Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.11.2015 Interview with: Katharine Yao, MD Director, Breast Surgical Program NorthShore University HealthSystem Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yao: A survey of breast surgeons was conducted to determine their knowledge level with contralateral breast cancer and how contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) affects survival.  Of five knowledge questions, only 60% scored with high knowledge (4 or 5 questions correct) scores.   Surgeons mostly scored low on contralateral cancer risks.  Most surgeons correctly stated that contralateral prophylactic mastectomy  does not provide a survival benefit.  Nonetheless, our knowledge questions did not address other important issues about CPM such as operative complications, or contralateral breast cancer risks for other high risk subgroups.  Higher knowledge was associated with fellowship training and duration of practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 23.11.2015 Interview with: Chunsheng Wang, MD Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Shanghai Cardiovascular Institution and Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University, Shanghai, China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has been widely used in high-risk patients for surgical aortic valve replacement. However, the majority of the TAVR devices were designed for aortic valve stenosis with significant valve calcification. For most of these devices, predominant aortic regurgitation remained to be a technological challenge because of questionable anchoring, which can result in a high incidence of valve migration and paravalvular leak. Consequently, the guidelines from the United States and the Europe suggest that candidates with predominant aortic regurgitation (>grade 3+) or noncalcified valve should not undergo TAVR. Patients with predominant aortic regurgitation who are at prohibitive risk for surgery need an alternative treatment. A new generation of transcatheter aortic valve devices with secure anchoring is needed. Six patients with native aortic regurgitation without significant valve calcification (age, 61 to 83 years; mean age, 75.50±8.14 years) underwent transapical implantation of the J-Valve prosthesis (JieCheng Medical Technology Co.,Ltd., Suzhou, China), a self-expandable porcine valve. Implantations were successful in all patients. During the follow-up period (from 31 days to 186 days, mean follow-up was 110.00±77.944 days), only 1 patient had trivial prosthetic valve regurgitation, and none of these patients had paravalvular leak of more than mild grade. There were no major postoperative complications or mortality during the follow-up. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of transapical implantation of the J-Valve system in high-risk patients with predominant aortic regurgitation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Pancreatic, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 18.11.2015 Interview with: Jason S. Gold MD FACS Chief of Surgical Oncology, VA Boston Healthcare System Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gold: Pancreas cancer is a lethal disease. While advances in the best available care for pancreas cancer are desperately needed, improvements can be made in addressing disparities in care. This study aimed to evaluate associations of social and demographic variables with the utilization of surgical resection as well as with survival after surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Gold: The main findings are the following: 1:     We found that less than half of patients with early-stage pancreas cancer undergo resection in the United States. Interestingly, the rate of resection has not changed with time during the eight-year study period. 2.  We also found significant disparities associated with the utilization of surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer in the United States. African American patients, Hispanic patients, single patients, and uninsured patients were significantly less likely to have their tumors removed. There were regional variations in the utilization of surgical resection as well. Patients in the Southeast were significantly less likely to have a pancreas resection for cancer compared to patients in the Northeast. 3. Among the patients who underwent surgical resection for early-stage pancreas cancer, we did not see significant independent associations with survival for most of the social and demographic variables analyzed. Surprisingly, however, patients from the Southeast had worse long-term survival after pancreas cancer resection compared to those in other regions of the United States even after adjusting for other variables. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Surgical Research, Transplantation, Weight Research / 17.11.2015 Interview with: Barry Schlansky, M.D., M.P.H Assistant Professor of Medicine Oregon Health & Science University Medical Research: What are the main findings and significance of this study? Dr. Schlansky: This study examines how obese patients fare before and after liver transplantation. Similar to other researchers, we found that obese patients do just as well as normal weight patients after liver transplantation. We were surprised, however, to find that very obese patients died more often while on the wait list before liver transplant. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Surgical Research, Transplantation / 16.11.2015

Patrick Hardison was severely injured in September 2001 in Mississippi, while attempting to rescue a woman in a burning home. He had dozens of surgeries as he continued to try to work and care for his five children. These surgeries grafted skin from his legs onto his entire scalp and face. Mr. Hardison was referred to Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, of NYU Langone Medical Center for consideration of facial transplantation. Three months August 14, 2015 ago Dr. Rodriguez were able to give Patrick a new face, scalp, ears and ear canals, new eyelids and the muscles that control blinking.   (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 11.11.2015

Dr. Giuseppe Andò University of Messina, Messina, Interview with: Dr. Giuseppe Andò University of Messina, Messina, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Andò: Patients’ preference for radial access for coronary angiography and percutaneous intervention is paralleled by an almost complete abolition of access-site bleeding. Given the deleterious impact of any clinically relevant bleeding event on short- and long-term outcomes, the use of radial access should translate into a reduction in net adverse events, especially in patients with high risk of bleeding such as those with an acute coronary syndrome. Nonetheless, studies conducted over the past decade by pioneers of radial access were relatively small and not sufficiently compelling to affect guidelines and endorse a change in current practice. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Andò: We have pooled in the present study 4 well-conducted, large, multicenter studies with data from centers with different expertise in radial procedures across America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. We demonstrate that the use of radial access can reduce mortality in patients with acute coronary syndromes undergoing invasive management by a consistent reduction in major bleeding. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Duke, Outcomes & Safety, Stroke, Surgical Research / 04.11.2015 Interview with: Soko Setoguchi-Iwata, M.D MPH Adjunct Associate Professor Department of Medicine Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Setoguchi: Medicare made a decision to cover Carotid Artery Stenting (CAS) in 2005 after publication of SAPPHIRE, which demonstrated the efficacy of Carotid Artery Stenting vs Carotid Endarterectomy in high risk patients for CEA. Despite the data showing increased carotid artery stenting dissemination following the 2005 National Coverage Determination, peri-procedural and long-term outcomes have not been described among Medicare beneficiaries, who are quite different from trial patients, older and with more comorbidities in general population. Understanding the outcomes in these population is particularly important in the light of more recent study, the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST), which established CAS as a safe and efficacious alternative to CEA among non-high-surgical risk patients that also expanded the clinical indication of carotid artery stenting. Another motivation to study ‘real world outcomes in the general population is expected differences in the proficiency of physicians performing stenting in trial setting vs. real world practice setting. SAPPHIRE and CREST physicians were enrolled only after having demonstrated  Carotid Artery Stenting proficiency with low complication rates whereas hands-on experience and patient outcomes among real-world physicians and hospitals is likely to be more diverse. We found that unadjusted mortality risks over study period of 5 years with an mean of 2 years of follow-up in our population was 32%.  Much higher mortality risks observed among certain subgroups with older age, symptomatic patients and non-elective hospitalizations.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Stroke, Surgical Research / 04.11.2015 Interview with: Saleh A Almenawer, MD Neurosurgeon, Hamilton Health Sciences McMaster University Hamilton, ON Canada  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Almenawer: The current standard therapy for acute ischemic stroke is intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which improves survival and functional outcomes when administered as early as possible after stroke. However, the use of intravenous tPA is limited by the narrow therapeutic time window (< 4.5 hours) and by important contraindications, including coagulopathy, recent surgery, or stroke or head injury within the past 3 months. This leaves as few as 10% of patients presenting with ischemic stroke eligible for treatment with tPA. Moreover, intravenous tPA is associated with long recanalization times and poor revascularization rates in proximal large vessel occlusion, and the prognosis of these patients remains poor. The limitations of intravenous tPA have spurred interest in endovascular thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke, analogous to thrombolysis versus percutaneous coronary intervention for myocardial infarction. Several randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have compared clinical outcomes of mechanical thrombectomy to standard medical treatment with intravenous tPA. The current study was a meta-analysis of RCTs that aimed to answer the question of whether endovascular thrombectomy is associated with better clinical outcomes than intravenous tPA, and accordingly, whether endovascular thrombectomy should replace intravenous tPA as the new standard of care for ischemic stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 29.10.2015 Interview with: Luke Rudmik, MD Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Department of Surgery University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rudmik: The main findings were that patients with chronic sinusitis who have lower impairments in their quality of life can have their work productivity maintained with continuing medical therapy. Although there were no 'improvements' in the patients productivity with continuing medical therapy, it is important to note that patients in this study had better baseline quality of life and better baseline productivity compared to patients who chose to receive sinus surgery who had worse baseline quality of life and baseline productivity impairment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Infections, Surgical Research / 29.10.2015

Emily Toth Martin, Ph.D. MPH Assistant Professor, Epidemiology University of Michigan School of Public Interview with: Emily Toth Martin, Ph.D. MPH Assistant Professor, Epidemiology University of Michigan School of Public Health  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Surgical site infections are responsible for billions in health care costs in the U.S. We are working to identify groups of people who are particularly impacted by surgical site infections. By looking at the results of 94 studies, we were able to take a 60,000 foot view of the connection between diabetes and surgical site infection. We found that diabetes raises the risk of infection across many types of surgeries. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, Technology / 28.10.2015 Interview with: Dr. Carmine Simone MD, FRCSC  Chief, Department of Surgery, Toronto East General Hospital Co-Program Medical Director, Surgery HealthService, Toronto East General Hospital Lecturer, University of Toronto, Division of Thoracic Surgery Courtesy Staff, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre & Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Simone: Patients preparing for surgery are often overwhelmed with information. Most of the time patients are given written instructions regarding preoperative preparation as well as written information at discharge. Our own institutional experience is that only 2/3 of patients read the information we provide and less than half of these patients can understand or retain the information they read. We have found that providing patients SMS alerts or reminders leading up to their surgery increases the likelihood that they will follow instructions and keep their appointments. Furthermore having patients log their progress after discharged from hospital allows patients to track their progress and report complications earlier and avoid coming to the ER. Educational modules enable patients to better gauge their symptoms and make more informed decisions about calling the surgeon’s office or proceeding to the emergency department. We found a significant reduction in the number of ER visits and cancelled procedures after implementing the mobile device reminders and post-discharge daily log. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NYU, Surgical Research / 26.10.2015

Mihye Choi, M.D., F.A.C.S. Associate Professor of Surgery NYU Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical Interview with: Mihye Choi, M.D., F.A.C.S. Associate Professor of Surgery NYU Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical Center Medical Research: Would you tell us a little about yourself and your interests in plastic surgery? Dr. Choi: I wanted to be a surgeon first, then I fell in love with plastic surgery after seeing a cleft lip repair as a medical student.  It was amazing to watch the ingenuity of the design and the skills needed to repair a baby's face.  I felt that it was the highest gift a doctor can bestow, so that a child can go forward with life in confidence and all the promise that life holds.  After finishing plastic surgery training, I developed expertise in breast reconstruction over the years.  I feel breast reconstruction combines the science and art of surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, Technology / 23.10.2015

[wysija_form id="5"] Interview with: Professor Philip Breedon Professor of smart technologies Nottingham Trent University Design for Health and Wellbeing Research Group  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Breedon: This report presented an innovative approach of enhancing the efficiency of spinal surgery by utilizing the technological capabilities and design functionalities of wearable headsets, in this case Google Glass. The overall aim was to improve the efficiency of the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy ( SDR) neurosurgical procedure through the use of Google Glass via an innovative approach to information design for the intraoperative monitoring display. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 23.10.2015 Interview with: Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh MD Assistant Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School  Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Trinh:  Blacks who undergo radical prostatectomy, e.g. surgical removal of the prostate for cancer, are more likely to experience complications, emergency room visits, readmissions compared to their non-hispanic White counterparts. As a result, the 1-year costs of care for Blacks is significantly higher than non-hispanic Whites. Interestingly, despite these quality of care concerns, the survival of elderly Blacks and Whites undergoing prostatectomy is the same. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Trinh: A possible interpretation of our findings is that the biological differences in tumor aggressiveness among Blacks  (e.g. Blacks have more aggressive prostate cancer than Whites) may have been exaggerated, and that the perceived gap in survival is a result of lack of access or cultural perceptions with regard to surgical care for prostate cancer or other factors that differentiate who makes it to the operating table. (more…)
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, NYU, Surgical Research / 19.10.2015 Interview with: Nolan S. Karp, MD  Associate Professor, Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical Research: What is the background for Three-dimensional imaging? Dr. Karp: This was really developed for industry in product engineering.  We and others applied this to medicine. Medical Research: What kind of technology is required? Dr. Karp: This is a fancy picture.  We obtain a 3D surface scan of the person or an object, which corresponds to a digital data set. Medical Research: How does Three-dimensional imaging help the physician and patient plan for better surgical outcomes? Dr. Karp: It lets you simulate the surgery.  For the surgeon, we can plan the surgery better.  For the patient, they can see the expected outcome better, before surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Surgical Research / 17.10.2015 Interview with: Jan Peter Yska, PharmD Medical Centre Leeuwarden Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Clinical Pharmacology Leeuwarden The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Yska: Many patients with morbid obesity have known type 2 diabetes mellitus. Bariatric surgery effectively prevents and treats type 2 diabetes. A growing number of studies suggests that surgical treatment for obese patients may be considered an additional treatment option for the management of type 2 diabetes. However, an observational study on the remission of type 2 diabetes, using strict criteria for remisson of diabetes, after different types of bariatric surgery, based on data from general practice has not been carried out yet. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Yska: Our study included 569 obese patients with type 2 diabetes who had different types of weight-loss surgery and 1,881 similar diabetic patients who didn’t have surgery. This study confirms that bariatric surgery is successful in treating diabetes mellitus type 2. Per 1,000 person years 94.5 diabetes remissions were found in patients who underwent bariatric surgery, compared to 4.9 diabetes remissions in matched controls. A strict definition of remission of diabetes was used, much stricter than in other studies: patients should have stopped all diabetic medications with an HbA1c < 6.0% after at least 6 months of follow-up. Diabetic patients who underwent bariatric surgery had an 18-fold increased chance of diabetes remission, compared to diabetic patients who did not undergo surgery, with the greatest effect size observed for gastric bypass (adj. RR 43.1), followed by sleeve gastrectomy (adj. RR 16.6), and gastric banding (adj. 6.9). The largest decrease in  HbA1c and blood glucose levels was observed in the first two years after bariatric surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research / 16.10.2015

Richard S. Hoehn, MD Division of Transplant Surgery Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati School of Medicine Cincinnati, Interview with: Richard S. Hoehn, MD Division of Transplant Surgery Department of Surgery University of Cincinnati School of Medicine Cincinnati, OH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hoehn: Safety-net hospitals are hospitals that either have a stated purpose of maintaining an “open door policy” to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, or simply have a significantly high burden of patients with Medicaid or no insurance. As healthcare policy and reimbursement change to focus on both “quality” metrics as well as cost containment, these hospitals may find themselves in a precarious situation. Current literature suggests that increased safety-net burden corresponds to inferior surgical outcomes. If this is true, safety-net hospitals will have inferior outcomes and suffer more financial penalties than other centers. This decrease in resources may adversely affect patient care, leading to even worse outcomes and further financial penalties, potentially creating a downward spiral that exacerbates disparities in surgical care that already exist in our country. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Hoehn: Our study analyzed 9 major surgical operations using the University HealthSystem Consortium clinical database, which represents 95% of academic medical centers in the United States. We sought to determine the effect of patient and hospital characteristics on the inferior outcomes at safety-net hospitals. As expected, we found that safety-net hospitals had higher rates of patients who were of black race, of lowest socioeconomic status, had government insurance, had extreme severity of illness, and needed emergent operations. They also had the highest rates of post-operative mortality, 30-day readmissions, and highest costs associated with care. Next we performed a multivariate analysis controlling for patient age, race, socioeconomic status, and severity of illness, as well as hospital procedure-specific volume. Using this model, we found that the increased mortality and readmission rates at safety-net hospitals were somewhat reduced, but the increased costs were not affected. Safety-net hospitals still provided surgical care that was 23-35% more expensive, despite controlling for patient characteristics. This suggests that intrinsic hospital characteristics may be responsible for the increased costs at safety-net hospitals. To further investigate this finding, we analyzed Medicare Hospital Compare data and found that safety-net hospitals performed worse on Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) measures, had higher rates of reported surgical complications, and also had much slower measures of emergency department throughput (time from arrival to evaluation, treatment, admission, etc). This corresponded with our finding that hospital characteristics may be driving increased costs at safety-net hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Lancet, Surgical Research / 14.10.2015 Interview with: Dr. R. A. Badwe, MS Director, Tata Memorial Centre E. Borges Marg, Parel Mumbai -India  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:   The available retrospective clinical data suggested an overall survival benefit for metastatic breast cancer patients treated with surgery, with or without radiation, for the primary breast tumor. These studies were fraught with biases and at the same time, studies showed  removal of the primary tumor improved survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Additionally data from animal experiments suggested that surgical removal of the primary tumor could potentially increase metastatic spread. Our study was thus planned to address the uncertainty on role of surgery of the primary in women presenting with metastatic breast cancer. The main findings of this study suggest that there is no evidence to suggest that loco-regional treatment of the primary tumor confers an overall survival advantage in patients with de-novo metastatic breast cancer and this procedure should not be routinely done. Additionally, we noted though there was significant local control in the loco regional treatment arm, there was a detriment in distant progression-free survival and no difference in overall survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Surgical Research / 12.10.2015

Kathleen Carey, Ph.D. Professor Department of Health Law, Policy and Management Boston University School of Public Health Boston MA Interview with: Kathleen Carey, Ph.D. Professor Department of Health Law, Policy and Management Boston University School of Public Health Boston MA  02118 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Carey: Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are a growing alternative to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) for patients undergoing surgeries that do not require an overnight stay. The number of ASCs increased 49% between 2002 and 2012 and now exceeds the number of acute care hospitals. Most Ambulatory surgery centers are specialized in the areas of gastroenterology, ophthalmology or orthopedic surgery. Because of specialization and limitations on the services they provide, it generally is assumed that ASCs can perform the same procedures at a lower cost than HOPDs. In fact, Medicare reimburses ASCs at a rate of roughly 60% of what they reimburse HOPDs. Yet since Medicare doesn’t require ASCs to submit cost reports, this policy is based on little information about the relative costs of ASCs and HOPDs. The cost advantage may offer an explanation for rapid ASC growth. But financial margins are explained by both costs and revenues, and high returns on investment might also be explained by high prices. Here there is even less information, as prices negotiated between commercial health insurers and providers are ordinarily considered highly confidential. In this study, I took advantage of MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters, a large national database distributed by Truven Health Analytics that contains information on actual prices paid to ASCs and HOPDs to explore the revenue side of ASC expansion. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Carey: For this study, I examined six common surgical procedures that are high volume, provided in both ASCs and in HOPDs, and represent the three main ASC specialties: colonoscopy, upper GI endoscopy, cataract surgery, post cataract surgery (capsulotomy), and two knee arthroscopy procedures. Over the period 2007-2012, the ratio of what insurers paid ASCs compared to HOPDs differed considerably across specialty: For colonoscopy and endoscopy, ASCs received 22% less than HOPDS. But for cataract surgery, the payments were relatively comparable, and for knee arthroscopy payments to ASCs exceeded payments to HOPDs by 28% to 30%. Private insurers paid ASCs considerably more than Medicare did – anywhere from 25% more to over twice as much for post cataract surgery. The other interesting finding was that HOPD prices grew much faster than ASC prices between 2007 and 2012. While some  Ambulatory surgery centers prices grew more than others, ASC prices on the whole rose roughly in line with medical care prices generally. HOPD prices for these services, however, rose from 32% to 76% during the same time period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Pancreatic, Surgical Research / 09.10.2015 Interview with: Andrew P. Loehrer, MD David Torchiana Fellow in Health Policy and Management Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Research Fellow Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery Department of Surgery Massachusetts General Hospital Andrew P. Loehrer, MD David Torchiana Fellow in Health Policy and Management Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Research Fellow Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery Department of Surgery Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Loehrer: The incidence of pancreatic cancer is increasing and is on pace to become the second leading cause of cancer mortality by the year 2020. While surgery remains the only chance for long-term survival, significant and persistent disparities in evaluation for and receipt of surgery remain for underinsured patients across the United States. The Affordable Care Act aims to increase access to care through expansion of health insurance coverage and was modeled on previous reform in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We evaluated the impact of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform on rates of surgery for pancreatic cancer. We found the insurance expansion to be independently associated with a 67% increased rate of resection for pancreatic cancer. While disparities in resection rates by insurance status decreased after the health reform, significant gaps remain between privately-insured patients and government-subsidized/self-pay patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Surgical Research / 08.10.2015

Dr. Junaid A. Bhatti MBBS PhD Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, Interview with: Dr. Junaid A. Bhatti MBBS PhD Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, ON Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bhatti:  Bariatric surgery remains an important option for morbidly obese patients where other obesity management options fail. It is a safe procedure with mortality risk not higher than any other major procedure of this type. Some studies report that some patients may experience psychological stress following surgery. Studies on the long-term outcomes noted that there was a higher suicide risk in bariatric patients as compared to the general population. It was not clear whether these risks increased following surgery. In this study, we used the data of bariatric patients from Ontario who underwent surgery between 2006 and 2011. We assessed their emergency room visits three years before and three years following surgery. We looked into whether these patients had significantly more visits related to suicide attempts before compared to post surgery period. Overall, about 111 patients (1%) of the cohort had suicide attempts during follow-up. What we saw is that suicide risk increased by 50% following surgery than before surgery period. The risks were higher, but not significantly higher than others, if they were 35 years or older or from low-income or rural settings. The emergency services utilization of suicide attempts following surgery was more intense for the visits before surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 08.10.2015 Interview with: Isam Atroshi, MD, PhD Department of Orthopedics Hässleholm-Kristianstad Lund University Lund, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Atroshi: Although carpal tunnel release surgery is a very common operation and we know that, in the short term, the results in most patients are very good, we do not know that much about long-term outcomes. In fact, before our study there have been no reliable data about outcomes beyond 5 years and whether or not the results differ depending on type of surgery. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Atroshi: In our study patients with carpal tunnel syndrome who had participated in a randomized clinical trial of open versus endoscopic release were evaluated 11 to 16 years after they had the surgery. We were able to follow 124 of the 128 patients (3 had died and only 1 declined); this almost complete follow-up is unique in clinical research and a major strength of the study. Our main findings are that the good short-term results of surgery are durable in the majority of the patients irrespective of the type of surgery whether open or endoscopic. Two-thirds of the patients can expect to continue being completely free of symptoms more than 10 years after surgery. About a third of the patients still experience some numbness or tingling in the fingers but in most of these the symptoms are only mild and do not cause functional difficulties. More than 85% are very satisfied with the results of the surgery after more than 10 years. However, up to 6% of patients who have surgery could need further surgery because of symptom recurrence. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 07.10.2015 Interview with: Johannes Kurt Schultz, MD Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schultz: Acute perforated diverticulitis is a serious condition requiring urgent surgical attention. Laparoscopic peritoneal lavage has been described as a tempting option in treatment of these patients instead of today’s standard management with resection of the diseased bowel segment. Previous non-randomized studies have suggested that this novel mini-invasive approach is superior to traditional surgery. Our randomized trial is the largest study conducted to investigate these two treatment options. We demonstrate that the new treatment is not superior to the established surgical management. In fact, the reoperation rate in the laparoscopic lavage group was higher and some sigmoid cancers were not identified in the lavage group and thus left in-situ. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 05.10.2015

Prof. Dr. med. Patrick Meybohm, MHBA Leitender Oberarzt Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin und Schmerztherapie Universitätsklinikum Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Patrick Meybohm, MHBAConsultant for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine University Hospital Frankfurt Dept. Of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Therapy Frankfurt Germany Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Meybohm: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is reported to reduce biomarkers of ischemic and reperfusion injury in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, but uncertainty about clinical outcomes remains. We conducted a prospective, double-blind, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving adults who were scheduled for elective cardiac surgery requiring cardiopulmonary bypass. The trial compared upper-limb RIPC with a sham intervention. The primary end point was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or acute renal failure up to the time of hospital discharge. Secondary end points included the occurrence of any individual component of the primary end point by day 90. A total of 1403 patients underwent randomization. The full analysis set comprised 1385 patients (692 in the RIPC group and 693 in the sham-Remote ischemic preconditioning group). There was no significant between-group difference in the rate of the composite primary end point (99 patients [14.3%] in the RIPC group and 101 [14.6%] in the sham-RIPC group, P=0.89) or of any of the individual components: death (9 patients [1.3%] and 4 [0.6%], respectively; P=0.21), myocardial infarction (47 [6.8%] and 63 [9.1%], P=0.12), stroke (14 [2.0%] and 15 [2.2%], P=0.79), and acute renal failure (42 [6.1%] and 35 [5.1%], P=0.45). The results were similar in the per-protocol analysis. No treatment effect was found in any subgroup analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 05.10.2015

Mads Emil Jørgensen Copenhagen University Hospital..., Interview with: Mads E. Jørgensen, MB Cardiovascular Research Center Gentofte Hospital University of Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years there has been a wide use of beta blockers in the non-cardiac surgery setting with the intent to protect the heart. Within recent years, this field of research has opened up to new studies evaluating in detail which patient subgroups do benefit from this therapy and which may actually be at increased risk. The current study evaluated chronic beta blocker use and risks of perioperative complications in a rather low risk population of patients with hypertension, but without cardiac, kidney or liver disease. Among 55,000 patients receiving at least two antihypertensive drugs, we found that patients treated with a beta blocker were at increased risks of complications during surgery and 30-day after surgery, compared to patients treated with other antihypertensive drugs only. In various subgroup analyses (by age, gender, diabetes, surgery risk etc.) the findings were consistent although challenged in power. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research / 04.10.2015

Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS Surgical oncologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Interview with: Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS Surgical oncologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Medical Research: Why is this study important? Dr. Van Zee: It is very important because the 4 large studies that randomized women with DCIS to radiation or not after they had breast-conserving surgery all began between 1985 and 1990.  Those studies are generally used to help women and clinicians estimate risk of subsequent recurrence in the same breast over time.  This study shows that recurrence rates have significantly fallen over the decades, suggesting that the recurrence rates observed in those studies are higher than what would be expected in the current era.  This is good news for women that want to have breast conservation for DCIS! Medical Research: What are the key findings? Dr. Van Zee:
  1. a)       Recurrence rates have fallen over the years, by about 40% between the early period (1978-1998) and the later period (1999-2010).
  2. b)      The decrease in recurrence rates is only partly explained by factors such as increased screening, wider margins, more frequent use of endocrine therapy (ie, tamoxifen).
  3. c)       The improvement in recurrence rates is mostly due to a decrease in recurrence rates for women NOT undergoing radiation (even though women having radiation continue to have a lower recurrence rate than those not having radiation)
  4. d)      This last point is important because since radiation is given only to reduce local recurrence rates and has never been shown to improve survival (survival is excellent with all treatments).  So a woman treated currently with breast conservation without radiation can expect about a  40% lower recurrence rate than in the earlier decades.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 03.10.2015

Russ S. Kotwal, M.D., M.P.H. United States Army Institute of Surgical Research Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Interview with: Russ S. Kotwal, M.D., M.P.H. United States Army Institute of Surgical Research Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kotwal: The term golden hour was coined to encourage urgency of trauma care. In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates mandated prehospital helicopter transport of critically injured combat casualties in 60 minutes or less. The objectives of the study were to compare morbidity and mortality outcomes for casualties before vs after the mandate and for those who underwent prehospital helicopter transport in 60 minutes or less vs more than 60 minutes. A retrospective descriptive analysis of battlefield data examined 21,089 US military casualties that occurred during the Afghanistan conflict from September 11, 2001, to March 31, 2014. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kotwal: For the total casualty population, the percentage killed in action and the case fatality rate (CFR) were higher before vs after the mandate, while the percentage died of wounds remained unchanged. Decline in CFR after the mandate was associated with an increasing percentage of casualties transported in 60 minutes or less, with projected vs actual CFR equating to 359 lives saved. Among 4542 casualties with detailed data, there was a decrease in median transport time after the mandate and an increase in missions achieving prehospital helicopter transport in 60 minutes or less. When adjusted for injury severity score and time period, the percentage killed in action was lower for those critically injured who received a blood transfusion and were transported in 60 minutes or less, while the percentage died of wounds was lower among those critically injured initially treated by combat support hospitals. Acute morbidity was higher among those critically injured who were transported in 60 minutes or less, those severely and critically injured initially treated at combat support hospitals, and casualties who received a blood transfusion, emphasizing the need for timely advanced treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Lancet, Surgical Research / 17.09.2015

Martin Neovius PhD Department of Medicine, Interview with: Martin Neovius PhD Department of Medicine, Solna Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Neovius: Long-term real world data on economic effects of bariatric surgery versus nonsurgical treatment are scarce. We have previously looked at long-term drug costs, inpatient and outpatient care in the overall bariatric surgery population (Neovius, Narbro et al, JAMA 2012). However, overall findings may mask important subgroup variations. Based on data from the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study, we documented large drug cost savings over 15 years after bariatric surgery versus non-surgically treated controls in patients who had diabetes and prediabetes before intervention. No savings were seen in patients who were euglycemic at baseline. In terms of overall healthcare costs, we saw cost-neutrality versus non-surgically treated patients for the diabetes group, while costs were higher for both patients with normal blood glucose and those with prediabetes (due to the initial high cost of surgery and inpatient care). For the subgroup of patients with diabetes, we also found that patients with recent diabetes onset had more favorable economic outcomes than patients with established diabetes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 14.09.2015

Monika Goyal, MD Pediatric emergency medicine Children’s National Hospital Washington, DC Interview with: Monika Goyal, MD Pediatric emergency medicine Children’s National Hospital Washington, DC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Goyal: Appendicitis is a painful surgical condition and adequate analgesia, particularly with opioids, are considered one of the mainstays of management. We found that almost half of all children diagnosed with appendicitis did not receive any analgesia. Furthermore, among the patients that did receive analgesia, there were marked racial differences with black children having lower rates of opioid medication receipt than white children, even after we took pain scores or acuity level into account. (more…)