Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 29.06.2018 Interview with: Sarah CM Roberts, DrPH Associate Professor ObGyn&RS Zuckerberg San Francisco General UCSF What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thirteen states have laws that require abortions to be provided in Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs); many of these laws apply only in the second trimester.  We examined outcomes from more than 50,000 abortions provided in two facility types:  Ambulatory Surgery Centers and office-based settings. We found that there was no significant difference in abortion-related complications across facility type; in both settings, about 3.3% had any complication and about 0.3% had a major complication.  There also was no significant difference in complications across facility types for second trimester and later abortions. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hip Fractures, Surgical Research / 12.06.2018 Interview with: Daniel Pincus MD Department of Surgery Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences University of Toronto What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We chose to look at hip fractures because is the most common reason for urgent surgery complications have be tied to wait times (and in particular wait times greater than 24 hours). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 01.06.2018 Interview with: Harindra C. Wijeysundera MD PhD FRCPC FCCS FAHA Director of Research, Division of Cardiology, Schulich Heart Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine & Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto Adjunct Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Toronto, ON, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the most common complications post TAVR is the need for a permanent pacemaker.  It is unclear if the need for a pacemaker is associated with long term adverse outcomes. Using a population level registry of all TAVR procedures in ontario, canada, we found that pacemakers were required in ~15% of cases.  Requiring a pacemaker was associated with worse long term outcomes, including death, readmission to hospital and emergency room visits.  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, UCLA / 03.05.2018 Interview with: “Untitled” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant professor Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCL Los Angeles, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We studied whether patients’ mortality rate differ based on age and sex of surgeons who performed surgical procedures. Using a nationally representative data of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-99 years who underwent one of 20 major non-elective surgeries, we found that patients treated by older surgeons have lower mortality than those cared for by younger surgeons, whereas there was no difference in patient mortality between male and female surgeons. When we studied age and sex together, we found that female surgeons at their 50s had the lowest patient mortality across all groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 03.05.2018 Interview with: Dr-Hillary-J-Mull Hillary J. Mull, PhD, MPP Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Little is known about outpatient procedures that can be considered invasive but are not conducted in a surgical operating room. These procedures are largely neglected by quality or patient safety surveillance programs, yet they are increasingly performed as technology improves and the U.S. population gets older. We assessed the rate of invasive procedures across five specialties, urology, podiatry, cardiology, interventional radiology and gastroenterology in the Veterans Health Administration between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. Our analysis included examining the rates of post procedure emergency department visits and hospitalizations within 14 days and the key patient, procedure or facility characteristics associated with these outcomes. We found varying rates of post procedure ED visits and hospitalizations across the specialties with podiatry accounting for a high volume of invasive outpatient care but the lowest rate of postoperative utilization (1.8%); in contrast, few of the procedures were in interventional radiology, but the postoperative utilization rate was the highest at 4.7%. In a series of logistic regression models predicting post procedure healthcare utilization for each specialty, we observed significantly higher odds of post procedural outcomes for African American patients compared to white patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 02.05.2018 Interview with: David H. McDanielDavid H. McDaniel, MD is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. He is a Co-Director of the Hampton University Skin of Color Research Institute, Adjunct Professor in the School of Science, Hampton University. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was designed to evaluate at multiple sites the effects on submental fat of a 1060nm diode laser treatment which was already FDA cleared for non-invasive lipolysis of the abdomen, flanks, back, inner and outer thighs. A total of 19 volunteers were treated at our study site with typically two 25 minute treatments.  There was a 12 week follow-up period after treatment and photography (both 2D and 3D) was used to evaluate with expert physician grader along with other 3D analytics and a subject satisfaction questionnaire. The main findings were reduction in submental fat both from the expert grader and as well as the 3D metrics.  The 3D metrics also showed a lifting effect.  The study volunteers reported a ‘satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ score from the subject assessments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 12.04.2018 Interview with: Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S. Associate Professor Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality Department of Cardiac Surgery. University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Michigan was one of several states to expand Medicaid. Current evaluations of the Michigan Medicaid expansion program have noted increases in primary care services and health risk assessments, but less work has evaluated its role within a specialty service line. There has been concern among some that Medicaid patients, who have traditionally lacked access to preventive services, may be at high risk for poor clinical outcomes if provided increased access to cardiovascular interventions. Using data from two physician-led quality collaboratives, we evaluated the volume and outcomes of percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass grafting 24mos before and 24mos after expansion. We noted large-scale increased access to both percutaneous coronary interventions (44.5% increase) and coronary artery bypass grafting (103.8% increase) among patients with Medicaid insurance. There was a decrease in access for patients with private insurance in both cohorts. Nonetheless, outcomes (clinical and resource utilization) were not adversely impacted by expansion.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 09.04.2018 Interview with: Dr Setor Kunutsor PhD Research Fellow Musculoskeletal Research Unit Bristol Medical School What is the background for this study? Response: Hip replacement is a very common operation that is effective at providing pain relief and improving mobility. Infection is a fortunately infrequent but devastating complication that can occur following joint replacement. Currently, two main types of surgical procedures are used in treating these infections – one-stage and two-stage revision strategies. In the two-stage procedure, the existing artificial joint is removed in one operation and the patient is treated for several months with antibiotics. A new joint is then inserted in a second operation. In the one-stage procedure, the artificial joint is removed along with all infected tissue and a new one inserted in the same operation. The two-stage procedure has been in use for decades and was regarded as the most effective treatment. There has been an increase in the use of the one-stage procedure as it has also been claimed to be very effective at treating infection. There has been a lot of controversy among orthopaedic surgeons as to which is the best way to treat infected hip replacements. Several studies have been conducted on the topic, but the findings have been inconsistent. Some claim the two-stage to be more effective and others claim the one-stage procedure is. Currently the majority of studies claim the two-stage is better; but no study has been conducted that compares these procedures head-to-head to decide if one is better or if they achieve the same results. Due to the lack of evidence, some surgeons are reluctant to use the one-stage strategy. There was therefore a need to compare the effectiveness of the two surgical strategies using an appropriate study design. We conducted a study which involved collecting and bringing all previous data together under one umbrella. The process is known as “Individual Participant Data meta-analysis”. It involved communicating with surgeons in different countries all over the world and inviting them to contribute data. We called the name of the group “The Global Infection Orthopaedic Management (INFORM) Collaboration”. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 02.04.2018 Interview with: Michael Sawyer, MD, FACS General Surgeon Comanche County Memorial Hospital Lawton, Oklahoma What is the background for this study?   Response: Repair of complex incisional hernias is a challenging surgical task. Abdominal wall surgeons are utilizing advanced abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) techniques including myofascial advancement flap creation with reinforcement by biologic or synthetic prostheses with greater frequency. Numerous synthetic or biologic surgical mesh products are currently available to reinforce these soft tissue repairs. Each type of biologic or synthetic material has its own advantages and limitations. OviTex Reinforced BioScaffolds (RBSs) are unique in that they interweave polymer in a custom "lock-stitch" pattern through layers of biologic tissue in an embroidered construction, aiming to incorporate the salutary properties of both biologic and synthetic repair materials. The biologic material, derived from ovine rumen, has been optimized to minimize foreign body response and enables functional tissue remodeling. The polymer provides additional strength, along with improved handling and load‑sharing capability. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Surgical Research / 02.04.2018 Interview with: Neel Mansukhani, MD Department of Surgery Northwestern University and Melina R. Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA Colin G. Thomas Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair Department of Surgery Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7050 Editor in Chief, JAMA Surgery What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study is a follow-up to our previous work that examined sex bias in surgical research. Previously, we examined sex bias in basic and translational science surgical research, as well as in clinical surgical research. We discovered previously that sex bias exists in basic and translational surgical research in the unequal inclusion of male and female research subjects. In clinical research, we found sex bias in the degree of sex matching of included subjects, and in the frequency of sex-based reporting, analysis, and discussion of the data. In this current work, we sought to understand the effect of author gender on sex bias in surgical research. In this work, we found that most authors are male, most authors work with other authors of the same gender, and sex bias is prevalent regardless of author gender. Most importantly, we found that sex inclusive research receives more citations after publication compared to sex-biased research.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Stroke, Surgical Research / 29.03.2018 Interview with: J.H.L. Mulder, MD PhD Neurology resident Erasmus MC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current information about safety and efficacy of endovascular treatment (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke is primarily derived from patients treated in the setting of a randomized controlled trial. However, inherent to this setting, external validity of the results can be jeopardized by patient selection and intensive monitoring. Therefore, an important question remained unanswered: could the positive effect of endovascular treatment be reproduced in standard clinical practice?  (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Rheumatology, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 20.03.2018 Interview with: Jonathan Samuels, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology NYU Langone Health What is the background for this study?  Response: A high percentage of obese patients have painful knee osteoarthritis, and have difficulty losing weight as well as treating the knee pain with a self-perpetuating cycle. What are the main findings? Response:  Patients who lost weight with their laparoscopic banding surgeries also experienced marked improvement of their knee pain. We found a significant correlation between the degree of improvement in the body mass index and reduction of knee pain in our cohort. In addition, the patients who experienced the most relief from weight loss surgeries had their procedures at earlier ages, as well as those who never had a traumatic knee injury nor developed osteoarthritis in other joints. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, Surgical Research, Transfusions / 19.03.2018 Interview with: Shawn Anthony, MD, MBA Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Rates of total shoulder arthroplasty are increasing, especially with an aging population.  Blood loss requiring transfusion is less common than in total hip or knee replacements but still required in some patients.  Tranexamic acid (TXA) is increasingly used to reduce blood loss in lower extremity arthroplasty but limited data exists for its effectiveness and safety in patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty. We aimed to utilize national data to assess frequency of use and effectiveness of TXA in shoulder arthroplasty patients. While utilization of TXA has become very common in total hip and knee arthroplasty, TXA is still used in less than 50% of patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty as of 2016.  TXA use was associated with a 36% decrease in transfusion risk and a 35% decreased risk for combined complications. Moreover, TXA use was associated with 6.2% shorter hospital stay. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 16.03.2018 Interview with: Dawn Abbott, MD, FACC, FSCAI Associate Chief, Faculty Development and Academic Advancement Director, Interventional Cardiology and Structural Fellowship Programs Associate Professor of Medicine Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown Providence, RI 02903 What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 35,000 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures are now performed annually in the United States (US). TAVR is usually performed as an elective procedure in hemodynamically stable patients. Approximately 1 in 5 hospitalizations for severe aortic stenosis (AS) are emergent with acute decompensation. Balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) is a therapeutic option in patients with acute decompensated AS; however, long-term survival after BAV remains poor with a high incidence of valvular re-stenosis. Data on the outcomes of urgent/emergent TAVR as a rescue therapy in patients with acute decompensated severe AS are extremely limited. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 04.03.2018 Interview with: Rachel Khadaroo, MD, PhD, FRCSC Associate Professor of Surgery Department of Surgery & Division of Critical Care Medicine University of Alberta What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The elderly are the fastest growing population in North America. There are very few studies that have examined the impact of frailty and age on outcomes following abdominal surgery. Readmissions are expensive have been considered an important quality indicator for surgical care. This study examined 308 patients 65 years and older who were admitted for emergency abdominal surgery in two hospitals in Alberta and followed them for 6 months for readmission or death. Patients were classified into 3 categories: Well, pre-frail (no apparent disability), and frail. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Surgical Research / 04.03.2018 Interview with: Boris Paskhover, MD Associate Professor,Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Rutgers New Jersey Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Facial fillers include a wide range of cosmetic products used by physicians for augmenting the face. Some fillers are permanent, while others are temporary. Lip filler material is included in this category. Any physician is allowed to perform these procedures but patient’s need to be aware that these are not benign procedures and have some serious complications. It’s important to always go to an experienced facial plastic surgeon, general plastic surgeon or possibly dermatologist for your aesthetic fillers. Our study detailed a decade-long review of FDA reported complications with aesthetic fillers. (more…)
Author Interviews, ENT, JAMA, Surgical Research / 02.03.2018 Interview with: Boris Paskhover, MD Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Adjunct Instructor,Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery NYU Langone Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: Patient's and the general public routinely mention that their nose appears large, especially when they look at photos taken with their phone. I realized that patients in general are taking selfies more often nowadays. In my training, we routinely would tell patient’s not to use selfies as a marker of how they look, and we instead would take a 5ft distance photograph since we knew that is more realistic. I looked through the medical literature, and it appeared to me that no one had thoroughly discussed why selfies are a bad when evaluating the nose. I contacted a colleague at Stanford who has a PhD with interest in computer graphics and we developed a model for the face/nose. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.02.2018 Interview with: Dr. Chris Childers, M.D. Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over 20 million Americans undergo a surgical procedure each year with a price tag over $1 trillion.  The operating room (OR) is a particularly resource dense environment, yet little is known about the actual costs of running an OR.  Most previous efforts focusing on OR costs have come from single-site studies with little detail about the drivers of OR costs. Using financial statements from all California hospitals we estimated that the average cost to the hospital for one minute of OR time was between $36 and $37. Perhaps more notable was the composition of these costs.  Almost two-thirds ($20-21) was attributable to “direct costs” - those generated by the OR itself - including $14 for the wages and benefits of staff, $2.50-3.50 for surgical supplies, and $3 for “other” costs such as equipment repair and depreciation. Interestingly, the remainder ($14-16) was dedicated to “indirect costs” such as the costs associated with hospital security and parking.  While these indirect costs are necessary for a hospital to run, they are not under the purview of the operating room. Finally, we also learned that OR costs have increased quickly over the past 10 years – faster than other sectors of healthcare as well as the rest of the economy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JACC, Surgical Research / 21.02.2018 Interview with: Dr. Jayan Nagendran MD, PhD, FRCSC Director of Research, Division of Cardiac Surgery Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Division of Cardiac Surgery University of Alberta What is the background for this study? Response: The primary modalities of treatment of symptomatic coronary artery disease (coronary heart disease) are either percutaneous coronary intervention (coronary stunting) or coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. There are well designed clinical trials that guide clinical practice for the treatment of patients with diabetes requiring coronary revascularization and there are trials that examine the best modality of coronary revascularization in patients with left ventricular dysfunction. However, there is a lack of evidence for patients with both diabetes and left ventricular dysfunction. As such, we performed a propensity matched study of patients with diabetes and left ventricular dysfunction undergoing either percutaneous coronary intervention compared to coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. We used our provincial database that captures >100,000 patients undergoing coronary angiography to attain our two cohorts for comparison. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, Novo Nordisk, Surgical Research / 15.02.2018 Interview with: Stephanie Seremetis, M.D. Corporate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Biopharmaceuticals at Novo Nordisk What is the background for this announcement? Response: We’re proud and excited to make Rebinyn® (Coagulation Factor IX (Recombinant), GlycoPEGylated) available as a new extended half-life treatment for hemophilia B management. Rebinyn® is an injectable medicine used to treat and control bleeding in adults and children with hemophilia B. It can be used to treat bleeds when they occur and to manage bleeding during surgery. Rebinyn® is not used for routine prophylaxis or for immune tolerance induction in patients with hemophilia B. Hemophilia B is a serious, chronic, inherited bleeding disease that affects about 5,000 people in the U.S. People living with hemophilia B have low levels of clotting Factor IX protein in the blood, often resulting in prolonged or spontaneous bleeding, especially into the muscles, joints or internal organs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 08.02.2018 Interview with: Dr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center The Ohio State UniversityDr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center The Ohio State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The decision about breast reconstruction is very challenging because it’s unfamiliar, involves complex risk information, affects very personal concerns, and happens at a stressful time. One of the challenges is to predict how one will feel after the surgery. We know from psychology research that people often mis-predict their future emotions. So we were interested to see how well women predict their future well being after surgery. The main findings are that patients having mastectomy without reconstruction believed they would be less satisfied than they turned out to be. And patients having mastectomy with reconstruction believed they would be more satisfied than they turned out to be. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, Technology / 05.02.2018 Interview with: Dr. Dimitri Amiras, FRCR Consultant radiologist Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Dr. Philip Pratt PhD Research Fellow Department of Surgery & Cancer Imperial College London at St Mary's Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have used the Microsoft HoloLens to assist with complex reconstructive surgery on several patients at a major trauma centre at St Marys Hospital. We believe this is the first report of such a use in reconstructive surgery. From dedicated CT scans we have been able to construct patient specific 3D models of the vascular channels supplying the skin to help the surgeon plan their surgical approach for the harvest of these skin flaps. These 3D models are then projected onto the patient as holograms using the Microsoft HoloLens making the information available and directly relevant at the time of the procedure. The technique helps the surgeon in planning his approach for the patient as well saving time locating the correct vessels at the time of surgery.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 31.01.2018 Interview with: Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network Endowed Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Division of Surgery Why did you undertake this study? Response: Many of our patients feel very overwhelmed with their new cancer diagnosis and have concern over the future need for biopsies. Many think that complete removal of the breast is a good way to prevent future cancer-related biopsies.  We did not have any good comprehensive data on the incidence of needing biopsies during follow-up for breast cancer. As a surgeon this information is something that I can use daily when discussing breast cancer treatment options regarding future expectations following breast cancer treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Surgical Research / 30.01.2018 Interview with: Marc D. Basson, MD, PhD, MBA Professor of Surgery, Pathology, and Biomedical Science Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences Grand Forks, ND 58202 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are now several studies that describe the use of antibiotics without surgery to manage acute uncomplicated appendicitis. This entails a prolonged treatment course and has a substantial rate of failure and recurrence, but in patients in whom it succeeds surgery can be avoided. Many surgeons resist offering this choice because they perceive it as substandard compared to surgery, which is rapid, and when it goes well (as it usually does) has no failure or recurrence rate. Instead of debating the statistics, we decided to ask people what they would prefer if they had appendicitis and why. We found that about nine tenths of people would choose surgery, but about one tenth would choose antibiotics, with some subtle distinctions depending on the characteristics of the people we asked.  (For instance, surgeons, doctors in general, and people who knew someone who had previously had appendicitis were all a bit more likely to opt for surgery.)  Furthermore, we found that the key issue for most people was not the prolonged treatment course but the rates of failure and recurrence with antibiotics. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Pulmonary Disease, Surgical Research / 25.01.2018 Interview with: Ianthe Boden Titled Cardiorespiratory APAM, PhD Candidate, MSc, BAppSc Manager Abdominal Surgery Research Group Clinical Lead – Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy Department Allied Health Services Tasmanian Health Services – North | Launceston General Hospital Launceston TA What is the background for this study? Response: Major upper abdominal surgery involves opening up the abdomen - mainly to remove cancer or damaged bowel, liver, stomach, pancreas, or kidney.  It is, by far, the most common major surgical procedure performed in developed countries with millions of procedures performed per annum. Unfortunately a respiratory complication following these operations occurs relatively frequently with between 1 in 10 to almost a half of all patients getting some type of respiratory complication after surgery. Respiratory complications included problems such as pneumonia, lung collapse, respiratory failure, and an acute asthma attack. These complications, especially pneumonia and respiratory failure, are strongly associated with significant morbidity, mortality, increased antibiotic usage and longer hospital stay. These breathing problems occur quite quickly after surgery, becoming evident usually within the first two to three days after surgery. In an effort to ameliorate these complications in developed countries it is common for physiotherapists/respiratory therapists to see a patient for the first time on the day after surgery and start patients doing breathing exercises. However as respiratory dysfunction starts occurring immediately following surgery it is debated that these breathing exercises are being provided too late. Initiating prophylactic treatment more than 24 hours after the end of surgery may not be as effective as starting prophylaxis immediately. Unfortunately, immediately after surgery patients are either very sleepy, in pain, feeling sick, or delirious. It may not be possible to effectively teach patients at this point on the importance of breathing exercises and get good performance. One method to overcome this would be to meet patients before the operation to educate them about their risk of a postoperative chest infection and to motivate and train them to perform breathing exercises to do immediately on waking from surgery. Previous trials have indicated that this may help prevent postoperative respiratory complications, although evidence is inconclusive and weak. We set out to robustly and conclusively see if respiratory complications could be prevented after major upper abdominal surgery if patients were taught breathing exercises to do as soon as they woke up after the operation. We ran this trial in two countries (Australia and New Zealand) and three different types of hospitals.  All patients were met by a physiotherapist at our hospitals’ scheduled pre-admission clinic appointment and either provided with an information booklet (control) or provided with an additional 30 minute education and training session with the physiotherapist. At this preoperative session the patient was educated about respiratory complications, their risk, and how to prevent them with breathing exercises. These exercises were then taught and practiced for just three repetitions. Patients were instructed to do these breathing exercises for 20 repetitions as soon as they woke from surgery and then 20 times every hour after surgery until they were up and out of bed frequently. Following surgery each patient had a standardised rehabilitation program and no respiratory therapy of any type was provided to the patients after surgery. For the first two weeks after surgery patients were assessed daily for a respiratory complication by research assistants unaware of what treatment the patient had received before surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, MD Anderson, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 24.01.2018 Interview with: Andrew Phillip Loehrer MD MPH Fellow in Surgical Oncology Department The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: A growing number of studies have examined the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.  But none to date have looked at effects on surgical conditions, which are both expensive and potentially life-threatening.  We examined data for nearly 300,000 patients who presented to hospitals with common and serious surgical conditions such as appendicitis and aortic aneurysms. We found that expansion of Medicaid coverage was linked to increased insurance coverage for these patients, but even more importantly, Medicaid expansion led patients to come to the hospital earlier before complications set in, and they also received better surgical care once they got there. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Surgical Research, UCSF / 23.01.2018 Interview with: Catherine L. Chen, MD, MPH Assistant Professor UCSF Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Routine preoperative medical testing (such as common laboratory tests looking at a patient's blood cell counts and kidney function, or cardiac tests like an EKG) are not recommended in patients undergoing cataract surgery, but these tests still occur quite frequently among Medicare cataract surgery patients because these patients tend to be older and sicker than the general population. In the past, researchers have used a 30-day window counting backwards from the date of surgery to determine whether a given test should be categorized as a routine preoperative test. However, we know that testing often takes place outside this window and therefore, the frequency and cost of routine preoperative medical testing has generally been underreported. In our study, we used a new method to figure out how to determine the start of the routine preoperative testing period. In cataract patients, ocular biometry is a diagnostic test that is performed in anticipation of cataract surgery, and this test is only performed in cataract patients who will be having cataract surgery in the near future. For each patient, we calculated the elapsed time between the ocular biometry and cataract surgery dates to get a better idea of when to start looking for unnecessary routine preoperative testing. Our goal was to identify all the routine preoperative medical testing that occurs once the decision has been made to operate and better estimate the cost to Medicare of this unnecessary testing. In a previous study that we published in the New England Journal of Medicine, we reported a significant spike in the rate of routine preoperative medical testing that occurs in the 30 days before surgery compared to the baseline rate of testing. In our current study, we discovered that there is a second spike in testing that occurs in the 30 days after ocular biometry. In fact, even if you exclude the testing that takes place during the 30 days before surgery, there is still a 41% increase in testing rates during the interval between ocular biometry and cataract surgery over the baseline rate of testing. In addition, we found that the cost of routine preoperative testing was 47% higher when looking at the entire biometry to surgery timeframe compared to testing that occurs just in the 30 days before surgery. We estimate that the cost to Medicare of all of this unnecessary testing approaches $45.4 million annually. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 17.01.2018 Interview with: Oma Reges, PhD Clalit Research Institute, Clalit Health Services, Tel Aviv, Israel Department of Health Systems Management, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Israel, based on the most recently published data (2015), performs more per-capita bariatric surgery than the U.S.A (about 9,000 to 9,500 procedures annually, which is 1.8 times higher rate per capita than the U.S.A, where there are about 200,000 procedures a year). It is important to evaluate the impact of these procedures on health status, as there is a lack of data of the effectiveness of these procedures over time. We were able to document lower mortality rates, of up to 50%, in the obese patient undergoing surgery as opposed to matched obese patients who continue with usual care.  (more…)