Global Neurosurgery – The Problem and Solution -The Asian Perspective

The world of Neurosurgery has witnessed a quantum jump in the last few decades. However, this progress has reaped benefits for patients’ income countries; the preventable deaths due to surgical deficit are as high as 47 million annually (1). Given this uneven balance of facilities in the health sector, the WHO has agreed to resolve the issues by participating in worldwide governing bodies of neurosurgery faculties in the individual country. The former president of the world bank was quoted that “surgery is an indivisible, indispensable part of health care and progress towards universal health coverag

Epidemiology of Traumatic Brain Injury in Georgia: A Prospective Hospital-Based Study

Purpose: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, disproportionally affecting low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Epidemiological characteristics of TBI at a national level are absent for most LMICs including Georgia. This study aimed to establish the registries and assess causes and outcomes in TBI patients presenting to two major trauma hospitals in the capital city –Tbilisi.
Patients and Methods: The prospective observational study was conducted at Acad. O. Gudushauri National Medical Center and M. Iashvili Children’s Central Hospital from March, 1 through August, 31, 2019. Patients of all age groups admitted to one of the study hospitals with a TBI diagnosis were eligible for participation. Collected data were uploaded using the electronic data collection tool –REDCap, analyzed through SPSS software and evaluated to provide detailed information on TBI-related variables and outcomes using descriptive statistics.
Results: Overall, 542 hospitalized patients were enrolled during the study period, about 63% were male and the average age was 17.7. The main causes of TBI were falls (58%) and struck by or against an object (22%). The 97% suffered from mild TBI (GCS 13– 15). Over 23% of patients arrived at the hospital more than 1 hour after injury and 25% after more than 4-hours post-injury. Moderate and severe TBI were associated with an increased hospital length of stay. Mortality rate of severe TBI was 54%.
Conclusion: This study provides important information on the major epidemiological characteristics of TBI in Georgia, which should be considered for setting priorities for injury management

Epidemiological Characteristics, Ventilator Management, and Clinical Outcome in Patients Receiving Invasive Ventilation in Intensive Care Units from 10 Asian Middle-Income Countries (PRoVENT-iMiC): An International, Multicenter, Prospective Study

Epidemiology, ventilator management, and outcome in patients receiving invasive ventilation in intensive care units (ICUs) in middle-income countries are largely unknown. PRactice of VENTilation in Middle-income Countries is an international multicenter 4-week observational study of invasively ventilated adult patients in 54 ICUs from 10 Asian countries conducted in 2017/18. Study outcomes included major ventilator settings (including tidal volume [V T ] and positive end-expiratory pressure [PEEP]); the proportion of patients at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), according to the lung injury prediction score (LIPS), or with ARDS; the incidence of pulmonary complications; and ICU mortality. In 1,315 patients included, median V T was similar in patients with LIPS < 4 and patients with LIPS ≥ 4, but lower in patients with ARDS (7.90 [6.8–8.9], 8.0 [6.8–9.2], and 7.0 [5.8–8.4] mL/kg Predicted body weight; P = 0.0001). Median PEEP was similar in patients with LIPS < 4 and LIPS ≥ 4, but higher in patients with ARDS (five [5–7], five [5–8], and 10 [5–12] cmH2O; P < 0.0001). The proportions of patients with LIPS ≥ 4 or with ARDS were 68% (95% CI: 66–71) and 7% (95% CI: 6–8), respectively. Pulmonary complications increased stepwise from patients with LIPS < 4 to patients with LIPS ≥ 4 and patients with ARDS (19%, 21%, and 38% respectively; P = 0.0002), with a similar trend in ICU mortality (17%, 34%, and 45% respectively; P < 0.0001). The capacity of the LIPS to predict development of ARDS was poor (ROC AUC of 0.62, 95% CI: 0.54–0.70). In Asian middle-income countries, where two-thirds of ventilated patients are at risk for ARDS according to the LIPS and pulmonary complications are frequent, setting of V T is globally in line with current recommendations.

Feasibility and integration of an intensive emergency pediatric care curriculum in Armenia

Background: Emergency pediatric care curriculum (EPCC) was developed to address the need for pediatric rapid assessment and resuscitation skills among out-of-hospital emergency providers in Armenia. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of EPCC in increasing physicians’ knowledge when instruction transitioned to local
instructors. We hypothesize that (1) EPCC will have a positive impact on post-test knowledge, (2) this effect will be maintained when local trainers teach the course, and (3) curriculum will satisfy participants.

Methods: This is a quasi-experimental, pre-test/post-test study over a 4-year period from October 2014‑November 2017. Train-the-trainer model was used. Primary outcomes are immediate knowledge acquisition each year and comparison of knowledge acquisition between two cohorts based on North American vs local instructors.
Descriptive statistics was used to summarize results. Pre-post change and differences across years were analyzed using repeated measures mixed models.

Results: Test scores improved from pretest mean of 51% (95% CI 49.6 to 53.0%) to post-test mean of 78% (95% CI 77.0 to 79.6%, p < 0.001). Average increase from pre- to post-test each year was 27% (95% CI 25.3 to 28.7%). Improvement was sustained when local instructors taught the course (p = 0.74). There was no difference in improvement when experience in critical care, EMS, and other specialties were compared (p = 0.23). Participants reported satisfaction and wanted the course repeated. In 2017, EPCC was integrated within the Emergency Medicine residency program in Armenia. Discussion: This program was effective at impacting immediate knowledge as well as participant satisfaction and intentions to change practice. This knowledge acquisition and reported satisfaction remained constant even when the instruction was transitioned to the local instructors after 2 years. Through a partnership between the USA and Armenia, we provided OH-EPs in Armenia with an intensive educational experience to attain knowledge and skills necessary to manage acutely ill or injured children in the out-of-hospital setting. Conclusions: EPCC resulted in significant improvement in knowledge and was well received by participants. This is a viable and sustainable model to train providers who have otherwise not had formal education in this field

Healthcare in transition in the Republic of Armenia: the evolution of emergency medical systems and directions forward

Armenia, an ex-Soviet Republic in transition since independence in 1991, has made remarkable strides in development. The crisis of prioritization that has plagued many post-Soviet republics in transition has meant differential growth in varied sectors in Armenia. Emergency systems is one of the sectors which is neglected in the current drive to modernize. The legacy of the Soviet Semashko system has left a void in specialized care including emergency care. This manuscript is a descriptive overview of the current state of emergency care in Armenia using in-depth key informant interviews and review of published and unpublished internal United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Health (MOH) documents as well as data from the Yerevan Municipal Ambulance Service and international agencies. The Republic of Artsakh is briefly discussed.

The development of emergency care systems is an extremely efficient way to provide care across many different conditions in many age groups. Conditions such as traumatic injuries, heart attacks, cardiac arrest, stroke, and respiratory failure are very time-dependent. Armenia has a decent emergency infrastructure in place and has the benefit of an educated and skilled physician workforce. The missing piece of the puzzle appears to be investment in graduate and post-graduate education in emergency care and development of hospital-based emergency care for stabilization of stroke, myocardial infarction, trauma, and sepsis as well as other acute conditions

Assessment of Retinoblastoma Capacity in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia Region

PURPOSE
We aimed to evaluate the capacity to treat retinoblastoma in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region.

METHODS
A Web-based assessment that investigated retinoblastoma-related pediatric oncology and ophthalmology infrastructure and associated capacity at member institutions of the Pediatric Oncology East and Mediterranean group was distributed. Data were analyzed in terms of availability, location, and confidence of use for each resource needed for the management of retinoblastoma. Resources were categorized by diagnostics, focal therapy, chemotherapy, advanced treatment, and supportive care. Responding institutions were further divided into an asset-based tiered system.

RESULTS
In total, responses from 23 institutions were obtained. Fifteen institutions reported the availability of an ophthalmologist, 12 of which held primary off-site appointments. All institutions reported the availability of a pediatric oncologist and systemic chemotherapy A significant portion of available resources was located off site. Green laser was available on site at seven institutions, diode laser at six institutions, cryotherapy at 12 institutions, and brachytherapy at nine institutions. There existed marked disparity between the availability of some specific ophthalmic resources and oncologic resources.

CONCLUSION
The assessment revealed common themes related to the treatment of retinoblastoma in low- and- middle-income countries, including decentralization of care, limited resources, and lack of multidisciplinary care. Resource disparities warrant targeted intervention in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region to advance the management of retinoblastoma in the region.

Real-world Treatment Patterns of Lung Cancerexperience of Resource Restricted Country

Background:

Lung cancer (LC) continues to be a significant worldwide public health issue. In recent years there have been several publications addressing specifics of LC worldwide, but none concerning Georgia- country with high number of smoking population and LC cases. We conducted the first study in Georgian population, that aims current LC practice.

Methods:

The aim of the study was to provide an overview of treatment of LC, with discussion situation in this field and indicating the future strategies for improved cancer care in the country. Medical, radiation and surgical oncologists providing treatment of LC in main hospitals (n=13) over the country, filled questionnaire that addressed specific information regarding the treatment aspects of LC reflecting current surgical aspects, systemic treatment and radiotherapy (RT).

Results

There is no national screening program, while radiologic imaging is readily available. The vast majority of patients in the country present with advanced stages at diagnosis and they are treated with systemic therapy and/or RT.

The surgical treatment is largely underutilized with the differences being observed among surgeons on the optimal timing and the extent of surgery, as well as role of surgery in specific clinical situations.

Improved health care system, well equipped hospitals, availability of many anticancer drugs and existence of modern RT technology, are coupled with slow appearance of country-adapted guidelines and protocols as well as enforcing MDT meetings.

There is limited access to expensive novel agents, psychological support and high quality palliative care.

Conclusions

There is still much work to be done, with all above steps considered mandatory to improve effectiveness and quality of care of LC patients.

General Thoracic Surgery Services Across Asia During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 posed an historic challenge to healthcare systems around the world. Besides mounting a massive response to the viral outbreak, healthcare systems needed to consider provision of clinical services to other patients in need. Surgical services for patients with thoracic disease were maintained to different degrees across various regions of Asia, ranging from significant reductions to near-normal service. Key determinants of robust thoracic surgery service provision included: preexisting plans for an epidemic response, aggressive early action to “flatten the curve”, ability to dedicate resources separately to COVID-19 and routine clinical services, prioritization of thoracic surgery, and the volume of COVID-19 cases in that region. The lessons learned can apply to other regions during this pandemic, and to the world, in preparation for the next one.

Emergency Surgery in Geriatrics: A Retrospective Evaluation in a Single Center

Background
As life expectancy increases in humans, surgical procedures applied to the elderly people are also increasing in parallel with the developments in surgery and postoperative care. A significant number of studies investigating the morbidity-mortality of geriatric patients are related to patients who are undergoing emergency operations. The present study aims to investigate the factors affecting mortality and morbidity after emergency surgery in elderly people.

Methods
The data of 200 patients aged 65 years and over who were operated under emergency conditions in the University of Health Sciences Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar Training and Research Hospital between January and December 2018 were evaluated retrospectively.

Results
Patient’s demographic information, including age, gender, ASA physical status, comorbidities, functional dependency or non-dependency of patients, types of operation, anesthesia technique, duration of operation, intraoperative blood transfusion, the changes of hematocrit levels (during the perioperative period), the outcome after surgery (intensive care admission or ward transfer), were recorded. The risk prediction of short-term mortality has been estimated using CCI and APACHE II scoring systems.

Conclusion
The mean age of the patients was 74.8±6.7 and the number of females (n=134, 67%) outweighed the males. Higher ASA physical status scores, dependent living conditions, long operation time, general anesthesia, intraoperative blood transfusion, low Htc values (<25%), high APACHE II scores and lower scores of 10-years survival by CCI were the factors that affected the acceptance into ICU.

Comparison on Frequencies of Pericardial Effusion and Tamponade Following Open Heart Surgery in Patients With or Without Low Negative Pressure Suction on Chest Tube

Introduction
Pericardial effusion and tamponade are accounted as the two most important complications following open-heart surgeries which are known to increase mortality and morbidity rates. Putting a low negative pressure suction on the chest tube of patients might be a useful way for better drainage and also reducing the occurrence of pericardial effusion and tamponade. In the present study, we aimed to compare the prevalence of pericardial effusion and tamponade in patients undergoing open-heart surgeries with and without low negative pressure suction on the chest tube.
Methods
This clinical trial was performed in 2018-2019 in Tehran, Iran. 100 patients who were candidates for open-heart surgery were entered. After surgeries, patients were divided into two groups: group 1 had a low negative pressure suction on their chest tube and group 2 had no suction. Patients were then observed for clinical and imaging characteristics of pleural effusion and tamponade. Data were gathered and analyzed using SPSS software.
Results
In the present study, we indicated that the prevalence of pericardial effusion is significantly lower in patients with low negative pressure on their chest tube (P=0.04). No significant differences were observed between two groups regarding to: frequency of tamponade and post-operative ejection fraction (P> 0.05).
Conclusion
The usage of a low negative pressure suction on the chest tube following open cardiac surgeries is associated with a lower prevalence of pericardial effusion. We suggest that such systems could be commonly used in cardiac surgeries or surgeries of the thorax.