Demetrius E M Litwin

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (60)174.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Determine which management strategy is ideal for patients with acute cholecystitis. Materials and methods: Prospective enrollment between August 2009 and March 2011. Large academic center. Patients with acute cholecystitis. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, intravenous antibiotics followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy or percutaneous cholecystostomy. Primary endpoints were postoperative complications and 30-day mortality. Results: A total of 162 patients were enrolled, 53 (33%) with simple acute cholecystitis and 109 (67%) with complex acute cholecystitis. Of the 109 patients with complex cholecystitis, 77 (70.6%) underwent successful laparoscopic cholecystectomy during the same hospital admission and 6 patients (5.5%) had an unsuccessful laparoscopic cholecystectomy requiring conversion to cholecystostomy. Radiology performed cholecystostomy in 19 (11.7%) patients with complex acute cholecystitis and 4 (2.5%) patients with simple acute cholecystitis for a total 23 patients of the 162 patients in the study. Nine of the 23 patients had dislodged tubes (39.1%). Two of the 23 patients (8.7%) had significant bile leaks resulting in either sepsis or emergency surgery. One patient (4.3%) had a wound infection. Overall, patients with complex acute cholecystitis had a higher morbidity rate (31.2%) compared with patients with simple acute cholecystitis (26.4%). Conclusions and relevance: A high complication rate seen with radiology placed percutaneous cholecystostomy tubes prompted our center to reevaluate the treatment algorithm used to treat patients with complex acute cholecystitis. Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered to be the gold standard in the treatment of acute cholecystitis, if laparoscopic cholecystectomy is not felt to be safe due to gallbladder wall thickening or symptoms of >72 hours' duration, we now encourage the use of intravenous antibiotics to "cool" patients down followed by interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy approximately 6 to 8 weeks later. Patients who do not respond to antibiotics should undergo attempted laparoscopic cholecystectomy and if unable to be performed safely, a laparoscopic cholecystostomy tube can be placed under direct visualization for decompression followed by interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy at a later date.
    Surgical laparoscopy, endoscopy & percutaneous techniques 09/2014; 24(5). DOI:10.1097/SLE.0000000000000075 · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Management of patients with severe acute cholecystitis (AC) remains controversial. In settings where laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) can be technically challenging or medical risks are exceedingly high, surgeons can choose between different options, including LC conversion to open cholecystectomy or surgical cholecystostomy tube (CCT) placement, or initial percutaneous CCT. We reviewed our experience treating complicated AC with CCT at a tertiary-care academic medical center. All adult patients (n = 185) admitted with a primary diagnosis of AC and who received CCT from 2002 to 2010 were identified retrospectively through billing and diagnosis codes. Mean patient age was 71 years and 80% had ≥1 comorbidity (mean 2.6). Seventy-eight percent of CCTs were percutaneous CCT placement and 22% were surgical CCT placement. Median length of stay from CCT insertion to discharge was 4 days. The majority (57%) of patients eventually underwent cholecystectomy performed by 20 different surgeons in a median of 63 days post-CCT (range 3 to 1,055 days); of these, 86% underwent LC and 13% underwent open conversion or open cholecystectomy. In the radiology and surgical group, 50% and 80% underwent subsequent cholecystectomy, respectively, at a median of 63 and 60 days post-CCT. Whether surgical or percutaneous CCT placement, approximately the same proportion of patients (85% to 86%) underwent LC as definitive treatment. This 9-year experience shows that use of CCT in complicated AC can be a desirable alternative to open cholecystectomy that allows most patients to subsequently undergo LC. Additional studies are underway to determine the differences in cost, training paradigms, and quality of life in this increasingly high-risk surgical population.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 12/2011; 214(2):196-201. DOI:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2011.11.005 · 5.12 Impact Factor
  • Hongyi Cui · John J Kelly · Demetrius E M Litwin ·
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    ABSTRACT: Single-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) may increase the risk of bile duct injury due to compromised operative exposure. Dome-down laparoscopic cholecystectomy provides the ability to evaluate the cystic duct circumferentially prior to its division, thus minimizing the risks of bile duct injury. This study assesses the feasibility and safety of SILC using a modified dome-down approach with all conventional laparoscopic instruments. Three low-profile 5-mm trocars are placed via a single transumbilical incision. The two working trocars are aimed laterally via the rectus to achieve adequate triangulation. An extralong 5-mm 30º laparoscope with an L-shaped light-cord adaptor is used to yield more external working space. Cephalic liver retraction is achieved with one transabdominal suture through the gallbladder fundus. Leaving the gallbladder fundus attached to the liver bed, a window is first created between the gallbladder body and the liver. The dissection is then carried down retrograde toward the porta hepatis. A 360º view of the gallbladder-cystic duct junction is achieved prior to transecting the cystic duct. The gallbladder is then freed by separation of the fundal attachments. The specimen is retrieved by enlarging the fascial incision. All fascial defects are then primarily closed. Sixteen patients (mean age 31 years, mean BMI 26.3 kg/m(2)) were enrolled in this study. Thirteen had elective surgery for symptomatic cholelithiasis, and three had emergency surgery for acute cholecystitis. Mean operating time was 80.3 min, and blood loss was minimal. All patients were discharged within 24 h without complications. Follow-up at 1 month revealed a barely visible scar within the umbilicus. SILC using a modified dome-down approach is technically feasible with all straight instruments, and it is safe because of good delineation of ductal anatomy. Adoption of this approach may minimize the risk of bile duct injury during early experience of SILC.
    Surgical Endoscopy 11/2011; 26(4):1153-9. DOI:10.1007/s00464-011-1985-6 · 3.26 Impact Factor
  • Mitchell A Cahan · Susan Starr · Anne C Larkin · Demetrius E M Litwin · Kate M Sullivan · Mark E Quirk ·
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    ABSTRACT: Promoting a culture of teaching may encourage students to choose a surgical career. Teaching in a human factors (HF) curriculum, the nontechnical skills of surgery, is associated with surgeons' stronger identity as teachers and with clinical students' improved perception of surgery and satisfaction with the clerkship experience. To describe the effects of an HF curriculum on teaching culture in surgery. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, AND INTERVENTION: Surgeons and educators developed an HF curriculum including communication, teamwork, and work-life balance. Teacher identity, student interest in a surgical career, student perception of the HF curriculum, and teaching awards. Ninety-two of 123 faculty and residents in a single program (75% of total) completed a survey on teacher identity. Fifteen of the participants were teachers of HF. Teachers of HF scored higher than control participants on the total score for teacher identity (P < .001) and for subcategories of global teacher identity (P = .001), intrinsic satisfaction (P = .001), skills and knowledge (P = .006), belonging to a group of teachers (P < .001), feeling a responsibility to teach (P = .008), receiving rewards (P =.01), and HF (P = .02). Third-year clerks indicated that they were more likely to select surgery as their career after the clerkship and rated the curriculum higher when it was taught by surgeons than when taught by educators. Of the teaching awards presented to surgeons during HF years, 100% of those awarded to attending physicians and 80% of those awarded to residents went to teachers of HF. Curricular focus on HF can strengthen teacher identity, improve teacher evaluations, and promote surgery as a career choice.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 07/2011; 146(7):830-4. DOI:10.1001/archsurg.2011.157 · 4.93 Impact Factor
  • Sean B Orenstein · Gordie K Kaban · Demetrius E Litwin · Yuri W Novitsky ·
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    ABSTRACT: Although the immunologic benefits of laparoscopic surgery have been established, effects from hand-assisted (HA) surgery have not been investigated thoroughly. We hypothesized that the HA approach maintains the immunologic advantage of laparoscopic surgery compared with the open (O) approach. Six O, HA, and laparoscopic (L) transabdominal left nephrectomies were performed on pigs. Blood samples were taken preoperatively, perioperatively, and postoperatively, and serum interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels were measured. At 24 hours after surgery, interleukin-6 levels were significantly higher in the O group vs the HA and L groups (82.2 vs 37.5 and 29.9 pg/mL, respectively; P < .05). Similar trends were seen at all time periods for both IL-6 and C-reactive protein. No significant differences in postoperative cytokine levels were detected between the HA and L groups. The HA approach mimics the immunologic effects of laparoscopic surgery. These data suggest that the HA technique resulted in a reduced systemic immune activation in the early perioperative period when compared with open surgery. In addition to clinical benefits of minimal access, the HA approach also may afford patients an immunologic advantage over laparotomy.
    American journal of surgery 07/2011; 202(1):97-102. DOI:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2010.09.026 · 2.29 Impact Factor
  • Anthony M. Burrows · Julie G. Pilitsis · Lynn Levecque · Richard P. Moser · Demetrius E. M. Litwin ·
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    ABSTRACT: Background: It has been four years since the introduction of universal health care coverage in Massachusetts. Our initial assessment performed from 2007-2008 demonstrated largely positive results. Objectives: We performed a follow-up study to assess the long term financial impact of universal health care on hospital charges associated with neurosurgical operative cases at our institution. Methods: The billing records from July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010 were compared to those from 2007 and 2008. Records were analyzed for length of stay, case mix, patient age, hospital charge, reimbursement, and procedure. Results: Case volume increased by 31% and mean acuity increased from 2.3 to 3.1 (p < 0.005). Hospital stays lengthened by 1 day (p < 0.005). Payor mix changed over this time with Commonwealth Care and Medicaid comprising 2.9% and 12.4%, respectively, of neurosurgical inpatients; neither had significantly different acuity or lengths of stay. Despite an increase in case volume by 31% and significantly increased acuity in 2010, revenue increased 14% over early reform data. When volume was normalized, extrapolations of pre-reform and early reform coverage on current financials demonstrated that the change in payor mix alone had decreased revenue by 30% and 24%, respectively. When modifying 2010 financials by considering 2007 reimbursement rates and 2007 payor mix, these changes together resulted in a revenue reduction of 36%. Conclusions: Taken together, our data suggests that revenue associated with hospital charges for neurosurgical inpatients has decreased significantly since health care reform went into effect.
  • Demetrius E.M. Litwin · Erica B Sneider · Patrick M McEnaney · Brian D Busconi ·
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    ABSTRACT: Athletic pubalgia or sports hernia is a syndrome of chronic lower abdomen and groin pain that may occur in athletes and nonathletes. Because the differential diagnosis of chronic lower abdomen and groin pain is so broad, only a small number of patients with chronic lower abdomen and groin pain fulfill the diagnostic criteria of athletic pubalgia (sports hernia). The literature published to date regarding the cause, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of sports hernias is confusing. This article summarizes the current information and our present approach to this chronic lower abdomen and groin pain syndrome.
    Clinics in sports medicine 04/2011; 30(2):417-34. DOI:10.1016/j.csm.2010.12.010 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early introduction of a full-day human factors training experience into the surgical clerkship curriculum will teach effective communication skills and strategies to gain professional satisfaction from a career in surgery. In pilot 1, which took place between July 1, 2007, and December 31, 2008, 50 students received training and 50 did not; all received testing at the end of the rotation for comparison of control vs intervention group performance. In pilot 2, a total of 50 students were trained and received testing before and after rotation to examine individual change over time. University of Massachusetts Medical School. A total of 148 third-year medical students in required 12-week surgical clerkship rotations. Full-day training with lecture and small-group exercises, cotaught by surgeons and educators, with focus on empathetic communication, time management, and teamwork skills. Empathetic communication skill, teamwork, and patient safety attitudes and self-reported use of time management strategies. Empathy scores were not higher for trained vs untrained groups in pilot 1 but improved from 2.32 to 3.45 on a 5-point scale (P < .001) in pilot 2. Students also were more likely to ask for the nurse's perspective and to seek agreement on an action plan after team communication training (pilot 1, f = 7.52, P = .007; pilot 2, t = 2.65, P = .01). Results were mixed for work-life balance, with some trained groups scoring significantly lower than untrained groups in pilot 1 and no significant improvement shown in pilot 2. The significant increase in student-patient communication scores suggests that a brief focused presentation followed by simulation of difficult patient encounters can be successful. A video demonstration can improve interdisciplinary teamwork.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 12/2010; 145(12):1151-7. DOI:10.1001/archsurg.2010.252 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the development and implementation of a pilot human factors curriculum during a 2-year period. It is one component of a comprehensive 5-year human factors curriculum spanning core competencies of interpersonal and communication skills, systems-based practice, and professionalism and using low-and high-fidelity simulation techniques. Members of the Department of Surgery and the Center for Clinical Communication and Performance Outcomes jointly constructed a curriculum for PGY1 and PGY2 residents on topics ranging from challenging communication to time and stress management. Video demonstrations, triggers, and simulated scenarios involving acting patients were created by surgeons and medical educators. Pre- and postintervention measures were obtained for communication skills, perceived stress level, and teamwork. Communication skills were evaluated using a series of video vignettes. The validated Perceived Stress Scale and Teamwork and Patient Safety Attitudes survey were used. Residents' perceptions of the program were also measured. Twenty-seven PGY1 residents and 15 PGY2 residents participated during 2 years. Analyses of video vignette tests indicated significant improvement in empathic communication for PGY1 (t = 3.62, p = 0.001) and PGY2 (t = 5.00, p = 0.004). There were no significant changes to teamwork attitudes. Perceived levels of stress became considerably higher. PGY1 residents reported trying 1 to 3 strategies taught in the time management session, with 60% to 75% reporting improvement post-training. This unique and comprehensive human factors curriculum is shown to be effective in building communication competency for junior-level residents in the human and emotional aspects of surgical training and practice. Continued refinement and ongoing data acquisition and analyses are underway.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 08/2010; 211(2):285-92. DOI:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.04.004 · 5.12 Impact Factor
  • E B Sneider · M A Cahan · D E M Litwin ·
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    ABSTRACT: Laparoscopic surgery has an increasing use in today's world of general surgery, especially in the treatment of diseases such as acute appendicitis, acute cholecystitis, diverticulitis, lysis of adhesions in the setting of small bowel obstruction, incarcerated or strangulated inguinal hernia, and perforated peptic ulcer disease. The aim of this paper is to discuss the diagnosis and management of each disease while placing emphasis on the role of laparoscopy in its treatment.
    Minerva chirurgica 06/2010; 65(3):275-96. · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The advent of laparoscopy has changed the paradigm of surgical training and care delivery for the treatment of patients with acute cholecystitis (AC). Retrospective data collection and analysis. Hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of AC at a tertiary care center from January 1, 2002, to January 1, 2007. During the study period, 923 patients were admitted with a primary diagnosis of AC. One hundred fourteen patients were excluded from the study because of missing data, medical management, incomplete operative notes or documents, or metastatic gastrointestinal cancer. Patient demographics, preoperative morbidity, procedures (medical and surgical), and postoperative outcomes were statistically analyzed using chi(2) test, t test, and analysis of variance. Eight hundred nine patients (87.6%) with a primary diagnosis of AC underwent surgery by 44 surgeons. Procedures included 663 laparoscopic cholecystectomies (LCs) (82.0%), 9 open cholecystectomies (1.1%), 51 conversions from LC to open cholecystectomy (6.3%), and 86 cholecystostomy tube placements (10.6%). During the study period, cholecystostomy tube placements increased, while open cholecystectomies and conversions from LC to open cholecystectomy decreased (P < .05). Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was associated with significantly better outcomes, including shorter postsurgical stay (2.2 vs 6.3 days for other modalities) and fewer complications (8.5% vs 17.0%). Based on 5-year results from a tertiary care center, LC was performed with a low conversion rate to open surgery and was associated with decreased morbidity and mortality compared with other surgical modalities to treat AC. Our data confirm the benefits and widespread use of LC in the modern era, reflecting changes in the training paradigm and learning curve for laparoscopy.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 05/2010; 145(5):439-44. DOI:10.1001/archsurg.2010.54 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adrenalectomy remains the definitive therapy for most adrenal neoplasms. Introduced in the 1990s, laparoscopic adrenalectomy is reported to have lower associated morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to evaluate national adrenalectomy trends, including major postoperative complications and perioperative mortality. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried to identify all adrenalectomies performed during 1998-2006. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were performed, with adjustments for patient age, sex, comorbidities, indication, year of surgery, laparoscopy, hospital teaching status, and hospital volume. Annual incidence, major in-hospital postoperative complications, and in-hospital mortality were evaluated. Using weighted national estimate, 40,363 patients with a mean age of 54 years were identified. Men made up 40% of these patients, and 77% of the patients were white. The majority of adrenalectomies (83%) were performed for benign disease. The annual volume of adrenalectomies increased from 3,241 in 1998 to 5,323 in 2006 (p < 0.0001, trend analysis). The overall in-hospital mortality was 1.1%, with no significant change. Advanced age (< 45 years as the referent; ≥ 65 years: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 4.10; 95%; confidence Interval [CI], 1.66-10.10) and patient comorbidities (Charlson score 0 as the referent; Charlson score ≥ 2: AOR, 4.33; 96% CI, 2.34-8.02) were independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Indication, year, hospital teaching status, and hospital volume did not independently affect perioperative mortality. Major postoperative in-hospital complications occurred in 7.2% of the cohort, with a significant increasing trend (1998-2000 [5.9%] vs 2004-2006 [8.1%]; p < 0.0001, trend analysis). Patient comorbidities (Charlson score 0 as the referent; Charlson score ≥ 2: AOR, 4.77; 95% CI, 3.71-6.14), recent year of surgery (1998-2000 as the referent; 2004-2006: AOR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.09-1.78), and benign disease (malignant disease as the referent; benign disease: AOR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.55-2.53) were predictive of major postoperative complications at multivariable analyses, whereas laparoscopy was protective (no laparoscopy as the referent; laparoscopy: AOR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.47-0.82). Adrenalectomy is increasingly performed nationwide for both benign and malignant indications. In this study, whereas perioperative mortality remained low, major postoperative complications increased significantly.
    Surgical Endoscopy 03/2010; 24(10):2518-26. DOI:10.1007/s00464-010-0996-z · 3.26 Impact Factor
  • Anthony M Burrows · Richard P Moser · John P Weaver · Demetrius E. M. Litwin · Julie G Pilitsis ·
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    ABSTRACT: Massachusetts' health insurance mandate and subsidized insurance program, Commonwealth Care, have been active for 2 years. The financial impact on the neurosurgery division and demographics of the relevant patient groups were assessed. The billing records of neurosurgical patients from January 2007 to September 2008 were collected and analyzed. Commonwealth Care comprised 2.2% of neurosurgical inpatients, and these patients did not have significantly different acuity or lengths of stay from the average. Length of stay of MassHealth patients was significantly greater, although acuity was significantly lower than the average. Increased free care reimbursement and increased MassHealth/Commonwealth Care enrollment resulted in a net gain in reimbursement of hospital charges. The increased insurance rates have resulted in increased reimbursement for the neurosurgical division.
    Journal of Neurosurgery 08/2009; 112(1):202-7. DOI:10.3171/2009.6.JNS09499 · 3.74 Impact Factor

  • Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 05/2009; 5(3):S16. DOI:10.1016/j.soard.2009.03.048 · 4.07 Impact Factor

  • Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 05/2009; 5(3):S1. DOI:10.1016/j.soard.2009.03.008 · 4.07 Impact Factor

  • Journal of Surgical Research 02/2009; 151(2):239-239. DOI:10.1016/j.jss.2008.11.174 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    Demetrius E.M. Litwin · Mitchell A Cahan ·
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    ABSTRACT: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has supplanted open cholecystectomy for most gallbladder pathology. Experience has allowed the development of now well-established technical nuances, and training has raised the level of performance so that safe LC is possible. If safe cholecystectomy cannot be performed because of acute inflammation, LC tube placement should occur. A systematic approach in every case to open a window beyond the triangle of Calot, well up onto the liver bed, is essential for the safe completion of the operation.
    Surgical Clinics of North America 01/2009; 88(6):1295-313, ix. DOI:10.1016/j.suc.2008.07.005 · 1.88 Impact Factor

  • Neurosurgery 06/2008; 62(6). DOI:10.1227/01.neu.0000333460.29519.e1 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Use of laparoscopy in penetrating trauma has been well established; however, its application in blunt trauma is evolving. The authors hypothesized that laparoscopy is safe and feasible as a diagnostic and therapeutic modality in both the patients with penetrating and blunt trauma. Trauma registry data and medical records of consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopy for abdominal trauma were reviewed. Over a 4-year period, 43 patients (18 blunt trauma / 25 penetrating trauma) underwent a diagnostic laparoscopy. Conversion to laparotomy occurred in 9 (50%) blunt trauma and 9 (36%) penetrating trauma patients. Diagnostic laparoscopy was negative in 33% of blunt trauma and 52% of penetrating trauma patients. Sensitivity/specificity of laparoscopy in patients with blunt and penetrating trauma was 92%/100% and 90%/100%, respectively. Overall, laparotomy was avoided in 25 (58%) patients. Use of laparoscopy in selected patients with blunt and penetrating abdominal trauma is safe, minimizes nontherapeutic laparotomies, and allows for minimal invasive management of selected intra-abdominal injuries.
    Surgical Innovation 04/2008; 15(1):26-31. DOI:10.1177/1553350608314664 · 1.46 Impact Factor

  • Journal of Surgical Research 02/2008; 144(2):305-305. DOI:10.1016/j.jss.2007.12.335 · 1.94 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
174.99 Total Impact Points


  • 2004-2011
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999-2011
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
      • Department of Surgery
      Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009
    • Worcester State University
      Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2001
    • Carolinas Medical Center University
      Charlotte, North Carolina, United States