ANZ Journal of Surgery

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Wiley Online Library : ANZ Journal of Surgery
Updated: 1 day 2 hours ago

National surgical mortality audit may be associated with reduced mortality after emergency admission

August 21, 2017 - 10:10
Background

The Western Australian Audit of Surgical Mortality was established in 2002. A 10-year analysis suggested it was the primary driver in the subsequent fall in surgeon-related mortality. Between 2004 and 2010 the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons established mortality audits in other states. The aim of this study was to examine national data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to determine if a similar fall in mortality was observed across Australia.

Method

The AIHW collects procedure and outcome data for all surgical admissions. AIHW data from 2005/2006 to 2012/2013 was used to assess changes in surgical mortality.

Results

Over the 8 years surgical admissions increased by 23%, while mortality fell by 18% and the mortality per admission fell by 33% (P < 0.0001). A similar decrease was seen in all regions. The mortality reduction was overwhelmingly observed in elderly patients admitted as an emergency.

Conclusion

The commencement of this nation-wide mortality audit was associated with a sharp decline in perioperative mortality. In the absence of any influences from other changes in clinical governance or new quality programmes it is probable it had a causal effect. The reduced mortality was most evident in high-risk patients. This study adds to the evidence that national audits are associated with improved outcomes.

Ilizarov technique and limited surgical methods for correction of post-traumatic talipes equinovarus in children

August 17, 2017 - 10:06
Background

The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of using Ilizarov invasive distraction technique combined with limited surgical operations in the treatment of post-traumatic talipes equinovarus in children.

Methods

Eighteen cases of post-traumatic deformed feet in 15 patients who received the treatment of Ilizarov frame application, limited soft-tissue release or osteotomy were selected in this study. After removal of the frame, an ankle–foot orthosis was used continuously for another 6–12 months. Pre- and post-operatively, the International Clubfoot Study Group (ICFSG) score was employed to evaluate the gait and range of motion of the ankle joint. Radiographical assessment was also conducted.

Results

Patients were followed up for 22 (17–32) months. Ilizarov frame was applied for a mean duration of 5.5 (4–9) months. When it was removed, the gait was improved significantly in all the patients. The correction time was 6–8 weeks for patients who underwent soft-tissue release and 8–12 weeks for those with bone osteotomy. At the last follow-up assessment, the differences between pre- and post-operative plantar-flexion angle, dorsiflexion, motion of ankle joint and talocalcaneal angle were significant (all P < 0.05). The observed complications included wire-hole infection in one foot, toe contracture in one, residual deformity in three, recurrence of deformity in two and spastic ischaemia in one foot.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that Ilizarov technique combined with limited surgical operation can be considered as an efficient and successful method for correction of post-traumatic talipes equinovarus in children.

Who, where, what and where to now? A snapshot of publishing patterns in Australian orthopaedic surgery

August 15, 2017 - 16:11
Background

Development of core research competency is a principle of orthopaedic surgical training in Australia. This paper aims to provide an objective snapshot of publications by Australian orthopaedic trainees and surgeons, to contribute to the discussion on how to identify and build on research capability in the Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA).

Methods

By analysing journals with a journal impact factor >1 from 2009 to 2015, data were gathered to explore scientific journal publications by Australian orthopaedic surgeons and trainees in relation to who are the authors, what they are reporting and where they are publishing.

Results

One thousand five hundred and thirty-nine articles were identified with 134 orthopaedic trainees and 519 surgeons as authors. The publication rate for both trainees and surgeons was just over two in five. The majority of studies were of level three or four evidence (Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine guidelines). Only 5% of trainee papers were published without surgeons’ co-authorship. Eighty-six percent of papers published by surgeons did not involve a trainee. The rates of trainees publishing with other trainees were low.

Conclusion

Only 5% of trainee papers were published without surgeons' co-authorship, highlighting the importance of surgeon mentorship in developing trainee research capability. The 86% of papers published by surgeons without trainee co-authorship raises the question of missed mentoring opportunities. Low rates of trainee co-authorship highlight potential for trainees to work together to support each other's research efforts. There is scope for more studies involving higher levels of evidence. This paper raises discussion points and areas for further exploration in relation to AOA trainee research capability.

Pancreatico-jejunostomy decreases post-operative pancreatic fistula incidence and severity after central pancreatectomy

August 15, 2017 - 16:10
Backgrounds

Central pancreatectomy (CP) is an alternative to pancreaticoduodenectomy and distal pancreatectomy in benign tumours of pancreatic isthmus management. It is known for a high post-operative pancreatic fistula (POPF) rate. The purpose of this study was to compare POPF incidence between pancreatico-jejunostomy (PJ) and pancreatico-gastrostomy (PG).

Methods

Fifty-eight patients (mean age 53.9 ± 1.9 years) who underwent a CP in four French University Hospitals from 1988 to 2011 were analysed. The distal pancreatic remnant was either anastomosed to the stomach (44.8%, n = 25) or to a Roux-en-Y jejunal loop (55.2%, n = 35) with routine external drainage allowing a systematic search for POPF. POPF severity was classified according to the International Study Group on Pancreatic Fistula (ISGPF) and Clavien-Dindo classifications.

Results

The groups were similar on sex ratio, mean age, ASA score, pancreas texture, operative time and operative blood loss. Mean follow-up was 36.2 ± 3.9 months. POPF were significantly more frequent after PG (76.9 versus 37.5%, P = 0.003). PG was associated with significantly higher grade of POPF both when graded with ISGPF classification (P = 0.012) and Clavien-Dindo classification (P = 0.044). There was no significant difference in post-operative bleeding (0.918) and delayed gastric emptying (0.877) between the two groups. Hospital length of stay was increased after PG (23.6 ± 3.5 days versus 16.5 ± 1.9 days, P = 0.071). There was no significant difference in incidence of long-term exocrine (3.8 versus 19.2%, P = 0.134) and endocrine (7.7 versus 9.4%, P = 0.575) pancreatic insufficiencies.

Conclusion

PG was associated with a significantly higher POPF incidence and severity in CP. We recommend performing PJ especially in older patients to improve CP outcomes.

Colonoscopic surveillance: quality, guidelines and effectiveness

August 14, 2017 - 09:51

Colonoscopic surveillance in patients with a personal or family history of colorectal carcinoma or colonic polyps represents a significant workload for endoscopy services. Effective colonoscopic surveillance relies on quality endoscopic examination and appropriate surveillance interval. This review will discuss quality in colonoscopy and review guidelines for surveillance.

Laparoscopic hepatectomy combined with endoscopic papillary balloon dilation for complex bile duct stones

August 14, 2017 - 09:51
Background

We evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of laparoscopic hepatectomy (LH) combined with endoscopic papillary balloon dilation (EPBD) for removing intra- and extrahepatic bile duct stones.

Methods

A total of 26 patients with intra- and extrahepatic bile duct stones underwent LH and EPBD. Selective hemi-hepatic vascular occlusion was used to complete the LH. EPBD was performed under the guidance of a guidewire, and stones were removed with a stone basket or balloon.

Results

A one-stage LH with EPBD lithotomy was successfully performed in 26 cases. No residual bile duct stones, intestinal or bile duct perforations were found. In addition, no severe post-operative bleeding, severe pancreatitis or mortality occurred. Post-operative hyperamylasemia was observed in five cases and bile leakage in one case. Post-operative hospital stays lasted 7–11 days.

Conclusion

LH combined with EPBD applied to intra- and extrahepatic bile duct stones was feasible, effective and safe, resulting in rapid recovery and few post-operative complications.

Prospective comparison between magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in colorectal cancer staging

August 14, 2017 - 09:50
Background

Diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging is a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that detects lesions with high cellularity, such as malignant tumours. This prospective study was performed to compare the accuracy of DW-MRI with multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) in staging of colorectal cancer.

Methods

Thirty patients with histologically proven colorectal cancer were prospectively recruited. Each patient underwent both MDCT and DW-MRI of the abdomen–pelvis for primary staging. Images were evaluated for nodal and distant metastases. The reference standard was histopathological findings for nodal involvement and surveillance imaging for suspected hepatic metastases.

Results

The primary cancers were located in the rectum (n = 16, 53.3%), sigmoid colon (n = 9, 30%) and right colon (n = 5, 16.6%). For nodal metastases, the sensitivity and specificity of DW-MRI were 84.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 54.6–98.1%) and 20.0% (95% CI: 2.5–55.6%) compared with 84.6% (95% CI: 54.6–98.1%) and 40.0% (95% CI: 12.2–73.8%) for MDCT. For liver metastases, the sensitivity and specificity for DW-MRI were 100.0% (95% CI: 63.1–100.0%) and 100% (95% CI: 84.6–100%) compared with 87.5% (95% CI: 47.4–99.7%) and 95.5% (95% CI: 77.2–99.9%) for MDCT. DW imaging altered the clinical management in three (10.0%) patients by detecting missed hepatic metastases in two patients and accurately diagnosing another patient with a hepatic cyst, mistaken for metastasis on MDCT.

Conclusion

DW-MRI is more accurate for detecting hepatic metastases in colorectal cancer compared with MDCT.

Development of a proficiency-based virtual reality simulation training curriculum for laparoscopic appendicectomy

August 14, 2017 - 09:50
Background

Proficiency-based virtual reality (VR) training curricula improve intraoperative performance, but have not been developed for laparoscopic appendicectomy (LA). This study aimed to develop an evidence-based training curriculum for LA.

Methods

A total of 10 experienced (>50 LAs), eight intermediate (10–30 LAs) and 20 inexperienced (<10 LAs) operators performed guided and unguided LA tasks on a high-fidelity VR simulator using internationally relevant techniques. The ability to differentiate levels of experience (construct validity) was measured using simulator-derived metrics. Learning curves were analysed. Proficiency benchmarks were defined by the performance of the experienced group. Intermediate and experienced participants completed a questionnaire to evaluate the realism (face validity) and relevance (content validity).

Results

Of 18 surgeons, 16 (89%) considered the VR model to be visually realistic and 17 (95%) believed that it was representative of actual practice. All ‘guided’ modules demonstrated construct validity (P < 0.05), with learning curves that plateaued between sessions 6 and 9 (P < 0.01). When comparing inexperienced to intermediates to experienced, the ‘unguided’ LA module demonstrated construct validity for economy of motion (5.00 versus 7.17 versus 7.84, respectively; P < 0.01) and task time (864.5 s versus 477.2 s versus 352.1 s, respectively, P < 0.01). Construct validity was also confirmed for number of movements, path length and idle time. Validated modules were used for curriculum construction, with proficiency benchmarks used as performance goals.

Conclusion

A VR LA model was realistic and representative of actual practice and was validated as a training and assessment tool. Consequently, the first evidence-based internationally applicable training curriculum for LA was constructed, which facilitates skill acquisition to proficiency.

Serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a mini review for surgeons

August 14, 2017 - 09:50

The optimal management of oncological conditions is reflected by the careful interpretation of investigations for screening, diagnosis, staging, prognostication and surveillance. Serum tumour markers are examples of commonly requested tests in conjunction with other imaging and endoscopic tests that are used to help clinicians to stratify therapeutic decisions. Serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) is a key biomarker for pancreatic cancers. Although this biomarker is considered clinically useful and informative, clinicians are often challenged by the accurate interpretation of elevated serum CA19-9 levels. Recognizing the pitfalls of normal and abnormal serum CA19-9 concentrations will facilitate its appropriate use. In this review, we appraised the biomarker, serum CA19-9, and highlighted the clinical utility and limitations of serum CA19-9 in the investigation and management of pancreatic cancers.

When the gallbladder is not right

August 8, 2017 - 17:12

Gallbladder mucosal lesions associated with high biliary amylase irrespective of pancreaticobiliary maljunction

August 7, 2017 - 21:23
Background

Previous studies have focused on the presence of reflux in selected cohorts with pancreaticobiliary maljunction (PBM), but little is known regarding the wider incidence of occult reflux and associated mucosal changes. We aimed to correlate gallbladder mucosal abnormalities with objective evidence of PBM and occult pancreaticobiliary reflux (PBR) in an Australian population undergoing cholecystectomy.

Methods

Patients undergoing cholecystectomy between September 2010 and September 2012 were eligible for inclusion. Demographic and pre-operative clinical data were collated and entered into a pre-defined database. Operative cholangiograms were routinely performed and the presence of PBM noted. Gallbladder bile samples were analysed for bilirubin (<20 µmol/L), amylase (<100 U/L) and lipase (<70 U/L) levels. Evidence of PBR was correlated with gallbladder mucosal findings.

Results

A total of 305 cholecystectomies were performed for biliary colic (73%), choledocholithiasis (9%), cholecystitis (8.4%) and pancreatitis (6.4%). A total of 12.7% had cholangiographic evidence of PBM and 11.9% possessed gallbladder mucosal changes. Overall, 7.7% had increased biliary amylase, which was associated with significantly higher rates of gallbladder intestinal metaplasia (33% versus 8.6%; P = 0.012). Elevated biliary amylase was also higher in patients with prior pancreatitis (P = 0.02) or choledocholithiasis (P < 0.01). The presence of PBM did not predict for the presence of PBR.

Conclusion

PBR is associated with an increased frequency of gallbladder mucosal metaplasia, irrespective of the presence of PBM. Objectively identified reflux represents an additional indication for cholecystectomy but the long-term consequences for extra-hepatic biliary malignancy remain unknown and warrant further investigation. Methods of objectively identifying PBR pre-operatively require further investigation.

Sclerosing peritonitis post liver transplantation: a rare condition where surgery is an important treatment option

August 7, 2017 - 21:23
Background

Sclerosing peritonitis (SP) is a rare but potentially fatal complication following orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The definitive surgical management is via a laparotomy peritonectomy and enterolysis procedure, but this carries risks particularly in the immunosuppressed transplant patient population. The natural history of SP is known from a handful of case reports and series, which mostly report de novo cases arising early on following OLT. The aim of this study was to identify all cases of de novo SP following OLT and the outcomes of management.

Methods

Cases of SP post OLT were identified from the Australian National Liver Transplantation Unit (New South Wales) database of all 1393 adult patients.

Results

Three cases of SP were diagnosed between 2 and over 9 years post-transplantation. Two patients proceeded to laparotomy and a peritonectomy and enterolysis procedure of the cocooned bowel. The third was managed conservatively due to a relatively indolent course and their medical co-morbidities.

Conclusion

SP should be considered in the differential diagnosis in patients post OLT presenting with symptoms of bowel obstruction, even years following transplantation. Surgery may be required in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome in some cases.

Intraoperative ultrasound for the colorectal surgeon: current trends and barriers

August 3, 2017 - 18:20

Up to two thirds of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) develop colorectal liver metastases (CRLMs) and one quarter of patients present with synchronous metastases. Early detection of CRLM widens the scope of potential treatment. Surgery for CRLM offers the best chance of a cure. Current preoperative staging of CRC relies on computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) scans and contrast-enhanced IOUS (CE-IOUS) have been demonstrated to detect additional metastases not seen on routine preoperative imaging. IOUS is not widely used by colorectal surgeons during primary resection for CRC. Confident use of IOUS/CE-IOUS during primary resection of CRC may improve decision-making by providing the most sensitive form of liver staging even when compared with magnetic resonance imaging. This may be particularly important in the era of laparoscopic resections, where the colorectal surgeon loses the opportunity to palpate the liver. There are several implied barriers to the routine use of IOUS/CE-IOUS by colorectal surgeons. These include time pressure, familiarity with techniques, a perceived learning curve, cost implications and limitation of the modality due to operator variations. Inclusion of IOUS in the training of colorectal surgeons and further investigation of potential benefits of IOUS/CE-IOUS could potentially reduce these barriers, enabling usage during primary resection for CRC to become more widespread.

Importance of preoperative diagnosis for management of patients with suspected retroperitoneal sarcoma

August 3, 2017 - 09:28

Soft tissue sarcoma is an umbrella term which encompasses over 60 histological tumour types. Approximately 15% of soft tissue sarcomas arise in the retroperitoneum. This complex group of tumours poses unique management challenges due to their often large size, histological heterogeneity and complexity of anatomical relationships. This review discusses the management of retroperitoneal tumours including the need for preoperative diagnosis, the evidence for neoadjuvant radiotherapy, the role of multivisceral resection and the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach.

Semi-Automatic Electronic Stent Register: a novel approach to preventing ureteric stents lost to follow up

August 3, 2017 - 09:28
Background

Ureteric stents are indispensable tools in modern urology; however, the risk of them not being followed-up once inserted poses medical and medico-legal risks. Stent registers are a common solution to mitigate this risk; however, manual registers are logistically challenging, especially for busy units.

Methods

Western Sydney Local Health District developed a novel Semi-Automatic Electronic Stent Register (SAESR) utilizing billing information to track stent insertions. To determine the utility of this system, an audit was conducted comparing the 6 months before the introduction of the register to the first 6 months of the register.

Results

In the first 6 months of the register, 457 stents were inserted. At the time of writing, two of these are severely delayed for removal, representing a rate of 0.4%. In the 6 months immediately preceding the introduction of the register, 497 stents were inserted, and six were either missed completely or severely delayed in their removal, representing a rate of 1.2%. A non-inferiority analysis found this to be no worse than the results achieved before the introduction of the register.

Conclusion

The SAESR allowed us to improve upon our better than expected rate of stents lost to follow up or severely delayed. We demonstrated non-inferiority in the rate of lost or severely delayed stents, and a number of other advantages including savings in personnel costs. The semi-automatic register represents an effective way of reducing the risk associated with a common urological procedure. We believe that this methodology could be implemented elsewhere.

Issue information - TOC

August 3, 2017 - 09:27