What is the minimum number of specialist anaesthetists needed in low-income and middle-income countries?

The number of specialist anaesthetists in most low-income and middle-income countries is below what is needed to provide a safe quality anaesthesia service. There are no estimates of the optimal number; therefore, we estimated the minimum density of specialist anaesthetists to achieve a reasonable standard of healthcare as indicated by the maternal mortality ratio (MMR).

Utilising existing country-level data of the number of physician anaesthesia providers (PAPs), MMR and Human Development Index (HDI), we developed best-fit curves to describe the relationship between MMR and PAPs, controlling for HDI. The aim was to use this relationship to estimate the number of PAPs associated with achieving the median MMR.

We estimated that, in order to achieve a reasonable standard of healthcare, as indicated by the global median MMR, countries should aim to have at least four PAPs per 100 000 population. Existing data show that currently 80 countries have fewer than this number.

Four PAPs per 100 000 population is a modest target, but there is a need to increase training of doctors in many countries in order to train more specialist anaesthetists. It is important that this target is considered during the development of national workforce plans, even if a stepwise approach to workforce planning is chosen.

Postoperative Airway Obstruction in a Low Resource Setting: A Case Report.

A 2-month-old girl with abnormal facial features and malnutrition presented for placement of a gastrostomy tube. The surgery was performed under general anesthesia using a laryngeal mask airway (LMA); however, after removal of the LMA, the patient had recurrent airway collapse, requiring repeated insertion of the LMA. The authors describe the management of this problem with the use of a tongue suture and anterior traction in the postoperative period in a resource-limited setting.

The power of practice: simulation training improving the quality of neonatal resuscitation skills in Bihar, India.

Globally, neonatal mortality accounts for nearly half of under-five mortality, and intrapartum related events are a leading cause. Despite the rise in neonatal resuscitation (NR) training programs in low- and middle-income countries, their impact on the quality of NR skills amongst providers with limited formal medical education, particularly those working in rural primary health centers (PHCs), remains incompletely understood.This study evaluates the impact of PRONTO International simulation training on the quality of NR skills in simulated resuscitations and live deliveries in rural PHCs throughout Bihar, India. Further, it explores barriers to performance of key NR skills. PRONTO training was conducted within CARE India’s AMANAT intervention, a maternal and child health quality improvement project. Performance in simulations was evaluated using video-recorded assessment simulations at weeks 4 and 8 of training. Performance in live deliveries was evaluated in real time using a mobile-phone application. Barriers were explored through semi-structured interviews with simulation facilitators.In total, 1342 nurses participated in PRONTO training and 226 NR assessment simulations were matched by PHC and evaluated. From week 4 to 8 of training, proper neck extension, positive pressure ventilation (PPV) with chest rise, and assessment of heart rate increased by 14%, 19%, and 12% respectively (all p ≤ 0.01). No difference was noted in stimulation, suction, proper PPV rate, or time to completion of key steps. In 252 live deliveries, identification of non-vigorous neonates, use of suction, and use of PPV increased by 21%, 25%, and 23% respectively (all p < 0.01) between weeks 1-3 and 4-8. Eighteen interviews revealed individual, logistical, and cultural barriers to key NR skills.PRONTO simulation training had a positive impact on the quality of key skills in simulated and live resuscitations throughout Bihar. Nevertheless, there is need for ongoing improvement that will likely require both further clinical training and addressing barriers that go beyond the scope of such training. In settings where clinical outcome data is unreliable, data triangulation, the process of synthesizing multiple data sources to generate a better-informed evaluation, offers a powerful tool for guiding this process.

Intravenous lidocaine as adjuvant to general anesthesia in renal surgery.

The role of intraoperative intravenous lidocaine infusion has been previously evaluated for pain relief, inflammatory response, and post-operative recovery, particularly in abdominal surgery. The present study is a randomized double-blinded trial in which we evaluated whether IV lidocaine infusion reduces isoflurane requirement, intraoperative remifentanil consumption and time to post-operative recovery in non-laparoscopic renal surgery. Sixty patients scheduled to undergo elective non-laparoscopic renal surgery under general anesthesia were enrolled to receive either systemic lidocaine infusion (group L: bolus 1.5 mg/kg followed by a continuous infusion at the rate of 2 mg/kg/hr until skin closure) or normal saline (0.9% NaCl solution) (Group C). The depth of anesthesia was monitored using the Bispectral Index Scale (BIS), which is based on measurement of the patient’s cerebral electrical activity. Primary outcome of the study was End-tidal of isoflurane concentration (Et-Iso) at BIS values of 40-60. Secondary outcomes include remifentanil consumption during the operation and time to extubation. Et-Iso was significantly lower in group L than in group C (0.63% ± 0.10% vs 0.92% ± 0.11%, p < 10-3). Mean remifentanil consumption of was significantly lower in group L than in group C (0.13 ± 0.04 µg/kg/min vs 0.18 ± 0.04 µg/kg/min, p < 10-3). Thus, IV lidocaine infusion permits a reduction of 31% in isoflurane concentration requirement and 27% in the intraoperative remifentanil need. In addition, recovery from anesthesia and extubation time was shorter in group L (5.8 ± 1.8 min vs 7.9 ± 2.0 min, p < 10-3). By reducing significantly isoflurane and remifentanil requirements during renal surgery, intravenous lidocaine could provide effective strategy to limit volatile agent and intraoperative opioids consumption especially in low and middle income countries.

Global Incidence and Outcomes of Adult Patients With Acute Kidney Injury After Cardiac Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

To estimate the global incidence and outcomes of acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery in adult patients.

A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cardiac surgery wards.

Adult patients after cardiac surgery


The authors searched PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, OVID, and EMBASE databases for all articles on cardiac surgery patients published during 2004 to 2014. Meta-analyses were conducted to generate pooled incidence, mortality, ICU length of stay, and length of hospital stay. The authors also described the variations according to study design, criteria of AKI, surgical methods, countries, continents, and their economies. After a primary and secondary screen, 91 observational studies with 320,086 patients were identified. The pooled incidence rates of AKI were 22.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.8 to 25.1) in total and 13.6%, 3.8%, and 2.7% at stages 1, 2, and 3, respectively, whereas 2.3% of patients received renal replacement therapy. The pooled short-term and long-term mortality were 10.7% and 30%, respectively, and increased along with the severity of stages. The pooled unadjusted odds ratio for short-term and long-term mortality in patients with AKI relative to patients without AKI was 0.144 (95% CI, 0.108 to 0.192, p<0.001) and 0.342 (95% CI 0.287-0.407, p<0.001), respectively. The pooled average ICU length of stay and length of hospital stay in the AKI group were 5.4 and 15 days, respectively, while they were 2.2 and 10.5 days in the no-AKI group.

AKI is a great burden for patients undergoing cardiac surgery and can affect short-term and long-term prognoses of these patients.

A Prospective Observational Study of Anesthesia-Related Adverse Events and Postoperative Complications Occurring During a Surgical Mission in Madagascar.

Two-thirds of the world’s population lack access to safe anesthesia and surgical care. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in bridging the gap, but surgical outcomes vary. After complex surgeries, up to 20-fold higher postoperative complication rates are reported and the reasons for poor outcomes are undefined. Little is known concerning the incidence of anesthesia complications. Mercy Ships uses fully trained staff, and infrastructure and equipment resources similar to that of high-income countries, allowing the influence of these factors to be disentangled from patient factors when evaluating anesthesia and surgical outcomes after NGO sponsored surgery. We aimed to estimate the incidence of anesthesia-related and postoperative complications during a 2-year surgical mission in Madagascar.As part of quality assurance and participation in a new American Society of Anesthesiologists Anesthesia Quality Institute sponsored NGO Outcomes registry, Mercy Ships prospectively recorded anesthesia-related adverse events. Adverse events were grouped into 6 categories: airway, cardiac, medication, regional, neurological, and equipment. Postoperative complications were predefined as 16 adverse events and graded for patient impact using the Dindo-Clavien classification.Data were evaluated for 2037 episodes of surgical care. The overall anesthesia adverse event rate was 2.0% (confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.6). The majority (85% CI, 74-96) of adverse events occurred intraoperatively with 15% (CI, 3-26) occurring in postanesthesia care unit. The most common intraoperative adverse event, occurring 7 times, was failed regional (spinal) anesthesia that was due to unexpectedly long surgery in 6 cases; bronchospasm and arrhythmias were the second most common, occurring 5 times each. There were 217 postoperative complications in 191 patients giving an overall complication rate of 10.7% (CI, 9.3-12.0) per surgery and 9.4% (CI, 8.1-10.7) per patient. The most common postoperative complication was unexpected return to the operating room and the second most common was surgical site infection (39.2%; CI, 37.0-41.3 and 33.2%; CI, 31.1-35.3 of all complications, respectively). The most common (42.9%; CI, 40.7-45.1) grade of complication was grade II. There was 1 death.This study adds to the scarce literature on anesthesia outcomes after mission surgery in low- and middle-income countries. We join others in calling for an international NGO anesthesia and surgical outcome registry and for all surgical NGOs to adopt international standards for the safe practice of anesthesia.

Prevalence of a definitive airway in patients with severe traumatic brain injury received at four urban public university hospitals in India: a cohort study

To estimate the proportion of patients arriving with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) less than 9 who had a definitive airway placed prior to arrival.

We conducted a retrospective analysis of the data from a multicentre, prospective observational research project entitled Towards Improved Trauma Care Outcomes in India. Adults aged ≥18 years with an isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI) who were transferred from another hospital to the emergency department of the participating hospital with a GCS less than 9 were included. Our outcome was a definitive airway, defined as either intubation or surgical airway, placed prior to arrival at a participating centre.

The total number of patients eligible for this study was 1499. The median age was 40 years and 84% were male. Road traffic injuries and falls comprised 88% of the causes of isolated TBI. The number of patients with GCS<9 who had a definitive airway placed before reaching the participating centres was 229. Thus, the proportion was 0.15 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.17). The proportions of patients with a definitive airway who arrived after 24 hours (19%) were approximately double the proportion of patients who arrived within 6 hours (10%) after injury to the definitive care centre.

The rates of definitive airway placement are poor in adults with an isolated TBI who have been transferred from another health facility to tertiary care centres in India.

A profile of surgical burden and anaesthesia services at Mozambique’s Central Hospital: A review.

Surgical and anaesthesia data, including outcomes, remain limited in low-income countries (LIC). This study reviews the surgical burden and anaesthesia services at a tertiary care hospital in Mozambique.Information on activities within the department of anaesthesia at Maputo Central Hospital for 2014-15 was collected from its annual report and verified by the Chairman of Anaesthesia. Personnel information and health care metrics for the hospital in 2015 were collected and verified by hospital leadership.Maputo Central Hospital has 1423 beds with 50.1% allocated to primary surgical services. 39.7% of total admissions were to surgical services, and in 2015 the hospital performed 10,049 major operations requiring anaesthesia. The OB/GYN service had the most operations with 2894 (28.8%), followed by general surgery (1665, 16.6%). Inpatient surgical mortality was 4.1% and surgical-related diagnoses comprised two of the top 9 causes of death, with malignant neoplasms and hemorrhage from trauma causing the highest mortality. In 2014-15, Maputo Central Hospital employed 15 anesthesiologists, with 4 advanced and 23 basic mid-level anaesthesia providers. Of 10,897 total anaesthesia cases in 2014, 6954 were general anaesthesia and 3925 were neuraxial anaesthesia. Other anaesthesia services included chronic pain and intensive care consultation. Anaesthesia department leadership noted a strong desire to improve data collection and analysis for anaesthesia outcomes and complications, requested an additional administrator for statistical analysis.This profile of anaesthesia services at a large tertiary hospital in Mozambique highlights several features of anaesthesia care and surgical burden in LICs, including challenges of resource limitations, patient comorbidity, and social dynamics present in Mozambique that contribute to prolonged hospital stays. As noted, enhanced data collection and analysis within the department and the hospital may be useful in identifying strategies to improve outcomes and patient safety.

High Elective Surgery Cancellation Rate in Malawi Primarily Due to Infrastructural Limitations.

The provision of safe and timely surgical care is essential to global health care. Low- and middle-income countries have a disproportionate share of the global surgical disease burden and struggle to provide care with the given resources. Surgery cancellation worldwide occurs for many reasons, which are likely to differ between high-income and low-income settings. We sought to evaluate the proportion of elective surgery that is cancelled and the associated reasons for cancellation at a tertiary hospital in Malawi.This was a retrospective review of a database maintained by the Department of Anesthesiology at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Data were available from August 2011 to January 2015 and included weekday records for the number of scheduled surgeries, the number of cancelled surgeries, and the reasons for cancellation. Descriptive statistics were performed.Of 10,730 scheduled surgeries, 4740 (44.2%) were cancelled. The most common reason for cancellation was infrastructural limitations (84.8%), including equipment shortages (50.9%) and time constraints (33.3%). Provider limitations accounted for 16.5% of cancellations, most often due to shortages of anaesthesia providers. Preoperative medical conditions contributed to 26.3% of cancellations.This study demonstrates a high case cancellation rate at a tertiary hospital in Malawi, attributable primarily to infrastructural limitations. These data provide evidence that investments in medical infrastructure and prevention of workforce brain drain are critical to surgical services in this region.

Perioperative mortality rates in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery proposed the perioperative mortality rate (POMR) as one of the six key indicators of the strength of a country’s surgical system. Despite its widespread use in high-income settings, few studies have described procedure-specific POMR across low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to estimate POMR across a wide range of surgical procedures in LMICs. We also describe how POMR is defined and reported in the LMIC literature to provide recommendations for future monitoring in resource-constrained settings.We did a systematic review of studies from LMICs published from 2009 to 2014 reporting POMR for any surgical procedure. We extracted select variables in duplicate from each included study and pooled estimates of POMR by type of procedure using random-effects meta-analysis of proportions and the Freeman-Tukey double arcsine transformation to stabilise variances.We included 985 studies conducted across 83 LMICs, covering 191 types of surgical procedures performed on 1 020 869 patients. Pooled POMR ranged from less than 0.1% for appendectomy, cholecystectomy and caesarean delivery to 20%-27% for typhoid intestinal perforation, intracranial haemorrhage and operative head injury. We found no consistent associations between procedure-specific POMR and Human Development Index (HDI) or income-group apart from emergency peripartum hysterectomy POMR, which appeared higher in low-income countries. Inpatient mortality was the most commonly used definition, though only 46.2% of studies explicitly defined the time frame during which deaths accrued.Efforts to improve access to surgical care in LMICs should be accompanied by investment in improving the quality and safety of care. To improve the usefulness of POMR as a safety benchmark, standard reporting items should be included with any POMR estimate. Choosing a basket of procedures for which POMR is tracked may offer institutions and countries the standardisation required to meaningfully compare surgical outcomes across contexts and improve population health outcomes.