Barriers to the uptake of cervical cancer services and attitudes towards adopting new interventions in Peru

Cervical cancer mortality is high among Peruvian women of reproductive age. Understanding barriers and facilitators of cervical cancer screening and treatment could facilitate development of contextually-relevant interventions to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality. From April – October 2019, we conducted a cross-sectional survey with 22 medical personnel and administrative staff from Liga Contra el Cancer, in Lima, Peru. The survey included structured and open-ended questions about participants’ roles in cervical cancer prevention and treatment, perceptions of women’s barriers and facilitators for getting screened and/or treated for cervical cancer, as well as attitudes towards adopting new cervical cancer interventions. For structured questions, the frequency of responses for each question was calculated. For responses to open-ended questions, content analysis was used to summarize common themes. Our data suggest that the relative importance and nature of barriers that Peruvian women face are different for cervical cancer screening compared to treatment. In particular, participants mentioned financial concerns as the primary barrier to treatment and a lack of knowledge or awareness of human papillomavirus and/or cervical cancer as the primary barrier to screening uptake among women. Participants reported high willingness to adopt new interventions or strategies related to cervical cancer. Building greater awareness about benefits of cervical cancer screening among women, and reducing financial and geographic barriers to treatment may help improve screening rates, decrease late-stage diagnosis and reduce mortality in women who have a pre-cancer diagnosis, respectively. Further studies are needed to generalize study findings to settings other than Lima, Peru.

Is the Whole Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts? The Implementation and Outcomes of a Whole Blood Program in Ecuador

Background: Hemorrhagic shock is a major cause of mortality in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Many institutions in LMICs lack the resources to adequately prescribe balanced resuscitation. This study aims to describe the implementation of a whole blood program in Latin America and discuss the outcomes of the patients that received whole blood (WB).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients resuscitated with WB from 2013-2019. Five units of O+ WB were made available on a consistent basis for patients presenting in hemorrhagic shock. Variables collected included: sex, age, service treating the patient, units of WB administered, units of components administered, admission vital signs, admission hemoglobin, Shock Index, intraoperative crystalloid and colloid administration, symptoms of transfusion reaction, length-of-stay and in-hospital mortality.

Results: The sample includes a total of 101 patients, 57 of whom were trauma and acute care surgery (TACS) patients and 44 of whom were obstetrics and gynecology patients. No patients developed symptoms consistent with a transfusion reaction. Average shock index was 1.16 (±0.55). On average, patients received 1.66 (±0.80) units of whole blood. Overall mortality was 14/101 (13.86%) in the first 24 hours and 6/101 (5.94%) after 24 hours.

Conclusion: Implementing a WB protocol is achievable in LMICs. Whole blood allows for more efficient delivery of hemostatic resuscitation and is ideal for resource-restrained settings. To our knowledge, this is the first description of a whole blood program implemented in a civilian hospital in Latin America.

Comprehending the lack of access to maternal and neonatal emergency care: Designing solutions based on a space-time approach

The objective of this study was to better understand how the lack of emergency child and obstetric care can be related to maternal and neonatal mortality levels.

We performed spatiotemporal geospatial analyses using data from Brazilian municipalities. An emergency service accessibility index was derived using the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) for 951 hospitals. Mortality data from 2000 to 2015 was used to characterize space-time trends. The data was overlapped using a spatial clusters analysis to identify regions with lack of emergency access and high mortality trends.

From 2000 to 2015 Brazil the overall neonatal mortality rate varied from 11,42 to 11,71 by 1000 live births. The maternal mortality presented a slightly decrease from 2,98 to 2,88 by 100 thousand inhabitants. For neonatal mortality the Northeast and North regions presented the highest percentage of up trending. For maternal mortality the North region exhibited the higher volume of up trending. The accessibility index obtained highlighted large portions of the rural areas of the country without any coverage of obstetric or neonatal beds.

The analyses highlighted regions with problems of mortality and access to maternal and newborn emergency services. This sequence of steps can be applied to other low and medium income countries as health situation analysis tool.

Significance statement
Low and middle income countries have greater disparities in access to emergency child and obstetric care. There is a lack of approaches capable to support analysis considering a spatiotemporal perspective for emergency care. Studies using Geographic Information System analysis for maternal and child care, are increasing in frequency. This approach can identify emergency child and obstetric care saturated or deprived regions. The sequence of steps designed here can help researchers, and policy makers to better design strategies aiming to improve emergency child and obstetric care.

Trauma team conformation in a war-influenced middle-income country in South America: is it possible?

Introduction: Trauma teams (TTs) improve outcomes in trauma patients. A multidisciplinary TT was conformed in September 2015 in a tertiary level I trauma university hospital in southwestern Colombia, a middle-income war-influenced country.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of a TT in admission-tomography and admission-surgery times as well as mortality in a tertiary center university hospital in a middle-income country war-influenced country.

Material and methods: Retrospective analytical study. Patients older than 17 years admitted to the emergency room 15 months prior and 15 months after the TT implementation were included. Patients prior to the TT implementation were taken as controls. No exclusion criteria. Four hundred sixty-four patients were included, 220 before the TT implementation (BTT) and 244 after (ATT). Demographic data, trauma characteristics, admission-tomography, and admission-surgery time interval as well as mortality were recorded. Requirement of CT scan or surgery was based on physician decision. The analysis was made on Stata 15.1®. Categorical variables were described as quantities and proportions, and continuous variables as mean and standard deviation or median and interquartile range (IQR). Categorical variables were compared using χ2 or Fisher’s test and continuous variables using Student’s T test or Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney. A multiple logistic regression model was created to evaluate the impact of being treated in the ATT group on mortality, adjusted by age, trauma severity, and physiological response upon admission.

Results: The admission-tomography time interval was 56 min (IQR 39-100) in the BTT group and 40 min (IQR 24-76) in the ATT group, p < 0.001. The admission-surgery time interval was 116 min (IQR 63-214) in the BTT group and 52 min (IQR 24-76) in the ATT group, p < 0.001. Mortality in the BTT group was 18.1% and 13.1% in the ATT group. Adjusted OR was 0.406 (0.215-0.789) p = 0.006 CONCLUSIONS: A trauma team conformation in a war-influenced middle-income country is feasible and reduces mortality as well as admission-surgery and admission-tomography time intervals in trauma patients.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy in the Treatment of Surgical Site Infection in Cardiac Surgery

To describe the relationship between epidemiological and clinical characteristics of postoperative cardiac surgery patients undergoing negative pressure wound therapy for the treatment of surgical site infection.
An observational, cross-sectional analytical study including a convenience sample consisting of medical records of patients undergoing sternal cardiac surgery with surgical site infection diagnosed in medical records treated by negative pressure wound therapy.
Medical records of 117 patients, mainly submitted to myocardial revascularization surgery and with deep incisional surgical site infection (88; 75.2%). Negative pressure wound therapy was used on mean for 16 (±9.5) days/patient; 1.7% had complications associated with therapy and 53.8% had discomfort, especially pain (93.6%). The duration of therapy was related to the severity of SSI (p=0.010) and the number of exchanges performed (p=0.045).
Negative pressure wound therapy has few complications, but with discomfort to patients.

Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in heart surgery post-operative pediatric patients: A retrospective study at Christus Muguerza Hospital, Monterrey, Mexico

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a life support procedure developed to offer cardiorespiratory support when conventional therapies have failed. The purpose of this study is to describe the findings during the first years using venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in pediatric patients after cardiovascular surgery at Christus Muguerza High Specialty Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico.

This is a retrospective, observational, and descriptive study. The files of congenital heart surgery post-operative pediatric patients, who were treated with venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation from January 2013 to December 2015, were reviewed.

A total of 11 patients were reviewed, of which 7 (63.8%) were neonates and 4 (36.7%) were in pediatric age. The most common diagnoses were transposition of great vessels, pulmonary stenosis, and tetralogy of Fallot. Survival rate was 54.5% and average life span was 6.3 days; the main complications were sepsis (36.3%), acute renal failure (36.3%), and severe cerebral hemorrhage (9.1%). The main causes of death were multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (27.3%) and cerebral hemorrhage (18.2%).

The mortality rates found are very similar to those found in a meta-analysis report published in 2013 and the main complication and causes of death are also very similar to the majority of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation reports for these kinds of patients. Although the results are encouraging, early sepsis detection, prevention of cerebral hemorrhage, and renal function monitoring must be improved.

Delays to diagnosis and barriers to care for breast cancer in Mexico and Peru: a cross sectional study

Delays to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment initiation are associated with worsened outcomes. However, population-based screening is impractical in many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) because of resource constraints and a lack of capacity to effectively diagnose and treat screen-detected disease. Mexico and Peru have similar mortality-to-incidence ratios for breast cancer. Unlike Peru, Mexico has attempted to implement mammography screening, although it remains opportunistic with low (20%) national coverage rates. The aim of this study was to compare delays and describe barriers to care among breast cancer patients in Mexico and Peru.

This international cross-sectional study included breast cancer patients interviewed at four public cancer hospitals in Mexico City between 2009 and 2011, and a federally-funded regional cancer institute in Trujillo, Peru in 2015. A Breast Cancer Delays Questionnaire, developed and validated in Mexico and modified for Peru, was administered to breast cancer patients during routine hospital visits at each location. Patient-related, diagnostic, and treatment delays were quantified, and barriers to care identified.

We included data from 597 Mexican women and 113 Peruvian women. Age at diagnosis did not differ between countries (53 years [Mexico] vs 54 years [Peru], p=0·266). Most women in both countries had breast cancer detected by symptoms (84% [Mexico] vs 93% [Peru]; p<0·001), although more women in Mexico were diagnosed by mammography screening (12% vs 6%) and screening clinical breast examination (4% vs 1%). Of patients with available stage information, the majority of disease was AJCC stage II or III at diagnosis (76% [n=597, Mexico] vs 91% [93, Peru]; p=0·014). More women in Mexico were diagnosed at an early stage (AJCC stage 0 or I) (14% [Mexico] vs 4% [Peru]). Total delay (symptom discovery or screening to initiation of treatment) did not differ between the two countries (median 210 days [IQR 128–415; n=597] Mexico vs 201 days [82–442; n=74] Peru; [p=0·71]). Diagnostic delay (first medical consultation to diagnosis) was the greatest contributor to overall delay (113 days [59–250; n=597, Mexico] vs 174 days [40–396; n=95, Peru]; p=0·105). Approximately 60% of all patients had diagnostic delays greater than 3 months. Less than half (44%) of Mexican patients visited more than two health-care facilities before the cancer centre, compared with 71% of Peruvian patients (p<0·001). Patients in both countries reported that barriers to prompt arrival at the cancer centre were: not knowing where to go, lack of money, spread out appointments, and diagnostic errors.

Improved diagnostic and referral systems are necessary to reduce delays to breast cancer care in Mexico and Peru. Such improvements are prerequisites to the establishment of maximally effective mammography screening programmes in LMICs.

Predictors of Survival After Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma in South America: The InterCHANGE Study

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) incidence is high in South America, where recent data on survival are sparse. We investigated the main predictors of HNSCC survival in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia.

Sociodemographic and lifestyle information was obtained from standardized interviews, and clinicopathologic data were extracted from medical records and pathologic reports. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression were used for statistical analyses.

Of 1,463 patients, 378 had a larynx cancer (LC), 78 hypopharynx cancer (HC), 599 oral cavity cancer (OC), and 408 oropharynx cancer (OPC). Most patients (55.5%) were diagnosed with stage IV disease, ranging from 47.6% for LC to 70.8% for OPC. Three-year survival rates were 56.0% for LC, 54.7% for OC, 48.0% for OPC, and 37.8% for HC. In multivariable models, patients with stage IV disease had approximately 7.6 (LC/HC), 11.7 (OC), and 3.5 (OPC) times higher mortality than patients with stage I disease. Current and former drinkers with LC or HC had approximately 2 times higher mortality than never-drinkers. In addition, older age at diagnosis was independently associated with worse survival for all sites. In a subset analysis of 198 patients with OPC with available human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 data, those with HPV-unrelated OPC had a significantly worse 3-year survival compared with those with HPV-related OPC (44.6% v 75.6%, respectively), corresponding to a 3.4 times higher mortality.

Late stage at diagnosis was the strongest predictor of lower HNSCC survival. Early cancer detection and reduction of harmful alcohol use are fundamental to decrease the high burden of HNSCC in South America.

Outcomes in the management of high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia in trophoblastic disease centers in South America

Background: South America has a higher incidence of gestational trophoblastic disease than North America or Europe, but whether this impacts chemotherapy outcomes is unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes among women with high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) treated at trophoblastic disease centers in developing South American countries.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients with high-risk GTN treated in three trophoblastic disease centers in South America (Botucatu and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina) from January 1990 to December 2014. Data evaluated included demographics, clinical presentation, FIGO stage, WHO prognostic risk score, and treatment-related information. The primary treatment outcome was complete sustained remission by 18 months following completion of therapy or death.

Results: Among 1264 patients with GTN, 191 (15.1%) patients had high-risk GTN and 147 were eligible for the study. Complete sustained remission was ultimately achieved in 87.1% of cases overall, including 68.4% of ultra high-risk GTN (score ≥12). Early death (within 4 weeks of initiating therapy) was significantly associated with ultra high-risk GTN, occurring in 13.8% of these patients (p=0.003). By Cox’s proportional hazards regression, factors most strongly related to death were non-molar antecedent pregnancy (RR 4.35, 95% CI 1.71 to 11.05), presence of liver, brain, or kidney metastases (RR 4.99, 95% CI 1.96 to 12.71), FIGO stage (RR 3.14, 95% CI 1.52 to 6.53), and an ultra-high-risk prognostic risk score (RR 7.86, 95% CI 2.99 to 20.71). Median follow-up after completion of chemotherapy was 4 years. Among patients followed to that timepoint, the probability of survival was 90% for patients with high-risk GTN (score 7-11) and 60% for patients with ultra-high-risk GTN (score ≥12).

Conclusion: Trophoblastic disease centers in developing South American countries have achieved high remission rates in high-risk GTN, but early deaths remain an important problem, particularly in ultra-high-risk GTN.

Severe Acute Multi-Systemic Failure With Bilateral Ocular Toxoplasmosis in Immunocompetent Patients From Urban Settings in Colombia: Case Reports

Propose: To report two cases of severe acute multi-systemic failure with bilateral ocular toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent patients from urban settings in Colombia.

Observations: We report two immunocompetent male patients aged 44- and 67-years-old who, despite not having visited the Amazonian region in Colombia, had severe bilateral posterior uveitis and extensive-bilateral macular lesions and multiple organ failure that required admission to an intensive care unit. Toxoplasma gondii was positive by PCR assay in vitreous humor samples. Patients were treated with intravitreal clindamycin and dexamethasone in addition to systemic treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. In both patients, infection by atypical strains was confirmed; in one case by serotyping and in another one by genotyping (ROP 18 virulent allele). After 2 and 4 months of treatment respectively, the patients showed improvement of the posterior uveitis and its systemic manifestations. However, there was no significant visual acuity improvement due to bilateral extensive macular involvement.

Conclusions and importance: Clinicians should be aware that toxoplasmosis originating from South America could be associated with severe acute multisystemic and intraocular bilateral involvement, even in patients with no history of exposure to jungle environments.