Publications by authors named "John Knightly"

46 Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telemedicine in Neurosurgery: Standardizing the Spinal Physical Examination Using A Modified Delphi Method.

Neurospine 2021 Jun 30;18(2):292-302. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

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

Objective: The use of telemedicine has dramatically increased due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Many neurosurgeons are now using telemedicine technologies for preoperative evaluations and routine outpatient visits. Our goal was to standardize the telemedicine motor neurologic examination, summarize the evidence surrounding clinical use of telehealth technologies, and discuss financial and legal considerations.

Methods: We identified a 12-member panel composed of spine surgeons, fellows, and senior residents at a single institution. We created an initial telehealth strength examination protocol based on published data and developed 10 agree/disagree statements summarizing the protocol. A blinded Delphi method was utilized to build consensus for each statement, defined as > 80% agreement and no significant disagreement using a 2-way binomial test (significance threshold of p < 0.05). Any statement that did not meet consensus was edited and iteratively resubmitted to the panel until consensus was achieved. In the final round, the panel was unblinded and the protocol was finalized.

Results: After the first round, 4/10 statements failed to meet consensus ( < 80% agreement, and p = 0.031, p = 0.031, p = 0.003, and p = 0.031 statistical disagreement, respectively). The disagreement pertained to grading of strength of the upper (3/10 statements) and lower extremities (1/10 statement). The amended statements clarified strength grading, achieved consensus ( > 80% agreement, p > 0.05 disagreement), and were used to create the final telehealth strength examination protocol.

Conclusion: The resulting protocol was used in our clinic to standardize the telehealth strength examination. This protocol, as well as our summary of telehealth clinical practice, should aid neurosurgical clinics in integrating telemedicine modalities into their practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14245/ns.2040684.342DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8255762PMC
June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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September 2020

Open versus minimally invasive decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis: analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 May 8:1-11. Epub 2020 May 8.

5Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Objective: Lumbar decompression without arthrodesis remains a potential treatment option for cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis (i.e., Meyerding grade I). Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have recently been increasingly used because of their touted benefits including lower operating time, blood loss, and length of stay. Herein, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics and postoperative clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between patients undergoing open versus MIS lumbar decompression.

Methods: The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Among more than 200 participating sites, the 12 with the highest enrollment of patients into the lumbar spine module came together to initiate a focused project to assess the impact of fusion on PROs in patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. For the current study, only patients in this cohort from the 12 highest-enrolling sites who underwent a decompression alone were evaluated and classified as open or MIS (tubular decompression). Outcomes of interest included PROs at 2 years; perioperative outcomes such as blood loss and complications; and postoperative outcomes such as length of stay, discharge disposition, and reoperations.

Results: A total of 140 patients undergoing decompression were selected, of whom 71 (50.7%) underwent MIS and 69 (49.3%) underwent an open decompression. On univariate analysis, the authors observed no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of PROs at 2-year follow-up, including back pain, leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index score, EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction. On multivariable analysis, compared to MIS, open decompression was associated with higher satisfaction (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.41-23.2, p = 0.0005). Patients undergoing MIS decompression had a significantly shorter length of stay compared to the open group (0.68 days [SD 1.18] vs 1.83 days [SD 1.618], p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In this multiinstitutional prospective study, the authors found comparable PROs as well as clinical outcomes at 2 years between groups of patients undergoing open or MIS decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis.
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May 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

Quality Outcomes Database Spine Care Project 2012-2020: milestones achieved in a collaborative North American outcomes registry to advance value-based spine care and evolution to the American Spine Registry.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 05;48(5):E2

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

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), formerly known as the National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD), was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA) in collaboration with relevant national stakeholders and experts. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a centralized, nationally coordinated effort to allow individual surgeons and practice groups to collect, measure, and analyze practice patterns and neurosurgical outcomes. Specific objectives of this registry program were as follows: "1) to establish risk-adjusted national benchmarks for both the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures, 2) to allow practice groups and hospitals to analyze their individual morbidity and clinical outcomes in real time, 3) to generate both quality and efficiency data to support claims made to public and private payers and objectively demonstrate the value of care to other stakeholders, 4) to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical and spine procedures, 5) to develop sophisticated 'risk models' to determine which subpopulations of patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions, and 6) to facilitate essential multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies." The NPA has launched several neurosurgical specialty modules in the QOD program in the 7 years since its inception including lumbar spine, cervical spine, and spinal deformity and cerebrovascular and intracranial tumor. The QOD Spine modules, which are the primary subject of this paper, have evolved into the largest North American spine registries yet created and have resulted in unprecedented cooperative activities within our specialty and among affiliated spine care practitioners. Herein, the authors discuss the experience of QOD Spine programs to date, with a brief description of their inception, some of the key achievements and milestones, as well as the recent transition of the spine modules to the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaboration between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
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May 2020

Introduction. Evolution of the Science of Practice.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 05;48(5):E1

4Neurosurgery, Wessex Neurological Centre, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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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

Assessing the differences in characteristics of patients lost to follow-up at 2 years: results from the Quality Outcomes Database study on outcomes of surgery for grade I spondylolisthesis.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Feb 28:1-9. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

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

Objective: Loss to follow-up has been shown to bias outcomes assessment among studies utilizing clinical registries. Here, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics of patients captured with those lost to follow-up at 2 years.

Methods: The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Only those patients enrolled in a multisite study investigating the impact of fusion on clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) among patients with grade I spondylolisthesis were evaluated.

Results: Of the 608 patients enrolled in the study undergoing 1- or 2-level decompression (23.0%, n = 140) or 1-level fusion (77.0%, n = 468), 14.5% (n = 88) were lost to follow-up at 2 years. Patients who were lost to follow-up were more likely to be younger (59.6 ± 13.5 vs 62.6 ± 11.7 years, p = 0.031), be employed (unemployment rate: 53.3% [n = 277] for successful follow-up vs 40.9% [n = 36] for those lost to follow-up, p = 0.017), have anxiety (26.1% [n = 23] vs 16.3% [n = 85], p = 0.026), have higher back pain scores (7.4 ± 2.9 vs 6.6 ± 2.8, p = 0.010), have higher leg pain scores (7.4 ± 2.5 vs 6.4 ± 2.9, p = 0.003), have higher Oswestry Disability Index scores (50.8 ± 18.7 vs 46 ± 16.8, p = 0.018), and have lower EQ-5D scores (0.481 ± 0.2 vs 0.547 ± 0.2, p = 0.012) at baseline.

Conclusions: To execute future, high-quality studies, it is important to identify patients undergoing surgery for spondylolisthesis who might be lost to follow-up. In a large, prospective registry, the authors found that those lost to follow-up were more likely to be younger, be employed, have anxiety disorder, and have worse PRO scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.12.SPINE191155DOI Listing
February 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

Predictors of nonroutine discharge among patients undergoing surgery for grade I spondylolisthesis: insights from the Quality Outcomes Database.

J Neurosurg Spine 2019 Dec 6:1-10. Epub 2019 Dec 6.

4Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Objective: Discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation facility or another acute-care facility not only constitutes a postoperative challenge for patients and their care team but also contributes significantly to healthcare costs. In this era of changing dynamics of healthcare payment models in which cost overruns are being increasingly shifted to surgeons and hospitals, it is important to better understand outcomes such as discharge disposition. In the current article, the authors sought to develop a predictive model for factors associated with nonroutine discharge after surgery for grade I spondylolisthesis.

Methods: The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis who underwent a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Only those patients enrolled in a multisite study investigating the impact of fusion on clinical and patient-reported outcomes among patients with grade I spondylolisthesis were evaluated. Nonroutine discharge was defined as those who were discharged to a postacute or nonacute-care setting in the same hospital or transferred to another acute-care facility.

Results: Of the 608 patients eligible for inclusion, 9.4% (n = 57) had a nonroutine discharge (8.7%, n = 53 discharged to inpatient postacute or nonacute care in the same hospital and 0.7%, n = 4 transferred to another acute-care facility). Compared to patients who were discharged to home, patients who had a nonroutine discharge were more likely to have diabetes (26.3%, n = 15 vs 15.7%, n = 86, p = 0.039); impaired ambulation (26.3%, n = 15 vs 10.2%, n = 56, p < 0.001); higher Oswestry Disability Index at baseline (51 [IQR 42-62.12] vs 46 [IQR 34.4-58], p = 0.014); lower EuroQol-5D scores (0.437 [IQR 0.308-0.708] vs 0.597 [IQR 0.358-0.708], p = 0.010); higher American Society of Anesthesiologists score (3 or 4: 63.2%, n = 36 vs 36.7%, n = 201, p = 0.002); and longer length of stay (4 days [IQR 3-5] vs 2 days [IQR 1-3], p < 0.001); and were more likely to suffer a complication (14%, n = 8 vs 5.6%, n = 31, p = 0.014). On multivariable logistic regression, factors found to be independently associated with higher odds of nonroutine discharge included older age (interquartile OR 9.14, 95% CI 3.79-22.1, p < 0.001), higher body mass index (interquartile OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.31-3.25, p < 0.001), presence of depression (OR 4.28, 95% CI 1.96-9.35, p < 0.001), fusion surgery compared with decompression alone (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.6, p < 0.001), and any complication (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.4-10.9, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In this multisite study of a defined cohort of patients undergoing surgery for grade I spondylolisthesis, factors associated with higher odds of nonroutine discharge included older age, higher body mass index, presence of depression, and occurrence of any complication.
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December 2019

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
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