Publications by authors named "Sanjay Dhall"

134 Publications

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

J Pain 2021 Jul 21. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elderly traumatic central cord syndrome in the United States: a review of management and outcomes.

J Neurosurg Sci 2021 Jun 10. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

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

Introduction: As the incidence of elderly spinal cord injury rises, improved understanding of risk profiles and outcomes is needed. This review summarizes clinical characteristics, management, and outcomes specific to the elderly (≥65-years) with acute traumatic central cord syndrome in the United States.

Evidence Aquisition: Literature review of the PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL databases (01/2007-03/2020) regarding elderly subjects with acute traumatic central cord syndrome.

Evidence Synthesis: Nine studies met inclusion criteria. Acute traumatic central cord syndrome was more common among married (50%), Caucasian (22-71%) males (63-86%) with an annual income <40,999 U.S. dollars (30%). Mechanisms consisted predominantly of traumatic falls (32-55%) and motor vehicle collisions (15-34%), with admission American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grades D (25-79%) and C (21-51%). Mortality was 2-3%. American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale motor score, maximum canal compromise, and extent of parenchymal damage were predictors of one-year recovery. Greater comorbidities (heart failure, weight loss, coagulopathy, diabetes), lower income (<51,000 U.S. dollars), and age ≥80 were predictors of mortality. A substantial cohort underwent surgery (40-45%). Elderly patients were less likely to receive surgical intervention, and surgery timing had variable effects on recovery.

Conclusions: Elderly patients with acute traumatic central cord syndrome are uniquely at risk due to cumulative comorbidities, protracted recovery times, and unclear effects of surgical timing on outcomes. Prospective research should focus on validating age-specific risk factors, formalizing surgical indications, and delineating the impact of time to surgery on acute and long-term outcomes for this condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0390-5616.21.05078-5DOI Listing
June 2021

The Natural History of Spinal Cord Injury.

Neurosurg Clin N Am 2021 Jul;32(3):315-321

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, M779, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. Electronic address:

The natural history of spinal cord injury is in a state of flux. Our knowledge about the prevalence, epidemiology, and natural history spinal cord injury is in evolution. In this article, we summarize these considerations to provide a state-of-the-art synopsis of the neurologic outcomes of this condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nec.2021.03.003DOI Listing
July 2021

Diagnostic blood RNA profiles for human acute spinal cord injury.

J Exp Med 2021 Mar;218(3)

Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Brain and Spinal Injury Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Diagnosis of spinal cord injury (SCI) severity at the ultra-acute stage is of great importance for emergency clinical care of patients as well as for potential enrollment into clinical trials. The lack of a diagnostic biomarker for SCI has played a major role in the poor results of clinical trials. We analyzed global gene expression in peripheral white blood cells during the acute injury phase and identified 197 genes whose expression changed after SCI compared with healthy and trauma controls and in direct relation to SCI severity. Unsupervised coexpression network analysis identified several gene modules that predicted injury severity (AIS grades) with an overall accuracy of 72.7% and included signatures of immune cell subtypes. Specifically, for complete SCIs (AIS A), ROC analysis showed impressive specificity and sensitivity (AUC: 0.865). Similar precision was also shown for AIS D SCIs (AUC: 0.938). Our findings indicate that global transcriptomic changes in peripheral blood cells have diagnostic and potentially prognostic value for SCI severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20201795DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852457PMC
March 2021

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

J Neurotrauma 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

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

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

Injury volume extracted from MRI predicts neurologic outcome in acute spinal cord injury: A prospective TRACK-SCI pilot study.

J Clin Neurosci 2020 Dec 25;82(Pt B):231-236. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Brain and Spinal Injury Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA, USA; Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Conventional MRI measures of traumatic spinal cord injury severity largely rely on 2-dimensional injury characteristics such as intramedullary lesion length and cord compression. Recent advances in spinal cord (SC) analysis have led to the development of a robust anatomic atlas incorporated into an open-source platform called the Spinal Cord Toolbox (SCT) that allows for quantitative volumetric injury analysis. In the current study, we evaluate the prognostic value of volumetric measures of spinal cord injury on MRI following registration of T2-weighted (T2w) images and segmented lesions from acute SCI patients with a standardized atlas. This IRB-approved prospective cohort study involved the image analysis of 60 blunt cervical SCI patients enrolled in the TRACK-SCI clinical research protocol. Axial T2w MRI data obtained within 24 h of injury were processed using the SCT. Briefly, SC MRIs were automatically segmented using the sct_deepseg_sc tool in the SCT and segmentations were manually corrected by a neuro-radiologist. Lesion volume data were used as predictor variables for correlation with lower extremity motor scores at discharge. Volumetric MRI measures of T2w signal abnormality comprising the SCI lesion accurately predict lower extremity motor scores at time of patient discharge. Similarly, MRI measures of injury volume significantly correlated with motor scores to a greater degree than conventional 2-D metrics of lesion size. The volume of total injury and of injured spinal cord motor regions on T2w MRI is significantly and independently associated with neurologic outcome at discharge after injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2020.11.003DOI Listing
December 2020

Does state malpractice environment affect outcomes following spinal fusions? A robust statistical and machine learning analysis of 549,775 discharges following spinal fusion surgery in the United States.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 11;49(5):E18

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

Objective: Spine surgery is especially susceptible to malpractice claims. Critics of the US medical liability system argue that it drives up costs, whereas proponents argue it deters negligence. Here, the authors study the relationship between malpractice claim density and outcomes.

Methods: The following methods were used: 1) the National Practitioner Data Bank was used to determine the number of malpractice claims per 100 physicians, by state, between 2005 and 2010; 2) the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for spinal fusion patients; and 3) the Area Resource File was queried to determine the density of physicians, by state. States were categorized into 4 quartiles regarding the frequency of malpractice claims per 100 physicians. To evaluate the association between malpractice claims and death, discharge disposition, length of stay (LOS), and total costs, an inverse-probability-weighted regression-adjustment estimator was used. The authors controlled for patient and hospital characteristics. Covariates were used to train machine learning models to predict death, discharge disposition not to home, LOS, and total costs.

Results: Overall, 549,775 discharges following spinal fusions were identified, with 495,640 yielding state-level information about medical malpractice claim frequency per 100 physicians. Of these, 124,425 (25.1%), 132,613 (26.8%), 130,929 (26.4%), and 107,673 (21.7%) were from the lowest, second-lowest, second-highest, and highest quartile states, respectively, for malpractice claims per 100 physicians. Compared to the states with the fewest claims (lowest quartile), surgeries in states with the most claims (highest quartile) showed a statistically significantly higher odds of a nonhome discharge (OR 1.169, 95% CI 1.139-1.200), longer LOS (mean difference 0.304, 95% CI 0.256-0.352), and higher total charges (mean difference [log scale] 0.288, 95% CI 0.281-0.295) with no significant associations for mortality. For the machine learning models-which included medical malpractice claim density as a covariate-the areas under the curve for death and discharge disposition were 0.94 and 0.87, and the R2 values for LOS and total charge were 0.55 and 0.60, respectively.

Conclusions: Spinal fusion procedures from states with a higher frequency of malpractice claims were associated with an increased odds of nonhome discharge, longer LOS, and higher total charges. This suggests that medicolegal climate may potentially alter practice patterns for a given spine surgeon and may have important implications for medical liability reform. Machine learning models that included medical malpractice claim density as a feature were satisfactory in prediction and may be helpful for patients, surgeons, hospitals, and payers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.8.FOCUS20610DOI Listing
November 2020

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion With Cage Retrieval for the Treatment of Pseudarthrosis After Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Single-Institution Case Series.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2021 01;20(2):164-173

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

Background: The treatment of pseudarthrosis after transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) can be challenging, particularly when anterior column reconstruction is required. There are limited data on TLIF cage removal through an anterior approach.

Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) as a treatment for pseudarthrosis after TLIF.

Methods: ALIFs performed at a single academic medical center were reviewed to identify cases performed for the treatment of pseudarthrosis after TLIF. Patient demographics, surgical characteristics, perioperative complications, and 1-yr radiographic data were collected.

Results: A total of 84 patients were identified with mean age of 59 yr and 37 women (44.0%). A total of 16 patients (19.0%) underwent removal of 2 interbody cages for a total of 99 implants removed with distribution as follows: 1 L2/3 (0.9%), 6 L3/4 (5.7%), 37 L4/5 (41.5%), and 55 L5/S1 (51.9%). There were 2 intraoperative venous injuries (2.4%) and postoperative complications were as follows: 7 ileus (8.3%), 5 wound-related (6.0%), 1 rectus hematoma (1.1%), and 12 medical complications (14.3%), including 6 pulmonary (7.1%), 3 cardiac (3.6%), and 6 urinary tract infections (7.1%). Among 58 patients with at least 1-yr follow-up, 56 (96.6%) had solid fusion. There were 5 cases of subsidence (6.0%), none of which required surgical revision. Two patients (2.4%) required additional surgery at the level of ALIF for pseudarthrosis.

Conclusion: ALIF is a safe and effective technique for the treatment of TLIF cage pseudarthrosis with a favorable risk profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opaa303DOI Listing
January 2021

The effect of anterior lumbar interbody fusion staging order on perioperative complications in circumferential lumbar fusions performed within the same hospital admission.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 09;49(3):E6

Departments of1Neurological Surgery.

Objective: Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a powerful technique that provides wide access to the disc space and allows for large lordotic grafts. When used with posterior spinal fusion (PSF), the procedures are often staged within the same hospital admission. There are limited data on the perioperative risk profile of ALIF-first versus PSF-first circumferential fusions performed within the same hospital admission. In an effort to understand whether these procedures are associated with different perioperative complication profiles, the authors performed a retrospective review of their institutional experience in adult patients who had undergone circumferential lumbar fusions.

Methods: The electronic medicals records of patients who had undergone ALIF and PSF on separate days within the same hospital admission at a single academic center were retrospectively analyzed. Patients carrying a diagnosis of tumor, infection, or traumatic fracture were excluded. Demographics, surgical characteristics, and perioperative complications were collected and assessed.

Results: A total of 373 patients, 217 of them women (58.2%), met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the study cohort was 60 years. Surgical indications were as follows: degenerative disease or spondylolisthesis, 171 (45.8%); adult deformity, 168 (45.0%); and pseudarthrosis, 34 (9.1%). The majority of patients underwent ALIF first (321 [86.1%]) with a mean time of 2.5 days between stages. The mean number of levels fused was 2.1 for ALIF and 6.8 for PSF. In a comparison of ALIF-first to PSF-first cases, there were no major differences in demographics or surgical characteristics. Rates of intraoperative complications including venous injury were not significantly different between the two groups. The rates of postoperative ileus (11.8% vs 5.8%, p = 0.194) and ALIF-related wound complications (9.0% vs 3.8%, p = 0.283) were slightly higher in the ALIF-first group, although the differences did not reach statistical significance. Rates of other perioperative complications were no different.

Conclusions: In patients undergoing staged circumferential fusion with ALIF and PSF, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of perioperative complications when comparing ALIF-first to PSF-first surgeries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.6.FOCUS20296DOI Listing
September 2020

Crossing the Cervicothoracic Junction During Posterior Cervical Fusion for Myelopathy Is Associated With Superior Radiographic Parameters But Similar Clinical Outcomes.

Neurosurgery 2020 10;87(5):1016-1024

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

Background: For laminectomy and posterior spinal fusion (LPSF) surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), the evidence is unclear as to whether fusions should cross the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ).

Objective: To compare LPSF outcomes between those with and without lower instrumented vertebrae (LIV) crossing the CTJ.

Methods: A consecutive series of adults undergoing LPSF for CSM from 2012 to 2018 with a minimum of 12-mo follow-up were identified. LPSF with subaxial upper instrumented vertebrae and LIV between C6 and T2 were included. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were compared.

Results: A total of 79 patients were included: 46 crossed the CTJ (crossed-CTJ) and 33 did not. The mean follow-up was 22.2 mo (minimum: 12 mo). Crossed-CTJ had higher preoperative C2-7 sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) (33.3 ± 16.0 vs 23.8 ± 12.4 mm, P = .01) but similar preoperative cervical lordosis (CL) and CL minus T1-slope (CL minus T1-slope) (P > .05, both comparisons). The overall reoperation rate was 3.8% (crossed-CTJ: 2.2% vs not-crossed: 6.1%, P = .37). In adjusted analyses, crossed-CTJ was associated with superior cSVA (β = -9.7; P = .002), CL (β = 6.2; P = .04), and CL minus T1-slope (β = -6.6; P = .04), but longer operative times (β = 46.3; P = .001). Crossed- and not-crossed CTJ achieved similar postoperative patient-reported outcomes [Visual Analog Scale (VAS) neck pain, VAS arm pain, Nurick Grade, Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association Scale, Neck Disability Index, and EuroQol-5D] in adjusted multivariable analyses (adjusted P > .05). For the entire cohort, higher postoperative CL was associated with lower postoperative arm pain (adjusted Pearson's r -0.1, P = .02). No postoperative cervical radiographic parameters were associated with neck pain (P > .05).

Conclusion: Subaxial LPSF for CSM that crossed the CTJ were associated with superior radiographic outcomes for cSVA, CL, and CL minus T1-slope, but longer operative times. There were no differences in neck pain or reoperation rate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa241DOI Listing
October 2020

Immediate Voice and Swallowing Complaints Following Revision Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020 Oct 2;163(4):778-784. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Objective: To report on the incidence of dysphagia, dysphonia, and acute vocal fold motion impairment (VFMI) following revision anterior cervical spine surgery, as well as to identify risk factors associated with acute VFMI in the immediate postoperative period.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Tertiary care center.

Subjects And Methods: All patients who underwent 2-team reoperative anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) were retrospectively reviewed. Incidence of dysphonia, dysphagia, and acute VFMI was noted. Patient and operative factors were evaluated for association with risk of acute VFMI.

Results: The incidence of postoperative dysphonia and dysphagia was 25% (18/72) and 52% (37/72), respectively. The incidence of immediate VFMI was 21% (15/72). Subjective postoperative dysphonia (odds ratio, [OR] 8; 95% CI, 2.2-28; = .001) and dysphagia (OR, 22; 95% CI, 2.5-168; = .005) were significantly associated with increased risk of VFMI. Three patients with VFMI required temporary injection medialization for voice complaints and/or aspiration. Infection (OR, 14; 95% CI, 1.4-147, = .025) and level C7/T1 (OR, 5.5; 95% CI, 1.3-23, = .02) were significantly associated with an increased risk of acute VFMI on multivariate logistic regression analysis. Number of prior surgeries, laterality of approach, side of approach relative to prior operations, and number of levels exposed were not significant.

Conclusion: Early involvement of an otolaryngologist in the care of a patient undergoing revision ACDF can be helpful to the patient in anticipation of voice and swallowing changes in the postoperative period. This may be particularly important in those being treated at C7/T1 or those with spinal infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0194599820926133DOI Listing
October 2020

Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Spinal Cord Injury (TRACK-SCI): an overview of initial enrollment and demographics.

Neurosurg Focus 2020 05;48(5):E6

1Brain and Spinal Injury Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital; Departments of.

Objective: Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a dreaded condition that can lead to paralysis and severe disability. With few treatment options available for patients who have suffered from SCI, it is important to develop prospective databases to standardize data collection in order to develop new therapeutic approaches and guidelines. Here, the authors present an overview of their multicenter, prospective, observational patient registry, Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in SCI (TRACK-SCI).

Methods: Data were collected using the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) common data elements (CDEs). Highly granular clinical information, in addition to standardized imaging, biospecimen, and follow-up data, were included in the registry. Surgical approaches were determined by the surgeon treating each patient; however, they were carefully documented and compared within and across study sites. Follow-up visits were scheduled for 6 and 12 months after injury.

Results: One hundred sixty patients were enrolled in the TRACK-SCI study. In this overview, basic clinical, imaging, neurological severity, and follow-up data on these patients are presented. Overall, 78.8% of the patients were determined to be surgical candidates and underwent spinal decompression and/or stabilization. Follow-up rates to date at 6 and 12 months are 45% and 36.3%, respectively. Overall resources required for clinical research coordination are also discussed.

Conclusions: The authors established the feasibility of SCI CDE implementation in a multicenter, prospective observational study. Through the application of standardized SCI CDEs and expansion of future multicenter collaborations, they hope to advance SCI research and improve treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.2.FOCUS191030DOI Listing
May 2020

The impact of obesity on perioperative complications in patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Apr 24:1-10. Epub 2020 Apr 24.

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

Objective: Anterior approaches to the lumbar spine provide wide exposure that facilitates placement of large grafts with high fusion rates. There are limited data on the effects of obesity on perioperative complications.

Methods: Data from consecutive patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) from 2007 to 2016 at a single academic center were analyzed. The primary outcome was any perioperative complication. Complications were divided into those occurring intraoperatively and those occurring postoperatively. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of obesity and other variables with these complications. An estimation table was used to identify a body mass index (BMI) threshold associated with increased risk of postoperative complication.

Results: A total of 938 patients were identified, and the mean age was 57 years; 511 were females (54.5%). The mean BMI was 28.7 kg/m2, with 354 (37.7%) patients classified as obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Forty patients (4.3%) underwent a lateral transthoracic approach, while the remaining 898 (95.7%) underwent a transabdominal retroperitoneal approach. Among patients undergoing transabdominal retroperitoneal ALIF, complication rates were higher for obese patients than for nonobese patients (37.0% vs 28.7%, p = 0.010), a difference that was driven primarily by postoperative complications (36.1% vs 26.0%, p = 0.001) rather than intraoperative complications (3.2% vs 4.3%, p = 0.416). Obese patients had higher rates of ileus (11.7% vs 7.2%, p = 0.020), wound complications (11.4% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001), and urinary tract infections (UTI) (5.0% vs 2.5%, p = 0.049). In a multivariate model, age, obesity, and number of ALIF levels fused were associated with an increased risk of postoperative complication. An estimation table including 19 candidate cut-points, odds ratios, and adjusted p values found a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 to have the highest association with postoperative complication (p = 0.012).

Conclusions: Obesity is associated with increased postoperative complications in ALIF, including ileus, wound complications, and UTI. ALIF is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients with a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 should be counseled on their increased risks and warrant careful preoperative medical optimization and close monitoring in the postoperative setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.2.SPINE191418DOI Listing
April 2020

Validation of the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury scale in the pediatric population.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Apr 10:1-6. Epub 2020 Apr 10.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio.

Objective: While the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been effective in describing severity in traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is no current method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention. This study utilizes a recently developed scoring system, the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI) scale, which was developed to efficiently communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in adult patients with TBI. The objective of this study was to apply the SITI scale to a pediatric population to provide a tool to increase communication of possible surgical urgency.

Methods: The SITI scale uses both radiographic and clinical findings, including the GCS score on presentation, pupillary examination, and CT findings. To examine the scale in pediatric TBI, a neurotrauma database at a level 1 pediatric trauma center was retrospectively evaluated, and the SITI score for all patients with an admission diagnosis of TBI between 2010 and 2015 was calculated. The primary endpoint was operative intervention, defined as a craniotomy or craniectomy for decompression, performed within the first 24 hours of admission.

Results: A total of 1524 patients met inclusion criteria for the study during the 5-year span: 1469 (96.4%) were managed nonoperatively and 55 (3.6%) patients underwent emergent operative intervention. The mean SITI score was 4.98 ± 0.31 for patients undergoing surgical intervention and 0.41 ± 0.02 for patients treated nonoperatively (p < 0.0001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve was used to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the SITI scale in this pediatric population and was found to be 0.98. Further evaluation of patients presenting with moderate to severe TBI revealed a mean SITI score of 5.51 ± 0.31 in 40 (15.3%) operative patients and 1.55 ± 0.02 in 221 (84.7%) nonoperative patients, with an AUROC curve of 0.95.

Conclusions: The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective communication tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of this scale to a pediatric population reveals that the score correlated with the perceived need for emergent surgical intervention, further suggesting its potential utility in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.2.PEDS19474DOI Listing
April 2020

Spinal column shortening versus revision detethering for recurrent adult tethered cord syndrome: a preliminary comparison of perioperative and clinical outcomes.

J Neurosurg Spine 2020 Feb 7:1-7. Epub 2020 Feb 7.

1Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco, California.

Objective: Recurrent tethered cord syndrome (TCS), believed to result from tension on the distal portion of the spinal cord, causes a constellation of neurological symptoms. Detethering surgery has been the traditional treatment for TCS. However, in cases of recurrent TCS, there is a risk of new neurological deficits developing, and subsequent retethering is difficult to prevent. Spinal column shortening has been proposed as an alternative technique to reduce the tension on the spinal cord without incurring the morbidity of revision surgery on the spinal cord. The authors compared the perioperative outcomes and morbidity of patients who were treated with one or the other procedure.

Methods: The medical records of 16 adult patients with recurrent TCS who were treated between 2005 and 2018 were reviewed. Eight patients underwent spinal column shortening, and 8 patients underwent revision detethering surgery. Patient demographics, clinical outcomes, and perioperative factors were analyzed. The authors include a video to illustrate their technique of spinal column shortening.

Results: Within the spinal column shortening group, no patients experienced any complications, and all 8 patients either improved or stabilized with regard to lower-extremity and bowel and bladder function. Within the revision detethering group, 2 patients had worsening of lower-extremity strength, 3 patients had worsening of bowel and bladder function, and 1 patient had improvement in bladder function. Also, 3 patients had wound-related complications. The median estimated blood loss was 731 ml in the shortening group and 163 ml in the revision detethering group. The median operative time was 358 minutes in the shortening group and 226 minutes in the revision detethering group.

Conclusions: Clinical outcomes were comparable between the groups, but none of the spinal column shortening patients experienced worsening, whereas 3 of the revision detethering patients did and also had wound-related complications. Although the operative times and blood loss were higher in the spinal column shortening group, this procedure may be an alternative to revision detethering in extremely scarred or complex wound revision cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.12.SPINE19659DOI Listing
February 2020

Risk factors for deep surgical site infection following thoracolumbar spinal surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 2019 Nov 1;32(2):292-301. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

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

Objective: Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery causes major morbidity and greatly impedes functional recovery. In the modern era of advanced operative techniques and improved perioperative care, SSI remains a problematic complication that may be reduced with institutional practices. The objectives of this study were to 1) characterize the SSI rate and microbial etiology following spine surgery for various thoracolumbar diseases, and 2) identify risk factors that were associated with SSI despite current perioperative management.

Methods: All patients treated with thoracic or lumbar spine operations on the neurosurgery service at the University of California, San Francisco from April 2012 to April 2016 were formally reviewed for SSI using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) guidelines. Preoperative risk variables included age, sex, BMI, smoking, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), ambulatory status, history of malignancy, use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Operative variables included surgical pathology, resident involvement, spine level and surgical technique, instrumentation, antibiotic and steroid use, estimated blood loss (EBL), and operative time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors for SSI. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.

Results: In total, 2252 consecutive patients underwent thoracolumbar spine surgery. The mean patient age was 58.6 ± 13.8 years and 49.6% were male. The mean hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 7.4 days. Sixty percent of patients had degenerative conditions, and 51.9% underwent fusions. Sixty percent of patients utilized presurgery CHG showers. The mean operative duration was 3.7 ± 2 hours, and the mean EBL was 467 ± 829 ml. Compared to nonfusion patients, fusion patients were older (mean 60.1 ± 12.7 vs 57.1 ± 14.7 years, p < 0.001), were more likely to have an ASA classification > II (48.0% vs 36.0%, p < 0.001), and experienced longer operative times (252.3 ± 120.9 minutes vs 191.1 ± 110.2 minutes, p < 0.001). Eleven patients had deep SSI (0.49%), and the most common causative organisms were methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients with CAD (p = 0.003) or DM (p = 0.050), and those who were male (p = 0.006), were predictors of increased odds of SSI, and presurgery CHG showers (p = 0.001) were associated with decreased odds of SSI.

Conclusions: This institutional experience over a 4-year period revealed that the overall rate of SSI by the NHSN criteria was low at 0.49% following thoracolumbar surgery. This was attributable to the implementation of presurgery optimization, and intraoperative and postoperative measures to prevent SSI across the authors’ institution. Despite prevention measures, having a history of CAD or DM, and being male, were risk factors associated with increased SSI, and presurgery CHG shower utilization decreased SSI risk in patients.

Abbreviations: ASA = American Society of Anesthesiologists; CAD = coronary artery disease; CHG = chlorhexidine gluconate; CI = confidence interval; DM = diabetes mellitus; EBL = estimated blood loss; LOS = length of stay; MIS = minimally invasive surgery; MRSA = methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; MRSE = methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis; MSSA = methicillin-sensitive S. aureus; MSSE = methicillin-sensitive S. epidermidis; NHSN = National Healthcare Safety Network; OR = odds ratio; SSI = surgical site infection.
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November 2019

Clinical Implementation of Novel Spinal Cord Perfusion Pressure Protocol in Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury at U.S. Level I Trauma Center: TRACK-SCI Study.

World Neurosurg 2020 Jan 14;133:e391-e396. Epub 2019 Sep 14.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA; Brain and Spinal Injury Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: We sought to report the safety of implementation of a novel standard of care protocol using spinal cord perfusion pressure (SCPP) maintenance for managing traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in lieu of mean arterial pressure goals at a U.S. Level I trauma center.

Methods: Starting in December 2017, blunt SCI patients presenting <24 hours after injury with admission American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) A-C (or AIS D at neurosurgeon discretion) received lumbar subarachnoid drain (LSAD) placement for SCPP monitoring in the intensive care unit and were included in the TRACK-SCI (Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Spinal Cord Injury) data registry. This SCPP protocol comprises standard care at our institution. SCPPs were monitored for 5 days (goal ≥65 mm Hg) achieved through intravenous fluids and vasopressor support. AISs were assessed at admission and day 7.

Results: Fifteen patients enrolled to date were aged 60.5 ± 17 years. Injury levels were 93.3% (cervical) and 6.7% (thoracic). Admission AIS was 20.0%/20.0%/26.7%/33.3% for A/B/C/D. All patients maintained mean SCPP ≥65 mm Hg during monitoring. Fourteen of 15 cases required surgical decompression and stabilization with time to surgery 8.8 ± 7.1 hours (71.4% <12 hours). At day 7, 33.3% overall and 50% of initial AIS A-C had an improved AIS. Length of stay was 14.7 ± 8.3 days. None had LSAD-related complications. There were 7 respiratory complications. One patient expired after transfer to comfort care.

Conclusions: In our initial experience of 15 patients with acute SCI, standardized SCPP goal-directed care based on LSAD monitoring for 5 days was feasible. There were no SCPP-related complications. This is the first report of SCPP implementation as clinical standard of care in acute SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.09.044DOI Listing
January 2020

Pediatric firearm-related traumatic brain injury in United States trauma centers.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2019 Sep 6:1-11. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

2Brain and Spinal Injury Center, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco; and.

Objective: Pediatric firearm injury is a leading cause of death and disability in the youth of the United States. The epidemiology of and outcomes following gunshot wounds to the head (GSWHs) are in need of systematic characterization. Here, the authors analyzed pediatric GSWHs from a population-based sample to identify predictors of prolonged hospitalization, morbidity, and death.

Methods: All patients younger than 18 years of age and diagnosed with a GSWH in the National Sample Program (NSP) of the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) in 2003-2012 were eligible for inclusion in this study. Variables of interest included injury intent, firearm type, site of incident, age, sex, race, health insurance, geographic region, trauma center level, isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypotension in the emergency department, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, and Injury Severity Score (ISS). Risk predictors for a prolonged hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality were identified. Odds ratios, mean increases or decreases (B), and 95% confidence intervals were reported. Statistical significance was assessed at α < 0.001 accounting for multiple comparisons.

Results: In a weighted sample of 2847 pediatric patients with GSWHs, the mean age was 14.8 ± 3.3 years, 79.2% were male, and 59.0% had severe TBI (GCS score 3-8). The mechanism of assault (63.0%), the handgun as firearm (45.6%), and an injury incurred in a residential area (40.6%) were most common. The mean hospital length of stay was 11.6 ± 14.4 days for the survivors, for whom suicide injuries involved longer hospitalizations (B = 5.9-day increase, 95% CI 3.3-8.6, p < 0.001) relative to those for accidental injuries. Mortality was 45.1% overall but was greater with injury due to suicidal intent (mortality 71.5%, p < 0.001) or caused by a shotgun (mortality 56.5%, p < 0.001). Lower GCS scores, higher ISSs, and emergency room hypotension predicted poorer outcomes. Patients with private insurance had lower mortality odds than those with Medicare/Medicaid (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.7-3.4, p < 0.001) or government insurance (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.2-5.8, p < 0.001). Management at level II centers, compared to level I, was associated with lower odds of returning home (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2-0.5, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: From 2003 to 2012, with regard to pediatric TBI hospitalizations due to GSWHs, their proportion remained stable, those caused by accidental injuries decreased, and those attributable to suicide increased. Overall mortality was 45%. Hypotension, cranial and overall injury severity, and suicidal intent were associated with poor prognoses. Patients treated at level II trauma centers had lower odds of being discharged home. Given the spectrum of risk factors that predispose children to GSWHs, emphasis on screening, parental education, and standardization of critical care management is needed to improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.5.PEDS19119DOI Listing
September 2019

Empirical targets for acute hemodynamic management of individuals with spinal cord injury.

Neurology 2019 09 13;93(12):e1205-e1211. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

From the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (J.W.S., C.R.W., B.K.K.); MD/PhD Training Program (J.W.S.), School of Kinesiology (C.R.W.), and Department of Orthopaedics (R.C.-M., J.S., T.A., S. Paquette, N.D., C.G.F., M.F.D.), University of British Columbia; Vancouver Spine Program (L.M.B., A.T., L.R.), Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia; Department of Surgery (J.-M.M.-T., S. Parent), Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, and Chu Sainte-Justine (S.C.), Department of Surgery, Université de Montréal, Quebec; Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (C.B.), London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, Canada; Department of Neurological Surgery (S.D.), University of California, San Francisco; Vancouver Spine Surgery Institute (R.C.-M., J.S., T.A., S. Paquette, N.D., C.G.F., M.F.D., B.K.K.); and Division of Neurosurgery (B.K.K.), University of British Columbia, Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, Vancouver, Canada.

Objective: To determine the hemodynamic conditions associated with optimal neurologic improvement in individuals with acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) who had lumbar intrathecal catheters placed to measure CSF pressure (CSFP).

Methods: Ninety-two individuals with acute SCI were enrolled in this multicenter prospective observational clinical trial. We monitored mean arterial pressure (MAP) and CSFP during the first week after injury and assessed neurologic function at baseline and 6 months after injury. We used relative risk iterations to determine transition points at which the likelihood of either improving neurologically or remaining unchanged neurologically was equivalent. These transition points guided our analyses in which we examined the linear relationships between time spent within target hemodynamic ranges (i.e., clinical adherence) and neurologic recovery.

Results: Relative risk transition points for CSFP, MAP, and spinal cord perfusion pressure (SCPP) were linearly associated with neurologic improvement and directed the identification of key hemodynamic target ranges. Clinical adherence to the target ranges was positively and linearly related to improved neurologic outcomes. Adherence to SCPP targets, not MAP targets, was the best indicator of improved neurologic recovery, which occurred with SCPP targets of 60 to 65 mm Hg. Failing to maintain the SCPP within the target ranges was an important detrimental factor in neurologic recovery, particularly if the target range is set lower.

Conclusion: We provide an empirical, data-driven approach to aid institutions in setting hemodynamic management targets that accept the real-life challenges of adherence to specific targets. Our results provide a framework to guide the development of widespread institutional management guidelines for acute traumatic SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000008125DOI Listing
September 2019

The Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury Scale: A Clinical Tool for Traumatic Brain Injury.

West J Emerg Med 2019 Jul 18;20(4):578-584. Epub 2019 Jun 18.

Nationwide Children's Hospital, Center for Pediatric Trauma Research, Columbus, Ohio.

Introduction: There is no widely used method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study describes a scoring system designed to communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in TBI patients. The scoring system, named the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI), was designed to be objective and easy to use.

Methods: The SITI scale uses radiographic and clinical findings, including the Glasgow Coma Scale Score, pupil examination, and findings noted on computed tomography. To examine the scale, we used the patient database for the Progesterone for the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury III (ProTECT III) trial, and retrospectively applied the SITI scale to these patients.

Results: Of the 871 patients reviewed, 164 (18.8%) underwent craniotomy or craniectomy, and 707 (81.2%) were treated nonoperatively. The mean SITI score was 5.1 for patients who underwent surgery and 2.5 for patients treated nonoperatively (P<0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.887.

Conclusion: The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective, clinical decision tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of the SITI scale to the ProTECT III database demonstrated that a score of 3 or more was well associated with a perceived need for surgical decompression. These results further demonstrate the potential utility of the SITI scale in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2019.4.41802DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6625684PMC
July 2019

Value of aggressive surgical and intensive care unit in elderly patients with traumatic spinal cord injury.

Neurosurg Focus 2019 03;46(3):E3

Departments of1Neurological Surgery.

OBJECTIVEThe elderly are a growing subpopulation within traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. Studies have reported high morbidity and mortality rates in elderly patients who undergo surgery for SCI. In this study, the authors compare the perioperative outcomes of surgically managed elderly SCI patients with those of a younger cohort and those reported in the literature.METHODSData on a consecutive series of adult traumatic SCI patients surgically managed at a single institution in the period from 2007 to 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. The cohort was divided into two groups based on age: younger than 70 years and 70 years or older. Assessed outcomes included complications, in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, hospital length of stay (LOS), disposition, and neurological status.RESULTSA total of 106 patients were included in the study: 83 young and 23 elderly. The two groups were similar in terms of imaging features (cord hemorrhage and fracture), operative technique, and American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade. The elderly had a significantly higher proportion of cervical SCIs (95.7% vs 71.1%, p = 0.047). There were no significant differences between the young and the elderly in terms of the ICU stay (13.1 vs 13.3 days, respectively, p = 0.948) and hospital LOS (23.3 vs 21.7 days, p = 0.793). Elderly patients experienced significantly higher complication (73.9% vs 43.4%, p = 0.010) and mortality (13.0% vs 1.2%, p = 0.008) rates; in other words, the elderly patients had 1.7 times and 10.8 times the rate of complications and mortality, respectively, than the younger patients. No elderly patients were discharged home (0.0% vs 18.1%, p = 0.029). Discharge AIS grade and AIS grade change were similar between the groups.CONCLUSIONSElderly patients had higher complication and mortality rates than those in younger patients and were less likely to be discharged home. However, it does seem that mortality rates have improved compared to those in prior historical reports.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.12.FOCUS18555DOI Listing
March 2019

Introduction. Acute spinal cord injury.

Neurosurg Focus 2019 03;46(3):E1

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.1.FOCUS1912DOI Listing
March 2019

MicroRNA Biomarkers in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Serum Reflect Injury Severity in Human Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2019 08 14;36(15):2358-2371. Epub 2019 May 14.

1International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition with variability in injury mechanisms and neurologic recovery. Spinal cord impairment after SCI is measured and classified by a widely accepted standard neurological examination. In the very acute stages post-injury, however, this examination is extremely challenging (and often impossible) to conduct and has modest prognostic value in terms of neurological recovery. The lack of objective tools to classify injury severity and predict outcome is a barrier for clinical trials and thwarts development of therapies for those with SCI. Biological markers (biomarkers) represent a promising, complementary approach to these challenges because they represent an unbiased approach to classify injury severity and predict neurological outcome. Identification of a suitable panel of molecular biomarkers would comprise a fundamental shift in how patients with acute SCI are evaluated, stratified, and treated in clinical trials. MicroRNA are attractive biomarker candidates in neurological disorders for several reasons, including their stability in biological fluids, their conservation between humans and model mammals, and their tissue specificity. In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to identify microRNA associated with injury severity within the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of human patients with acute SCI. The CSF and serum samples were obtained 1-5 days post-injury from 39 patients with acute SCI (24 American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale [AIS] A, 8 AIS B, 7 AIS C) and from five non-SCI controls. We identified a severity-dependent pattern of change in microRNA expression in CSF and identified a set of microRNA that are diagnostic of baseline AIS classification and prognostic of neurological outcome six months post-injury. The data presented here provide a comprehensive description of the CSF and serum microRNA expression changes that occur after acute human SCI. This data set reveals microRNA candidates that warrant further evaluation as biomarkers of injury severity after SCI and as key regulators in other neurological disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.6256DOI Listing
August 2019

Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome - Evolution of Extrapontine Before Pontine Myelinolysis on Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

J Neurosci Rural Pract 2019 Jan-Mar;10(1):126-135

Department of Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India.

Osmotic demyelination syndrome is a rare entity characterized by noninflammatory demyelination afflicting the central pons, basal ganglia, thalami, peripheral cortex, and hippocampi. Histopathologically, there is a destruction of myelin sheaths sparing the underlying neuronal axons due to the susceptibility of oligodendrocytes to rapid osmotic shifts often encountered in chronically debilitated patients. We present the temporal progression of signal abnormalities on sequential magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in a middle-aged male initially presenting with altered mental status due to severe hyponatremia and subsequently developing rigidity, diagnosed as osmotic demyelination syndrome based on typical imaging findings and supportive laboratory parameters. This case demonstrates the importance of diffusion signal abnormalities as the first indicator of osmotic demyelination, evolution of extrapontine before pontine signal changes and the relative lack of correlation between patient's clinical profile and the extent of MRI signal abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_240_18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6337981PMC
February 2019

MR Imaging for Assessing Injury Severity and Prognosis in Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.

Radiol Clin North Am 2019 Mar 17;57(2):319-339. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, Room M779, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA; Brain and Spinal Injury Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.

T2-weighted (T2W) imaging is the most important sequence for detection of acute traumatic spinal cord pathology in clinical practice. Intramedullary hemorrhage on T2W imaging is associated with some component of irreversible injury and arguably the most robust MR imaging predictor of injury severity. The MR imaging appearance of the injured spinal cord in the early stages of injury is highly dynamic, and the time delay from injury to imaging must be considered in image interpretation. Diffusion imaging offers promise as specific tool for interrogating spinal cord integrity, although well-designed, prospective clinical studies validating its application remain limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rcl.2018.09.004DOI Listing
March 2019

Chlorhexidine Showers are Associated With a Reduction in Surgical Site Infection Following Spine Surgery: An Analysis of 4266 Consecutive Surgeries.

Neurosurgery 2019 12;85(6):817-826

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common complication following spinal surgery. Prevention is critical to maintaining safe patient care and reducing additional costs associated with treatment.

Objective: To determine the efficacy of preoperative chlorhexidine (CHG) showers on SSI rates following fusion and nonfusion spine surgery.

Methods: A mandatory preoperative CHG shower protocol was implemented at our institution in November 2013. A cohort comparison of 4266 consecutive patients assessed differences in SSI rates for the pre- and postimplementation periods. Subgroup analysis was performed on the type of spinal surgery (eg, fusion vs nonfusion). Data represent all spine surgeries performed between April 2012 and April 2016.

Results: The overall mean SSI rate was 0.4%. There was no significant difference between the pre- (0.7%) and postimplementation periods (0.2%; P = .08). Subgroup analysis stratified by procedure type showed that the SSI rate for the nonfusion patients was significantly lower in the post- (0.1%) than the preimplementation group (0.7%; P = .02). There was no significant difference between SSI rates for the pre- (0.8%) and postimplementation groups (0.3%) for the fusion cohort (P = .21). In multivariate analysis, the implementation of preoperative CHG showers were associated with significantly decreased odds of SSI (odds ratio = 0.15, 95% confidence interval [0.03-0.55], P < .01).

Conclusion: This is the largest study investigating the efficacy of preoperative CHG showers on SSI following spinal surgery. In adjusted multivariate analysis, CHG showering was associated with a significant decrease in SSI following spinal surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyy568DOI Listing
December 2019
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