Risks of Surgery For Thyroid Cancer Higher Than Expected

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan Rist Haymart MD Assistant Professor University of Michigan

Dr. Haymart

Megan Rist Haymart MD
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan

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

Response: Thyroid cancer is typically treated with thyroid surgery. It is common practice for physicians to inform patients that the risk of vocal cord paralysis or hypoparathyroidism with thyroid surgery is 1-3%.

However, most of these estimates are based on single institution studies with high volume surgeons. In our study we evaluated surgical risks in a population-based cohort. Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database, we found that 6.5% of thyroid cancer patients developed general post-operative complications (fever, infection, hematoma, cardiopulmonary and thromboembolic events) and 12.3% developed thyroid surgery specific complications (hypoparathyroidism/hypocalcemia, vocal cord/fold paralysis).

Older patient age, presence of comorbidities, and advanced stage disease were associated with the greatest risks of surgical complications.

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Re-Operations After Gastric Band Surgery Are Common and Costly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Ibrahim, M.D., M.Sc</strong> Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan

Dr. Ibrahim

Andrew Ibrahim, M.D., M.Sc
Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

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

Response: The laparoscopic gastric band was approved by the FDA in 2001 and widely adopted for the surgical treatment of morbid obesity. Reported rates of reoperation to revise or remove the device ranged from 4 to 60 percent in small scale studies, but no population estimates in the United States existed.

In a review of Medicare Claims data between 2006 and 2013, we observed that reoperation was common with 18% of patients requiring at least one reoperation. More over, we found that on average, patients who did need a reoperation often underwent an average of 3.8 additional procedures. Taken together, nearly half (47%) of the $470 million paid by Medicare for device related procedures was for reoperations.

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Vena Cava Filter Use in Trauma and Rates of Pulmonary Embolism, 2003-2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alan Cook, MD, FACS
Director, Trauma Research Program
Chandler Regional Medical Center
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Chandler, AZ 85224 and
Frederick B. Rogers MD, MS, FACS
Trauma Surgeon
Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Surgery University of Pennsylvania College of Medicine
Department of Surgery

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

Response: The morbidity and mortality from pulmonary emboli (PE) are considerable. They range in severity from a problem amenable to outpatient medical management to fatal. Trauma patients are often ineligible for chemoprophylaxis due to the risk for life-threatening bleeding.

Yet traumatic injury can increase a person’s likelihood of having a pulmonary embolus via an array of mechanical and humoral pathways. The vena cava filter (VCF) offered the possibility of PE prophylaxis for patients otherwise vulnerable to PE risk. Use of VCF grew and the rate of use increased even more after the introduction of the retrievable VCF. Our study sought to determine if any temporal variation in VCF use has occurred and investigate if an contemporaneous change in the diagnosis of PE has taken place.

We used three databases to allow a telescoping window of observation from a single state, Pennsylvania (PTOS), to a convenience of sample of trauma centers across the country (NTDB), and finally a national, population-based sample of all hospital discharges in the US (NIS).

A temporal trend was observed in all three datasets with differing magnitudes and time points of change. The variation of vena cava filter use was most pronounced in the PTOS and least dramatic in the NIS, The rate of PE was essentially unchanged during the same period.

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Myocardial Injury Not Uncommon After Non-Cardiac Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. PJ Devereaux MD, PhD, FRCP(C)</strong> Director of the Division of Cardiolog Scientific Leader of the Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine and Surgical Research Group at the Population Health Research Institute Professor and University Scholar in the Departments of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and Medicine McMaster University

Dr. Devereaux

Dr. PJ Devereaux MD, PhD, FRCP(C)
Director of the Division of Cardiolog
Scientific Leader of the Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine and
Surgical Research Group at the Population Health Research Institute
Professor and University Scholar in the Departments of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and Medicine
McMaster University
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Although the majority of patients undergoing noncardiac surgery benefit from surgery and do well, even when a small proportion of these patients have a serious complication it represents a major population issue. A recent publication in JAMA Cardiology established that >5 million Americans age ≥45 years undergo major in-patient noncardiac surgery annually, and 1.3% of these patients die in the hospital. This means 65,000 of these patients die, and cardiovascular causes are a dominant cause.

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Study Compares Appendectomy Outcomes Between General Surgeons and Surgical Residents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Haggi Mazeh, MD, FACS
Endocrine and General Surgery
Department of Surgery
Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Israel 91240

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

Response: The level of operating room autonomy given to surgical residents varies greatly between different institutions and different countries. On one hand, providing residents the opportunity to operate alone augments their confidence and their sense of responsibility, possibly accelerating their learning process. On the other hand, it may be argued that the presence of a senior general surgeon in every operation is a safer approach.

Before 2012, a large proportion of appendectomies at our institution were performed by surgical residents alone. After 2012, our institutional policy changed to require the presence of a senior general surgeon in every appendectomy case. This unique situation provided us the opportunity to compare the outcomes of appendectomies performed by residents alone to those performed in the presence of a senior general surgeon.

Our study demonstrated no difference in the complication rates between the two groups of patients. However, surgeries performed in the presence of senior general surgeons were significantly shorter than those performed by residents.

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Some Breast Cancer Patients With Complete Response To Neoadjuvant Therapy Can Avoid Further Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and

Dr. Tadros

Audree Tadros, MD, MPH
Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program
Department of Breast Surgical Oncology
MD Anderson Cancer Center and

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Department of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

Dr. Kuerer

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS
Executive Director, Breast Programs
MD Anderson Cancer Network
PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research
Dept of Breast Surgical Oncology
Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

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

Response: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) has the ability to confer a pCR (pathologic complete response-when no residual cancer is found) in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. We know that this is most likely to occur in women with HER2 positive and triple negative disease. The high rate of pCR among these patients raises the question of whether surgery is still required, particularly among those who will receive adjuvant radiation therapy.

Until recently, we lacked the ability to pre-operatively predict patients who achieved a breast pCR. Recently, we completed a clinical feasibility trial examining the ability of image-guided biopsy to predict a pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Our biopsy technique was able to accurately predict a pCR in 98% of patients with only a 5% false negative rate. Based upon these findings, we believe we can accurately determine which patients achieve a breast pCR. This led us to develop a clinical trial to see if breast surgery is redundant in patients who achieve a pCR. An important question that remained was if we are going to omit breast surgery in these exceptional responders, can we also omit axillary surgery?

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Millions of Americans Become Chronic Opioid Users After Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chad M. Brummett, MD Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dr. Brummett

Chad M. Brummett, MD
Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 

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

Response: The opioid epidemic has received considerable attention, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain and primary care. However, surgeons prescribe ~40% of the opioids in the US, and little attention has been given to the importance of prescribing after surgery.

In this study, we found that among patients not using opioids in the year prior to surgery, ~6% of patients continued to use opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Furthermore, there was no difference between patients undergoing minor and major surgeries, thereby suggesting that some patients continue to use opioids for reasons other than pain related to surgery.

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Effect of Centralization on Health Disparities in Lung and Bladder Cancer Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emanuela Taioli MD PhD Professor, Population Health Science and Policy, and Thoracic Surgery Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology Director, Center for the Study of Thoracic Diseases Outcome Director, Division of Social Epidemiology Icahn Medical Institute, New York, NY 10029

Dr. Taioli

Emanuela Taioli MD PhD
Professor, Population Health Science and Policy, and Thoracic Surgery
Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology
Director, Center for the Study of Thoracic Diseases Outcome
Director, Division of Social Epidemiology
Icahn Medical Institute,
New York, NY 10029 

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

Response: Extensive literature documenting the relationship between hospital volume and clinical outcomes has resulted in the centralization of cancer care advocating patients to seek cancer surgical procedures at high-volume (HV) hospitals. Lung resection and cystectomy have been specifically recommended for centralization, but improvements in outcomes are not shared equally among racial groups. It has also been reported that black patients more commonly undergo surgery at low-volume and lower-quality hospitals, despite living in close proximity to higher quality hospitals.

We investigated the effects of centralization on HV hospital utilization and surgical outcomes for lung (n = 28,047 White; n = 2,638 Black) and bladder (n = 7,593 White; n = 567 Black) cancer patients over a 15 year time span (1997-2011) in New York State. We hypothesized that centralization has improved utilization of HV hospitals and outcomes for both black and white patients, but significant disparities remain between black and white patients.

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Affordable Care Act Linked To Marked Increase in Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin James, MD MS Assistant Professor of Surgery Adjunct Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology Section of Endocrine Surgery IU Division of General Surgery Indiana University Hospital Indianapolis, IN 46202

Dr. Benjamin James

Benjamin James, MD MS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
Section of Endocrine Surgery
IU Division of General Surgery
Indiana University Hospital
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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

Response: Over the few decades, there has been a substantial increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer. It is the fastest growing cancer and a recent study in JAMA found that the mortality rate has been rising.

In 2006, Massachusetts passed healthcare reform, which expanded Medicaid, created new subsidized insurance programs for those ineligible for Medicaid and extended young adults eligibility on parental plans until the age of 26.

The aim of our study was to evaluate the impact this has had on the treatment of thyroid cancer. To address this question, we used the Hospital Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases for Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Florida, which included a cohort of 56,581 inpatient admissions from 2001 to 2011. We then compared these states before and after the healthcare reform in Massachusetts to evaluate the effect the healthcare reform had on the treatment of thyroid cancer.

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Large Regional Variations in Rates of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rebecca Nash, MPH
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University

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

Response: Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) in women with invasive early-stage unilateral breast cancer has significantly increased in the U.S. over the past decade, despite the lack of evidence for a survival benefit. This procedure is particularly common among patients younger than 45 years old. It is also more common in whites compared to blacks, and in privately insured patients compared to uninsured or Medicaid insured patients. However, the extent of regional variation across the United States was unknown.

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Patients Who Quit Smoking Had Fewer Adverse Events After Knee Replacement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amy Wasterlain, MD

Fourth-year orthopaedic surgery resident
NYU Langone Medical Center who led the study with Dr. Richard Iorio 

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

Response:  We looked at smoking habits and outcomes for 539 smokers undergoing primary total hip or knee arthroplasty, 73 of whom participated in a pre-operative smoking cessation program. Patients who participated in program were 4.3 times more likely to quit than smokers who tried to quit on their own. Program participants also reduced their tobacco intake dramatically (10.6 fewer cigarettes/day) compared to smokers who didn’t participate (2.3 fewer cigarettes/day), even if they weren’t able to quit completely. Patients who completed the program before undergoing total knee arthroplasty had about 24% fewer adverse events (readmission, venous thromboembolism, stroke, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and surgical site infection) than smokers who didn’t participate in the program.

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Stretta Procedure Improves GERD Symptoms, Reduces Need for PPIs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ronnie Fass, MD Professor, School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Ronnie Fass

Dr. Ronnie Fass, MD
Professor, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

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

Response: The endoscopic radiofrequency procedure (Stretta) has been used for more than a decade to treat patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Over time, there were several Meta-analyses with variable designs of the Stretta procedure providing conflicting results. Thus, the purpose of the current systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the efficacy of the Stretta procedure using all currently available controlled and cohort studies.

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