Long-term functional outcome of surgical treatment for degenerative cervical myelopathy

J Neurosurg Spine 36:830–840, 2022

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a major global cause of spinal cord dysfunction. Surgical treatment is considered a safe and effective way to improve functional outcome, although information about long-term functional outcome remains scarce despite increasing longevity. The objective of this study was to describe functional outcome 10 years after surgery for DCM.

METHODS A prospective observational cohort study was undertaken in a university-affiliated neurosurgery department. All patients who underwent surgery for DCM between 2008 and 2010 as part of the multicenter Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy International trial were included. Participants were approached for additional virtual assessment 10 years after surgery. Functional outcome was assessed according to the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA; scores 0–18) score at baseline and 1, 2, and 10 years after surgery. The minimal clinically important difference was defined as 1-, 2-, or 3-point improvement for mild, moderate, and severe myelopathy, respectively. Outcome was considered durable when stabilization or improvement after 2 years was maintained at 10 years. Self-evaluated effect of surgery was assessed using a 4-point Likert-like scale. Demographic, clinical, and surgical data were compared between groups that worsened and improved or remained stable using descriptive statistics. Functional outcome was compared between various time points during follow-up with linear mixed models.

RESULTS Of the 42 originally included patients, 37 participated at follow-up (11.9% loss to follow-up, 100% response rate). The mean patient age was 56.1 years, and 42.9% of patients were female. Surgical approaches were anterior (76.2%), posterior (21.4%), or posterior with fusion (2.4%). The mean follow-up was 10.8 years (range 10–12 years). The mean mJOA score increased significantly from 13.1 (SD 2.3) at baseline to 14.2 (SD 3.3) at 10 years (p = 0.01). A minimal clinically important difference was achieved in 54.1%, and stabilization of functional status was maintained in 75.0% in the long term. Patients who worsened were older (median 63 vs 52 years, p < 0.01) and had more comorbidities (70.0% vs 25.9%, p < 0.01). A beneficial effect of surgery was self-reported by 78.3% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS Surgical treatment for DCM results in satisfactory improvement of functional outcome that is maintained at 10-year follow-up.

Conservative Management of Type II Odontoid Fractures in Older People

Neurosurgery 2020 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyaa256

Type II odontoid fractures are a common cervical fracture in older people. Lower osseous-union rates are reported in those treated conservatively compared to surgically; however, the clinical relevance of a nonunion is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To compare pain, disability, and quality of life in older people following conservativemanagement of type II odontoid fractures demonstrating osseous-union and nonunion.

METHODS: Electronic records were searched from 2008 to 2018 for adults ≥65 yr with type II odontoid fracture, managed in a semi-rigid collar. Clinical and demographic data were retrieved from electronic patient notes. Surviving patients were invited to complete questionnaires to assess pain, disability, and quality of life. Ethical approval was granted.

RESULTS: A total of 125 patients were identified: 36 (29%) demonstrated osseous-union, 89 (71%) had nonunion, of which 33 (40%) had radiological instability. Mean age at fracture was 84 yr (osseous-union 83 yr; nonunion 84 yr). A total of 53 had deceased (41 nonunion). Median length of survival was 77 mo for osseous-union vs 50 mo for nonunion; P = .02. No patient developed myelopathy during the follow-up period. Questionnaire response rate was 39 (58%). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of pain, disability, or quality of life (P>.05). Both groups reported mild disability and pain but low quality of life.

CONCLUSION: Management with a semi-rigid collar in older people with type II odontoid fracture is associated with low levels of pain and disability without statistically significant differences between those demonstrating osseous-union or stable or unstable nonunions. Conservative management appears to be a safe treatment for older people with type II fractures.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting Improves Long-Term Quality of Life in Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery, Volume 86, Issue 4, April 2020: 574–582

The short- and long-term impact of cerebrospinal fluid shunting on quality of life (QoL) in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) is poorly understood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate QoL in shunted INPH patients compared to the population and to investigate which factors influence QoL in INPH.

METHODS: INPH patients consecutively shunted in Sweden during 2008-2010 were scrutinized. Population-based controls were age- and sex-matched to the patients. Included participants were the following:176 INPH patients and 368controls.QoLwas assessed using the EuroQol 5-dimension 5-level (EQ5D5L) instrument, which measures overall QoL and health status in 5 dimensions. Independency (accommodation and/or need for in-home care) and comorbidities were assessed. Patients were followed up 6-45 mo after surgery (mean follow-up time: 21 mo).

RESULTS: Shunting improved QoL (P < .001) and health status in all dimensions (P < .005). Shunted INPH patients had lower QoL than controls (P < .001). The patients’health status in mobility, self-care, daily activities, and anxiety/depression was worse than the controls both before and after surgery (P < .001). The main predictors of low QoL in INPH were symptoms of depression (P < .001) and severity of gait disturbance (P = .001). Fewer INPH patients than controls lived independently (45% vs 85%, P < .001). Time after shunting had no influence on QoL.

CONCLUSION: QoL remains improved in shunted INPH patients at a mean follow-up time of 21 mo, but the patients do not reach the same QoL as the population. Symptoms of depression and severity of gait disturbance are the strongest predictors of low QoL in INPH.