Surgical management of cervical cancer in a resource‐limited setting: One year of data from the National Cancer Institute, Sri Lanka

To evaluate the surgical management of cervical cancer without the use of preoperative pelvic imaging in a resource‐limited setting.

A retrospective study was carried out using clinical records and the ongoing electronic database at the Gynaecological Oncology Unit, National Cancer Institute (Apeksha Hospital), Maharagama, Sri Lanka. Details regarding the radical hysterectomies carried out from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, were retrospectively studied.

Out of nearly 700 patients with cervical cancer admitted during the year 2019, 57 surgically managed radical hysterectomies were included. Of these, seven cases were ineligible and excluded and 50 cases of radical hysterectomies were included for analysis. Mean age was 53.6 ± 9.5 years and median parity was 3 (range 2–4). Of the cases, 94% were found to have no parametrial involvement showing the success of clinical examination in assessing local tumor spread. Overall, 11 (22.0%) were upstaged due to lymph node metastasis that was statistically significant.

Preoperative clinical staging is a practical method in selecting surgically treatable cervical cancer in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs). Combining clinical assessment with comparatively more readily available computed tomography scans could be helpful in triaging patients for treatment of cervical cancer in LMICs.

Estimation of the National Surgical Needs in India by Enumerating the Surgical Procedures in an Urban Community Under Universal Health Coverage

11% of the global burden of disease requires surgical care or anaesthesia management or both. Some studies have estimated this burden to be as high as 30%. The Lancet Commission for Global Surgery (LCoGS) estimated that 5000 surgeries are required to meet the surgical burden of disease for 100,000 people in LMICs. Studies from LMICs, estimating surgical burden based on enumeration of surgeries, are sparse.

We performed this study in an urban population availing employees’ heath scheme in Mumbai, India. Surgical procedures performed in 2017 and 2018, under this free and equitable health scheme, were enumerated. We estimated the surgical needs for national population, based on age and sex distribution of surgeries and age standardization from our cohort.

A total of 4642 surgeries were performed per year for a population of 88,273. Cataract (22.8%), Caesareans (3.8%), surgeries for fractures (3.27%) and hernia (2.86%) were the commonest surgeries. 44.2% of surgeries belonged to the essential surgeries. We estimated 3646 surgeries would be required per 100,000 Indian population per year. One-third of these surgeries would be needed for the age group 30–49 years, in the Indian population.

A total of 3646 surgeries were estimated annually to meet the surgical needs of Indian population as compared to the global estimate of 5000 surgeries per 100,000 people. Caesarean section, cataract, surgeries for fractures and hernia are the major contributors to the surgical needs. More enumeration-based studies are needed for better estimates from rural as well as other urban areas.

Pattern of road traffic Accident and their consequences in Dhaka City

Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are one of the eight burning public health issues worldwide causing 1.3 million death every year. This study aimed to see the pattern of road traffic injuries, their consequences, and factors associated within Dhaka city. A cross-sectional study was conducted among Road Traffic Accident victims attended in three largest and tertiary care hospitals located inside the Dhaka metropolitan area through structured interviews between 25 January and 21 February 2017 with a sample size of 140. The majority of injured patients were between 18-37 years. More than 55% of injuries were severe, and intracranial injury (27.1%) was the most common type. T-junction (32.1%) and highways (31.4%) were most places for RTAs where half of the total victims were passengers. Our study indicates
age, gender, and educational status were significantly associated with consequences of RTAs (p<0.05). Moreover, among the RTAs related variables, type of vehicle, RTA type, injury place, and treatment approach found significantly associated with consequences of RTAs (P<0.05). The findings of this study could play an important role to build awareness on RTAs among policymakers and general peoples to reduce mortality due to RTIs.

Antibiotic Prescribing to Patients with Infectious and Non-Infectious Indications Admitted to Obstetrics and Gynaecology Departments in Two Tertiary Care Hospitals in Central India

Background: Patients admitted to obstetrics and gynaecology (OBGY) departments are at high risk of infections and subsequent antibiotic prescribing, which may contribute to antibiotic resistance (ABR). Although antibiotic surveillance is one of the cornerstones to combat ABR, it is rarely performed in low- and middle-income countries. Aim: To describe and compare antibiotic prescription patterns among the inpatients in OBGY departments of two tertiary care hospitals, one teaching (TH) and one nonteaching (NTH), in Central India. Methods: Data on patients’ demographics, diagnoses and prescribed antibiotics were collected prospectively for three years. Patients were divided into two categories- infectious and non-infectious diagnosis and were further divided into three groups: surgical, nonsurgical and possible-surgical indications. The data was coded based on the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system, and the International Classification of Disease system version-10 and Defined Daily Doses (DDDs) were calculated per 1000 patients. Results: In total, 5558 patients were included in the study, of those, 81% in the TH and 85% in the NTH received antibiotics (p < 0.001). Antibiotics were prescribed frequently to the inpatients in the nonsurgical group without any documented bacterial infection (TH-71%; NTH-75%). Prescribing of broad-spectrum, fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of antibiotics was more common in both categories in the NTH than in the TH. Overall, higher DDD/1000 patients were prescribed in the TH in both categories. Conclusions: Antibiotics were frequently prescribed to the patients with no documented infectious indications. Misprescribing of the broad-spectrum FDCs of antibiotics and unindicated prescribing of antibiotics point towards threat of ABR and needs urgent action. Antibiotics prescribed to the inpatients having nonbacterial infection indications is another point of concern that requires action. Investigation of underlying reasons for prescribing antibiotics for unindicated diagnoses and the development and implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs are recommended measures to improve antibiotic prescribing practice.

Evaluation of Gasless Laparoscopy as a Tool for Minimal Access Surgery in Low- to Middle-Income Countries: A Phase II Non-Inferiority Randomized Controlled Study

Background: Minimal access surgery [MAS] is not available to most people in the rural areas of Low Middle-Income Countries [LMIC]. This leads to an increase in the morbidity and the economic loss to the poor and the marginalized. The Gasless laparoscopic surgeries [GAL] are possible in rural areas as they could be carried out under spinal-anaesthesia. In most cases, it does not require the logistics of providing gases for pneumoperitoneum and general anaesthesia. The current study compares GAL with conventional Laparoscopic surgeries [COL] for general surgical procedures METHODS: A single-centre, non-blinded randomized control trial [RCT] was conducted to evaluate non – inferiority of GAL versus COL at a teaching hospital in New Delhi. Patients were allocated into two groups and underwent MAS (Cholecystectomies and appendectomies). The procedure was carried out by two surgeons by randomly choosing between GAL and COL. The data was collected by postgraduates and analyzed by a biostatistician.

Results: 100 patients who met the inclusion criteria were allocated into two groups. No significant difference was observed in the mean operating time between GAL group (52.9 min) vs COL group (55 minutes) [p=0.3]. The intraoperative vital signs were better in the GAL group [p < 0.05]. The postoperative pain score was slightly higher in the GAL group [p = 0.01]; however, it did not require additional analgesics. Conclusions: No significant differences were found between the two groups. GAL can be classed as non-inferior compared to COL and has the potential to be adopted in low resource settings.

General Thoracic Surgery Services Across Asia During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 posed an historic challenge to healthcare systems around the world. Besides mounting a massive response to the viral outbreak, healthcare systems needed to consider provision of clinical services to other patients in need. Surgical services for patients with thoracic disease were maintained to different degrees across various regions of Asia, ranging from significant reductions to near-normal service. Key determinants of robust thoracic surgery service provision included: preexisting plans for an epidemic response, aggressive early action to “flatten the curve”, ability to dedicate resources separately to COVID-19 and routine clinical services, prioritization of thoracic surgery, and the volume of COVID-19 cases in that region. The lessons learned can apply to other regions during this pandemic, and to the world, in preparation for the next one.

Uro-oncology in Times of COVID-19: The Available Evidence and Recommendations in the Indian Scenario

The Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), one of the most devastating pandemics ever, has left thousands of cancer patients to their fate. The future course of this pandemic is still an enigma, but health care services are expected to resume soon in a phased manner. This might be a long drawn process and we need to have policies in place, to be able to fight both, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cancer, simultaneously, and emerge triumphant. An extensive literature search for impact of delay in management of various urological malignancies was carried out. Expert opinions were sought wherever there was paucity of evidence, in order to reach a consensus and come up with recommendations for directing uro-oncology services in the times of COVID-19. The panel recommends deferring treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma by 3 to 6 months, except for those with ongoing hematuria and/or inferior vena cava thrombus, which warrant immediate surgery. Metastatic renal cell cancers should be started on targeted therapy. Low grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancers can be kept on active surveillance while high risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancers and muscle invasive bladder cancers should be treated within 3 months. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy should be avoided. Management of low and intermediate risk prostate cancer can be deferred for 3 to 6months while high risk prostate cancer patients can be initiated on neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy. Patients with testicular tumors should undergo high inguinal orchiectomy and be treated according to stage without delay, with stage I patients being offered surveillance. Penile cancers should undergo penectomy, while clinically negative groins can be kept on surveillance. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy should be avoided and adjuvant therapy should be deferred. We need to tailor our treatment strategies to the prevailing present conditions, so as to fight and defeat both, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cancer. Protection of health care workers, judicious use of available resources, and a rational and balanced outlook towards different malignancies is the need of the hour.

Missed opportunities for epilepsy surgery referrals in Bhutan: A cohort study

Objective: To quantify the missed opportunities for epilepsy surgery referral and operationalize the Canadian Appropriateness of Epilepsy Surgery (CASES) tool for use in a lower income country without neurologists.

Methods: People with epilepsy were recruited from the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital from 2014-2016. Each participant was clinically evaluated, underwent at least one standard EEG, and was invited to undergo a free 1.5 T brain MRI. Clinical variables required for CASES were operationalized for use in lower-income populations and entered into the free, anonymous website tool.

Findings: There were 209 eligible participants (mean age 28.4 years, 56 % female, 179 with brain MRI data). Of the 179 participants with brain MRI, 43 (24.0 %) were appropriate for an epilepsy surgery referral, 21 (11.7 %) were uncertain, and 115 (64.3 %) were inappropriate for referral. Among the 43 appropriate referral cases, 36 (83.7 %) were “very high” and 7 (16.3 %) were “high” priorities for referral. For every unit increase in surgical appropriateness, quality of life (QoL) dropped by 2.3 points (p-value 1 antiepileptic drug prior to enrollment, 42 (61.8 %) were appropriate referrals, 14 (20.6 %) were uncertain, and 12 (17.6 %) were inappropriate.

Conclusion: Approximately a quarter of Bhutanese epilepsy patients who completed evaluation in this national referral-based hospital should have been evaluated for epilepsy surgery, sometimes urgently. Surgical services for epilepsy are an emerging priority for improving global epilepsy care and should be scaled up through international partnerships and clinician support algorithms like CASES to avoid missed opportunities.

Role of Surgical Modality and Timing of Surgery as Clinical Outcome Predictors Following Acute Subdural Hematoma Evacuation

Background & objective
A Craniotomy (CO) or decompressive craniectomy (DC) are the two main surgical procedures employed for evacuation of acute traumatic subdural hematoma (ASDH). However, the optimal surgical procedure remains controversial. The beneficial effect of early surgical evacuation of acute subdural hematoma in improving outcome also remains unclear. Our objective was to study the role of these two parameters in determining the outcome in patients undergoing surgical evacuation of acute traumatic subdural hematoma.
A retrospective analysis of 58 patients presenting with acute traumatic subdural hematoma and with presenting Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) ≤ 8 that had been operated in Lahore General Hospital between June 2014 and July 2015 was performed. The demographic data, preoperative GCS, type of surgical procedure performed and timing of surgery were analysed.
Forty (69%) patients underwent CO, and eighteen (31%) patients underwent DC. The CO and DC groups showed no difference in the demographic data and preoperative GCS. Six patients survived in the craniotomy group, while none survived in the decompressive craniectomy group (p=0.083). The relationship of timing of surgery with survival in the craniotomy group was found not to be clinically significant (p=0.87).
In this study craniotomy was associated with a better outcome as compared to decompressive craniectomy, however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. Early surgery was also found not to be associated with an improved outcome.

Impact of Delaying Surgery After Chemoradiation in Rectal Cancer: Outcomes From a Tertiary Cancer Centre in India

Delaying surgery after chemoradiation is one of the strategies for increasing tumor regression in rectal cancer. Tumour regression and PCR are known to have positive impact on survival.
It’s a retrospective study of 161 patients undergoing surgery after neoadjuvant chemoradiation (NCRT) for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). Patients were divided into three categories based on the gap between NCRT and surgery, i.e., 12 weeks. Tumor regression grades (TRG), sphincter preservation, post-operative morbidity-mortality and survival were evaluated.
Sphincter preservation was significantly less in >12 weeks group compared to the other two groups (P=0.003). Intraoperative blood loss was significantly higher in >12 weeks group compared to 8-12 weeks group (P=0.001).There was no difference in major postoperative morbidity and hospital stay among the groups. There was no significant correlation between delay and TRG (P=0.644). At Median follow up of 49.5 months the projected 3-year overall survival (OS) and disease free survival (DFS) were not significantly different among the 3 groups (OS: 79.5% vs. 83.3% vs. 76.5%; P=0.849 and DFS 50.4% vs. 70.6% vs. 62%; P=0.270 respectively).
Delaying surgery by more than 12 weeks causes more blood loss but no change in morbidity or hospital stay. Increased time interval between radiation and surgery does not improve tumor regression and has no effect on survival.