Publications by authors named "Nogah Haramati"

5 Publications

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Cervical Medial Branch Block Volume Dependent Dispersion Patterns as a Predictor for Ablation Success: A Cadaveric Study.

PM R 2019 06 15;11(6):631-639. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

Department of Structural Biology and Anatomy, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461.

Background: Neck pain is one of the most common causes of chronic pain and the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide; it is estimated that between 36% and 67% of this pain is due to facet arthropathy. For patients who have pain refractory to conservative treatments literature supports management with diagnostic cervical medial branch blocks (MBBs) to identify the associated facet innervation as the source of pain followed by therapeutic radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the identified nerves. Cervical RFA has good published outcomes; however, the procedure is dependent upon the specificity of the diagnostic block to achieve maximal success. Currently, this prerequisite test has false positive rates between 27% and 63% and recent studies have shown that this may, in part, be a consequence of currently accepted injection volumes of 0.50 mL or more, which may decrease the sensitivity of MBBs.

Objective: To evaluate the possible differences in volume dispersion between 0.25 and 0.50 mL of injectate during cervical MBBs.

Study Design: Cadaveric study.

Setting: An academic medical center in the United States.

Patients: Not applicable.

Methods: This was a cadaveric study in which six subjects were chosen with intact cervical spines. Cervical MBB were performed bilaterally at the midcervical spine, using a posterior approach under fluoroscopic guidance. 0.25 or 0.50 mL of a 9:1 solution of Omnipaque 180 mg iodine/mL and 1% medical grade methylene blue were administered on the left and right sides, respectively. Postinjection computed tomography (CT) imaging and gross dissection were performed to assess injectate spread.

Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures after using commonly injected volumes for cervical MBB, included visualized and measured spread (by CT and gross dissection) of cervical medial branch blocks, coating adjacent structures not targeted by RFA.

Results: Postinjection CT imaging and cadaveric dissection demonstrated that, although both volumes adequately coated the medial branches, the 0.50 mL cohort reliably spread dorsally to superficial muscles (splenius) and nerves distant from the targeted nerves (dorsal motor branches to splenius), whereas the 0.25 mL injectate cohort was contained in the deep and intermediate muscular cervical layers directly juxtaposed to the targeted cMBBs.

Conclusion: Results suggest that 0.50 mL injections of local anesthetic during cervical MBBs contacts many nonintended targets, thus decreasing the specificity of a targeted diagnostic cervical MBB. Furthermore, we demonstrated that 0.25 mL of injectate reliably bathed the cervical medial branches without extensive extravasation. This indicates that there would potentially be fewer local anesthetic effects on distant tissues, increasing the specificity of cervical MBBs and likely improving RFA planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2018.10.003DOI Listing
June 2019

Lumbar Medial Branch Block Volume-Dependent Dispersion Patterns as a Predictor for Ablation Success: A Cadaveric Study.

PM R 2018 06 22;10(6):616-622. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Montefiore Medical Center, 1250 Waters Place, Tower Two, 8th Floor, Bronx, NY 10461.

Background: Lumbar facet arthropathy is a common cause of low back pain. Literature supports treatment with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of associated nerves that innervate lumbar facets when alternative conservative therapies have failed. Diagnostic local anesthetic blocks precede therapeutic ablation, but have a false-positive rate of 27%-63%, and some authors have questioned their utility in predicting therapeutic response to RFA. The authors of the current study believe that injectate volume may be a contributing factor to false positivity.

Objective: To evaluate the difference in volume dispersion between 0.25 mL and 0.5 mL of injectate when performing lumbar medial branch blocks. We hypothesized that injection volumes greater than 0.25 mL during lumbar medial branch blocks would affect the distal branches of the adjacent medial branches, thus decreasing the specificity of the procedure. Thus, we attempted to demonstrate that injection volumes greater than 0.25 mL during lumbar medial branch blocks would affect the distal branches of the adjacent medial branches, which might increase false positivity of the blocks.

Study Design: Cadaveric investigation.

Setting: Tertiary care center.

Participants: Not applicable.

Outcome Measurements: To demonstrate that the spread of lumbar medial branch blocks using commonly injected volume coats adjacent structures that are not affected by radiofrequency ablation.

Methods: Six cadavers were chosen with nondissected lumbar spines. Fluoroscopically guided medial branch injections were performed bilaterally using the posterior oblique approach. A volume of 0.25 mL or 0.50 mL of a 9:1 solution of Omnipaque 240 and 1% medical grade methylene blue were delivered to the left and right sides, respectively. Postinjection computed tomographic imaging was performed, followed by dissection.

Results: Both volumes adequately coated the medial branches, but in the 0.5-mL injectate cohort there was consistent spread dorsally to the superficial muscles and distal segments of the dorsal branches distant to the target nerves, whereas in the 0.25-mL injectate cohort the spread was contained in the deep and intermediate muscular lumbar layers, close to the intended target.

Conclusion: We suggest that a 0.5-mL injectate volume in clinical practice may produce an adjacent-level nerve block in addition to the intended injection level, thus decreasing the specificity of a targeted lumbar medial branch block. A 0.25-mL quantity of injectate reliably contacted the lumbar medial branches without extensive extravasation. Presumably, this means that 0.25 mL total volume for a lumbar medial branch block may provide greater specificity for RFA planning.

Level Of Evidence: NA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2017.11.011DOI Listing
June 2018

Currently Recommended TON Injectate Volumes Concomitantly Block the GON: Clinical Implications for Managing Cervicogenic Headache.

Pain Physician 2016 Sep-Oct;19(7):E1079-86

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Background: Headache (HA) is a significant cause of morbidity globally. Despite many available treatment options, HAs that are refractory to conservative management can be challenging to treat. Third occipital nerve (TON) and greater occipital nerve (GON) irritation are potential etiologic agents of primary and cervicogenic HAs that can be targeted using minimally invasive treatment options such as nerve blocks or radiofrequency ablation. However, a substantial number of patients that undergo radiofrequency ablation do not experience pain relief despite a positive diagnostic medial branch block (MBB).

Objective: In this study, we investigate the underlying cause for the high rate of false positives associated with MBBs by evaluating injectate spread in cadaveric subjects.

Study Design: Cadaveric study.

Setting: Academic medical center.

Methods: After obtaining exemption status from our Institutional Review Board, TON injections were performed on 5 preserved cadavers, a total of 10 TONs, using anatomic landmarks, partial dissection, and palpation to guide needle placement. Cadaveric dissections were performed to evaluate the location, vertical spread, and grossly observed injectate coating of the TON and GON for each quantity of methylene blue injectate, 0.3 mL and 0.5 mL, administered.

Results: The average distance between the TON and GON at their respective foraminal exit points was 1.81 cm. The average vertical spread for 0.3 mL and 0.5 mL of methylene blue injectate was 2.02 + 0.35 cm and 3.26 + 0.48 cm when performing a TON block. When using 0.3 mL injectate, both the TON and GON were simultaneously coated 60% of the time. After increasing the injectate volume to 0.5 mL, both the TON and GON were simultaneously coated 100% of the time.

Limitations: The cadaveric design of this study presents limitations when translating cadaveric findings to the clinical setting. Also, the small sample size limits its power and generalizability. Lastly, the potential for researcher bias exists as the investigators were not blinded.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that currently recommended injectate volumes for TON blocks may result in concomitant coating of the GON. Conventional radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of these nerves may not lesion both the TON and GON given its restrictive circumferential lesioning diameter of 5 - 7 mm. As such, interventionalists should consider performing radiofrequency ablation to both the TON and GON after a positive TON block.

Key Words: Chronic pain, cervicogenic headache, third occipital nerve, greater occipital nerve, injectate spread, radiofrequency ablation.
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July 2017

The physician payments sunshine act: what the average radiologist and manager need to know.

Authors:
Nogah Haramati

J Am Coll Radiol 2013 Jun;10(6):449-51

Department of Radiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) was enacted in 2010 and requires applicable manufacturers of medical devices, drugs, biological material, or medical supplies to report payments or transfers of value that are provided to physicians or teaching hospitals. PPSA has value in creating greater transparency in the financial relationships between industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals, and in potentially reducing problematic conflicts of interest. PPSA requires that this data be published, in searchable form, on a public website. CMS has delayed the reporting under PPSA until after January 1, 2013, and has yet to issue its final rules for PPSA; however, Physician Payments data already exist in a publically searchable database. It is important to realize that names of individuals may appear in the PPSA public database, even if those individuals did not actually receive a transfer of value. As with all broad-stroke legislation, consequences not anticipated or not considered sufficiently important for our government leaders may well present a problem for individuals. It behooves all physicians and healthcare managers to carefully follow the CMS PPSA regulations. In advance of meeting or interacting with any PPSA-applicable manufacturer, obtain a clear and mutual understanding regarding what reportable value, if any, will be prepared for and provided by the applicable manufacturer. In this, as in all situations in which government regulations are at play, "knowledge is strength."
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2012.12.024DOI Listing
June 2013

MR imaging and CT of vascular anomalies and connections in patients with congenital heart disease: significance in surgical planning.

Radiographics 2002 Mar-Apr;22(2):337-47; discussion 348-9

Department of Radiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, 111 E 210th St, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.

To plan effective management of congenital heart disease, one needs the clearest understanding of the anatomy. Although echocardiography and angiography are the dominant imaging modalities in patients with congenital heart disease, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography (CT) are valuable noninvasive adjuncts. MR imaging and CT are effective in demonstrating the complex cardiovascular morphology present in congenital heart disease, especially the extracardiac morphology. In patients with tetralogy of Fallot with complex pulmonary artery anatomy, MR imaging and CT are useful in demonstrating the pulmonary artery anatomy, along with the significant aortopulmonary collateral vessels. In the heterotaxy syndromes, patients often have unusual atriovenous connections. MR imaging allows accurate identification of the hepatic, systemic, and pulmonary veins and their relationships to both atria. CT and MR are the imaging modalities of choice in a patient who is thought to have a vascular ring. Treatment of aortic coarctation is usually performed on the basis of typical clinical and echocardiographic findings. In patients with atypical clinical or echocardiographic findings, MR imaging and CT yield helpful information that can change the treatment plan. The enhanced preoperative understanding of congenital heart disease provided by MR imaging and CT simplifies surgical decision making and consequently may improve outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiographics.22.2.g02mr09337DOI Listing
September 2002