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Evaluating the learning curve of endoscopic surgery for spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage: A single-center experience in a county hospital.

BACKGROUND: Endoscopic surgery has shown promise in treating Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage (sICH), but its adoption in county-level hospitals has been hindered by the high level of surgical expertise required.

METHODS: In this retrospective study at a county hospital, we utilized a Cumulative Sum (CUSUM) control chart to visualize the learning curve for two neurosurgeons. We compared patient outcomes in the learning and proficient phases, and compared them with expected outcomes based on ICH score and ICH functional outcome score, respectively.

RESULTS: The learning curve peaked at the 12th case for NS1 and the 8th case for NS2, signifying the transition to the proficient stage. This stage saw reductions in operation time, blood loss, rates of evacuation < 90 %, rebleeding rates, intensive care unit stay, hospital stay, and overall costs for both neurosurgeons. In the learning stage, 6 deaths occurred within 30 days, less than the 10.66 predicted by the ICH score. In the proficient stage, 3 deaths occurred, less than the 15.88 predicted. In intermediate and high-risk patients by the ICH functional outcome score, the proficient stage had fewer patients with an mRS ≥ 3 at three months than the learning stage (23.8 % vs. 69.2 %, P = 0.024; 40 % vs. 80 %, P = 0.360). Micromanipulating bipolar precision hemostasis and aspiration devices in the endoport's channels sped up the transition from learning to proficient.

CONCLUSION: The data shows a learning curve, with better surgical outcomes as surgeons gain proficiency. This suggests cost benefits of surgical proficiency and the need for ongoing surgical education and training in county hospitals.

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