Conotruncal Heart Defect Repair in Sub-Saharan Africa: Remarkable Outcomes Despite Poor Access to Treatment.

The outcome of children born with conotruncal heart defects may serve as an indication of the status of pediatric cardiac care in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study was undertaken to determine the outcome of children born with conotruncal anomalies in SSA, regarding access to treatment and outcomes of surgical intervention.

From our institution in Ghana, we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of surgery, in the two-year period from June 2013 to May 2015. The birth prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) in SSA countries was derived by extrapolation using an incidence of 8 per 1,000 live births for CHDs.

The birth prevalence of CHDs for the 48 countries in SSA using 2013 country data was 258,875; 10% of these are presumed to be conotruncal anomalies. Six countries (Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya) accounted for 53.5% of the birth prevalence. In Ghana, 20 patients (tetralogy of Fallot [TOF], 17; pulmonary atresia, 3) underwent palliation and 50 (TOF, 36; double-outlet right ventricle, 14) underwent repair. Hospital mortality was 0% for palliation and 4% for repair. Only 6 (0.5%) of the expected 1,234 cases of conotruncal defects underwent palliation or repair within two years of birth.

Six countries in SSA account for more than 50% of the CHD burden. Access to treatment within two years of birth is probably <1%. The experience from Ghana demonstrates that remarkable surgical outcomes are achievable in low- to middle-income countries of SSA.

Cardiac surgery in low-income settings: 10 years of experience from two countries.

Access to cardiac surgery is limited in low-income settings, and data on patient outcomes are scarce.

To assess characteristics, surgical procedures and outcomes in patients undergoing open-heart surgery in low-income settings.

This was a cohort study (2001-2011) in two low-income countries, Cambodia and Mozambique, where cardiac surgery had been promoted by visiting non-governmental organizations.

In Cambodia and Mozambique, respectively, 1332 and 767 consecutive patients were included; 547 (41.16%) and 385 (50.20%) were men; median age at first surgery was 11 years (interquartile range [IQR] 4-14) and 11 years (IQR 3-18); rheumatic heart disease affected 490 (36.79%) and 268 (34.94%) patients; congenital heart disease (CHD) affected 834 (62.61%) and 390 (50.85%) patients, with increasingly more CHD patients over time (P<0.001); and the number of patients lost to follow-up reached 741 (55.63%) and 112 (14.6%) at 30 days. A total of 249 (32.46%) patients were lost to follow-up in Mozambique, remoteness being the only influencing factor (P<0.001). Among patients with known vital status, the early (<30 days) postoperative mortality rate was 6.10% (n=40) in Mozambique and 3.05% (n=18) in Cambodia. Overall, 109 (8.18%) patients in Cambodia and 94 (12.26%) patients in Mozambique underwent re-do surgery. In Mozambique, a further 50/518 (9.65%) patients died at a median of 23months (IQR 7-43); in Cambodia, a further 34/591 (5.75%) patients died at a median of 11.5months (IQR 6-54.5).

Cardiac surgery is feasible in low-income countries with acceptable in-hospital mortality and proof of capacity building. Patient outcomes after cardiac surgery in low-income countries remain unknown, given the strikingly high numbers of lost to follow-u

Developing a sustainable hip service in Cambodia

Initial report on establishment of a hip service in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at Children’s Surgical Centre. We describe indications for total hip replacement (THR) and initial results.

A database was established to collect data and track patients for follow up. Initial data collected included; diagnosis, implant used, post-operative complications. As the service developed, pre- and postoperative Harris hip scores were included.

High rate of avascular necrosis (AVN) as the initial diagnosis. Five years post initiation of the hip service, 95 patients have received 116 THRs; including 10 revisions, 12 bilateral procedures. Complications/failures requiring revision involved four prosthetic femoral neck fractures, two aseptic acetabular component, two late infections, one instability. One failure, a periprosthetic acetabular fracture, required removal of all prosthetics. Complications not requiring revision, included three post-op foot drops, three superficial wound infections, one Vancouver B1 periprosthetic femur fracture. Average age was 41. Overall implant survival is 85% at three years.

AVN was the most common indication for THR: many patients had a history of hip trauma, and/or prolonged steroids from traditional healers for pain. Problems with specific implants were addressed by the company. A different stem is now routinely used, no further fractures have been reported. Acetabular loosening, thought to be due to poor technique, has been addressed by focused training. Infection rate is monitored, and microbiology resources are improving.

Developing an affordable hip arthroplasty service in a country like Cambodia is challenging. Developing a local registry has helped to identify complications and modify techniques.

Surgical Site Infection Rates in Seven Cities in Vietnam: Findings of the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium

Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in lower-income countries. This is the first study to report the results of surveillance on SSI stratified by surgical procedure in seven Vietnamese cities.

Methods: This was a prospective, active SSI surveillance study conducted from November 2008–December 2010 in seven hospitals using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (CDC-NHSN) definitions and methods. Surgical procedures (SPs) were classified into 26 types according to the International Classification of Diseases Edition 9 criteria.

Results: We recorded 241 SSIs, associated with 4,413 SPs (relative risk [RR] 5.5%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4.8–6.2). The highest SSI rates were found for limb amputation (25%), colon surgery (33%), and small bowel surgery (21%). Compared with CDC-NHSN SSI report, our SSI rates were higher for the following SPs: Limb amputation (25% vs. 1.3%; RR 20.0; p = 0.001); appendix surgery (8.8% vs. 3.5%; RR 2.54; 95% CI 1.3–5.1; p = 0.001); gallbladder surgery (13.7% vs. 1.7%; RR 7.76; 95% CI 1.9–32.1; p = 0.001); colon surgery (18.2% vs. 4.0%; RR 4.56; 95% CI 2.0–10.2; p = 0.001); open reduction of fracture (15.8% vs. 3.4%; RR 4.70, 95% CI 1.5–15.2; p = 0.004); gastric surgery (7.3% vs. 1.7%; RR 4.26; 95% CI 2.2–8.4, p = 0.001); kidney surgery (8.9% vs. 0.9%; RR 10.2; 95% CI 3.8–27.4; p = 0.001); prostate surgery (5.1% vs. 0.9%; RR 5.71; 95% CI 1.9–17.4; p = 0.001); small bowel surgery (20.8% vs. 6.7%; RR 3.07; 95% CI 1.7–5.6; p = 0.001); thyroid or parathyroid surgery (2.4% vs. 0.3%; RR 9.27; 95% CI 1.0–89.1; p = 0.019); and vaginal hysterectomy (14.3% vs. 1.2%; RR 12.3; 95% CI 1.7–88.4; p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our SSIs rates were significantly higher for 11 of the 26 types of SPs than for the CDC-NHSN. This study advances our knowledge of SSI epidemiology in Vietnam and will allow us to introduce targeted interventions.

Limb versus life—the outcomes of osteosarcoma in Cambodia

Osteosarcoma (OS) is a serious disease affecting mainly children and young adults. In a resource poor setting the treatment options are limited and further obstacles can be found with respect to late presenting pathology, access to modern treatment modalities such as effective chemotherapy, and cultural reluctance to undergo certain treatments. Clinical outcome studies and epidemiology for this disease in developing countries are scarce.
We report on the outcomes of 30 patients treated by the CSC, a rehabilitative surgery centre in Cambodia, from 2002 to present. Enneking staging, location, and treatment protocols were evaluated. Outcome measures were months of survival, EDQ5S life quality scores and clinically relevant inquiries. Kaplan-Meier analysis estimates and the Wilcoxon chi-square test were used for statistical inferences.
We find a grim prognosis for patients diagnosed with OS in Cambodia, 53 % survive the first year after presentation and the five-year survival stands at 8 %. There is a higher mean age for presentation of OS compared to Western norms, namely, 18.8 years and 21.7 years for females and males, respectively.
Most patients opted for surgical treatment without adjuvant chemotherapy, which is not within the means of many Cambodian patients. Acceptance of amputation, earlier diagnosis, patient education, and access to standardized chemotherapy needs to be enhanced if Cambodian patients are to have a fighting chance.