Outcomes of trauma education workshop in Vietnam: improving diagnostic and surgical skills

Unintentional injuries have emerged as a significant public health issue in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), especially in Vietnam, where there is a poor quality of care for trauma. A scarcity of formal and informal training opportunities contributes to a lack of structure for treating trauma in Vietnam. A collaborative trauma education project by the JW LEE Center for Global Medicine in South Korea and the Military Hospital 175 in Vietnam was implemented to enhance trauma care capacity among medical staff across Ho Chi Minh City in 2018. We aimed to evaluate a part of the trauma education project, a one-day workshop that targeted improving diagnostic and surgical skills among the medical staff (physicians and nurses).

A one-day workshop was offered to medical staff across Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2018. The workshop was implemented to enhance the trauma care knowledge of providers and to provide practical and applicable diagnostic and surgical skills. To evaluate the workshop outcomes, we utilized a mixed-methods survey data. All participants (n = 27) voluntarily completed the post-workshop questionnaire. Quality of contents, satisfaction with teaching skills, and perceived benefit were used as outcomes of the workshop, measured by 5-point Likert scales (score: 1–5). Descriptive statistics were performed, and open-ended questions were analyzed by recurring themes.

The results from the post-workshop questionnaire demonstrated that the participants were highly satisfied with the quality of the workshop contents (mean = 4.32 standard deviation (SD) = 0.62). The mean score of the satisfaction regarding the teaching skills was 4.19 (SD = 0.61). The mean score of the perceived benefit from the workshop was 4.17 (SD = 0.63). The open-ended questions revealed that the program improved their knowledge in complex orthopedic surgeries neglected prior to training.

Positive learning experiences highlighted the need for the continuation of the international collaboration of skill development and capacity building for trauma care in Vietnam and other LMIC.

Breast Cancer messaging in Vietnam: an online media content analysis

Background: Breast cancer incidence is increasing in Vietnam with studies indicating low levels of knowledge and awareness and late presentation. While there is a growing body of literature on challenges faced by women in accessing breast cancer services, and for delivering care, no studies have sought to analyse breast cancer messaging in the Vietnamese popular media. The aim of this study was to investigate and understand the content of messages concerning breast cancer in online Vietnamese newspapers in order to inform future health promotional content.

Methods: This study describes a mixed-methods media content analysis that counted and ranked frequencies for media content (article text, themes and images) related to breast cancer in six Vietnamese online news publications over a twelve month period.

Results: Media content (n = 129 articles & n = 237 images) sampled showed that although information is largely accurate, there is a marked lack of stories about Vietnamese women’s personal experiences. Such stories could help bridge the gap between what information about breast cancer is presented in the Vietnamese media, and what women in Vietnam understand about breast cancer risk factors, symptoms, screening and treatment.

Conclusions: Given findings from other studies indicating low levels of knowledge and women with breast cancer experiencing stigma and prejudice, more nuanced and in-depth narrative-focused messaging may be required.

Thoracoscopic Surgery Approach to Mediastinal Mature Teratomas: A Single-Center Experience

Mediastinal mature teratomas are rare tumors with diverse surgical approaches. The aim of this study is to review our experience of thoracoscopic surgery management in patients with teratomas.
We retrospectively reviewed 28 consecutive patients with mediastinal mature teratomas who underwent thoracoscopic surgery at Viet Duc University Hospital from January 2008 to August2018. Patients were divided into 2 groups with 2 types of thoracoscopic surgery, closed thoracoscopic surgery (CTS) group and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) group. The selection of sugical approach was based on sizes, locations and characteristics of tumors. Post-operative outcomes were assessed and compared between these 2 groups.
There were 14 female and 14 male patients with a median age of 41.2 ± 13.8 years. A total of 22 teratomas were located on the right side of the chest cavity and 6 on the left side. We performed CTS in 21 patients (75%) and VATS in 7 patients (25%) for tumor resection. There were 3 cases (10.7%) required conversion to minithoracotomy (5 cm in incision length). Skin appendages accounted for the highest rate (96.4%) in pathology. There was no record of mortality or tumor recurrence detected by computerized tomography.
A thoracoscopic surgery for a mediastinal mature teratoma was a feasible choice. Challenging factors such as large tumors, intraoperative bleeding and strong tumor cell adhesion were considered handling by conversion to mini-thoracotomy that could ensure safety procedures and complete removal of tumors. Extraction of tumor contents might be performed for patients with large mature cystic teratomas to facilitate thoracoscopic surgery.

An International Collaborative Study on Surgical Education for Quality Improvement (ASSURED): A Project by the 2017 International Society of Surgery (ISS/SIC) Travel Scholars International Working Group

Background: There is a huge difference in the standard of surgical training in different countries around the world. The disparity is more obvious in the various models of surgical training in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) compared to high-income countries. Although the global training model of surgeons is evolving from an apprenticeship model to a competency-based model with additional training using simulation, the training of surgeons in LMICs still lacks a standard pathway of training.

Methods: This is a qualitative, descriptive, and collaborative study conducted in six LMICs across Asia, Africa, and South America. The data were collected on the status of surgical education in these countries as per the guidelines designed for the ASSURED project along with plans for quality improvement in surgical education in these countries.

Results: The training model in these selected LMICs appears to be a hybrid of the standard models of surgical training. The training models were tailored to the country’s need, but many fail to meet international standards. There are many areas identified that can be addressed in order to improve the quality of surgical education in these countries.

Conclusions: Many areas need to be improved for a better quality of surgical training in LMICs. There is a need of financial, technical, and research support for the improvement in these models of surgical education in LMICs.

The challenge of safe anesthesia in developing countries: defining the problems in a medical center in Cambodia.

The International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia (ISSPA) were developed on behalf of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and the World Health Organization. It has been recommend as an assessment tool that allows anesthetic providers in developing countries to assess their compliance and needs. This study was performed to describe the anesthesia service in one main public hospital during an 8-month medical mission in Cambodia and evaluate its anesthetic safety issues according to the ISSPA. We conduct a retrospective study involving 1953 patients at the Preah Ket Mealea hospital. Patient demographics, anesthetic techniques, and complications were reviewed according to the registers of the anesthetic services and questionnaires. The inadequacies in personnel, facilities, equipment, medications, and conduct of anesthesia drugs were recorded using a checklist based on the ISSPA. A total of 1792 patients received general and regional anesthesia in the operating room, while 161 patients receiving sedation for gastroscopy. The patients’ mean age was 45.0 ± 16.6 years (range, 17-87 years). The three most common surgical procedures were abdominal (52.0%; confidence interval [CI], 49.3-54.7), orthopedic (27.6%; CI, 25.2-29.9), and urological surgery (14.7%; CI, 12.8-16.6). General anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, and brachial plexus block were performed in 54.3% (CI, 51.7-56.8), 28.2% (CI, 25.9-30.5), and 9.4% (CI, 7.9-10.9) of patients, respectively. One death occurred. Twenty-six items related to professional aspects, monitoring, and conduct of anesthesia did not meet the ISSPA-recommended standards. A lack of commonly used drugs and monitoring equipment was noted, posing major threats to the safety of anesthesia practice, especially in emergency situations. This study adds to the scarce literature on anesthesia practice in low- and middle-income countries such as Cambodia. Future medical assistance should help to strengthen these countries’ inadequacies, allowing for the adoption of international standards for the safe practice of anesthesia.

Totally endoscopic atrial septal defect repair using transthoracic aortic cannulation in a 10.5-kg-boy

Although totally endoscopic surgery (TES) has been widely applied for the treatment of atrial septal defect (ASD), small children receive few benefits from this technique due to risks of the femoral cannulation.
A 23-month-old boy, weighing 10.5 kg, with the diagnosis of sinus venosus ASD underwent successful repair by TES. We performed this surgery through 4 small trocars (one 12 mm trocar and three 5 mm trocars), without robotic assistance. In this case, we inserted the arterial cannula directly into the ascending aorta instead of the femoral artery (FA). The defects were repaired on the beating heart with CO2 insufflation.
Femoral cannulation in small children pose some risks, such as increased arterial line pressure, critical lower limb ischaemia, and post-operative iliac or femoral arterial stenosis. Putting the arterial cannula directly into the ascending aorta is a good solution but is difficult to be performed through TES, especially in small children. The major concern of operating on the beating heart is the air embolism, which requires special preventative methods.
Transthoracic aortic cannulation may facilitate TES in small children. However, the safety and efficacy of this approach needs to be validated by larger studies preferably randomised controlled trials.

Epilepsy in Asia: Disease burden, management barriers, and challenges.

This article reviews the burden of epilepsy in Asia, the challenges faced by people with epilepsy, and the management of epilepsy. Comparison is made with other parts of the world. For this narrative review, data were collected using specified search criteria. Articles investigating the epidemiology of epilepsy, diagnosis, comorbidities and associated mortality, stigmatization, and treatment were included. Epilepsy is a global health care issue affecting up to 70 million people worldwide. Nearly 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries with limited resources. People with epilepsy are prone to physical and psychological comorbidities, including anxiety and depression, which can negatively impact their quality of life. Furthermore, people with epilepsy are at higher risk of premature death than people without epilepsy. Discrimination or stigmatization of people with epilepsy is common in Asia and can affect their education, work, and marriage opportunities. Access to epilepsy treatment varies throughout Asia. Although highly advanced treatment is available in some countries, up to 90% of people with epilepsy are not adequately treated or are not treated with conventional antiepileptic therapy in resource-limited countries. People in remote areas often do not receive any epilepsy care. First-generation antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are available, but usually only in urban areas, and second-generation AEDs are not available in all countries. Newer AEDs tend to have more favorable safety profiles than first-generation AEDs and provide options to tailor therapy for individual patients, especially those with comorbidities. Active epilepsy surgery centers are present in some countries, although epilepsy surgery is often underutilized given the number of patients who could benefit. Further epidemiologic research is needed to provide accurate epilepsy data across the Asian region. Coordinated action is warranted to improve access to treatment and care.

Patient Barriers to Accessing Surgical Cleft Care in Vietnam: A Multi-site, Cross-Sectional Outcomes Study.

Most people who lack adequate access to surgical care reside in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Few studies have analyzed the barriers that determine the ability to access surgical treatment. We seek to determine which barriers prevent access to cleft care in a resource-limited country to potentially enable barrier mitigation and improve surgical program design.

A cross-sectional, multi-site study of families accessing care for cleft lip and palate deformities was performed in Vietnam. A survey instrument containing validated demographic, healthcare service accessibility, and medical/surgical components was administered. The main patient outcome of interest was receipt of initial surgical treatment prior to 18 months of age.

Among 453 subjects enrolled in the study, 216 (48%) accessed surgical care prior to 18 months of age. In adjusted regression models, education status of the patient’s father (OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.1-2.5) and male sex (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.1-2.4) were both associated with timely access to care. Distance and associated cost of travel, to either the nearest district hospital or to the cleft surgical mission site, were not associated with timing of access. In a sensitivity analysis considering care received prior to 24 months of age, cost to attend the surgical mission was additionally associated with timely access to care.

Half of the Vietnamese children in our cohort were not able to access timely surgical cleft care. Barriers to accessing care appear to be socioeconomic as much as geographical or financial. This has implications for policies aimed at reaching vulnerable patients earlier.

Surgical Site Infection Rates in Seven Cities in Vietnam: Findings of the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium

Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in lower-income countries. This is the first study to report the results of surveillance on SSI stratified by surgical procedure in seven Vietnamese cities.

Methods: This was a prospective, active SSI surveillance study conducted from November 2008–December 2010 in seven hospitals using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (CDC-NHSN) definitions and methods. Surgical procedures (SPs) were classified into 26 types according to the International Classification of Diseases Edition 9 criteria.

Results: We recorded 241 SSIs, associated with 4,413 SPs (relative risk [RR] 5.5%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4.8–6.2). The highest SSI rates were found for limb amputation (25%), colon surgery (33%), and small bowel surgery (21%). Compared with CDC-NHSN SSI report, our SSI rates were higher for the following SPs: Limb amputation (25% vs. 1.3%; RR 20.0; p = 0.001); appendix surgery (8.8% vs. 3.5%; RR 2.54; 95% CI 1.3–5.1; p = 0.001); gallbladder surgery (13.7% vs. 1.7%; RR 7.76; 95% CI 1.9–32.1; p = 0.001); colon surgery (18.2% vs. 4.0%; RR 4.56; 95% CI 2.0–10.2; p = 0.001); open reduction of fracture (15.8% vs. 3.4%; RR 4.70, 95% CI 1.5–15.2; p = 0.004); gastric surgery (7.3% vs. 1.7%; RR 4.26; 95% CI 2.2–8.4, p = 0.001); kidney surgery (8.9% vs. 0.9%; RR 10.2; 95% CI 3.8–27.4; p = 0.001); prostate surgery (5.1% vs. 0.9%; RR 5.71; 95% CI 1.9–17.4; p = 0.001); small bowel surgery (20.8% vs. 6.7%; RR 3.07; 95% CI 1.7–5.6; p = 0.001); thyroid or parathyroid surgery (2.4% vs. 0.3%; RR 9.27; 95% CI 1.0–89.1; p = 0.019); and vaginal hysterectomy (14.3% vs. 1.2%; RR 12.3; 95% CI 1.7–88.4; p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our SSIs rates were significantly higher for 11 of the 26 types of SPs than for the CDC-NHSN. This study advances our knowledge of SSI epidemiology in Vietnam and will allow us to introduce targeted interventions.