Perianesthetic Concerns for the non-COVID-19 Patients Requiring Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak: An Observational Study

The global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, has being marked by a rapid spread, numerous severe respiratory cases and an elevated mortality rate [1]. It has forced World Health Organization to declare global emergency and governments to apply confinement measures and stop the scheduled medical activities [2]. Recommendations have been developed for the management of patients with COVID-19 requiring endotracheal intubation and critical cares [3]. In addition of surgical emergencies and cesarean sections, certain surgical or diagnostic procedures cannot be postponed due to the risk of unacceptable morbidity. Therefore, Health Ministries have authorized the performance of these procedures in accordance with specific rules. Data on this type of perioperative management for COVID-19 negative patients are rare.

Management Strategies and Role of Telemedicine in a Surgery Unit During COVID-19 Outbreak

At the end of 2019, in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei (China) were reported 27 cases of death caused by “severe acute respiratory virus coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2) [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic [2]. Officially, Italian lockdown started on March 10th and ended on May 3rd, 2020. From 4 May a new phase of coexistence with the coronavirus began. This is characterized by a gradual reopening of commercial activities and by persistence of some important rules such as social distancing and use of masks in public transport. At the 20/05/2020 in Italy there are 226.699 total cases and 32.169 deaths, while in Campania region, total cases are 4.707 with 400 deaths [3]. In this situation, there was a rapid reorganization of public health system and hospitals. Also, for surgery there have been several changes. As part of COVID-19 containment strategy and with Intensive Care Unit (ICU) near collapse, elective operations were suspended while emergency surgery and the operative therapy of oncological patients continued. Moreover, have been deleted all non-urgent outpatients visits and endoscopic procedures.

Critical Adjustments in a Department of Orthopaedics Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Purpose: SARS-CoV-2’s new scenario has forced health systems to work under extreme stress urging to perform a complete reorganization of the way our means and activities were organized. The orthopaedic and trauma units have rescheduled their activities to help SARS-CoV-2 units, but trauma patients require also treatment, and no standardized protocols have been established.

Methods: A single-centre cross-sectional study was performed in a tertiary hospital. Two different periods of time were analyzed: a two week period of time in March 2019 (pre-SARS-CoV-2) and the same period in March 2020 (SARS-CoV-2 pandemic time). Outpatient’s data, emergency activity, surgical procedures, and admissions were evaluated. Surgeons’ and patient’s opinion was also evaluated using a survey.

Results: A total of ~ 16k (15,953) patients were evaluated. Scheduled clinical appointments decreased by ~ 22%. Urgent consultations and discharge from clinics also descended (~ 37% and ~ 20% respectively). Telemedicine was used in 90% of outpatient clinical evaluations. No elective surgical procedures during SARS-CoV-2 time were scheduled, and subtracting the effect of elective surgeries, there was a reduction of inpatient surgeries, from ~ 85% to ~ 59%. Patients delayed trauma assistance more than 48 hours in 13 cases (35%). Pre-operative admission for hip fractures decreased in ten hours on average. Finally, surveys stated that patients were more in favour than surgeons were to this new way to evaluate orthopaedic and trauma patients based strongly on telemedicine.

Conclusion: Detailed protocols should be standardized for surgical departments during the pandemic. This paper offers a general view in how this virus affects an orthopaedic unit and could serve as a protocol and example for orthopaedic and trauma units. Even in the worst scenario, an orthopaedic and trauma unit could offer an effective, efficient, and quality service. SARS-CoV-2 will set up a new paradigm for health care in orthopaedics and trauma.

The Role of the Orthopaedic Surgeon in the COVID-19 Era: Cautions and Perspectives

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has revolutionized global healthcare in an unprecedented way and with unimaginable repercussions. Resource reallocation, socioeconomic confinement and reorganization of production activities are current challenges being faced both at the national and international levels, in a frame of uncertainty and fear. Hospitals have been restructured to provide the best care to COVID-19 patients while adopting preventive strategies not to spread the infection among healthcare providers and patients affected by other diseases. As a consequence, the concept of urgency and indications for elective treatments have been profoundly reshaped. In addition, several providers have been recruited in COVID-19 departments despite their original occupation, resulting in a profound rearrangement of both inpatient and outpatient care. Orthopaedic daily practice has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Surgical indications have been reformulated, with elective cases being promptly postponed and urgent interventions requiring exceptional attention, especially in suspected or COVID-19+ patients. This has made a strong impact on inpatient management, with the need of a dedicated staff, patient isolation and restrictive visiting hour policies. On the other hand, outpatient visits have been limited to reduce contacts between patients and the hospital personnel, with considerable consequences on post-operative quality of care and the human side of medical practice.

In this review, we aim to analyze the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the orthopaedic practice. Particular attention will be dedicated to opportune surgical indication, perioperative care and safe management of both inpatients and outpatients, also considering repercussions of the pandemic on resident education and ethical implications.

Giant Mesenteric Cyst: Successful Management in Low-Resource Setting

Introduction: Mesenteric cysts are rare, generally benign intra-abdominal lesions with a wide range of presentation in terms of size, clinical presentation, etiology, radiological features, and pathological characteristics.

Presentation of case: We reported a case of giant mesenteric cyst in a 16-month-old girl successfully managed in a low-resource setting.

Discussion: This case is particularly important not only due to the rarity of the presented case, but also for the highlighted aspects from a public health point of view. We faced of the problem of a late stage disease and the lack of preoperative diagnosis due to cultural and economic reasons and the weaknesses of healthcare systems, as in the majority of low- and middle-income countries.

Conclusion: Despite all these limitation, this case illustrates that complex, rare diseases can also be managed successfully in a low-resource setting. It is mandatory to strengthen and improve the health system both in terms of equipment both in terms of public health policies in order to offer a better and more effective quality of care to patients also in low-income countries.

Endometriosis and Pregnancy: A Single Institution Experience

Endometriosis may compromise the physiological course of pregnancy. The aim of this prospective observational study was to evaluate whether endometriosis causes a higher prevalence of obstetric and neonatal complications as well as a higher risk of caesarean section and to detect a possible correlation between the presence, type, and location of endometriosis and obstetric complications, previous surgery, and pregnancy outcome, as well as the influence of pregnancy on the course of the disease. We compared two cohorts of women with spontaneous pregnancy, with and without endometriosis. Obstetric and neonatal outcomes, mode of delivery, presence, type, and location of endometriotic lesions and the effect of pregnancy on the disease were analyzed. A total of 425 pregnancies were evaluated: 145 cases and 280 controls. Patients with endometriosis showed a higher incidence of miscarriage, threatened miscarriage, threatened preterm labor, preterm delivery, placental abruption, and a higher incidence of caesarean section. A significant correlation with pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia was found in the presence of adenomyosis. No difference in fetal outcome was found. One case of hemoperitoneum during pregnancy was observed. Pregnancy in women with endometriosis carries a higher risk of obstetric complications, such as miscarriage, threatened miscarriage, preterm labor, preterm birth, and a higher caesarean section rate. Endometriosis does not seem to influence fetal well-being.

Costs and outcomes in evaluating management of unhealed surgical wounds in the community in clinical practice in the UK: a cohort study.

To evaluate the patient pathways and associated health outcomes, resource use and corresponding costs attributable to managing unhealed surgical wounds in clinical practice, from initial presentation in the community in the UK.

This was a retrospective cohort analysis of the records of 707 patients in The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database whose wound failed to heal within 4 weeks of their surgery. Patients’ characteristics, wound-related health outcomes and healthcare resource use were quantified, and the total National Health Service (NHS) cost of patient management was estimated at 2015/2016 prices.

Inconsistent terminology was used in describing the wounds. 83% of all wounds healed within 12 months from onset of community management, ranging from 86% to 74% of wounds arising from planned and emergency procedures, respectively. Mean time to healing was 4 months per patient. Patients were predominantly managed in the community by nurses and only around a half of all patients who still had a wound at 3 months were recorded as having had a follow-up visit with their surgeon. Up to 68% of all wounds may have been clinically infected at the time of presentation, and 23% of patients subsequently developed a putative wound infection a mean 4 months after initial presentation. Mean NHS cost of wound care over 12 months was £7300 per wound, ranging from £6000 to £13 700 per healed and unhealed wound, respectively. Additionally, the mean NHS cost of managing a wound without any evidence of infection was ~£2000 and the conflated cost of managing a wound with a putative infection ranged from £5000 to £11 200.

Surgeons are unlikely to be fully aware of the problems surrounding unhealed surgical wounds once patients are discharged into the community, due to inconsistent recording in patients’ records coupled with the low rate of follow-up appointments. These findings offer the best evidence available with which to inform policy and budgetary decisions pertaining to managing unhealed surgical wounds in the community.

Fellowship exit examination in orthopaedic surgery in the commonwealth countries of Australia, UK, South Africa and Canada. Are they comparable and equivalent? A perspective on the requirements for medical migration

nternational migration of healthcare professionals has increased substantially in recent decades. In order to practice medicine in the recipient country, International Medical Graduates (IMG) are required to fulfil the requirements of their new countries medical registration authorities. The purpose of this project was to compare the final fellowship exit examination in Orthopaedic Surgery for the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa. The curriculum of the Australian Orthopaedic Association (SET) was selected as a baseline reference. The competencies and technical modules specified in the training syllabus, as well as the specifics of the final fellowship examination as outlined in SET, were then compared between countries. Of the nine competencies outlined in SET, the curricula of the UK, South Africa and Canada were all compatible with the Australian syllabus, and covered 97.7%, 86% and 93%, respectively, of all competencies and sub-items. The final fellowship examinations of Australia, South Africa and the UK were all highly similar in format and content. The examination in Canada was substantially different, and had two written sessions but combined the oral and clinical component into a structured OSCE using standardized patients and the component included unmanned stations. There were no significant differences for completion certificate of training and/or board certification observed between these countries. The results of this study strongly suggest that core and technical competencies outlined in the training and education curriculum and the final fellowship examination in Orthopaedic Surgery in Australia, South Africa and the UK are compatible. Between country reciprocal recognition of these fellowship examinations should not only be considered by the relevant Colleges, but should also be regulated by the individual countries health practitioner registration boards and governing bodies.

International Study of the Epidemiology of Paediatric Trauma: PAPSA Research Study.

Trauma is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The literature on paediatric trauma epidemiology in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is limited. This study aims to gather epidemiological data on paediatric trauma.

This is a multicentre prospective cohort study of paediatric trauma admissions, over 1 month, from 15 paediatric surgery centres in 11 countries. Epidemiology, mechanism of injury, injuries sustained, management, morbidity and mortality data were recorded. Statistical analysis compared LMICs and high-income countries (HICs).

There were 1377 paediatric trauma admissions over 31 days; 1295 admissions across ten LMIC centres and 84 admissions across five HIC centres. Median number of admissions per centre was 15 in HICs and 43 in LMICs. Mean age was 7 years, and 62% were boys. Common mechanisms included road traffic accidents (41%), falls (41%) and interpersonal violence (11%). Frequent injuries were lacerations, fractures, head injuries and burns. Intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic injuries accounted for 3 and 2% of injuries. The mechanisms and injuries sustained differed significantly between HICs and LMICs. Median length of stay was 1 day and 19% required an operative intervention; this did not differ significantly between HICs and LMICs. No mortality and morbidity was reported from HICs. In LMICs, in-hospital morbidity was 4.0% and mortality was 0.8%.

The spectrum of paediatric trauma varies significantly, with different injury mechanisms and patterns in LMICs. Healthcare structure, access to paediatric surgery and trauma prevention strategies may account for these differences. Trauma registries are needed in LMICs for future research and to inform local policy.