Reliability and versatility of the Wise pattern, medial pedicle for breast reduction in South Africa

Breast hypertrophy is a condition of abnormal enlargement of the breast which may continue until each breast weighs more than 1.5 kg (macromastia) or even more than 2 kg (gigantomastia). Supporting such heavy weights leads to cervical and upper thoracic back pain, costochondritis, and fungal infections in the mammary folds, making reduction mammoplasty essential. However, there is a lack of consensus among plastic surgeons as to the best technique. This study reports the results of reduction mammoplasties in South African women using the Wise pattern, minimally undermined with a medial pedicle.

A retrospective record review of the reduction mammoplasties was conducted over a 1-year period. Patient records were assessed for early complications related to vascular reliability.

One hundred and fourteen Wise pattern minimally undermined, medial pedicle techniques were performed on 57 consecutive patients in the 1-year period at the NetCare Rand Clinic in Berea, Johannesburg, South Africa (EN). The patients’ sternal notch to nipple distances ranged from 28 to 52 cm. The volume of breast reduction ranged from 345 g to 3300 g per breast. The overall complication rate was 9.7%, consisting of fat necrosis (3.5%), infection (1.7%), dehiscence (3.5%), and nipple epidermolysis (0.9%).

The minimally undermined Wise pattern medial pedicle breast reduction technique proved to be a reliable technique for breast reduction in the South African population. Safety in pedicle breast reduction with sternal notch to nipple distances of up to 50 cm, as well as reliability and versatility in a wide range of breast sizes, was demonstrated.

Major obstetric haemorrhage in Metro East, Cape Town, South Africa: a population-based cohort study using the maternal near-miss approach

Major obstetric haemorrhage is a leading cause of maternal mortality and accounts for one-third of maternal deaths in of Africa. This study aimed to assess the population-based incidence, causes, management and outcomes of major obstetric haemorrhage and risk factors associated with poor maternal outcome.

Women with major obstetric haemorrhage who met the WHO maternal near-miss criteria or died in the Metro East region, Cape Town, South Africa, were evaluated from November 2014–November 2015. Major obstetric haemorrhage was defined as haemorrhage in pregnancies of at least 20 weeks’ gestation or occurring up to 42 days after birth, and leading to hysterectomy, hypovolaemic shock or blood transfusion of ≥5 units of Packed Red Blood Cells. A logistic regression model was used to analyse associations with poor outcome, defined as major obstetric haemorrhage leading to massive transfusion of ≥8 units of packed red blood cells, hysterectomy or death.

The incidence of major obstetric haemorrhage was 3/1000 births, and the incidence of massive transfusion was 4/10.000 births in the Metro East region (32.862 births occurred during the studied time period). Leading causes of haemorrhage were placental abruption 45/119 (37.8%), complications of caesarean section 29/119 (24.4%) and uterine atony 13/119 (10.9%). Therapeutic oxytocin was administered in 98/119 (82.4%) women and hysterectomy performed in 33/119 (27.7%). The median numbers of packed red blood cells and units of Fresh Frozen Plasma transfused were 6 (interquartile range 4–7) and 3 (interquartile range 2–4), ratio 1.7:1. Caesarean section was independently associated with poor maternal outcome: adjusted OR 4.01 [95% CI 1.58, 10.14].

Assessment of major obstetric haemorrhage using the Maternal Near Miss approach revealed that placental abruption and complications of caesarean section were the major causes of major obstetric haemorrhage. Caesarean section was associated with poor outcome.

The epidemiology and outcome of patients admitted for elective brain tumour surgery at a single neurosurgical centre in South Africa

Many countries, including South Africa, do not have a national brain tumour registry. Despite this limitation several institutional studies report age, gender, and histological tumour types that are in-line with the findings of the large established national brain tumour registries from the United States and Europe.

Materials and methods
We conducted a prospective study consecutively enrolling all elective subjects admitted to our Unit with a neoplastic brain tumor from the 01 July 2018–31 March 2020. The data collected included age, gender, admission Glasgow Coma Score, HIV status, admission absolute CD4 count in all patients, radiological tumour diagnosis, pre-operative steroid treatment, length of in-hospital stay prior to surgery, time between prophylactic antibiotic administration and skin incision, intra-operative blood loss, length of surgery, extent of resection, histological diagnosis, post-operative nosocomial infection incidence, and Glasgow Outcome Score.

The mean age of our subjects was 48 (±14.56) years. Significance was demonstrated between age and histological tumour diagnosis (p = 0.031). With regards gender 72/101 (72%) were males and 29/101 (29%) were females. Considering admission HIV status 65/101 (64%) were HIV negative and 36/101 (36%) were HIV positive. Of the 101 subjects enrolled in the study 78/101 (77%) were taken for operative intervention. The mean intra-operative blood loss in our study was 505 (±336) millilitres. The mean length of surgery was 278 (±80.33) minutes. Considering nosocomial infection 30/78 (38%) subjects developed this complication. Considering outcome 29/78 (37%) subjects in our study had a favourable outcome (GOS 4/5), and 49/78 (63%) had an unfavourable outcome (GOS 1–3).

Patients with brain tumours, whether HIV positive or not, show characteristic histological tumour types that are age specific. While being HIV positive does have a detrimental influence, the primary histology of the lesion and the extent of resection are the major determinants of outcome.

Management and outcomes following emergency surgery for traumatic brain injury – A multi-centre, international, prospective cohort study (the Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study).

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) accounts for a significant amount of death and disability worldwide and the majority of this burden affects individuals in low-and-middle income countries. Despite this, considerable geographical differences have been reported in the care of TBI patients. On this background, we aim to provide a comprehensive international picture of the epidemiological characteristics, management and outcomes of patients undergoing emergency surgery for traumatic brain injury (TBI) worldwide. The Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study (GNOS) is a multi-centre, international, prospective observational cohort study. Any unit performing emergency surgery for TBI worldwide will be eligible to participate. All TBI patients who receive emergency surgery in any given consecutive 30-day period beginning between 1st of November 2018 and 31st of December 2019 in a given participating unit will be included. Data will be collected via a secure online platform in anonymised form. The primary outcome measures for the study will be 14-day mortality (or survival to hospital discharge, whichever comes first). Final day of data collection for the primary outcome measure is February 13th. Secondary outcome measures include return to theatre and surgical site infection. This project will not affect clinical practice and has been classified as clinical audit following research ethics review. Access to source data will be made available to collaborators through national or international anonymised datasets on request and after review of the scientific validity of the proposed analysis by the central study team.

Pediatric Appendicitis Severity in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis

Acute appendicitis is a common pediatric surgical emergency; however, there are few grading systems to assign disease severity. The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) recently developed a grading system for a variety of emergency surgical conditions, including appendicitis. The severity of acute appendicitis in younger patients in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) is unknown. We aimed to describe the disease severity in this patient population using the AAST grading system hypothesizing that the AAST grade would correlate with morbidity, management type, and duration of stay.
Single institutional review of patients <18 years old with a final diagnosis of acute appendicitis during 2010-2016 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was performed. Demographics, physiologic and symptom data, procedural details, postoperative complications, and Clavien-Dindo classification were abstracted. AAST grades were generated based on intraoperative findings. Summary, univariate, and nominal logistic regression analyses were performed to compare AAST grade and outcomes.
A total of 401 patients were identified with median [IQR] age of 11 [5-13], 65% male. Appendectomy was performed in all patients; 2.4% laparoscopic, 37.6% limited incision, and 60% midline laparotomy. Complications occurred in 41.6%, most commonly unplanned relaparotomy (22.4%), surgical site infection (8.9%), pneumonia (7.2%), and acute renal failure (2.9%). Complication rate and median length of stay increased with greater AAST grade (all p < 0.001). AAST grade was independently associated with increased risk of complications.
Pediatric appendicitis is a morbid disease in a developing middle-income country. The AAST grading system is generalizable and accurately corresponds with management strategies as well as key clinical outcomes.

Adult liver transplantation in Johannesburg, South Africa (2004 – 2016): Balancing good outcomes, constrained resources and limited donors

Background. Liver transplantation is the standard of care for the treatment of liver failure worldwide, yet millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa remain without access to these services. South Africa (SA) has two liver transplant centres, one in Cape Town and the other in Johannesburg, where Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) started an adult liver transplant programme in 2004.

Objectives. To describe the outcomes of the adult liver transplant programme at WDGMC.

Methods. This was a retrospective review of all adult orthotopic liver transplants performed at WDGMC from 16 August 2004 to 30 June 2016 with a minimum follow-up of 6 months. The primary outcome was recipient and graft survival and the effect of covariates on survival. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis included all adults who underwent their first transplant for end-stage liver disease (ESLD) (N=275). Proportional hazards regression analysis using hazard ratios (HRs) was conducted to determine which covariates were associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality.

Results. A total of 297 deceased-donor liver transplants were performed during the study period; 19/297 (6.4%) were for acute liver failure (ALF) and the remainder were for ESLD. The median age of recipients was 51 years (interquartile range 41 – 59), and two-thirds were male. The most common cause of ESLD was primary sclerosing cholangitis. The median follow-up was 3.2 years, and recipient survival was characterised in the following intervals: 90 days = 87.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 83.1 – 91.0), 1 year = 81.7% (95% CI 76.6 – 85.8), and 5 years = 71.0% (95% CI 64.5 – 76.5). Allograft survival was similar: 90 days = 85.8% (95% CI 81.1 – 89.4), 1 year = 81.0% (95% CI 75.8 – 85.2), and 5 years = 69.1% (95% CI 62.6 – 74.7). The most significant covariates that impacted on mortality were postoperative biliary leaks (HR 2.0 (95% CI 1.05 – 3.80)), recipient age >60 years at time of transplant (HR 2.06 (95% CI 1.06 – 3.99)), theatre time >8 hours (HR 3.13 (95% CI 1.79 – 5.48)), and hepatic artery thrombosis (HR 5.58 (95% CI 3.09 – 10.08)). The most common infectious cause of death was invasive fungal infection.

Conclusions. This study demonstrates that outcomes of the adult orthotopic liver transplant programme at WDGMC are comparable with international transplant centres. Management of biliary complications, early hepatic artery thrombosis and post-transplant infections needs to be improved. Access to liver transplantation services is still extremely limited, but can be improved by addressing the national shortage of deceased donors and establishing a national regulatory body for solid-organ transplantation in SA.

Fellowship exit examination in orthopaedic surgery in the commonwealth countries of Australia, UK, South Africa and Canada. Are they comparable and equivalent? A perspective on the requirements for medical migration

nternational migration of healthcare professionals has increased substantially in recent decades. In order to practice medicine in the recipient country, International Medical Graduates (IMG) are required to fulfil the requirements of their new countries medical registration authorities. The purpose of this project was to compare the final fellowship exit examination in Orthopaedic Surgery for the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa. The curriculum of the Australian Orthopaedic Association (SET) was selected as a baseline reference. The competencies and technical modules specified in the training syllabus, as well as the specifics of the final fellowship examination as outlined in SET, were then compared between countries. Of the nine competencies outlined in SET, the curricula of the UK, South Africa and Canada were all compatible with the Australian syllabus, and covered 97.7%, 86% and 93%, respectively, of all competencies and sub-items. The final fellowship examinations of Australia, South Africa and the UK were all highly similar in format and content. The examination in Canada was substantially different, and had two written sessions but combined the oral and clinical component into a structured OSCE using standardized patients and the component included unmanned stations. There were no significant differences for completion certificate of training and/or board certification observed between these countries. The results of this study strongly suggest that core and technical competencies outlined in the training and education curriculum and the final fellowship examination in Orthopaedic Surgery in Australia, South Africa and the UK are compatible. Between country reciprocal recognition of these fellowship examinations should not only be considered by the relevant Colleges, but should also be regulated by the individual countries health practitioner registration boards and governing bodies.

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.

Maternal and perinatal adverse outcomes in women with pre-eclampsia cared for at facility-level in South Africa: a prospective cohort study.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy contribute to 14% of all maternal deaths, the majority of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of the study was to describe the maternal and perinatal clinical outcomes of women with pre-eclampsia living in middle- and low-income countries.The study was a prospective observational study of women with pre-eclampsia (n = 1547, 42 twin pregnancies) at three South African tertiary facilities. Using stepwise logistic regression model area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) values, the association between maternal baseline and admission characteristics and risk of adverse outcomes was evaluated. Main outcome measures were eclampsia, kidney injury and perinatal death.In 1547 women with pre-eclampsia, 16 (1%) died, 147 (9.5%) had eclampsia, four (0.3%) had a stroke and 272 (17.6%) had kidney injury. Of the 1589 births, there were 332 (21.0%) perinatal deaths; of these, 281 (84.5%) were stillbirths. Of 1308 live births, 913 (70.0%) delivered <37 completed weeks and 544 (41.7%) delivered <34 weeks' gestation. Young maternal age (AUROC = 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.71-0.80) and low Body Mass Index BMI (AUROC 0.65, 95% CI = 0.59-0.69) were significant predictors of eclampsia. Highest systolic blood pressure had the strongest association with kidney injury, (AUROC = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.60-0.68). Early gestation at admission was most strongly associated with perinatal death (AUROC = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.77-0.84).The incidence of pre-eclampsia complications, perinatal death and preterm delivery in women referred to tertiary care in South Africa was much higher than reported in other low- and middle-income studies and despite access to tertiary care interventions. Teenage mothers and those with low BMI were at highest risk of eclampsia. This information could be used to inform guidelines, the research agenda and policy.

The Cape Town Declaration on Access to Cardiac Surgery in the Developing World.

Twelve years after cardiologists and cardiac surgeons from all over the world issued the ‘Drakensberg Declaration on the Control of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in Africa’, calling on the world community to address the prevention and treatment of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) through improving living conditions, to develop pilot programmes at selected sites for control of rheumatic fever and RHD, and to periodically review progress made and challenges that remain, RHD still accounts for a major proportion of cardiovascular diseases in children and young adults in low- and middle-income countries, where more than 80% of the world population live. Globally equal in prevalence to human immunodeficiency virus infection, RHD affects 33 million people worldwide. Prevention efforts have been important but have failed to eradicate the disease. At the present time, the only effective treatment for symptomatic RHD is open heart surgery, yet that life-saving cardiac surgery is woefully absent in many endemic regions. In this declaration, we propose a framework structure to create a co-ordinated and transparent international alliance to address this inequality.