded during analyses of other primary spinal cord tumors. In this retrospective study, the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data for primary cauda equina tumors (PCET, C72. 1) excluding the tumors of spinal meninges (C70. 1) from 1992 to 2015 were reviewed. Demographic characteristics, tumor types, and clinical outcomes were analyzed using univariable analysis. Overall survival was estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared for age, histology and treatment type. 293 patients with PCET met inclusion criteria. The most common tumors comprised schwannoma (32%), myxopapillary ependymoma (21%), malignant ependymoma (22%). The median age at diagnosis was 50 years (range < 1 year to 98 years), 57% of patients were males. 77% of the patients underwent surgery. Median follow up time for these patients was 70 months. Of the 293 patients, 250 (85%) were living at the end of 2015. The cause of death was tumor or CNS related in 15 patients. 136 patients were followed for <5 years, of which 102 were censored and 34 died (11.6%) before 5 years. Using univariable analysis, age at diagnosis (Hazard Ratio, HR 1.05; confidence interval, CI 1.03-1.07; p < 0.001), malignant tumor type (HR 2.88, CI 1.15-7.19, p = 0.0239) and absence of surgical intervention (HR 2.54, CI1.26-5.11, p = 0.0092) were predictors of increased mortality. Although most patients did well, older age and lack of surgical intervention were associated with worse survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2020.09.068DOI Listing
November 2020

Spinal Cord Imaging Markers and Recovery of Volitional Leg Movement With Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation in Individuals With Clinically Motor Complete Spinal Cord Injury.

Front Syst Neurosci 2020 21;14:559313. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States.

Previous studies have shown that epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord (scES) can re-enable lower limb volitional motor control in individuals with chronic, clinically motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI). This observation entails that residual supraspinal connectivity to the lumbosacral spinal circuitry still persisted after SCI, although it was non-detectable when scES was not provided. In the present study, we aimed at exploring further the mechanisms underlying scES-promoted recovery of volitional lower limb motor control by investigating neuroimaging markers at the spinal cord lesion site magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Spinal cord MRI was collected prior to epidural stimulator implantation in 13 individuals with chronic, clinically motor complete SCI, and the spared tissue of specific regions of the spinal cord (anterior, posterior, right, left, and total cord) was assessed. After epidural stimulator implantation, and prior to any training, volitional motor control was evaluated during left and right lower limb flexion and ankle dorsiflexion attempts. The ability to generate force exertion and movement was not correlated to any neuroimaging marker. On the other hand, spared tissue of specific cord regions significantly and importantly correlated with some aspects of motor control that include activation amplitude of antagonist (negative correlation) muscles during left ankle dorsiflexion, and electromyographic coordination patterns during right lower limb flexion. The fact that amount and location of spared spinal cord tissue at the lesion site were not related to the ability to generate volitional lower limb movements may suggest that supraspinal inputs through spared spinal cord regions that differ across individuals can result in the generation of lower limb volitional motor output prior to any training when epidural stimulation is provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2020.559313DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7654217PMC
October 2020

Beneficial Cardiac Structural and Functional Adaptations After Lumbosacral Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation and Task-Specific Interventions: A Pilot Study.

Front Neurosci 2020 22;14:554018. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States.

Cardiac myocyte atrophy and the resulting decreases to the left ventricular mass and dimensions are well documented in spinal cord injury. Therapeutic interventions that increase preload can increase the chamber size and improve the diastolic filling ratios; however, there are no data describing cardiac adaptation to chronic afterload increases. Research from our center has demonstrated that spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) can normalize arterial blood pressure, so we decided to investigate the effects of scES on cardiac function using echocardiography. Four individuals with chronic, motor-complete cervical spinal cord injury were implanted with a stimulator over the lumbosacral enlargement. We assessed the cardiac structure and function at the following time points: (a) prior to implantation; (b) after scES targeted to increase systolic blood pressure; (c) after the addition of scES targeted to facilitate voluntary (i.e., with intent) movement of the trunk and lower extremities; and (d) after the addition of scES targeted to facilitate independent, overground standing. We found significant improvements to the cardiac structure (left ventricular mass = 10 ± 2 g, < 0.001; internal dimension during diastole = 0.1 ± 0.04 cm, < 0.05; internal dimension during systole = 0.06 ± 0.03 cm, < 0.05; interventricular septum dimension = 0.04 ± 0.02 cm, < 0.05), systolic function (ejection fraction = 1 ± 0.4%, < 0.05; velocity time integral = 2 ± 0.4 cm, < 0.001; stroke volume = 4.4 ± 1.5 ml, < 0.01), and diastolic function (mitral valve deceleration time = -32 ± 11 ms, < 0.05; mitral valve deceleration slope = 50 ± 25 cm s, < 0.05; isovolumic relaxation time = -6 ± 1.9 ms, < 0.05) with each subsequent scES intervention. Despite the pilot nature of this study, statistically significant improvements to the cardiac structure, systolic function, and diastolic function demonstrate that scES combined with task-specific interventions led to beneficial cardiac remodeling, which can reverse atrophic changes that result from spinal cord injury. Long-term improvements to cardiac function have implications for increased quality of life and improved cardiovascular health in individuals with spinal cord injury, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.554018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7643015PMC
October 2020

Heart rate and blood pressure response improve the prediction of orthostatic cardiovascular dysregulation in persons with chronic spinal cord injury.

Physiol Rep 2020 10;8(20):e14617

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Unstable blood pressure after spinal cord injury (SCI) is not routinely examined but rather predicted by level and completeness of injury (i.e., American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale AIS classification). Our aim was to investigate hemodynamic response to a sit-up test in a large cohort of individuals with chronic SCI to better understand cardiovascular function in this population. Continuous blood pressure and ECG were recorded from individuals with SCI (n = 159) and non-injured individuals (n = 48). We found orthostatic hypotension occurred within each level and AIS classification (n = 36). Moreover, 45 individuals with chronic SCI experienced a drop in blood pressure that did not meet the criteria for orthostatic hypotension, but was accompanied by dramatic increases in heart rate, reflecting orthostatic intolerance. A cluster analysis of hemodynamic response to a seated position identified eight distinct patterns of interaction between blood pressure and heart rate during orthostatic stress indicating varied autonomic responses. Algorithmic cluster analysis of heart rate and blood pressure is more sensitive to diagnosing orthostatic cardiovascular dysregulation. This indicates blood pressure instability cannot be predicted by level and completeness of SCI, and the consensus statement definition of orthostatic hypotension is insufficient to characterize the variability of blood pressure and heart rate responses during orthostatic stress. Both blood pressure and heart rate responses are needed to characterize autonomic function after SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14617DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7575221PMC
October 2020

Impact of Surgical Approaches on Complications, Emergency Room Admissions, and Health Care Utilization in Patients Undergoing Lumbar Fusions for Degenerative Disc Diseases: A MarketScan Database Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2021 Jan 15;145:e305-e319. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Neurosurgery, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Yakima, Washington, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To identify the impact of different surgical approaches for lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) on complications, reoperations/readmissions, and health care utilization.

Methods: We used International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision and Tenth Revision and Current Procedural Terminology codes to extract data from MarketScan. Patients were divided into 6 groups: single-level anterior only (sA), single-level anterior + posterior (sAP), single-level posterior (sP), multilevel anterior (mA), multilevel anterior + posterior (mAP), and multilevel posterior only (mP). Outcomes of interest were cumulative complication rates, reoperation rates, readmission, and health care utilization at 6, 12, and 24 months.

Results: Of 148,499 patients, 3% had sA fusion and 54% had mP procedures. Patients in the mAP cohort incurred higher cumulative complication rates (21%) compared with sA (13%), sAP (15%), sP (14%), mA (18%), and mP (18%). Emergency room admissions within 30 days were highest in the mA cohort (14%) followed by mAP (11%) and mP (8%). At 12 and 24 months, patients with mA procedures were most likely to have either new fusion or refusion (8% and 12%) followed by sA (7% and 10%), sAP (4% and 7%), mAP (4% and 8%) mP (4% and 7%), and sP (3% and 7%). Compared with the mP cohort, patients in the mA cohort incurred 1.2 times the overall median payments, whereas mAP and sA incurred 1.1 times the payments at 12 months. This difference was further reduced at 24 months.

Conclusions: mAP procedures are associated with higher cumulative complications and health care utilization compared with other procedures and the difference in health care utilization tends to decrease over 12 and 24 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.10.048DOI Listing
January 2021

Recombinant Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Use in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: Comparative Analysis and Healthcare Utilization at 24 Months' Follow-up.

Global Spine J 2020 Aug 26:2192568220947377. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

5170University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Objective: Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) is used to achieve fusion in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. Our aim was to investigate the long-term impact of rhBMP-2 use for clinical outcomes and health care utilization in this patient population.

Methods: We conducted an analysis using MarketScan to identify health resource utilization of rhBMP-2 use for ASD after surgical intervention compared to fusion without rhBMP-2 at 24 months' follow-up. Outcomes assessed included length of stay, complications, pseudoarthrosis, reoperation, outpatient services, and health care payments.

Results: Of 7115 patients who underwent surgery for ASD, 854 received rhBMP-2 and 6261 were operated upon without use of rhBMP-2. One month after discharge, the rhBMP-2 cohort had a nonsignificant trend in fewer complications (15.38%) than those who did not receive rhBMP-2 (18.07%), = .0558. At 12 months, pseudoarthrosis was reported in 2.8% of cases with no BMP and 01.14% of cases with BMP, = .0048. Average payments at 12 months were $120 138 for the rhBMP-2 group and $118 373 for the no rhBMP-2 group, = .8228. At 24 months, payments were $141 664 for the rhBMP-2 group and $144 179 for the group that did not receive rhBMP-2, = .5946.

Conclusions: In ASD surgery, use of rhBMP-2 was not associated with increased complications or reoperations at index hospitalization and 1-month follow-up. Overall payments, including index hospitalization, readmissions, reoperations, and outpatient services were not different compared to those without the use of rhBMP-2 at 12 months and 24 months after discharge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568220947377DOI Listing
August 2020

Economics of the Management of Craniospinal Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma and the feasibility of the bundled payment model.

BMC Neurol 2020 Aug 21;20(1):312. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 220 Abraham Flexner way, Ste.1500, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA.

Background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created a new reimbursement model "Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI)" which reimburses providers a predetermined payment in advance to cover all possible services rendered within a certain time window. Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma are locally aggressive malignant primary bony tumors. Treatment includes surgical resection and radiotherapy with substantial risk for recurrence which necessitates monitoring and further treatment. We assessed the feasibility of the BPCI model in these neurosurgical diseases.

Methods: We selected patients with chordoma/chondrosarcoma from inpatient admission table using the International Classification of Disease, 9th (ICD-9), and 10th (ICD-10) revision codes. We collected the patients' demographics and insurance type at the index hospitalization. We recorded the following outcomes length of stay, total payment, discharge disposition, and complications for the index hospitalization. For post-discharge, we collected the 30 days and 3/6/12 months inpatient admission, outpatient service, and medication refills. Continuous variables were summarized by means with standard deviations, median with interquartile and full ranges (minimum-maximum); Continuous outcomes were compared by nonparametric Wilcoxson rank-sum test. All tests were 2-sided with a significance level of 0.05. Statistical data analysis was performed in SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC).

Results: The population size was 2041 patients which included 1412 patients with cranial (group1), 343 patients with a mobile spine (group 2), and 286 patients with sacrococcygeal (group 3) chordoma and chondrosarcoma. For index hospitalization, the median length of stay (days) was 4, 6, and 7 for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P<.001). The mean payments were ($58,130), ($84,854), and ($82,440), for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P=.02). The complication rates were 30%, 35%, and 43% for groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively (P<.001). Twelve months post-discharge, the hospital readmission rates were 44%, 53%, and 65% for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P<.001). The median payments for this period were ($72,294), ($76,827), and ($101,474), for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P <.001).

Conclusion: The management of craniospinal chordoma and chondrosarcoma is costly and may extend over a prolonged period. The success of BPCI requires a joint effort between insurers and hospitals. Also, it should consider patients' comorbidities, the complexity of the disease. Finally, the adoptionof quality improvement programs by hospitals can help with cost reduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01850-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7441625PMC
August 2020

Evaluation of Predictive Models for Complications following Spinal Surgery.

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2020 Nov 14;81(6):535-545. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

Background:  Complications rates vary across spinal surgery procedures and are difficult to predict due to heterogeneity in patient characteristics, surgical methods, and hospital volume. Incorporation of predictive models for complications may guide surgeon decision making and improve outcomes.

Methods:  We evaluate current independently validated predictive models for complications in spinal surgery with respect to study design and model generation, accuracy, reliability, and utility. We conducted our search using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis guidelines and the Participants, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes, Study Design model through the PubMed and Ovid Medline databases.

Results:  A total of 18 articles met inclusion criteria including 30 validated predictive models of complications after adult spinal surgery. National registry databases were used in 12 studies. Validation cohorts were used in seven studies for verification; three studies used other methods including random sample bootstrapping techniques or cross-validation. Reported area under the curve (AUC) values ranged from 0.37 to 1.0. Studies described treatment for deformity, degenerative conditions, inclusive spinal surgery (neoplasm, trauma, infection, deformity, degenerative), and miscellaneous (disk herniation, spinal epidural abscess). The most commonly cited risk factors for complications included in predictive models included age, body mass index, diabetes, sex, and smoking. Those models in the deformity subset that included radiographic and anatomical grading features reported higher AUC values than those that included patient demographics or medical comorbidities alone.

Conclusions:  We identified a cohort of 30 validated predictive models of complications following spinal surgery for degenerative conditions, deformity, infection, and trauma. Accurate evidence-based predictive models may enhance shared decision making, improve rehabilitation, reduce adverse events, and inform best practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1709709DOI Listing
November 2020

Epidural stimulation for cardiovascular function increases lower limb lean mass in individuals with chronic motor complete spinal cord injury.

Exp Physiol 2020 10 15;105(10):1684-1691. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.

New Findings: What is the central question of this study? Spinal cord injury results in paralysis and deleterious neuromuscular and autonomic adaptations. Lumbosacral epidural stimulation can modulate motor and/or autonomic functions. Does long-term epidural stimulation for normalizing cardiovascular function affect leg muscle properties? What is the main finding and its importance? Leg lean mass increased after long-term epidural stimulation for cardiovascular function, which was applied in the sitting position and did not activate the leg muscles. Leg muscle strength and fatigue resistance, assessed in a subgroup of individuals, also increased. These adaptations might support interventions for motor recovery and warrant further mechanistic investigation.

Abstract: Chronic motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI) results in paralysis and deleterious neuromuscular and autonomic adaptations. Paralysed muscles demonstrate atrophy, loss of force and increased fatigability. Also, SCI-induced autonomic impairment results in persistently low resting blood pressure and heart rate, among other features. We previously reported that spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) optimized for cardiovascular (CV) function (CV-scES), which is applied in sitting position and does not activate the leg muscles, can maintain systolic blood pressure within a normotensive range during quiet sitting and during orthostatic stress. In the present study, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry collected from six individuals with chronic clinically motor complete SCI demonstrated that 88 ± 11 sessions of CV-scES (7 days week ; 2 h day in four individuals and 5 h day in two individuals) over a period of ∼6 months significantly increased lower limb lean mass (by 0.67 ± 0.39 kg or 9.4 ± 8.1%; P < 0.001). Additionally, muscle strength and fatigability data elicited by neuromuscular electrical stimulation in three of these individuals demonstrated a general increase (57 ± 117%) in maximal torque output (between 2 and 44 N m in 14 of the 17 muscle groups tested overall) and torque-time integral during intermittent, fatiguing contractions (63 ± 71%; between 7 and 230% in 16 of the 17 muscle groups tested overall). In contrast, whole-body mass and composition did not change significantly. In conclusion, long-term use of CV-scES can have a significant impact on lower limb muscle properties after chronic motor complete SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/EP088876DOI Listing
October 2020

Systolic and diastolic function in chronic spinal cord injury.

PLoS One 2020 27;15(7):e0236490. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States of America.

Individuals with spinal cord injury develop cardiovascular disease more than age-matched, non-injured cohorts. However, progression of systolic and diastolic dysfunction into cardiovascular disease after spinal cord injury is not well described. We sought to investigate the relationship between systolic and diastolic function in chronic spinal cord injury to describe how biological sex, level, severity, and duration of injury correlate with structural changes in the left ventricle. Individuals with chronic spinal cord injury participated in this study (n = 70). Registered diagnostic cardiac sonographers used cardiac ultrasound to measure dimensions, mass, and systolic and diastolic function of the left ventricle. We found no significant relationship to severity or duration of injury with left ventricle measurements, systolic function outcome, or diastolic function outcome. Moreover, nearly all outcomes measured were within the American Society of Echocardiography-defined healthy range. Similar to non-injured individuals, when indexed by body surface area (BSA) left ventricle mass [-14 (5) g/m2, p < .01], end diastolic volume [-6 (3) mL/m2, p < .05], and end systolic volume [-4 (1) mL/m2, p < .01] were significantly decreased in women compared with men. Likewise, diastolic function outcomes significantly worsened with age: E-wave velocity [-5 (2), p < .01], E/A ratio [-0.23 (0.08), p < .01], and e' velocity [lateral: -1.5 (0.3) cm/s, p < .001; septal: -0.9 (0.2), p < .001] decreased with age while A-wave velocity [5 (1) cm/s, p < .001] and isovolumic relaxation time [6 (3) ms, p < .05] increased with age. Women demonstrated significantly decreased cardiac size and volumes compared with men, but there was no biological relationship to dysfunction. Moreover, individuals were within the range of ASE-defined healthy values with no evidence of systolic or diastolic function and no meaningful relationship to level, severity, or duration of injury. Decreases to left ventricular dimensions and mass seen in spinal cord injury may result from adaptation rather than maladaptive myocardial remodeling, and increased incidence of cardiovascular disease may be related to modifiable risk factors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236490PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384657PMC
September 2020

Factors Impacting Outcomes and Health Care Utilization in Osteoporotic Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spine Fusions: A MarketScan Database Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2020 09 22;141:e976-e988. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To identify factors impacting long-term complications, reoperations, readmission rates, and health care utilization in patients with osteoporosis (OP) following lumbar fusions.

Methods: We used International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision, International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision , and Current Procedural Terminology codes to extract data from MarketScan (2000-2016). Patients undergoing lumbar spine fusion were divided into 2 groups based on preoperative diagnosis: OP or non-OP. We used multivariable generalized linear regression models to analyze outcomes of interest (reoperation rates, readmissions, complications, health care utilization) at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months after discharge.

Results: MarketScan identified 116,749 patients who underwent lumbar fusion with ≥24 months of follow-up; 6% had OP. OP patients had a higher incidence of complications (14% vs. 9%); were less likely to be discharged home (77% vs. 86%, P < 0.05); had more new fusions or refusions at 6 months (2.9% vs. 2.1%), 12 months (5% vs. 3.8%), and 24 months (8.5% vs. 7.4%); incurred more outpatient services at 12 months (80 vs. 61) and 24 months (148 vs. 115); and incurred higher overall costs at 12 months ($22,932 vs. $17,017) and 24 months ($48,379 vs. $35,888). Elderly OP patients (>65 years old) who underwent multilevel lumbar fusions had longer hospitalization, had higher complication rates, and incurred lower costs at 6, 12, and 24 months compared with young non-OP patients who underwent single-level lumbar fusion.

Conclusions: Patients of all ages with OP had higher complication rates and required revision surgeries at 6, 12, and 24 months compared with non-OP patients. Elderly OP patients having multilevel lumbar fusions were twice as likely to have complications and lower health care utilization compared with younger non-OP patients who underwent single-level fusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.06.107DOI Listing
September 2020

Differences in Incidence and Case Fatality of Abusive Head Trauma.

Child Abuse Negl 2020 06 22;104:104488. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, USA.

Background: Abusive head trauma (AHT) in children older than 1 and younger than 5 years old is thought uncommon and rarely studied.

Objective: This study estimates national incidence and case fatality rate of abusive head trauma (AHT), and evaluates differences by age, sex, race, and region, with a focus on children of 2-4 years.

Participants And Setting: Hospital discharges were extracted from The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Kids' Inpatient Database from 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 using the CDC's narrow definition of AHT.

Methods: Survey-weighted chi-square tests were used to assess differences in incidence and case fatality rates.

Results: The average annual incidence per 100,000 children was highest in <1 year-olds (27), followed by age 1 (4), age 2 (3), and age 3-4 (1). Average annual incidence varied significantly by sex (p = 0.0001), race (p < 0.0001), and region (p = 0.0002) within each age category. The average annual case fatality rate increased significantly with age, with a rate of 0.10 among children age <1 year, 0.15 for age 1, 0.23 for age 2, and 0.20 for age 3-4 years. The average annual case fatality rate was higher in the South (0.12) than West (0.10), Midwest (0.09), and Northeast (0.08) among children <1 year of age.

Conclusions: Black and Hispanic children and hospitals in the Midwest experienced higher incidence of AHT than White children and Northeast hospitals, respectively, especially in cases <1 year of age. Case fatality rates increased significantly with age, and the South experienced the highest rates for infants <1 year.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104488DOI Listing
June 2020

National Trends and Factors Predicting Outcomes Following Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Brain Lesions: Nationwide Inpatient Sample Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2020 07 3;139:e88-e97. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a stereotactic-guided technique, which is increasingly being performed for brain lesions. The aim of our study was to report the national trends and factors predicting the clinical outcomes following LITT using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Methods: We extracted data from 2011-2016 using ICD-9/10 codes. Patients with a primary procedure of LITT were included. Patient demographics, complications, length of hospital stay, discharge disposition, and index-hospitalization charges were analyzed.

Results: A cohort of 1768 patients was identified from the database. Mean length of hospital stay was 3.2 days, 82% of patients were discharged to home, and in-hospitalization cost was $124,225. Complications and mortality were noted in 12.9% and 2.5% of patients following LITT, respectively. Non-Caucasian patients (estimate ratio [ER] 4.26), those with other insurance (compared with commercial, ER: 5.35), 3 and 4+ comorbidity indexes, patients with higher quartile median household income (second, third, and fourth quartile compared with first quartile), and those who underwent nonelective procedures were likely to have higher complications and less likely to be discharged home. Patients with 4+ comorbidity indexes were likely to have longer length of hospital stay (ER 1.39) and higher complications (ER: 7.95) and were less likely to be discharged home (ER: 0.17) and have higher in-hospitalization cost (ER: 1.21).

Conclusions: LITT is increasingly being performed with low complication rates. Non-Caucasian race, higher comorbidity index, noncommercial insurance, and nonelective procedures were predictors of higher complications and being less likely to be discharged home. In-hospitalization charges were higher in patients with higher comorbidity index and those with noncommercial insurance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.124DOI Listing
July 2020

Inverse national trends of laser interstitial thermal therapy and open surgical procedures for refractory epilepsy: a Nationwide Inpatient Sample-based propensity score matching analysis.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 04;48(4):E11

Objective: Surgery for medically refractory epilepsy (RE) is an underutilized treatment modality, despite its efficacy. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), which is minimally invasive, is increasingly being utilized for a variety of brain lesions and offers comparable seizure outcomes. The aim of this study was to report the national trends of open surgical procedures for RE with the advent of LITT.

Methods: Data were extracted using the ICD-9/10 codes from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS, 2012-2016) in this retrospective study. Patients with a primary diagnosis of RE who underwent either open surgeries (lobectomy, partial lobectomy, and amygdalohippocampectomy) or LITT were included. Patient demographics, complications, hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge disposition, and index hospitalization costs were analyzed. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to analyze outcomes.

Results: A cohort of 128,525 in-hospital patients with RE was included and 5.5% (n = 7045) of these patients underwent either open surgical procedures (94.3%) or LITT (5.7%). LITT is increasingly being performed at a rate of 1.09 per 1000 epilepsy admissions/year, while open surgical procedures are decreasing at a rate of 10.4/1000 cases/year. The majority of procedures were elective (92%) and were performed at large-bed-size hospitals (86%). All LITT procedures were performed at teaching facilities and the majority were performed in the South (37%) and West (30%) regions. The median LOS was 1 day for the LITT cohort and 4 days for the open cohort. Index hospitalization charges were significantly lower following LITT compared to open procedures ($108,332 for LITT vs $124,012 for open surgery, p < 0.0001). LITT was associated with shorter median LOS, high likelihood of discharge home, and lower median index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures for RE on PSM analysis.

Conclusions: LITT is increasingly being performed in favor of open surgical procedures. LITT is associated with a shorter LOS, a higher likelihood of being discharged home, and lower index hospitalization charges compared to open procedures. LITT is a safe treatment modality in carefully selected patients with RE and offers an opportunity to increase the utilization of surgical treatment in patients who may be opposed to open surgery or have contraindications that preclude open surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.1.FOCUS19935DOI Listing
April 2020

Inverse National Trends in Decompressive Craniectomy versus Endovascular Thrombectomy for Stroke.

World Neurosurg 2020 06 13;138:e642-e651. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Endovascular thrombectomy (ET) for acute large vessel occlusion reduces infarct size, and it should hypothetically decrease the incidence of major ischemic strokes requiring decompressive craniectomy (DC). The aim of this retrospective cohort study is to determine trends in the utilization of ET versus DC for stroke in the United States over a 10-year span.

Methods: We extracted data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample using International Classification of Diseases-9/10 codes from 2006-2016. Patients with a primary diagnosis of stroke were included. Baseline demographics, outcomes, and hospital charges were analyzed.

Results: The study cohort comprised 14,578,654 patients diagnosed with stroke. During the study period, DC and ET were performed in 124,718 and 62,637 patients, respectively. The number of stroke patients who underwent either ET or DC increased by 266% from 2006 to 2016. During that time period, the ET utilization rate increased (0.19% in 2006 to 14.07% in 2016, P < 0.0004), whereas the DC utilization rate decreased (7.07% in 2006 to 6.43% in 2016, P < 0.0001). In 2015, the utilization rate of ET (9.73%) exceeded that of DC (9.67%). ET-treated patients had shorter hospitalization durations (mean 8.8 vs. 16.8 days, P < 0.0001), lower mortality (16.2% vs. 19.3%), higher likelihood of discharge home (27.1% vs. 24.1%, P < 0.0001), and reduced hospital charges (mean $189,724 vs. $261,314, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: We identified an inverse relationship between national trends in rising ET and diminishing DC utilization for stroke treatment over a recent decade. Although direct causation cannot be inferred, our findings suggest that ET curtails the necessity for DC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.022DOI Listing
June 2020

Muscle Activation Patterns During Movement Attempts in Children With Acquired Spinal Cord Injury: Neurophysiological Assessment of Residual Motor Function Below the Level of Lesion.

Front Neurol 2019 20;10:1295. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, United States.

Characterization of residual neuromotor capacity after spinal cord injury (SCI) is challenging. The current gold standard for measurement of sensorimotor function after SCI, the International Society for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) exam, seeks to determine isolated intentional muscle activation, however many individuals with SCI exhibit intentional movements and muscle activation patterns which are not confined to specific joint or muscle. Further, isolated muscle activation is a feature of the neuromuscular system that emerges during development, and thus may not be an appropriate measurement standard for children younger than 6. We utilized neurophysiological assessment methodology, long studied in adult SCI populations, to evaluate residual neuromotor capacity in 24 children with SCI, as well as 19 typically developing (TD) children. Surface electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded from 11 muscles bilaterally, representing spinal motor output from all regions (i.e., cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral), during standardized movement attempts. EMG records were subjectively analyzed based on spatiotemporal muscle activation characteristics, while the voluntary response index (VRI) was utilized for objective analysis of unilateral leg movement tasks. Evidence of intentional leg muscle activation below the level of lesion was found in 11/24 children with SCI, and was classified based on activation pattern. Trace activation, bilateral (generalized) activation, and unilateral or isolated activation occurred in 32, 49, and 8% of movement tasks, respectively. Similarly, VRI analyses objectively identified significant differences between TD and SCI children in both magnitude ( < 0.01) and similarity index ( < 0.05) for all unilateral leg movement tasks. Activation of the erector spinae muscles, recorded at the T10-T12 vertebral level, was observed in all children with SCI, regardless of injury level or severity. Residual descending influence on spinal motor circuits may be present after SCI in children. Assessment of multi-muscle activation patterns during intentional movement attempts can provide objective evidence of the presence and extent of such residual muscle activation, and may provide an indicator of motor recovery potential following injury. The presence of residual intentional muscle activation has important implications for rehabilitation following pediatric-onset SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.01295DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933608PMC
December 2019

Impact of Surgical Timing and Approaches to Health Care Utilization in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Acute Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.

Cureus 2019 Nov 15;11(11):e6166. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Neurosurgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, USA.

Objective Acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (AcSCI) causes significant morbidity and has an impact on health care utilization. The aim of our study was to analyze health care utilization in patients undergoing surgical decompression and fusion for AcSCI based on timing and type of surgical approaches.  Patient and methods Data were extracted using ICD9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (IBM Corp. Armonk, New York [v. 2000-2015]). We defined the comparative groups based on the timing of surgery (early <24 hours and late >24 hours) and surgical approaches: anterior, posterior and circumferential. Outcomes of interest were: length of hospital stay, discharge disposition and health care utilization in the index hospitalization, within 30 days after discharge and 12 months following injury. Results Of 1604 patients, 80.9% had early procedures and 55.7% of these had anterior-only procedures. Overall, the median age was 46 years in the early surgery group and 47 years in the late surgery group. Patients in the early surgical group incurred higher outpatient services and there was no difference in cumulative median payments (index + 12 months) across the cohorts (early: $127,379, late: $121,049). The incidence of repeat surgery at the index level did not differ based on the timing of surgery (early 5% vs. late 7%). Complications were higher in the circumferential surgery cohort irrespective of the timing of surgery. Overall, combined median payment (index hospitalization + 12 months) was significantly higher for early circumferential cohorts compared to the anterior or posterior-only cohort ($195,990 and $109,977 vs. $121,236 respectively). Conclusion Late (>24 hours) surgeries were associated with a higher likelihood to be discharged home, lower utilization of outpatient services, higher hospital readmissions and no differences in payments (index and cumulative) compared to early surgeries. Circumferential approaches were associated with higher complication rates, lesser likelihood to be discharged home, higher utilization of outpatient services compared to anterior-only approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913951PMC
November 2019