Difficulties in the Management of Placenta Accreta Spectrum in Hospitals with Limited Resources

Objective Placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) is a serious diseases, and the recommendation is that the treatment is conducted in centers of excellence. Such hospitals are not easy to find in low- and middle-income countries. We seek to describe the process of prenatal diagnosis, surgical management, and postnatal histological analysis in a low-income country referral hospital with limited resources.

Methods A descriptive, retrospective study was carried out including patients with a pre- or intraoperative diagnosis of PAS. The clinical results of the patients were studied as well as the results of the prenatal ultrasound and the correlation with the postnatal pathological diagnosis.

Results In total, 129 patients were included. Forty-eight of them had a prenatal PAS ultrasound diagnosis (37.2%). In the remaining 81 (62.8%), the diagnosis was intraoperative.

Although hysterectomy was performed in all cases, one-third of the patients (31%) did not have a histological study of the uterus. In 40% of the patients who had a histological study, PAS was not reported by the pathologist.

Conclusion The frequency of prenatal diagnosis and the availability of postnatal histological studies were very low in the studied population. Surgical skill, favored by a high flow of patients, is an important factor to avoid complications in settings with limited resources.

Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic using virtual basic laparoscopic training in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia: effects on confidence, knowledge, and skill

An international surgical team implemented a virtual basic laparoscopic surgery course for Bolivian general and pediatric surgeons and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This simulation course aimed to enhance training in a lower-resource environment despite the challenges of decreased operative volume and lack of in-person instruction.

The course was developed by surgeons from Bolivian and U.S.-based institutions and offered twice between July-December 2020. Didactic content and skill techniques were taught via weekly live videoconferences. Additional mentorship was provided through small group sessions. Participants were evaluated by pre- and post-course tests of didactic content as well as by video task review.

Of the 24 enrolled participants, 13 were practicing surgeons and 10 were surgery residents (one unspecified). Fifty percent (n = 12) indicated “almost never” performing laparoscopic surgeries pre-course. Confidence significantly increased for five laparoscopic tasks. Test scores also increased significantly (68.2% ± 12.5%, n = 21; vs 76.6% ± 12.6%, n = 19; p = 0.040). While challenges impeded objective evaluation for the first course iteration, adjustments permitted video scoring in the second iteration. This group demonstrated significant improvements in precision cutting (11.6% ± 16.7%, n = 9; vs 62.5% ± 18.6%, n = 6; p < 0.001), intracorporeal knot tying (36.4% ± 38.1%, n = 9; vs 79.2% ± 17.2%, n = 7; p = 0.012), and combined skill (40.3% ± 17.7%; n = 8 vs 77.2% ± 13.6%, n = 4; p = 0.042). Collectively, combined skill scores improved by 66.3% ± 10.4%.

Virtual international collaboration can improve confidence, knowledge, and basic laparoscopic skills, even in resource-limited settings during a global pandemic. Future efforts should focus on standardizing resources for participants and enhancing access to live feedback resources between classes.