Outcomes in the management of high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia in trophoblastic disease centers in South America

Background: South America has a higher incidence of gestational trophoblastic disease than North America or Europe, but whether this impacts chemotherapy outcomes is unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes among women with high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) treated at trophoblastic disease centers in developing South American countries.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients with high-risk GTN treated in three trophoblastic disease centers in South America (Botucatu and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina) from January 1990 to December 2014. Data evaluated included demographics, clinical presentation, FIGO stage, WHO prognostic risk score, and treatment-related information. The primary treatment outcome was complete sustained remission by 18 months following completion of therapy or death.

Results: Among 1264 patients with GTN, 191 (15.1%) patients had high-risk GTN and 147 were eligible for the study. Complete sustained remission was ultimately achieved in 87.1% of cases overall, including 68.4% of ultra high-risk GTN (score ≥12). Early death (within 4 weeks of initiating therapy) was significantly associated with ultra high-risk GTN, occurring in 13.8% of these patients (p=0.003). By Cox’s proportional hazards regression, factors most strongly related to death were non-molar antecedent pregnancy (RR 4.35, 95% CI 1.71 to 11.05), presence of liver, brain, or kidney metastases (RR 4.99, 95% CI 1.96 to 12.71), FIGO stage (RR 3.14, 95% CI 1.52 to 6.53), and an ultra-high-risk prognostic risk score (RR 7.86, 95% CI 2.99 to 20.71). Median follow-up after completion of chemotherapy was 4 years. Among patients followed to that timepoint, the probability of survival was 90% for patients with high-risk GTN (score 7-11) and 60% for patients with ultra-high-risk GTN (score ≥12).

Conclusion: Trophoblastic disease centers in developing South American countries have achieved high remission rates in high-risk GTN, but early deaths remain an important problem, particularly in ultra-high-risk GTN.

Cross-sectional study of surgical quality with a novel evidence-based tool for low-resource settings

Background Adverse events from surgical care are a major cause of death and disability, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries. Metrics for quality of surgical care developed in high-income settings are resource-intensive and inappropriate in most lower resource settings. The purpose of this study was to apply and assess the feasibility of a new tool to measure surgical quality in resource-constrained settings.

Methods This is a cross-sectional study of surgical quality using a novel evidence-based tool for quality measurement in low-resource settings. The tool was adapted for use at a tertiary hospital in Amazonas, Brazil resulting in 14 metrics of quality of care. Nine metrics were collected prospectively during a 4-week period, while five were collected retrospectively from the hospital administrative data and operating room logbooks.

Results 183 surgeries were observed, 125 patient questionnaires were administered and patient charts for 1 year were reviewed. All metrics were successfully collected. The study site met the proposed targets for timely process (7 hours from admission to surgery) and effective outcome (3% readmission rate). Other indicators results were equitable structure (1.1 median patient income to catchment population) and equitable outcome (2.5% at risk of catastrophic expenditure), safe outcome (2.6% perioperative mortality rate) and effective structure (fully qualified surgeon present 98% of cases).

Conclusion It is feasible to apply a novel surgical quality measurement tool in resource-limited settings. Prospective collection of all metrics integrated within existing hospital structures is recommended. Further applications of the tool will allow the metrics and targets to be refined and weighted to better guide surgical quality improvement measures.

The Trauma and Acute Care Surgeon in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era

The World Health Organization recognized in March 2020 the existence of a pandemic for the new coronavirus that appeared in China, in late 2019, and whose disease was named COVID-19. In this context, the SBAIT (Brazilian Society of Integrated Care for Traumatized Patients) conducted a survey with 219 trauma and emergency surgeons regarding the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the role of the surgeon in this pandemic by means of an electronic survey. It was observed that surgeons have been acting under inadequate conditions, with a lack of basic supplies as well as more specific equipment such as N95 masks and facial shields for the care of potential victims who may be contaminated. The latter increases the risk of contamination of professionals, resulting in potential losses in the working teams. Immediate measures must be taken to guarantee access to safety equipment throughout the country, since all trauma victims and/or patients with emergency surgical conditions must be treated as potential carriers of COVID-19.

Troponin I as a Mortality Marker After Lung Resection Surgery – A Prospective Cohort Study

Background
Cardiovascular complications associated with thoracic surgery increase morbidity, mortality, and treatment costs. Elevated cardiac troponin level represents a predictor of complications after non-cardiac surgeries, but its role after thoracic surgeries remains undetermined. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between troponin I elevation and morbidity and mortality after one year in patients undergoing lung resection surgery.
Methods
This prospective cohort study evaluated 151 consecutive patients subjected to elective lung resection procedures using conventional and video-assisted thoracoscopic techniques at a University Hospital in Brazil, from July 2012 to November 2015. Preoperative risk stratification was performed using the scores obtained by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Society of Cardiology of the state of São Paulo (EMAPO) scoring systems. Troponin I levels were measured in the immediate postoperative period (POi) and on the first and second postoperative days.
Results
Most patients had a low risk for complications according to the ACP (96.7%) and EMAPO (82.8%) scores. Approximately 49% of the patients exhibited increased troponin I (≥0.16 ng/ml), at least once, and 22 (14.6%) died in one year. Multivariate analysis showed that the elevation of troponin I, on the first postoperative day, correlated with a 12-fold increase in mortality risk within one year (HR 12.02, 95% CI: 1.82-79.5; p = 0.01).
Conclusions
In patients undergoing lung resection surgery, with a low risk of complications according to the preoperative evaluation scores, an increase in troponin I levels above 0.16 ng/ml in the first postoperative period correlated with an increase in mortality within one year.

The Hidden Risk of Ionizing Radiation in the Operating Room: A Survey Among 258 Orthopaedic Surgeons in Brazil

Background: This study aims to assess orthopaedic surgeon knowledge in Brazil about ionizing radiation and its health implications on surgical teams and patients.
Methods: A 15-question survey on theoretical and practical concepts of ionizing radiation was administered during the 23rd Brazilian Orthopaedic Trauma Association annual meeting. The survey addressed issues within orthopedic surgery, such as radiation safety concepts, protection, exposure, as well as the participant gender. Participants were either orthopedic surgeons or orthopedic surgery residents working at institutions in Brazil.
Results: One thousand surveys were distributed at the moment of the meeting registration, and 258 were answered completely (25.8% response rate). Only 5.8% of participants used basic radiation protection equipment; 47.3% used a dosimeter; 2.7% reached the annual maximum permissible radiation dose; 10.5% knew the period of increased risk to fetal gestation; 5.8% knew the maximum permissible radiation dose during pregnancy; 58.5% knew that the hands, eyes, and thyroid are the most exposed areas and at greater risk of radiation-related lesions; 25.2% knew the safe distance from a radiation-emitting tube is 3 m or more; 44.2% knew the safest positioning of the radiation-emitting tube; 25.2% knew that smaller tubes emit greater radiation at the entrance dose to magnify the image; and 55.4% knew that the surgery team receives more scattered radiation in surgical procedures performed on obese patients.
Conclusion: This study revealed inadequate theoretical and practical knowledge about radiation exposure among orthopaedic surgeons in Brazil. Only a minority of orthopaedic surgeons used basic radiation protection equipment. No significant differences in knowledge were found when comparing all orthopedic surgery specialties. Our findings indicate an urgent need for education to increase knowledge among orthopaedic surgeons about the hazards of ionizing radiation. Personal protection and implementation of the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) protocol in daily practice are important behaviors to prevent the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Cross-sectional study of surgical quality with a novel evidence-based tool for low-resource settings

Background: Adverse events from surgical care are a major cause of death and disability, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries. Metrics for quality of surgical care developed in high-income settings are resource-intensive and inappropriate in most lower resource settings. The purpose of this study was to apply and assess the feasibility of a new tool to measure surgical quality in resource-constrained settings.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of surgical quality using a novel evidence-based tool for quality measurement in low-resource settings. The tool was adapted for use at a tertiary hospital in Amazonas, Brazil resulting in 14 metrics of quality of care. Nine metrics were collected prospectively during a 4-week period, while five were collected retrospectively from the hospital administrative data and operating room logbooks.

Results; 183 surgeries were observed, 125 patient questionnaires were administered and patient charts for 1 year were reviewed. All metrics were successfully collected. The study site met the proposed targets for timely process (7 hours from admission to surgery) and effective outcome (3% readmission rate). Other indicators results were equitable structure (1.1 median patient income to catchment population) and equitable outcome (2.5% at risk of catastrophic expenditure), safe outcome (2.6% perioperative mortality rate) and effective structure (fully qualified surgeon present 98% of cases).

Conclusion: It is feasible to apply a novel surgical quality measurement tool in resource-limited settings. Prospective collection of all metrics integrated within existing hospital structures is recommended. Further applications of the tool will allow the metrics and targets to be refined and weighted to better guide surgical quality improvement measures.

Prediction of Early TBI Mortality Using a Machine Learning Approach in a LMIC Population

Background: In a time when the incidence of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is increasing in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs), it is important to understand the behavior of predictive variables in an LMIC’s population. There are few previous attempts to generate prediction models for TBI outcomes from local data in LMICs. Our study aim is to design and compare a series of predictive models for mortality on a new cohort in TBI patients in Brazil using Machine Learning.

Methods: A prospective registry was set in São Paulo, Brazil, enrolling all patients with a diagnosis of TBI that require admission to the intensive care unit. We evaluated the following predictors: gender, age, pupil reactivity at admission, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), presence of hypoxia and hypotension, computed tomography findings, trauma severity score, and laboratory results.

Results: Overall mortality at 14 days was 22.8%. Models had a high prediction performance, with the best prediction for overall mortality achieved through Naive Bayes (area under the curve = 0.906). The most significant predictors were the GCS at admission and prehospital GCS, age, and pupil reaction. When predicting the length of stay at the intensive care unit, the Conditional Inference Tree model had the best performance (root mean square error = 1.011), with the most important variable across all models being the GCS at scene.

Conclusions: Models for early mortality and hospital length of stay using Machine Learning can achieve high performance when based on registry data even in LMICs. These models have the potential to inform treatment decisions and counsel family members.

Propensity score matching comparison of laparoscopic versus open surgery for rectal cancer in a middle-income country: short-term outcomes and cost analysis.

Laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer is associated with improved postoperative outcomes compared to open surgery; however, economic studies have yielded contradictory results. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and economic outcomes of laparoscopic versus open surgery for patients with rectal cancer.Propensity score matching analysis was performed in a retrospective cohort of patients who underwent elective low anterior resection for rectal cancer treatment by laparoscopic and open surgery in a single Brazilian cancer center. Matched covariates included age, gender, body mass index, pTNM stage, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, type of anesthesia, neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, and interval between neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and index surgery. The clinical and economic outcomes were evaluated. The follow-up period was within 30 days of the index procedure. The clinical outcomes were reoperation, postoperative complications, operative time, length of stay in the intensive care unit, and postoperative hospital stay. For economic outcomes, a cost analysis was used to compare the costs.Initially, 220 patients were evaluated. After propensity score matching, 100 patients were included in the analysis (50 patients in the open surgery group and 50 patients in the laparoscopic surgery group). There were no differences in patients’ baseline characteristics. Operative time was longer for laparoscopic surgery (247 minutes vs 285 minutes, P=0.006). There were no significant differences in other clinical outcomes. The hospital costs were similar between the two groups (Brazilian reais 21,233.15 vs Brazilian reais 21,529.28, P=0.115), although the intraoperative costs were higher for laparoscopic surgery, mainly owing to the surgical devices and the theater-related costs. The postoperative costs were lower for laparoscopic surgery, owing to lower intensive care unit, ward, and reoperation costs.Laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer is not costlier than open surgery from the health care provider’s perspective, since the intraoperative costs were offset by lower postoperative costs. Open surgery tends to have a longer length of stay.

Global Unmet Needs in Cardiac Surgery.

More than 6 billion people live outside industrialized countries and have insufficient access to cardiac surgery. Given the recently confirmed high prevailing mortality for rheumatic heart disease in many of these countries together with increasing numbers of patients needing interventions for lifestyle diseases due to an accelerating epidemiological transition, a significant need for cardiac surgery could be assumed. Yet, need estimates were largely based on extrapolated screening studies while true service levels remained unknown. A multi-author effort representing 16 high-, middle-, and low-income countries was undertaken to narrow the need assessment for cardiac surgery including rheumatic and lifestyle cardiac diseases as well as congenital heart disease on the basis of existing data deduction. Actual levels of cardiac surgery were determined in each of these countries on the basis of questionnaires, national databases, or annual reports of national societies. Need estimates range from 200 operations per million in low-income countries that are nonendemic for rheumatic heart disease to >1,000 operations per million in high-income countries representing the end of the epidemiological transition. Actually provided levels of cardiac surgery range from 0.5 per million in the assessed low- and lower-middle income countries (average 107 ± 113 per million; representing a population of 1.6 billion) to 500 in the upper-middle-income countries (average 270 ± 163 per million representing a population of 1.9 billion). By combining need estimates with the assessment of de facto provided levels of cardiac surgery, it emerged that a significant degree of underdelivery of often lifesaving open heart surgery does not only prevail in low-income countries but is also disturbingly high in middle-income countries.

Caesarean sections and the prevalence of preterm and early-term births in Brazil: secondary analyses of national birth registration.

To investigate whether the high rates of caesarean sections (CSs) in Brazil have impacted on the prevalence of preterm and early-term births.Individual-level, cross-sectional analyses of a national database.All hospital births occurring in the country in 2015.2 903 716 hospital-delivered singletons in 3157 municipalities, representing >96% of the country’s births.CS rates and gestational age distribution (<37, 37-38, 39-41 and 42 or more weeks' gestation). Outcomes were analysed according to maternal education, measured in years of schooling and municipal CS rates. Analyses were also adjusted for maternal age, marital status and parity.Prevalence of CS was 55.5%, preterm prevalence (<37 weeks' gestation) was 10.1% and early-term births (37-38 weeks of gestation) represented 29.8% of all births, ranging from 24.9% among women with 12 years of education. The adjusted prevalence ratios of preterm and early-term birth were, respectively, 1.215 (1.174-1.257) and 1.643 (1.616-1.671) higher in municipalities with≥80% CS compared with those <30%.Brazil faces three inter-related epidemics: a CS epidemic; an epidemic of early-term births, associated with the high CS rates; and an epidemic of preterm birth, also associated with CS but mostly linked to poverty-related risk factors. The high rates of preterm and early-term births produce an excess of newborns at higher risk of short-term morbidity and mortality, as well as long-term developmental problems. Compared with high-income countries, there is an annual excess of 354 000 preterm and early-term births in Brazil.