Alliance for the development of the Argentinian Hip Fracture Registry

Summary
Age expectancy has significantly increased over the last 50 years, as well as some age-related health conditions such as hip fractures. The development of hip fracture registries has shown enhanced patient outcomes through quality improvement strategies. The development of the Argentinian Hip Fracture Registry is going in the same direction.

Introduction
Age expectancy has increased worldwide in the last 50 years, with the population over 64 growing from 4.9 to 9.1%. As fractures are an important problem in this age group, specific approaches such as hip fracture registries (HFR) are needed. Our aim is to communicate the Argentinian HFR (AHFR) development resulting from an alliance between Fundación Trauma, Fundación Navarro Viola, and the Argentinian Network of Hip Fracture in the elderly.

Methods
Between October 2020 and May 2021, an iterative consensus process involving 5 specialty-focused meetings and 8 general meetings with more than 20 specialists was conducted. This process comprised inclusion criteria definitions, dataset proposals, website deployment with data protection and user validation, the definition of hospital-adjusted registry levels, implementation planning, and sustainability strategies.

Results
By June 2021, we were able to (1) outline data fields, including epidemiological, clinical, and functional dimensions for the pre-admission, hospitalization, discharge, and follow-up stages; (2) define three levels: basic (53 fields), intermediate (85), and advanced (99); (3) identify 21 benchmarking indicators; and (4) make a correlation scheme among fracture classifications. Simultaneously, we launched a fundraising campaign to implement the AHFR in 30 centers, having completed 18.

Conclusion
AHFR development was based on four pillars: (1) representativeness and support, (2) solid definitions from onset, (3) committed teams, and (4) stable funding. This tool may contribute to the design of evidence-based health policies to improve patient outcomes, and we hope this experience will help other LMICs to develop their own tailored-to-their-needs registries.

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures for Acetabular Fractures Treated Operatively without a C-Arm in Ethiopia

Background:
There is little evidence describing the open treatment of displaced acetabular fractures in low-resource environments. We endeavored to determine the results of the operative management of acetabular fractures without intraoperative C-arm use in a developing nation, through the assessment of patient-reported outcome measures.

Methods:
This was a prospective, single-surgeon, consecutive case series conducted in a tertiary referral hospital in Ethiopia, a high-population, low-income country. The primary author performed fixation without the use of a C-arm in 108 patients from among a total of 202 patients presenting with acetabular fracture. The modified Harris hip score (mHHS) and Short-Form Health Survey (SF)-36 at a minimum of 2 years postoperatively were used to assess the outcome.

Results:
Of the 108 patients potentially available for analysis, 92 (85%) were available for 2-year follow-up (mean age of 35 years; range, 15 to 70 years). The mean duration from injury to surgery was 16 days (range, 1 to 204 days). Seventy-three (78.5%; n = 93) of the patients had associated fracture patterns. The most common fractures were associated both-column type (22%) and transverse-plus-posterior-wall type (22%). The mean mHHS was 91; 88% of the patients had a score of ≥80, and 12% had a score of ≤79. SF-36 scores were in alignment with the mHHS. The majority (approximately 90%) of our cohort returned to work. We did not find a significant difference in the mean mHHS between patients with or without anatomic reduction (p = 0.31). However, 2-year radiographic outcomes were strongly associated with the mean mHHS (p < 0.001). Predictors of a lower mHHS included older age, cartilage damage, and lack of secondary congruence. Conclusions: Good functional outcomes were achieved at 2 years among patients with acetabular fractures surgically treated without the use of a C-arm in a limited-resource setting. Surgical congruence of the femoral head under the acetabular roof, rather than the absolute residual gap, seems essential in determining clinical outcomes. This information can help in planning increased access to care for individuals who experience traumatic injuries in low- and middle-income countries.

Hospitalized for poverty: orthopaedic discharge delays due to financial hardship in a tertiary hospital in Northern Tanzania

Background
Musculoskeletal injury contributes significantly to the burden of disease in Tanzania and other LMICs. For hospitals to cope financially with this burden, they often mandate that patients pay their entire hospital bill before leaving the hospital. This creates a phenomenon of patients who remain hospitalized solely due to financial hardship. This study aims to characterize the impact of this policy on patients and hospital systems in resource-limited settings.

Methods
A mixed-methods study using retrospective medical record review and semi-structured interviews was conducted at a tertiary hospital in Moshi, Tanzania. Information regarding patient demographics, injury type, days spent in the ward after medical clearance for discharge, and hospital invoices were collected and analyzed for orthopaedic patients treated from November 2016 to June 2017.

Results
346 of the 867 orthopaedic patients (39.9%) treated during this time period were found to have spent additional days in the hospital due to their inability to pay their hospital bill. Of these patients, 72 patient charts were analyzed. These 72 patients spent an average of 9 additional days in the hospital due to financial hardship (range: 1–64 days; interquartile range: 2–10.5 days). They spent an average of 112,958 Tanzanian Shillings (TSH) to pay for services received following medical clearance for discharge, representing 12.3% of the average total bill (916,840 TSH). 646 hospital bed-days were spent on these 72 patients when they no longer clinically required hospitalization. 7 (9.7%) patients eloped from the hospital without paying and 24 (33.3%) received financial assistance from the hospital’s social welfare office.

Conclusions
Many patients do not have the financial capacity to pay hospital fees prior to discharge. This reality has added significantly to these patients’ overall financial hardship and has taken hundreds of bed-days from other critically ill patients. This single-institution, cross-sectional study provides a deeper understanding of this phenomenon and highlights the need for changes in the healthcare payment structure in Tanzania and other comparable settings.

Virtual reality technology in linked orthopaedic training in Ethiopia

Introduction
We describe the feasibility of delivering a live orthopaedic surgical teaching session with virtual reality (VR) technology simultaneously for trainee surgeons in Ethiopia and the UK.

Methods
Forty-three delegates from the Severn Deanery in the UK (n=30) and Bahir Dar in Ethiopia (n=13) attended a live training session in February 2021. During the session, participants watched a surgical operation (recorded earlier that week with a 360° VR camera) alongside live commentary. A qualitative questionnaire was distributed to gauge feasibility, connectivity and educational value of the session as well as its VR component.

Results
The majority of delegates from both the UK and Ethiopia felt that the use of VR technology to aid surgical training is feasible, that it is useful for learning surgical approaches, that it aids surgical performance and that it is superior to conventional resources. Bahir Dar residents strongly agreed that VR simulation videos would allow trainees to supplement reduced learning opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and help to counteract their reduced operating experience. For Bahir Dar trainees, a lack of a stable internet connection for large VR files was the predominant issue.

Conclusions
This study demonstrates that there are infrastructure challenges in low and middle income countries (LMICs) in terms of the reliable delivery of VR teaching in orthopaedics at the current time. Despite this, our findings better inform the potential role of VR technology in surgical education, and shed light on the possibility for it to feed into and enrich surgical training in both LMICs and high income countries.

Decolonizing Global Surgery

By bringing health professionals across a variety of disciplines together, we are able to share strategies and create solutions for improving surgical care to these under-serviced regions. The Bethune Round Table 2022 took place virtually, June 16 – 19 and was hosted by BGSC,in co-operation with the Canadian Network for International Surgery. The theme for the BRT 2022 was “Decolonizing Global Surgery”.

The conference program consisted of 28 panelists and speakers and 98 abstracts (46 podium presentations and 52 posters) touching upon diverse aspects of global surgery including women in surgery, indigenous health, and sustainability in global partnerships. All sessions were recorded, including abstracts. All the abstracts presented are contained within this document.

Early detection and treatment of clubfoot in a rural setting in South Africa

Clubfoot is one of the most common musculoskeletal congenital disorders and annually affects around 174 000 babies worldwide. Untreated clubfoot leads to significant permanent impairment and problems with ambulation, thus presenting a potential public health dilemma. Clubfoot can however be corrected with a non-surgical method referred to as the Ponseti method. This gives a child normal, pain free mobility and the potential to grow up as a productive member of society. Treatment for clubfoot needs to be implemented as soon as possible after birth of the child to produce the best results and avoid possible relapse of the clubfoot. Diagnosis and treatment of clubfoot starting at, or later than three months of age, is regarded as late detection and treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the healthcare-seeking behaviour of guardians of children with clubfoot at or after the age of three months to promote early detection and treatment. A qualitative study was conducted to explore the reasons for seeking healthcare at Ponseti clinics for children that were three months or older; and to describe the challenges that the guardians experienced in seeking healthcare for their children. Data collection was done through semi-structured interviews at two public sector hospitals in KwaZulu Natal Province. Two major themes emerged from the study, namely discovering the clubfoot deformity, and the challenges guardians experienced in seeking healthcare for their children with clubfoot. There is a lack of knowledge about clubfoot resulting in late detection and initiation of treatment; and that clubfoot is a treatable condition which can result in the child leading a normal life if treated with the Ponseti method. Participants attending antenatal care were not informed by health practitioners of clubfoot being a potential birth defect. In some cases, guardians approached health practitioners early, but were referred late to a Ponseti clinic. Guardians in the study experienced several challenges when seeking healthcare for their children, including financial, transport and family responsibility challenges. They described having a child with clubfoot as an emotionally taxing journey. Recommendations are made for education, practice, policy, and research. An information brochure was designed to promote early detection and treatment of clubfoot.

The magnitude and perceived reasons for childhood cancer treatment abandonment in Ethiopia: from health care providers’ perspective

Background
Treatment abandonment is one of major reasons for childhood cancer treatment failure and low survival rate in low- and middle-income countries. Ethiopia plans to reduce abandonment rate by 60% (2019–2023), but baseline data and information about the contextual risk factors that influence treatment abandonment are scarce.

Methods
This cross-sectional study was conducted from September 5 to 22, 2021, on the three major pediatric oncology centers in Ethiopia. Data on the incidence and reasons for treatment abandonment were obtained from healthcare professionals. We were unable to obtain data about the patients’ or guardians’ perspective because the information available in the cancer registry was incomplete to contact adequate number of respondents. We used a validated, semi-structured questionnaire developed by the International Society of Pediatric Oncology Abandonment Technical Working Group. We included all (N = 38) health care professionals (physicians, nurses, and social workers) working at these centers who had more than one year of experience in childhood cancer service provision (a universal sampling and 100% response rate).

Results
The perceived mean abandonment rate in Ethiopia is 34% (SE 2.5%). The risk of treatment abandonment is dependent on the type of cancer (high for bone sarcoma and brain tumor), the phase of treatment and treatment outcome. The highest risk is during maintenance and treatment failure or relapse for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and during pre- or post-surgical phase for Wilms tumor and bone sarcoma. The major influencing risk factors in Ethiopia includes high cost of care, low economic status, long travel time to treatment centers, long waiting time, belief in the incurability of cancer and poor public awareness about childhood cancer.

Conclusions
The perceived abandonment rate in Ethiopia is high, and the risk of abandonment varies according to the type of cancer, phase of treatment or treatment outcome. Therefore, mitigation strategies to reduce the abandonment rate should include identifying specific risk factors and prioritizing strategies based on their level of influence, effectiveness, feasibility, and affordability.

Open tibial shaft fracture management in Argentina: an evaluation of treatment standards in diverse resource settings

Background:
Argentina is a country with varying access to orthopedic surgical care. The Argentine Association of Trauma and Orthopedics (AATO) “Interior Committee” was developed to address potential regional differences and promote standardization of orthopedic trauma care. The paper assesses the level of national standardization of the management of open tibia fractures across 9 provinces in Argentina.

Methods:
Utilizing a matched-comparison group design, management of these injuries were assessed and compared between 3 groups: an “AATO Exterior Committee” consisting of surgeons that practice in Buenos Aires, and 2 “Interior Committees,” comprising surgeons that practice in outlying provinces, 1 of which is affiliated with the AATO, and 1 that is not affiliated with the AATO. The study was conducted in 2 phases: phase 1 assessed open tibia fracture management characteristics, and phase 2 evaluated the management of soft-tissue wound coverage following open fractures.

Results:
Soft-tissue coverage procedures for Gustilo Anderson Type IIIB fractures were more commonly performed by orthopedic surgeons in Interior Committees than the AATO Exterior Committee. Greater rates of definitive wound coverage within 7 days post-injury were reported in both Interior Committees compared to the Exterior Committee. Plastic surgeons were reported as more available to those in the AATO Exterior Committee group than in the AATO Interior Committees.

Conclusion:
While treatment patterns were evident among groups, differences were identified in the management and timing of soft-tissue coverage in Gustilo Anderson Type IIIB fractures between the Exterior Committee and both Interior Committees. Future targeted educational and surgical hands-on training opportunities that emphasize challenges faced in resource-limited settings may improve the management of open tibia fractures in Argentina.

Scarf Injury: a qualitative examination of the emergency response and acute care pathway from a unique mechanism of road traffic injury in Bangladesh

Background
Road traffic injuries (RTI) are the leading cause of death worldwide in children over 5 and adults aged 18–29. Nonfatal RTIs result in 20–50 million annual injuries. In Bangladesh, a new mechanism of RTI has emerged over the past decade known as a ‘scarf injury.’ Scarf injuries occur when scarves, part of traditional female dress, are caught in the driveshaft of an autorickshaw. The mechanism of injury results in novel, strangulation-like cervical spine trauma. This study aimed to understand the immediate emergency response, acute care pathway, and subsequent functional and health outcomes for survivors of scarf injuries.

Methods
Key informant interviews were conducted with female scarf injury survivors (n = 12), caregivers (n = 6), and health care workers (n = 15). Themes and subthemes were identified via inductive content analysis, then applied to the three-delay model to examine specific breakdowns in pre-hospital care and provide a basis for future interventions.

Findings
Over half of the scarf injury patients were between the ages of 10 and 15. All but two were tetraplegic. Participants emphasized less than optimal patient outcomes were due to unawareness of scarf injuries and spinal cord injuries among the general public and health professionals; unsafe and inefficient bystander first aid and transportation; and high cost of acute health care.

Conclusions
Females in Bangladesh are at significant risk of sustaining serious and life-threatening trauma through scarf injuries in autorickshaws, further worsened through inadequate care along the trauma care pathway. Interventions designed to increase awareness and knowledge of basic SCI care at the community and provider level would likely improve health and functional outcomes

Expanding Access to Microneurosurgery in Low-Resource Settings: Feasibility of a Low-Cost Exoscope in Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Objectives Less than a quarter of the world population has access to microneurosurgical care within a range of 2 hours. We introduce a simplified exoscopic visualization system to achieve optical magnification, illumination, and video recording in low-resource settings.

Materials and Methods We purchased a 48 megapixels industrial microscope camera with a heavy-duty support arm, a wide field c-mount lens, and an LED ring light at a total cost of US$ 125. Sixteen patients with lumbar degenerative disk disease were divided into an exoscope group and a conventional microscope group. In each group we performed four open and four minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedures. We further conducted a questionnaire-based assessment of the user experience.

Results The overall user experience was positive. The exoscope achieved similar postoperative improvement with comparable blood loss and operating time as the conventional microscope. It provided a similar image quality, magnification and illumination. Yet, the lack of stereoscopic perception and the cumbersome adjustability of the camera position and angle resulted in a shallow learning curve. Most users strongly agreed that the exoscope would significantly improve surgical teaching. Over 75% reported they would recommend the exoscope to colleagues and all users saw its great potential for low-resource environments.

Conclusion Our low-budget exoscope is technically non-inferior to the conventional binocular microscope and purchasable at a significantly lower price. It may thus help expand access to neurosurgical care and training worldwide.