Publications by authors named "Jefferson R Wilson"

126 Publications

Characterization of Hyperacute Neuropathic Pain after Spinal Cord Injury: A Prospective Study.

J Pain 2021 Jul 21. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Hugill Centre for Anesthesia, Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Electronic address:

There is currently a lack of information regarding neuropathic pain in the very early stages of spinal cord injury (SCI). In the present study, neuropathic pain was assessed using the Douleur Neuropathique 4 Questions (DN4) for the patient's worst pain within the first 5 days of injury (i.e., hyperacute) and on follow-up at 3, 6, and 12 months. Within the hyperacute time-frame (i.e., 5 days), at- and below level neuropathic pain were reported as the worst pain in 23% (n=18) and 5% (n=4) of individuals with SCI, respectively. Compared to the neuropathic pain observed in this hyperacute setting, late presenting neuropathic pain was characterized by more intense painful electrical and cold sensations, but less itching sensations. Phenotypic differences between acute and late neuropathic pain support the incorporation of timing into a mechanism-based classification of neuropathic pain after SCI. The diagnosis of acute neuropathic pain after SCI is challenged by the presence of nociceptive and neuropathic pains, with the former potentially masking the latter. This may lead to an underestimation of the incidence of neuropathic pain during the very early, hyperacute time points post-injury. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT01279811) Perspective: This article presents distinct pain phenotypes of hyperacute and late presenting neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury and highlights the challenges of pain assessments in the acute phase after injury. This information may be relevant to clinical trial design and broaden our understanding of neuropathic pain mechanisms after spinal cord injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2021.06.013DOI Listing
July 2021

Variability in time to surgery for patients with acute thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries.

Sci Rep 2021 Jun 25;11(1):13312. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

There are limited data pertaining to current practices in timing of surgical decompression for acute thoracolumbar spinal cord injury (SCI). We conducted a retrospective cohort study to evaluate variability in timing between- and within-trauma centers in North America; and to identify patient- and hospital-level factors associated with treatment delay. Adults with acute thoracolumbar SCI who underwent decompressive surgery within five days of injury at participating trauma centers in the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program were included. Mixed-effects regression with a random intercept for trauma center was used to model the outcome of time to surgical decompression and assess risk-adjusted variability in surgery timeliness across centers. 3,948 patients admitted to 214 TQIP centers were eligible. 28 centers were outliers, with a significantly shorter or longer time to surgery than average. Case-mix and hospital characteristics explained < 1% of between-hospital variability in surgical timing. Moreover, only 7% of surgical timing variability within-centers was explained by case-mix characteristics. The adjusted intraclass correlation coefficient of 12% suggested poor correlation of surgical timing for patients with similar characteristics treated at the same center. These findings support the need for further research into the optimal timing of surgical intervention for thoracolumbar SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92310-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233434PMC
June 2021

The development of lived experience-centered word clouds to support research uncertainty gathering in degenerative cervical myelopathy: results from an engagement process and protocol for their evaluation, via a nested randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Jun 25;22(1):415. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Academic Neurosurgery Unit & Anne McLaren Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosurgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Objectives: AO Spine REsearch objectives and Common Data Elements for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy [RECODE-DCM] is a multi-stakeholder consensus process aiming to promote research efficiency in DCM. It aims to establish the top 10 research uncertainties, through a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership [PSP]. Through a consensus process, research questions are generated and ranked. The inclusion of people with cervical myelopathy [PwCM] is central to the process. We hypothesized that presenting PwCM experience through word cloud generation would stimulate other key stakeholders to generate research questions better aligned with PwCM needs. This protocol outlines our plans to evaluate this as a nested methodological study within our PSP.

Methods: An online poll asked PwCM to submit and vote on words associated with aspects of DCM. After review, a refined word list was re-polled for voting and word submission. Word clouds were generated and an implementation plan for AO Spine RECODE-DCM PSP surveys was subsequently developed.

Results: Seventy-nine terms were submitted after the first poll. Eighty-seven refined words were then re-polled (which added a further 39 words). Four word clouds were generated under the categories of diagnosis, management, long-term effects, and other. A 1:1 block randomization protocol to assess word cloud impact on the number and relevance of PSP research questions was generated.

Conclusions: We have shown it is feasible to work with PwCM to generate a tool for the AO Spine RECODE-DCM nested methodological study. Once the survey stage is completed, we will be able to evaluate the impact of the word clouds. Further research will be needed to assess the value of any impact in terms of stimulating a more creative research agenda.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05349-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8235822PMC
June 2021

Proteomic Portraits Reveal Evolutionarily Conserved and Divergent Responses to Spinal Cord Injury.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2021 Jun 12;20:100096. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Division of Neurosurgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Despite the emergence of promising therapeutic approaches in preclinical studies, the failure of large-scale clinical trials leaves clinicians without effective treatments for acute spinal cord injury (SCI). These trials are hindered by their reliance on detailed neurological examinations to establish outcomes, which inflate the time and resources required for completion. Moreover, therapeutic development takes place in animal models whose relevance to human injury remains unclear. Here, we address these challenges through targeted proteomic analyses of cerebrospinal fluid and serum samples from 111 patients with acute SCI and, in parallel, a large animal (porcine) model of SCI. We develop protein biomarkers of injury severity and recovery, including a prognostic model of neurological improvement at 6 months with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91, and validate these in an independent cohort. Through cross-species proteomic analyses, we dissect evolutionarily conserved and divergent aspects of the SCI response and establish the cerebrospinal fluid abundance of glial fibrillary acidic protein as a biochemical outcome measure in both humans and pigs. Our work opens up new avenues to catalyze translation by facilitating the evaluation of novel SCI therapies, while also providing a resource from which to direct future preclinical efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcpro.2021.100096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260874PMC
June 2021

A deep learning model for detection of cervical spinal cord compression in MRI scans.

Sci Rep 2021 May 18;11(1):10473. Epub 2021 May 18.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 149 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1P5, Canada.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) evidence of spinal cord compression plays a central role in the diagnosis of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). There is growing recognition that deep learning models may assist in addressing the increasing volume of medical imaging data and provide initial interpretation of images gathered in a primary-care setting. We aimed to develop and validate a deep learning model for detection of cervical spinal cord compression in MRI scans. Patients undergoing surgery for DCM as a part of the AO Spine CSM-NA or CSM-I prospective cohort studies were included in our study. Patients were divided into a training/validation or holdout dataset. Images were labelled by two specialist physicians. We trained a deep convolutional neural network using images from the training/validation dataset and assessed model performance on the holdout dataset. The training/validation cohort included 201 patients with 6588 images and the holdout dataset included 88 patients with 2991 images. On the holdout dataset the deep learning model achieved an overall AUC of 0.94, sensitivity of 0.88, specificity of 0.89, and f1-score of 0.82. This model could improve the efficiency and objectivity of the interpretation of cervical spine MRI scans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-89848-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131597PMC
May 2021

Applications of Machine Learning to Imaging of Spinal Disorders: Current Status and Future Directions.

Global Spine J 2021 Apr;11(1_suppl):23S-29S

Department of Surgery, 7938University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Study Design: Narrative review.

Objectives: We aim to describe current progress in the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to provide automated analysis of imaging in patients with spinal disorders.

Methods: A literature search utilizing the PubMed database was performed. Relevant studies from all the evidence levels have been included.

Results: Within spine surgery, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have achieved near-human performance in narrow image classification tasks on specific datasets in spinal degenerative disease, spinal deformity, spine trauma, and spine oncology.

Conclusion: Although substantial challenges remain to be overcome it is clear that artificial intelligence and machine learning technology will influence the practice of spine surgery in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568220961353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8076811PMC
April 2021

Trajectory-Based Classification of Recovery in Sensorimotor Complete Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.

Neurology 2021 Apr 13. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Division of Neurosurgery and Spine Program, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that sensorimotor complete traumatic cervical spinal cord injury is a heterogenous clinical entity comprising several subpopulations that follow fundamentally different trajectories of neurologic recovery.

Methods: We analyzed demographic and injury data from 655 patients who were pooled from 4 prospective longitudinal multicenter studies. Group based trajectory modeling was applied to model neurologic recovery trajectories over the initial 12-months postinjury and to identify predictors of recovery trajectories. Neurologic outcomes included: Upper Extremity Motor Score, Total Motor Scores and AIS grade improvement.

Results: The analysis identified 3 distinct trajectories of neurologic recovery. These clinical courses included: (1) Marginal recovery trajectory: characterized by minimal or no improvement in motor strength or change in AIS grade status (remained grade A); (2) Moderate recovery trajectory: characterized by low baseline motor scores that improved approximately 13 points; or AIS conversion of one grade point; (3) Good recovery trajectory: characterized by baseline motor scores in the upper quartile that improved to near maximum values within 3 months of injury. Patients following the moderate or good recovery trajectories were of younger age, had more caudally located injuries, a higher degree of preserved motor and sensory function at baseline examination and exhibited a greater extent of motor and sensory function in the zone of partial preservation.

Conclusion: Cervical complete SCI can be classified into one of 3 distinct subpopulations with fundamentally different trajectories of neurologic recovery. This study defines unique clinical phenotypes based on potential for recovery, rather than baseline severity of injury alone. This approach may prove beneficial in clinical prognostication and in the design and interpretation of clinical trials in SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012028DOI Listing
April 2021

Clinical outcomes of nonoperatively managed degenerative cervical myelopathy: an ambispective longitudinal cohort study in 117 patients.

J Neurosurg Spine 2021 Apr 9:1-9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

1Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto.

Objective: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is among the most common pathologies affecting the spinal cord but its natural history is poorly characterized. The purpose of this study was to investigate functional outcomes in patients with DCM who were managed nonoperatively as well as the utility of quantitative clinical measures and MRI to detect deterioration.

Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed DCM or recurrent myelopathic symptoms after previous surgery who were initially managed nonoperatively were included. Retrospective chart reviews were performed to analyze clinical outcomes and anatomical MRI scans for worsening compression or increased signal change. Quantitative neurological assessments were collected prospectively, including modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score; Quick-DASH; graded redefined assessment of strength, sensation, and prehension-myelopathy version (GRASSP-M: motor, sensory, and dexterity); grip dynamometer; Berg balance scale score; gait stability ratio; and gait variability index. A deterioration of 10% was considered significant (e.g., a 2-point decrease in mJOA score).

Results: A total of 117 patients were included (95 newly diagnosed, 22 recurrent myelopathy), including 74 mild, 28 moderate, and 15 severe cases. Over a mean follow-up of 2.5 years, 57% (95% CI 46%-67%) of newly diagnosed patients and 73% (95% CI 50%-88%) of patients with recurrent DCM deteriorated neurologically. Deterioration was best detected with grip strength (60%), GRASSP dexterity (60%), and gait stability ratio (50%), whereas the mJOA score had low sensitivity (33%) in 50 patients. A composite score had a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 82%. The sensitivity of anatomical MRI was 28% (83 patients).

Conclusions: DCM appears to have a poor natural history; however, prospective studies are needed for validation. Serial assessments should include mJOA score, grip strength, dexterity, balance, and gait analysis. The absence of worsening on anatomical MRI or in mJOA scores is not sufficient to determine clinical stability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.9.SPINE201395DOI Listing
April 2021

Earlier Surgery Reduces Complications in Acute Traumatic Thoracolumbar Spinal Cord Injury: Analysis of a Multi-Center Cohort of 4108 Patients.

J Neurotrauma 2021 Apr 26. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Early surgical intervention to decompress the spinal cord and stabilize the spinal column in patients with acute traumatic thoracolumbar spinal cord injury (TLSCI) may lessen the risk of developing complications and improve outcomes. However, there has yet to be agreement on what constitutes "early" surgery; reported thresholds range from 8 to 72 h. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted an observational cohort study using data from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) from 2010 to 2016. The association between time from hospital arrival to surgical intervention and risk of major complications was assessed using restricted cubic splines. Propensity score matching was then used to assess the association between delayed surgery and risk of complications. Across 354 trauma centers 4108 adult TLSCI patients who underwent surgery were included. Median time-to-surgery was 18.8 h (interquartile range [IQR]: 7.4-40.9 h). The spline model suggests the risk of major complication rises consistently after a 12-h surgical wait-time. After propensity score matching, the odds of major complication were significantly lower for those receiving surgery within 12 h (odds ratio [OR] 0.77, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.64 to 0.94). This was also true for immobility-related complications (OR 0.79, 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.97). Patients in the early group spent 1.5 fewer days in the critical care unit on average (95% CI: -2.09 to -0.88). Although surgery within 12 h may not always be feasible, these data suggest that whenever possible surgeons should strive to reduce the amount of time between hospital arrival and surgical intervention, and health care systems should support this endeavor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7525DOI Listing
April 2021

Frailty adversely affects outcomes of patients undergoing spine surgery: a systematic review.

Spine J 2021 06 4;21(6):988-1000. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2S8; Division of Neurosurgery, Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2S8. Electronic address:

Background: With an aging population, there are an increasing number of elderly patients undergoing spine surgery. Recent literature in other surgical specialties suggest frailty to be an important predictor of outcomes.

Purpose: The aim of this review was to examine the association between frailty and outcomes after spine surgery.

Study Design: A systematic review was performed.

Patient Sample: Electronic databases from 1946 to 2020 were searched to identify articles on frailty and spine surgery.

Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was adverse events. Secondary outcomes included other measures of morbidity, mortality, and patient outcomes.

Methods: Sample size, mean age, age limitation, data source, study design, primary pathology, surgical procedure performed, follow-up period, assessment of frailty used, surgical outcomes, and impact of frailty on outcomes were extracted from eligible studies. Quality and bias were assessed using the PRISMA 27-point item checklist and the QUADAS-2 tool.

Results: Thirty-two studies were selected for review, with a total of 127,813 patients. There were eight different frailty indices/measures. Regardless of how frailty was measured, frailty was associated with an increased risk of adverse events, mortality, extended length of stay, readmission, and nonhome discharge.

Conclusion: There is strong evidence that frailty is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality in patients who received spine surgery. However, it remains inconclusive whether frailty impacts patient outcomes and quality of life after surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2021.01.028DOI Listing
June 2021

Characterization of Cerebrospinal Fluid Ubiquitin C-Terminal Hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) as a Biomarker of Human Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Blusson Spinal Cord Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

A major obstacle for translational research in acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is the lack of biomarkers that can objectively stratify injury severity and predict outcome. Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) is a neuron-specific enzyme that shows promise as a diagnostic biomarker in traumatic brain injury (TBI), but has not been studied in SCI. In this study, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples were collected over the first 72-96 h post-injury from 32 acute SCI patients who were followed prospectively to determine neurological outcomes at 6 months post-injury. UCH-L1 concentration was measured using the Quanterix Simoa platform (Quanterix, Billerica, MA) and correlated to injury severity, time, and neurological recovery. We found that CSF UCH-L1 was significantly elevated by 10- to 100-fold over laminectomy controls in an injury severity- and time-dependent manner. Twenty-four-hour post-injury CSF UCH-L1 concentrations distinguished between American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) A and AIS B, and AIS A and AIS C patients in the acute setting, and predicted who would remain "motor complete" (AIS A/B) at 6 months with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 86%. AIS A patients who did not improve their AIS grade at 6 months post-injury were characterized by sustained elevations in CSF UCH-L1 up to 96 h. Similarly, the failure to gain >8 points on the total motor score at 6 months post-injury was associated with higher 24-h CSF UCH-L1. Unfortunately, serum UCH-L1 levels were not informative about injury severity or outcome. In conclusion, CSF UCH-L1 in acute SCI shows promise as a biomarker to reflect injury severity and predict outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7352DOI Listing
May 2021

The influence of timing of surgical decompression for acute spinal cord injury: a pooled analysis of individual patient data.

Lancet Neurol 2021 02 21;20(2):117-126. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Although there is a strong biological rationale for early decompression of the injured spinal cord, the influence of the timing of surgical decompression for acute spinal cord injury (SCI) remains debated, with substantial variability in clinical practice. We aimed to objectively evaluate the effect of timing of decompressive surgery for acute SCI on long-term neurological outcomes.

Methods: We did a pooled analysis of individual patient data derived from four independent, prospective, multicentre data sources, including data from December, 1991, to March, 2017. Three of these studies had been published; of these, only one study previously specifically analysed the effect of the timing of surgical decompression. These four datasets were selected because they were among the highest quality acute SCI datasets available and contained highly granular data. Individual patient data were obtained by request from study authors. All patients who underwent decompressive surgery for acute SCI within these datasets were included. Patients were stratified into early (<24 h after spinal injury) and late (≥24 h after spinal injury) decompression groups. Neurological outcomes were assessed by American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), or International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI), examination. The primary endpoint was change in total motor score from baseline to 1 year after spinal injury. Secondary endpoints were ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) grade and change in upper-extremity motor, lower-extremity motor, light touch, and pin prick scores after 1 year. One-stage meta-analyses were done by hierarchical mixed-effects regression adjusting for baseline score, age, mechanism of injury, AIS grade, level of injury, and administration of methylprednisolone. Effect sizes were summarised by mean difference (MD) for sensorimotor scores and common odds ratio (cOR) for AIS grade, with corresponding 95% CIs. As a secondary analysis, change in total motor score was regressed against time to surgical decompression (h) as a continuous variable, using a restricted cubic spline with adjustment for the same covariates as in the primary analysis.

Findings: We identified 1548 eligible patients from the four datasets. Outcome data at 1 year after spinal injury were available for 1031 patients (66·6%). Patients who underwent early surgical decompression (n=528) experienced greater recovery than patients who had late decompression surgery (n=1020) at 1 year after spinal injury; total motor scores improved by 23·7 points (95% CI 19·2-28·2) in the early surgery group versus 19·7 points (15·3-24·0) in the late surgery group (MD 4·0 points [1·7-6·3]; p=0·0006), light touch scores improved by 19·0 points (15·1-23·0) vs 14·8 points (11·2-18·4; MD 4·3 [1·6-7·0]; p=0·0021), and pin prick scores improved by 18·3 points (13·7-22·9) versus 14·2 points (9·8-18·6; MD 4·0 [1·5-6·6]; p=0·0020). Patients who had early decompression also had better AIS grades at 1 year after surgery, indicating less severe impairment, compared with patients who had late surgery (cOR 1·48 [95% CI 1·16-1·89]; p=0·0019). When time to surgical decompression was modelled as a continuous variable, there was a steep decline in change in total motor score with increasing time during the first 24-36 h after injury (p<0·0001); and after 36 h, change in total motor score plateaued.

Interpretation: Surgical decompression within 24 h of acute SCI is associated with improved sensorimotor recovery. The first 24-36 h after injury appears to represent a crucial time window to achieve optimal neurological recovery with decompressive surgery following acute SCI.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30406-3DOI Listing
February 2021

In-hospital Course and Complications of Laminectomy Alone Versus Laminectomy Plus Instrumented Posterolateral Fusion for Lumbar Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: A Retrospective Analysis of 1804 Patients from the NSQIP Database.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2021 May;46(9):617-623

Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery and Spinal Program, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

Objective: We sought to compare the short-term outcomes of laminectomy with/without fusion for single-level lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).

Summary Of Background Data: Lumbar DS is a common cause of low back and radicular pain. Controversy remains over the safety and efficacy of fusion in addition to standard decompressive surgery.

Methods: Patients with lumbar DS who underwent laminectomy alone or laminectomy plus posterolateral fusion at a single level were identified from the 2012-2017 NSQIP database. Outcomes included 30-day mortality, major complication, reoperation, readmission, as well as operative duration, need for blood transfusion, length of stay (LOS), and discharge destination. Outcomes were compared between treatment groups by multivariable regression, adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities (modified Frailty Index). Effect sizes were reported by adjusted odds ratio (aOR) or mean difference (aMD).

Results: The study cohort consisted of 1804 patients; of these, 802 underwent laminectomy alone and 1002 laminectomy plus fusion. On both unadjusted and adjusted analyses, there was no difference in 30-day mortality, major complications, reoperation, or readmission. However, laminectomy plus fusion was associated with longer operative time (170.0 vs. 152.7 minutes; aMD 16.00 minutes, P < 0.001), longer hospital LOS (3.2 vs. 2.5 days; aMD 0.68, P < 0.001), more frequent need for intra- or postoperative blood transfusion (6.8% vs. 3.1%; aOR 2.24, P = 0.001), and less frequent discharge home (80.7% vs. 89.2%; aOR 0.46, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: We found single-level laminectomy plus fusion for lumbar DS to have a comparable short-term safety profile to laminectomy alone. However, fusion was associated with longer operative time and LOS, higher risk of blood transfusion, and greater need for inpatient rehabilitation. These factors should be recognized by clinicians and discussed with patients in the context of their values when weighing surgical treatment of lumbar DS.Level of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003858DOI Listing
May 2021

Frailty Is a Better Predictor than Age of Mortality and Perioperative Complications after Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: An Analysis of 41,369 Patients from the NSQIP Database 2010-2018.

J Clin Med 2020 Oct 29;9(11). Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Spine Program, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8, Canada.

Background: The ability of frailty compared to age alone to predict adverse events in the surgical management of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) has not been defined in the literature.

Methods: 41,369 patients with a diagnosis of DCM undergoing surgery were collected from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Database 2010-2018. Univariate analysis for each measure of frailty (modified frailty index 11- and 5-point; MFI-11, MFI-5), modified Charlson Co-morbidity index and ASA grade) were calculated for the following outcomes: mortality, major complication, unplanned reoperation, unplanned readmission, length of hospital stay, and discharge to a non-home destination. Multivariable modeling of age and frailty with a base model was performed to define the discriminative ability of each measure.

Results: Age and frailty have a significant effect on all outcomes, but the MFI-5 has the largest effect size. Increasing frailty correlated significantly with the risk of perioperative adverse events, longer hospital stay, and risk of a non-home discharge destination. Multivariable modeling incorporating MFI-5 with age and the base model had a robust predictive value (0.85). MFI-5 had a high categorical assessment correlation with a MFI-11 of 0.988 ( < 0.001).

Conclusions And Relevance: Measures of frailty have a greater effect size and a higher discriminative value to predict adverse events than age alone. MFI-5 categorical assessment is essentially equivalent to the MFI-11 score for DCM patients. A multivariable model using MFI-5 provides an accurate predictive tool that has important clinical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113491DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7692707PMC
October 2020

Factors Associated With Return to Work After Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: Cohort Analysis From the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network.

Global Spine J 2020 Oct 16:2192568220958669. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Study Design: Retrosepctive analysis of prospectively collected data from the multicentre Canadian Surgical Spine Registry (CSORN).

Objective: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in North America. Few studies have evaluated return to work (RTW) rates after DCM surgery. Our goals were to determine rates and factors associated with postoperative RTW in surgically managed patients with DCM.

Methods: Data was derived from the prospective, multicenter Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN). From this cohort, we included all nonretired patients with at least 1-year follow-up. The RTW rate was defined as the proportion of patients with active employment at 1 year from the time of surgery. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses were used to identify patient characteristics, disease, and treatment variables associated with RTW.

Results: Of 213 surgically treated DCM patients, 126 met eligibility, with 49% working and 51% not working in the immediate period before surgery; 102 had 12-month follow-up data. In both the unadjusted and the adjusted analyses working preoperatively and an anterior approach were associated with a higher postoperative RTW ( < .05), there were no significant differences between the postoperative employment groups with respect to age, gender, preoperative mJOA (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association) score, and duration of symptoms ( > .05). Active preoperative employment (odds ratio = 15.4, 95% confidence interval = 4.5, 52.4) and anterior surgical procedures (odds ratio = 4.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.2, 19.6) were associated with greater odds of RTW at 1 year.

Conclusions: The majority of nonretired patients undergoing surgery for DCM had returned to work 12 months after surgery; active preoperative employment and anterior surgical approach were associated with RTW in this analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568220958669DOI Listing
October 2020

A partial least squares analysis of functional status, disability, and quality of life after surgical decompression for degenerative cervical myelopathy.

Sci Rep 2020 09 30;10(1):16132. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 149 College Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5T 1P5, Canada.

Previous studies aimed at identifying predictors of clinical outcomes following surgical decompression for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) are limited by multicollinearity among predictors, whereby the high degree of correlation between covariates precludes detection of potentially significant findings. We apply partial least squares (PLS), a data-driven approach, to model multi-dimensional variance and dissociate patient phenotypes associated with functional, disability, and quality of life (QOL) outcomes in DCM. This was a post-hoc analysis of DCM patients enrolled in the prospective, multi-center AOSpine CSM-NA/CSM-I studies. Baseline clinical covariates evaluated as predictors included demographic (e.g., age, sex), clinical presentation (e.g., signs and symptoms), and treatment (e.g., surgical approach) characteristics. Outcomes evaluated included change in functional status (∆mJOA), disability (∆NDI), and QOL (∆SF-36) at 2 years. PLS was used to derive latent variables (LVs) relating specific clinical covariates with specific outcomes. Statistical significance was estimated using bootstrapping. Four hundred and seventy-eight patients met eligibility criteria. PLS identified 3 significant LVs. LV1 indicated an association between presentation with hand muscle atrophy, treatment by an approach other than laminectomy alone, and greater improvement in physical health-related QOL outcomes (e.g., SF-36 Physical Component Summary). LV2 suggested the presence of comorbidities (respiratory, rheumatologic, psychological) was associated with lesser improvements in functional status post-operatively (i.e., mJOA score). Finally, LV3 reflected an association between more severe myelopathy presenting with gait impairment and poorer mental health-related QOL outcomes (e.g., SF-36 Mental Component Summary). Using PLS, this analysis uncovered several novel insights pertaining to patients undergoing surgical decompression for DCM that warrant further investigation: (1) comorbid status and frailty heavily impact functional outcome; (2) presentation with hand muscle atrophy is associated with better physical QOL outcomes; and (3) more severe myelopathy with gait impairment is associated with poorer mental QOL outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72595-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527550PMC
September 2020

Surgical Outcomes Following Laminectomy With Fusion Versus Laminectomy Alone in Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Dec;45(24):1696-1703

Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Study Design: .: Post-hoc analysis of a prospective observational cohort study.

Objective: .: To compare clinical outcomes following laminectomy and fusion versus laminectomy alone in an international series of individuals suffering from degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).

Summary Of Background Data: .: Significant controversy exists regarding the role of instrumented fusion in the context of posterior surgical decompression for DCM. A previous study comparing laminectomy and fusion with laminoplasty showed no differences in outcomes between groups after adjusting for preoperative characteristics.

Methods: .: Based on the operation they received, 208 of the 757 patients prospectively enrolled in the AO Spine North America or International studies at 26 global sites were included in the present study. Twenty-two patients were treated with laminectomy alone and 186 received a laminectomy with fusion. Patients were evaluated using the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association scale (mJOA), Nurick score, Neck Disability Index, and SF36 quality of life measure. Baseline and surgical characteristics were compared using a t test for continuous variables and a chi-square test for categorical variables. A mixed model analytic approach was used to evaluate differences in outcomes at 24 months between patients undergoing laminectomy and fusion versus laminectomy alone.

Results: .: Surgical cohorts were comparable in terms of preoperative patient characteristics. Patients undergoing laminectomy with instrumented fusion had a significantly longer operative duration (P < 0.0001, 231.44 vs. 107.10 min) but a comparable length of hospital stay. In terms of outcomes, patients treated with laminectomy with fusion exhibited clinically meaningful improvements (in functional impairmentΔmJOA = 2.48, ΔNurick = 1.19), whereas those who underwent a laminectomy without fusion did not (ΔmJOA = 0.78; ΔNurick = 0.29). There were significant differences between surgical cohorts in the change in mJOA and Nurick scores from preoperative to 24-months postoperative (mJOA: -1.70, P = 0.0266; Nurick: -0.90, P = 0.0241). The rate of perioperative complications was comparable (P = 0.879).

Conclusion: .: Our findings suggest that cervical laminectomy with instrumented fusion is more effective than laminectomy alone at improving functional impairment in patients with DCM. These results warrant confirmation in larger prospective comparative studies.

Level Of Evidence: 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003677DOI Listing
December 2020

Description and Reliability of the AOSpine Sacral Classification System.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2020 Aug;102(16):1454-1463

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Background: Several classification systems exist for sacral fractures; however, these systems are primarily descriptive, are not uniformly used, have not been validated, and have not been associated with a treatment algorithm or prognosis. The goal of the present study was to demonstrate the reliability of the AOSpine Sacral Classification System among a group of international spine and trauma surgeons.

Methods: A total of 38 sacral fractures were reviewed independently by 18 surgeons selected from an expert panel of AOSpine and AOTrauma members. Each case was graded by each surgeon on 2 separate occasions, 4 weeks apart. Intrarater reproducibility and interrater agreement were analyzed with use of the kappa statistic (κ) for fracture severity (i.e., A, B, and C) and fracture subtype (e.g., A1, A2, and A3).

Results: Seventeen reviewers were included in the final analysis, and a total of 1,292 assessments were performed (646 assessments performed twice). Overall intrarater reproducibility was excellent (κ = 0.83) for fracture severity and substantial (κ = 0.71) for all fracture subtypes. When comparing fracture severity, overall interrater agreement was substantial (κ = 0.75), with the highest agreement for type-A fractures (κ = 0.95) and the lowest for type-C fractures (κ = 0.70). Overall interrater agreement was moderate (κ = 0.58) when comparing fracture subtype, with the highest agreement seen for A2 subtypes (κ = 0.81) and the lowest for A1 subtypes (κ = 0.20).

Conclusions: To our knowledge, the present study is the first to describe the reliability of the AOSpine Sacral Classification System among a worldwide group of expert spine and trauma surgeons, with substantial to excellent intrarater reproducibility and moderate to substantial interrater agreement for the majority of fracture subtypes. These results suggest that this classification system can be reliably applied to sacral injuries, providing an important step toward standardization of treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.19.01153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508295PMC
August 2020

Propensity Score Matching: A Powerful Tool for Analyzing Observational Nonrandomized Data.

Clin Spine Surg 2021 02;34(1):22-24

Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

In using observational, nonrandomized data, there is often interest in studying the effect of a particular treatment on a specific outcome. However, the imbalance of potential confounding variables between the treatment groups can distort the relationship between treatment and outcome. Propensity score matching is one, increasingly utilized, method to help account for such imbalances, allowing for a more accurate estimation of the influence of treatment on outcome. In this paper, we provide the clinician with an overview of propensity score matching techniques and provide a practical example of how this has been used in clinical research relevant to spine surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BSD.0000000000001055DOI Listing
February 2021

A Personalized Medicine Approach for the Management of Spinal Metastases with Cord Compression: Development of a Novel Clinical Prediction Model for Postoperative Survival and Quality of Life.

World Neurosurg 2020 08;140:654-663.e13

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Division of Neurosurgery, Krembil Neuroscience Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Surgery should be considered for patients with metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) with a life expectancy of ≥3 months. Given the heterogeneity of the clinical presentation and outcomes, clinical prognostic models (CPMs) can assist in tailoring a personalized medicine approach to optimize surgical decision-making. We aimed to develop and internally validate the first CPM of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and a novel CPM to predict the survival of patients with MESCC treated surgically. Using data from 258 patients (AOSpine North America MESCC study and Nottingham MESCC registry), we created 1-year survival and HRQoL CPMs using a Cox model and logistic regression analysis with manual backward elimination. The outcome measure for HRQoL was the minimal clinical important difference in EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaire scores. Internal validation involved 200 bootstrap iterations, and calibration and discrimination were evaluated. Longer survival was associated with a higher SF-36 physical component score (hazard ratio [HR], 0.96). In contrast, primary tumor other than breast, thyroid, or prostate (unfavorable: HR, 2.57; other: HR, 1.20), organ metastasis (HR, 1.51), male sex (HR, 1.58), and preoperative radiotherapy (HR, 1.53) were not (c-statistic, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-0.73). Karnofsky performance status <70% (odds ratio [OR], 2.50), living in North America (OR, 4.06), SF-36 physical component score (OR, 0.95) and SF-36 mental component score (OR, 0.96) were associated with the likelihood of achieving a minimal clinical important difference improvement in the EuroQol 5-Dimension Questionnaire score at 3 months (c-statistic, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.79). The calibration for both CPMs was very good. We developed and internally validated the first CPMs of survival and HRQoL at 3 months postoperatively in patients with MESCC using the TRIPOD (transparent reporting of a multivariable prediction model for individual prognosis or diagnosis) guidelines. A web-based calculator is available (available at: http://spine-met.com) to assist with clinical decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.098DOI Listing
August 2020

A comparison of the perioperative outcomes of anterior surgical techniques for the treatment of multilevel degenerative cervical myelopathy.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Jun 12:1-8. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Objective: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in adults. Multilevel ventral compressive pathology is routinely managed through anterior decompression and reconstruction, but there remains uncertainty regarding the relative safety and efficacy of multiple discectomies, multiple corpectomies, or hybrid corpectomy-discectomy. To that end, using a large national administrative healthcare data set, the authors sought to compare the perioperative outcomes of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), and hybrid corpectomy-discectomy for multilevel DCM.

Methods: Patients with a primary diagnosis of DCM who underwent an elective anterior cervical decompression and reconstruction operation over 3 cervical spinal segments were identified from the 2012-2017 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Patients were separated into those undergoing 3-level discectomy, 2-level corpectomy, or a hybrid procedure (single-level corpectomy plus additional single-level discectomy). Outcomes included 30-day mortality, major complication, reoperation, and readmission, as well as operative duration, length of stay (LOS), and routine discharge home. Outcomes were compared between treatment groups by multivariable regression, adjusting for age and comorbidities (modified Frailty Index). Effect sizes were reported by adjusted odds ratio (aOR) or mean difference (aMD) and associated 95% confidence interval.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 1298 patients; of these, 713 underwent 3-level ACDF, 314 2-level ACCF, and 271 hybrid corpectomy-discectomy. There was no difference in 30-day mortality, reoperation, or readmission among the 3 procedures. However, on both univariate and adjusted analyses, compared to 3-level ACDF, 2-level ACCF was associated with significantly greater risk of major complication (aOR 2.82, p = 0.005), longer hospital LOS (aMD 0.8 days, p = 0.002), and less frequent discharge home (aOR 0.59, p = 0.046). In contrast, hybrid corpectomy-discectomy had comparable outcomes to 3-level ACDF but was associated with significantly shorter operative duration (aMD -16.9 minutes, p = 0.002).

Conclusions: The authors found multiple discectomies and hybrid corpectomy-discectomy to have a comparable safety profile in treating multilevel DCM. In contrast, multiple corpectomies were associated with a higher complication rate, longer hospital LOS, and lower likelihood of being discharged directly home from the hospital, and may therefore be a higher-risk operation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.4.SPINE191094DOI Listing
June 2020

Epidemiology and Impact of Spinal Cord Injury in the Elderly: Results of a Fifteen-Year Population-Based Cohort Study.

J Neurotrauma 2020 08 11;37(15):1740-1751. Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Although experience suggests a shift in the epidemiology of spinal cord injury (SCI) toward an older demographic, population studies are lacking. We aimed to evaluate (1) how the epidemiology and age profile of SCI have changed over time, and (2) how increased age impacts health outcomes up to 15 years post-injury. A population-based cohort study was performed in Ontario including adults diagnosed with traumatic SCI between 2002 and 2017. Older and younger SCI cohorts were created based on an age cutoff of 65 years. An older cohort of uninjured persons was matched to the older SCI cohort based on age, gender, and comorbidity status. Changes in crude incidence were reported as average annual percentage change (AAPC). Survival, readmissions, and costs were compared between the older and younger SCI cohorts as well as the between the older SCI and older matched uninjured cohorts. The incidence of SCI increased among females (AAPC 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1, 4.3), driven by a marked rise (4%/year) among elderly females (AAPC 4.3; 95% CI 0.1, 4.3). Although no change in incidence was detected for males, there was a trend toward increased incidence among older males (AAPC 1.2; 95% CI -1.3, 3.8). There were a higher proportion of cervical, incomplete, and fall-related injuries in the older than in younger SCI cohorts. Being over 65 years of age was associated with a sixfold increased risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 5.75; 95% CI 4.72, 7.00). In comparison with the older uninjured cohort, the older SCI cohort had double the risk of death (HR 2.23; 95% CI 2.00, 2.50). Older persons with SCI had higher odds of readmission and higher costs. The incidence of SCI among the elderly is increasing, particularly among women. Prevention through fall reduction and education to improve outcomes are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.6985DOI Listing
August 2020

The Impact of Riluzole on Neurobehavioral Outcomes in Preclinical Models of Traumatic and Nontraumatic Spinal Cord Injury: Results From a Systematic Review of the Literature.

Global Spine J 2020 Apr 12;10(2):216-229. Epub 2019 May 12.

Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Study Design: Systematic review.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of riluzole on neurobehavioral outcomes in preclinical models of nontraumatic and traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods: An extensive search of the literature was conducted in Medline, EMBASE, and Medline in Process. Studies were included if they evaluated the impact of riluzole on neurobehavioral outcomes in preclinical models of nontraumatic and traumatic SCI. Extensive data were extracted from relevant studies, including sample characteristics, injury model, outcomes assessed, timing of evaluation, and main results. The SYRCLE checklist was used to assess various sources of bias.

Results: The search yielded a total of 3180 unique citations. A total of 16 studies were deemed relevant and were summarized in this review. Sample sizes ranged from 14 to 90, and injury models included traumatic SCI (n = 9), degenerative cervical myelopathy (n = 2), and spinal cord-ischemia (n = 5). The most commonly assessed outcome measures were BBB (Basso, Beattie, Besnahan) locomotor score and von Frey filament testing. In general, rats treated with riluzole exhibited significantly higher BBB locomotor scores than controls. Furthermore, riluzole significantly increased withdrawal thresholds to innocuous stimuli and tail flick latency following application of radiant heat stimuli. Finally, rats treated with riluzole achieved superior results on many components of gait assessment.

Conclusion: In preclinical models of traumatic and nontraumatic SCI, riluzole significantly improves locomotor scores, gait function, and neuropathic pain. This review provides the background information necessary to interpret the results of clinical trials on the impact of riluzole in traumatic and nontraumatic SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219835516DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7076594PMC
April 2020

The Relationship Between Gastrointestinal Comorbidities, Clinical Presentation and Surgical Outcome in Patients with DCM: Analysis of a Global Cohort.

J Clin Med 2020 Feb 26;9(3). Epub 2020 Feb 26.

Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada.

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of spinal cord impairment in adults, presenting most frequently in patients 50 years or older. Gastrointestinal comorbidities (GICs) commonly occur in this group; however, their relationship with DCM has not been thoroughly investigated. It is the objective of the present study to investigate the difference between patients with or without GICs who are surgically treated for DCM. A cohort of 757 patients with clinical data and 458 with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from the AOSpine North America and AOSpine International studies on DCM was evaluated. GICs were obtained at presentation and included gastric, intestinal, hepatic, and pancreatic conditions. Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: those with GICs and those without GICs. Both clinical and MRI presentation, as well as baseline neurological and functional status, were compared. Neurological and functional outcomes at 2-year follow-up were also compared. GICs were present in 121 patients (16%). These patients were less commonly male (48.76% vs. 65.4%, = 0.001) and were slightly less neurologically impaired based on the Nurick grade (3.05 ± 1.10 vs. 3.28 ± 1.16, = 0.044) but not based on mJOA (12.74 ± 2.62 vs. 12.48 ± 2.76, = 0.33). They also had a worse physical health score (32.80 ± 8.79 vs. 34.65 ± 9.38 = 0.049), worse neck disability (46.31 ± 20.04 vs. 38.23 ± 20.44, < 0.001), a lower prevalence of upper motor neuron signs (hyperreflexia, 70.2% vs. 78.9%, = 0.037; Babinski's sign 24.8% vs. 37.3%, = 0.008), and a higher rate of psychiatric comorbidities (31.4% vs. 10.4%, < 0.0001). On MRI, GIC patients less commonly exhibited signal intensity changes (T2 hyperintensity, 49.2% vs. 75.6%, < 0.001; T1 hypointensity, 9.7% vs. 21.1%, = 0.036), and had a lower number of T2 hyperintensity levels (0.82 ± 0.98 vs. 1.3 ± 1.11, = 0.001). There was no difference in surgical outcome between the groups. DCM patients with GICs are more likely to be female and have significantly more general health impairment and neck disability. However, these patients have less clinical and MRI features typical of more severe neurological impairment. This constellation of symptoms is considerably different than those typically observed in DCM, and it is therefore plausible that nutritional factors may contribute to this unique observation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9030624DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7141130PMC
February 2020

Machine learning algorithms for prediction of health-related quality-of-life after surgery for mild degenerative cervical myelopathy.

Spine J 2020 Feb 8. Epub 2020 Feb 8.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction worldwide. Current guidelines recommend management based on the severity of myelopathy, measured by the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (mJOA) score. Patients with moderate to severe myelopathy, defined by an mJOA below 15, are recommended to undergo surgery. However, the management for mild myelopathy (mJOA between 15 and 17) is controversial since the response to surgery is more heterogeneous.

Purpose: To develop machine learning algorithms predicting phenotypes of mild myelopathy patients that would benefit most from surgery.

Study Design: Retrospective subgroup analysis of prospectively collected data.

Patient Samples: Data were obtained from 193 mild DCM patients who underwent surgical decompression and were enrolled in the multicenter AOSpine CSM clinical trials.

Outcome Measures: The mJOA score, an assessment of functional status, was used to isolate patients with mild DCM. The primary outcome measures were change from baseline for the Short Form-36 (SF-36) mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) at 1-year postsurgery. These changes were dichotomized according to whether they exceeded the minimal clinically important difference.

Methods: The data were split into training (75%) and testing (25%) sets. Model predictors included baseline demographic variables and clinical presentation. Seven machine learning algorithms and a logistic regression model were trained and optimized using the training set, and their performances were evaluated using the testing set. For each outcome (improvement in MCS or PCS), the machine learning algorithm with the greatest area under the curve (AUC) on the training set was selected for further analysis.

Results: The generalized boosted model (GBM) and earth models performed well in the prediction of significant improvement in MCS and PCS respectively, with AUCs of 0.72 to 0.78 on the training set. This performance was replicated on the testing set, in which the GBM and earth models showed AUCs of 0.77 and 0.78, respectively, as well as fair to good calibration across the predicted range of probabilities. Female patients with a low initial MCS were less likely to experience significant improvement in MCS than males. The presence of certain signs and symptoms (eg, lower limb spasticity, clumsy hands) were also predictive of worse outcome.

Conclusions: Machine learning models showed good predictive power and provided information about the phenotypes of mild DCM patients most likely to benefit from surgical intervention. Overall, machine learning may be a useful tool for management of mild DCM, though external validation and prospective analysis should be performed to better solidify its role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2020.02.003DOI Listing
February 2020

Degenerative cervical myelopathy - update and future directions.

Nat Rev Neurol 2020 02 23;16(2):108-124. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the leading cause of spinal cord dysfunction in adults worldwide. DCM encompasses various acquired (age-related) and congenital pathologies related to degeneration of the cervical spinal column, including hypertrophy and/or calcification of the ligaments, intervertebral discs and osseous tissues. These pathologies narrow the spinal canal, leading to chronic spinal cord compression and disability. Owing to the ageing population, rates of DCM are increasing. Expeditious diagnosis and treatment of DCM are needed to avoid permanent disability. Over the past 10 years, advances in basic science and in translational and clinical research have improved our understanding of the pathophysiology of DCM and helped delineate evidence-based practices for diagnosis and treatment. Surgical decompression is recommended for moderate and severe DCM; the best strategy for mild myelopathy remains unclear. Next-generation quantitative microstructural MRI and neurophysiological recordings promise to enable quantification of spinal cord tissue damage and help predict clinical outcomes. Here, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based review of DCM, including its definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, and non-operative and operative management. With this Review, we aim to equip physicians across broad disciplines with the knowledge necessary to make a timely diagnosis of DCM, recognize the clinical features that influence management and identify when urgent surgical intervention is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41582-019-0303-0DOI Listing
February 2020

Early Surgery for Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: Where Are We Now?

Global Spine J 2020 Jan 6;10(1 Suppl):84S-91S. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Study Design: Narrative review.

Objective: There is a strong biological rationale to perform early decompression after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). With an enlarging clinical evidence base, most spine surgeons internationally now favor early decompression for the majority of SCI patients; however, a number of pertinent questions remain surrounding this therapy.

Methods: A narrative review evaluating the status of early surgery for SCI. In particular, we addressed the following questions: (1) Which patients stand to benefit most from early surgery? 2) What is the most appropriate time threshold defining early surgery?

Results: Although heterogeneity exists, the evidence generally seems to support early surgery. While the best evidence exists for cervical SCI, there is insufficient data to support a differential effect for early surgery depending on neurological level or injury severity. When comparing thresholds to define early versus late surgery-including a later threshold (48-72 hours), an earlier threshold (24 hours), and an ultra-early threshold (8-12 hours)-the 2 earlier time points seem to be associated with the greatest potential for improved outcomes. However, existing prehospital and hospital logistics pose barriers to early surgery in a significant proportion of patients. An overview of recommendations from the recent AOSpine guidelines is provided.

Conclusion: In spite of increasing acceptance of early surgery post SCI, further research is needed to (1) identify subgroups of patients who stand to derive particular benefit-in particular to develop more evidence-based approaches for central cord syndrome and (2) investigate the efficacy and feasibility of ultra-early surgery targeting more aggressive timelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219877860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947677PMC
January 2020

Minimizing Blood Loss in Spine Surgery.

Global Spine J 2020 Jan 6;10(1 Suppl):71S-83S. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.

Study Design: Broad narrative review.

Objective: To review and summarize the current literature on guidelines, outcomes, techniques and indications surrounding multiple modalities of minimizing blood loss in spine surgery.

Methods: A thorough review of peer-reviewed literature was performed on the guidelines, outcomes, techniques, and indications for multiple modalities of minimizing blood loss in spine surgery.

Results: There is a large body of literature that provides a consensus on guidelines regarding the appropriate timing of discontinuation of anticoagulation, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and herbal supplements prior to surgery. Additionally, there is a more heterogenous discussion the utility of preoperative autologous blood donation facilitated by erythropoietin and iron supplementation for healthy patients slated for procedures with high anticipated blood loss and for whom allogeneic transfusion is likely. Intraoperative maneuvers available to minimize blood loss include positioning and maintaining normothermia. Tranexamic acid (TXA), bipolar sealer electrocautery, and topical hemostatic agents, and hypotensive anesthesia (mean arterial pressure (MAP) <65 mm Hg) should be strongly considered in cases with larger exposures and higher anticipated blood loss. There is strong level 1 evidence for the use of TXA in spine surgery as it reduces the overall blood loss and transfusion requirements.

Conclusion: As the volume and complexity of spinal procedures rise, intraoperative blood loss management has become a pivotal topic of research within the field. There are many tools for minimizing blood loss in patients undergoing spine surgery. The current literature supports combining techniques to use a cost- effective multimodal approach to minimize blood loss in the perioperative period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219868475DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947684PMC
January 2020

Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Improving Quality of Operative Spine Care?

Global Spine J 2020 Jan 6;10(1 Suppl):29S-35S. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

Study Design: Narrative review with commentary.

Objective: Present healthcare reform focuses on cost-optimization and quality improvement. Spine surgery has garnered particular attention; owing to its costly nature. Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) present a potential avenue for expenditure reduction. While the economic advantage of ASCs is being defined, cost saving should not come at the expense of quality or safety.

Methods: This narrative review focuses on current definitions, regulations, and recent medical literature pertinent to spinal surgery in the ASC setting.

Results: The past decade witnessed a substantial rise in the proportion of certain spinal surgeries performed at ASCs. This setting is attractive from the payer perspective as remuneration rates are generally less than for equivalent hospital-based procedures. Opportunity for physician ownership and increased surgeon productivity afforded by more specialized centers make ASCs attractive from the provider perspective as well. These factors serve as extrinsic motivators which may optimize and improve quality of surgical care. Much data supports the safety of spine surgery in the ASC setting. However, health care providers and policy makers must recognize that current regulations regarding safety and quality are less than comprehensive and the data is predominately from selected case-series or comparative cohorts with inherent biases, along with ambiguities in the definition of "outpatient."

Conclusions: ASCs hold promise for providing safe and efficient surgical management of spinal conditions; however, as more procedures shift from the hospital to the ASC rigorous quality and safety data collection is needed to define patient appropriateness and track variability in quality-related outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219849391DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947680PMC
January 2020
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