Severe impact of COVID-19 pandemic on non-COVID patient care and health delivery: An observational study from a large multispecialty hospital of India

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted health-care delivery globally, especially for non-COVID diseases. These cases received suboptimal attention and care during the pandemic. In this observational cohort study, we have studied the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various aspects of medical and surgical practices.

This observational, cross-sectional cohort study was performed on the data of a 710 bedded, multispecialty, and tertiary care corporate hospital of the national capital of India. The data of the pandemic period (April 1, 2020–March 31, 2021) were divided into three main groups and were then compared with the patient data of the preceding non-pandemic year (April 1, 2019–March 31, 2020) of more than six hundred thousand cases.

From the data of 677,237 cases in these 2 years, we found a significant effect of COVID-19 pandemic on most spheres of clinical practice (P < 0.05), including outpatient attendance and surgical work. The specialties providing critical and emergency care were less affected. Although the total hospital admissions reduced by 34.07%, these were not statistically significant (P = 0.506), as the number of COVID-19 admissions took place during this time and compensated for the drop. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted health-care delivery to non-COVID cases across all the major medical and surgical specialties. Still, major urgent surgical and interventional work for cases was undertaken with due precautions, without waiting for the ongoing pandemic to end, as the delay in their treatment could have been catastrophic.

Respiratory morbidity and mortality of traumatic cervical spinal cord injury at a level I trauma center in India

Study design
Descriptive retrospective.

To evaluate the burden of respiratory morbidity in terms of ventilator dependence (VD) days and length of stay in neurotrauma ICU (NICU) and hospital, and to determine mortality in patients with traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) in a low middle-income country (LMIC).

Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center (JPNATC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India.

A total of 135 patients admitted with CSCI in the NICU between January 2017 to December 2018 were screened. Information regarding age, gender, American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale (AIS), level of injury, duration of VD, length of NICU, hospital stay, and outcome in terms of mortality or discharge from the hospital were obtained from the medical records.

A total of 106 CSCI patients were analyzed. The mean (SD) age of patients was 40 (±16) years and male: female ratio was 5:1. The duration of VD, duration of NICU, and hospital stay was a median of 8 days (IQR 1127), 6 days (IQR 1118), and 15 days (IQR 3127) respectively. Mortality was 19% (20/106). The mortality was significantly associated with poorer AIS score, VD, and duration of ICU and hospital stay. All patients were discharged to home only after they became ventilator-free.

The ventilator burden, hospital stay, and mortality are high in patients with CSCI in LMICs. Poor AIS scores, prolonged VD, ICU and hospital stay are associated with mortality. There is a need for comprehensive CSCI rehabilitation programs in LMICs to improve outcome.

Surgical management and outcomes of late-presenting acute limb ischaemia at 2 referral hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: A 1-year prospective study

Objective: The study was performed to show the overall perspective of surgical management for acute limb ischemia specific to Ethiopian population.
Methods: A prospective planned cohort study was conducted to analyze the socio-demography, clinical presentation, causes of limb ischemia, and outcomes of surgical intervention, and variables associated with complications of acute limb ischemia.
Results:A total of 102 patients were operated upon. The male to female ratio was 2:1; the mean age of presentation was 54±17 years. Patients presented after an average of 9±4.8 days of symptom onset. The type of procedures performed were, thrombectomy 51(47.2%), primary amputation 24(22.2%), bypass or interposition vascular grafts 10(9.2%), embolectomy 10(9.2%), primary vascular repair 7(6.4%), and femoro-femoral graft 6(5.5%). Local and systemic complications occurred in 35.3% and 17.6% respectively. Amputation after re-vascularization surgery was seen in 32.4%. A 30-day total amputation & mortality rate was 52.9% and 9.8% respectively. Clinical variables found to have a statistical significant association (P<0.05) with complications were age ≥ 60 years, late presentation (≥ 9days), patients with hypertensive disease and previous myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: Optimizing co-morbidities, timely detection and treating immediately on arrival could potentially play a key role in improving surgical outcomes of acute limb ischemia.

Feasibility of the application of multimedia animations as preoperative guides for urgent abdominal surgeries in public hospitals in Brazi

Introduction: Preoperative education helps patients feel less anxious and improve self-care while decreasing hospitalization time and demand for postoperative analgesia. Health literacy, culture and language play vital roles in patients’ understanding of health issues and may influence treatment outcomes. Obstacles are more evident in low and middle income countries (LMICs), where inadequate patient education levels are higher and hospital resources lower. Methodology: This is a prospective pilot study assessing the feasibility of online preoperative multimedia animations as guides for surgical patients in an LMIC. Patients admitted to a public hospital in Brazil for acute cholecystitis or appendicitis were included. Feasibility was represented by acceptability rate and ease of integration with department protocols. Results: Thirty-four patients were included in the study. Twenty-six patients concluded the intervention (feasibility rate of 76.5%). Demographic factors seemed to affect results, indicated by higher acceptability from those with lower education levels, from younger patients and from women. No issues were reported regarding integration to local protocols. Discussion: Few studies have evaluated use of multimedia resources for preoperative patients. No studies assessed the use of animations and none analyzed digital patient education resources in an LMIC. This study demonstrated that the use of animations for patient education in LMICs is feasible. A step-based protocol approach is proposed by this study to aid the implementation of patient education digital interventions. Conclusion: The implementation of this tool is feasible and presents patients with easier access to appropriate and engaging information, allowing better surgical preparation and recovery. It can be offered online, allowing it to be sustainable while creating the foundations for a modern patient education culture in LMICs

Gaps in surgical competencies of general surgeons deployed on humanitarian missions in disaster settings

Introduction:As the access to surgery differs geographically, its disparity is even more pronounced in disaster settings. With the increasing interest of surgeons from high-income countries (HIC) to respond to these surgical disparities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often send teams of health practitioners to provide healthcare aid to the most unstable regions of the world. However, surgeons participating in these missions rarely get the medical training necessary to face the large scope of procedures they can encounter in humanitarian settings. This research aims to create a framework of the necessary skills needed for surgeons to provide proper surgical care in disaster settings.Methodology:This is a descriptive qualitative study to outline the differences between the surgical procedures general surgeons in HICs are being trained on during their surgical training with the surgical procedures required in disaster settings. After identifying the main surgical procedures general surgeons are expected to be trained on before their deployment to a disaster setting in an LMICs, a survey was sent to participants to assess their competency level in these procedures and the likelihood of them performing these procedures in their home country compared to on the mission.Results:Participants indicated the high frequency of performing several surgical procedures from different surgical specialties on humanitarian missions. The most common of these procedures are cesarean section, fracture reduction, skeletal retraction, wound debridement, burn dressing, application of skin and graft, and performing emergency laparotomies. However, only wound debridement and emergency laparotomy were performed more than 10-20 times/ year by the participants in their daily practice in the past 5 years. The rest of the procedures in this list were never performed by the participants in their daily practice. Obstetrical and orthopedic procedures are amongst the most common procedures a general surgeon must perform when deployed on a mission in a disaster setting. However, they are rarely, if ever, performed by the surgeons in their daily practice. Looking at the requirements to complete general surgery training in most HICs, it is clear that the focus has shifted to training in advanced procedures and away from surgical training in other specialty procedures such as obstetrics, plastic surgery, orthopedic, and neurosurgery. Discussion:This study proves the perception that there is a gap in the training of surgeons who engage in health missions abroad compared to the scope of practice expected of them during these missions. This gap is more present in subspecialties such as obstetrics, orthopedics, urology, and neurosurgery. This shows the importance of surgeons who participate in these missions to have broad-based training that includes the most encountered surgical procedures in disaster settings. Acquiring skills in these life-saving procedures before being deployed on a surgical mission will improve the mortality and morbidity outcomes of these missions and create an ethical space where surgeons from high-income countries only perform procedures they have been adequately trained on

Factors Associated with Serious Injuries among Adolescents in Ghana: Findings from 2012 Global School Health Survey

Introduction. Injuries are of public health concern and the leading cause of residual disability and death among teenagers, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In Ghana, the burden of injury among adolescents is under-reported. Hence, the study sought to determine the prevalence of serious injuries (SI) and the potential factors influencing these injuries among school children in Ghana. Methods. This study was conducted in Ghana among Junior High School (JHS) and senior high school students (SHS) using the 2012 Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS) data. The GSHS employed two-stage cluster sampling method. Serious injuries (SI) and independent factors were measured via self-administered questionnaires. Pearson chi-square test between each explanatory variable and serious injuries was conducted and the level of statistical significance was set at 5%. The significant variables from the chi-square test were selected for multiple logistic regression analysis. Multiple logistic regression was performed to estimate the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) at 95% confidence interval (CI). Results. The prevalence of SI in the past 12 months was 66% [CI=61.8–70.2] . The most common cause of SI was fall, 36%. The common types of injuries were cut/stab wounds and broken/dislocated bone. In the multiple logistic regression analysis, after controlling for other variables, educational level (AOR = 0.64, CI = 0.44–0.90,  < 0.015), suicidal ideation (AOR = 1.58, CI = 1.00–2.48,  < 0.002), suicidal attempt (AOR = 1.88, CI = 1.29–2.72,  < 0.001), having at least one close friend (AOR = 1.49, CI = 1.17–1.89,  < 0.002), school truancy (AOR = 1.66, CI = 1.31–2.09,  < 0.000), smoking marijuana (AOR = 2.64, CI = 1.22–5.69), and amphetamine use (AOR = 2.95, CI = 1.46–5.69) were independently associated with SI. Conclusion. The findings of the study established a high prevalence of SI among adolescents in Ghana, with cut/stab wound and broken/dislocated bone being the most reported type of injuries. This study also revealed that factors such as educational level, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempt, at least one close friend, school truancy, smoking marijuana, and amphetamine use are associated with SI among the adolescents. Therefore, pragmatic interventional programs should be targeted at these factors to curb the rate of SI among junior and senior school students.

Strengthening emergency care knowledge and skills in Uganda and Tanzania with the WHO-ICRC Basic Emergency Care Course

Background There is a pressing need for emergency care (EC) training in low-resource settings. We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of training frontline healthcare providers in emergency care with the World Health Organization (WHO)-International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Basic Emergency Care (BEC) Course using a training-of-trainers (ToT) model with local providers.

Methods Quasiexperimental pretest and post-test study of an educational intervention at four first-level district hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda conducted in March and April of 2017. A 2-day ToT course was held in both Tanzania and Uganda. These were immediately followed by a 5-day BEC Course, taught by the newly trained trainers, at two hospitals in each country. Both prior to and immediately following each training, participants took assessments on EC knowledge and rated their confidence level in using a variety of EC skills to treat patients. Qualitative feedback from participants was collected and summarised.

Results Fifty-nine participants completed the four BEC Courses. All participants were current healthcare workers at the selected hospitals. An additional 10 participants completed a ToT course. EC knowledge scores were significantly higher for participants immediately following the training compared with their scores just prior to the training when assessed across all study sites (Z=6.23, p<0.001). Across all study sites, mean EC confidence ratings increased by 0.74 points on a 4-point Likert scale (95% CI 0.63 to 0.84, p<0.001). Main qualitative feedback included: positive reception of the sessions, especially hands-on skills; request for additional BEC trainings; request for obstetric topics; and need for more allotted training time.

Conclusions Implementation of the WHO-ICRC BEC Course by locally trained providers was feasible, acceptable and well received at four sites in East Africa. Participation in the training course was associated with a significant increase in EC knowledge and confidence at all four study sites. The BEC is a low-cost intervention that can improve EC knowledge and skill confidence across provider cadres.

Cross-sectional survey of treatments and outcomes among injured adult patients in Kigali, Rwanda

Traumatic injuries and their resulting mortality and disability impose a disproportionate burden on sub-Saharan countries like Rwanda. An important facet of addressing injury burdens is to comprehend injury patterns and aetiologies of trauma. This study is a cross-sectional analysis of injuries, treatments and outcomes at the University Teaching Hospital-Kigali (CHUK).

A random sample of Emergency Centre (EC) injury patients presenting during August 2015 through July 2016 was accrued. Patients were excluded if they had non-traumatic illness. Data included demographics, clinical presentation, injury type(s), mechanism of injury, and EC disposition. Descriptive statics were utilised to explore characteristics of the population.

A random sample of 786 trauma patients met inclusion criteria and were analysed. The median age was 28 (IQR 6–50) years and 69.4% were male. Of all trauma patients 49.4% presented secondary to road traffic injuries (RTIs), 23.9% due to falls, 10.9% due to penetrating trauma. Craniofacial trauma was the most frequent traumatic injury location at 36.3%. Lower limb trauma and upper limb trauma constituted 35.8% and 27.1% of all injuries. Admission was required in 68.2% of cases, 23.3% were admitted to the orthopaedic service with the second highest admission to the surgical service (19.2%). Of those admitted to the hospital, the median LOS was 6 days (IQR 3–14), in the subset of patients requiring operative intervention, the median LOS was also 6 days (IQR 3–16). Death occurred in 5.5% of admitted patients in the hospital.

The traumatic injury burden is borne more proportionally by young males in Kigali, Rwanda. Blunt trauma accounts for a majority of trauma patient presentations; of these RTIs constitute nearly half the injury mechanisms. These findings suggest that this population has substantial injury burdens and prevention and care interventions focused in this demographic group could provide positive impacts in the study setting.

Quality improvement training for burn care in low-and middle-income countries: A pilot course for nurses

There is an urgent need to empower practitioners to undertake quality improvement (QI) projects in burn services in low-middle income countries (LMICs). We piloted a course aimed to equip nurses working in these environments with the knowledge and skills to undertake such projects.

Eight nurses from five burns services across Malawi and Ethiopia took part in this pilot course, which was evaluated using a range of methods, including interviews and focus group discussions.

Course evaluations reported that interactive activities were successful in supporting participants to devise QI projects. Appropriate online platforms were integral to creating a community of practice and maintaining engagement. Facilitators to a successful QI project were active individuals, supportive leadership, collaboration, effective knowledge sharing and demonstrable advantages of any proposed change. Barriers included: staff attitudes, poor leadership, negative culture towards training, resource limitations, staff rotation and poor access to information to guide practice.

The course demonstrated that by bringing nurses together, through interactive teaching and online forums, a supportive community of practice can be created. Future work will include investigating ways to scale up access to the course so staff can be supported to initiate and lead quality improvement in LMIC burn services.

The treatment challenges and limitation in high-voltage pediatric electrical burn at rural area: A case report

Although rare, electrical injury in pediatrics is potentially life threatening and has significant and long-term impact in life. It is challenging to manage such cases in rural areas.

Presentation of case
A fully conscious 13-year-old boy was admitted to the emergency room after being electrocuted by high-voltage power cable, with superficial partial thickness burn over right arm, trunk, and left leg (26 % of total body surface area). Tachycardia and non-specific ST depression was found on ECG examination and was diagnosed with high-voltage electrical injury. Treatments were based on ANZBA algorithm with several modifications, i.e., administering lower concentration of oxygen with nasal cannula instead of non-rebreathing mask as well as Ketorolac and Antrain® for analgesic instead of morphine.

Different choices of treatments were given due to limited resources. Despite possible cardiac and renal complication, further tests could not be done. Fortunately, after strict monitoring, no signs of abnormality were found. We used silver sulfadiazine, Sofratulle® and dry sterile gauze as a dressing of choice following immediate surgical debridement. The patient was observed daily through 7 days of hospitalization and followed-up for 1 year, achieving normal physiologic function of the affected area but unsatisfactory esthetic result.

Lack of infrastructure, drugs, and trained personnel are some of the challenges that still exist in most rural areas. Thus, implementation of available standardized guidelines such as ANZBA, and giving similar training to personnel as well as providing feasible equipment followed by strict monitoring for the patient are needed to achieve maximum results.