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Intracerebral abscess is a life-threatening condition for which there are no current, widely accepted neurosurgical management guidelines. The purpose of this study was to investigate Canadian practice patterns for the medical and surgical management of primary, recurrent, and multiple intracerebral abscesses.
A self-administered, cross-sectional, electronic survey was distributed to active staff and resident members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative. Responses between subgroups were analyzed using the Chi-square test.
In total, 101 respondents (57.7%) completed the survey. The majority (60.0%) were staff neurosurgeons working in an academic, adult care setting (80%). We identified a consensus that abscesses >2.5 cm in diameter should be considered for surgical intervention. The majority of respondents were in favor of excising an intracerebral abscess over performing aspiration if located superficially in non-eloquent cortex (60.4%), located in the posterior fossa (65.4%), or causing mass effect leading to herniation (75.3%). The majority of respondents were in favor of reoperation for recurrent abscesses if measuring greater than 2.5 cm, associated with progressive neurological deterioration, the index operation was an aspiration and did not include resection of the abscess capsule, and if the recurrence occurred despite prior surgery combined with maximal antibiotic therapy. There was no consensus on the use of topical intraoperative antibiotics.
This survey demonstrated heterogeneity in the medical and surgical management of primary, recurrent, and multiple brain abscesses among Canadian neurosurgery attending staff and residents.1
Non-penetrating head and neck trauma is associated with extracranial traumatic vertebral artery injury (eTVAI) in approximately 1–2% of cases. Most patients are initially asymptomatic but have an increased risk for delayed stroke and mortality. Limited evidence is available to guide the management of asymptomatic eTVAI. As such, we sought to investigate national practice patterns regarding screening, treatment, and follow-up domains.
A cross-sectional, electronic survey was distributed to members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and Canadian Spine Society. We presented two cases of asymptomatic eTVAI, stratified by injury mechanism, fracture type, and angiographic findings. Screening questions were answered prior to presentation of angiographic findings. Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
One hundred-eight of 232 (46%) participants, representing 20 academic institutions, completed the survey. Case 1: 78% of respondents would screen for eTVAI with computed topography angiography (CTA) (97%), immediately (88%). The majority of respondents (97%) would treat with aspirin (89%) for 3–6 months (46%). Respondents would follow up clinically (89%) or radiographically (75%), every 1–3 months. Case 2: 73% of respondents would screen with CTA (96%), immediately (88%). Most respondents (94%) would treat with aspirin (50%) for 3–6 months (35%). Thirty-six percent of respondents would utilize endovascular therapy. Respondents would follow up clinically (97%) or radiographically (89%), every 1–3 months.
This survey of Canadian practice patterns highlights consistency in the approach to screening, treatment, and follow-up of asymptomatic eTVAI. These findings are relevant to neurosurgeons, spinal surgeons, stroke neurologists, and neuro-interventionalists.
To examine differences in surgical practices between salaried and fee-for-service (FFS) surgeons for two common degenerative spine conditions. Surgeons may offer different treatments for similar conditions on the basis of their compensation mechanism.
The study assessed the practices of 63 spine surgeons across eight Canadian provinces (39 FFS surgeons and 24 salaried) who performed surgery for two lumbar conditions: stable spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis. The study included a multicenter, ambispective review of consecutive spine surgery patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network registry between October 2012 and July 2018. The primary outcome was the difference in type of procedures performed between the two groups. Secondary study variables included surgical characteristics, baseline patient factors, and patient-reported outcome.
For stable spinal stenosis (n = 2234), salaried surgeons performed statistically fewer uninstrumented fusion (p < 0.05) than FFS surgeons. For degenerative spondylolisthesis (n = 1292), salaried surgeons performed significantly more instrumentation plus interbody fusions (p < 0.05). There were no statistical differences in patient-reported outcomes between the two groups.
Surgeon compensation was associated with different approaches to stable lumbar spinal stenosis and degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Salaried surgeons chose a more conservative approach to spinal stenosis and a more aggressive approach to degenerative spondylolisthesis, which highlights that remuneration is likely a minor determinant in the differences in practice of spinal surgery in Canada. Further research is needed to further elucidate which variables, other than patient demographics and financial incentives, influence surgical decision-making.
Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is little high-quality evidence available to guide the management of DCI. The Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) is comprised of resident physicians who are positioned to capture national, multi-site data. The objective of this study was to evaluate practice patterns of Canadian physicians regarding the management of aSAH and DCI.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of Canadian neurosurgeons, intensivists, and neurologists who manage aSAH. A 19-question electronic survey (Survey Monkey) was developed and validated by the CNRC following a DCI-related literature review (PubMed, Embase). The survey was distributed to members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and to Canadian members of the Neurocritical Care Society. Responses were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
The response rate was 129/340 (38%). Agreement among respondents was limited to the need for intensive care unit admission, use of clinical and radiographic monitoring, and prophylaxis for the prevention of DCI. Several inconsistencies were identified. Indications for starting hyperdynamic therapy varied. There was discrepancy in the proportion of patients who felt to require IV milrinone, IA vasodilators, or physical angioplasty for treatment of DCI. Most respondents reported their facility does not utilize a standardized definition for DCI.
DCI is an important clinical entity for which no homogeneity and standardization exists in management among Canadian practitioners. The CNRC calls for the development of national standards in the definition, identification, and treatment of DCI.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances and obesity. Treatment of PCOS includes modifying lifestyle behaviours associated with weight management. However, poor sleep in the non-PCOS population has been associated with poorer lifestyle behaviours. The aim was to investigate whether sleep disturbance confounds or modifies the association between lifestyle factors and PCOS. This was a cross-sectional analysis from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health cohort aged 31–36 years in 2009 were analysed (n 6067, 464 PCOS, 5603 non-PCOS). Self-reported data were collected on PCOS, anthropometry, validated modified version of the Active Australia Physical Activity survey, validated FFQ and sleep disturbances through latent class analysis. Women with PCOS had greater adverse sleep symptoms including severe tiredness (P = 0·001), difficulty sleeping (P < 0·001) and restless sleep (P < 0·001), compared with women without PCOS. Women with PCOS also had higher energy consumption (6911 (sd 2453) v. 6654 (sd 2215) kJ, P = 0·017), fibre intake (19·8 (sd 7·8) v. 18·9 (sd 6·9) g, P = 0·012) and diet quality (dietary guidelines index (DGI)) (88·1 (sd 11·6) v. 86·7 (sd 11·1), P = 0·008), lower glycaemic index (50·2 (sd 4·0) v. 50·7 (sd 3·9), P = 0·021) and increased sedentary behaviour (6·3 (sd 2·8) v. 5·9 (sd 2·8) h, P = 0·009). There was a significant interaction between PCOS and sleep disturbances for DGI (P = 0·035), therefore only for women who had adequate sleep was PCOS associated with a higher DGI. For women with poorer sleep, there was no association between PCOS and DGI. The association between PCOS and improved diet quality may only be maintained if women can obtain enough good quality sleep.
Background: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the leading cause of spinal cord impairment. In a public healthcare system, wait times to see spine specialists and eventually access surgical treatment for CSM can be substantial. The goals of this study were to determine consultation wait times (CWT) and surgical wait times (SWT), and identify predictors of wait time length. Methods: Consecutive patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN) prospective and observational CSM study from March 2015 to July 2017 were included. A data-splitting technique was used to develop and internally validate multivariable models of potential predictors. Results: A CSORN query returned 264 CSM patients for CWT. The median was 46 days. There were 31% mild, 35% moderate, and 33% severe CSM. There was a statistically significant difference in median CWT between moderate and severe groups; 207 patients underwent surgical treatment. Median SWT was 42 days. There was a statistically significant difference in SWT between mild/moderate and severe groups. Short symptom duration, less pain, lower BMI, and lower physical component score of SF-12 were predictive of shorter CWT. Only baseline pain and medication duration were predictive of SWT. Both CWT and SWT were shorter compared to a concurrent cohort of lumbar stenosis patients (p <0.001). Conclusions: Patients with shorter duration (either symptoms or medication) and less neck pain waited less to see a spine specialist in Canada and to undergo surgical treatment. This study highlights some of the obstacles to overcome in expedited care for this patient population.
Background Currently, the literature lacks reliable data regarding operative case volumes at Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Our objective was to provide a snapshot of the operative landscape in Canadian neurosurgical training using the trainee-led Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative. Methods: Anonymized administrative operative data were gathered from each neurosurgery residency program from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014. Procedures were broadly classified into cranial, spine, peripheral nerve, and miscellaneous procedures. A number of prespecified subspecialty procedures were recorded. We defined the resident case index as the ratio of the total number of operations to the total number of neurosurgery residents in that program. Resident number included both Canadian medical and international medical graduates, and included residents on the neurosurgery service, off-service, or on leave for research or other personal reasons. Results: Overall, there was an average of 1845 operative cases per neurosurgery residency program. The mean numbers of cranial, spine, peripheral nerve, and miscellaneous procedures were 725, 466, 48, and 193, respectively. The nationwide mean resident case indices for cranial, spine, peripheral nerve, and total procedures were 90, 58, 5, and 196, respectively. There was some variation in the resident case indices for specific subspecialty procedures, with some training programs not performing carotid endarterectomy or endoscopic transsphenoidal procedures. Conclusions: This study presents the breadth of neurosurgical training within Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. These results may help inform the implementation of neurosurgery training as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons residency training transitions to a competence-by-design curriculum.
Background: Transitioning from medical school to residency is difficult and stressful, necessitating innovation in easing this transition. In response, a Canadian neurosurgical Rookie Camp was designed and implemented to foster acquisition of technical, cognitive and behavioral skills among incoming Canadian post graduate year one (PGY-1) neurosurgery residents. Methods: The inaugural Rookie Camp was held in July 2012 in Halifax. The curriculum was developed based on a national needs-assessment and consisted of a pre-course manual, 7 case-based stations, 4 procedural skills stations and 2 group discussions. The content was clinically focused, used a variety of teaching methods, and addressed multiple CanMEDS competencies. Evaluation included participant and faculty surveys and a pre-course, post-course, and 3-month retention knowledge test. Results: 17 of 23 PGY-1 Canadian neurosurgical residents participated in the Camp. All agreed the course content was relevant for PGY-1 training and the experience prepared them for residency. All participants would recommend the course to future neurosurgical residents. A statistically significant improvement was observed in knowledge related to course content (F(2,32) = 7.572, p<0.002). There were no significant differences between post-test and retention-test scores at three months. Conclusion: The inaugural Canadian Neurosurgery Rookie Camp for PGY-1 residents was successfully delivered, with engagement from participants, training programs, the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, and the Royal College. In addition to providing fundamental knowledge, which was shown to be retained, the course eased junior residents’ transition to residency by fostering camaraderie and socialization within the specialty.
Central neurocytoma is a tumour that typically occurs in young adults in close association with the lateral and third ventricles of the cerebrum.
We report the unusual case of a central neurocytoma that developed in the fourth ventricle of a 59-year-old woman and metastasized to the upper cervical canal. Subtotal excision and adjuvant radiotherapy were used to treat the lesion. Microscopic evaluation, discussion of the pathologic differential diagnosis and theories of the histogenesis of the tumour are presented. Results and
Fourth ventricular neurocytoma is rare and has only been reported twice previously. It appears most likely that this tumour arises from subependymal progenitor cell lines.
The role of neural transplantation as a restorative strategy for spinal cord injury continues to be intensely investigated. Ideally, the tissue source for transplantation must be readily available, free of disease and able to survive and mature following implantation into the adverse environment created by the injury. We have studied the use of a commercially available cell line of cultured human neurons (hNT neurons) as a tissue source for neural transplantation in spinal cord injury.
Following a left lateral thoracic hemisection, 54 immunosuppressed, female Wistar rats were randomly allocated into different treatment groups; hemisection only or hemisection and hNT cell transplantation (via a bridge, double or triple graft). Grafting occurred three days after spinal cord injury. After thirteen weeks the animals were sacrificed and tissue sections were stained with human neuron specific enolase and human specific neural cell adhesion molecule.
Immunohistochemical evidence of graft survival was displayed in 66.7% of the surviving, grafted animals. Fibre outgrowth, greatest in the bridge and triple grafts, was observed in both rostral and caudal directions essentially bridging the lesion. Double grafts were smaller, displaying less fibre outgrowth, which did not cross the lesion. Long fibre outgrowth was evident up to 2 cm from the graft as assessed by tracing and immunohistochemical studies.
Bridge and triple grafts displayed greater growth and enabled the hNT graft to essentially bridge the lesion. This suggests that hNT neurons have the potential to structurally reconnect the proximal and distal spinal cord across the region of injury.
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