Embracing robotic surgery in low- and middle-income countries: Potential benefits, challenges, and scope in the future

Robotic surgery has applications in many medical specialties, including urology, general surgery, and surgical oncology. In the context of a widespread resource and personnel shortage in Low- and Middle-Income Countries(LMICs), the use of robotics in surgery may help to reduce physician burnout, surgical site infections, and hospital stays. However, a lack of haptic feedback and potential socioeconomic factors such as high implementation costs and a lack of trained personnel may limit its accessibility and application. Specific improvements focused on improved financial and technical support to LMICs can help improve access and have the potential to transform the surgical experience for both surgeons and patients in LMICs. This review focuses on the evolution of robotic surgery, with an emphasis on challenges and recommendations to facilitate wider implementation and improved patient outcomes.

Quality of life among out-patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheter attending Urology Clinic at a Tertiary Hospital in Northwestern Tanzania

This study aimed to determine quality of life (QoL) among patients living with long-term indwelling urinary catheter (IUC) at home in the Northwestern Tanzania. To the best of our knowledge for the first time in Africa, we report on quality of life for patients living with a long-term IUC at home.

This was a descriptive cross‑sectional study conducted between December 2016 and September 2017. A total of 202 out-patients aged 18 years and above living with a long-term IUC were conveniently recruited. The QoL was determined using WHOQOL‑BREF tool. Quantitative data were entered into Microsoft Excel for cleaning and coding, then into STATA software version 13.0 for analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to compute means and standard deviations for numerical variables as well as frequencies for nominal and ordinal variables. Significance of association between various variables and QoL were tested using t test with equal variances. Inferential statistics applied included an independent sample’s t‑test for comparing numerical socio-demographic variables. A P-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. The mean score indicating good QoL according to our study is a mean score of 50 and above. The higher the score the higher the QoL.

Median age of participants was 69 (IQR 61–77) years. Majority of participants were males (195, 96.5%), married (187, 92.6%), and having primary education (116, 57.3%). Generally, the QoL was poor in all the domains: mean score for physical health being 36.67 ± 0.89, psychological 29.54 ± 0.87, social relationship 49.59 ± 1.61, and environment 26.05 ± 0.63. Married participants were slightly better under social domain 51.1 ± 1.6 than singles 31.1 ± 5.4; P-value 0.001. Those with primary education & above were slightly better in environmental domain 26.1 ± 0.7 than those with no formal education 23.5 ± 1.5; P-value 0.039.

QoL of participants with a long-term IUC in Northwestern Tanzania is generally poor in all domains. Those with primary education & above and the married were slightly better in environmental and social domains respectively. We recommend on the needs of improved social economic status and the importance of close follow up at home for the married participants living with long-term IUC.

Comparative evaluation of robot-assisted and conventional urology surgeries in India

There is dearth of evidence on patients’ perspective, their knowledge and understanding about robot-assisted surgeries, especially in Low- and Middle-Income countries such as India. The aim of this prospective study was to analyze inpatients’ and surgeon’s perspectives towards robot-assisted and conventional urological surgeries. A total of 136 patients (94 robot-assisted surgery cases and 42 conventional surgery cases) were enrolled in the study. A performa (with details such as sociodemographic details of patient, patient’s view point on surgery opted and doctor’s perspective on advising robot-assisted or conventional surgery) was used for data collection. Of 136 patients, 135 (99.3%) responded that their reason for opting the surgery (either robot-assisted or open laparoscopy) depended on the advice provided by the surgeon. 78 (83.3%) patients mentioned they opted for robot-assisted surgeries because of aesthetics (cosmetically better) in comparison to 07 (16.7%) patients who opted for conventional surgeries. Only 1.1% of surgeons reported robot-assisted surgeries to be technically easy. A few surgeons (1.1%) who operated with robot-assisted surgeries mentioned it to be time-consuming than 71.4% (30) surgeons in open/lap group. All the surgeons who treated patients with robot-assisted surgeries mentioned to have no of complications in comparison to 35.75% surgeons in open/lap group. The reason for choosing robot-assisted surgeries among both patients and surgeons were patient’s compatibility, cosmetically better, less-time consuming and less hospital stay. In addition, the surgeons also believed the robot-assisted surgeries to have fewer complications for their patients and therefore, recommended it.

Reducing Inappropriate Urinary Catheter Use by Involving Patients Through the Participatient App: Before-and-After Study

Background: The risk of urinary tract infections is increased by the inappropriate placement and unnecessary prolongation of the use of indwelling urinary catheters. Sustained behavior change in infection prevention could be promoted by empowering patients through a smartphone app.
Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the feasibility and efficacy of implementation actions on patients’ use of the Participatient app on a clinical ward and to compare 3 survey methods for urinary catheter use.
Methods: Participatient was introduced for all admitted patients at the surgical nursing ward in a university hospital in the Netherlands. Over a period of 3 months, the number of new app users, days of use, and sessions were recorded. In a comparison of urinary catheter use before and after the implementation of the app, 3 methods for point prevalence surveys of catheter use were tested. Surveys were conducted through manual parsing of the text in patients’ electronic medical records, parsing a survey of checkbox items, and parsing nursing notes.
Results: In all, 475 patients were admitted to the ward, 42 (8.8%) installed the app, with 1 to 5 new users per week. The actions with the most ensuing app use were the kick-off with the clinical lesson and recruiting of the intake nurse. Between the survey methods, there was considerable variation in catheter use prevalence. Therefore, we used the standard method of manual parsing in further analyses. Catheter use prevalence decreased from 38% (36/96) to 27% (23/86) after app introduction (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.32-1.14).
Conclusions: The clinical application of Participatient, the infection prevention app for patients, could be feasible when implementation actions are also used. For surveying indwelling urinary catheter use prevalence, manual parsing is the best approach.

A granular analysis of service delivery for surgical system strengthening: Application of the Lancet indicators for policy development in Colombia

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) surgical indicators have given the surgical community metrics for objectively characterizing the disparity in access to surgical healthcare. However, aggregate national statistics lack sufficient specificity to inform strengthening plans at the community level. We performed a second-stage analysis of Colombian surgical system service delivery to inform the development of resource- and context-sensitive interventions to inform a revision of the Decennial Public Health Plan for access inequity resolution.

Data from the year 2016 to inform total operative volume (TOV) and 30-day non-risk adjusted peri-operative mortality (POMR) were collected from the Colombian national health information system. TOV and POMR were sub-characterized by demographics, urgency, service line, disease pathology and facility location.

In 2016, aggregate national mortality was 0·87%, while mortality attributable to elective and emergency surgery was 0·73% and 1·30%, respectively. The elderly experienced a 5·6-fold higher mortality, with 4·2% undergoing an operation within 30 days of dying. Individuals undergoing hepatobiliary, thoracic, cardiac, and neurosurgical operations experienced the highest mortality rates while obstetrics, general surgery, orthopaedics, and urology performed the largest procedure volume. Finally, analysis of operation and service line specific POMR reveals opportunities for improvement.

This granular second-stage analysis provides actionable data which is fundamental to the development of resource and context-sensitive interventions to address gaps and inequities in surgical system service delivery. Furthermore, this analysis validates the modeling underlying development of the LCoGS indicators. These data will inform the assessment of implementation priorities and revision of the Colombian Decennial Public Health Plan

Low-dose diethylstilbestrol for heavily pretreated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer


Diethylstilbestrol (DES) at low doses is effective in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), understudied in the context of currently available treatments. We describe the efficacy and tolerability of low doses of DES for patients with heavily pretreated mCRPC.

Material and methods:

Single center retrospective cohort of patients with mCRPC treated with low dose DES between 2005 and 2020.


Thirty-four patients were evaluated, with a median age of 74 years (range 56-94), and a median of 3 previous treatment lines (range 1-7). 64.7% had received chemotherapy. A biochemical response was achieved in 10/32 patients (31.3%). Median progression free survival was 3.7 months. Median overall survival (OS) was 9.7 months. The most common adverse events were fatigue, gynecomastia, and nausea. Two deaths occurred due to arterial thrombosis.


Low dose DES remains active in highly pretreated patients, with median PFS comparable to other available treatments. Patient selection is important for treatment safety.

Role of Precision Oncology in Type II Endometrial and Prostate Cancers in the African Population: Global Cancer Genomics Disparities

Precision oncology can be defined as molecular profiling of tumors to identify targetable alterations. Emerging research reports the high mortality rates associated with type II endometrial cancer in black women and with prostate cancer in men of African ancestry. The lack of adequate genetic reference information from the African genome is one of the major obstacles in exploring the benefits of precision oncology in the African context. Whilst external factors such as the geography, environment, health-care access and socio-economic status may contribute greatly towards the disparities observed in type II endometrial and prostate cancers in black populations compared to Caucasians, the contribution of African ancestry to the contribution of genetics to the etiology of these cancers cannot be ignored. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) continue to emerge as important regulators of gene expression and the key molecular pathways involved in tumorigenesis. Particular attention is focused on activated/repressed genes and associated pathways, while the redundant pathways (pathways that have the same outcome or activate the same downstream effectors) are often ignored. However, comprehensive evidence to understand the relationship between type II endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and African ancestry remains poorly understood. The sub-Saharan African (SSA) region has both the highest incidence and mortality of both type II endometrial and prostate cancers. Understanding how the entire transcriptomic landscape of these two reproductive cancers is regulated by ncRNAs in an African cohort may help elucidate the relationship between race and pathological disparities of these two diseases. This review focuses on global disparities in medicine, PCa and ECa. The role of precision oncology in PCa and ECa in the African population will also be discussed.

Wilms tumour

Wilms tumour (WT) is a childhood embryonal tumour that is paradigmatic of the intersection between disrupted organogenesis and tumorigenesis. Many WT genes play a critical (non-redundant) role in early nephrogenesis. Improving patient outcomes requires advances in understanding and targeting of the multiple genes and cellular control pathways now identified as active in WT development. Decades of clinical and basic research have helped to gradually optimize clinical care. Curative therapy is achievable in 90% of affected children, even those with disseminated disease, yet survival disparities within and between countries exist and deserve commitment to change. Updated epidemiological studies have also provided novel insights into global incidence variations. Introduction of biology-driven approaches to risk stratification and new drug development has been slower in WT than in other childhood tumours. Current prognostic classification for children with WT is grounded in clinical and pathological findings and in dedicated protocols on molecular alterations. Treatment includes conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy and surgery, and radiation therapy in some cases. Advanced imaging to capture tumour composition, optimizing irradiation techniques to reduce target volumes, and evaluation of newer surgical procedures are key areas for future research.

Outcomes of Renal Trauma in Indian Urban Tertiary Healthcare Centres: A Multicentre Cohort Study

Renal trauma is present in 0.5–5% of patients admitted for trauma. Advancements in radiologic imaging and minimal-invasive techniques have led to decreased need for surgical intervention. We used a large trauma cohort to characterise renal trauma patients, their management and outcomes.

We analysed “Towards Improved Trauma Care Outcomes in India” cohort from four urban tertiary public hospitals in India between 1st September 2013 and 31st December 2015. The data of patients with renal trauma were extracted using International Classification of Diseases 10 codes and analysed for demographic and clinical details.

A total of 16,047 trauma patients were included in this cohort. Abdominal trauma comprised 1119 (7%) cases, of which 144 (13%) had renal trauma. Renal trauma was present in 1% of all the patients admitted for trauma. The mean age was 28 years (SD-14.7). A total of 119 (83%) patients were male. Majority (93%) were due to blunt injuries. Road traffic injuries were the most common mechanism (53%) followed by falls (29%). Most renal injuries (89%) were associated with other organ injuries. Seven of the 144 (5%) patients required nephrectomy. Three patients had grade V trauma; all underwent nephrectomy. The 30-day in-hospital mortality, in patients with renal trauma, was 17% (24/144).

Most renal trauma patients were managed nonoperatively. 89% of patients with renal trauma had concomitant injuries. The renal trauma profile from this large cohort may be generalisable to urban contexts in India and other low- and middle-income countries.

Data on histological characteristics, survival patterns and determinants of mortality among colorectal, esophageal and prostate cancer patients in Ethiopia

This article describes data collected retrospectively on a cohort of esophageal, colorectal and prostate cancer patients registered in the patient log book of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital, Ethiopia, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2017. The key variables studied include histological characteristics of each type of cancer, clinical and TNM stages, baseline laboratory results (Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) for colorectal cancer, Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer, hemoglobin level, etc.), clinical characteristics including sign and symptoms, family history of cancer, diagnostic and treatment modalities a patient received for each type of cancer. The event status (death) was also collected using death certificates (whenever available) and supplemented by telephone interviews with the patient or attendant. Furthermore, lifestyle characteristics of patients including tobacco use, alcohol consumption, khat (‘Catha edulis’) chewing, etc. and socioeconomic characteristics including age, sex, region of residence, marital status, and educational level were also collected. The aim that led to conduct the study that generated these data was to describe clinical presentation, histological characteristics, survival pattern, and to identify determinants of mortality among cancer patients in Ethiopia. Thus, independent survival analyzes were performed using Kaplan-Meier estimates and life table analysis. Furthermore, Cox’s proportional hazards regression was developed to investigate the survival pattern and determinants of cancer specific mortality among colorectal, esophageal and prostate cancer patients.