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To survey neurosurgical practices in the treatment of chronic and subacute subdural hematoma in the Canadian adult population.
We developed and administered a questionnaire to Canadian Neurosurgeons with questions relating to the management of chronic and subacute subdural hematoma. Our sampling frame included all neurosurgery members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society.
Of 158 questionnaires, 120 were returned (response rate = 76%). The respondents were neurosurgeons with primarily adult clinical practices (108/120). Surgeons preferred one and two burr-hole craniostomy to craniotomy or twist-drill craniostomy as the procedure of choice for initial treatment of subdural hematoma (35.5% vs 49.5% vs 4.7% vs 9.3%, respectively). Craniotomy and two burr-holes were preferred for recurrent subdural hematomas (43.3% and 35.1%, respectively). Surgeons preferred irrigation of the subdural cavity (79.6%), use of a subdural drain (80.6%), and no use of anti-convulsants or corticosteroids (82.1% and 86.6%, respectively). We identified a lack of consensus with keeping patients supine following surgery and post-operative antibiotic use.
Our survey has identified variations in practice patterns among Canadian Neurosurgeons with respect to treatment of subacute or chronic subdural hematoma (SDH). Our findings support the need for further prospective studies and clinical trials to resolve areas of discrepancies in clinical management and hence, standardize treatment regimens.
To determine survival rates in adult trauma patients requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
We used 1992–2002 trauma registry data to identify all adult trauma patients over the age of 16 who required CPR in the pre-hospital setting or within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital. Demographic information, mechanism of injury, injury severity score (ISS), vital signs at the scene and in the hospital, and mortality were obtained from patient charts. Patients were stratified into 2 groups: those with absent vital signs in the field who required prehospital CPR, and those who lost vital signs within 24 hours of arriving at the trauma suite.
Of 50 eligible patients, 28 (58%) were male and 46 (92%) sustained blunt trauma. Mean age was 44.8 ± 20 years and mean ISS was 38 ± 18. Overall mortality was 96% (48/50), and all patients who required prehospital CPR died. The only 2 survivors were patients who arrived with vital signs and developed pulseless electrical activity while in the trauma suite.
In this consecutive series of trauma victims with cardiopulmonary arrest there were no survivors among those who lost vital signs and required CPR prior to arriving at the hospital.
Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a feared complication of lumbar disc herniation. It is generally accepted that CES requires decompression within 6 hours of symptom onset, but this time goal is rarely met, and the relative benefit of delayed decompression on functional status and quality of life (QOL) remains unknown. The study objective was to describe the functional status and quality of life outcomes for patients who undergo delayed surgical decompression for CES.
Patients with CES who underwent decompression of a herniated lumbar disc during a 10-year period were assessed at hospital discharge and at least 4 months after the procedure. Evaluation of functional outcomes was based on a previously validated scale and QOL outcomes on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) questionnaire.
During the study period, 1100 patients with herniated discs were identified, and 14 underwent surgical decompression for CES. All 14 had had symptoms for more than 38 hours before surgery. Ten patients were available for long-term follow-up. There was a strong correlation between long CES symptom duration and poor functional outcome: of 8 patients with symptoms for less than 10 days before decompression (range, 1.6–7.5 d), all had good functional outcomes. The 2 patients with more prolonged symptoms (10.6 and 14.2 d) had poor outcomes. SF-36 scores demonstrated declines in physical roles (p = 0.03), social function (p = 0.03) and increased pain (p = 0.003) compared with population norms. Correlation between SF-36 domain scores and CES symptom duration failed to achieve statistical significance, perhaps because of small sample size.
Patients who undergo delayed decompression for CES have increased pain and impaired social and physical function. Longer delays correlate with worse functional outcomes. Beyond 24 hours, decompression delay may be associated with a poorer quality of life but, because of the rarity of CES, the sample size in this study was too small to provide definitive conclusions. Since no patients underwent surgery within 38.4 hours of symptoms, it is not possible to comment on the importance of emergent decompression in early presenters.
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