Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Frailty, JAMA, Surgical Research / 20.01.2016

More on Frailty on Interview with: Dr. Daniel I McIsaac, MD, MPH, FRCPC Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology Department of Anesthesiology The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus Ottawa, ON Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McIsaac: Older age is a well-known risk factor for adverse outcomes after surgery, however, many older patients have positive surgical outcomes. Frailty is a syndrome that encompasses the negative health attributes and comorbidities that accumulate across the lifespan, and is a strong discriminating factor between high- and low-risk older surgical patients.  By definition, frail patients are “sicker” than non-frail patients, so their higher rates of morbidity and mortality after surgery aren’t surprising. However, frailty increases in prevalence with increasing age, so as our population ages we expect to see more frail people presenting for surgery.  Our goal was to evaluate the impact of frailty on postoperative mortality at a population-level, and over the first year after surgery to provide insights that aren’t available in the current literature, which largely consists of single center studies limited to in-hospital and 30-day outcome windows. (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, Surgical Research / 14.01.2016 Interview with: Dr. Jenny Löfgren Surgery and Perioperative Sciences Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Umeå Umeå Sweden  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are an estimated 220 million groin hernia patients in the World. 20 million are operated on annually making it one of the worlds most commonly performed surgeries. The surgical repair rate in low income settings is very low. Also, the quality of the surgery is lower than in high income settings. The superior technique that uses a synthetic mesh to reinforce the abdominal wall at the site of the hernia is not affordable due to the high cost of that mesh. Mosquito mesh, which is very similar to the expensive mesh, is already used in several settings but its safety and effectiveness had not previously been investigated in a randomized trial of sufficient size with follow up for as long as one year.   Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The most important finding of the study is that it was not able to detect any differences in terms of safety, effectiveness and patient satisfaction when outcomes in the group receiving the low-cost (mosquito) mesh with the group receiving a commonly used commercial mesh. The study also shows that high quality surgery, on par with standards in high income settings, can be provided for an underserved population in rural Uganda, at an affordable cost. Finally, the study shows that it is possible to conduct high quality surgical (clinical) research with high follow up rates also in settings such as rural Uganda. This should encourage us and others to conduct other trials in the future (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Surgical Research, UCLA, Weight Research / 12.01.2016 Interview with: Aaron J. Dawes, MD Fellow, VA/RWJF Clinical Scholars Program Division of Health Services Research University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 90024 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dawes: We reviewed the published literature to answer three basic questions about bariatric surgery and mental health conditions. First, how common are mental health conditions among patients being referred for or undergoing bariatric surgery?
  • Second, do patients who carry a diagnosis of one of these conditions lose less weight after surgery than patients without these conditions?
  • And, third, what happens to the clinical course of mental health conditions after patients undergo surgery? Do they get better, worse, or stay the same?
We found that mental health conditions are surprisingly common among bariatric patients, especially depression and binge eating disorder, which occur at almost twice the rate among bariatric patients than in the general U.S. population. We also found no strong evidence to suggest that patients with depression lose less weight after surgery and some evidence that the condition may actually improve after surgery. Eleven of the twelve studies on the topic found either lower rates or fewer symptoms of depression, at least during the first 3 years post-operatively. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.01.2016 Interview with: Dr. Sigrid Bjerge Gribsholt MD, PhD Student Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital 8000 Aarhus C Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Based on our clinical experiences we became aware that surgical, medical and nutritional symptoms were common in this group of patients. To enlighten the prevalence and severity we decided to undertake the study. Our main findings include that 88% of the patients felt better or much better than before surgery and 8% felt worse. Furthermore, we found that 68% of the patients had been in contact with the health care system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 08.01.2016 Interview with: Sam P. Most, M.D., F.A.C.S. Professor, Departments of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Surgery (Division of Plastic Surgery, by courtesy) Chief, Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Most: Insurance companies often require patients to try a 6 or more week treatment with nasal steroids prior to allowing nasal surgery to proceed. This is true even in cases of physician-documented severe or extreme anatomic nasal obstruction that we know will not respond to medical therapy. We sought to examine this from a cost and quality-of-life perspective. We found that while the up-front cost of surgery is obviously much higher than medical therapy, when viewed from an effect on improvement of quality of life (or lack thereof, in the case of medical therapy), the surgical therapy became more cost effective as years passed by. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Surgical Research / 05.01.2016 Interview with: Jason B. Lee MD Professor , Clinical Vice Chair Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Director, Jefferson Dermatopathology Center Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lee: When initially described, Clark et al. suggested that dysplastic nevi were intermediate lesions that lie biologically on a spectrum between benign and malignant. As such, they were to be histologically graded as mild, moderate, and severe (or a combination thereof), with mild presumably closer to benign and severe closer to malignant. In this paradigm, adopted by most dermatologists, these nevi are routinely excised based on histologic grading and margin status. Recent outcomes of follow-up and excision studies of dysplastic nevi suggest that they are over treated as there have been very low rates of melanoma on re-excision. An alternative approach considers dysplastic or eponymously Clark nevi as common acquired nevi, typically in fair skin individuals, and rejects the entire notion that they are intermediate lesions as there exists no formal proof of their intermediate status. This approach omits grading and margin status entirely, providing the clinician an explicit recommendation for excision only for those cases of diagnostic uncertainty. In this study, excision recommendation rate of dysplastic/Clark nevi was determined along with analysis of excision outcomes in a laboratory where non-grading histologic diagnostic approach to these nevi has been adopted. The excision recommendation rate, representing the diagnostic uncertainty rate, was 11.1%. Out of 80% of the cases returned for excision, only 2.0% of the cases were interpreted as melanoma on excision; all were in situ or thin melanomas. This excision rate is much lower than in prior reports, which vary from 22-52%, while still capturing melanomas within this subset of lesions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 04.01.2016 Interview with: Dr. Mary Hawn MD MPH Chair, Department of Surgery Stanford School of Medicine Stanford, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hawn: Patients with known coronary artery disease are at higher risk for adverse cardiac events in the peri-operative period.  Revascularization with coronary stents does not appear to mitigate this risk and in fact, may elevate the risk if surgery is in the early post-stent period.  Drug eluting stents pose a particular dilemma as these patients require 12 months of dual anti platelet therapy to prevent stent thrombosis, thus elective surgery is recommended to be delayed during this period.  In contrast, bare metal stents with early epithilialization are not at the same risk for stent thrombosis with anti platelet cessation.   In our retrospective cohort study, however, we observed that stent type was not a major driver of adverse events in the early post-stent period and that underlying cardiac disease and acuity of the surgery explained most of the risk.  We undertook this study to determine the influence of the underlying indication for the stent procedure on surgical outcomes over time following the stent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Testosterone / 04.01.2016 Interview with: Quoc-Dien Trinh MD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Williams Hospital  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Trinh: Among elderly Medicare beneficiaries with metastatic prostate cancer, surgical castration is associated with lower risks of any fractures, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiac-related complications compared to medical castration using GnRH agonists. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 03.01.2016 Interview with: Gabriele Saccone, MD Department of Neuroscience Reproductive Sciences and Dentistry School of Medicine University of Naples Federico II Naples, Italy Vincenzo Berghella, MD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr Saccone: Preterm birth (PTB) is the number one cause of perinatal mortality in many countries, including the US. The annual societal economic burden associated with Preterm birth in the US was at least $26.2 billion in 2006, or about $51,600 per infant born preterm. Defining risk factors for prediction of PTB is an important goal for several reasons.
  • First, identifying women at risk allows initiation of risk-specific treatment.
  • Second, it may define a population useful for studying particular interventions.
  • Finally, it may provide important insights into mechanisms leading to Preterm birth.Prior surgery on the cervix, such as cone biopsy and LEEP procedures, is associated with an increased risk of spontaneous PTB. History of uterine evacuation for abortion, by either induced termination of pregnancy (I-TOP) or treatment of spontaneous abortion (SAB) by suction dilation and curettage (D&C) or by dilation and evacuation (D&E), which may involve mechanical and/or osmotic dilatation of the cervix, has been associated with an increased risk of PTB in some studies, but not in others. Our systematic review and meta-analysis pooled data from 36 studies including 1,047,683 women with prior abortion. We found that history of surgical abortion is an independent risk factor for Preterm birth and also other obstetric complications including low birth weight and small for gestational age, while prior medical abortion with first-trimester mifepristone or mid-trimester misoprostol was not associated with an increased risk of PTB. The biological plausibility to explain our findings is not completely clear. However, three main hypotheses can be made.
  • The increased risk of Preterm birth could result from the overt or covert infection following surgically uterine evacuation,
  • as well as from mechanical trauma to the cervix leading to increased risk of cervical insufficiency.
  • Moreover, surgical procedures including curettage during D&E may result in scar tissue that may increase the probability of faulty placental implantation.
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Surgical Research / 29.12.2015 Interview with: Azra Bihorac, MD, MS and Department of Anesthesiology Charles Hobson, MD, MHA Department of Surgery, Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy University of Florida Gainesville Florida  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:   Background is that as ICU clinicians we see acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) frequently and have to deal with the consequences, and as AKI researchers we have shown that even mild and moderate AKI – even if there is complete resolution of the AKI by the time of hospital discharge – result in significantly increased morbidity and mortality for the surgical patient. Furthermore we are aware of the existing relationship between CKD and cardiovascular mortality, and we wanted to explore any relationship between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in the vascular surgery patients that we care for on a daily basis. The most important finding was the strong association between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in these patients – equal to the well-known association between CKD and cardiovascular mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Surgical Research, Vitamin D / 29.12.2015 Interview with: Leigh A. Peterson, PhD, MHS Post-doctoral fellow Department of Surgery - Bayview Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Peterson: From our previous study published in Obesity Surgery earlier this year, we knew that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was very common in our bariatric surgery candidates (71.4% < 20 ng/ml and 92.9% < 30 ng/ml). We wanted to explore the effect of this deficiency on adverse outcomes after bariatric surgery such as wound healing, infection, and extended hospital stay. We turned to the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to answer this question, as it would contain enough surgeries to detect changes in even less frequent outcomes such as wound infection. But blood concentration of vitamin D is not available, so we used a traditional method to estimate group vitamin D status with season and geography. Vitamin D comes from the sun, so people have the most vitamin D in summer and in sunnier places. In 932,091 records of bariatric surgeries from 2001 to 2010, we saw that more adverse outcomes occurred during winter—January to March, the time of lowest vitamin D status—compared to summer or even spring or fall. Additionally, most adverse outcomes occurred in northern latitudes (≥ 37°N) compared to sunnier southern latitudes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Transplantation / 23.12.2015 Interview with: Gerardo Vitiello, MD Emory University School of Medicine Emory Transplant Center NYU Langone Medical Center Department of Surgery  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vitiello:   Screening for prostate cancer with prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels is highly controversial, as it is a non-specific marker for prostate cancer. A PSA level may be elevated in a variety of disease processes (not only prostate cancer), and even in the general population, the benefit of early intervention for prostate cancer is unclear. In contrast, end stage renal disease (ESRD), where patients no longer have renal function and require dialysis, is a major health problem with a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life. The only cure for ESRD is kidney transplantation, which has been shown to have an enormous health and quality of life benefit for transplant recipients. Transplant centers have rigorously screened candidates for potential malignancy prior to transplantation to ensure that there are no contraindications to receiving a transplant. For the first time, we demonstrate that screening for prostate cancer in kidney transplant candidates is not beneficial, and may actually be harmful, since it delays time to transplant and reduces a patient’s chance of receiving a transplant without an apparent benefit on patient survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Surgical Research / 23.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Najib Rahman D Phil MSc MRCP Consultant and Senior Lecturer Lead for Pleural Diseases Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine Clinical Director, Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit Tutor in Clinical Medicine University College, Oxford Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rahman : Up to TIME1, the evidence base behind optimal pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusion in terms of tube size and analgesia was poor. Optimal pleurodesis in this context is one which is successful (i.e. the patient needs no further pleural interventions for that malignant effusion), but occurs with the minimum discomfort. This is particularly important as the treatment intent in malignant effusion pleurodesis is palliative. This is the first adequately powered randomized trial to address two important issues in pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusion - that of whether NSAIDs reduce pleurodesis efficacy, and if smaller chest tubes (12F) are "as good as" larger chest tubes (24F) for pleurodesis success and in terms of pain. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Rahman : The main and somewhat surprising findings are that:
  1. NSAIDs given short term but at high dose do not impair pleurodesis - they are no better than morphine for pain control (in fact, they needed modestly more rescue medication), but can be freely used during malignant effusion pleurodesis with no fear of reducing pleurodesis success.
  1. Smaller tubes were marginally less painful than larger tubes - but this difference was not clinically very relevant
  1. Smaller tubes cannot now be said to be "as good as" larger tubes for malignant effusion pleurodesis. Our data shows that they failed in non-inferiority to larger tubes for pleurodesis success at 3 months. 
  1. Smaller tubes resulted in higher fall our rates, a higher incidence of not being able to administer talc and were associated with more complications during insertion .
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 17.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Gerry McCann MD Reader in Cardiovascular Imaging Department of Cardiovascular Sciences University of Leicester Leicester UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McCann:  Cardiologists increasingly treat patients who suffer a large heart attack with an emergency procedure performed under local anaesthetic. The blocked artery that causes the heart attack is opened by inserting a small metal stent at the blockage. Up to 50% of patients treated in this way also have other narrowed heart arteries. Two recent studies (PRAMI and CvLPRIT) in patients with heart attacks and multiple narrowed arteries have suggested that treating all of the narrowed arteries (complete revascularization) may be better than just treating the blocked artery. However, there is concern that the longer procedure, and putting in more stents, may cause more injury to the heart. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Dr. McCann:  We studied 203 patients having a heart attack who were randomly assigned to have only the blocked artery opened (105 patients) or complete revascularization during the initial hospitalization (98 patients) in the CvLPRIT study. We assessed the size of the heart attack and any smaller areas of damage using MRI scanning. Patients who were treated with complete revascularization were more likely to have evidence of more than 1 heart attack on the MRI than if only the blocked artery was treated (22% vs. 11% of patients). However, these additional heart attacks were generally small and the total percentage of the heart that was damaged was not increased (12.6% vs. 13.5%). The pumping function of the heart measured 3 days and 9 months after treatment was also similar with both treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 17.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Jochen Reinöhl Consultant and Head of the ISAH team (intervention for structural and congenital cardiovascular diseases) Department of Cardiology and Angiology I  (Medical Director: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bode) University Heart Center Freiburg ∙ Bad Krozingen Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Reinöhl: Aortic valve stenosis is a medical condition with very high short-term mortality. Previously its only treatment – therefore the gold standard – consisted of surgical valve replacement. Since 2007 transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) can be considered alternative. Its impact on clinical practice, however, is largely unknown. TAVR numbers rose from 144 in 2007 to 9,147 in 2013, whereas surgical aortic-valve replacement procedures only marginally decreased from 8,622 to 7,048. For both groups in-hospital mortality, as well as, the incidence of stroke, bleeding and pacemaker implantation (but not acute kidney injury) decreased. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Peter C. Minneci, M.D., MHSc Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice Assistant Professor, Pediatric Surgery The Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Minneci: Non-operative management of uncomplicated appendicitis has been shown to safe and effective studied in several international adult trials. To be a reasonable treatment alternative to urgent appendectomy, non-operative management of appendicitis in children must have a clinically acceptable success rate with minimal harm in patients that fail and subsequently undergo appendectomy. We performed a prospective single-institution patient choice trial allowing the families of children with acute uncomplicated appendicitis to choose between urgent appendectomy or non-operative management with antibiotics alone. We enrolled 102 patients, with 65 choosing surgery and 37 choosing non-operative management with antibiotics alone. Non-operative management had an in-hospital success rate of 94%, a 30-day success rate of 89%, and a 1-year success rate of 76%. Compared to the surgery group, patients managed non-operatively reported higher quality of life scores at 30 days and had significantly fewer disability days and lower costs, with no differences in the rates of complicated appendicitis or treatment-related complications at 1 year of follow-up. With this being said, there are some cases that I have read about where doctors have failed to diagnose patients for Appendicitis even after they have complained about having a number of the symptoms associated with it. Following this, some patients have even contacted companies like Negligence Claimline to get back what they deserve. You go to doctors as they are the ones who can help you get your health back in order, but when something like this happens, it is understandable as to why some people lose faith in this system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research, Yale / 11.12.2015 Interview with: Anees B. Chagpar, MD, MSc, MPH, MA, MBA, FRCS(C), FACS Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Director, The Breast Center Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Assistant Director -- Global Oncology Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center Yale University School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chagpar: Up to 40% of women undergoing breast conserving surgery for breast cancer will have to return to the operating room due to positive margins (or cancer cells being found at the edge of what was removed at the initial surgery).  We recently reported the results of a randomized controlled trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which we found that taking a little more tissue circumferentially around the cavity (called shave margins) at the time of the initial surgery could cut the need for re-excisions (or return trips to the operating room) in half.  In this analysis, we evaluate the implications of this technique on costs. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Chagpar: We found that taking additional tissue added 10 minutes to the initial operative time.  While taking cavity shave margins resulted in higher costs associated with the initial surgery due to increased OR time and additional tissue requiring pathologic evaluation, this is offset by the significant reduction in the need for re-excisions.  From a payer perspective, costs including facility and provider fees for the index surgery as well as any breast surgery care in the ensuing 90 days was roughly $750 less for patients who had shave margins taken than for those who did not, although this did not reach statistical significance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 06.12.2015 Interview with: Johannes Govaert MD Department of Surgery Leiden University Medical Center Leiden, The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Govaert: The Value Based Health Care agenda ofPprof. Porter (Harvard Business School) suggests that focus in healthcare should shift from reducing costs to improving quality: where quality of healthcare improves, cost reduction will follow. One of the cornerstones of potential cost reduction, as mentioned by Porter, could be availability of key clinical data on processes and outcomes of care. Despite the important societal and economical role the healthcare system fulfils, it still lags behind when it comes to standardised reporting processes. With the introduction of the Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit (DSCA) in 2009, robust quality information became available enabling monitoring, evaluation and improvement of surgical colorectal cancer care in the Netherlands. Since the introduction of the DSCA postoperative morbidity and mortality declined. Primary aim of this study was to investigate whether improving quality of surgical colorectal cancer care, by using a national quality improvement initiative, leads to a reduction of hospital costs. Detailed clinical data was obtained from the 2010-2012 population-based Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit. Costs at patient-level were measured uniformly in all 29 participating hospitals and based on Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Govaert: Over three consecutive years (2010-2012) severe complications and mortality after colorectal cancer surgery respectively declined with 20% and 29%. Simultaneously, costs during primary admission decreased with 9% without increase in costs within the first 90 days after discharge. Moreover, an inverse relationship (at hospital level) between severe complication rate and hospital costs was identified among the 29 participating hospitals. Hospitals with increasing severe complication rates (between 2010 and 2012) were associated with increasing costs whereas hospitals with declining severe complication rates were associated with cost reduction. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Surgical Research, UCLA / 29.11.2015 Interview with: Soroush Zaghi, MD Department of Head and Neck Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch: What is the central message for clinicians and surgeons from your results? Dr. Zaghi: Multiple studies from different practitioners and institutions agree that Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) is a highly effective surgical option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate positive pressure therapy and have not found success with other surgical procedures. (more…)
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…)