Demographics, clinical presentation and risk factors of ocular surface squamous neoplasia at a tertiary hospital, South Africa

The aim of this study is to describe the demographic, presenting features and associated risk factors of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) at a tertiary eye hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

An interventional prospective study of patients presenting with conjunctival masses was conducted. An electronic questionnaire was completed to document demographic data, presenting history, and associated risk factors. A slit lamp examination and photos were used to document and describe the clinical features at presentation. Cases (OSSN) and controls (benign lesions) were determined by histology.

There were 130 cases and 45 controls. Median age was 44 years (IQR: 35–51) with an equal gender distribution in cases. The prevalence of HIV in cases was 74% and was strongly associated with OSSN (p < 0.001). Vascularisation, leukoplakia and pigmentation were clinical features that distinguished cases from controls. A fibrovascular morphology was strongly associated with a benign histology (p < 0.001), whereas leukoplakic and gelatinous morphologies were associated with OSSN. Conjunctival intra-epithelial neoplasia made up 82% of cases.

Our study describes a sample of OSSN that is young and has no gender predisposition. The majority of cases presented with CIN lesions, rather than SCC reported in other African countries. HIV was the most significant risk factor in this study population.

Risk factors associated with acute kidney injury in a pediatric intensive care unit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Case control study

Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious problem in critically ill children. It is associated with poor treatment outcomes and a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Globally, one in three critically ill admitted children suffer from acute kidney injury. However, limited data are available in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, highlighting the risk factors related to acute kidney injury. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the risk factors associated with acute kidney injury among critically ill children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Methods: A facility-based unmatched case-control study was carried out on 253 (85 cases and 168 controls) children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit from January 2011 to December 2021. Participants were selected using a systematic random sampling technique for the control group and all cases consecutively. Data were collected using a structured checklist. Data were entered using Epi data version 4.6 and analyzed using SPSS version 25. Multivariate analysis was carried out using the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) to identify associated factors with acute kidney injury. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.

Results: The median age of the participants was two years. About 55.6 % of cases and 53.1% of controls were females. The diagnosis of hypertension (AOR= 5.36; 95% CI: 2.06- 13.93)], shock (AOR=3.88, 95% CI: 1.85- 8.12), exposure to nephrotoxic drugs (AOR=4.09; 95% CI: 1. 45- 11.59), sepsis or infection AOR=3.36; 95% CI: 1.42-7.99), nephritic syndrome (AOR=2.97; 95% CI :1.19, 7.43), and mechanical ventilation AOR=2.25, 95% CI: 1.12, 4.51) were significantly associated with acute kidney injury.

Conclusion: In this study, the diagnosis of sepsis or infection, hypertension, shock, nephrotoxic drugs, demand for mechanical ventilation support, and nephritic syndrome increased the risk of AKI among critically ill children. Multiple risk factors for AKI are associated with illness and its severity. All measures that ensure adequate renal perfusion must be taken in children with identified risk factors to avoid the development of AKI.

Risk Factors and Outcomes of Redo Craniotomy: A Tertiary Care Center Analysis

Background and aim
Reoperation rate is defined as the percentage of patients returning to the operating room (OR) within 30 days of an initial craniotomy and undergoing a repeat (redo) craniotomy procedure. It is a key factor of quality-of-care assessments and has implications for outcomes, especially in oncological cases. Redo craniotomies are associated with improvement in neurological status and decreased mortality rate compared to non-surgical interventions but are associated with higher costs and risk of complications. It is important to gauge the indications and frequency of redo craniotomies as an index of quality of healthcare to improve patient outcomes. This study aimed to identify the indications, frequency, and outcomes of reoperation following an initial craniotomy in neurosurgical patients at a tertiary care hospital.

This retrospective cohort study was conducted at a tertiary care center in Pakistan and included all patients who underwent unplanned reoperation within 30 days of initial craniotomy from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2017. Demographics, indications for index surgery as well as reoperation, and outcomes in the form of complications, neurological status, and mortality were collected from medical charts and analyzed.

The study comprised 111 patients who underwent reoperations. Median age of the patients was 36 years (interquartile range {IQR}: 33 years). From a total of more than 1900 annual cases, the frequency of unplanned reoperations was 3.5%. The most common indication of unplanned reoperation based on MRI/CT was hemorrhage (40%, subdural hemorrhage was most common), followed by hydrocephalus (22%), cerebral edema (13%), and residual tumor (13%). The most common clinical reason for unplanned reoperation was a drop in Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) (59%), whereas anisocoria was seen in 10.8% of patients. The highest mortality rate was observed in patients who were reoperated from post-operative day two to post-operative day seven (56%). Hypertension (p=0.014) and thrombocytopenia (p<0.001) showed significant associations with developing intracranial hemorrhage. Seventy-eight percent of patients showed significant improvement in their Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS) whereas 22% showed deterioration in their KPS.

The delivery of consistent quality healthcare relies on early detection and intervention in at-risk patients. Our center’s reoperation rate is consistent with the average range among other centers globally. Hypertension, anticoagulation, and antiplatelet therapy were common risk factors for redo craniotomies within 30 days. Patients with these conditions need special care to prevent returns to the operating room. Patients also need to be monitored for hemorrhage in the short term (one to two days) and hydrocephalus in the long term (two to 30 days) to intervene early if needed.

The prevalence and risk factors of chronic low back pain among adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: an observational cross-sectional hospital-based study

Globally, chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the leading cause of disability associated with economic costs. However, it has received little attention in low-and-middle-income countries. This study estimated the prevalence and risk factors of CLBP among adults presenting at selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.

This cross-sectional study was conducted among adults aged ≥18 years who attended the selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal during the study period. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic, work-related factors, and information about CLBP. The SPSS version 24.0 (IBM SPSS Inc) was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used for demographic characteristics of participants. CLBP risk factors were assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. A p-value of ≤0.05 was deemed statistically significant.

A total of 678 adults participated in this study. The overall prevalence of CLBP was 18.1% (95% CI: 15.3 – 21.3) with females having a higher prevalence than males, 19.8% (95% CI: 16.0 – 24.1) and 15.85% (95% CI: 11.8 – 20.6), respectively. Using multivariate regression analysis, the following risk factors were identified: overweight (aOR: 3.7, 95% CI: 1.1 – 12.3, p = 0.032), no formal education (aOR: 6.1, 95% CI: 2.1 – 18.1, p = 0.001), lack of regular physical exercises (aOR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0 – 4.8, p = 0.044), smoking 1 to 10 (aOR: 4.5, 95% CI: 2.0 – 10.2, p < 0.001) and more than 11 cigarettes per day (aOR: 25.3, 95% CI: 10.4 – 61.2, p < 0.001), occasional and frequent consumption of alcohol, aOR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1 – 5.9, p < 0.001 and aOR: 11.3, 95% CI: 4.9 – 25.8, p < 0.001, respectively, a sedentary lifestyle (aOR: 31.8, 95% CI: 11.2 – 90.2, p < 0.001), manual work (aOR: 26.2, 95% CI: 10.1 – 68.4, p < 0.001) and a stooped sitting posture (aOR: 6.0, 95% CI: 2.0 – 17.6, p = 0.001).

This study concluded that the prevalence of CLBP in KwaZulu-Natal is higher than in other regions, and that it is predicted by a lack of formal education, overweight, lack of regular physical exercises, smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, manual work, and a stooped posture.

Determinants of survival in children with cancer in Johannesburg, South Africa

Background: Childhood cancer, although rare, remains an important cause of death worldwide. The outcomes of children with all cancer types in South Africa are not well-documented.

Aim: The aim of the article was to determine local childhood cancer survival rates and establish determinants of survival.

Setting: The study was conducted at a state and a private hospital in South Africa.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study consecutively included all children with a proven malignancy from 01 January 2012 to 31 December 2016. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to establish which factors significantly impacted overall survival (OS).

Results: Of a total of 677 study participants, 71% were black South Africans. The estimated 5-year overall survival (OS) was 57% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 53-61%) and significant determinants of OS on the multivariable analysis included: ethnicity, cancer-type and nutritional status. White and Indian patients had higher OS compared to black patients (hazard ration [HR] (95% CI) 0.46 (0.30-0.69) p = 0.0002 and HR (95%) 0.38 (0.19-0.78) p = 0.0087, respectively). Underweight patients had inferior survival (HR (95% CI) 1.78 (1.28-2.47)) p = 0.0006. Patients with neuroblastoma had an increased risk of dying compared to those with leukaemia (HR [95% CI] 1.78 [1.08-2.94]) p = 0.025. Progression of disease was the most common cause of death, followed by disease relapse.

Conclusion: The childhood cancer survival rate obtained in this study can be used as a baseline to facilitate improvement. Non-modifiable prognostic factors included ethnicity and cancer-type whilst modifiable risk factors included undernutrition. Undernutrition should be addressed on a national and local level to improve survival.

Health system and patient-level factors serving as facilitators and barriers to rheumatic heart disease care in Sudan

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa despite widely available preventive therapies such as prophylactic benzathine penicillin G (BPG). In this study, we sought to characterize facilitators and barriers to optimal RHD treatment with BPG in Sudan.

We conducted a mixed-methods study, collecting survey data from 397 patients who were enrolled in a national RHD registry between July and November 2017. The cross-sectional surveys included information on demographics, healthcare access, and patient perspectives on treatment barriers and facilitators. Factors associated with increased likelihood of RHD treatment adherence to prophylactic BPG were assessed by using adjusted logistic regression. These data were enhanced by focus group discussions with 20 participants, to further explore health system factors impacting RHD care.

Our quantitative analysis revealed that only 32% of the study cohort reported optimal prophylaxis adherence. Younger age, reduced primary RHD healthcare facility wait time, perception of adequate health facility staffing, increased treatment costs, and high patient knowledge about RHD were significantly associated with increased odds of treatment adherence. Qualitative data revealed significant barriers to RHD treatment arising from health services factors at the health system level, including lack of access due to inadequate healthcare staffing, lack of faith in local healthcare systems, poor ancillary services, and patient lack of understanding of disease. Facilitators of RHD treatment included strong interpersonal support.

Multiple patient and system-level barriers to RHD prophylaxis adherence were identified in Khartoum, Sudan. These included patient self-efficacy and participant perception of healthcare facility quality. Strengthening local health system infrastructure, while enhancing RHD patient education, may help to improve treatment adherence in this vulnerable population.

Organized breast cancer screening not only reduces mortality from breast cancer but also significantly decreases disability-adjusted life years: analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study and screening programme availability in 130 countries

Multiple studies over the past 4 decades have shown the significant benefit of breast cancer screening (BCS) in reducing mortality rates from breast cancer (BC). However, significant debate exists about the role of BCS in this regard, with some studies also showing no benefit in terms of mortality along with issues such as overdiagnosis, health care utilisation costs, psychological distress or overtreatment. To date, no BCS study has focused on disability. Hence the aim of this study is to evaluate the relative contribution of BCS approaches to age-standardized mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) rates along with other related risk factors, from a country-level perspective.

Patients and methods
This study created a country-dataset by merging information from the Global Burden of Disease study regarding female age-standardized BC mortality, DALYs rates and other risk factors with the BCS programme availability at the national or regional level (versus no or only pilot such programme), BCS type (mammography, digital screening, breast self-examination and clinical breast examination) and other BCS-related information among 130 countries. Mixed-effect multilevel regression models were run to examine the associations of interest.

The most important factor predictive of lower mortality was the more advanced type of BCS programme availability [mammography: −4.16, 95% CI −6.76 to −1.55; digital mammography/ultrasound: −3.64, 95% CI −6.59 to −0.70] when compared with self- or clinical breast examinations. High levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and smoking were also related to higher mortality and DALYs from BC. In terms of BC DALYs, BCS had a 21.9 to 22.3-fold increase in the magnitude of effect compared with that in terms of mortality. Data on mortality and DALYs in relation to BCS programmes were also calculated for high-, middle- and low-income countries.

These data further support the positive effects of BCS in relation to age-standardized BC mortality rates, and for the first time show the impact of BCS on DALYs too. Additional factors, such as diabetes, high levels of LDL-c or smoking seemed to be related to BC mortality and disability, and could be considered as additional components of possible interventions to be used alongside BCS to optimize the BCS benefit on patients.

Factors Associated with Congenital Heart Diseases Among Children in Uganda: A Case-Control Study at Mulago National Referral Hospital (Uganda Heart Institute)

Congenital Heart Diseases (CHD) are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality associated with congenital malformations among children. Not knowing the risk profile of CHD among children in Uganda impedes development of effective prevention interventions. In this hospital based unmatched case-control study we examined risk
factors for all types of CHD among 179 pair of case and control children aged 0-10 years old at Mulago National Referral Hospital. Odds ratios and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals were calculated using multivariate logistic regression. Low birth weight (adjusted OR: 3.15, 95% CI 1.48 – 6.69), high birth order ≥5th birth order (adjusted OR: 3.69 (1.10 – 12.54), maternal febrile illness during pregnancy, maternal and paternal alcohol consumption, and paternal socio-economic status were associated with CHD. Family history of CHD, maternal education level, maternal chronic illness, and paternal education level were not associated with CHD. The results suggest: low birth weight, high birth order, and maternal febrile illness during pregnancy, parental alcohol use and paternal socio-economic status as dominant risk factors for CHD among children. Rigorous implementation of public health policies and strategies targeting prevention of febrile illness during pregnancy, maternal malnutrition, parental alcohol consumption, delivery of high number of children per woman, might be important in reducing the burden of CHD among children in Uganda

Neonatal Septicaemia in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Protocol for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Background: The morbidity and mortality from neonatal septicaemia (NNS) in low-middle income country remain high at the background of strained health care delivery system.The burden, pooled risks and outcomes of NNS are largely unknown. We aimed to produce a protocol for synthesizing evidence from available data for neonatal septicaemia in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: We developed a search strategy using MeSH, text words and entry terms. Nine databases will be searched: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, AJOL, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Research gate and Scopus. Only Observational studies retrievable in the English Language will be included. The primary measurable outcome is the proportion of neonatal with septicaemia while secondary outcomes include proportion of bacterial isolates and their antibiogram, risk factors for NNS, in hospital mortality, length of hospital stay, frequency of necrotizing enterocolitis and other sequel . All identified studies will be screened based on the inclusion criteria. Data will be deduplicated in Endnote version 9, before exporting to Rayyan QCRI for screening. Extractable data will include first author’s name and year of publication, the country and regions in sub-Saharan Africa, total neonatal admissions, number with sepsis, the sample size, bacterial isolates, antibiogram, in-hospital mortality, length of hospital stay and frequency of necrotizing enterocolitis.

All studies will be assessed for methodological, clinical and statistical heterogeneity. The NIH Quality assessment tool for observational studies and the Cochrane tool of risk of bias will be used to assess for the strength of evidence. Publication bias will be assessed using the funnel plot.

Discussion: Results will be presented as the prevalence, standard error and confidence interval of newborns with neonatal septicaemia in sub-Saharan Africa. Subgroup analysis using categorical data such as risk factors, bacterial isolates, antibiogram and outcomes of neonatal septicaemia will also be reported. A cumulative meta-analysis will be done to assess the time trend of the risk factors, pathogens and antibiogram.The CMA version 3 will be used for statistical analysis. Results will be presented in forest plots.

Otitis media with effusion in Africa‐prevalence and associated factors: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

To estimate the overall and subgroup prevalence of otitis media with effusion (OME) in Africa, and identify setting‐specific predictors in children and adults.

PubMed, African Journals Online, African Index Medicus, Afrolib, SciELO, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library, GreyLit and OpenGray were searched to identify relevant articles on OME in Africa, from inception to December 31st 2019. A random‐effects model was used to pool outcome estimates.

Overall, 38 studies were included, with 27 in meta‐analysis (40 331 participants). The overall prevalence of OME in Africa was 6% (95% CI: 5%‐7%; I2 = 97.5%, P < .001). The prevalence was 8% (95% CI: 7%‐9%) in children and 2% (95% CI: 0.1%‐3%) in adolescents/adults. North Africa had the highest prevalence (10%; 95% CI: 9%‐13%), followed by West and Southern Africa (9%; 95% CI: 7%‐10% and 9%; 95% CI: 6%‐12% respectively), Central Africa (7%; 95% CI: 5%‐10%) and East Africa (2%; 95% CI: 1%‐3%). There was no major variability in prevalence over the last four decades. Cleft palate was the strongest predictor (OR: 5.2; 95% CI: 1.4‐18.6, P = .02). Other significant associated factors were age, adenoid hypertrophy, allergic rhinitis in children, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, low CD4 count in adults.

OME prevalence was similar to that reported in other settings, notably high‐income temperate countries. Health care providers should consider age, presence of cleft palate, adenoid hypertrophy and allergic rhinitis when assessing OME in children and deciding on a management plan. More research is required to confirm risk factors and evaluate treatment options.