A Novel and Simple Technique of Reconstructing the Central Arch Mandibular Defects-a Solution During the Resource-Constrained Setting of COVID Crisis

The current COVID 19 pandemic has a major impact on healthcare delivery globally. Oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible is difficult to reconstruct and ideally, requires free fibular osteomyocutaneous flap. During this time of resource constraint situation, these free flaps are not a great choice, as it increases exposure of both patient and surgical team to the deadly virus. We are describing a novel method of reconstruction after resection of oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible. In this new technique, we have reconstructed central arch defect by hanging bipaddle pectoralis major myocutaneous flap with orbicularis oris muscle using ethylene terephthalate suture. Operative time, early postoperative complications and early cosmetic and functional outcome were assessed. We have used this novel technique in eight patients of T4a oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible and skin over chin. Mean operative time was 180 min. One patient had minor flap loss with surgical site infection (Clavien-Dindo grade I). In all patients, we were able to discharge all patients on eighth postoperative day. Cosmetic outcome and functional outcomes were mostly satisfactory. All patients were able to oppose their lips without any oral incompetence and drooling. Tongue mobility was good. There was no incidence of ‘Andy Gump deformity’. This is a feasible option for reconstructing anterior arch defect in resource- and time-limited setting of COVID 19 pandemic. This technique can also be used in comorbid conditions where it is not advisable to do very long surgery.

Management of liver trauma in urban university hospitals in India: an observational multicentre cohort study

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contribute to 90% of injuries occurring in the world. The liver is one of the commonest organs injured in abdominal trauma. This study aims to highlight the demographic and management profile of liver injury patients, presenting to four urban Indian university hospitals in India.

This is a retrospective registry-based study. Data of patients with liver injury either isolated or concomitant with other injuries was used using the ICD-10 code S36.1 for liver injury. The severity of injury was graded based on the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) grading for liver injuries.

A total of 368 liver injury patients were analysed. Eighty-nine percent were males, with road traffic injuries being the commonest mechanism. As per WSES liver injury grade, there were 127 (34.5%) grade I, 96 (26.1%) grade II, 70 (19.0%) grade III and 66 (17.9%) grade IV injuries. The overall mortality was 16.6%. Two hundred sixty-two patients (71.2%) were managed non-operatively (NOM), and 106 (38.8%) were operated. 90.1% of those managed non-operatively survived.

In this multicentre cohort of liver injury patients from urban university hospitals in India, the commonest profile of patient was a young male, with a blunt injury to the abdomen due to a road traffic accident. Success rate of non-operative management of liver injury is comparable to other countries.

Epidemiological characteristics of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh

While high income countries (HICs) have reduced the mortality from child injury, it is increasing in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, injury registry and reporting are inconsistent and not well developed in the LMICs. This study aims at describing the epidemiology of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh. We retrospectively analysed all patients of injury between 0 and 12 years of age admitted in the Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chattogram Medical College Hospital during January 2017 to June 2020. Analysis was done for the hospital prevalence, age and sex distribution, seasonal variations, mechanism of injury, site of involvement, and mortality from injury. There were a total of 538 patients and male to female ratio was 2.01:1. Hospital prevalence was 6.71%. Mean age was 6.60 ± 3.32 years. School age children were affected more (51.7%); and “6-10 years” age group had the highest number injuries (251 patients, 46.65%). The most common mechanisms of injuries were road-traffic accident (RTA, 35.32%), followed by fall (26.39%) and „stab or cut injury‟ (20.63%). Males experienced more abdominal injuries and females had more perineal injuries (P=0.00). RTA was the commonest mechanism in males (37.05%) and falls were the commonest mechanism in females (32.96%). „Stab or cut injury‟ was the commonest mechanism in infants and toddlers, and RTA was commonest among pre-school and school age children. There were no significant seasonal variations (P=0.09). There were 5.76% intentional injuries. Mortality was 2.60% and major causes of mortality were RTA and animal assaults. Injuries were more prevalent during the mid-childhood with an overall increasing trend with age. Mechanism of injury and site of involvement were different among different age groups and between sexes.

Palliative surgery in gastrointestinal malignancy: experience from a regional cancer centre

Background: With so much burden of advanced incurable disease, the role of palliative surgery is paramount for gastrointestinal malignancies improving quality of life. Aim of the study was to study the indications, risks and outcome of palliative surgeries in gastrointestinal malignancies, the burden of disease requiring palliative surgery, and to describe strategies to improve end of life care.

Methods: All the patients diagnosed with gastrointestinal malignancy and who underwent palliative surgery between January 2017 and December 2017 were analysed.

Results: A total of 186 cases underwent palliative surgery. The most common age group affected was between 50-60 years and the mean age was 54.55 years. Stomach was the most common primary consisting of 58.60% followed by colorectal (23.66%), small intestine (9.68%), hepato-pacreatico-billiary (4.30%), and oesophageal (3.76%) primary. Major complications were seen in 4.84% of cases. Average symptomatic relief was observed for 5.5 months in cases of stomach and 7 months in case of colorectal malignancies. 35.48% cases were alive at the end of one year.

Conclusions: Present study concludes that palliative surgery improves quality of life of the patient, provides them with time to accept death and live rest of the life in a dignified manner.

Evaluation of Portable Tablet-Based Audiometry in a South Indian Population

While a comprehensive booth audiogram is the gold standard for diagnosis of hearing loss, access to this may not be available in remote and low resource settings. The aims of this study were to validate a tablet-based audiometer in a tertiary medical center in India and explore its capacity in improving access to hearing healthcare. Subjects presenting to Ear–Nose–Throat clinics for conventional booth audiometry testing were recruited for subsequent tablet-based audiometric testing. Testing with the tablet was conducted in a non-sound-treated hospital clinic room. Bilateral air and bone conduction hearing threshold data from 250 through 4000 Hz were validated against conventional booth audiometry. In addition, a small feasibility study was conducted in rural clinics. 70 participants (37 adults and 33 children between the ages 5–18) were assessed. 69% were male, with a mean age of 29.7 years. Sensitivity and specificity for the tablet were 89% (95% CI 80–94%) and 70% (95% CI 56–82%), respectively. While median differences in air conduction thresholds between conventional and tablet audiograms showed statistical significance at 250, 500, and 1000 Hz (p < 0.001), the threshold results of the tablet audiometer were within 5 dB of the conventional audiogram and not clinically significant. Ten patients were successfully screened in rural clinics with tablet audiometry. Tablet portable audiometry is a valid tool for air and bone conduction threshold assessment outside of conventional sound booths. It can accurately identify hearing impairment and offers a screening tool for hearing loss in low resource settings.

Patterns of neurosurgical conditions at a major government hospital in Cambodia

Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have a growing and largely unaddressed neurosurgical burden. Cambodia has been an understudied country regarding the neurosurgical pathologies and case volume. Rapid infrastructure development with noncompliance of safety regulations has led to increased numbers of traumatic injuries. This study examines the neurosurgical caseload and pathologies of a single government institution implementing the first residency program in an effort to understand the neurosurgical needs of this population. Methods: This is a longitudinal descriptive study of all neurosurgical admissions at the Department of Neurosurgery at Preah Kossamak Hospital (PKH), a major government hospital, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, between September 2013 and June 2018. Results: 5490 patients were admitted to PKH requiring neurosurgical evaluation and care. Most of these admissions were cranial injuries related to road traffic accidents primarily involving young men compared to women by approximately 4:1 ratio. Spinal pathologies were more evenly distributed in age and gender, with younger demographics more commonly presenting with traumatic injuries, while the older with degenerative conditions. Conclusions: Despite increased attention and efforts over the past decade, Cambodia’s neurosurgical burden mirrors that of other LMICs, with trauma affecting most patients either on the road or at the workplace. Currently, Cambodia has 34 neurosurgeons to address the growing burden of a country of 15 million with an increasing life expectancy of 69 years of age, stressing the importance of better public health policies and urgency for building capacity for safe and affordable neurosurgical care.

Pediatric Solid Tumor Care and Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in Southeast Asia

Pediatric solid tumors require coordinated multidisciplinary specialist care. However, expertise and resources to conduct multidisciplinary tumor boards (MDTBs) are lacking in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to profile the landscape of pediatric solid tumor care and practices and perceptions on MDTBs among pediatric solid tumor units (PSTUs) in Southeast Asian LMICs.

Using online surveys, availability of specialty manpower and MDTBs among PSTUs was first determined. From the subset of PSTUs with MDTBs, one pediatric surgeon and one pediatric oncologist from each center were queried using 5-point Likert scale questions adapted from published questionnaires.

In 37 (80.4%) of 46 identified PSTUs, availability of pediatric-trained specialists was as follows: oncologists, 94.6%; surgeons, 91.9%; radiologists, 54.1%; pathologists, 40.5%; radiation oncologists, 29.7%; nuclear medicine physicians, 13.5%; and nurses, 81.1%. Availability of pediatric-trained surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists was significantly associated with the existence of MDTBs (P = .037, .005, and .022, respectively). Among 43 (89.6%) of 48 respondents from 24 PSTUs with MDTBs, 90.5% of oncologists reported > 50% oncology-dedicated workload versus 22.7% of surgeons. Views on benefits and barriers did not significantly differ between oncologists and surgeons. The majority agreed that MDTBs helped to improve accuracy of treatment recommendations and team competence. Complex cases, insufficient radiology and pathology preparation, and need for supplementary investigations were the top barriers.

This first known profile of pediatric solid tumor care in Southeast Asia found that availability of pediatric-trained subspecialists was a significant prerequisite for pediatric MDTBs in this region. Most PSTUs lacked pediatric-trained pathologists and radiologists. Correspondingly, gaps in radiographic and pathologic diagnoses were the most common limitations for MDTBs. Greater emphasis on holistic multidisciplinary subspecialty development is needed to advance pediatric solid tumor care in Southeast Asia.

Resuming elective surgeries in Corona pandemic from the perspective of a developing country

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities have entered into a “crisis mode”. One of the measures used to allow hospitals to surge their capacity and serve the patient population with COVID-19 infection was the suspension of elective activity, most importantly elective surgery and other procedures. Now as the infection is fading, efforts are being made to resume elective surgical services keeping in mind the safety of the patient and health care workers. Resuming surgical services in developing countries is an uphill task.

Factors associated with patient payments exceeding National Health Insurance fees and out-of-pocket payments in Lao PDR

Attaining universal health coverage is a target in the Sustainable Development Goals. In Lao PDR, to achieve universal health coverage, the government is implementing a national insurance scheme, initially targeting the informal sector.

The purpose was to assess: i) the percentage of NHI patients who paid above the scheduled amount, based on individual billing payment; and ii) the factors related to overpayment.

Descriptive cross-sectional study based on a structured questionnaire administered at health facilities in face-to-face interviews with 1,850 patients in six provinces.

All 1,850 participants worked in the informal sector. Of these, 78.8% of respondents (77.9% of in-patients; 79.5% of out-patients) made co-payments or were exempted from. Factors associated with in-patients paying above the scheduled fee were living in the province and district (OR = 2.8; 95%CI 1.2 to 6.3); not having documents with them (OR = 21.2; 95%CI 5.6 to 80.3); or not having documents (OR: 7.8; 95% CI 2.1 to 28.6). Significant factors associated with additional costs for out-patients were level of facility used at the provincial hospital (OR:1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.9); older age (OR = 2.2; 95%CI 1.5 to 3.1); living in the province and district (OR = 2.3; 95%CI 1.5 to 3.7); living more than 5 km from the facility (OR = 1.4; 95%CI 1.1 to 1.9); buying medicine or supplies outside of the health facility (OR: 5.6; 95% CI 3.1 to 10.2); not bringing documents (OR:9.1; 95% CI 6.1 to 13.5), not having the right documents (OR: 8.9; 95% CI 5.4 to 14.8).

A number of patients paid above scheduled fee rates, which may deter people from utilising services when needing them. There is a need for increased understanding of the benefits of the national insurance scheme among patients and healthcare staff.

Outcomes of trauma education workshop in Vietnam: improving diagnostic and surgical skills

Unintentional injuries have emerged as a significant public health issue in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), especially in Vietnam, where there is a poor quality of care for trauma. A scarcity of formal and informal training opportunities contributes to a lack of structure for treating trauma in Vietnam. A collaborative trauma education project by the JW LEE Center for Global Medicine in South Korea and the Military Hospital 175 in Vietnam was implemented to enhance trauma care capacity among medical staff across Ho Chi Minh City in 2018. We aimed to evaluate a part of the trauma education project, a one-day workshop that targeted improving diagnostic and surgical skills among the medical staff (physicians and nurses).

A one-day workshop was offered to medical staff across Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2018. The workshop was implemented to enhance the trauma care knowledge of providers and to provide practical and applicable diagnostic and surgical skills. To evaluate the workshop outcomes, we utilized a mixed-methods survey data. All participants (n = 27) voluntarily completed the post-workshop questionnaire. Quality of contents, satisfaction with teaching skills, and perceived benefit were used as outcomes of the workshop, measured by 5-point Likert scales (score: 1–5). Descriptive statistics were performed, and open-ended questions were analyzed by recurring themes.

The results from the post-workshop questionnaire demonstrated that the participants were highly satisfied with the quality of the workshop contents (mean = 4.32 standard deviation (SD) = 0.62). The mean score of the satisfaction regarding the teaching skills was 4.19 (SD = 0.61). The mean score of the perceived benefit from the workshop was 4.17 (SD = 0.63). The open-ended questions revealed that the program improved their knowledge in complex orthopedic surgeries neglected prior to training.

Positive learning experiences highlighted the need for the continuation of the international collaboration of skill development and capacity building for trauma care in Vietnam and other LMIC.