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author:("szybalski, M.")
1.  Detection, evaluation, and management of preoperative anaemia in the elective orthopaedic surgical patient: NATA guidelines 
Previously undiagnosed anaemia is common in elective orthopaedic surgical patients and is associated with increased likelihood of blood transfusion and increased perioperative morbidity and mortality. A standardized approach for the detection, evaluation, and management of anaemia in this setting has been identified as an unmet medical need. A multidisciplinary panel of physicians was convened by the Network for Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives (NATA) with the aim of developing practice guidelines for the detection, evaluation, and management of preoperative anaemia in elective orthopaedic surgery. A systematic literature review and critical evaluation of the evidence was performed, and recommendations were formulated according to the method proposed by the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group. We recommend that elective orthopaedic surgical patients have a haemoglobin (Hb) level determination 28 days before the scheduled surgical procedure if possible (Grade 1C). We suggest that the patient's target Hb before elective surgery be within the normal range, according to the World Health Organization criteria (Grade 2C). We recommend further laboratory testing to evaluate anaemia for nutritional deficiencies, chronic renal insufficiency, and/or chronic inflammatory disease (Grade 1C). We recommend that nutritional deficiencies be treated (Grade 1C). We suggest that erythropoiesis-stimulating agents be used for anaemic patients in whom nutritional deficiencies have been ruled out, corrected, or both (Grade 2A). Anaemia should be viewed as a serious and treatable medical condition, rather than simply an abnormal laboratory value. Implementation of anaemia management in the elective orthopaedic surgery setting will improve patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3000629  PMID: 21148637
anaemia; blood transfusion; orthopaedic surgery; preoperative assessment; preoperative preparation
2.  Relations between surgeons and industry: the time of clarification has come 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(6):783-784.
PMCID: PMC2518990  PMID: 18443832
3.  After the dust settles 
European Spine Journal  2005;14(1):1.
PMCID: PMC3476669
4.  Postgraduate educational programs and the role of specialist’s societies 
European Spine Journal  2004;13(3):183.
PMCID: PMC3468139  PMID: 15054641
5.  A predictive model for outcome after conservative decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis 
European Spine Journal  2003;13(1):14-21.
This study was designed to develop predictive models for surgical outcome based on information available prior to lumbar stenosis surgery. Forty patients underwent decompressive laminarthrectomy. Preop and 1-year postop evaluation included Waddell’s nonorganic signs, CT scan, Waddell disability index, Oswestry low back pain disability questionnaire, low back outcome score (LBOS), visual analog scale (VAS) for pain intensity, and trunk strength testing. Statistical comparisons of data used adjusted error rates within families of predictors. Mathematical models were developed to predict outcome success using stepwise logistic regression and decision-tree methodologies (chi-squared automatic interaction detection, or CHAID). Successful outcome was defined as improvement in at least three of four criteria: VAS, LBOS, and reductions in claudication and leg pain. Exact logistic regression analysis resulted in a three-predictor model. This model was more accurate in predicting unsuccessful outcome (negative predictive value 75.0%) than in successful outcome (positive predictive value 69.6%). A CHAID model correctly classified 90.1% of successful outcomes (positive predictive value 85.7%, negative predictive value 100%). The use of conservative surgical decompression for lumbar stenosis can be recommended, as it demonstrated a success rate similar to that of more invasive techniques. Given its physiologic and biomechanical advantages, it can be recommended as the surgical method of choice in this indication. Underlying subclinical vascular factors may be involved in the complaints of spinal stenosis patients. Those factors should be investigated more thoroughly, as they may account for some of the failures of surgical relief. The CHAID decision tree appears to be a novel and useful tool for predicting the results of spinal stenosis surgery
PMCID: PMC3468041  PMID: 14658061
Biomechanics; Low back pain; Lumbar stenosis; Outcome scales; Predictive models
6.  Unethical research funding contracts: Just say NO! 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(2):107.
PMCID: PMC3467736  PMID: 12720069
7.  Clinical and psychofunctional measures of conservative decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis: a prospective cohort study 
European Spine Journal  2002;12(2):197-204.
Less invasive decompressive surgery has emerged as a logical surgical treatment alternative to wide decompression of spinal stenosis. The clinical outcomes of such conservative surgical treatment, however, are not well known. The aim of the study was to evaluate short-term psychometric and functional outcomes after conservative decompressive surgery for lumbar canal stenosis. Forty patients had a lumbar laminectomy procedure, which preserved the integrity of the neural arches, facet joints and most muscle attachments. Pre-operative clinical evaluation of the patients included: Waddell's non-organic signs (NOS) performed by an independent surgeon observer; three self-report questionnaires – the Waddell Disability Index (WDI), the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (ODI), and the Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS); and a general questionnaire that included a visual analog pain intensity scale (VAS). Post-operative clinical evaluations and questionnaires were obtained in 36 subjects (mean age 59.8 years) after a 1.7-year follow-up (range 1–2.6 years). Pre-operative versus post-operative statistical comparisons of the data were performed using adjusted error rates within families of predictors. Successful surgical outcome was defined as an improvement in at least three of the following four criteria: self-reported pain on a VAS, self-reported functional status measured by LBOS, reduction of pain during walking and reduction of leg pain. At follow-up, there was a statistically significant improvement in VAS pain intensity, ODI, WDI, and LBOS. Patients classified as having mixed stenosis had a higher incidence of continuous pain symptoms in comparison with acquired stenosis, but there was no differential improvement with treatment depending upon stenosis classification and/or number of operative levels. Overall, 58% (21/36) of patients met the successful surgical outcome criteria, including 14 subjects who met all four success criteria. Based upon a stringent definition of successful surgical outcome, the results of a conservative laminectomy were as good as those of more aggressive decompressive procedures presented in the literature. Our findings indicate that, even in a highly organic disorder such as spinal stenosis, illness behavior plays an important role in predicting surgical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3784854  PMID: 12709858
Lumbar vertebrae Conservative treatment Laminarthrectomy Stenosis Surgery
8.  A 2-year prospective longitudinal study on low back pain in primary school children 
European Spine Journal  2002;11(5):459-464.
There is increasing evidence that non-specific low back pain (LBP) is common among children and adolescents, but there are few longitudinal studies on this subject. This is a longitudinal prospective study aimed at finding factors associated with the prediction of low back pain in schoolchildren aged 9–12 years, which is a younger age group than has previously been studied. This study was performed on school children in the city of Antwerp, Belgium. A total of 287 children filled out a questionnaire and were examined at the beginning of the study (T1) and 2 years later (T2). The questionnaire asked about back pain, general health, health perceptions, quality of life perceptions, sports, leisure, daily life, school life (weight of satchel...) and some issues related to parents (smoking, LBP). The questionnaire reliability was tested. Logistic regression was used to analyse the data. No predictors for LBP in children could be identified. Using logistic regression techniques, we analysed the children who reported no lifetime episode of LBP at both T1 and T2, the children who did report a lifetime episode at both T1 and T2 and also those who reported a history of LBP at T2 only (New LBP). At T2 there were 51 children (17.8%) reporting suffering at least one lifetime episode of LBP who had not reported such an episode at T1. Only one parameter showed a statistical difference: New LBP was observed significantly more frequently in children who do not walk to school (P<0.0001). An interesting point of this study is that a number of children who had reported a history of LBP at T1 did not do so at T2. It may be that LBP in children is so benign and its natural history so favourable that the memory of the episode fades away. It is extremely interesting to note that among the few significant variables, those related to general well-being and self-perception of health, are prominent. It appears, therefore, that psychological factors play a role in the experience of LBP in a similar way to what has been reported in adults. Poor self-perception of health (health belief) could be a factor behind the reporting of LBP. Some variables linked to consequences of LBP (absence from school or from gym and visit to a doctor) play a significant role in reporting LBP, which suggests that those "health care" factors may reinforce a feeling of disease severity.
PMCID: PMC3611315  PMID: 12384754
Low back pain Children
9.  Low back pain in a population of school children 
European Spine Journal  1999;8(6):439-443.
A study was undertaken to analyse the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) and confounding factors in primary school children in the city of Antwerp. A total of 392 children aged 9 were included in the study. All children completed a validated three-page questionnaire and they all underwent a specific lumbar spine oriented medical examination during their annual routine medical school control. This examination was performed by the city school doctors. The questionnaire was composed of easy “yes/no” questions and visual analogue scales. Statistical analysis was performed using Student’s t-test and chi-squared test at the significance level P < 0.05. The prevalence of LBP was high. No gender difference was found. A total of 142 children (36%) reported having suffered at least one episode of LBP in their lives. Of these, 33 (23%) had sought medical help for LBP from a doctor or physiotherapist. Sixty-four percent of children reporting LBP said that at least one of their parents suffered from or complained of LBP. This was significantly higher than for the children who did not report having suffered LBP. The way in which the school satchel was carried (in the hand, on the back) had no bearing on the incidence of LBP. There was significantly more LBP in children who reported playing video games for more than 2 h per day, but this was not so for television watchers. The visual analogue scales concerning general well-being were all very significantly correlated with self-reported LBP, with children who reported LBP being more tired, less happy, and worse sleepers. Of the 19 clinical parameters taken down during the medical examination, only one was significantly more prevalent in the group of children reporting LBP: pain on palpation at the insertion site on the iliac crest of the ilio-lumbar ligament. From this study we can establish that there are few clinical signs that can help to single out school children with LBP.
PMCID: PMC3611220  PMID: 10664300
Key words Low back pain; Children; Clinical examination; Questionnaire; Prevalence
10.  Back testing devices. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;305(6854):650.
PMCID: PMC1883356  PMID: 1285770

Results 1-10 (10)