All Publications

  • The Influence of Cost Information on Treatment Choice: A Mixed-Methods Study. The Journal of hand surgery Zhuang, T., Kortlever, J. T., Shapiro, L. M., Baker, L., Harris, A. H., Kamal, R. N. 2020


    PURPOSE: To test the null hypothesis that exposure to societal cost information does not affect choice of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).METHODS: We enrolled 304 participants using the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform to complete a survey in which participants were given the choice between carpal tunnel release (CTR) or a less-expensive option (orthosis wear) in a hypothetical mild CTS scenario. Patients were randomized to receive information about the societal cost of CTR (cost cohort) or no cost information (control). The primary outcome was the probability of choosing CTR measured on a 6-point ordinal scale. We employed qualitative content analysis to evaluate participants' rationale for their choice. We also explored agreement with various attitudes toward health care costs on an ordinal scale.RESULTS: Participants in the cost cohort exhibited a greater probability of choosing surgery than those in the control cohort. The relative risk of choosing surgery after exposure to societal cost information was 1.43 (95% confidence interval, 1.11-1.85). Among participants who had not previously been diagnosed with CTS (n= 232), the relative risk of choosing surgery after exposure to societal cost information was 1.55 (95% confidence interval, 1.17-2.06). Lack of personal monetary responsibility frequently emerged as a theme in those in the cost cohort who chose surgery. The majority (94%) of participants expressed at least some agreement that health care cost is a major problem whereas only 58% indicated that they consider the country's health care costs when making treatment decisions.CONCLUSIONS: Participants who received societal cost information were more likely to choose the more expensive treatment option (CTR) for mild CTS.CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Exposure to societal cost information may influence patient decision making in elective hand surgery. A complete understanding of this influence is required prior to implementing processes toward greater cost transparency for diagnostic/treatment options. Sharing out-of-pocket costs with patients may be a beneficial approach because discussing societal cost information alone will likely not improve value of care.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.05.019

    View details for PubMedID 32723572

  • A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Corticosteroid Injections and Open Surgical Release for Trigger Finger. The Journal of hand surgery Zhuang, T., Wong, S., Aoki, R., Zeng, E., Ku, S., Kamal, R. N. 2020


    To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of corticosteroid injection(s) versus open surgical release for the treatment of trigger finger.Using a US health care payer perspective, we created a decision tree model to estimate the costs and outcomes associated with 4 treatment strategies for trigger finger: offering up to 3 steroid injections before to surgery or immediate open surgical release. Costs were obtained from a large administrative claims database. We calculated expected quality-adjusted life-years for each treatment strategy, which were compared using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Separate analyses were performed for commercially insured and Medicare Advantage patients. We performed a probabilistic sensitivity analysis using 10,000 second-order Monte Carlo simulations that simultaneously sampled from the uncertainty distributions of all model inputs.Offering 3 steroid injections before surgery was the optimal strategy for both commercially insured and Medicare Advantage patients. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that this strategy was cost-effective 67% and 59% of the time for commercially insured and Medicare Advantage patients, respectively. Our results were sensitive to the probability of injection site fat necrosis, success rate of steroid injections, time to symptom relief after a steroid injection, and cost of treatment. Immediate surgical release became cost-effective when the cost of surgery was below $902 or $853 for commercially insured and Medicare Advantage patients, respectively.Multiple treatment strategies exist for treating trigger finger, and our cost-effectiveness analysis helps define the relative value of different approaches. From a health care payer perspective, offering 3 steroid injections before surgery is a cost-effective strategy.Economic and Decision Analyses II.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.04.008

    View details for PubMedID 32471754

  • Which Decisions For Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Distal Radius Fractures Should Be Shared? The Journal of hand surgery Zhuang, T., Shapiro, L. M., Ring, D., Akelman, E., Ruch, D. S., Richard, M. J., Ladd, A., Blazar, P., Yao, J., Kakar, S., Harris, A. H., Got, C., Kamal, R. N. 2020


    To evaluate, from the surgeon's perspective, the importance, feasibility, and appropriateness of sharing decisions during an episode of care of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) or distal radius fracture in patients aged greater than 65 years.A consortium of 9 fellowship-trained hand/upper-limb surgeons used the RAND Corporation/University of California Los Angeles Delphi Appropriateness method to evaluate the importance, feasibility, and appropriateness of sharing 27 decisions for CTS and 28 decisions for distal radius fractures in patients aged greater than 65 years. Panelists rated each measure on a scale of 1 (definitely not important/feasible/appropriate) to 9 (definitely important/feasible/appropriate) in 2 voting rounds with an intervening face-to-face discussion. Panelist agreement and disagreement were assessed using predetermined criteria.Panelists achieved agreement on 16 decisions (29%) as important, 43 (78%) as feasible, and 17 (31%) as appropriate for sharing with patients. Twelve decisions met all 3 of these criteria and were therefore considered important, feasible, and appropriate to share with patients. Examples in CTS included decisions to perform extra confirmatory diagnostic testing, to have surgery, and to perform a steroid injection into the carpal tunnel. Examples in distal radius fracture management included the decision to have surgery, type of pain medication prescribed after surgery, and whether to remove the implant. The remaining 43 decisions did not reach consensus on the importance, feasibility, and appropriateness of sharing with patients.Using a validated consensus-building approach, we identified 12 decisions made during an episode of care for CTS or distal radius fracture that were important, feasible, and appropriate to share with patients from the surgeon's perspective. These decisions merit inclusion in shared decision-making models (eg, preoperative patient preference elicitation tools or decision aids) to align patient preferences with care decisions.Understanding which aspects of care are important, feasible, and appropriate to share with patients may improve patient-centered care by aligning patient preferences with care decisions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.03.008

    View details for PubMedID 32340760

  • Quality Measures to Reduce Opioid Use After Common Soft Tissue Hand and Wrist Procedures. The Journal of hand surgery 2020


    To develop quality measures that are clinically important, feasible, usable, and scientifically acceptable for reducing opioid use after soft tissue procedures of the hand and wrist, and which can be used to evaluate quality in hand surgery.A consortium of 9 fellowship-trained hand/upper-limb surgeons with expertise in quality measure development used the RAND Corporation/University of California Los Angeles Delphi Appropriateness method to evaluate the validity of 2 quality measures for reducing opioid use, based on 4 quality indicators (clinical importance, feasibility, usability, and scientific acceptability). Panelists rated each measure on a scale of 1 (definitely not important/feasible/usable/supported) to 9 (definitely important/feasible/usable/supported) in 2 voting rounds with an intervening face-to-face discussion. Agreement was assessed using predetermined criteria. A measure was considered a valid quality measure if it received a median score of 7 or higher for all 4 indicators with no more than 2 panelists rating outside the range of 7 to 9.Panelists achieved agreement on the 4 quality indicators for measuring the proportion of patients undergoing carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, first dorsal compartment release, or ganglion cyst excision who received structured counseling on opioid use. Panelists also achieved agreement on the 4 quality indicators for measuring the proportion of patients without recent opioid use who did not fill an opioid prescription within 30 days after these procedures. Both candidate quality measures were considered valid.Using a validated consensus-building approach, we developed process and outcome quality measures for reducing opioid use after soft tissue hand surgery that were demonstrated to be valid according to 4 quality indicators.In the era of value-based health care, hand surgeons are assuming increasing responsibility in the prevention of excess opioid prescribing. Quality measures for reducing opioid overprescription can help promote the delivery of evidence-based, high-quality care in hand surgery.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.03.007

    View details for PubMedID 32408999

  • Selective Photo-Oxygenation of Light Alkanes Using Iodine Oxides and Chloride CHEMCATCHEM Liebov, N. S., Goldberg, J. M., Boaz, N. C., Coutard, N., Kalman, S. E., Zhuang, T., Groves, J. T., Gunnoe, T. 2019; 11 (20): 5045–54
  • Does Societal Cost Information Affect Patient Decision-Making in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Hand (New York, N.Y.) Kortlever, J. T., Zhuang, T., Ring, D., Reichel, L. M., Vagner, G. A., Kamal, R. N. 2019: 1558944719873399


    Background: Despite studies demonstrating the effects of out-of-pocket costs on decision-making, the effect of societal cost information on patient decision-making is unknown. Given the considerable societal impact of cost of care for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), providing societal cost data to patients with CTS could affect decision-making and provide a strategy for reducing national health care costs. Therefore, we assessed the following hypotheses: (1) there is no difference in treatment choice (surgery vs no surgery) in a hypothetical case of mild CTS between patients randomized to receive societal cost information compared with those who did not receive this information; (2) there are no factors (eg, sex, experience with a previous diagnosis of CTS, or receiving societal cost information) independently associated with the choice for surgery; and (3) there is no difference in attitudes toward health care costs between patients choosing surgery and those who did not. Methods: In this randomized controlled trial using a hypothetical scenario, we prospectively enrolled 184 new and return patients with a nontraumatic upper extremity diagnosis. We recorded patient demographics, treatment choice in the hypothetical case of mild CTS, and their attitudes toward health care costs. Results: Treatment choice was not affected by receiving societal cost information. None of the demographic or illness factors assessed were independently associated with the choice for surgery. Patients declining surgery felt more strongly that doctors should consider their out-of-pocket costs when making recommendations. Conclusions: Providing societal cost information does not seem to affect decision-making and may not reduce the overall health care costs. For patients with CTS, health policy could nudge toward better resource utilization and finding the best care pathways for nonoperative and invasive treatments.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1558944719873399

    View details for PubMedID 31517517

  • The Use of Preoperative Antibiotics in Elective Soft-Tissue Procedures in the Hand: A Critical Analysis Review. JBJS reviews Shapiro, L. M., Zhuang, T., Li, K., Kamal, R. N. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.18.00168

    View details for PubMedID 31436581

  • Financial Distress Is Associated With Delay in Seeking Care for Hand Conditions. Hand (New York, N.Y.) Zhuang, T., Eppler, S. L., Shapiro, L. M., Roe, A. K., Yao, J., Kamal, R. N. 2019: 1558944719866889


    Background: As medical costs continue to rise, financial distress due to these costs has led to poorer health outcomes and patient cost-coping behavior. Here, we test the null hypothesis that financial distress is not associated with delay of seeking care for hand conditions. Methods: Eighty-seven new patients presenting to the hand clinic for nontraumatic conditions completed our study. Patients completed validated instruments for measuring financial distress, pain catastrophizing, and pain. Questions regarding delay of care were included. The primary outcome was self-reported delay of the current hand clinic visit. Results: Patients who experience high financial distress differed significantly from those who experience low financial distress with respect to age, race, annual household income, and employment status. Those experiencing high financial distress were more likely to report having delayed their visit to the hand clinic (57% vs 30%), higher pain catastrophizing scores (17.7 vs 7.6), and higher average pain in the preceding week (4.5 vs 2.3). After adjusting for age, sex, and pain, high financial distress (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 4.90) and pain catastrophizing score (adjusted OR = 0.96) were found to be independent predictors of delay. Financial distress was highly associated with annual household income in a multivariable linear regression model. Conclusions: Patients with nontraumatic hand conditions who experience higher financial distress are more likely to delay their visit to the hand clinic. Within health care systems, identification of patients with high financial distress and targeted interventions (eg, social or financial services) may help prevent unnecessary delays in care.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1558944719866889

    View details for PubMedID 31409138

  • Arthrodesis of the Foot or Ankle in Adult Patients with Congenital Clubfoot. Cureus Zhuang, T., El-Banna, G., Frick, S. 2019; 11 (12): e6505


    Background Although clubfoot that was corrected in childhood rarely recurs in adulthood, persistent deformities or arthritic pain may require further treatment during adulthood. Little evidence exists on the operative procedures utilized in adult clubfoot patients, who were previously treated for congenital clubfoot in childhood, for residual or recurrent deformity or pain. Objective The objective of this study is to characterize the types and frequencies of procedures utilized in adult clubfoot patients, who were previously treated for congenital clubfoot in childhood. Methods A two-pronged approach was employed to describe the operative procedures used in adult clubfoot patients. First, a literature review of all reported cases of operative treatment in adult clubfoot patients who were previously treated in childhood was performed. Second, an analysis of the operative treatments used in adult patients with a diagnosis of congenital clubfoot was conducted using a large, administrative claims database. Results In the literature review, arthrodesis was the most cited operative treatment and reported in four out of the eight studies included. Osteotomies were also reported in the literature. In the database analysis, 94 hindfoot arthrodesis procedures were identified in 73 patients, out of 1,198 adult patients in the database with a diagnosis of congenital clubfoot. Sixty-two patients out of 1,198 adult clubfoot patients received osteotomies. An insufficient number of total ankle arthroplasties were reported for further analysis. Conclusions Operative treatment in adult clubfoot patients who were treated for congenital clubfoot in childhood includes hindfoot arthrodesis and osteotomy procedures. Total ankle arthroplasty has not been reported in the literature for these patients.

    View details for DOI 10.7759/cureus.6505

    View details for PubMedID 32025426

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6988724

  • Variations in Utilization of Carpal Tunnel Release Among Medicaid Beneficiaries. The Journal of hand surgery Zhuang, T., Eppler, S. L., Kamal, R. N. 2018


    PURPOSE: To evaluate the null hypothesis that Medicaid patients receive carpal tunnel release (CTR) at the same time interval from diagnosis as do patients with Medicare Advantage or private insurance.METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review using a database containing claims records from 2007 to 2016. The cohort consisted of patient records with a diagnosis code of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and a procedural code for CTR within 3 years of diagnosis. We stratified patients into 3 groups by insurance type (Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, and private) for an analysis of the time from diagnosis until surgery and use of preoperative electrodiagnostic testing.RESULTS: Of all patients who received CTR within 3 years of diagnosis, Medicaid patients experienced longer intervals from CTS diagnosis to CTR compared with Medicare Advantage and privately insured patients (median, 99 days vs 65 and 62 days, respectively). The Medicaid cohort was significantly less likely to receive CTR within 1 year of diagnosis compared with the Medicare Advantage cohort (adjusted odds ratio [OR]= 0.54) or within 6 months of diagnosis compared with the privately insured cohort (adjusted OR= 0.61). Those in the Medicaid cohort were less likely to receive electromyography and nerve conduction studies within 9 months before surgery compared with their Medicare Advantage (adjusted OR= 0.43) and privately insured (adjusted OR= 0.41) counterparts. These effects were statistically significant after accounting for age, sex, region, and Charlson comorbidity index.CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid managed care patients experience longer times from diagnosis to surgery compared with Medicare Advantage or privately insured patients in this large administrative claims database. Similar variation exists in the use of electrodiagnostic testing based on insurance type.CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Medicaid patients may experience barriers to CTS care, such as delays from diagnosis to surgery and reduced use of electrodiagnostic testing.

    View details for PubMedID 30579689

  • Mechanism of Hydrocarbon Functionalization by an Iodate/Chloride System: The Role of Ester Protection ACS CATALYSIS Schwartz, N. A., Boaz, N. C., Kalman, S. E., Zhuang, T., Goldberg, J. M., Fu, R., Nielsen, R. J., Goddard, W. A., Groves, J. T., Gunnoe, T. 2018; 8 (4): 3138–49
  • Alkyl Isocyanates via Manganese-Catalyzed C-H Activation for the Preparation of Substituted Ureas JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY Huang, X., Zhuang, T., Kates, P. A., Gao, H., Chen, X., Groves, J. T. 2017; 139 (43): 15407–13


    Organic isocyanates are versatile intermediates that provide access to a wide range of functionalities. In this work, we have developed the first synthetic method for preparing aliphatic isocyanates via direct C-H activation. This method proceeds efficiently at room temperature and can be applied to functionalize secondary, tertiary, and benzylic C-H bonds with good yields and functional group compatibility. Moreover, the isocyanate products can be readily converted to substituted ureas without isolation, demonstrating the synthetic potential of the method. To study the reaction mechanism, we have synthesized and characterized a rare MnIV-NCO intermediate and demonstrated its ability to transfer the isocyanate moiety to alkyl radicals. Using EPR spectroscopy, we have directly observed a MnIV intermediate under catalytic conditions. Isocyanation of celestolide with a chiral manganese salen catalyst followed by trapping with aniline afforded the urea product in 51% enantiomeric excess. This represents the only example of an asymmetric synthesis of an organic urea via C-H activation. When combined with our DFT calculations, these results clearly demonstrate that the C-NCO bond was formed through capture of a substrate radical by a MnIV-NCO intermediate.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.7b07658

    View details for Web of Science ID 000414506400023

    View details for PubMedID 28976738

  • Involvement of nitric oxide synthase in matrix metalloproteinase-9-and/or urokinase plasminogen activator receptor-mediated glioma cell migration BMC CANCER Zhuang, T., Chelluboina, B., Ponnala, S., Velpula, K., Rehman, A. A., Chetty, C., Zakharian, E., Rao, J. S., Veeravalli, K. 2013; 13: 590


    Src tyrosine kinase activates inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and, in turn, nitric oxide production as a means to transduce cell migration. Src tyrosine kinase plays a key proximal role to control α9β1 signaling. Our recent studies have clearly demonstrated the role of α9β1 integrin in matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and/or urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR)-mediated glioma cell migration. In the present study, we evaluated the involvement of α9β1 integrin-iNOS pathway in MMP-9- and/or uPAR-mediated glioma cell migration.MMP-9 and uPAR shRNAs and overexpressing plasmids were used to downregulate and upregulate these molecules, respectively in U251 glioma cells and 5310 glioma xenograft cells. The effect of treatments on migration and invasion potential of these glioma cells were assessed by spheroid migration, wound healing, and Matrigel invasion assays. In order to attain the other objectives we also performed immunocytochemical, immunohistochemical, RT-PCR, Western blot and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis.Immunohistochemical analysis revealed the prominent association of iNOS with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Immunofluorescence analysis showed prominent expression of iNOS in glioma cells. MMP-9 and/or uPAR knockdown by respective shRNAs reduced iNOS expression in these glioma cells. RT-PCR analysis revealed elevated iNOS mRNA expression in either MMP-9 or uPAR overexpressed glioma cells. The migration potential of MMP-9- and/or uPAR-overexpressed U251 glioma cells was significantly inhibited after treatment with L-NAME, an inhibitor of iNOS. Similarly, a significant inhibition of the invasion potential of the control or MMP-9/uPAR-overexpressed glioma cells was noticed after L-NAME treatment. A prominent reduction of iNOS expression was observed in the tumor regions of nude mice brains, which were injected with 5310 glioma cells, after MMP-9 and/or uPAR knockdown. Protein expressions of cSrc, phosphoSrc and p130Cas were reduced with simultaneous knockdown of both MMP-9 and uPAR.Taken together, our results from the present and earlier studies clearly demonstrate that α9β1 integrin-mediated cell migration utilizes the iNOS pathway, and inhibition of the migratory potential of glioma cells by simultaneous knockdown of MMP-9 and uPAR could be attributed to the reduced α9β1 integrin and iNOS levels.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1471-2407-13-590

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329345100001

    View details for PubMedID 24325546

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3878845

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