Rolston JD, Han SJ, Lau CY, et al. Frequency and predictors of complications in neurological surgery: national trends from 2006 to 2011
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California. Journal of Neurosurgery
(Impact Factor: 3.74).
11/2013; 120(3). DOI: 10.3171/2013.10.JNS122419
Surgical complications increase the cost of health care worldwide and directly contribute to patient morbidity and mortality. In an effort to mitigate morbidity and incentivize best practices, stakeholders such as health insurers and the US government are linking reimbursement to patient outcomes. In this study the authors analyzed a national database to determine basic metrics of how comorbidities specifically affect the subspecialty of neurosurgery.
Data on 1,777,035 patients for the years 2006-2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as "neurological surgery." Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, and 95% confidence intervals were determined for the resultant risk ratios. A multivariate model was constructed using significant variables from the univariate analysis (p < 0.05) with binary logistic regression.
Over 38,000 neurosurgical cases were analyzed, with complications occurring in 14.3%. Cranial cases were 2.6 times more likely to have complications than spine cases, and African Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders were also at higher risk. The most frequent complications were bleeding requiring transfusion (4.5% of patients) and reoperation within 30 days of the initial operation (4.3% of patients), followed by failure to wean from mechanical ventilation postoperatively (2.5%). Significant predictors of complications included preoperative stroke, sepsis, blood transfusion, and chronic steroid use.
Understanding the landscape of neurosurgical complications will allow better targeting of the most costly and harmful complications of preventive measures. Data from the ACS NSQIP database provide a starting point for developing paradigms of improved care of neurosurgical patients.
Available from: thejns.org
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ABSTRACT: Repeated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt failures in pediatric patients are common, and they are a significant cause of morbidity and, occasionally, of death. To date, the risk factors for repeated failure have not been established. By performing survival analysis for repeated events, the authors examined the effects of patient characteristics, shunt hardware, and surgical details in a large cohort of patients.
During a 10-year period all pediatric patients with hydrocephalus requiring CSF diversion procedures were included in a prospective single-institution observational study. Patient characteristics were defined as age, gender, weight, head circumference, American Society of Anesthesiology class, and cause of hydrocephalus. Surgical details included whether the procedure was performed on an emergency or nonemergency basis, use of antibiotic agents, concurrent surgical procedures, and duration of the surgical procedure. Details on shunt hardware included: the type of shunt, the valve system, whether the shunt system included multiple or complex components, the type of distal catheter, the site of the shunt, and the side on which the shunt was placed. Repeated shunt failures were assessed using multivariable time-to-event analysis (by using the Cox regression model). Conditional models (as established by Prentice, et al.) were formulated for gap times (that is, times between successive shunt failures). There were 1183 shunt failures in 839 patients. Failure time from the first shunt procedure was an important predictor for the second and third episodes of failure, thus establishing an association between the times to failure within individual patients. An age younger than 40 weeks gestation at the time of the first shunt implantation carried a hazard ratio (HR) of 2.49 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.68-3.68) for the first failure, which remained high for subsequent episodes of failure. An age from 40 weeks gestation to 1 year (at the time of the initial surgery) also proved to be an important predictor of first shunt malfunctions (HR 1.77, 95% CI 1.29-2.44). The cause of hydrocephalus was significantly associated with the risk of initial failure and, to a lesser extent, later failures. Concurrent other surgical procedures were associated with an increased risk of failure.
The patient's age at the time of initial shunt placement and the time interval since previous surgical revision are important predictors of repeated shunt failures in the multivariable model. Even after adjusting for age at first shunt insertion as well as the cause of hydrocephalus, there is significant association between repeated failure times for individual patients.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose of review:
Anemia is common in neurosurgical patients, and is associated with secondary brain injury. Although recent studies in critically ill patients have shifted practice toward more restrictive red blood cell (RBC) transfusion strategies, the evidence for restrictive versus liberal transfusion strategies in neurosurgical patients has been controversial. In this article, we review recent studies that highlight issues in RBC transfusion in neurosurgical patients.
Recent observational, retrospective studies in patients with traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and intracranial hemorrhage have demonstrated that prolonged anemia and RBC transfusions were associated with worsened outcomes. Anemia in patients with ischemic stroke was associated with increased ICU length of stay and longer mechanical ventilation requirements, but mortality and functional outcomes did not improve with RBC transfusion. In elective craniotomy, perioperative anemia was associated with increased hospital length of stay but no difference in 30-day morbidity or mortality.
There is a lack of definitive evidence to guide RBC transfusion practices in neurosurgical patients. Large randomized control trials are needed to better assess when and how aggressively to transfuse RBCs in neurosurgical patients.
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Venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) occur frequently in surgical patients and can manifest as pulmonary emboli (PEs) or deep venous thromboses (DVTs). While many medical therapies have been shown to prevent VTEs, neurosurgeons are concerned about the use of anticoagulants in the postoperative setting. To better understand the prevalence of and the patient-level risk factors for VTE, the authors analyzed data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).
Retrospective data on 1,777,035 patients for the years from 2006 to 2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons NSQIP database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as "neurological surgery." Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, with 95% confidence intervals used for the resultant risk ratios. Multivariate models were constructed using binary logistic regression with a maximum number of 20 iterations.
Venous thromboembolisms were found in 1.7% of neurosurgical patients, with DVTs roughly twice as common as PEs (1.3% vs 0.6%, respectively). Significant independent predictors included ventilator dependence, immobility (that is, quadriparesis, hemiparesis, or paraparesis), chronic steroid use, and sepsis. The risk of VTE was significantly higher in patients who had undergone cranial procedures (3.4%) than in those who had undergone spinal procedures (1.1%).
Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in neurosurgical patients, and the frequency has not changed appreciably over the past several years. Many factors were identified as independently predictive of VTEs in this population: ventilator dependence, immobility, and malignancy. Less anticipated predictors included chronic steroid use and sepsis. Venous thromboembolisms appear significantly more likely to occur in patients undergoing cranial procedures than in those undergoing spinal procedures. A better appreciation of the prevalence of and the risk factors for VTEs in neurosurgical patients will allow targeting of interventions and a better understanding of which patients are most at risk.
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