Evaluation of a Ten-Year Team-Based Collaborative Capacity-Building Program for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Uzbekistan: Lessons and Implications

Background:
Most children who have congenital heart disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including Uzbekistan, do not receive adequate and timely pediatric cardiac surgical care. To strengthen the surgical capacity of a local pediatric cardiac surgery team in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the JW LEE Center for Global Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine has developed a team-based training program and has been collaboratively conducting surgeries and care in order to transfer on-site knowledge and skills from 2009 to 2019.

Objectives:
To evaluate the long-term effects of the collaborative program on the cardiac surgical capacity of medical staff (teamwork, surgical complexity, and patients’ pre-surgical weights) as well as changes in the lives of the patients and their families. To derive lessons and challenges for other pediatric cardiac surgical programs in LMICs.

Methods:
To assess the effects of this ten-year long program, a mixed-methods design was developed to examine the trend of surgical complexity measured by Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery 1 score (RACHS-1) and patients’ pre-surgical weights via medical record review (surgical cases: n = 107) during the decade. Qualitative data was analyzed from in-depth interviews (n = 31) with Uzbek and Korean medical staff (n = 10; n = 4) and caregivers (n = 17).

Findings:
During the decade, the average RACHS-1 of the cases increased from 1.9 in 2010 to 2.78 in 2019. The average weight of patients decreased by 2.8 kg from 13 kg to 10.2 kg during the decade. Qualitative findings show that the surgical capacity, as well as attitudes toward patients and colleagues of the Uzbek medical staff, improved through the effective collaboration between the Uzbek and Korean teams. Changes in the lives of patients and their families were also found following successful surgery.

Conclusions:
Team-based training of the workforce in Uzbekistan was effective in improving the surgical skills, teamwork, and attitudes of medical staff, in addition, a positive impact on the life of patients and their families was demonstrated. It can be an effective solution to facilitate improvements in pediatric cardiovascular disease in LMICs if training is sustained over a long period.

An Endovascular Surgery Experience in Far-Forward Military Healthcare-A Case Series

Introduction: The advancement of interventional neuroradiology has drastically altered the treatment of stroke and trauma patients. These advancements in first-world hospitals, however, have rarely reached far forward military hospitals due to limitations in expertise and equipment. In an established role III military hospital though, these life-saving procedures can become an important tool in trauma care.

Materials and methods: We report a retrospective series of far-forward endovascular cases performed by 2 deployed dual-trained neurosurgeons at the role III hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan during 2013 and 2017 as part of Operations Resolute Support and Enduring Freedom.

Results: A total of 15 patients were identified with ages ranging from 5 to 42 years old. Cases included 13 diagnostic cerebral angiograms, 2 extremity angiograms and interventions, 1 aortogram and pelvic angiogram, 1 bilateral embolization of internal iliac arteries, 1 lingual artery embolization, 1 administration of intra-arterial thrombolytic, and 2 mechanical thrombectomies for acute ischemic stroke. There were no complications from the procedures. Both embolizations resulted in hemorrhage control, and 1 of 2 stroke interventions resulted in the improvement of the NIH stroke scale.

Conclusions: Interventional neuroradiology can fill an important role in military far forward care as these providers can treat both traumatic and atraumatic cerebral and extracranial vascular injuries. In addition, knowledge and skill with vascular access and general interventional radiology principles can be used to aid in other lifesaving interventions. As interventional equipment becomes more available and portable, this relatively young specialty can alter the treatment for servicemen and women who are injured downrange.

General Thoracic Surgery Services Across Asia During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 posed an historic challenge to healthcare systems around the world. Besides mounting a massive response to the viral outbreak, healthcare systems needed to consider provision of clinical services to other patients in need. Surgical services for patients with thoracic disease were maintained to different degrees across various regions of Asia, ranging from significant reductions to near-normal service. Key determinants of robust thoracic surgery service provision included: preexisting plans for an epidemic response, aggressive early action to “flatten the curve”, ability to dedicate resources separately to COVID-19 and routine clinical services, prioritization of thoracic surgery, and the volume of COVID-19 cases in that region. The lessons learned can apply to other regions during this pandemic, and to the world, in preparation for the next one.

Diagnosis and management of 365 ureteric injuries following obstetric and gynecologic surgery in resource-limited settings.

Ureteric injuries are among the most serious complications of pelvic surgery. The incidence in low-resource settings is not well documented.This retrospective review analyzes a cohort of 365 ureteric injuries with ureterovaginal fistulas in 353 women following obstetric and gynecologic operations in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, all low-resource settings. The patients with ureteric injury were stratified into three groups according to the initial surgery: (a) obstetric operations, (b) gynecologic operations, and (c) vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repairs.The 365 ureteric injuries in this series comprise 246 (67.4%) after obstetric procedures, 65 (17.8%) after gynecologic procedures, and 54 (14.8%) after repair of obstetric fistulas. Demographic characteristics show clear differences between women with iatrogenic injuries and women with obstetric fistulas. The study describes abdominal ureter reimplantation and other treatment procedures. Overall surgical results were good: 92.9% of women were cured (326/351), 5.4% were healed with some residual incontinence (19/351), and six failed (1.7%).Ureteric injuries after obstetric and gynecologic operations are not uncommon. Unlike in high-resource contexts, in low-resource settings obstetric procedures are most often associated with urogenital fistula. Despite resource limitations, diagnosis and treatment of ureteric injuries is possible, with good success rates. Training must emphasize optimal surgical techniques and different approaches to assisted vaginal delivery.