The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: An opportunity to lead innovation in global surgery


Background
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made unparalleled contributions to global health and human development by bringing together generous funding, strategic partnerships, and innovative leadership. For the last twenty years, the Gates Foundation has supported the expansion of programs that directly address the fundamental barriers to the advancement of marginalized communities around the globe, with a transformative focus on innovations to combat communicable diseases and to ensure maternal and child health. Despite the wide spectrum of programs, the Gates Foundation has not, as of yet, explicitly supported the development of surgical care.

Methods
This article explores the pivotal role that the Gates Foundation could play in advancing the emerging global surgery agenda. First, we demonstrate the importance of the Gates Foundation’s contributions by reviewing its history, growth, and evolution as a pioneering supporter of global health and human development. Recognizing the Foundation’s use of metrics and data in strategic planning and action, we align the priorities of the Foundation with the growing recognition of surgical care as a critical component of efforts to ensure universal health care.

Results
To promote healthy lives and well-being for all, development of quality and affordable capacity for surgery, obstetrics and anesthesia is more important than ever. We present the unique opportunity for the Gates Foundation to bring its transformative vision and programing to the effort to ensure equitable, timely, and quality surgical care around the world.

The fluctuating incidence, improved survival of patients with breast cancer, and disparities by age, race, and socioeconomic status by decade, 1981-2010.


PURPOSE:
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. However, the data on breast cancer incidence and survival over a long period, especially the dynamic changes in the role of race and socioeconomic status (SES), are scant.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:
To evaluate treatment outcomes of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades, the data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries were used to assess the survival of patients with breast cancer. Period analysis was used to analyze the incidence and survival trend; survival was evaluated by the relative survival rates (RSRs) and Kaplan-Meier analyses. The HRs for age, race, stage, and SES were assessed by Cox regression.

RESULTS:
A total of 433,366 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 1981 and 2010 were identified from the original nine SEER registries. The incidences of breast cancer in each decade were 107.1 per 100,000, 117.5 per 100,000, and 109.8 per 100,000. The 10-year RSRs improved each decade, from 70.8% to 81.5% to 85.6% (P<0.0001). The lower survival in black race and high-poverty group is confirmed by Kaplan-Meier analyses and RSRs. Furthermore, Cox regression analyses demonstrated that age, race, SES, and stage are independent risk factors for patients with breast cancer in each decade.

CONCLUSION:
The current data demonstrated a fluctuating incidence trend with improving survival rates of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades. In addition, the survival disparity exists among different races, ages, SESs, and stages.

Efficacy of Corrective Surgery for Gait and Energy Expenditure in Patients with Scoliosis: A Literature Review


The aim of this literature review was to evaluate selected original papers that measured gait parameters and energy expenditure in idiopathic scoliosis (IS) treated with surgical intervention. IS is a progressive growth disease that affects spinal anatomy, mobility, and left–right trunk symmetry. Consequently, IS can modify human gait. Spinal fusions remain the primary approach to correcting scoliosis deformities, thereby halting progression. Using the population intervention comparison outcome measure framework and selected keywords, 15 studies that met the inclusion criteria were selected. Alteration of spatial and temporal variables in patients with IS was contradictory among the selected studies. Ankle and foot kinematics did not change after surgery; however, pelvic and hip frontal motions increased and pelvic rotation decreased following surgery. Patients with IS continued to show excessive energy expenditure following surgery in the absence of a physical rehabilitation protocol. Spinal surgery may be considered for gait improvement and IS treatment. There were inadequate data regarding the effect of corrective surgery on the kinetics, energy expenditure, and muscle activity parameters.

The Coming Hip and Femur Fracture Bundle: A New Inpatient Risk Stratification Tool for Care Providers.


INTRODUCTION:
In response to increasing health-care costs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has initiated several programs to transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model. One such voluntary program is Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced) which includes all hip and femur fractures that undergo operative fixation. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current cost and resource utilization of operatively fixed (nonarthroplasty) hip and femur fracture procedure bundle patients at a single level 1 trauma center within the framework of a risk stratification tool (Score for Trauma Triage in the Geriatric and Middle-Aged [STTGMA]) to identify areas of high utilization before our hospitals transition to bundle period.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A cohort of Medicare-eligible patients discharged with the Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) codes 480 to 482 (hip and femur fractures requiring surgical fixation) from a level 1 trauma center between October 2014 and September 2016 was evaluated and assigned a trauma triage risk score (STTGMA score). Patients were stratified into groups based on these scores to create a minimal-, low-, moderate-, and high-risk cohort. Length of stay (LOS), discharge location, need for Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Step Down Unit (SDU) care, inpatient complications, readmission within 90 days, and inpatient admission costs were recorded.

RESULTS:
One hundred seventy-three patients with a mean age of 81.5 (10.1) years met inclusion criteria. The mean LOS was 8.0 (4.2) days, with high-risk patients having 4 days greater LOS than lower risk patients. The mean number of total complications was 0.9 (0.8) with a significant difference between risk groups (P = .029). The mean total cost of admission for the entire cohort of patients was US$25,446 (US$9725), with a nearly US$9000 greater cost for high-risk patients compared to the low-risk patients. High-cost areas of care included room/board, procedure, and radiology.

DISCUSSION:
High-risk patients were more likely to have longer and more costly admissions with average index admission costs nearly US$9000 more than the lower risk patient cohorts. These high-risk patients were also more likely to develop inpatient complications and require higher levels of care.

CONCLUSION:
This analysis of a 2-year cohort of patients who would qualify for the BPCI Advanced hip and femur procedure bundle demonstrates that the STTGMA tool can be used to identify high-risk patients who fall outside the bundle.

Management and Outcomes Following Surgery for Gastrointestinal Typhoid: An International, Prospective, Multicentre Cohort Study.


BACKGROUND:
Gastrointestinal perforation is the most serious complication of typhoid fever, with a high disease burden in low-income countries. Reliable, prospective, contemporary surgical outcome data are scarce in these settings. This study aimed to investigate surgical outcomes following surgery for intestinal typhoid.

METHODS:
Two multicentre, international prospective cohort studies of consecutive patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal typhoid perforation were conducted. Outcomes were measured at 30 days and included mortality, surgical site infection, organ space infection and reintervention rate. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to adjust for clinically plausible explanatory variables. Effect estimates are expressed as odds ratios (ORs) alongside their corresponding 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS:
A total of 88 patients across the GlobalSurg 1 and GlobalSurg 2 studies were included, from 11 countries. Children comprised 38.6% (34/88) of included patients. Most patients (87/88) had intestinal perforation. The 30-day mortality rate was 9.1% (8/88), which was higher in children (14.7 vs. 5.6%). Surgical site infection was common, at 67.0% (59/88). Organ site infection was common, with 10.2% of patients affected. An ASA grade of III and above was a strong predictor of 30-day post-operative mortality, at the univariable level and following adjustment for explanatory variables (OR 15.82, 95% CI 1.53-163.57, p = 0.021).

CONCLUSIONS:
With high mortality and complication rates, outcomes from surgery for intestinal typhoid remain poor. Future studies in this area should focus on sustainable interventions which can reduce perioperative morbidity. At a policy level, improving these outcomes will require both surgical and public health system advances.

Pediatric neurosurgical workforce, access to care, equipment and training needs worldwide.


OBJECTIVE:
The presence and capability of existing pediatric neurosurgical care worldwide is unknown. The objective of this study was to solicit the expertise of specialists to quantify the geographic representation of pediatric neurosurgeons, access to specialist care, and equipment and training needs globally.

METHODS:
A mixed-question survey was sent to surgeon members of several international neurosurgical and general pediatric surgical societies via a web-based platform. Respondents answered questions on 5 categories: surgeon demographics and training, hospital and practice details, surgical workforce and access to neurosurgical care, training and equipment needs, and desire for international collaboration. Responses were anonymized and analyzed using Stata software.

RESULTS:
A total of 459 surgeons from 76 countries responded. Pediatric neurosurgeons in high-income and upper-middle-income countries underwent formal pediatric training at a greater rate than surgeons in low- and lower-middle-income countries (89.5% vs 54.4%). There are an estimated 2297 pediatric neurosurgeons in practice globally, with 85.6% operating in high-income and upper-middle-income countries. In low- and lower-middle-income countries, roughly 330 pediatric neurosurgeons care for a total child population of 1.2 billion. In low-income countries in Africa, the density of pediatric neurosurgeons is roughly 1 per 30 million children. A higher proportion of patients in low- and lower-middle-income countries must travel > 2 hours to seek emergency neurosurgical care, relative to high-income countries (75.6% vs 33.6%, p < 0.001). Vast basic and essential training and equipment needs exist, particularly low- and lower-middle-income countries within Africa, South America, the Eastern Mediterranean, and South-East Asia. Eighty-nine percent of respondents demonstrated an interest in international collaboration for the purposes of pediatric neurosurgical capacity building.

CONCLUSIONS:
Wide disparity in the access to pediatric neurosurgical care exists globally. In low- and lower-middle-income countries, wherein there exists the greatest burden of pediatric neurosurgical disease, there is a grossly insufficient presence of capable providers and equipped facilities. Neurosurgeons across income groups and geographic regions share a desire for collaboration and partnership.

An estimation of global volume of surgically treatable epilepsy based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of epilepsy.


OBJECTIVE Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, yet its global surgical burden has yet to be characterized. The authors sought to compile the most current epidemiological data to quantify global prevalence and incidence, and estimate global surgically treatable epilepsy. Understanding regional and global epilepsy trends and potential surgical volume is crucial for future policy efforts and resource allocation. METHODS The authors performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to determine the global incidence, lifetime prevalence, and active prevalence of epilepsy; to estimate surgically treatable epilepsy volume; and to evaluate regional trends by WHO regions and World Bank income levels. Data were extracted from all population-based studies with prespecified methodological quality across all countries and demographics, performed between 1990 and 2016 and indexed on PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane. The current and annual new case volumes for surgically treatable epilepsy were derived from global epilepsy prevalence and incidence. RESULTS This systematic review yielded 167 articles, across all WHO regions and income levels. Meta-analysis showed a raw global prevalence of lifetime epilepsy of 1099 per 100,000 people, whereas active epilepsy prevalence is slightly lower at 690 per 100,000 people. Global incidence was found to be 62 cases per 100,000 person-years. The meta-analysis predicted 4.6 million new cases of epilepsy annually worldwide, a prevalence of 51.7 million active epilepsy cases, and 82.3 million people with any lifetime epilepsy diagnosis. Differences across WHO regions and country incomes were significant. The authors estimate that currently 10.1 million patients with epilepsy may be surgical treatment candidates, and 1.4 million new surgically treatable epilepsy cases arise annually. The highest prevalences are found in Africa and Latin America, although the highest incidences are reported in the Middle East and Latin America. These regions are primarily low- and middle-income countries; as expected, the highest disease burden falls disproportionately on regions with the fewest healthcare resources. CONCLUSIONS Understanding of the global epilepsy burden has evolved as more regions have been studied. This up-to-date worldwide analysis provides the first estimate of surgical epilepsy volume and an updated comprehensive overview of current epidemiological trends. The disproportionate burden of epilepsy on low- and middle-income countries will require targeted diagnostic and treatment efforts to reduce the global disparities in care and cost. Quantifying global epilepsy provides the first step toward restructuring the allocation of healthcare resources as part of global healthcare system strengthening.

The global burden of sepsis: barriers and potential solutions.


Sepsis is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The majority of sepsis cases and deaths are estimated to occur in low and middle-income countries. Barriers to reducing the global burden of sepsis include difficulty quantifying attributable morbidity and mortality, low awareness, poverty and health inequity, and under-resourced and low-resilience public health and acute health care delivery systems. Important differences in the populations at risk, infecting pathogens, and clinical capacity to manage sepsis in high and low-resource settings necessitate context-specific approaches to this significant problem. We review these challenges and propose strategies to overcome them. These strategies include strengthening health systems, accurately identifying and quantifying sepsis cases, conducting inclusive research, establishing data-driven and context-specific management guidelines, promoting creative clinical interventions, and advocacy.

Haves and have nots must find a better way: The case for open scientific hardware.


Many efforts are making science more open and accessible; they are mostly concentrated on issues that appear before and after experiments are performed: open access journals, open databases, and many other tools to increase reproducibility of science and access to information. However, these initiatives do not promote access to scientific equipment necessary for experiments. Mostly due to monetary constraints, equipment availability has always been uneven around the globe, affecting predominantly low-income countries and institutions. Here, a case is made for the use of free open source hardware in research and education, including countries and institutions where funds were never the biggest problem.

Clubfoot treatment in 2015: a global perspective.


Clubfoot affects around 174 000 children born annually, with approximately 90% of these in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC). Untreated clubfoot causes life-long impairment, affecting individuals’ ability to walk and participate in society. The minimally invasive Ponseti treatment is highly effective and has grown in acceptance globally. The objective of this cross-sectional study is to quantify the numbers of countries providing services for clubfoot and children accessing these.In 2015-2016, expected cases of clubfoot were calculated for all countries, using an incidence rate of 1.24/1000 births. Informants were sought from all LMIC, and participants completed a standardised survey about services for clubfoot in their countries in 2015. Data collected were analysed using simple numerical analysis, country coverage levels, trends over time and by income group. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.Responses were received from 55 countries, in which 79% of all expected cases of clubfoot were born. More than 24 000 children with clubfoot were enrolled for Ponseti treatment in 2015. Coverage was less than 25% in the majority of countries. There were higher levels of response and coverage within the lowest income country group. 31 countries reported a national programme for clubfoot, with the majority provided through public-private partnerships.This is the first study to describe global provision of, and access to, treatment services for children with clubfoot. The numbers of children accessing Ponseti treatment for clubfoot in LMIC has risen steadily since 2005. However, coverage remains low, and we estimate that less than 15% of children born with clubfoot in LMIC start treatment. More action to promote the rollout of national clubfoot programmes, build capacity for treatment and enable access and adherence to treatment in order to radically increase coverage and effectiveness is essential and urgent in order to prevent permanent disability caused by clubfoot.