Publications by authors named "Breanna L Sheldon"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Role of Vancomycin Powder During Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation: A Case Series and Review of the Literature.

World Neurosurg 2021 Sep 6. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To examine the role of intrawound vancomycin powder as prophylaxis against postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) following spinal cord stimulator (SCS) implantation.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 153 consecutive patients who underwent permanent SCS implantation surgery via open laminectomy between 2014 and 2020. We queried each medical record for patient age, sex, relevant medical history, and whether intrawound vancomycin was administered. We compared rates of SSI (primary outcome) and seroma (secondary outcome) within three months of surgery between the vancomycin and non-vancomycin groups. Lastly, we conducted multivariable logistic regression analyses to identify independent predictors of postoperative SSI or seroma.

Results: The cohort (n=153) was 59% female and had an average age of 65.4 years. Overall, three patients (2%) developed an SSI: two (MRSA, Klebsiella) in the vancomycin group and one (MSSA) in the non-vancomycin group. This difference in SSI rate between groups was insignificant (P=.73). Three seromas, all in the non-vancomycin group, accounted for a statistically significant difference in seroma formation between the groups (P=.04). Multivariate logistic regression failed to identify any perioperative characteristics as independent predictors of postoperative SSI or seroma.

Conclusions: Our experience suggests open laminectomy for SCS implantation surgery can be performed with a low postoperative SSI rate, with or without powdered vancomycin. We found no evidence suggesting powdered vancomycin is unsafe - or related to postoperative seroma formation - and failed to draw any definitive conclusion as to its efficacy, despite referencing the largest single case series of spinal cord stimulation implantation to date.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2021.08.141DOI Listing
September 2021

Growth hormone replacement therapy: is it safe to use in children with asymptomatic pituitary lesions?

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2021 Aug 18. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Department of Neurosurgery, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA.

Objectives: Small pituitary cysts are commonly discovered on pediatric brain magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs), particularly in patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD). We examined the need for operative management in children with these masses as well as the effect of growth hormone replacement (GHR) on these lesions.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of pituitary protocol MRIs conducted in children 0-19 at a single center between April 2010-November 2020. Sex, indication for initial MRI, volume, and whether surgery was performed was determined. Records were reviewed to determine whether GHD was present and treatment with GHR documented. For patients with subsequent MRIs, volume on most recent scan was calculated.

Results: Of the 101 children with cysts, 25 had laboratory-confirmed GHD and 76 did not. GHD patients had a higher mean age compared to no growth hormone deficiency (NGHD) cohort (11.2 and 8.4 years, respectively; p=0.02) and a larger proportion of males (p<0.001). The mean cyst volume on initial MRI was not significantly smaller in patients with GHD (0.063 ± 0.012 cm) vs. those without GHD (0.171 ± 0.039 cm, p=0.11). Of the 21 GHD patients who received GHR and had follow-up MRIs, 10 had no change in pituitary cyst size, two had cysts that shrank, and seven disappeared. The remaining two cysts enlarged an average of 0.061 ± 0.033 cm. Zero GHR recipients required surgical intervention.

Conclusions: Small sellar cysts discovered incidentally on imaging in children are unlikely to require surgical intervention. GHR does not appear to significantly enlarge these pediatric pituitary lesions and is safe for use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jpem-2021-0479DOI Listing
August 2021

Can dogs and cats really help our spinal cord stimulation patients?

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2021 Sep 22;208:106831. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: Pet ownership has been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality in several aspects of health but has not been studied in chronic pain patients. We evaluate whether subjects who underwent spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and own a pet have improved outcomes compared to non-pet owners.

Methods: After obtaining IRB approval, we re-contacted 38 subjects who underwent SCS surgery with preoperative and 1-year postoperative data on Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Pain Catastrophizing scale (PCS). We examined influence of pets and pet ownership-specific behaviors on improvement in SCS outcomes.

Results: Patients included 24 males/14 females with a mean age of 59.9 ± 11.5 years. At mean follow-up of 12.2 months (range 10-14), there were improvements in NRS, ODI, BDI, PCS and MPQ. Twenty subjects owned pets and 18 did not; all believed pet ownership could improve health. Pet owners improved more on NRS-right now (p = 0.05) and BDI (p = 0.05), and were more satisfied with SCS (p = 0.04). No significant improvement was seen in ODI, MPQ, or PCS. However, PCS did improve in pet owners who exercised their pet (PCS-total, p < 0.01; PCS-helplessness, p < 0.01; PCS-rumination, p = 0.05; PCS-magnification, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: We provide preliminary evidence that pet ownership is associated with improved pain, depression and SCS satisfaction. Exercising with a pet also appears to be beneficial in limiting pain catastrophizing. Pets show promise as a novel means to improve patient SCS outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106831DOI Listing
September 2021

Age as an Independent Predictor of Adult Spinal Cord Stimulation Pain Outcomes.

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg 2021 Jul 19:1-7. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA.

Introduction: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an efficacious chronic pain treatment most commonly used in middle-aged patients. Results from previous studies that investigated SCS' effects in older patient populations have been equivocal. We examine whether SCS outcomes correlate with age.

Methods: We retrospectively examined prospectively collected outcomes from 189 patients who underwent SCS at Albany Medical Center between 2012 and 2020. The patients completed the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) preoperatively and 1 year postoperatively. The mean percent change in each outcome was determined and compared via a regression analysis to determine relationships between patient age and each respective outcome metrics. Demographics were compared between patients aged under 65 versus those aged 65 and older via χ2 tests.

Results: All subjects demonstrated the expected improvement on NRS, BDI, PCS, and MPQ from baseline to 1-year follow-up, with several demonstrating statistically significant changes: NRS-worst pain (18.66%, p < 0.001), NRS-least pain (26.9%, p < 0.001), NRS-average pain (26.9%, p < 0.01), NRS-current pain (26.4%, p < 0.001), ODI (19.6%, p < 0.001), PCS (29.8%, p < 0.001), and MPQ (29.4%, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between patients aged under 65 versus those aged 65 and older based on lead type (p = 0.454). Six patients (3.1%) had lead migration, one of whom was 65 or older. Regression analysis revealed improvements in MPQ-sensory and MPQ-affective scores as age increased (p < 0.001, R2 = 0.09; p = 0.046, R2 = 0.05, respectively). Age did not correlate with NRS, ODI, BDI, or PCS. Diagnosis, spinal level of SCS, and lead type were not found to influence any respective outcome measure based on covariate analysis.

Conclusion: This study represents the largest study where age was correlated to specific pain, depression, and disability outcomes following SCS. We provide evidence that SCS outcomes are equivalent, or better, in older patients following SCS. Based on these findings, SCS is a viable option for treatment of chronic pain in elderly patient populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000517426DOI Listing
July 2021

Defining minimal clinically important differences in pain and disability outcomes of patients with chronic pain treated with spinal cord stimulation.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Jun 4:1-8. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Departments of1Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, and.

Objective: Minimal clinically important difference (MCID) thresholds for a limited number of outcome metrics were previously defined for patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) at 6 months after spinal cord stimulation (SCS). This study aimed to further define MCID values for pain and disability outcomes. Additionally, the authors established 1-year MCID values for outcome measures with previously defined metrics commonly used to assess SCS efficacy.

Methods: Preoperative and 1-year postoperative outcomes were collected from 114 patients who received SCS therapy for FBSS, complex regional pain syndrome, and neuropathic pain. MCID values were established for the numerical rating scale (NRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). Four established anchor-based methods were utilized to compute MCID values with two anchored questions: "Are you satisfied with SCS therapy?" and "Would you have SCS surgery again?" For each question, patients were categorized as responders if they answered "yes" or as nonresponders if they responded "no." The methodologies utilized to compute MCID scores included the average change method, minimum detectable change approach, change difference calculation, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Area under the ROC curve (AUC) analysis has been shown to inform the accuracy at which the MCID value can distinguish responders from nonresponders and was analyzed for each instrument.

Results: For the first time, ranges of MCID values after SCS were established for MPQ (1-2.3) and PCS (1.9-13.6). One-year MCID values were defined for all indications: NRS (range 0.9-2.7), ODI (3.5-6.9), and BDI (2-5.9). AUC values were significant for NRS (0.78, p < 0.001), ODI (0.71, p = 0.003), MPQ (0.74, p < 0.001), and PCS (0.77, p < 0.001), indicating notable accuracy for distinguishing satisfied patients.

Conclusions: This was the first study to successfully determine MCID values for two prominent instruments, MPQ and PCS, used to assess pain after SCS surgery. Additionally, previously established MCID values for ODI, BDI, and the visual analog scale for patients with FBSS at 6 months after treatment were explored at 12 months for the most common indications for SCS. These data may better inform physicians of patient response to and success with SCS therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.11.SPINE201431DOI Listing
June 2021

Association of Outcomes of Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Low Back Pain and Psoas Measurements Based on Size of Iliopsoas Muscles.

Neuromodulation 2021 Feb 22. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA.

Introduction: Patients experience variable long-term improvement in chronic back pain despite successful spinal cord stimulation (SCS) trials. Iliopsoas (IP) size has been shown to differ between patients with low back pain and healthy controls. In this study, we examine whether IP muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) is associated with SCS outcomes.

Materials And Methods: We examined patients for whom we had lumbar MRIs 6.3 years prior to SCS and had baseline and one-year outcome data. Percent change from baseline to one year was calculated for Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Correlations between IP muscle CSA, ratio of iliopsoas muscle size to the vertebral body area (P/VBA), and the ratio of iliopsoas muscle size to BMI (P/BMI) were examined. Sex differences were considered.

Results: A total of 73 subjects were included in this study including 30 females and 43 males. Males had significantly larger IP (males 15.70 ± 0.58, females 9.72 ± 0.43; p < 0.001), P/VBA (males 1.00 ± 0.04, females 0.76 ± 0.03, p < 0.001) and P/BMI ratio (males 0.51 ± 0.02, females 0.32 ± 0.01; p < 0.001) than females. In females, P/VBA predicted NRS worst pain scores (β = 0.82, p = 0.004, r = 0.55) and BDI (β = 0.59, p = 0.02, r = 0.24). In males, P/BMI was a significant predictor of BDI outcomes scores (β = 0.45, p = 0.03, r = 0.16). Males who had more muscle mass measured by iliopsoas size had more depression as measured using BDI (p = 0.03, r = 0.61). Females with less muscle mass measured by P/VBA also experienced more depression (p = 0.02, r = 0.74).

Conclusions: Our study showed that psoas measurements correlated with various pain outcomes specifically. P/VBA was most predictive in females and P/BMI in males. Depression correlated with P/BMI, reinforcing the complex relationship between depression and constant chronic pain. Tertile analyses further showed a relationship between iliopsoas CSA and depression in males and females. We provide preliminary data of sex-specific psoas measurements as a risk factor for worse SCS outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ner.13375DOI Listing
February 2021

Pain and Interoceptive Awareness Outcomes of Chronic Pain Patients With Spinal Cord Stimulation.

Neuromodulation 2020 Nov 15. Epub 2020 Nov 15.

Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA.

Objectives: Meditation has been shown to improve outcomes for chronic pain by increasing patients' awareness of their own bodies. Some patients have an innate ability to leverage their mind-body connection, and this interoceptive awareness may aid them in garnering pain relief. We explored whether spinal cord stimulation (SCS) patients with greater innate awareness had better outcomes.

Materials And Methods: We contacted 30 thoracic SCS patients with baseline and postoperative pain, psychological, and disability outcomes to complete the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) survey. MAIA distinguishes between beneficial and maladaptive aspects of the perception of body sensations via six positive subscales (noticing, attention regulation, emotional awareness, self-regulation, body listening, and trusting) and two negative subscales (not distracting, not worrying). MAIA subscales and positive/negative groups were correlated with percentage change in Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ).

Results: Patients included 14 males/16 females with a mean age of 58. At a mean follow-up of 14.13 months (range 6-26), NRS, ODI, BDI, PCS, and MPQ showed improvements. Positive traits correlated with improvements in pain (MAIA-self regulation with NRS-worst [p = 0.018], NRS-least [p = 0.042], NRS-average [p = 0.006], NRS-current [p = 0.001]; MAIA-body listening with MPQ-total [p = 0.016] and MPQ-sensory [p = 0.026]). Improvement in PCS-total was associated with higher scores in noticing (p = 0.002), attention regulation (p = 0.017), emotional awareness (p = 0.039), and trusting (p = 0.047). PCS-rumination correlated with MAIA-positive total (p = 0.012). In contrast, better attention regulation signified less improvement in ODI (p = 0.043) and MPQ affective (p = 0.026).

Conclusions: Higher interoceptive awareness in SCS patients correlated with greater improvement following the procedure, particularly with regards to pain relief and pain catastrophizing. These findings suggest that patients with better mind-body connections may achieve greater pain relief following SCS in this patient population, thereby aiding providers in determining who may benefit from this intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ner.13318DOI Listing
November 2020

Current Strategies for the Management of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy.

J Diabetes Sci Technol 2020 Aug 28:1932296820951829. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Neurology, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA.

The development of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is a common complication of chronic diabetes that can be associated with significant disability and healthcare costs. Prompt symptom identification and aggressive glycemic control is essential in controlling the development of neuropathic complications; however, adequate pain relief remains challenging and there are considerable unmet needs in this patient population. Although guidelines have been established regarding the pharmacological management of PDN, pain control is inadequate or refractory in a high proportion of patients. Pharmacotherapy with anticonvulsants (pregabalin, gabapentin) and antidepressants (duloxetine) are common first-line agents. The use of oral opioids is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality and can also lead to opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Their use is therefore discouraged. There is an emerging role for neuromodulation treatment modalities including intrathecal drug delivery, spinal cord stimulation, and dorsal root ganglion stimulation. Furthermore, consideration of holistic alternative therapies such as yoga and acupuncture may augment a multidisciplinary treatment approach. This aim of this review is to focus on the current management strategies for the treatment of PDN, with a discussion of treatment rationale and practical considerations for their implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1932296820951829DOI Listing
August 2020

Correlations Between Family History of Psychiatric Illnesses and Outcomes of Spinal Cord Stimulation.

Neuromodulation 2020 Jul 5;23(5):667-672. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA.

Objectives: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a well-established procedure for chronic neuropathic pain. Research has established patients with personal psychiatric history do not fare as well as their correspondents following SCS surgery. We explored whether a documented psychiatric family history (PFH) correlated with worse outcomes following SCS surgery.

Materials And Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our single-center, prospectively collected database of patients who received permanent SCS implants over the past eight years. Subjects were separated into those with documented PFH and those without. Subjects completed validated scales at preoperative, 6 ± 2 postoperative, and 12 ± 3 months postoperative visits. The percent change in scores from preoperative to postoperative timepoints was compared between subjects with PFH vs. controls.

Results: SCS subjects reporting a PFH demonstrated significantly worse 6-month outcomes on Pain Catastrophizing Scale-rumination subscale (p = 0.02), numeric rating scale (NRS) scores on "pain at its least" (p = 0.04) and NRS "pain right now" (p = 0.02). This group also endorsed greater disability as measured by the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) throughout the follow-up period (p = 0.04 at 6 ± 2 months, p = 0.001 at 12 ± 3 months).

Conclusions: Subjects with PFH may experience less improvement in disability following SCS as compared to subjects without PFH. They may take longer to achieve the same outcomes, including pain relief and decrease in pain rumination. Our findings show that improvements in the PFH cohort are equivalent to that of the no PFH cohort on all measures except ODI at 12-month follow-up. Thus obtaining a detailed PFH prior to performing SCS is important in order to implement pre-operative coping training for PFH patients, rather than exclusion from SCS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ner.13162DOI Listing
July 2020
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