Publications by authors named "John J Knightly"

32 Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of a prospective registry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected registry data.

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

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

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

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

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

Level Of Evidence: 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003610DOI Listing
November 2020

Impact of Dominant Symptom on 12-Month Patient-Reported Outcomes for Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spine Surgery.

Neurosurgery 2020 10;87(5):1037-1045

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

Background: The impact of symptom characteristics on outcomes of spine surgery remains elusive.

Objective: To determine the impact of symptom location, severity, and duration on outcomes following lumbar spine surgery.

Methods: We queried the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) for patients undergoing elective lumbar spine surgery for lumbar degenerative spine disease. Multivariable regression was utilized to determine the impact of preoperative symptom characteristics (location, severity, and duration) on improvement in disability, quality of life, return to work, and patient satisfaction at 1 yr. Relative predictor importance was determined using an importance metric defined as Wald χ2 penalized by degrees of freedom.

Results: A total of 22 022 subjects were analyzed. On adjusted analysis, we found patients with predominant leg pain were more likely to be satisfied (P < .0001), achieve minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) (P = .002), and return to work (P = .03) at 1 yr following surgery without significant difference in Euro-QoL-5D (EQ-5D) (P = .09) [ref = predominant back pain]. Patients with equal leg and back pain were more likely to be satisfied (P < .0001), but showed no significant difference in achieving MCID (P = .22) or return to work (P = .07). Baseline numeric rating scale-leg pain and symptom duration were most important predictors of achieving MCID and change in EQ-5D. Predominant symptom was not found to be an important determinant of return to work. Worker's compensation was found to be most important determinant of satisfaction and return to work.

Conclusion: Predominant symptom location is a significant determinant of functional outcomes following spine surgery. However, pain severity and duration have higher predictive importance. Return to work is more dependent on sociodemographic features as compared to symptom characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa240DOI Listing
October 2020

Predictors of the Best Outcomes Following Minimally Invasive Surgery for Grade 1 Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis.

Neurosurgery 2020 Jun 4. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

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

Background: The factors driving the best outcomes following minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis are not clearly elucidated.

Objective: To investigate the factors that drive the best 24-mo patient-reported outcomes (PRO) following MIS surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

Methods: A total of 259 patients from the Quality Outcomes Database lumbar spondylolisthesis module underwent single-level surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis with MIS techniques (188 fusions, 72.6%). Twenty-four-month follow-up PROs were collected and included the Oswestry disability index (ODI) change (ie, 24-mo minus baseline value), numeric rating scale (NRS) back pain change, NRS leg pain change, EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire change, and North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction questionnaire. Multivariable models were constructed to identify predictors of PRO change.

Results: The mean age was 64.2 ± 11.5 yr and consisted of 148 (57.1%) women and 111 (42.9%) men. In multivariable analyses, employment was associated with superior postoperative ODI change (β-7.8; 95% CI [-12.9 to -2.6]; P = .003), NRS back pain change (β -1.2; 95% CI [-2.1 to -0.4]; P = .004), EQ-5D change (β 0.1; 95% CI [0.01-0.1]; P = .03), and NASS satisfaction (OR = 3.7; 95% CI [1.7-8.3]; P < .001). Increasing age was associated with superior NRS leg pain change (β -0.1; 95% CI [-0.1 to -0.01]; P = .03) and NASS satisfaction (OR = 1.05; 95% CI [1.01-1.09]; P = .02). Fusion surgeries were associated with superior ODI change (β -6.7; 95% CI [-12.7 to -0.7]; P = .03), NRS back pain change (β -1.1; 95% CI [-2.1 to -0.2]; P = .02), and NASS satisfaction (OR = 3.6; 95% CI [1.6-8.3]; P = .002).

Conclusion: Preoperative employment and surgeries, including a fusion, were predictors of superior outcomes across the domains of disease-specific disability, back pain, leg pain, quality of life, and patient satisfaction. Increasing age was predictive of superior outcomes for leg pain improvement and satisfaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa206DOI Listing
June 2020

A Comparison of Minimally Invasive and Open Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion for Grade 1 Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: An Analysis of the Prospective Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurgery 2020 09;87(3):555-562

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

Background: It remains unclear if minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) is comparable to traditional, open TLIF because of the limitations of the prior small-sample-size, single-center studies reporting comparative effectiveness.

Objective: To compare MI-TLIF to traditional, open TLIF for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis in the largest study to date by sample size.

Methods: We utilized the prospective Quality Outcomes Database registry and queried patients with grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis who underwent single-segment surgery with MI- or open TLIF methods. Outcomes were compared 24 mo postoperatively.

Results: A total of 297 patients were included: 72 (24.2%) MI-TLIF and 225 (75.8%) open TLIF. MI-TLIF surgeries had lower mean body mass indexes (29.5 ± 5.1 vs 31.3 ± 7.0, P = .0497) and more worker's compensation cases (11.1% vs 1.3%, P < .001) but were otherwise similar. MI-TLIF had less blood loss (108.8 ± 85.6 vs 299.6 ± 242.2 mL, P < .001), longer operations (228.2 ± 111.5 vs 189.6 ± 66.5 min, P < .001), and a higher return-to-work (RTW) rate (100% vs 80%, P = .02). Both cohorts improved significantly from baseline for 24-mo Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Numeric Rating Scale back pain (NRS-BP), NRS leg pain (NRS-LP), and Euro-Qol-5 dimension (EQ-5D) (P > .001). In multivariable adjusted analyses, MI-TLIF was associated with lower ODI (β = -4.7; 95% CI = -9.3 to -0.04; P = .048), higher EQ-5D (β = 0.06; 95% CI = 0.01-0.11; P = .02), and higher satisfaction (odds ratio for North American Spine Society [NASS] 1/2 = 3.9; 95% CI = 1.4-14.3; P = .02). Though trends favoring MI-TLIF were evident for NRS-BP (P = .06), NRS-LP (P = .07), and reoperation rate (P = .13), these results did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: For single-level grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis, MI-TLIF was associated with less disability, higher quality of life, and higher patient satisfaction compared with traditional, open TLIF. MI-TLIF was associated with higher rates of RTW, less blood loss, but longer operative times. Though we utilized multivariable adjusted analyses, these findings may be susceptible to selection bias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa097DOI Listing
September 2020

Correlation of return to work with patient satisfaction after surgery for lumbar spondylolisthesis: an analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 05;48(5):E5

17Geisinger Health, Danville, Pennsylvania.

Objective: Return to work (RTW) and satisfaction are important outcome measures after surgery for degenerative spine disease. The authors queried the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) to determine if RTW correlated with patient satisfaction.

Methods: The QOD was queried for patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The primary outcome of interest was correlation between RTW and patient satisfaction, as measured by the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index (NASS). Secondarily, data on satisfied patients were analyzed to see what patient factors correlated with RTW.

Results: Of 608 total patients in the QOD spondylolisthesis data set, there were 292 patients for whom data were available on both satisfaction and RTW status. Of these, 249 (85.3%) were satisfied with surgery (NASS score 1-2), and 224 (76.7%) did RTW after surgery. Of the 68 patients who did not RTW after surgery, 49 (72.1%) were still satisfied with surgery. Of the 224 patients who did RTW, 24 (10.7%) were unsatisfied with surgery (NASS score 3-4). There were significantly more people who had an NASS score of 1 in the RTW group than in the non-RTW group (71.4% vs 42.6%, p < 0.05). Failure to RTW was associated with lower level of education, worse baseline back pain (measured with a numeric rating scale), and worse baseline disability (measured with the Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]).

Conclusions: There are a substantial number of patients who are satisfied with surgery even though they did not RTW. Patients who were satisfied with surgery and did not RTW typically had worse preoperative back pain and ODI and typically did not have a college education. While RTW remains an important measure after surgery, physicians should be mindful that patients who do not RTW may still be satisfied with their outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.2.FOCUS191022DOI Listing
May 2020

Regional Variance in Disability and Quality-of-Life Outcomes After Surgery for Grade I Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: A Quality Outcomes Database Analysis.

World Neurosurg 2020 06 28;138:e336-e344. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Department of Neurosurgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Regional differences in outcomes after spine surgery are poorly understood. We assessed disability and quality-of-life outcomes by geographic region in the United States using the NeuroPoint Alliance Quality Outcomes Database.

Methods: We queried the prospective Quality Outcomes Database patient registry to identify patients who underwent elective 1- or 2-level lumbar surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis from July 2014 through June 2016. Primary outcome measures included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and EuroQOL-5D (EQ-5D) reported at 24 months postoperatively. Differences in EQ-5D and ODI were compared across geographic regions of the United States (Northeast, Midwest, South, West).

Results: We identified 608 patients from 12 centers who underwent surgery. Of these, 517 (85.0%) had ODI data and 492 (80.9%) had EQ-5D data at 24 months. Southern states had the largest representation (304 patients; 5 centers), followed by Northeastern (114 patients; 3 centers), Midwestern (96 patients; 2 centers), and Western (94 patients; 2 centers) states. Baseline ODI scores were significantly different among regions, with the South having the greatest baseline disability burden (Northeast: 40.9 ± 16.9, South: 51.2 ± 15.8, Midwest: 40.9 ± 17.8, West: 45.0 ± 17.1, P < 0.001). The change in ODI at 24 months postoperatively was significantly different among regions, with the South showing the greatest ODI improvement (Northeast: -21.1 ± 18.2, South: -26.5 ± 20.2, Midwest: -18.2 ± 22.9, West: -21.7 ± 19.6, P < 0.001). All regions had ≥60% achievement of the minimum clinically important difference in ODI at 24 months postoperatively. No regional differences were observed for EQ-5D.

Conclusion: Significant regional variation exists for disability outcomes, but not quality of life, at 24 months after spinal surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.02.117DOI Listing
June 2020

Outcomes and Complications With Age in Spondylolisthesis: An Evaluation of the Elderly From the Quality Outcomes Database.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2020 Jul;45(14):1000-1008

Department of Neurological Surgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Study Design: Prospective database analysis.

Objective: To assess the effect of age on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and complication rates after surgical treatment for spondylolisthesis SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis affects 3% to 20% of the population and up to 30% of the elderly. There is not yet consensus on whether age is a contraindication for surgical treatment of elderly patients.

Methods: The Quality Outcomes Database lumbar registry was used to evaluate patients from 12 US academic and private centers who underwent surgical treatment for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis between July 2014 and June 2016.

Results: A total of 608 patients who fit the inclusion criteria were categorized by age into the following groups: less than 60 (n = 239), 60 to 70 (n = 209), 71 to 80 (n = 128), and more than 80 (n = 32) years. Older patients showed lower mean body mass index (P < 0.001) and higher rates of diabetes (P = 0.007), coronary artery disease (P = 0.0001), and osteoporosis (P = 0.005). A lower likelihood for home disposition was seen with higher age (89.1% in <60-year-old vs. 75% in >80-year-old patients; P = 0.002). There were no baseline differences in PROs (Oswestry Disability Index, EuroQol health survey [EQ-5D], Numeric Rating Scale for leg pain and back pain) among age categories. A significant improvement for all PROs was seen regardless of age (P < 0.05), and most patients met minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs) for improvement in postoperative PROs. No differences in hospital readmissions or reoperations were seen among age groups (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that, after controlling other variables, a higher age did not decrease the odds of achieving MCID at 12 months for the PROs.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that well-selected elderly patients undergoing surgical treatment of grade 1 spondylolisthesis can achieve meaningful outcomes. This modern, multicenter US study reflects the current use and limitations of spondylolisthesis treatment in the elderly, which may be informative to patients and providers.

Level Of Evidence: 4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003441DOI Listing
July 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

A Brief History of Quality Improvement in Health Care and Spinal Surgery.

Global Spine J 2020 Jan 6;10(1 Suppl):5S-9S. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

While medical and technological advances continue to shape and advance health care, there has been growing emphasis on translating these advances into improvement in overall health care quality outcomes in the United States. Innovators such as Abraham Flexner and Ernest Codman engaged in rigorous reviews of systems and patient outcomes igniting wider spread interest in quality improvement in health care. Codman's efforts even contributed to the founding of the American College of Surgeons. This society catalyzed a quality improvement initiative across the United States and the formation of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. Since that time, those such as Avedis Donabedian and the Institute of Medicine have worked to structure the process of improving both the quality and delivery of health care. Significant advances include the defining of minimum standards for hospital accreditation, 7 pillars of quality in medicine, and the process by which quality in medicine is evaluated. All of these factors have affected current practice more each day. In a field such as spinal surgery, cost and quality measures are continually emphasized and led to large outcome databases to better evaluate outcomes in complex, heterogeneous populations. Going forward, these databases will be instrumental in developing practice patterns and improving spinal surgery outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219853529DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947686PMC
January 2020

Sexual Dysfunction: Prevalence and Prognosis in Patients Operated for Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis.

Neurosurgery 2020 08;87(2):200-210

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

Background: There is a paucity of investigation on the impact of spondylolisthesis surgery on back pain-related sexual inactivity.

Objective: To investigate predictors of improved sex life postoperatively by utilizing the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) registry.

Methods: A total of 218 patients who underwent surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis were included who were sexually active. Sex life was assessed by Oswestry Disability Index item 8 at baseline and 24-mo follow-up.

Results: Mean age was 58.0 ± 11.0 yr, and 108 (49.5%) patients were women. At baseline, 178 patients (81.7%) had sex life impairment. At 24 mo, 130 patients (73.0% of the 178 impaired) had an improved sex life. Those with improved sex lives noted higher satisfaction with surgery (84.5% vs 64.6% would undergo surgery again, P = .002). In multivariate analyses, lower body mass index (BMI) was associated with improved sex life (OR = 1.14; 95% CI [1.05-1.20]; P < .001). In the younger patients (age < 57 yr), lower BMI remained the sole significant predictor of improvement (OR = 1.12; 95% CI [1.03-1.23]; P = .01). In the older patients (age ≥ 57 yr)-in addition to lower BMI (OR = 1.12; 95% CI [1.02-1.27]; P = .02)-lower American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grades (1 or 2) (OR = 3.7; 95% CI [1.2-12.0]; P = .02) and ≥4 yr of college education (OR = 3.9; 95% CI [1.2-15.1]; P = .03) were predictive of improvement.

Conclusion: Over 80% of patients who present for surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis report a negative effect of the disease on sex life. However, most patients (73%) report improvement postoperatively. Sex life improvement was associated with greater satisfaction with surgery. Lower BMI was predictive of improved sex life. In older patients-in addition to lower BMI-lower ASA grade and higher education were predictive of improvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz406DOI Listing
August 2020

Impact of occupational characteristics on return to work for employed patients after elective lumbar spine surgery.

Spine J 2019 12 20;19(12):1969-1976. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN, USA; Department of Neurological surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, South Tower, Suite 4200, Nashville, TN, USA; Orthopedics of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs, CO, USA. Electronic address:

Background Context: Low back pain has an immense impact on the US economy. A significant number of patients undergo surgical management in order to regain meaningful functionality in daily life and in the workplace. Return to work (RTW) is a key metric in surgical outcomes, as it has profound implications for both individual patients and the economy at large.

Purpose: In this study, we investigated the factors associated with RTW in patients who achieved otherwise favorable outcomes after lumbar spine surgery.

Study Design/setting: This study retrospectively analyzes prospectively collected data from the lumbar module of national spine registry, the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD).

Patient Sample: The lumbar module of QOD includes patients undergoing lumbar surgery for primary stenosis, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis (Grade I) and symptomatic mechanical disc collapse or revision surgery for recurrent same-level disc herniation, pseudarthrosis, and adjacent segment disease. Exclusion criteria included age under 18 years and diagnoses of infection, tumor, or trauma as the cause of lumbar-related pain.

Outcome Measures: The outcome of interest for this study was the return to work 12-month after surgery.

Methods: The lumbar module of QOD was queried for patients who were employed at the time of surgery. Good outcomes were defined as patients who had no adverse events (readmissions/complications), had achieved 30% improvement in Oswestry disability index (ODI) and were satisfied (NASS satisfaction) at 3-month post-surgery. Distinct multivariable logistic regression models were fitted with 12-month RTW as outcome for a. overall population and b. the patients with good outcomes. The variables included in the models were age, gender, race, insurance type, education level, occupation type, currently working/on-leave status, workers' compensation, ambulatory status, smoking status, anxiety, depression, symptom duration, number of spinal levels, diabetes, motor deficit, and preoperative back-pain, leg-pain and ODI score.

Results: Of the total 12,435 patients, 10,604 (85.3%) had successful RTW at 1-year postsurgery. Among patients who achieved good surgical outcomes, 605 (7%) failed to RTW. For both the overall and subgroup analysis, older patients had lower odds of RTW. Females had lower odds of RTW compared with males and patients with higher back pain and baseline ODI had lower odds of RTW. Patients with longer duration of symptoms, more physically demanding occupations, worker's compensation claim and those who had short-term disability leave at the time of surgery had lower odds of RTW independent of their good surgical outcomes.

Conclusions: This study identifies certain risk factors for failure to RTW independent of surgical outcomes. Most of these risk factors are occupational; hence, involving the patient's employer in treatment process and setting realistic expectations may help improve the patients' work-related functionality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2019.08.007DOI Listing
December 2019

Trajectory of Improvement in Myelopathic Symptoms From 3 to 12 Months Following Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy.

Neurosurgery 2020 06;86(6):763-768

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.

Background: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a progressive disease resulting from cervical cord compression. The modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) is commonly used to grade myelopathic symptoms, but its persistent postoperative improvement has not been previously explored.

Objective: To utilize the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) to evaluate the trajectory of outcomes in those operatively treated for DCM.

Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. The QOD was queried for patients undergoing elective surgery for DCM. Patients were divided into mild (≥14), moderate (9-13), or severe (<9) categories for their baseline severity of myelopathic symptoms (mJOA scores). A parsimonious multivariable logistic regression model was fitted with 2 points improvement on mJOA from 3- to 12-mo follow-up as the outcome of interest.

Results: A total of 2156 patients who underwent elective surgery for DCM and had complete 3- and 12-mo follow-up were included in our analysis. Patients improved significantly from baseline to 3-mo on their mJOA scores, regardless of their baseline mJOA severity. After adjusting for the relevant preoperative characteristics, the baseline mJOA categories had significant impact on outcome of whether a patient keeps improving in mJOA score from 3 to 12 mo postsurgery. Patient with severe mJOA score at baseline had a higher likelihood of improvement in their myelopathic symptoms, compared to patients with mild mJOA score in.

Conclusion: Most patients achieve improvement on a shorter follow-up; however, patients with severe symptoms keep on improving until after a longer follow-up. Preoperative identification of such patients helps the clinician settling realistic expectations for each follow-up timepoint.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz325DOI Listing
June 2020

A comparison of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and decompression alone for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

Neurosurg Focus 2019 05;46(5):E13

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

OBJECTIVEThe optimal minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approach for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis is not clearly elucidated. In this study, the authors compared the 24-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after MIS transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and MIS decompression for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.METHODSA total of 608 patients from 12 high-enrolling sites participating in the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) lumbar spondylolisthesis module underwent single-level surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis, of whom 143 underwent MIS (72 MIS TLIF [50.3%] and 71 MIS decompression [49.7%]). Surgeries were classified as MIS if there was utilization of percutaneous screw fixation and placement of a Wiltse plane MIS intervertebral body graft (MIS TLIF) or if there was a tubular decompression (MIS decompression). Parameters obtained at baseline through at least 24 months of follow-up were collected. PROs included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) for back pain, NRS for leg pain, EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire, and North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction questionnaire. Multivariate models were constructed to adjust for patient characteristics, surgical variables, and baseline PRO values.RESULTSThe mean age of the MIS cohort was 67.1 ± 11.3 years (MIS TLIF 62.1 years vs MIS decompression 72.3 years) and consisted of 79 (55.2%) women (MIS TLIF 55.6% vs MIS decompression 54.9%). The proportion in each cohort reaching the 24-month follow-up did not differ significantly between the cohorts (MIS TLIF 83.3% and MIS decompression 84.5%, p = 0.85). MIS TLIF was associated with greater blood loss (mean 108.8 vs 33.0 ml, p < 0.001), longer operative time (mean 228.2 vs 101.8 minutes, p < 0.001), and longer length of hospitalization (mean 2.9 vs 0.7 days, p < 0.001). MIS TLIF was associated with a significantly lower reoperation rate (14.1% vs 1.4%, p = 0.004). Both cohorts demonstrated significant improvements in ODI, NRS back pain, NRS leg pain, and EQ-5D at 24 months (p < 0.001, all comparisons relative to baseline). In multivariate analyses, MIS TLIF-as opposed to MIS decompression alone-was associated with superior ODI change (β = -7.59, 95% CI -14.96 to -0.23; p = 0.04), NRS back pain change (β = -1.54, 95% CI -2.78 to -0.30; p = 0.02), and NASS satisfaction (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12-0.82; p = 0.02).CONCLUSIONSFor symptomatic, single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis, MIS TLIF was associated with a lower reoperation rate and superior outcomes for disability, back pain, and patient satisfaction compared with posterior MIS decompression alone. This finding may aid surgical decision-making when considering MIS for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.2.FOCUS18722DOI Listing
May 2019

Predictive model for long-term patient satisfaction after surgery for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: insights from the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurg Focus 2019 05;46(5):E12

13Atlanta Brain and Spine Care, Atlanta, Georgia; and.

OBJECTIVESince the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, providers and hospitals have increasingly prioritized patient-centered outcomes such as patient satisfaction in an effort to adapt the "value"-based healthcare model. In the current study, the authors queried a prospectively maintained multiinstitutional spine registry to construct a predictive model for long-term patient satisfaction among patients undergoing surgery for Meyerding grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis.METHODSThe authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016. The primary outcome of interest for the current study was patient satisfaction as measured by the North American Spine Surgery patient satisfaction index, which is measured on a scale of 1-4, with 1 indicating most satisfied and 4 indicating least satisfied. In order to identify predictors of higher satisfaction, the authors fitted a multivariable proportional odds logistic regression model for ≥ 2 years of patient satisfaction after adjusting for an array of clinical and patient-specific factors. The absolute importance of each covariate in the model was computed using an importance metric defined as Wald chi-square penalized by the predictor degrees of freedom.RESULTSA total of 502 patients, out of a cohort of 608 patients (82.5%) with grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis, undergoing either 1- or 2-level decompression (22.5%, n = 113) or 1-level decompression and fusion (77.5%, n = 389), met the inclusion criteria; of these, 82.1% (n = 412) were satisfied after 2 years. On univariate analysis, satisfied patients were more likely to be employed and working (41.7%, n = 172, vs 24.4%, n = 22; overall p = 0.001), more likely to present with predominant leg pain (23.1%, n = 95, vs 11.1%, n = 10; overall p = 0.02) but more likely to present with lower Numeric Rating Scale score for leg pain (median and IQR score: 7 [5-9] vs 8 [6-9]; p = 0.05). Multivariable proportional odds logistic regression revealed that older age (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.09-2.76; p = 0.009), preoperative active employment (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.27-3.67; p = 0.015), and fusion surgery (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.30-4.06; p = 0.002) were the most important predictors of achieving satisfaction with surgical outcome.CONCLUSIONSCurrent findings from a large multiinstitutional study indicate that most patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis achieved long-term satisfaction. Moreover, the authors found that older age, preoperative active employment, and fusion surgery are associated with higher odds of achieving satisfaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.2.FOCUS18734DOI Listing
May 2019

Laminectomy alone versus fusion for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis in 426 patients from the prospective Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2018 11;30(2):234-241

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

OBJECTIVEThe AANS launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data to measure the safety and quality of spine surgery. Registry data offer "real-world" insights into the utility of spinal fusion and decompression surgery for lumbar spondylolisthesis. Using the QOD, the authors compared the initial 12-month outcome data for patients undergoing fusion and those undergoing laminectomy alone for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.METHODSData from 12 top enrolling sites were analyzed and 426 patients undergoing elective single-level spine surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis were found. Baseline, 3-month, and 12-month follow-up data were collected and compared, including baseline clinical characteristics, readmission rates, reoperation rates, and PROs. The PROs included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), back and leg pain numeric rating scale (NRS) scores, and EuroQol-5 Dimensions health survey (EQ-5D) results.RESULTSA total of 342 (80.3%) patients underwent fusion, with the remaining 84 (19.7%) undergoing decompression alone. The fusion cohort was younger (60.7 vs 69.9 years, p < 0.001), had a higher mean body mass index (31.0 vs 28.4, p < 0.001), and had a greater proportion of patients with back pain as a major component of their initial presentation (88.0% vs 60.7%, p < 0.001). There were no differences in 12-month reoperation rate (4.4% vs 6.0%, p = 0.93) and 3-month readmission rates (3.5% vs 1.2%, p = 0.45). At 12 months, both cohorts improved significantly with regard to ODI, NRS back and leg pain, and EQ-5D (p < 0.001, all comparisons). In adjusted analysis, fusion procedures were associated with superior 12-month ODI (β -4.79, 95% CI -9.28 to -0.31; p = 0.04).CONCLUSIONSSurgery for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis-regardless of treatment strategy-was associated with significant improvements in disability, back and leg pain, and quality of life at 12 months. When adjusting for covariates, fusion surgery was associated with superior ODI at 12 months. Although fusion procedures were associated with a lower rate of reoperation, there was no statistically significant difference at 12 months. Further study must be undertaken to assess the durability of either surgical strategy in longer-term follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.8.SPINE17913DOI Listing
November 2018

Obese Patients Benefit, but do not Fare as Well as Nonobese Patients, Following Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Surgery: An Analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurgery 2020 01;86(1):80-87

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

Background: Given recent differing findings following 2 randomized clinical trials on degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS) surgery, there is a need to better define how subsets of patients fare following surgery.

Objective: To investigate the impact of obesity on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) following DLS surgery.

Methods: A total of 12 high-enrolling sites were queried, and we found 797 patients undergoing surgery for grade 1 DLS. For univariate comparisons, patients were stratified by BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 (obese) and < 30 kg/m2 (nonobese). Baseline, 3-mo, and 12-mo follow-up parameters were collected. PROs included the North American Spine Society satisfaction questionnaire, numeric rating scale (NRS) back pain, NRS leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) Questionnaire.

Results: We identified 382 obese (47.9%) and 415 nonobese patients (52.1%). At baseline, obese patients had worse NRS back pain, NRS leg pain, ODI, and EQ-5D scores (P < .001, P = .01, P < .001, and P = .02, respectively). Both cohorts improved significantly for back and leg pain, ODI, and EQ-5D at 12 mo (P < .001). At 12 mo, similar proportions of obese and nonobese patients responded that surgery met their expectations (62.6% vs 67.4%, P = .24). In multivariate analyses, BMI was independently associated with worse NRS leg pain and EQ-5D at 12 mo (P = .01 and P < .01, respectively) despite adjusting for baseline differences.

Conclusion: Obesity is associated with inferior leg pain and quality of life-but similar back pain, disability, and satisfaction-12 mo postoperatively. However, obese patients achieve significant improvements in all PRO metrics at 12 mo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyy589DOI Listing
January 2020

A predictive model and nomogram for predicting return to work at 3 months after cervical spine surgery: an analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurg Focus 2018 11;45(5):E9

3Department of Neurological Surgery, Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates and Neurological Institute, Carolinas Healthcare System, Charlotte, North Carolina.

OBJECTIVEBack pain and neck pain are two of the most common causes of work loss due to disability, which poses an economic burden on society. Due to recent changes in healthcare policies, patient-centered outcomes including return to work have been increasingly prioritized by physicians and hospitals to optimize healthcare delivery. In this study, the authors used a national spine registry to identify clinical factors associated with return to work at 3 months among patients undergoing a cervical spine surgery.METHODSThe authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry for information collected from April 2013 through March 2017 for preoperatively employed patients undergoing cervical spine surgery for degenerative spine disease. Covariates included demographic, clinical, and operative variables, and baseline patient-reported outcomes. Multiple imputations were used for missing values and multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with higher odds of returning to work. Bootstrap resampling (200 iterations) was used to assess the validity of the model. A nomogram was constructed using the results of the multivariable model.RESULTSA total of 4689 patients were analyzed, of whom 82.2% (n = 3854) returned to work at 3 months postoperatively. Among previously employed and working patients, 89.3% (n = 3443) returned to work compared to 52.3% (n = 411) among those who were employed but not working (e.g., were on a leave) at the time of surgery (p < 0.001). On multivariable logistic regression the authors found that patients who were less likely to return to work were older (age > 56-65 years: OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.57-0.85, p < 0.001; age > 65 years: OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.43-0.97, p = 0.02); were employed but not working (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.20-0.29, p < 0.001); were employed part time (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.42-0.76, p < 0.001); had a heavy-intensity (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.32-0.54, p < 0.001) or medium-intensity (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46-0.76, p < 0.001) occupation compared to a sedentary occupation type; had workers' compensation (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28-0.53, p < 0.001); had a higher Neck Disability Index score at baseline (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.51-0.70, p = 0.017); were more likely to present with myelopathy (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.42-0.63, p < 0.001); and had more levels fused (3-5 levels: OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.35-0.61, p < 0.001). Using the multivariable analysis, the authors then constructed a nomogram to predict return to work, which was found to have an area under the curve of 0.812 and good validity.CONCLUSIONSReturn to work is a crucial outcome that is being increasingly prioritized for employed patients undergoing spine surgery. The results from this study could help surgeons identify at-risk patients so that preoperative expectations could be discussed more comprehensively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.8.FOCUS18326DOI Listing
November 2018

Comparison of Outcomes Following Anterior vs Posterior Fusion Surgery for Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: An Analysis From Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurgery 2019 04;84(4):919-926

Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, Minnesota.

Background: The choice of anterior vs posterior approach for degenerative cervical myelopathy that spans multiple segments remains controversial.

Objective: To compare the outcomes following the 2 approaches using multicenter prospectively collected data.

Methods: Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) for patients undergoing surgery for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervical myelopathy was analyzed. The anterior group (anterior cervical discectomy [ACDF] or corpectomy [ACCF] with fusion) was compared with posterior cervical fusion. Outcomes included: patient reported outcomes (PROs): neck disability index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS) of neck pain and arm pain, EQ-5D, modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score for myelopathy (mJOA), and NASS satisfaction questionnaire; hospital length of stay (LOS), 90-d readmission, and return to work (RTW). Multivariable regression models were fitted for outcomes.

Results: Of total 245 patients analyzed, 163 patients underwent anterior surgery (ACDF-116, ACCF-47) and 82 underwent posterior surgery. Patients undergoing an anterior approach had lower odds of having higher LOS (P < .001, odds ratio 0.16, 95% confidence interval 0.08-0.30). The 12-mo NDI, EQ-5D, NRS, mJOA, and satisfaction scores as well as 90-d readmission and RTW did not differ significantly between anterior and posterior groups.

Conclusion: Patients undergoing anterior approaches for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervical myelopathy had shorter hospital LOS compared to those undergoing posterior decompression and fusion. Also, patients in both groups exhibited similar long-term PROs, readmission, and RTW rates. Further investigations are needed to compare the differences in longer term reoperation rates and functional outcomes before the clinical superiority of one approach over the other can be established.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyy144DOI Listing
April 2019

Disparities and the American Health Care System.

Clin Spine Surg 2019 03;32(2):67-70

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Rothman Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.

The United States' health care system is often compared with those of other industrialized countries, and consistently ranks poorly in terms of health care delivery, efficiency, and quality. However, there are several considerations unique to the United States that are often distorted in these analyses, and when considered in the context of the convoluted ethnic and social disparities that persist in the United States, the successes of the American health care system become more apparent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/BSD.0000000000000608DOI Listing
March 2019

Defining the minimum clinically important difference for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: insights from the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurg Focus 2018 01;44(1):E2

2Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

OBJECTIVE Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) play a pivotal role in defining the value of surgical interventions for spinal disease. The concept of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is considered the new standard for determining the effectiveness of a given treatment and describing patient satisfaction in response to that treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the MCID associated with surgical treatment for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. METHODS The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry from July 2014 through December 2015 for patients who underwent posterior lumbar surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. Recorded PROs included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for leg pain (NRS-LP) and back pain (NRS-BP). Anchor-based (using the North American Spine Society satisfaction scale) and distribution-based (half a standard deviation, small Cohen's effect size, standard error of measurement, and minimum detectable change [MDC]) methods were used to calculate the MCID for each PRO. RESULTS A total of 441 patients (80 who underwent laminectomies alone and 361 who underwent fusion procedures) from 11 participating sites were included in the analysis. The changes in functional outcome scores between baseline and the 1-year postoperative evaluation were as follows: 23.5 ± 17.4 points for ODI, 0.24 ± 0.23 for EQ-5D, 4.1 ± 3.5 for NRS-LP, and 3.7 ± 3.2 for NRS-BP. The different calculation methods generated a range of MCID values for each PRO: 3.3-26.5 points for ODI, 0.04-0.3 points for EQ-5D, 0.6-4.5 points for NRS-LP, and 0.5-4.2 points for NRS-BP. The MDC approach appeared to be the most appropriate for calculating MCID because it provided a threshold greater than the measurement error and was closest to the average change difference between the satisfied and not-satisfied patients. On subgroup analysis, the MCID thresholds for laminectomy-alone patients were comparable to those for the patients who underwent arthrodesis as well as for the entire cohort. CONCLUSIONS The MCID for PROs was highly variable depending on the calculation technique. The MDC seems to be a statistically and clinically sound method for defining the appropriate MCID value for patients with grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Based on this method, the MCID values are 14.3 points for ODI, 0.2 points for EQ-5D, 1.7 points for NRS-LP, and 1.6 points for NRS-BP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2017.10.FOCUS17554DOI Listing
January 2018

Women fare best following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis: a comparison of the most and least satisfied patients utilizing data from the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurg Focus 2018 01;44(1):E3

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

OBJECTIVE The American Association of Neurological Surgeons launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data, to measure the safety and quality of neurosurgical procedures, including spinal surgery. Differing results from recent randomized controlled trials have established a need to clarify the groups that would most benefit from surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. In the present study, the authors compared patients who were the most and the least satisfied following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. METHODS This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective, national longitudinal registry including patients who had undergone surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The most and least satisfied patients were identified based on an answer of "1" and "4," respectively, on the North American Spine Society (NASS) Satisfaction Questionnaire 12 months postoperatively. Baseline demographics, clinical variables, surgical parameters, and outcomes were collected. Patient-reported outcome measures, including the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for back pain, NRS for leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EQ-5D (the EuroQol health survey), were administered at baseline and 3 and 12 months after treatment. RESULTS Four hundred seventy-seven patients underwent surgery for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis in the period from July 2014 through December 2015. Two hundred fifty-five patients (53.5%) were the most satisfied and 26 (5.5%) were the least satisfied. Compared with the most satisfied patients, the least satisfied ones more often had coronary artery disease (CAD; 26.9% vs 12.2%, p = 0.04) and had higher body mass indices (32.9 ± 6.5 vs 30.0 ± 6.0 kg/m, p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis, female sex (OR 2.9, p = 0.02) was associated with the most satisfaction. Notably, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, smoking, psychiatric comorbidity, and employment status were not significantly associated with satisfaction. Although there were no significant differences at baseline, the most satisfied patients had significantly lower NRS back and leg pain and ODI scores and a greater EQ-5D score at 3 and 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.001 for all). CONCLUSIONS This study revealed that some patient factors differ between those who report the most and those who report the least satisfaction after surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Patients reporting the least satisfaction tended to have CAD or were obese. Female sex was associated with the most satisfaction when adjusting for potential covariates. These findings highlight several key factors that could aid in setting expectations for outcomes following surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.
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January 2018

Development of a Predictive Score for Discharge Disposition After Lumbar Fusion Using the Quality Outcomes Database.

Neurosurgery 2018 09;83(3):452-458

Department of Neurosurgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Background: Lumbar fusion remains the treatment of choice for many degenerative pathologies. Healthcare costs related to the procedure are a concern, and postdischarge needs often contribute to greater expenditure. The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) is a prospective, multicenter clinical registry designed to analyze outcomes after neurosurgical procedures.

Objective: To create a simple scoring system to predict discharge needs after lumbar fusion.

Methods: Institutional QOD data from 2 high-volume neurosurgical centers were collected retrospectively. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors for our model. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to set cutoff scores for patients likely to discharge home without ongoing services and those likely to require additional services/alternative placement after discharge.

Results: Two hundred seventeen patients were included. Five variables-osteoporosis, predominant preoperative symptom, need for assistive ambulation device, American Society of Anesthesiologist grade, and age-were included in our final scoring system. Patients with higher scores are less likely to need additional services. In patients with high scores (8-10), our scale correctly predicted discharge needs in 88.7% of cases. In patients with low scores (0-5), our scale predicted discharge needs (additional home services/alternative placement) in 75% of cases. For our final instrument, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.809 (95% confidence interval 0.720-0.897).

Conclusion: We present a simple scoring system to assist in predicting postdischarge needs for patients undergoing lumbar fusion for degenerative disease. Further validation studies are needed to assess the generalizability of our scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyx436DOI Listing
September 2018

Risk factors for 30-day reoperation and 3-month readmission: analysis from the Quality and Outcomes Database lumbar spine registry.

J Neurosurg Spine 2017 Aug 2;27(2):131-136. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

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

OBJECTIVE The aim of this paper was to use a prospective, longitudinal, multicenter outcome registry of patients undergoing surgery for lumbar degenerative disease in order to assess the incidence and factors associated with 30-day reoperation and 90-day readmission. METHODS Prospectively collected data from 9853 patients from the Quality and Outcomes Database (QOD; formerly known as the NQOD [National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database]) lumbar spine registry were retrospectively analyzed. Multivariate binomial regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with 30-day reoperation and 90-day readmission after surgery for lumbar degenerative disease. A subgroup analysis of Medicare patients stratified by age (< 65 and ≥ 65 years old) was also performed. Continuous variables were compared using unpaired t-tests, and proportions were compared using Fisher's exact test. RESULTS There was a 2% reoperation rate within 30 days. Multivariate analysis revealed prolonged operative time during the index case as the only independent factor associated with 30-day reoperation. Other factors such as preoperative diagnosis, body mass index (BMI), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, diabetes, and use of spinal implants were not associated with reoperations within 30 days. Medicare patients < 65 years had a 30-day reoperation rate of 3.7%, whereas those ≥ 65 years had a 30-day reoperation rate of 2.2% (p = 0.026). Medicare beneficiaries younger than 65 years undergoing reoperation within 30 days were more likely to be women (p = 0.009), have a higher BMI (p = 0.008), and have higher rates of depression (p < 0.0001). The 90-day readmission rate was 6.3%. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that higher ASA class (OR 1.46 per class, 95% CI 1.25-1.70) and history of depression (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.04-1.54) were factors associated with 90-day readmission. Medicare beneficiaries had a higher rate of 90-day readmissions compared with those who had private insurance (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.17-1.76). Medicare patients < 65 years of age were more likely to be readmitted within 90 days after their index surgery compared with those ≥ 65 years (10.8% vs 7.7%, p = 0.017). Medicare patients < 65 years of age had a significantly higher BMI (p = 0.001) and higher rates of depression (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS In this analysis of a large prospective, multicenter registry of patients undergoing lumbar degenerative surgery, multivariate analysis revealed that prolonged operative time was associated with 30-day reoperation. The authors found that factors associated with 90-day readmission included higher ASA class and a history of depression. The 90-day readmission rates were higher for Medicare beneficiaries than for those who had private insurance. Medicare patients < 65 years of age were more likely to undergo reoperation within 30 days and to be readmitted within 90 days after their index surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.12.SPINE16714DOI Listing
August 2017

Back pain improvement after decompression without fusion or stabilization in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and clinically significant preoperative back pain.

J Neurosurg Spine 2016 Nov 10;25(5):596-601. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine, Charlotte, North Carolina.

OBJECTIVE The relief of leg symptoms by surgical decompression for lumbar stenosis is well supported by the literature. Less is known about the effect on back pain. Some surgeons believe that the relief of back pain should not be an expected outcome of decompression and that substantial back pain may be a contraindication to decompression only; therefore, stabilization may be recommended for patients with substantial preoperative back pain even in the absence of well-accepted indications for stabilization such as spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment. The purpose of this study is to determine if patients with lumbar stenosis and substantial back pain-in the absence of spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment-can obtain significant improvement after decompression without fusion or stabilization. METHODS Analysis of the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (NQOD) identified 726 patients with lumbar stenosis (without spondylolisthesis or scoliosis) and a baseline back pain score ≥ 5 of 10 who underwent surgical decompression only. No patient was reported to have significant spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment. Standard demographic and surgical variables were collected, as well as patient outcomes including back and leg pain scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EuroQoL 5D (EQ-5D) at baseline and 3 and 12 months postoperatively. RESULTS The mean age of the cohort was 65.6 years, and 407 (56%) patients were male. The mean body mass index was 30.2 kg/m, and 40% of patients had 2-level decompression, 29% had 3-level decompression, 24% had 1-level decompression, and 6% had 4-level decompression. The mean estimated blood loss was 130 ml. The mean operative time was 100.85 minutes. The vast majority of discharges (88%) were routine home discharges. At 3 and 12 months postoperatively, there were significant improvements from baseline for back pain (7.62 to 3.19 to 3.66), leg pain (7.23 to 2.85 to 3.07), EQ-5D (0.55 to 0.76 to 0.75), and ODI (49.11 to 27.20 to 26.38). CONCLUSIONS Through the 1st postoperative year, patients with lumbar stenosis-without spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment-and clinically significant back pain improved after decompression-only surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.3.SPINE151468DOI Listing
November 2016

Inadequacy of 3-month Oswestry Disability Index outcome for assessing individual longer-term patient experience after lumbar spine surgery.

J Neurosurg Spine 2016 Aug 18;25(2):170-80. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates and Neurological Institute, Carolinas Healthcare System, Charlotte, North Carolina;

OBJECTIVE Prospective longitudinal outcomes registries are at the center of evidence-driven health care reform. Obtaining real-world outcomes data at 12 months can be costly and challenging. In the present study, the authors analyzed whether 3-month outcome measurements sufficiently represent 12-month outcomes for patients with degenerative lumbar disease undergoing surgery. METHODS Data from 3073 patients undergoing elective spine surgery for degenerative lumbar disease were entered into a prospective multicenter registry (N(2)QOD). Baseline, 3-month, and 12-month follow-up Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were recorded. The absolute differences between actual 12- and 3-month ODI scores was evaluated. Additionally, the authors analyzed the absolute difference between actual 12-month ODI scores and a model-predicted 12-month ODI score (the model used patients' baseline characteristics and actual 3-month scores). The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for ODI of 12.8 points and the substantial clinical benefit (SCB) for ODI of 18.8 points were used based on the previously published values. The concordance rate of achieving MCID and SCB for ODI at 3-and 12-months was computed. RESULTS The 3-month ODI scores differed from 12-month scores by an absolute difference of 11.9 ± 10.8, and predictive modeling estimations of 12-month ODI scores differed from actual 12-month scores by a mean (± SD) of 10.7 ± 9.0 points (p = 0.001). Sixty-four percent of patients (n = 1982) achieved an MCID for ODI at 3 months in comparison with 67% of patients (n = 2088) by 12 months; 51% (n = 1731) and 61% (n = 1860) of patients achieved SCB for ODI at 3 months and 12 months, respectively. Almost 20% of patients had ODI scores that varied at least 20 points (the point span of an ODI functional category) between actual 3- and 12-month values. In the aggregate analysis of achieving MCID, 77% of patients were concordant and 23% were discordant in achieving or not achieving MCID at 3 and 12 months. The discordance rates of achieving or not achieving MCID for ODI were in the range of 19% to 27% for all diagnoses and treatments (decompression with and without fusion). The positive and negative predictive value of 3-months ODI to predict 12-month ODI was 86% and 60% for MCID and 82% and 67% for SCB. CONCLUSIONS Based on their findings, the authors conclude the following: 1) Predictive methods for functional outcome based on early patient experience (i.e., baseline and/or 3-month data) should be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of procedures in patient populations, rather than serving as a proxy for long-term individual patient experience. 2) Prospective longitudinal registries need to span at least 12 months to determine the effectiveness of spine care at the individual patient and practitioner level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2015.11.SPINE15872DOI Listing
August 2016