Lack of Patient Education as a Cause of Increased Postoperative Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexis Colvin, MDAssociate Professor of Orthopedic SurgeryIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Colvin

Dr. Alexis Colvin, MD
Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: 40% of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid and orthopaedic surgeons are the 3rd highest prescribers of opioids.  Set guidelines for post surgery opioid prescriptions have not been established.  Arthroscopic knee meniscectomy is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures.  The purpose of this study was to determine how many opioids were being prescribed  among a group of six sports fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeons versus how many patients were actually using.

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Lipomas: Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) Can Shrink Tumors Before Removal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hooman Khorasani, M.D. Cosmetic Surgeon & Mohs Skin Cancer Surgeon Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

Dr. Khorasani

Hooman Khorasani, M.D.
Cosmetic Surgeon & Mohs Skin Cancer Surgeon
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Lipomas are tumors composed of mature fat cells located just beneath the skin surface. They are the most common soft tissue tumor and are estimated to occur in 1% of the population. These benign tumors are more common in overweight individuals, diabetics, patients with elevated serum cholesterol, and those suffering from familial multiple lipomatosis. Most of these tumors are treated for cosmetic reasons; however, large lipomas can also cause significant functional impairment. Traditional treatment includes surgical removal and / or liposuction.

Deoxycholic acid is a member of the bile acid family that assists in the breakdown of fat. We investigated the use of deoxycholic acid injections to reduce the size of large lipomas prior to surgical removal.

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When Evaluating Teens for Surgery, Check Family Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Calista Harbaugh, MD House Officer, General Surgery Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program Research Fellow, Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network University of Michigan 

Dr. Harbaugh

Calista Harbaugh, MD
House Officer, General Surgery
Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program
Research Fellow
Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nonmedical prescription opioid use and prescription opioid-related overdose remain significant concerns among adolescents and young adults. Among adolescents and young adults prescribed an opioid after surgery, prior work found that 4.8% of opioid-naïve patients develop new persistent use, filling additional opioid prescriptions at 3-6 months after surgery. This work found associations of persistent use with diagnoses such as chronic pain disorders, depression, anxiety, and prior substance use disorder. It is likely that for young patients, family members may also play an important role in development of new persistent use, but this has not previously been explored. We performed this study to evaluate whether long-term opioid use among family members was associated with prescription opioid fills among adolescents and young adults perioperatively – and we found that opioid-naïve adolescents and young adults who have 1 or more family members with long-term opioid use are more likely to fill at the time of surgery, during recovery, and in the long-term with a near-doubling of rates of new persistent use.

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Hip Fracture in Elderly: Longer Surgery and General Anesthesia Linked to Greater Risk of Post-Op Delirium

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bheeshma Ravi, MD, PhD, FRCSC Scientist Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Holland Centre Toronto, ON

Dr. Ravi

Bheeshma Ravi, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Scientist
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Holland Centre
Toronto, ON

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Delirium is an acute change in mental status characterized by fluctuating disturbances of consciousness and attention. Elderly patients are prone to delirium after surgery; this contributes significantly to post-operative morbidity and can also lead to long-term disability.

Our study found that among older adults undergoing hip fracture surgery, both an increased duration of surgery and a general anesthetic are associated with an increased risk for post-operative delirium.​ 

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Bariatric Surgery Could be a Cost-Effective Intervention in Patients with NASH Cirrhosis who are Overweight or Obese.

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jagpreet Chhatwal PhDAssistant Professor, Harvard Medical SchoolSenior Scientist, Institute for Technology AssessmentMassachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Jagpreet Chhatwal

Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment
Massachusetts General Hospital

Chin Hur, MDAssociate Professor of MedicineHarvard Medical School

Dr. Chin Hur

Chin Hur, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

 

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, is one of the leading causes of liver transplantation. Because of increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States, NASH-related cirrhosis cases are expected to increase in the near future. Unfortunately, there are few pharmacological treatments for NASH, and none with proven long-term benefit. Weight loss can be effective in managing NASH but not many patients can lose the sufficient weight necessary to impact NASH and/or maintain long-term weight loss. In contrast, bariatric surgery can provide long-term weight loss and thus potentially reverse liver damage in cirrhosis. However, bariatric surgery is associated with mortality and morbidity associated with the procedure.

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Accredited Hospitals Linked to Better Rectal Cancer Surgical Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexis G. Antunez MS University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Alexis G. Antunez

Alexis G. Antunez MS
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer is implementing a National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), aiming to improve and standardize the quality of rectal cancer care in the United States. While this is a commendable goal, previous accreditation programs in other specialties have faced controversy around their uncertain impact on access to care. Furthermore, it is well established that the quality of rectal cancer care is associated with patients’ socioeconomic position. So, the NAPRC could have the unintended consequence of widening disparities and limiting access to high quality rectal cancer care for certain patient populations.  Continue reading

Aortic Stenosis Staging Helps Predict TAVR Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
JOÃO L. CAVALCANTE, MD, FASE, FACC, FSCCT, FSCMR
Director, Cardiac MRI and Structural CT Labs
Director, Cardiovascular Imaging Research Core Lab
Minneapolis Heart Institute
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Minneapolis, MN, 55407

MIHO FUKUI MD
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Heart & Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Minneapolis Heart Institute, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Recent study by Généreux et al (1), using the Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valves (PARTNER) 2A and 2B data, provided the first framework of a staging system for severe aortic stenosis (AS) that quantifies the extent of structural and functional cardiac change associated with AS and importantly its association with 1-year mortality in patients receiving either surgical or transcatheter AVR (TAVR):

  • Stage 0: No other cardiac damage;
  • Stage 1: LV damage as defined by presence of LV hypertrophy, severe LV diastolic, or LV systolic dysfunction;
  • Stage 2: Left atrium or mitral valve damage or dysfunction;
  • Stage 3: Pulmonary artery vasculature or tricuspid valve damage or dysfunction; and
  • Stage 4: right ventricular damage.

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Does EEG Brain Monitoring During Surgery Reduce Post-Op Delirium?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology Chief of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research Director of the Infrastructure of Quality Improvement, Research and Informatics Washington University School of Medicine St Louis, MO

Dr. Avidan

Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
Chief of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research
Director of the Infrastructure of Quality Improvement, Research and Informatics
Washington University School of Medicine
St Louis, MO 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Postoperative delirium, a temporary state of confusion and inattention, is common in older adults after major surgery. Delirium can be distressing to patients, family members and clinicians. It is associated with longer hospital stays, other medical complications, cognitive decline, and death.

Some previous studies have found that using electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring of the brain during general anesthesia decreases the occurrence of delirium following surgery.

Therefore we conducted a rigorous study to determine whether using information from the EEG to guide the safe reduction of inhaled anesthetic drugs would prevent postoperative delirium and improve other outcomes in older adults following major surgery.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery Linked to Diabetes Remission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lene Ring Madsen, MD, Ph.d.
Medicinsk Afdeling  Herning
Hospitalsenheden Vest

Lene Ring Madsen, MD, Ph.d. Medicinsk Afdeling  Herning Hospitalsenheden Vest
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know from previous studies that there is a significant chance of diabetes remission following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, but most studies evaluate smaller cohorts of selected patients (e.g. from a single center or only patients covered by a specific type of insurance). By using Danish registries, which hold information on all Danish Citizens independent of social- or economic status and have complete follow-up, we wanted to evaluate the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) in a real-world setting.

The main findings are that more than 70 % of patients with obesity (BMI>35 kg/m2) and type 2 diabetes treated by RYGB had their diabetes go into remission or every 6-month period in the first 5 years after the procedure. Out of those who were in remission within the first year of follow-up 27% had undergone relapse at 5 years.

The most important predictor of a patient not going into remission was if they required insulin to control their disease. Other factors included older age and higher starting HbA1c level. During the more than five years of follow-up, the risk of microvascular complications was 47% lower in the RYGB group than in the control population, with largest decreases in the risk of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic kidney disease. There was a smaller impact on the risk of macrovascular events, which were 24% lower among patients who had received bariatric surgery; however, this difference was not large enough to achieve statistical significance. The 90-day mortality was very low (<0.5%).

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How Functional Are Frail Adults After Aortic Valve Replacement?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Dae Hyun Kim

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The number of older adults undergoing aortic valve replacement is increasing.  Since these patients are at high risk for complications and functional decline due to preexisting multimorbidity and frailty, the latest guideline (Otto et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:1313–46) emphasizes shared decision-making based on patient-centered outcomes.  Despite this recommendation, we witness many decision-making processes are cardio-centric—mainly informed by expected benefit in terms of cardiac-specific measures.  Many patients are not adequately informed about what their daily life would be like after the procedure.

In this single-center prospective cohort study, we examined functional status trajectories via assessments of global functional status at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months in 246 patients who underwent transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement.  We identified 5 clinically meaningful functional trajectories, ranging from high baseline function-early complete recovery to low baseline function-large and persistent decline.  We were able to predict most likely trajectory as well as best possible and worse possible trajectories using the preoperative frailty index.  Delirium and postoperative complications were also strongly associated with undesirable functional trajectories.  Continue reading

Midurethral Sling Complications May Be Associated with Psychological Stress, esp in Young Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blayne Welk MD, MSc, FRCSC Associate Professor of Surgery St. Joseph's Hospital Western University

Dr. Welk

Blayne Welk MD, MSc, FRCSC
Associate Professor of Surgery
St. Joseph’s Hospital
Western University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: I found that when I was referred women with midurethral sling complications, they were often quite emotional and described a significant period of time when they struggled with the complications before they were referred to someone to assess them.

The study looked at the rate of depression and self-harm behavior of women who had surgery for midurethral sling complications compared to women who did not have midurethral sling complications.

I found that there was an increased risk of both of these outcomes among women who had surgery for complications, however this risk was primarily present in younger women.

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Esophageal Cancer: HMIE Procedure Reduces Morbidity Without Sacrificing Efficacy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guillaume Piessen, MD, PhD University Hospital Centre Lille, France

Prof. Piessen

Guillaume Piessen, MD, PhD
University Hospital Centre
Lille, Franc

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Patients requiring surgery for esophageal cancer fare better after undergoing a hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) with a combined laparoscopy+thoracotomy procedure compared to an open esophagectomy (OE), according to results of the MIRO trial published in the last issue of the New England Journal Of Medicine (link article).

This French prospective multi-center randomized controlled study was funded by the French National Cancer Institute (Grant n° 1907). The study was conducted by Pr Mariette who sadely passed away in 2017 and Pr Piessen (Department of Digestive and Oncological Surgery, CHU Lille), under the hauspice of FRENCH (Fédération de Recherche EN Chirurgie) and FREGAT (French Eso-Gastric Tumors) working group (https://www.fregat-database.org/fr/).

Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.

Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12].

Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.

Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12].

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New Intestinal Microbiome Changes After Bariatric Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Casey Morrow, Ph.D. Leader of the research team and professor emeritus Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Morrow

Casey Morrow, Ph.D.
Leader of the research team and professor emeritus
Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) contains several distinct physical environments within the stomach, small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) and colon that harbor complex microbial communities.

Changes in the fecal microbe composition have been described for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), the most effective and durable treatment for morbid obesity, and sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Continue reading

What are the Patient Preferences that Determine Chose of Bariatric Surgery?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Rozier, S.J., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Health Management and Policy College for Public Health and Social Justice St. Louis University

Dr. Rozier

Michael Rozier, S.J., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Management and Policy
College for Public Health and Social Justice
St. Louis University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Patients considering surgery for weight loss have several options, which differ in significant ways, such as expected weight loss, risk of complication, modification of diet, effect on other medical conditions, and more. Previous studies have asked patients why they chose one procedure over another.

Instead, we quantified the relative importance of the key characteristics of surgical options. Using a discrete choice experiment, potential patients were given profiles of two weight loss options. They were asked to select one profile based on key characteristics such as out-of-pocket costs, total weight loss, risk of complication, and five other factors.

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Staged vs One-Time Multivessel Revascularization in Multivessel CAD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Peter Hu MD Cleveland ClinicPeter T. Hu MD
Department of Cardiology
Cleveland Clinic

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Among patients with blockages in multiple coronary vessels, we studied predictors and outcomes of having a staged versus one-time multivessel percutaneous coronary intervention. By “staged” we mean performing coronary intervention only on one vessel, letting the patient recover, and fixing the other blockages at a later date. We know that multivessel coronary artery disease is very common – present in up to 2/3 of patients who require coronary interventions. Previous studies in patients with STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) suggested that staged multivessel PCI was associated with lower risk of death compared with one-time multivessel revascularization. Outside of STEMI patients, very little data exist in a broader group of patients who undergo coronary interventions to multiple vessels.

In our study, we found an association between doing a staged PCI and lower long-term mortality benefit compared with fixing multiple blockages at once. What was surprising was there seemed to be a correlation with the degree of benefit from staged PCI based on the symptoms and signs the patient presented with.

The association with improved outcomes was strongest in patients with STEMI, followed by those with NSTEMI, unstable angina, and stable angina, respectively. We also found that the decision to perform staged PCI was driven by patient and procedural characteristics, as well as other unmeasured site variation.  Continue reading

Comparison of the Evolut R™TAVR Valve with the Evolut PRO™

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Evolut TAVR PlatformDr. Shazia Afzal MD
University Hospital DüsseldorfMedical FacultyDivision of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine, Düsseldorf, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Since its introduction in 2002, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) emerged to an increasingly important interventional procedure in the field of structural heart disease. Widespread use in Europe, the USA and Canada lead to continuous technological development and improved patient’s safety, procedural success and clinical outcome.

In 08/2017 one of the market leaders introduced its latest generation valve model -the CoreValve Evolut PROTM– which was especially designed to mitigate paravalvular leakage after valve deployment. We conducted the first prospective study which directly compares the Evolut PROTM with its direct predecessor the Evolut RTM as a head-to-head analysis especially focusing on hemodynamic performance and clinical outcome in a real-world setting. To ensure comparability between groups, we performed propensity score matching with special interest in CT-derived data to guarantee equitable anatomical conditions.

Since both valves are on the market but sold at different prices the pivotal question is whether the Evolut PROTM reaches its target. In a highly budget restricted health care system with limited refunding cost-effectiveness evolves to a substantial discussion point in daily clinical practice. Our results may not be marketing friendly but we think of relevance for the interventional community.  Continue reading

Cost-effectiveness of Humanitarian Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marcelo G. Cardarelli, MD A member of Inova Medical Group

Dr. Cardarelli

Marcelo G. Cardarelli, MD
Inova Children’s Hospita
Fairfax, Falls Church, Virginia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Global Humanitarian Medical efforts consume a large amount of resources (nearly $38B in 2016) and donors (Countries, International organizations, WHO, Individuals) make the decisions as to where their funds should be allocated based on cost-effectiveness studies. Most resources go to prevent/treat infectious diseases, sanitation efforts and maternal/child care issues. An insignificant amount of resources is directed to satisfy the surgical needs of the populations in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

The idea behind our project was to find out if it was cost-effective to perform a tertiary surgical specialty (pediatric cardiac surgery) in this context and the answer (at $171 per DALY averted) was an overwhelming yes!

But most importantly, we believe, as many others do, that judging the cost/effectiveness of an intervention in order to decide resources allocation is valid for diseases that can be prevented, but not relevant when it comes to surgical problems that are not preventable.

Instead, we propose the use of another measure of effectiveness, what we call “The Humanitarian Footprint”.

The Humanitarian Footprint represents the long term benefits, as measured by changes in the life expectancy, extra years of schooling and potential lifetime earnings of patients treated surgically during humanitarian interventions.

To our surprise and based on the results, the effects on society of at least this particular surgical intervention were greater than we expected. We suspect this measure can be used in many other surgical humanitarian interventions as well.  Continue reading

Advanced Prostate Cancer: Risk of Mortality with Surgery vs Radiotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anthony Victor D'Amico, MD, PhD Professor and Chief, Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Harvard Medical School

Dr. D’Amico

Anthony Victor D’Amico, MD, PhD
Professor and Chief,
Genitourinary Radiation Oncology
Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study investigated whether surgery followed by the use of adjuvant low dose radiation and short course hormonal therapy as compared to high dose radiation and hormonal therapy could provide an equivalent low risk of death from prostate cancer amongst men presenting with aggressive and not infrequently fatal Gleason score 9 or 10 prostate cancer.

It has been shown previously (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2673969) and validated in the current study that surgery alone in such cases leads to a more then 2.5-fold increase in the risk of death from prostate cancer as compared to high dose radiation and hormonal therapy.  Continue reading

Who Does Better After Bariatric Surgery?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alison E. Field, ScD Professor and Chair of Epidemiology Brown University School of Public Heath Providence, RI

Dr. Field

Alison E. Field, ScD
Professor and Chair of Epidemiology
Brown University School of Public Heath
Providence, RI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: In the United States, approximately 40% of adults are obese. There are a range of treatment options, but relatively few people are able to lose weight and maintain the loss. The most effective treatment is bariatric surgery, but even among patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, there is a range in weight change patterns after surgery. This suggests that not all people with obesity are similar. There may be different causes and optimal treatment plans that vary by obesity subgroup. Our goal was to identify subgroups and to examine if they differed in terms of weight loss after bariatric surgery.

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Racial and Gender Disparities in CABG Surgery After First Heart Attack

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Srikanth Yandrapalli New York Medical College NYMC · Cardiology

Dr. Yandrapalli

Dr. Srikanth Yandrapalli
New York Medical College
NYMC · Cardiology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Selection of coronary artery bypass grafting over percutaneous coronary intervention during an acute myocardial infarction is influenced by the extent of coronary artery disease and patient comorbidities. Prior studies have shown sex and racial differences in coronary artery diseaseburden.

We sought to identify if there are any sex and racial differences in the utilization of  coronary artery bypass grafting over percutaneous coronary intervention during a revascularized first  acute myocardial infarction in the US.

We found that males had a higher coronary artery bypass grafting rate than women, and compared to Whites, Blacks had lower coronary artery bypass grafting rate and Asians had higher coronary artery bypass grafting at the time of a first myocardial infarction.

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Brain Metastases: Stereotactic Radiation vs Surgery Compared

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Stephanie E. Weiss MD FASTRO Chief, Division of Neurologic Oncology Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology Director, Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship Training Program Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Weiss

Dr. Stephanie E. Weiss MD FASTRO
Chief, Division of Neurologic Oncology
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Director, Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship Training Program
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Brain metastasis are the most common form of brain tumor.

Historically all patients received whole brain radiation as the primary therapy. Patients required neurosurgery to remove lesions if there was a question of diagnosis, what the diagnosis is and if there was a mass effect not relieved with steroids. Surgery was also indicated for patients with a single brain lesion because this offers a survival benefit over just receiving whole brain radiotherapy.

In 2003 a randomized trial proved that radiosurgery offers a similar benefit. So the question taxing patients and doctors at tumor boards since has been: which is better? If neurosurgery is superior, we are under-treating a lot of patients with radiosurgery. If radiosurgery is superior, we are subjecting a lot of patients to unnecessary brain surgery. Attempts to study this in a head-to-head randomized trial have failed. Patient and physician preference for one treatment or the other has proven to be a barrier to randomization and accrual. The EORTC 22952-2600 trial was originally designed to compare outcomes with and without whole brain radiation for patients receiving surgery or radiosurgery for brain metastasis.

We used this as the highest-quality source data available to compare local control of brain metastasis after surgery or radiosurgery, adjusted for by receipt or not of whole brain radiation.   Continue reading

Tonsillectomy Often Done When Not Indicated (and vice versa!)

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

A pair of tonsils after surgical removal Wikipedia image

A pair of tonsils after surgical removal
Wikipedia image

Tom Marshall, MSc, PhD, MRCGP, FFPH
Professor of public health and primary care
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Tonsillectomy is one of the most common childhood surgical procedures. There are two main indications: recurrent sore throat and sleep-related breathing problems (including obstructive sleep apnoea).

Jack Paradise’s 1984 study made clear tonsillectomy is modestly effective in children with frequent, severe sore throats: seven in one year, or five yearly in two successive years, or three yearly in three successive years. Sore throats must have symptoms: fever, pus seen on tonsils, lymphadenopathy or confirmed Streptococcal infection. With surgery, children average two sore throats in the next year, without surgery, three. Two years later there is no difference. Further research shows the benefits are too tiny to justify surgery in children with less frequent, less severe or undocumented sore throats. Subsequent randomised controlled trials have not changed the evidence. There isn’t enough good evidence to support surgery in children with obstructive sleep apnoea or sleep related breathing problems.

Tonsillectomy is not a trivial procedure, about 2% are readmitted with haemorrhage and about 1 in 40,000 dies. Childhood tonsillectomy is linked to risk of adult autoimmune diseases. It is important to be sure tonsillectomy is only undertaken in children where there are evidence-based indications.

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No Detectable Developmental Issues in Children Exposed to Anesthesia and Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Anesthesia" by Liran Szeiman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0James D. O’Leary, MD

Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine,
Child Health Evaluative Sciences
The Hospital for Sick Children
Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is substantial evidence from laboratory studies that the developing brain is susceptible to injury from general anesthetic drugs, which culminated in the US Food Drug Administration issuing a safety communication in 2017 stating that the use of general anaesthetic drugs “for lengthy periods of time or over multiple surgeries or procedures may negatively affect brain development in children younger than 3 years”. Considering the substantial number of children who require general anesthesia every year (almost 3 million in the US annually) even small differences in child development outcomes after surgical procedures that require general anesthesia may have significant public health implications.

Undertaking studies of anesthesia-related neurotoxicity in humans is difficult as adverse child development is a function of the complex interaction between many risk and protective factors. By examining differences between biological siblings in Ontario, Canada, this study seeks to mitigate differences in risk from biological vulnerability and environmental factors, to provide a more accurate estimate of the adverse effects of anesthesia and surgery on child development.

In the current study, young children who had surgical procedures that require general anesthesia were not found to be at increased risk of adverse child development outcomes compared to their biological siblings who did not have surgery. These findings further support that exposure to anesthesia and surgery in early childhood is not associated with detectable adverse child development outcomes. Continue reading

Most Surgical Patients Only Use About 25% Of Their Prescribed Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joceline Vu, MD

Resident, PGY-5
Department of Surgery
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: This study examined how much opioid patients use after surgery, and looked at factors that might predispose some patients to use more or less.

Patient opioid use after surgery is an interesting question that’s gained a lot of attention recently, because it’s different from other uses for opioids. If you have chronic pain, you’re probably going to use all of your prescription. But if you have surgery, you may not take all of your pills, and this leaves people with leftover pills that can be dangerous later.

From this study, we found that patients only use, on average, about quarter of their prescription, meaning that a lot of them are left with leftover pills. Moreover, we found that the biggest determinant of how much they used wasn’t how much pain they reported, or any other factor—it was how big their original prescription was.

What this means is that opioid use after surgery isn’t just determined by pain, but also by what surgeons prescribe. It’s important to keep this in mind as we try to reduce unnecessary opioid prescribing after surgical procedures.  Continue reading

Treatment Delays Linked To High Mortality for Head and Neck Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Evan M. Graboyes is a otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon with the Medical University of South Carolina. CREDIT Emma Vought, Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Graboyes

Dr. Evan M. Graboyes MD
Otolaryngologist: Head and Neck Surgeon
Medical University of South Carolina

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Unfortunately, there is no screening test for head and neck cancer like there is for colorectal, prostate, breast, lung, or cervical cancers. As a result, two-thirds of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) present with loco-regionally advanced disease, making other aspects of timely treatment that much more critically important. We therefore sought to understand the association between treatment delay at different points along the cancer care continuum and oncologic outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer.

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