Standardization of Trauma, General Surgical Morbidity and Mortality Conferences: Development and Dissemination of a “Toolkit” in Peru

Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conferences allow clinicians to review adverse events and identify areas for improvement. There are few reports of structured M&M conferences in low- and middle-income countries and no report of collaborative efforts to standardize them.

The present study aims to gather general surgeons representing most of Peru’s urban surgical care and, in collaboration, with trauma quality improvement experts develop a M&M conferences toolkit with the expectation that its diffusion impacts their reported clinical practice. Fourteen general surgeons developed a toolkit as part of a working group under the auspices of the Peruvian General Surgery Society. After three years, we conducted an anonymous written questionnaire to follow-up previous observations of quality improvement practices.

A four-component toolkit was developed: Toolkit component #1: Conference logistics and case selection; Toolkit component #2: Documenting form; Toolkit component #3: Presentation template; and Toolkit component #4: Code of conduct. The toolkit was disseminated to 10 hospitals in 2016. Its effectiveness was evaluated by comparing the results of surveys on quality improvement practices conducted in 2016, before toolkit dissemination (101 respondents) and 2019 (105 respondents). Lower attendance was reported by surgeons in 2019. However, in 2019, participants more frequently described “improve the system” as the perceived objective of M&M conferences (70.5% vs. 38.6% in 2016; p < 0.001).

We established a toolkit for the national dissemination of a standardized M&M conference. Three years following the initial assessment in Peru, we found similar practice patterns except for increased reporting of “system improvement” as the goal of M&M conferences.

Effect of a model based on education and teleassistance for the management of obstetric emergencies in 10 rural populations from Colombia

Introduction: Pregnant women and health providers in rural areas of low-income and middle-income countries face multiple problems concerning high-quality obstetric care. This study was performed to identify changes in maternal and perinatal indicators after implementing a model based on education and telecare between a high-complexity hospital in 10 low-complexity hospitals in a southwestern region of Colombia.
Methods: A quasiexperimental study with a historic control group and without a pretest was conducted between 2017 and 2019 to make comparisons before and after obstetric emergency care through the use of teleassistance from 10 primary care centers to the referral center (Fundación Valle del Lili, FVL).
Results: A total of 470 patients were treated before teleassistance implementation and 154 patients were treated after teleassistance implementation. After program implementation, the maternal clinical indicators showed a 65% reduction in the number of obstetric patients who were referred with obstetric emergencies. The severity of maternal disease that was measured at the time of admission to level IV through the Modified Early Obstetric Warning System score was observed to decrease.
Conclusion: The implementation of a model based on education and teleassistance between low-complexity hospitals and tertiary care centers generated changes in indicators that reflect greater access to rural areas, lower morbidity at the time of admission, and a decrease in the total number of emergency events.

Surgical capacity assessment in the state of Amazonas using the surgical assessment tool. Cross-sectional study

Brazil is a country with universal health coverage, yet access to surgery among remote rural populations remains understudied. This study assesses surgical care capacity among hospitals providing care for the rural populations in the Amazonas state of Brazil through in-depth facility assessments.

a stratified randomized cross-sectional evaluation of hospitals that self-report providing surgical care in Amazonas was conducted from July 2016 to March 2017. The Surgical Assessment Tool (SAT) developed by the World Health Organization and the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School was administered at remote hospitals, including a retrospective review of medical records and operative logbooks.

18 hospitals were surveyed. Three hospitals (16.6%) had no operating rooms and 12 (66%) had 1-2 operating rooms. 14 hospitals (77.8%) reported monitoring by pulse oximetry was always present and six hospitals (33%) never have a professional anesthesiologist available. Inhaled general anesthesia was available in 12 hospitals (66.7%), but 77.8% did not have any mechanical ventilation device. An average of 257 procedures per 100,000 were performed. 10 hospitals (55.6%) do not have a specific post-anesthesia care unit. For the regions covered by the 18 hospitals, with a population of 497,492 inhabitants, the average surgeon, anesthetist, obstetric workforce density was 6.4.

populations living in rural areas in Brazil face significant disparities in access to surgical care, despite the presence of universal health coverage. Development of a state plan for the implementation of surgery is necessary to ensure access to surgical care for rural populations.

Alliance for the development of the Argentinian Hip Fracture Registry

Age expectancy has significantly increased over the last 50 years, as well as some age-related health conditions such as hip fractures. The development of hip fracture registries has shown enhanced patient outcomes through quality improvement strategies. The development of the Argentinian Hip Fracture Registry is going in the same direction.

Age expectancy has increased worldwide in the last 50 years, with the population over 64 growing from 4.9 to 9.1%. As fractures are an important problem in this age group, specific approaches such as hip fracture registries (HFR) are needed. Our aim is to communicate the Argentinian HFR (AHFR) development resulting from an alliance between Fundación Trauma, Fundación Navarro Viola, and the Argentinian Network of Hip Fracture in the elderly.

Between October 2020 and May 2021, an iterative consensus process involving 5 specialty-focused meetings and 8 general meetings with more than 20 specialists was conducted. This process comprised inclusion criteria definitions, dataset proposals, website deployment with data protection and user validation, the definition of hospital-adjusted registry levels, implementation planning, and sustainability strategies.

By June 2021, we were able to (1) outline data fields, including epidemiological, clinical, and functional dimensions for the pre-admission, hospitalization, discharge, and follow-up stages; (2) define three levels: basic (53 fields), intermediate (85), and advanced (99); (3) identify 21 benchmarking indicators; and (4) make a correlation scheme among fracture classifications. Simultaneously, we launched a fundraising campaign to implement the AHFR in 30 centers, having completed 18.

AHFR development was based on four pillars: (1) representativeness and support, (2) solid definitions from onset, (3) committed teams, and (4) stable funding. This tool may contribute to the design of evidence-based health policies to improve patient outcomes, and we hope this experience will help other LMICs to develop their own tailored-to-their-needs registries.

A New Dawn for Brazilian Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Is on the Way — Issues Around and Outside the Operating Room

In some developing countries, congenital heart disease still stands out among the leading causes of death in the first year of life. Therefore, there is a great need to develop programs designed to improve outcomes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of congenital heart disease in these nations, where children have always been and still are severely underserved.
The Brazilian Public Health Care System demands universal access to treatment as a constitutional right. Therefore, an underfunded Pediatric Cardiac Surgery program is unacceptable since it will cost lives and increase the infant mortality rate. Additionally, poor funding decreases providers’ interest, impedes technological advances and multidisciplinary engagement, and reduces access to comprehensive care.
Unfortunately, in most developing countries, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery progress is still the result of isolated personal efforts, dedication, and individual resilience. This article aims to present the current state of Brazilian pediatric cardiac surgery and discuss the structural and human limitations in developing a quality care system for children with congenital heart disease. Considering such constraints, quality improvement programs via International collaboration with centers of excellence, based on proper data collection and outcomes analysis, have been introduced in the country. Such initiatives should bring a new dawn to Brazilian Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

Latin American surgical outcomes study: study protocol for a multicentre international observational cohort study of patient outcomes after surgery in Latin American countries

Reported data suggest that 4.2 million deaths will occur within 30 days of surgery worldwide each year, half of which are in low- and middle-income countries. Postoperative complications are a leading cause of long-term morbidity and mortality. Patients who survive and leave the hospital after surgical complications regularly experience reductions in long-term survival and functional independence, resulting in increased costs. With a high volume of surgery performed, there is a growing perception of the substantial impact of even minor enhancements in perioperative care. The Latin American Surgical Outcomes Study (LASOS) is an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study of adults submitted to in-patient surgery in Latin America aiming to provide detailed data describing postoperative complications and surgical mortality.

LASOS is a 7 day cohort study of adults undergoing surgery in Latin America. Details of preoperative risk factors, intraoperative care, and postoperative outcomes will be collected. The primary outcome will be in-hospital postoperative complications of any cause. Secondary outcomes include in-hospital all-cause mortality, duration of hospital stay after surgery, and admission to a critical care unit within 30 days after surgery during the index hospitalisation.

The LASOS results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, reported and presented at international meetings, and widely disseminated to patients and public in participating countries via mainstream and social media.

The LASOS may augment our understanding of postoperative complications and surgial mortality in Latin America.

Clinical trial registration

Open tibial shaft fracture management in Argentina: an evaluation of treatment standards in diverse resource settings

Argentina is a country with varying access to orthopedic surgical care. The Argentine Association of Trauma and Orthopedics (AATO) “Interior Committee” was developed to address potential regional differences and promote standardization of orthopedic trauma care. The paper assesses the level of national standardization of the management of open tibia fractures across 9 provinces in Argentina.

Utilizing a matched-comparison group design, management of these injuries were assessed and compared between 3 groups: an “AATO Exterior Committee” consisting of surgeons that practice in Buenos Aires, and 2 “Interior Committees,” comprising surgeons that practice in outlying provinces, 1 of which is affiliated with the AATO, and 1 that is not affiliated with the AATO. The study was conducted in 2 phases: phase 1 assessed open tibia fracture management characteristics, and phase 2 evaluated the management of soft-tissue wound coverage following open fractures.

Soft-tissue coverage procedures for Gustilo Anderson Type IIIB fractures were more commonly performed by orthopedic surgeons in Interior Committees than the AATO Exterior Committee. Greater rates of definitive wound coverage within 7 days post-injury were reported in both Interior Committees compared to the Exterior Committee. Plastic surgeons were reported as more available to those in the AATO Exterior Committee group than in the AATO Interior Committees.

While treatment patterns were evident among groups, differences were identified in the management and timing of soft-tissue coverage in Gustilo Anderson Type IIIB fractures between the Exterior Committee and both Interior Committees. Future targeted educational and surgical hands-on training opportunities that emphasize challenges faced in resource-limited settings may improve the management of open tibia fractures in Argentina.

Burn Admissions Across Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Repeated Cross-sectional Survey

Burn injuries have decreased markedly in high-income countries while the incidence of burns remains high in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of burns are thought to occur. However, the cause of burns in LMIC is poorly documented. The aim was to document the causes of severe burns and the changes over time. A cross-sectional survey was completed for 2014 and 2019 in eight burn centers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America: Cairo, Nairobi, Ibadan, Johannesburg, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Sao Paulo, and Guadalajara. The information summarised included demographics of burn patients, location, cause, and outcomes of burns. In total, 15,344 patients were admitted across all centers, 37% of burns were women and 36% of burns were children. Burns occurred mostly in household settings (43–79%). In Dhaka and Kathmandu, occupational burns were also common (32 and 43%, respectively). Hot liquid and flame burns were most common while electric burns were also common in Dhaka and Sao Paulo. The type of flame burns varies by center and year, in Dhaka, 77% resulted from solid fuel in 2014 while 74% of burns resulted from Liquefied Petroleum Gas in 2019. In Nairobi, a large proportion (32%) of burns were intentional self-harm or assault. The average length of stay in hospitals decreased from 2014 to 2019. The percentage of deaths ranged from 5% to 24%. Our data provide important information on the causes of severe burns which can provide guidance in how to approach the development of burn injury prevention programs in LMIC.

Drug shortages in low- and middle-income countries: Colombia as a case study

Drug shortages are a global problem. Analyzing shortages worldwide is important to identify possible relationships between drug shortages across countries, determine strategies that reduce drug shortages, and reduce the inequality in access to medicines between countries. In contrast to well-documented shortages in high-income countries, there are few studies that consider low- and middle-income economies. We evaluate drug shortages in one middle-income country, Colombia.

We collected data from INVIMA, the institution responsible for managing medicine shortage alerts in Colombia. We classified the data using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system and analyzed them using descriptive statistics. We considered a study period from 2015 to 2021 (vital medicines) and from 2010 to 2020 (non-vital medicines).

In total, 173 unique ATC codes were in shortage. These included antidotes, alimentary tract and metabolism products, anesthetics, cardiac stimulants and antithrombotic agents. The major causes were manufacturing problems and few suppliers. Drug shortages substantially increased from 2020 to May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among resolved shortages, the average duration was 1.6 years with a standard deviation of 1.9 years. The longest, naloxone tablets, were in shortage for almost 10 years.

Drug shortages are a persistent problem in Colombia. Government institutions have made progress in implementing systems and procedures to report them. However, the approaches implemented need to be maintained and refined. This study lays the groundwork for the analysis of drug shortages in other LMICs. We highlight the necessity of addressing drug shortages in their global context and reducing the inequality in access to medicines between countries.

Implementing a Neurotrauma Registry in Latin America and the Caribbean

Background Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a disproportionately greater impact in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). One strategy to reduce the burden of disease in LMICs is through the implementation of a trauma registry that standardizes the assessment of each patient’s management of care.

Objective This study aims to ascertain the interest of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) nations in establishing a shared neurotrauma registry in the regional block, based on an existing framework for collaboration.

Methods A descriptive review was performed regarding the interests of LAC nations in implementing a shared neurotrauma registry in their region. We convened a meeting with seven Caribbean and five Latin American nations.

Results One hundred percent (n = 12) of the LAC representatives including neurosurgeons, neurointensivists, ministers of health, and chief medical officers/emergency medical technicians (EMTs) agreed to adopt the registry for tracking the burden of TBI and associated pathologies within the region.

Conclusion The implementation of a neurotrauma registry can benefit the region through a shared database to track disease, improve outcomes, build research, and ultimately influence policy