Equitable access to quality trauma systems in Low and Middle Income Countries

Injuries in low-income and middle-income countries are prevalent and their number is expected to increase. Death and disability after injury can be reduced if people reach healthcare facilities in a timely manner. Knowledge of barriers to access to quality injury care is necessary to intervene to improve outcomes. We combined a four-delay framework with WHO Building Blocks and Institution of Medicine Quality Outcomes Frameworks to describe barriers to trauma care in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, South Africa and Rwanda. We used a parallel convergent mixed-methods research design, integrating the results to enable a holistic analysis of the barriers to access to quality injury care. Data were collected using surveys of patient experiences of injury care, interviews and focus group discussions with patients and community leaders, and a survey of policy-makers and healthcare leaders on the governance context for injury care. We identified 121 barriers across all three countries. Of these, 31 (25.6%) were shared across countries. More than half (18/31, 58%) were predominantly related to delay 3 (‘Delays to receiving quality care’). The majority of the barriers were captured using just one of the multiple methods, emphasising the need to use multiple methods to identify all barriers. Given there are many barriers to access to quality care for peoplewho have been injured in Rwanda, Ghana and South Africa, but few of these are shared across countries, solutions to overcome these barriers may also be contextually dependent. This suggests the need for rigorous assessments of contexts using multiple data collection methods before developing interventions to improve access to quality car

Effect of Delay of Care for Patients with Craniomaxillofacial Trauma in Rwanda

Objectives
Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma represents a significant proportion of global surgical disease burden, disproportionally affecting low- and middle-income countries where care is often delayed. We investigated risk factors for delays to care for patients with CMF trauma presenting to the highest-volume trauma hospital in Rwanda and the impact on complication rates.

Study Design
This prospective cohort study comprised all patients with CMF trauma presenting to the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda, between June 1 and October 1, 2020.

Setting
Urban referral center in resource-limited setting.

Methods
Epidemiologic data were collected, and logistic regression analysis was undertaken to explore risk factors for delays in care and complications.

Results
Fifty-four patients (94.4% men) met criteria for inclusion. The mean age was 30 years. A majority of patients presented from a rural setting (n = 34, 63%); the most common cause of trauma was motor vehicle accident (n = 18, 33%); and the most common injury was mandibular fracture (n = 28, 35%). An overall 78% of patients had delayed treatment of the fracture after arrival to the hospital, and 81% of these patients experienced a complication (n = 34, P = .03). Delay in treatment was associated with 4-times greater likelihood of complication (odds ratio, 4.25 [95% CI, 1.08-16.70]; P = .038).

Conclusion
Delay in treatment of CMF traumatic injuries correlates with higher rates of complications. Delays most commonly resulted from a lack of surgeon and/or operating room availability or were related to transfers from rural districts. Expansion of the CMF trauma surgical workforce, increased operative capacity, and coordinated transfer care efforts may improve trauma care.

Epidemiology of adult trauma injuries in Malawi: results from a multisite trauma registry

Background
Large-scale multisite trauma registries with broad geographic coverage in low-income countries are rare. This lack of systematic trauma data impedes effective policy responses.

Methods
All patients presenting with trauma at 10 hospitals in Malawi from September 2018 to March 2020 were enrolled in a prospective registry. Using data from 49,241 cases, we analyze prevalence, causes, and distribution of trauma in adult patients, and timeliness of transport to health facilities and treatment.

Results
Falls were the most common mechanism of injury overall, but road traffic crashes (RTCs) were the most common mechanism of serious injury, accounting for (48%) of trauma admissions. This pattern was consistent across all central and district hospitals, with only one hospital recording  55, Glasgow Coma Score < 12, and presentation at hospital on a weekend.

Conclusions
RTCs make up almost half of hospitalized trauma cases in this setting, are equally common in referral and district hospitals, and are an important predictor of injury severity. Pedestrians and cyclists are just as affected as those in vehicles. Many of those injured in vehicles do not take adequate safety precautions. Most trauma patients, including those with serious injuries, do not receive prompt medical attention. Greater attention to safety for both motorized and especially non-motorized road users, and more timely, higher quality emergency medical services, are important policy priorities for Malawi and other developing countries with high burdens of RTC trauma.

Evaluation of Computed Tomography Scoring Systems in the Prediction of Short-Term Mortality in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients from a Low- to Middle-Income Country

The present study aims to evaluate the accuracy of the prognostic discrimination and prediction of the short-term mortality of the Marshall computed tomography (CT) classification and Rotterdam and Helsinki CT scores in a cohort of TBI patients from a low- to middle-income country. This is a post hoc analysis of a previously conducted prospective cohort study conducted in a university-associated, tertiary-level hospital that serves a population of >12 million in Brazil. Marshall CT class, Rotterdam and Helsinki scores, and their components were evaluated in the prediction of 14-day and in-hospital mortality using Nagelkerk’s pseudo-R2 and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. Multi-variate regression was performed using known outcome predictors (age, Glasgow Coma Scale, pupil response, hypoxia, hypotension, and hemoglobin values) to evaluate the increase in variance explained when adding each of the CT classification systems. Four hundred forty-seven patients were included. Mean age of the patient cohort was 40 (standard deviation, 17.83) years, and 85.5% were male. Marshall CT class was the least accurate model, showing pseudo-R2 values equal to 0.122 for 14-day mortality and 0.057 for in-hospital mortality, whereas Rotterdam CT scores were 0.245 and 0.194 and Helsinki CT scores were 0.264 and 0.229. The AUC confirms the best prediction of the Rotterdam and Helsinki CT scores regarding the Marshall CT class, which presented greater discriminative ability. When associated with known outcome predictors, Marshall CT class and Rotterdam and Helsinki CT scores showed an increase in the explained variance of 2%, 13.4%, and 21.6%, respectively. In this study, Rotterdam and Helsinki scores were more accurate models in predicting short-term mortality. The study denotes a contribution to the process of external validation of the scores and may collaborate with the best risk stratification for patients with this important pathology.

Clinicopathological Patterns and Surgical Outcomes of Primary Brain Tumors Managed at a Tertiary Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania:a Cross-sectional Analysis

Purpose: The epidemiology of brain tumors varies globally between different countries and there is observed poor outcomes in lower- and middle-income countries. Our aim is to analyze the clinicopathological pattern of intracranial tumors in our setting and their post-surgical outcomes.

Methods: This is a retrospective study. Data was obtained from clinical records of patients with intracranial tumors treated at our neurosurgery unit between 2019 and 2020. Only patients with primary brain tumors who underwent surgical intervention were included. Analysis was done to identify factors associated with patient outcomes (mortality/survival and performance status).

Results: 39 patients with primary brain tumors underwent surgery (adults 72.8%, males 53.8%, mean age 35.8years). Gliomas (46.2%) comprised the most common tumor diagnosis overall and craniopharyngiomas were the most common tumors in pediatric patients (27.3%). Most patients (83.3%) had a poor performance status before surgery. Gross tumor resection (25.6%) was low and few patients (31.4%) underwent adjuvant therapy. 30-day mortality rate (10.3%) and one year mortality rate (46.2%) were high. Pediatric patients had a much worse outcome (46.2% mortality rate compared to 25% in adults, and 80% with poor performance status) as did males (38.1% mortality rate compared to 27.8% in females). Gliomas accounted for majority (69.2%) of the deaths.

Conclusion: Delayed presentation and poor access to adjuvant therapies are important contributors of the high mortality and abandonment of treatment. Inadequate long-term follow-up is a hinderance to optimal neurooncological care in our setting.

Patterns and Surgical Outcomes of Primary Brain Tumors Managed at a Tertiary Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania: a Cross-sectional Analysis

Purpose: The epidemiology of brain tumors varies globally between different countries and there is observed poor outcomes in lower- and middle-income countries. Our aim is to analyze the clinicopathological pattern of intracranial tumors in our setting and their post-surgical outcomes.

Methods: This is a retrospective study. Data was obtained from clinical records of patients with intracranial tumors treated at our neurosurgery unit between 2019 and 2020. Only patients with primary brain tumors who underwent surgical intervention were included. Analysis was done to identify factors associated with patient outcomes (mortality/survival and performance status).

Results: 39 patients with primary brain tumors underwent surgery (adults 72.8%, males 53.8%, mean age 35.8years). Gliomas (46.2%) comprised the most common tumor diagnosis overall and craniopharyngiomas were the most common tumors in pediatric patients (27.3%). Most patients (83.3%) had a poor performance status before surgery. Gross tumor resection (25.6%) was low and few patients (31.4%) underwent adjuvant therapy. 30-day mortality rate (10.3%) and one year mortality rate (46.2%) were high. Pediatric patients had a much worse outcome (46.2% mortality rate compared to 25% in adults, and 80% with poor performance status) as did males (38.1% mortality rate compared to 27.8% in females). Gliomas accounted for majority (69.2%) of the deaths.

Conclusion: Delayed presentation and poor access to adjuvant therapies are important contributors of the high mortality and abandonment of treatment. Inadequate long-term follow-up is a hinderance to optimal neurooncological care in our setting.

Casemix, management, and mortality of patients receiving emergency neurosurgery for traumatic brain injury in the Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study: a prospective observational cohort study

Background
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is increasingly recognised as being responsible for a substantial proportion of the global burden of disease. Neurosurgical interventions are an important aspect of care for patients with TBI, but there is little epidemiological data available on this patient population. We aimed to characterise differences in casemix, management, and mortality of patients receiving emergency neurosurgery for TBI across different levels of human development.

Methods
We did a prospective observational cohort study of consecutive patients with TBI undergoing emergency neurosurgery, in a convenience sample of hospitals identified by open invitation, through international and regional scientific societies and meetings, individual contacts, and social media. Patients receiving emergency neurosurgery for TBI in each hospital’s 30-day study period were all eligible for inclusion, with the exception of patients undergoing insertion of an intracranial pressure monitor only, ventriculostomy placement only, or a procedure for drainage of a chronic subdural haematoma. The primary outcome was mortality at 14 days postoperatively (or last point of observation if the patient was discharged before this time point). Countries were stratified according to their Human Development Index (HDI)—a composite of life expectancy, education, and income measures—into very high HDI, high HDI, medium HDI, and low HDI tiers. Mixed effects logistic regression was used to examine the effect of HDI on mortality while accounting for and quantifying between-hospital and between-country variation.

Findings
Our study included 1635 records from 159 hospitals in 57 countries, collected between Nov 1, 2018, and Jan 31, 2020. 328 (20%) records were from countries in the very high HDI tier, 539 (33%) from countries in the high HDI tier, 614 (38%) from countries in the medium HDI tier, and 154 (9%) from countries in the low HDI tier. The median age was 35 years (IQR 24–51), with the oldest patients in the very high HDI tier (median 54 years, IQR 34–69) and the youngest in the low HDI tier (median 28 years, IQR 20–38). The most common procedures were elevation of a depressed skull fracture in the low HDI tier (69 [45%]), evacuation of a supratentorial extradural haematoma in the medium HDI tier (189 [31%]) and high HDI tier (173 [32%]), and evacuation of a supratentorial acute subdural haematoma in the very high HDI tier (155 [47%]). Median time from injury to surgery was 13 h (IQR 6–32). Overall mortality was 18% (299 of 1635). After adjustment for casemix, the odds of mortality were greater in the medium HDI tier (odds ratio [OR] 2·84, 95% CI 1·55–5·2) and high HDI tier (2·26, 1·23–4·15), but not the low HDI tier (1·66, 0·61–4·46), relative to the very high HDI tier. There was significant between-hospital variation in mortality (median OR 2·04, 95% CI 1·17–2·49).

Interpretation
Patients receiving emergency neurosurgery for TBI differed considerably in their admission characteristics and management across human development settings. Level of human development was associated with mortality. Substantial opportunities to improve care globally were identified, including reducing delays to surgery. Between-hospital variation in mortality suggests changes at an institutional level could influence outcome and comparative effectiveness research could identify best practices.

Funding
National Institute for Health Research Global Health Research Group.

Evaluating Shifts in Perception After a Pilot Trauma Quality Improvement Training Course in Cameroon

Introduction
Trauma is a major contributor to the global burden of disease, with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) being disproportionately affected. Trauma Quality Improvement (QI) initiatives could potentially save an estimated two million lives each year. Successful trauma QI initiatives rely on adequate training and a culture of quality among hospital staff. This study evaluated the effect of a pilot trauma QI training course on participants’ perceptions on leadership, medical errors, and the QI process in Cameroon.

Methods
Study participants took part in a three-day, eight-module course training on trauma QI methods and applications. Perceptions on leadership, medical errors, and QI were assessed pre and post-course using a 15-item survey measured on a five-point Likert scale. Median pre- and post-course scores were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Knowledge retention and course satisfaction were also evaluated in a post-course survey and evaluation.

Results
A majority of the 25 course participants completed pre-course (92%) and post-course (80%) surveys. Participants’ perceptions of safety and comfort discussing medical errors at work significantly increased post-course (pre-median = 5, IQR [4-5]; post-median = 5, IQR [5-5]; P = 0.046). The belief that individuals responsible for medical error should be held accountable significantly decreased after the course (pre-median = 3, IQR [2-4]; post-median = 1, IQR [1-2]; P < 0.001). Overall satisfaction with the course was high with median scores ≥4. Conclusions These initial results suggest that targeted trauma QI training effectively influences attitudes about QI. Further investigation of the effect of the trauma QI training on hospital staff in larger courses is warranted to assess reproducibility of these findings.

Antibiotic resistance among bacteria isolated from war-wounded patients at the Weapon Traumatology Training Center of the International Committee of the Red Cross from 2016 to 2019: a secondary analysis of WHONET surveillance data

A substantial body of evidence has recently emphasized the risks associated with antibiotic resistance (ABR) in conflicts in the Middle East. War-related, and more specifically weapon-related wounds can be an important breeding ground for multidrug resistant (MDR) organisms. However, the majority of available evidence comes from the military literature focused on risks and patterns of ABR in infections from combat-related injuries among military personnel. The overall aim of this study is to contribute to the scarce existing evidence on the burden of ABR among patients, including civilians with war-related wounds in the Middle East, in order to help inform the revision of empirical antibiotic prophylaxis and treatment protocols adopted in these settings. The primary objectives of this study are to: 1) describe the microbiology and the corresponding resistance profiles of the clinically relevant bacteria most commonly isolated from skin, soft tissue and bone biopsies in patients admitted to the WTTC; and 2) describe the association of the identified bacteria and corresponding resistance profiles with sociodemographic and specimen characteristics.

Epidemiological characteristics of injury in Georgia: A one-year retrospective study

Introduction
Injury is a major health problem worldwide and a leading cause of death and disability. Disability caused by traumatic injury is often severe and long-lasting. Injuries place a large burden on societies and individuals in the community, both in cost and lost quality of life. Progress in developing effective injury prevention programs in developing countries is hindered by the lack of basic epidemiological injury data regarding the prevalence of traumatic injuries. The aim of this research was to describe the epidemiological characteristics of injury in all hospitals in Georgia.

Methods
The database of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia for 2018, which includes all hospital admissions, was used to identify injury cases treated in hospitals. Cases were included based on the S and T diagnosis coded of ICD-10.

Results
A total of 25,103 adult patients were admitted for an injury, of whom 14,798 (59%) were males and 10,305 (41%) were females, between the ages of 18 and 108 years old. The highest prevalence was among the age group 25–44 years old (n = 8654; 34%), followed by 45–64 years old (n = 6852; 27%). The main mechanism of injury was falls (n = 13,932; 55%) and exposure to mechanical forces (n = 2701; 11%). Over 1,50% (n = 379) of injuries resulted in death after hospitalization. The median hospital length of stay (LOS) was 2 days. There was a significant association between age, mechanism of injury, type of injury, performed surgical interventions, and longer LOS.

Conclusion
Injuries are prevalent throughout the life course and cause substantial hospitalization time. This research can help focus prevention efforts can focus on the demographic and injury causes that are most prevalent.