Impact of nursing education and a monitoring tool on outcomes in traumatic brain injury

Throughout the world, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Low-and middle-income countries experience an especially high burden of TBI. While guidelines for TBI management exist in high income countries, little is known about the optimal management of TBI in low resource settings. Prevention of secondary injuries is feasible in these settings and has potential to improve mortality.

A pragmatic quasi-experimental study was conducted in the emergency centre (EC) of Mulago National Referral Hospital to evaluate the impact of TBI nursing education and use of a monitoring tool on mortality. Over 24 months, data was collected on 541 patients with moderate (GCS9-13) to severe (GCS≤8) TBI. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality and secondary outcomes included time to imaging, time to surgical intervention, time to advanced airway, length of stay and number of vital signs recorded.

Data were collected on 286 patients before the intervention and 255 after. Unadjusted mortality was higher in the post-intervention group but appeared to be related to severity of TBI, not the intervention itself. Apart from number of vital signs, secondary outcomes did not differ significantly between groups. In the post-intervention group, vital signs were recorded an average of 2.85 times compared to 0.49 in the pre-intervention group (95% CI 2.08-2.62, p ≤ 0.001). The median time interval between vital signs in the post-intervention group was 4.5 h (IQR 2.1-10.6).

Monitoring of vital signs in the EC improved with nursing education and use of a monitoring tool, however, there was no detectable impact on mortality. The high mortality among patients with TBI underscores the need for treatment strategies that can be implemented in low resource settings. Promising approaches include improved monitoring, organized trauma systems and protocols with an emphasis on early aggressive care and primary prevention.

Emergency department management of traumatic brain injuries: A resource tiered review

Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability globally with an estimated African incidence of approximately 8 million cases annually. A person suffering from a TBI is often aged 20–30, contributing to sustained disability and large negative economic impacts of TBI. Effective emergency care has the potential to decrease morbidity from this multisystem trauma.

Identify and summarize key recommendations for emergency care of patients with traumatic brain injuries using a resource tiered framework.

A literature review was conducted on clinical care of brain-injured patients in resource-limited settings, with a focus on the first 48 h of injury. Using the AfJEM resource tiered review and PRISMA guidelines, articles were identified and used to describe best practice care and management of the brain-injured patient in resource-limited settings.

Key recommendations
Optimal management of the brain-injured patient begins with early and appropriate triage. A complete history and physical can identify high-risk patients who present with mild or moderate TBI. Clinical decision rules can aid in the identification of low-risk patients who require no neuroimaging or only a brief period of observation. The management of the severely brain-injured patient requires a systematic approach focused on the avoidance of secondary injury, including hypotension, hypoxia, and hypoglycaemia. Most interventions to prevent secondary injury can be implemented at all facility levels. Urgent neuroimaging is recommended for patients with severe TBI followed by consultation with a neurosurgeon and transfer to an intensive care unit. The high incidence and poor outcomes of traumatic brain injury in Africa make this subject an important focus for future research and intervention to further guide optimal clinical care.

Cost-effectiveness of Emergency Care Interventions in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

Objective: To systematically review and appraise the quality of cost-effectiveness analyses of emergency care interventions in low- and middle-income countries.

Methods: Following the PRISMA guidelines, we systematically searched PubMed®, Scopus, EMBASE®, Cochrane Library and Web of Science for studies published before May 2019. Inclusion criteria were: (i) an original cost-effectiveness analysis of emergency care intervention or intervention package, and (ii) the analysis occurred in a low- and middle-income setting. To identify additional primary studies, we hand searched the reference lists of included studies. We used the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards guideline to appraise the quality of included studies.

Results: Of the 1674 articles we identified, 35 articles met the inclusion criteria. We identified an additional four studies from the reference lists. We excluded many studies for being deemed costing assessments without an effectiveness analysis. Most included studies were single-intervention analyses. Emergency care interventions evaluated by included studies covered prehospital services, provider training, treatment interventions, emergency diagnostic tools and facilities and packages of care. The reporting quality of the studies varied.

Conclusion: We found large gaps in the evidence surrounding the cost-effectiveness of emergency care interventions in low- and middle-income settings. Given the breadth of interventions currently in practice, many interventions remain unassessed, suggesting the need for future research to aid resource allocation decisions. In particular, packages of multiple interventions and system-level changes represent a priority area for future research.

Mitigating the risks of surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, most governments and professional bodies recommended cancellation of elective surgery. This action was important to free up hospital bed capacity and ensure supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as to protect patients and health-care workers. In The Lancet, The COVIDSurg Collaborative1 report 30-day results of an international cohort study assessing postoperative outcomes in 1128 adults with COVID-19 who were undergoing a broad range of surgeries (605 [53·6%] men and 523 [46·4%] women; 214 [19·0%] aged <50 years, 353 [31·3%] aged 50–69 years, and 558 [49·5%] aged ≥70 years). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was diagnosed postoperatively in more than two-thirds of the patients (806 [71·5%]). The primary outcome was overall postoperative mortality at 30 days and the rate was high at 23·8% (268 of 1128 patients). Pulmonary complications occurred in 577 (51·2%) patients and 30-day mortality in these patients was 38·0% (219 of 577), accounting for 82·6% (219 of 265) of all deaths. Risk factors for mortality were patient age of 70 years or older, male sex, poor preoperative physical health status, emergency versus elective surgery, malignant versus benign or obstetric diagnosis, and more extensive (major vs minor) surgery. The high proportion of these patients who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the postoperative period is of interest. These patients probably acquired their infection before being admitted to hospital, thus reflecting the high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the community.

Association of Health Care Use and Economic Outcomes After Injury in Cameroon

Importance: Despite the highest injury rates worldwide, formal medical care is not often sought after injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unaffordable costs associated with trauma care might inhibit injured patients from seeking care.

Objectives: To (1) determine the injury epidemiology in Cameroon using population-representative data, (2) identify the barriers to use of formal health care after injury, and (3) determine the association between use of care and economic outcomes after injury.

Design, setting, and participants: This mixed-methods, cross-sectional study included a population-representative, community-based survey and nested qualitative semistructured interviews in the urban-rural Southwest Region of Cameroon. Three-stage cluster sampling was used to select target households. Data were collected from January 3 to March 14, 2017, and analyzed from March 3, 2017, to March 3, 2019.

Exposures: Injuries occurring in the preceding 12 months.

Main outcomes and measures: Postinjury use of health care services, disability, and economic outcomes. All survey data were adjusted for cluster sampling.

Results: Of 1551 total households approached, 1287 (83.0%) were surveyed for a total sample size of 8065 participants. The 8065 individuals surveyed included 4181 women (52.0%), with a mean age of 23.9 (standard error [SE], 0.2) years. A total of 503 injuries were identified among 471 unique participants, including 494 nonfatal injuries. Among these, 165 (34.6%) did not seek formal medical services. Disability occurred after 345 injuries (68.6%) and resulted in 11 941 lost days of work in the sample. Family economic hardship after injury was substantially increased among the injured cohort who used formal medical care. Injuries brought to formal medical care, compared with those that were note, incurred higher mean treatment costs ($101.08 [SE, $236.23] vs $12.13 [SE, $36.78]; P < .001), resulted in higher rates of lost employment (19.9% [SE, 3.6%] vs 5.6% [SE, 1.6%]; P = .004), and more frequently led affected families to use economic coping strategies, such as borrowing money (26.2% [SE, 2.7%] vs 7.1% [SE, 1.2%]; P < .001). After adjusting for age and severity, use of formal medical care in Cameroon was independently associated with severe economic hardship after injury, defined as a new inability to afford food or rent (adjusted odds ratio, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.05-2.65).

Conclusions and relevance: In this study, injury in Southwestern Cameroon was associated with significant disability and lost productivity. Formal medical treatment of injury was associated with significant financial consequences for households of injured patients. Primary prevention of road traffic injuries and financial restructuring of emergency care could improve trauma care access in Cameroon and reduce the societal effects of injury.

Emergency and Essential Surgical Healthcare Services During COVID-19 in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: A Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant changes in health care systems worldwide, with low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) sustaining important repercussions. Specifically, alongside cancellation and postponements of non-essential surgical services, emergency and essential surgical care delivery may become affected due to the shift of human and material resources towards fighting the pandemic. For surgeries that do get carried through, new difficulties arise in protecting surgical personnel from contracting SARS-CoV-2. This scarcity in LMIC surgical ecosystems may result in higher morbidity and mortality, in addition to the COVID-19 toll. This paper aims to explore the potential consequences of COVID-19 on the emergency and essential surgical care in LMICs, to offer recommendations to mitigate damages and to reflect on preparedness for future crises. Reducing the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on LMIC emergency and essential surgical services can be achieved through empowering communities with accurate information and knowledge on prevention, optimizing surgical material resources, providing quality training of health care personnel to treat SARS-CoV-2, and ensuring adequate personal protection equipment for workers on the frontline. While LMIC health systems are under larger strain, the experience from previous outbreaks may aid in order to innovate and adapt to the current pandemic. Protecting LMIC surgical ecosystems will be a pivotal process in ensuring that previous health system strengthening efforts are preserved, comprehensive care for populations worldwide are ensured, and to allow for future developments beyond the pandemic.

Mapping Global Evidence on Strategies and Interventions in Neurotrauma and Road Traffic Collisions Prevention: A Scoping Review

Neurotrauma is an important global health problem. The largest cause of neurotrauma worldwide is road traffic collisions (RTCs), particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Neurotrauma and RTCs are preventable, and many preventative interventions have been implemented over the last decades, especially in high-income countries (HICs). However, it is uncertain if these strategies are applicable globally due to variations in environment, resources, population, culture and infrastructure. Given this issue, this scoping review aims to identify, quantify and describe the evidence on approaches in neurotrauma and RTCs prevention, and ascertain contextual factors that influence their implementation in LMICs and HICs.

A systematic search was conducted using five electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Global Health on EBSCO host, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), grey literature databases, government and non-government websites, as well as bibliographic and citation searching of selected articles. The extracted data were presented using figures, tables, and accompanying narrative summaries. The results of this review were reported using the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR).

A total of 411 publications met the inclusion criteria, including 349 primary studies and 62 reviews. More than 80% of the primary studies were from HICs and described all levels of neurotrauma prevention. Only 65 papers came from LMICs, which mostly described primary prevention, focussing on road safety. For the reviews, 41 papers (66.1%) reviewed primary, 18 tertiary (29.1%), and three secondary preventative approaches. Most of the primary papers in the reviews came from HICs (67.7%) with 5 reviews on only LMIC papers. Fifteen reviews (24.1%) included papers from both HICs and LMICs. Intervention settings ranged from nationwide to community-based but were not reported in 44 papers (10.8%), most of which were reviews. Contextual factors were described in 62 papers and varied depending on the interventions.

There is a large quantity of global evidence on strategies and interventions for neurotrauma and RTCs prevention. However, fewer papers were from LMICs, especially on secondary and tertiary prevention. More primary research needs to be done in these countries to determine what strategies and interventions exist and the applicability of HIC interventions in LMICs.

Liver Trauma: WSES 2020 Guidelines

Liver injuries represent one of the most frequent life-threatening injuries in trauma patients. In determining the optimal management strategy, the anatomic injury, the hemodynamic status, and the associated injuries should be taken into consideration. Liver trauma approach may require non-operative or operative management with the intent to restore the homeostasis and the normal physiology. The management of liver trauma should be multidisciplinary including trauma surgeons, interventional radiologists, and emergency and ICU physicians. The aim of this paper is to present the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) liver trauma management guidelines.

2020 Update of the WSES Guidelines for the Management of Acute Colonic Diverticulitis in the Emergency Setting

Acute colonic diverticulitis is one of the most common clinical conditions encountered by surgeons in the acute setting. An international multidisciplinary panel of experts from the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) updated its guidelines for management of acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis (ALCD) according to the most recent available literature. The update includes recent changes introduced in the management of ALCD. The new update has been further integrated with advances in acute right-sided colonic diverticulitis (ARCD) that is more common than ALCD in select regions of the world.

Morbidity and mortality from road injuries: results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017

Background: The global burden of road injuries is known to follow complex geographical, temporal and demographic patterns. While health loss from road injuries is a major topic of global importance, there has been no recent comprehensive assessment that includes estimates for every age group, sex and country over recent years.

Methods: We used results from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 study to report incidence, prevalence, years lived with disability, deaths, years of life lost and disability-adjusted life years for all locations in the GBD 2017 hierarchy from 1990 to 2017 for road injuries. Second, we measured mortality-to-incidence ratios by location. Third, we assessed the distribution of the natures of injury (eg, traumatic brain injury) that result from each road injury.

Results: Globally, 1 243 068 (95% uncertainty interval 1 191 889 to 1 276 940) people died from road injuries in 2017 out of 54 192 330 (47 381 583 to 61 645 891) new cases of road injuries. Age-standardised incidence rates of road injuries increased between 1990 and 2017, while mortality rates decreased. Regionally, age-standardised mortality rates decreased in all but two regions, South Asia and Southern Latin America, where rates did not change significantly. Nine of 21 GBD regions experienced significant increases in age-standardised incidence rates, while 10 experienced significant decreases and two experienced no significant change.

Conclusions: While road injury mortality has improved in recent decades, there are worsening rates of incidence and significant geographical heterogeneity. These findings indicate that more research is needed to better understand how road injuries can be prevented.