Association between volume resuscitation & mortality among injured patients at a tertiary care hospital in Kigali, Rwanda

Injuries cause significant morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan African countries such as Rwanda. These burdens may be compounded by limited access to intravenous (IV) resuscitation fluids such as crystalloids and blood products. This study evaluates the association between emergency department (ED) intravenous volume resuscitation and mortality outcomes in adult trauma patients treated at the University Teaching Hospital-Kigali (UTH- K).

Data were abstracted using a structured protocol for a random sample of ED patients treated during periods from 2012 to 2016. Patients under 15 years of age were excluded. Data collected included demographics, clinical aspects, types of IV fluid resuscitation provided and outcomes. The primary outcome was facility-based mortality. Descriptive statistics were used to explore characteristics of the population. Kampala Trauma Scores (KTS) were used to control for injury severity. Magnitudes of effects were quantified using multivariable regression models adjusted for gender, KTS, time period, clinical interventions, presence of head injury and transfer to a tertiary care centre to yield adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

From the random sample of 3609 cases, 991 trauma patients were analysed. The median age was 32 [IQR 26, 46] years and 74.3% were male. ED volume resuscitation was given to 50.1% of patients with 43.5% receiving crystalloid and 6.4% receiving crystalloid and packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions. The median KTS score was 13 [IQR 12, 13]. In multivariable regression, mortality likelihood was increased in those who received crystalloid (aOR = 4.31, 95%CI 1.24, 15.05, p = 0.022) and PRBC plus crystalloid (aOR = 9.97, 95%CI 2.15,46.17, p = 0.003) as compared to trauma patients not treated with IV resuscitation fluids.

Injured ED patients treated with volume resuscitation had higher mortality, which may be due to unmeasured confounding or therapies provided. Further studies on fluid resuscitation in trauma populations in resource-limited settings are needed.

Recording patient data in burn unit logbooks in Rwanda – who and what are we missing?

Systematic data collection in high-income countries has demonstrated a decreasing burn morbidity and mortality, whereas lack of data from low- and middle-income countries hinder a global overview of burn epidemiology. In low- and middle-income countries, dedicated burn registries are few. Instead, burn data are often recorded in logbooks or as one variable in trauma registries, where incomplete or inconsistently recorded information is a known challenge. The University Teaching Hospital of Kigali hosts the only dedicated burn unit in Rwanda and has collected data on patients admitted for acute burn care in logbooks since 2005. This study aimed to assess the data registered between January 2005 and December 2019, to evaluate the extent of missing data, and to identify possible factors associated with “missingness”. All data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Fisher’s exact test, and Wilcoxon Rank Sum test. In this study, 1,093 acute burn patients were included and 64.2% of them had incomplete data. Data completeness improved significantly over time. The most commonly missing variables were whether the patient was referred from another facility and information regarding whether any surgical intervention was performed. Missing data on burn mechanism, burn degree, and surgical treatment were associated with in-hospital mortality. In conclusion, missing data is frequent for acute burn patients in Rwanda, although improvements have been seen over time. As Rwanda and other low- and middle-income countries strive to improve burn care, ensuring data completeness will be essential for the ability to accurately assess the quality of care, and hence improve it.

Validating the Global Surgery Geographical Accessibility Indicator: Differences in Modeled Versus Patient-Reported Travel Times

Background: Since long travel times to reach health facilities are associated with worse outcomes, geographic accessibility is one of the six core global surgery indicators; this corresponds to the second of the “Three Delays Framework,” namely “delay in reaching a health facility.” Most attempts to estimate this indicator have been based on geographical information systems (GIS) algorithms. The aim of our study was to compare GIS derived estimates to self-reported travel times for patients traveling to a district hospital in rural Rwanda for emergency obstetric care.

Methods: Our study includes 664 women who traveled to undergo a Cesarean delivery in Kirehe, Rwanda. We compared self-reported travel time from home to the hospital (excluding waiting time) with GIS estimated travel times, which were computed using the World Health Organization tool AccessMod, using linear regression.

Results: The majority of patients used multiple modes of transportation (walking = 48.5%, public transport = 74.2%, private transport = 2.9%, and ambulance 70.6%). Self-reported times were longer than GIS estimates by a factor of 1.49 (95% CI 1.40-1.57). Concordance was higher when the GIS model took into account that all patients in Rwanda are referred via their health center (β = 1.12; 95% CI 1.05-1.18).

Conclusions: To our knowledge, in this largest to date GIS validation study for geographical access to healthcare in low- and middle-income countries, a standard GIS model was found to significantly underestimate real travel time, which likely is in part because it does not model the actual route patients are travelling. Therefore, previous studies of 2-h access to surgery will need to be interpreted with caution, and future studies should take local travelling conditions into account.