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…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Urology / 10.09.2015 Interview with: Blayne Welk MD Assistant Professor in the Division of Urology The University of Western OntarioBlayne Welk MD Assistant Professor in the Division of Urology The University of Western Ontario Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Welk: Stress incontinence is a common problem among women. The most frequently used surgical treatment is a mesh-based midurethral sling. This procedure is commonly called a transvaginal sling, and is usually an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour in the operating room. However, there has been significant concern about some of the complications of this procedure, which include chronic pain, and mesh erosions into the urinary tract. This prompted the FDA and Health Canada to issue warnings regarding the use of transvaginal mesh, and numerous lawsuits have been launched against manufactures of transvaginal mesh products. This study by Dr Welk and colleagues identifies the long term rate of surgical treated complications among a group of almost 60,000 women who had mesh based incontinence procedures between 2002-2012. The rate of surgically treated complications at 1 year is 1.2%, however this increased to 3.3% after 10 years of followup. The FDA and Health Canada recommend that surgeons obtain training and experience in their chosen type of midurethral sling, and we demonstrated that patients of high volume surgeons (who frequently performed mesh based incontinence procedures) were 27% less likely to have one of these complications. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 04.09.2015

Dr. Gregory M.T. Hare MD PhD Department of Anesthesia St. Michael's Interview with: Dr. Gregory M.T. Hare MD PhD Department of Anesthesia St. Michael's Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hare: While many randomized trials had demonstrated that tranexamic acid (TXA therapy) was effective at reducing surgical blood loss and red blood cell transfusion in patients undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery, our hospital and many other centers in Ontario were not fully utilizing this therapy. Part of the reason was a concern about drug safety and potential side effects. While no serious adverse events had been reported using TXA, we set out to assess the impact of a protocol designed to ensure that we administered TXA (20 mg/kg iv preoperatively) to all eligible patients undergoing hip and knee replacement and determining the effect on our red blood cell transfusion rate and adverse effects including blood clot, stroke, heart attack, kidney injury and death. We excluded patients at high risk of any thrombotic complication. After implementing our protocol, we increased utilization of the drug from 46% to 95% of eligible patients. With this increase in TXA use, we observed a 40% reduction in red blood cell transfusion. The impact was greater in patients with pre-operative anemia, but was also effective in non-anemic patients. The threshold for transfusion was not different after initiating our protocol and patients were discharged with higher red blood cell counts. Length of hospital stay remained constant and the incidence of adverse events did not increase. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Johns Hopkins, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 01.09.2015 Interview with: Jill A. Marsteller, PhD, MPP Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, Maryland and Juan A. Sanchez, MD, MPA, FACS, FACC Associate Professor of Surgery Associate Faculty, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality Johns Hopkins Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The culture of healthcare organizations with regards to safety has an impact on patient outcomes.  A strong culture serves as a platform for preventing medical errors. This study examines the culture of safety along several dimensions in cardiac surgical teams and compares this data to surgery of all types using a large database. In our study, cardiac surgery teams scored highest in teamwork and lowest in non-punitive responses to error.  In addition, there was substantial variation on safety climate perception across team roles. For example, surgeons and support staff had higher perceptions of a safety climate than other team members. Compared to all types of surgery teams, cardiac surgery teams scored higher in overall perceptions of safety except for anesthesiologists who reported lower scores on communication about errors and communication openness. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Surgical Research / 01.09.2015

Dr. Rachel A Freedman MD MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical Interview with: Dr. Rachel A Freedman MD MPH Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Freedman: Despite a lack of medical benefit for most patients, the rates for bilateral mastectomy (double mastectomy) are on the rise in the U.S. Many factors have been cited as potential reasons for this increase, such as one’s race/ethnicity, education level, family history, and use of MRI. Cancer stage has not consistently been a factor in past studies. In this study, we surveyed 487 women who were treated for breast cancer in Northern California within the California Cancer Registry, we examined factors associated with the type of surgery a woman received. In our study, we found strong associations for stage III cancer with receipt of unilateral and bilateral mastectomy. In addition, higher (vs. lower) income and older age were associated with lower odds of having bilateral surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 22.08.2015 Interview with: Sandrine Colas, MSc, MPH Department of Epidemiology of Health Products French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) Saint-Denis, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Total hip replacement (THR) is to replace a damaged coxofemoral joint with a prosthetic implant. Primary or secondary degenerative osteoarthritis of the hip joint is the main indication for THR (other indications are essentially trauma, which is more common in the elderly and mostly affects women over 80 years of age). The number of THR has increased in all industrialized countries, particularly on account of the ageng population.Total hip replacement is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures in modern practice. Although results are generally good, revision (consisting in changing one or all components of the implant) is sometimes necessary (about 1% per year). Prosthetic revision is a longer and more complex operation than primary implantation and it has a higher incidence of post-surgical complications. Several prosthetic revision risk factors have been highlighted recently in published studies, but results relating to prosthetic and/or patient characteristics and total hip replacement survivorship tend to vary. The existence of an association between the fixation technique and/or bearing surface and prosthetic survivorship has yet to be established. The main aim of our work was therefore to compare total hip replacement short-term survivorship according to cement type and bearing surface, in a large population of subjects who have undergone total hip replacement for reasons other than trauma (25%) and bone tumor (<0.1%), taking prosthetic revision risk factors (age, gender, comorbidities, concomitant medication, implanting center, etc.) into account. Total hip replacement characteristics are related to early implant survivorship. After 33 months of follow-up, antibiotic-impregnated cemented THRs have a better prognosis. MoM total hip replacemenst have a slightly worse prognosis. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Surgical Research / 19.08.2015

Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, Interview with: Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, OH  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients awaiting breast cancer surgery may be understandably anxious. While pharmacologic intervention may reduce anxiety, higher doses of preoperative drugs can depress circulation and respiration, making alternative measures a particular interest. Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a board-certified music therapist. While music in surgery has been researched under the label of "music therapy", many of the studied investigations illicit recorded music provided by non-music therapy staff, making it truly "music medicine" practices instead. In this investigation, the effect of both live and recorded music therapy on anxiety, anesthesia requirements, recovery time and patient satisfaction were studied perioperatively. Breast cancer surgery patients were engaged in a brief music therapy session which consisted of one live or recorded preferred song choice, followed by discussion and processing of emotions. Compared to usual care, both live and recorded music therapy groups experienced significantly greater reductions in anxiety (p<.001) with point reductions of 27.5 (42.5%) and 26.7 (41.2%), respectively. During surgery, both music groups listened to music-therapist selected recorded, instrumental harp music, chosen for it's evidence-based therapeutic value of smooth lines, consistent volumes and stable melodies. In measuring the amount of interoperative drug (propofol) needed to reach moderate sedation, the intraoperative music was not found to have an effect in this trial. Patient satisfaction was universally high in all three study groups. Those who received live music preoperatively were discharged an average of 12.5 minutes sooner than those who received recorded music preoperatively, although neither music group was dischanged significantly sooner than the control group. Subjective reactions to the music interventions relayed that music therapy in surgery was an enjoyable addition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 15.08.2015

Tyler Grenda, MD House Officer VI Section of General Surgery Department of Surgery University of Michigan Interview with: Tyler Grenda, MD House Officer VI Section of General Surgery Department of Surgery University of Michigan   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grenda: The main purpose for this study was to better understand the factors underlying differences in mortality rates for hospitals performing lung cancer resection.  The methodology we used included only the highest and lowest mortality hospitals (Commission on Cancer accredited cancer programs) so the sampling frame was specific. There are wide variations in mortality rates across hospitals performing lung cancer resection (overall unadjusted mortality rates were 10.8% vs. 1.6%, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 14.08.2015

Dr Martin Hirsch  Clinical Research Fellow Women’s Health Research Unit Queen Mary University of Interview with: Dr Martin Hirsch Clinical Research Fellow Women’s Health Research Unit Queen Mary University of London and Dr Jenny Hole Foundation Year 1 Doctor Kettering University Hospital Dr Jenny Hole Foundation Year 1 Doctor Kettering University Hospital   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As doctors we see medicines being prescribed on a daily basis and the benefit but also harm that they can cause. We wanted to assess the role of non pharmaceutical interventions which can benefit patients with a low or minimal potential for harm. We all have an interest in music of different genres and we agreed that we didn’t know anybody who did not like music of one sort or another. On the basis that we all have gained pleasure from music, we wanted to see if this pleasurable experience at the time of a difficult and painful stimulus could reduce the problems encountered as people recover from surgery. We searched all published medical literature and found 73 of the highest quality studies (randomised controlled trials) to compare and combine their findings in a meta-analysis. This technique aims to strengthen the validity by producing a combined result. We found that using music before during or after surgery reduced pain, reduced the requirement for pain killers, reduced anxiety, and improved satisfaction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 12.08.2015 Interview with:
 Sharon-Marie Weldon, MSc, RN Sharon-Marie Weldon, MSc, RN Department of Surgery and Cancer Imperial College London, UK Terhi Korkiakangas Dr. Terhi Korkiakangas, PhD, MSc, BSc UCL Institute of Education University College London, UK MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response:  Our study draws on a broader video-based observational project on communication in the operating theatres. The effectiveness of team communication can be sometimes attributed to the working environment and the quality of information exchange between team members. Research on noise levels in the operating theatre has shown that the levels exceed World Health Organisation recommendations and thus can impact on teamwork. Interestingly, music is routinely played in an estimated 53-72% of surgical operations performed worldwide. Modern day operating theatre suites, like the ones in which we conducted observations, are often equipped with docking stations and MP3 players and music is played during surgical operations. Prior literature has addressed surgeons’ views on music through interviews, and some performance-based studies using background music have been conducted in controlled simulated settings. Some of the studies suggest that music is beneficial for the surgeons operating: it can improve their concentration. However, the ways in which music can impact on team communication have been relatively under researched, with little evidence on ‘real-time’ interactions. MedicalResearch:  What are the main findings? Response: We used quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine video recordings of a total of 20 surgical operations in which music was either played or not played. Each operation was logged for communication events, notably requests/questions issued by surgeons, and nurses’ responses to these. Statistical analysis explored the difference between the proportion of repetitions of these requests, and whether music was playing or not. The request/response observations (N=5203) were documented. Chi-square test revealed that repeated requests were five times more likely to occur in cases that had music playing. A repeated request can add 4-68 seconds to operation time and increase tension due to frustration at ineffective communication. The interactional analysis elaborated on the fragments of interaction in which information was exchanged while music was playing. These showed how nurses communicated their difficulties in hearing by prompting surgeons to repeat themselves. (more…)
Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 08.08.2015

Frank R. Noyes, M.D. President and Medical Director, Noyes Knee Institute and the Cincinnati Sports medicine Research and Education Foundation Cincinnati, Interview with: Frank R. Noyes, M.D. President and Medical Director, Noyes Knee Institute and the Cincinnati Sports medicine Research and Education Foundation Cincinnati, Ohio MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Noyes: Meniscectomy, or removal of the meniscus in the knee, frequently leads to early arthritis – especially in younger active individuals. The meniscus provides a cushion between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) and aids in keeping the knee stable. There are two menisci in the human knee; one on the inner portion (medial) and one on the outer portion (lateral). The problem is that once a meniscus is removed, there are no options for patients who experience knee pain other than a transplant. The operation uses human cadaver menisci from young donors that are implanted intact into the recipient’s knee. This operation has been performed at our Center for 25 years in patients who are typically under the age of 50 and who have some arthritis in their knee and experience pain with activity. There are few long-term clinical studies on meniscus transplantation that provide results in patients who are at least 10 years postoperative. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Noyes: This study reports the long-term results and survival analysis of 40 consecutive meniscus transplants, with a 100% follow-up obtained an average of 11 years postoperatively. The survivor analysis, which included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and x-ray criteria in addition to symptoms and clinical examination, revealed transplant survival rates of 68% at 7 years and 48% at 10 years postoperatively. The results of the symptom and activity level analyses in patients without failure of the transplant showed that only 11% experienced pain with daily activities and 72% were able to participate in low-impact athletics many years after surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Radiology, Surgical Research, UCSF / 28.07.2015

Quan-Yang Duh MD Endocrine surgeon UCSF Medical Interview with: Quan-Yang Duh MD Chief, Section of Endocrine Surgery UCSF Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Quan-Yang Duh: At UCSF we have a monthly Adrenal Conference (involving surgeons, endocrinologists and radiologists) to discuss patients we are consulted for adrenal tumors. About 30% of these are for incidentally discovered adrenal tumors (versus those found because of specific indications such as clinical suspicion or genetic screening). Of these 15-20% has bilateral adrenal tumors. The evaluation of unilateral incidentaloma has been very well studied and many national guidelines have been published with specific management recommendations. So during our monthly adrenal conference, we have a routine "script" for evaluation and recommendations (rule out metastasis by looking for primary cancer elsewhere, rule out pheochromocytoma and Cushing, resect secreting tumors or large tumors, and if no operation recommended repeat scan in 6 months, etc.). This “script” has worked very well for patients with unilateral incidentaloma. However, we were less certain when we made recommendations about bilateral incidentalomas because there was very little literature or guidelines written about it. We had some gut feelings, but we were not sure that we were recommending the right things. We needed more data. That was the main reason for the study. What we found in our study was that although the possible subclinical diseases were the same – hypercortisolism and pheochromocytoma, the probabilities were different. The patients with bilateral incidentalomas were more likely to have subclinical Cushing’s and less likely to have pheochromocytomas than those with unilateral incidentalomas. (more…)