Priorities for peri‐operative research in Africa

Deaths following surgery are the third largest contributor to deaths globally, and in Africa are twice the global average. There is a need for a peri‐operative research agenda to ensure co‐ordinated, collaborative research efforts across Africa in order to decrease peri‐operative mortality. The objective was to determine the top 10 research priorities for peri‐operative research in Africa. A Delphi technique was used to establish consensus on the top research priorities. The top 10 research priorities identified were (1) Develop training standards for peri‐operative healthcare providers (surgical, anaesthesia and nursing) in Africa; (2) Develop minimum provision of care standards for peri‐operative healthcare providers (surgical, anaesthesia and nursing) in Africa; (3) Early identification and management of mothers at risk from peripartum haemorrhage in the peri‐operative period; (4) The role of communication and teamwork between surgical, anaesthetic, nursing and other teams involved in peri‐operative care; (5) A facility audit/African World Health Organization situational analysis tool audit to assess emergency and essential surgical care, which includes anaesthetic equipment available and level of training and knowledge of peri‐operative healthcare providers (surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses); (6) Establishing evidence‐based practice guidelines for peri‐operative physicians in Africa; (7) Economic analysis of strategies to finance access to surgery in Africa; (8) Establishment of a minimum dataset surgical registry; (9) A quality improvement programme to improve implementation of the surgical safety checklist; and (10) Peri‐operative outcomes associated with emergency surgery. These peri‐operative research priorities provide the structure for an intermediate‐term research agenda to improve peri‐operative outcomes across Africa

Emergency Anesthesia in Resource-Limited Areas

Anesthesia providers play a critical role in the gap between unmet surgical need and access to safe surgical care. Providers from high-income countries can help fill this gap, particularly during crises, but it is critical to provide care responsibly and ethically. Most unmet surgical need is in low-income and middle-income countries where limited infrastructural, human, and material resources pose significant challenges. Anesthesia providers must recognize these difficulties as they apply to the local context and plan accordingly. This article outlines some of the unique issues and provides a framework of considerations for safe and responsible anesthesia delivery in resource-limited areas.

The challenge of safe anesthesia in developing countries: defining the problems in a medical center in Cambodia.

The International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia (ISSPA) were developed on behalf of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and the World Health Organization. It has been recommend as an assessment tool that allows anesthetic providers in developing countries to assess their compliance and needs. This study was performed to describe the anesthesia service in one main public hospital during an 8-month medical mission in Cambodia and evaluate its anesthetic safety issues according to the ISSPA. We conduct a retrospective study involving 1953 patients at the Preah Ket Mealea hospital. Patient demographics, anesthetic techniques, and complications were reviewed according to the registers of the anesthetic services and questionnaires. The inadequacies in personnel, facilities, equipment, medications, and conduct of anesthesia drugs were recorded using a checklist based on the ISSPA. A total of 1792 patients received general and regional anesthesia in the operating room, while 161 patients receiving sedation for gastroscopy. The patients’ mean age was 45.0 ± 16.6 years (range, 17-87 years). The three most common surgical procedures were abdominal (52.0%; confidence interval [CI], 49.3-54.7), orthopedic (27.6%; CI, 25.2-29.9), and urological surgery (14.7%; CI, 12.8-16.6). General anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, and brachial plexus block were performed in 54.3% (CI, 51.7-56.8), 28.2% (CI, 25.9-30.5), and 9.4% (CI, 7.9-10.9) of patients, respectively. One death occurred. Twenty-six items related to professional aspects, monitoring, and conduct of anesthesia did not meet the ISSPA-recommended standards. A lack of commonly used drugs and monitoring equipment was noted, posing major threats to the safety of anesthesia practice, especially in emergency situations. This study adds to the scarce literature on anesthesia practice in low- and middle-income countries such as Cambodia. Future medical assistance should help to strengthen these countries’ inadequacies, allowing for the adoption of international standards for the safe practice of anesthesia.

Globalization of national surgical, obstetric and anesthesia plans: the critical link between health policy and action in global surgery

Efforts from the developed world to improve surgical, anesthesia and obstetric care in low- and middle-income countries have evolved from a primarily volunteer mission trip model to a sustainable health system strengthening approach as private and public stakeholders recognize the enormous health toll and financial burden of surgical disease. The National Surgical, Obstetric and Anesthesia Plan (NSOAP) has been developed as a policy strategy for countries to address, in part, the health burden of diseases amenable to surgical care, but these plans have not developed in isolation. The NSOAP has become a phenomenon of globalization as a broad range of partners – individuals and institutions – help in both NSOAP formulation, implementation and financing. As the nexus between policy and action in the field of global surgery, the NSOAP reflects a special commitment by state actors to make progress on global goals such as Universal Health Coverage and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This requires a continued global commitment involving genuine partnerships that embrace the collective strengths of both national and global actors to deliver sustained, safe and affordable high-quality surgical care for all poor, rural and marginalized people.

What is the minimum number of specialist anaesthetists needed in low-income and middle-income countries?

INTRODUCTION:
The number of specialist anaesthetists in most low-income and middle-income countries is below what is needed to provide a safe quality anaesthesia service. There are no estimates of the optimal number; therefore, we estimated the minimum density of specialist anaesthetists to achieve a reasonable standard of healthcare as indicated by the maternal mortality ratio (MMR).

METHODS:
Utilising existing country-level data of the number of physician anaesthesia providers (PAPs), MMR and Human Development Index (HDI), we developed best-fit curves to describe the relationship between MMR and PAPs, controlling for HDI. The aim was to use this relationship to estimate the number of PAPs associated with achieving the median MMR.

RESULTS:
We estimated that, in order to achieve a reasonable standard of healthcare, as indicated by the global median MMR, countries should aim to have at least four PAPs per 100 000 population. Existing data show that currently 80 countries have fewer than this number.

CONCLUSION:
Four PAPs per 100 000 population is a modest target, but there is a need to increase training of doctors in many countries in order to train more specialist anaesthetists. It is important that this target is considered during the development of national workforce plans, even if a stepwise approach to workforce planning is chosen.

Postoperative Airway Obstruction in a Low Resource Setting: A Case Report.

A 2-month-old girl with abnormal facial features and malnutrition presented for placement of a gastrostomy tube. The surgery was performed under general anesthesia using a laryngeal mask airway (LMA); however, after removal of the LMA, the patient had recurrent airway collapse, requiring repeated insertion of the LMA. The authors describe the management of this problem with the use of a tongue suture and anterior traction in the postoperative period in a resource-limited setting.

The power of practice: simulation training improving the quality of neonatal resuscitation skills in Bihar, India.

Globally, neonatal mortality accounts for nearly half of under-five mortality, and intrapartum related events are a leading cause. Despite the rise in neonatal resuscitation (NR) training programs in low- and middle-income countries, their impact on the quality of NR skills amongst providers with limited formal medical education, particularly those working in rural primary health centers (PHCs), remains incompletely understood.This study evaluates the impact of PRONTO International simulation training on the quality of NR skills in simulated resuscitations and live deliveries in rural PHCs throughout Bihar, India. Further, it explores barriers to performance of key NR skills. PRONTO training was conducted within CARE India’s AMANAT intervention, a maternal and child health quality improvement project. Performance in simulations was evaluated using video-recorded assessment simulations at weeks 4 and 8 of training. Performance in live deliveries was evaluated in real time using a mobile-phone application. Barriers were explored through semi-structured interviews with simulation facilitators.In total, 1342 nurses participated in PRONTO training and 226 NR assessment simulations were matched by PHC and evaluated. From week 4 to 8 of training, proper neck extension, positive pressure ventilation (PPV) with chest rise, and assessment of heart rate increased by 14%, 19%, and 12% respectively (all p ≤ 0.01). No difference was noted in stimulation, suction, proper PPV rate, or time to completion of key steps. In 252 live deliveries, identification of non-vigorous neonates, use of suction, and use of PPV increased by 21%, 25%, and 23% respectively (all p < 0.01) between weeks 1-3 and 4-8. Eighteen interviews revealed individual, logistical, and cultural barriers to key NR skills.PRONTO simulation training had a positive impact on the quality of key skills in simulated and live resuscitations throughout Bihar. Nevertheless, there is need for ongoing improvement that will likely require both further clinical training and addressing barriers that go beyond the scope of such training. In settings where clinical outcome data is unreliable, data triangulation, the process of synthesizing multiple data sources to generate a better-informed evaluation, offers a powerful tool for guiding this process.

Intravenous lidocaine as adjuvant to general anesthesia in renal surgery.

The role of intraoperative intravenous lidocaine infusion has been previously evaluated for pain relief, inflammatory response, and post-operative recovery, particularly in abdominal surgery. The present study is a randomized double-blinded trial in which we evaluated whether IV lidocaine infusion reduces isoflurane requirement, intraoperative remifentanil consumption and time to post-operative recovery in non-laparoscopic renal surgery. Sixty patients scheduled to undergo elective non-laparoscopic renal surgery under general anesthesia were enrolled to receive either systemic lidocaine infusion (group L: bolus 1.5 mg/kg followed by a continuous infusion at the rate of 2 mg/kg/hr until skin closure) or normal saline (0.9% NaCl solution) (Group C). The depth of anesthesia was monitored using the Bispectral Index Scale (BIS), which is based on measurement of the patient’s cerebral electrical activity. Primary outcome of the study was End-tidal of isoflurane concentration (Et-Iso) at BIS values of 40-60. Secondary outcomes include remifentanil consumption during the operation and time to extubation. Et-Iso was significantly lower in group L than in group C (0.63% ± 0.10% vs 0.92% ± 0.11%, p < 10-3). Mean remifentanil consumption of was significantly lower in group L than in group C (0.13 ± 0.04 µg/kg/min vs 0.18 ± 0.04 µg/kg/min, p < 10-3). Thus, IV lidocaine infusion permits a reduction of 31% in isoflurane concentration requirement and 27% in the intraoperative remifentanil need. In addition, recovery from anesthesia and extubation time was shorter in group L (5.8 ± 1.8 min vs 7.9 ± 2.0 min, p < 10-3). By reducing significantly isoflurane and remifentanil requirements during renal surgery, intravenous lidocaine could provide effective strategy to limit volatile agent and intraoperative opioids consumption especially in low and middle income countries.

Global Incidence and Outcomes of Adult Patients With Acute Kidney Injury After Cardiac Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

OBJECTIVES:
To estimate the global incidence and outcomes of acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery in adult patients.

DESIGN:
A systematic review and meta-analysis.

SETTING:
Cardiac surgery wards.

PARTICIPANTS:
Adult patients after cardiac surgery

INTERVENTIONS:
None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:
The authors searched PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, OVID, and EMBASE databases for all articles on cardiac surgery patients published during 2004 to 2014. Meta-analyses were conducted to generate pooled incidence, mortality, ICU length of stay, and length of hospital stay. The authors also described the variations according to study design, criteria of AKI, surgical methods, countries, continents, and their economies. After a primary and secondary screen, 91 observational studies with 320,086 patients were identified. The pooled incidence rates of AKI were 22.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.8 to 25.1) in total and 13.6%, 3.8%, and 2.7% at stages 1, 2, and 3, respectively, whereas 2.3% of patients received renal replacement therapy. The pooled short-term and long-term mortality were 10.7% and 30%, respectively, and increased along with the severity of stages. The pooled unadjusted odds ratio for short-term and long-term mortality in patients with AKI relative to patients without AKI was 0.144 (95% CI, 0.108 to 0.192, p<0.001) and 0.342 (95% CI 0.287-0.407, p<0.001), respectively. The pooled average ICU length of stay and length of hospital stay in the AKI group were 5.4 and 15 days, respectively, while they were 2.2 and 10.5 days in the no-AKI group.

CONCLUSIONS:
AKI is a great burden for patients undergoing cardiac surgery and can affect short-term and long-term prognoses of these patients.

A Prospective Observational Study of Anesthesia-Related Adverse Events and Postoperative Complications Occurring During a Surgical Mission in Madagascar.

Two-thirds of the world’s population lack access to safe anesthesia and surgical care. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in bridging the gap, but surgical outcomes vary. After complex surgeries, up to 20-fold higher postoperative complication rates are reported and the reasons for poor outcomes are undefined. Little is known concerning the incidence of anesthesia complications. Mercy Ships uses fully trained staff, and infrastructure and equipment resources similar to that of high-income countries, allowing the influence of these factors to be disentangled from patient factors when evaluating anesthesia and surgical outcomes after NGO sponsored surgery. We aimed to estimate the incidence of anesthesia-related and postoperative complications during a 2-year surgical mission in Madagascar.As part of quality assurance and participation in a new American Society of Anesthesiologists Anesthesia Quality Institute sponsored NGO Outcomes registry, Mercy Ships prospectively recorded anesthesia-related adverse events. Adverse events were grouped into 6 categories: airway, cardiac, medication, regional, neurological, and equipment. Postoperative complications were predefined as 16 adverse events and graded for patient impact using the Dindo-Clavien classification.Data were evaluated for 2037 episodes of surgical care. The overall anesthesia adverse event rate was 2.0% (confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.6). The majority (85% CI, 74-96) of adverse events occurred intraoperatively with 15% (CI, 3-26) occurring in postanesthesia care unit. The most common intraoperative adverse event, occurring 7 times, was failed regional (spinal) anesthesia that was due to unexpectedly long surgery in 6 cases; bronchospasm and arrhythmias were the second most common, occurring 5 times each. There were 217 postoperative complications in 191 patients giving an overall complication rate of 10.7% (CI, 9.3-12.0) per surgery and 9.4% (CI, 8.1-10.7) per patient. The most common postoperative complication was unexpected return to the operating room and the second most common was surgical site infection (39.2%; CI, 37.0-41.3 and 33.2%; CI, 31.1-35.3 of all complications, respectively). The most common (42.9%; CI, 40.7-45.1) grade of complication was grade II. There was 1 death.This study adds to the scarce literature on anesthesia outcomes after mission surgery in low- and middle-income countries. We join others in calling for an international NGO anesthesia and surgical outcome registry and for all surgical NGOs to adopt international standards for the safe practice of anesthesia.