A Consensus Statement for Trauma Surgery Capacity Building in Latin America

Background: Trauma is a significant public health problem in Latin America (L.A.), contributing to substantial death and disability in the region. Several LA countries have implemented trauma registries and injury surveillance systems. However, the region lacks an integrated trauma system. The consensus conference’s goal was to integrate existing L.A. trauma data collection efforts into a regional trauma program and encourage the use of the data to inform health policy.

Methods: We created a consensus group of 25 experts in trauma and emergency care with previous data collection and injury surveillance experience in the L.A. region. Experts participated in a consensus conference to discuss the state of trauma data collection in L.A. We utilized the Delphi method to build consensus around strategic steps for trauma data management in the region. Consensus was defined as the agreement of ≥ 70% among the expert panel.

Results: The consensus conference determined that action was necessary from academic bodies, scientific societies, and ministries of health to encourage a culture of collection and use of health data in trauma. The panel developed a set of recommendations for these groups to encourage the development and use of robust trauma information systems in L.A. Consensus was achieved in one Delphi round.

Conclusions: The expert group successfully reached a consensus on recommendations to key stakeholders in trauma information systems in L.A. These recommendations may be used to encourage capacity-building in trauma research and trauma health policy in the region

The Impact of Delivering High-Quality Cataract Surgical Mentorship Through Distance Wet Laboratory Courses on Cataract Surgical Competency of Second and Final Year Residents.

Background: This study aimed to assess the acceptability and effectiveness of training second and final-year residents, at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, a tertiary-level ophthalmic training center in Trujillo, Peru, in phacoemulsification cataract surgery through structured distance surgical mentorship wet lab courses.

Methods: Delivered three five-week distance surgical mentorship wet lab courses, administered through Cybersight, Orbis International’s telemedicine platform. Weekly lectures and demonstrations addressed specific steps in phacoemulsification surgery. Each lecture had two accompanying wet lab assignments, which residents completed and recorded in their institution’s wet lab and uploaded to Cybersight for grading. Competency was assessed through the anonymous grading of pre- and post-training surgical simulation videos, masked as to which videos were recorded before and after training, using a standardized competency rubric adapted from the International Council of Ophthalmology’s Ophthalmology Surgical Competency Assessment Rubric (ICO-OSCAR). Day one best-corrected post-operative visual acuity (BVCA) was assessed in the operative eye on the initial consecutive 4-6 surgeries conducted by the residents. An anonymous satisfaction survey was administered to trainees’ post-course.

Results: In total, 21 second and final-year residents participated in the courses, submitting a total of 210 surgical videos. Trainees’ average competency score (scale of 0-32) increased 6.95 (95%CI [4.28, 9.62], SD=5.01, p<0.0001, two sample t-test) from 19.3 (pre-training, 95%CI [17.2, 21.5], SD=4.04) to 26.3 (post-training, 95%CI [24.2, 28.3], SD=3.93). Among 100 post-training resident surgeries, visual acuity for 92 (92%) was ≥20/60, meeting the World Health Organization’s criterion for good cataract surgical quality.

Conclusions: Structured distance wet lab courses in phacoemulsification resulted in significantly improved cataract surgical skills. This model could be applicable to locations where there are obstacles to traditional in-person wet lab training and can also be effectively deployed to respond to a disruptive event in medical education, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic

Incidence, Mortality, and Survival Trends of Primary CNS Tumors in Cali, Colombia, From 1962 to 2019

Global studies have shown varying trends of CNS tumors within geographic regions. In Colombia, the epidemiologic characteristics of CNS neoplasms are not well elucidated. We aimed to provide a summary of the descriptive epidemiology of primary CNS tumors among the urban population of Cali, Colombia.

We conducted a time-trend study from 1962 to 2019 using the Population-Based Cali Cancer Registry. The age-standardized rates per 100,000 person-years were obtained by direct method using the world standard population. Results were stratified by sex, age group at diagnosis, and histologic subtype. We used Joinpoint regression analysis to detect trends and obtain annual percentage change (APC) with 95% CIs. We estimated 5-year net survival using the Pohar-Perme method.

During 1962 to 2016, 4,732 new cases of CNS tumors were reported. From 1985 to 2019, a total of 2,475 deaths from malignant CNS tumors were registered. A statistically significant increase in the trends of incidence (APC, 2.8; 95% CI, 2.1 to 3.5) and mortality (APC, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.0) rates was observed during the study. The most common malignant CNS tumor was glioblastoma (17.8% of all tumors), and the most frequent benign tumor was meningioma (17.2%). Malignancy was more common in males than in females. Unspecified malignant neoplasms represented 32% of all cases. The highest 5-year net survival was 31.4% during 2012 to 2016.

Our findings demonstrate an increasing burden of primary CNS tumors for the last 60 years, with a steady rate from the early 2010s. There was an improvement of 5-year net survival for the last decade. Males had higher mortality than did females. Additional efforts are needed to fully explore the geographic, environmental, and genetic contributors of CNS malignancies within the region.

Assessment of diagnostics capacity in hospitals providing surgical care in two Latin American states

Diagnostic services are an essential component of high-quality surgical, anesthesia and obstetric (SAO) care. Efforts to scale up SAO care in Latin America have often overlooked diagnostics capacity. This study aims to analyze the capacity of diagnostic services, including radiology, pathology, and laboratory medicine, in hospitals providing SAO care in the states of Chiapas, Mexico and Amazonas, Brazil.

A stratified cross-sectional evaluation of diagnostic capacity in hospitals performing surgery in Chiapas and Amazonas was performed using the Surgical Assessment Tool (SAT). National data sources were queried for indicators of diagnostics capacity in terms of workforce, infrastructure and diagnosis utilization. Fisher’s exact tests and chi-square tests were used to compare categorical variables between the private and public sector in Chiapas while descriptive statistics are used to compare Amazonas and Chiapas.

In Chiapas, 53% (n = 17) of public and 34% (n = 20) of private hospitals providing SAO care were assessed. More private hospitals than public hospitals could always provide x-rays (35% vs 23.5%) and ultrasound (85% vs 47.1%). However neither sector could consistently perform basic laboratory testing such as complete blood counts (70.6% public, 65% private). In Amazonas, 30% (n = 18) of rural hospitals were surveyed. Most had functioning x-ray machine (77.8%) and ultrasound (55.6%). The majority of hospitals could provide complete blood count (66.7%) but only one hospital (5.6%) could always perform an infectious panel. Both Chiapas and Amazonas had dramatically fewer diagnostic practitioners per capita in each state compared to the national average capacity.

Facilities providing SAO care in low-resource states in Mexico and Brazil often lack functioning diagnostics services and workforce. Scale-up of diagnostic services is essential to improve SAO care and should occur with emphasis on equitable and adequate resource allocation.

Publicly funded interfacility ambulance transfers for surgical and obstetrical conditions: A cross sectional analysis in an urban middle-income country setting

Interfacility transfers may reflect a time delay of definitive surgical care, but few studies have examined the prevalence of interfacility transfers in the urban low- and middle-income (LMIC) setting. The aim of this study was to determine the number of interfacility transfers required for surgical and obstetric conditions in an urban MIC setting to better understand access to definitive surgical care among LMIC patients.

A retrospective analysis of public interfacility transfer records was conducted from April 2015 to April 2016 in Cali, Colombia. Data were obtained from the single municipal ambulance agency providing publicly funded ambulance transfers in the city. Interfacility transfers were defined as any patient transfer between two healthcare facilities. We identified the number of transfers for patients with surgical conditions and categorized transfers based on patient ICD-9-CM codes. We compared surgical transfers from public vs. private healthcare facilities by condition type (surgical, obstetric, nonsurgical), transferring physician specialty, and transfer acuity (code blue, emergent, urgent and nonurgent) using logistic regression.

31,659 patient transports occurred over the 13-month study period. 22250 (70.2%) of all transfers were interfacility transfers and 7777 (35%) of transfers were for patients with surgical conditions with an additional 2,244 (10.3%) for obstetric conditions. 49% (8660/17675) of interfacility transfers from public hospitals were for surgical and obstetric conditions vs 32% (1466/4580) for private facilities (P<0.001). The most common surgical conditions requiring interfacility transfer were fractures (1,227, 5.4%), appendicitis (913, 4.1%), wounds (871, 3.9%), abdominal pain (818, 3.6%), trauma (652, 2.9%), and acute abdomen (271, 1.2%).

Surgical and obstetric conditions account for nearly half of all urban interfacility ambulance transfers. The most common reasons for transfer are basic surgical conditions with public healthcare facilities transferring a greater proportion of patient with surgical conditions than private facilities. Timely access to an initial healthcare facility may not be a reliable surrogate of definitive surgical care given the substantial need for interfacility transfers.

Laparoscopic vs open colorectal surgery: Economic and clinical outcomes in the Brazilian healthcare

Laparoscopic surgery has become the preferred surgical approach of several colorectal conditions. However, the economic results of this are quite controversial. The degree of adoption of laparoscopic technology, as well as the aptitude of the surgeons, can have an influence not only in the clinical outcomes but also in the total procedure cost. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and economic outcomes of laparoscopic colorectal surgeries, compared to open procedures in Brazil.All patients who underwent elective colorectal surgeries between January 2012 and December 2013 were eligible to the retrospective cohort. The considered follow-up period was within 30 days from the index procedure. The outcomes evaluated were the length of stay, blood transfusion, intensive care unit admission, in-hospital mortality, use of antibiotics, the development of anastomotic leakage, readmission, and the total hospital costs including re-admissions.Two hundred eighty patients, who met the eligibility criteria, were included in the analysis. Patients in the laparoscopic group had a shorter length of stay in comparison with the open group (6.02 ± 3.86 vs 9.86 ± 16.27, P < .001). There were no significant differences in other clinical outcomes between the 2 groups. The total costs were similar between the 2 groups, in the multivariate analysis (generalized linear model ratio of means 1.20, P = .074). The cost predictors were the cancer diagnosis and age.Laparoscopic colorectal surgery presents a 17% decrease in the duration of the hospital stay without increasing the total hospitalization costs. The factors associated with increased hospital costs were age and the diagnosis of cancer.

Decompressive Craniectomy in Traumatic Brain Injury: An Institutional Experience of 131 Cases in Two Years

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) effectively reduces intracranial pressure (ICP), but is not considered to be a first-line procedure. We retrospectively analyzed sociodemographic, clinical, and surgical characteristics associated with the prognosis of patients who underwent DC to treat traumatic intracranial hypertension (ICH) at the Restauração Hospital (HR) in Recife, Brazil between 2015 and 2016, and compared the clinical features with surgical timing and functional outcome at discharge. The data were collected from 131 medical records in the hospital database. A significant majority of the patients were young adults (age 18-39 years old; 75/131; 57.3%) and male (118/131; 90.1%). Road traffic accidents, particularly those involving motorcycles (57/131; 44.5%), were the main cause of the traumatic event. At initial evaluation, 63 patients (48.8%) were classified with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Pupil examination showed no abnormalities for 91 patients (71.1%), and acute subdural hematoma was the most frequently observed lesion (83/212; 40%). Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score was used to categorize surgical results and 51 patients (38.9%) had an unfavorable outcome. Only the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score on admission (score of 3-8) was more likely to be associated with unfavorable outcome (p-value = 0.009), indicating that this variable may be a determinant of mortality and prognostic of poor outcome. Patients who underwent an operation sooner after injury, despite having a worse condition on admission, presented with clinical results that were similar to those of patients who underwent surgery 12 h after hospital admission. These results emphasize the importance of early DC for management of severe TBI. This study shows that DC is a common procedure used to manage TBI patients at HR.

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.