Assessing barriers to quality trauma care in low and middle-income countries

Most deaths from injury occur in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) with one third potentially avoidable with better health system access. This study aimed to establish consensus on the most important barriers, within a Three Delays framework, to accessing injury care in LMICs that should be considered when evaluating a health system.
A three round electronic Delphi study was conducted with experts in LMIC health systems or injury care. In round one, participants proposed important barriers. These were synthesized into a three delays framework. In round 2 participants scored four components for each barrier. Components measured whether barriers were feasible to assess, likely to delay care for a significant proportion of injured persons, likely to cause avoidable death or disability, and potentially readily changed to improve care. In round 3 participants re-scored each barrier following review of feedback from round 2. Consensus was defined for each component as ≥70% agreement or disagreement.
There were 37 eligible responses in round 1, 30 in round 2, and 27 in round 3, with 21 countries represented in all rounds. Of the twenty conceptual barriers identified, consensus was reached on all four components for 11 barriers. This included 2 barriers to seeking care, 5 barriers to reaching care and 4 barriers to receiving care. The ability to modify a barrier most frequently failed to achieve consensus.
11 barriers were agreed to be feasible to assess, delay care for many, cause avoidable death or disability, and be readily modifiable. We recommend these barriers are considered in assessments of LMIC trauma systems.

Abdominal vascular injuries- what general/ trauma surgeons should know

Abdominal vascular injuries are the common cause of death after abdominal trauma. These are challenging injuries to manage due to severe haemodynamic instability, associated injuries and difficulty in accessing and controlling these vessels. Early control of bleeding can decrease the mortality in these patients. Abdominal vasculature is divided in four zones and each zone need different operative strategy for exposure. Principles of proximal and distal control are followed before exploring any haematoma. Endovascular interventions (angioembolization, stent-graft) have shown improved outcomes in patients with blunt abdominal trauma. Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of Aorta is minimal invasive method of achieving aortic occlusion and acts as bridge for definitive intervention or surgery. Updated knowledge is necessary for all those directly involved in managing these patients. The current review discusses relevant anatomy, principles, different surgical approaches and endovascular techniques to deal these injuries.

Management of liver trauma in urban university hospitals in India: an observational multicentre cohort study

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contribute to 90% of injuries occurring in the world. The liver is one of the commonest organs injured in abdominal trauma. This study aims to highlight the demographic and management profile of liver injury patients, presenting to four urban Indian university hospitals in India.

This is a retrospective registry-based study. Data of patients with liver injury either isolated or concomitant with other injuries was used using the ICD-10 code S36.1 for liver injury. The severity of injury was graded based on the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) grading for liver injuries.

A total of 368 liver injury patients were analysed. Eighty-nine percent were males, with road traffic injuries being the commonest mechanism. As per WSES liver injury grade, there were 127 (34.5%) grade I, 96 (26.1%) grade II, 70 (19.0%) grade III and 66 (17.9%) grade IV injuries. The overall mortality was 16.6%. Two hundred sixty-two patients (71.2%) were managed non-operatively (NOM), and 106 (38.8%) were operated. 90.1% of those managed non-operatively survived.

In this multicentre cohort of liver injury patients from urban university hospitals in India, the commonest profile of patient was a young male, with a blunt injury to the abdomen due to a road traffic accident. Success rate of non-operative management of liver injury is comparable to other countries.

Epidemiological characteristics of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh

While high income countries (HICs) have reduced the mortality from child injury, it is increasing in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, injury registry and reporting are inconsistent and not well developed in the LMICs. This study aims at describing the epidemiology of child injury in a tertiary paediatric surgical centre in Bangladesh. We retrospectively analysed all patients of injury between 0 and 12 years of age admitted in the Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chattogram Medical College Hospital during January 2017 to June 2020. Analysis was done for the hospital prevalence, age and sex distribution, seasonal variations, mechanism of injury, site of involvement, and mortality from injury. There were a total of 538 patients and male to female ratio was 2.01:1. Hospital prevalence was 6.71%. Mean age was 6.60 ± 3.32 years. School age children were affected more (51.7%); and “6-10 years” age group had the highest number injuries (251 patients, 46.65%). The most common mechanisms of injuries were road-traffic accident (RTA, 35.32%), followed by fall (26.39%) and „stab or cut injury‟ (20.63%). Males experienced more abdominal injuries and females had more perineal injuries (P=0.00). RTA was the commonest mechanism in males (37.05%) and falls were the commonest mechanism in females (32.96%). „Stab or cut injury‟ was the commonest mechanism in infants and toddlers, and RTA was commonest among pre-school and school age children. There were no significant seasonal variations (P=0.09). There were 5.76% intentional injuries. Mortality was 2.60% and major causes of mortality were RTA and animal assaults. Injuries were more prevalent during the mid-childhood with an overall increasing trend with age. Mechanism of injury and site of involvement were different among different age groups and between sexes.

Trauma system developments reduce mortality in hospitalized trauma patients in Al-Ain City, United Arab Emirates, despite increased severity of injury

Background: Trauma is a leading cause of death in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There have been major developments in the trauma system in Al-Ain City during the last two decades. We aimed to study the effects of these developments on the trauma pattern, severity, and clinical outcome of hospitalized trauma patients in Al-Ain City, United Arab Emirates.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of two separate sets of prospectively collected trauma registry data of Al-Ain Hospital. Data were collected over two periods: from March 2003 to March 2006 and from January 2014 to December 2017. Demography, injury mechanism, injury location, and clinical outcomes of 2573 trauma patients in the first period were compared with 3519 patients in the second period.

Results: Trauma incidence decreased by 38.2% in Al-Ain City over the last 10 years. Trauma to females, UAE nationals, and the geriatric population significantly increased over time (p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test for each). Falls on the same level significantly increased over time, while road traffic collisions and falls from height significantly decreased over time (p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test for each). Mortality significantly decreased over time (2.3% compared with 1%, p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test). Conclusions: Developments in the trauma system of our city have reduced mortality in hospitalized trauma patients by 56% despite an increased severity of injury. Furthermore, the injury incidence in our city decreased by 38.2% over the last decade. This was mainly in road traffic collisions and work-related injuries. Nevertheless, falls on the same level in the geriatric population continue to be a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

Designing and implementing a practical prehospital emergency trauma care curriculum for lay first responders in Guatemala

Background: Injury disproportionately affects low-income and middle-income countries, yet robust emergency medical services are often lacking to effectively address the prehospital injury burden. A half-day prehospital emergency trauma care curriculum was designed for first responders and piloted in the Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, and Escuintla departments in Guatemala.

Methods: Three hundred and fifty-four law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and civilians volunteered to participate in a 5-hour emergency care course teaching scene safety, triage, airway management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, fracture management, and victim transport. A validated 26-question pretest/post-test study instrument was contextually adapted and used to measure overall test performance, the primary study outcome, as well as test performance stratified by occupation, the secondary study outcome. Pretest/post-test score distributions were compared using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. For test evaluation, knowledge acquisition on a by-question and by-category basis was examined using McNemar’s χ² test, whereas item difficulty indices used frequency-of-distribution tests and item discrimination indices used point biserial correlation.

Results: Two hundred and eighty-seven participants qualified for inclusion. Participant mean pretest versus post-test scores improved 24 percentage points after course completion (43% vs 68%, p<0.001). Cronbach’s alpha yielded values of 0.86 (pretest) and 0.94 (post-test), suggesting testing instrument reliability. Between-group analyses demonstrated law enforcement and civilian participants improved more than firefighters (p<0.001). Performance on 23 of 26 questions improved significantly. All test questions except one showed an increase in their PPDI.

Discussion: A 1-day, contextually adapted, 5-hour course targeting laypeople demonstrates significant improvements in emergency care knowledge. Future investigations of similar curricula should be trialed in alternate low-resource settings with increased civilian participation to evaluate efficacy and replicability as adequate substitutes for longer courses. This study suggests future courses teaching emergency care for lay first responders may be reduced to 5 hours duration.

Epidemiology and outcomes of trauma patients at The Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, 2017 – 2018

Objective: Structured trauma care has proven to improve patient outcomes, and this is more relevant in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The objective of this study was to determine the distribution, etiology, severity and outcomes of trauma patients at the Indus Hospital.
Methods: All adult poly-trauma patients presenting to The Indus Hospital from July 2017 to June 2018 were included in this retrospective review. Data was extracted on etiology of trauma, severity of injury, investigations and final disposition of patients.
Results: Of 972 trauma patients presenting to TIH Emergency Department, 663 (68.2%) were males with a mean age of 36 (17.4) years. Road traffic accidents (RTAs) led to trauma in 766 patients (78.8%), followed by 121 falls (12.7%). Injury Severity score (ISS) was calculated upon arrival and 528 (54.3%) were found to be critically injured. Median length of stay was 60 (24-720) minutes while none utilized pre-hospital Emergency Medical services.
Conclusion: Most trauma patients were males suffering from RTA. Nearly half of the patients were critically injured on arrival. EMS is not utilized by trauma patients. There were gaps identified in the diagnosis and treatment of trauma.