International Neurosurgery Activity after 2020- Silver Linings from the Covid-19 Pandemic & Lessons from the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS)

Every cloud has a silver lining,” and indeed, every crisis provides opportunities for learning lessons and changing tactics. Nobody could have foreseen what happened because of the Covid-19 disease, from the unfolding outbreak stages to the epidemic, and now a global pandemic; second and possibly third waves into 2021, and 2 million deaths and 98 million confirmed infections globally as of 25th January 2021. The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) canceled all major on-site activities in 2020; This included all three cycles of our flagship event, the residential Training Courses for Residents in Neurosurgery, as well as various hands-on courses (table 1). However, amidst the chaos, suffering, and lockdown, and the uncertainties of traveling, hotel availabilities, and quarantines, the opportunity arose to convert some events to an online version. Several organizations and societies acted along the same lines, and there has been an explosion of webinars and videoconferencing on a variety of platforms.

The EANS organized two important events online. The first was the “7th Annual EANS Vascular Section Meeting” (7-8th September 2020). A small-scale event previously (68 in-person attendees) was converted to a large-scale one with 1090 registrations and 409 attendees. Even though not everyone who registered attended, this still represented a 600% increase. There was also a 389% increase in the assistance countries from 19 in 2019 to 74 in 2020, surpassing all expectations

Management of major obstetric hemorrhage prior to peripartum hysterectomy and outcomes across nine European countries

Peripartum hysterectomy is applied as a surgical intervention of last resort for major obstetric hemorrhage. It is performed in an emergency setting except for women with a strong suspicion of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS), where it may be anticipated before cesarean section. The aim of this study was to compare management strategies in the case of obstetric hemorrhage leading to hysterectomy, between nine European countries participating in the International Network of Obstetric Survey Systems (INOSS), and to describe pooled maternal and neonatal outcomes following peripartum hysterectomy.

Material and methods
We merged data from nine nationwide or multi‐regional obstetric surveillance studies performed in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK collected between 2004 and 2016. Hysterectomies performed from 22 gestational weeks up to 48 h postpartum due to obstetric hemorrhage were included. Stratifying women with and without PAS, procedures performed in the management of obstetric hemorrhage prior to hysterectomy between countries were counted and compared. Prevalence of maternal mortality, complications after hysterectomy and neonatal adverse events (stillbirth or neonatal mortality) were calculated.

A total of 1302 women with peripartum hysterectomy were included. In women without PAS who had major obstetric hemorrhage leading to hysterectomy, uterotonics administration was lowest in Slovakia (48/73, 66%) and highest in Denmark (25/27, 93%), intrauterine balloon use was lowest in Slovakia (1/72, 1%) and highest in Denmark (11/27, 41%), and interventional radiology varied between 0/27 in Denmark and Slovakia to 11/59 (79%) in Belgium. In women with PAS, uterotonics administration was lowest in Finland (5/16, 31%) and highest in the UK (84/103, 82%), intrauterine balloon use varied between 0/14 in Belgium and Slovakia to 29/103 (28%) in the UK. Interventional radiology was lowest in Denmark (0/16) and highest in Finland (9/15, 60%). Maternal mortality occurred in 14/1226 (1%), the most common complications were hematologic (95/1202, 8%) and respiratory (81/1101, 7%). Adverse neonatal events were observed in 79/1259 (6%) births.

Management of obstetric hemorrhage in women who eventually underwent peripartum hysterectomy varied greatly between these nine European countries. This potentially life‐saving procedure is associated with substantial adverse maternal and neonatal outcome.

Clinical course and short-term outcome of postsplenectomy reactive thrombocytosis in children without myeloproliferative disorders: A single institutional experience from a developing country

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical outcome and complications in the pediatric population who had splenectomy at our institution, emphasizing the incidence of postplenectomy reactive thrombocytosis (RT) and its clinical significance in children without underlying hematological malignancies.

Materials and methods: The medical records of pediatric patients undergoing splenectomy were retrospectively reviewed for the period 1999-2018. The following variables were analyzed: Demographic parameters (age, sex), indications for surgery, operative procedures, preoperative and postoperative platelet count (postplenectomy RT), the use of anticoagulant therapy, and postoperative complications. The patients were divided into two groups according to indications for splenectomy: The non-neoplastic hematology group and the non-hematology group (splenectomy for trauma or other spleen non-hematological pathology).

Results: Fifty-two pediatric (37 male and 15 female) patients who underwent splenectomy at our institution were reviewed. Thirty-four patients (65%) were in the non-hematological group (splenic rupture, cysts, and abscess) and 18 patients (35%) in the non-neoplastic hematological group (hereditary spherocytosis and immune thrombocytopenia). The two groups did not differ significantly in regards to the patients’ age, sex, and preoperative platelet count (P>0.05 for all variables). Forty-nine patients (94.2%) developed postplenectomy RT. The percentages of mild, moderate and extreme thrombocytosis were 48.9%, 30.7%, and 20.4%, respectively. The comparisons of RT patients between the non-neoplastic hematology and the non-hematology group revealed no significant differences in regards to the patients’ age, sex, preoperative and postoperative platelet counts, preoperative and postoperative leukocyte counts, and the average length of hospital stay (P>0.05 for all variables). None of the patients from the cohort was affected by any thrombotic or hemorrhagic complications.

Conclusions: We confirm that RT is a very common event following splenectomy, but in this study it was not associated with clinically evident thrombotic or hemorrhagic complications in children undergoing splenectomy for trauma, structural lesions or non-neoplastic hematological disorders.

Incidence of Keratoconus in Refractive Surgery Population of Vojvodina – Single Center Study

Keratoconus (KCN) is known to affect all ethnicities but its incidence exhibits geographical variability plausibly due to subclinical forms of the disease, differences in diagnostic methods and criteria, or differences in genetic variations in populations.
To examine the prevalence of keratoconus among the refractive surgery population of Vojvodina, who underwent refractive surgery screening at Eye Clinic Svjetlost Novi Sad, Serbia from September 2018 to September 2019. This is a single-center study.
Retrospective analysis of 876 patients who presented for refractive surgery evaluation. Corneal tomographers represent the gold standard in the detection and classification of corneal ectatic diseases and screening is an essential part of the preoperative diagnostics before any refractive surgery. The corneal tomographer used in this study was a Scheimpflug imaging device (Pentacam AXL, Oculus Optikgeräte GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany). The device was realigned before each measurement.
Out of a total number of patients, 619 (70,7%) were candidates for corneal refractive surgery procedure, and 257 patients (29.3%) were not. Out of 257 patients that were not candidates for the procedure 157 (61,0%) patients had thin corneas, high myopia/hypermetropia or had some retinal disease; 75 patients (29,1) were keratoconus suspect and 25 patients (9,7%) had keratoconus. KCN patients had a mean age of 29.5 ± 7.7 years, 18 patients (72.0%) were male and 7 patients were female (28%)
The most cited annual incidence of KCN is 2 approximately 1 per 2,000. Recent data from the biggest Netherland study revealed many different epidemiological results which deprive keratoconus of the community of rare diseases. The incidence of keratoconus in Vojvodina refractive surgery population presented in our Clinic was 2.9%