ANZ Journal of Surgery

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Variability of perioperative mortality of hepatic resection in Australia

February 9, 2018 - 13:25
Background

Hepatic resection is a relatively young and complex specialized procedure. A strong relationship between volume and perioperative mortality has been reported internationally. However, there has been no multicentre study into hepatic resection in Australia. This retrospective, population-based cohort study was conducted to determine national, state and territory based volume and perioperative mortality rates (POMRs).

Methods

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data was interrogated for the Australian Classification of Health Intervention codes for hepatic resection defined as extended hemi-hepatectomy (30421), hemi-hepatectomy (30418), segmental hepatic resection (30415) and sub-segmental hepatic resection (30414). Logistic regression analysis was performed using the de-identified data to investigate trends and differences between states/territories. Mortality rates were risk adjusted for age, gender and public or private admission. The data set included patients who underwent hepatic resection in the financial years 2005/2006 to 2012/2013.

Results

The overall POMR for all types of hepatic resection was 1.6% (201/12 562). There was no significant change in POMR over time. However, there was significant variation between the states and territories with two states having significantly higher POMR for major hepatic resections (regional range: 1.3–3.8%). POMRs increased with age with the highest mortality seen in the 75–79 year age group. The POMR was lower in private than in public hospitals.

Conclusion

The results of this study confirm that the overall Australian POMR for major hepatic resection is similar to results reported internationally. National and state/territory POMR has not varied significantly over time. The significant variation between states/territories warrants further investigation.

Audit of 117 otoplasties for prominent ear by one surgeon using a cartilage-cutting procedure

February 8, 2018 - 10:31
Background

The plethora of surgical procedures for prominent ear correction reflects lack of satisfaction with outcomes achieved. This paper describes a cartilage-cutting otoplasty procedure and reports an audit of its outcomes.

Methods

Discharge coding was used to retrospectively identify patients who had undergone the otoplasty of interest at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, during the 5 years from March 2010 to the end of February 2015. Hospital records were accessed. Demographic, procedure and patient satisfaction data were recorded and analysed (PASW/SPSS Statistics 18.0). Chi-square test and t-test were used to assess associations, with significance accepted at two-sided P < 0.05.

Results

Sixty-four patients underwent the specified otoplasty (54.7% females: mean age 9.5 years (standard deviation, SD: 4.2; range: 4–20)), of whom 93.8% had bilateral procedures with mean surgical time of 61 min (SD: 14; range: 34–94). This was significantly shorter (P < 0.001) than for bilateral surgeries by all other techniques and surgeons in the review period. None of the 117 procedures of interest subsequently had suture extrusion or revision surgery. Mean time from surgery to satisfaction determination was 993 days (SD: 521; range: 111–1850) for 43 (67.2%) patients. 23.3% believed that there had been aesthetically insignificant partial recurrence of prominence, typically of one ear only. This was insufficient for all but one patient to consider repeat otoplasty. Surgery outcome was rated ‘very satisfactory’ and ‘satisfactory’ by 90.7% and 9.3% of patients/parents, respectively. All would recommend the surgery to others.

Conclusion

With infrequent complications and recurrence requiring revision, and without long-term reliance on sutures, the otoplasty reported is time-efficient, safe and generates high patient satisfaction.

Clinical characteristics affecting length of stay in patients with cellulitis

February 8, 2018 - 10:30
Background

This study aimed to profile the clinical characteristics of patients presenting to Middlemore Hospital with cellulitis in order to identify factors that are associated with an increased length of stay (LOS).

Methods

Retrospective clinical data were collected for all patients aged 18 and above who were admitted with cellulitis to Middlemore Hospital General Surgical Department between 1 January and 31 March 2014. Comorbidities, laboratory results and medical conditions were included in the investigation.

Results

The study included 201 patients. Significant factors associated with increased LOS include type 2 diabetes mellitus (P < 0.012), obesity (P < 0.001), raised C-reactive protein (P < 0.0001), raised white cell count (P < 0.0001), raised temperature (P < 0.0001), septic shock (P < 0.003), multiorgan failure (P < 0.01), extended-spectrum beta-lactamases or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization (P < 0.04) and intensive care unit admission (P < 0.0004).

Conclusion

This single-centre, retrospective clinical study has identified several factors that are significantly associated with an increased LOS. These factors provide a basis for future studies that may facilitate identification and timely medical optimization of high-risk patients.

Pulse oximetric assessment of anatomical vascular contribution to tissue perfusion in the gastric conduit

February 7, 2018 - 19:30
Background

Tubularized stomach is a common substitute used after oesophageal resection. The risk for gastric conduit ischemia, as well as the mechanisms and dynamics for the occurrence of deficient tissue perfusion during the critical construction of a gastric tube, is poorly understood.

Methods

Twenty-nine patients that underwent oesophagectomy were studied with transmural pulse oximetry of different parts of the stomach, and at predefined preparatory steps during the construction of the gastric conduit.

Results

After ligation of the left gastric artery (LGA), a reduction to 83.5% in tissue saturation was observed. Three patients (10.3%) had a sustained saturation despite ligation at this point. During final preparation of the gastric tube, and after stapling of the minor curvature, saturation fell to 76.5%. Saturation increased significantly to 80.0% 2 h after the stapling, just before construction of the anastomosis (P = 0.021). There was no association between the level of oxygen saturation and the risk of anastomotic dehiscence.

Conclusion

During gastric tube construction for oesophageal replacement, conduit perfusion, measured as oxygen saturation with pulse oximetry, decreases significantly. The main cause of this reduction seems to be ligation of the LGA and the final stapling of the gastric tube. Future studies are needed to establish the clinical implications of this finding.

Leaving surgical training: some of the reasons are in surgery

February 7, 2018 - 19:30

In 2014, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons identified, through internal analysis, a considerable attrition rate within its Surgical Education and Training programme. Within the attrition cohort, choosing to leave accounted for the majority. Women were significantly over-represented. It was considered important to study these ‘leavers’ if possible. An external group with medical education expertise were engaged to do this, a report that is now published and titled ‘A study exploring the reasons for and experiences of leaving surgical training’. During this time, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons came under serious external review, leading to the development of the Action Plan on Discrimination, Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Practice of Surgery, known as the Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety (BRIPS) action plan. The ‘Leaving Training Report’, which involved nearly one-half of all voluntary ‘leavers’, identified three major themes that were pertinent to leaving surgical training. Of these, one was about surgery itself: the complexity, the technical, decision-making and lifestyle demands, the emotional aspects of dealing with seriously sick patients and the personal toll of all of this. This narrative literature review investigates these aspects of surgical education from the trainees’ perspective.

Neoadjuvant radiotherapy provided survival benefit compared to adjuvant radiotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma

February 5, 2018 - 15:50
Background

This study compared the impact of neoadjuvant radiotherapy (RT) and adjuvant RT on survival for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods

Patients with HCC were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. The Kaplan–Meier method and multivariate Cox regression analysis were used to compare the impact of neoadjuvant RT on survival with adjuvant RT. Subsequently, a propensity score-matched analysis was performed to confirm the result.

Results

A total of 244 patients with HCC identified from the SEER database (2004–2014) received preoperative or post-operative radiation. A total of 151 patients received post-operative RT and 93 patients received preoperative RT. Preoperative RT had a clear superiority in terms of unadjusted overall survival and cancer-specific survival (P < 0.001 for log-rank test). After adjusting for confounding variables, hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause (HR: 0.33; 95% CI: 0.19–0.53, P < 0.001) and cancer-specific (HR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.19–0.53, P < 0.001) mortality risks in preoperative RT group were significantly lower than that of post-operative RT group. Subsequently, a propensity score-matched analysis was performed to confirm this result. Further univariate and multivariate survival analyses revealed that there was a persistent superiority of overall survival and cancer-specific survival in patients who received preoperative radiation than patients without RT.

Conclusion

We found that neoadjuvant RT was associated with improved long-term survival for patients with HCC versus adjuvant RT.

Effects of early antiplatelet therapy after splenectomy with gastro-oesophageal devascularization

February 3, 2018 - 17:16
Background

This study aimed to explore the effects of early antiplatelet therapy (APT) for portal vein thrombosis (PVT) in patients with cirrhotic portal hypertension after splenectomy with gastro-oesophageal devascularization.

Methods

We retrospectively analysed 139 patients who underwent splenectomy with gastro-oesophageal devascularization for portal hypertension due to cirrhosis between April 2010 and December 2016. Based on the post-operative platelet values, we used two different APT regimens: APT was started when platelet counts were increased to 200 × 109/L or above (group A, n = 64) or 300 × 109/L or above (group B, n = 75). We took note of the patients’ clinical symptoms, operative factors and biochemical indicators.

Results

Platelet count, mean platelet volume, D-dimer and pancreatic fistula were closely related to the development of PVT. Early APT was an independent protective factor for PVT. The incidence of post-operative PVT was 15.1% (21/139) overall, 4.7% (3/64) in group A and 24% (18/75) in group B; there was a significant difference between groups A and B (χ2 = 10.042, P = 0.002).

Conclusion

Platelet count, mean platelet volume, D-dimer and pancreatic fistula were independent risk factors for the development of PVT after splenectomy with gastro-oesophageal devascularization. Selection of the appropriate timing for early APT according to the post-operative platelet count was feasible. Moreover, the use of aspirin combined with dipyridamole was safe and effective for early prevention of PVT.

Arm morbidity of axillary dissection with sentinel node biopsy versus delayed axillary dissection

February 2, 2018 - 19:25
Background

Staging of axillary lymph nodes in breast cancer is important for prognostication and planning of adjuvant therapy. The traditional practice of proceeding to axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) if sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is positive is being challenged and clinical trials are underway. For many centres, this will mean a move away from intra-operative SLNB assessment and utilization of a second procedure to perform ALND. It is sometimes perceived that a delayed ALND results in increased tissue damage and thus increased morbidity. We compared morbidity in those undergoing SLNB only, or ALND as a one- or two-stage procedure.

Methods

A retrospective review of a prospectively collected institutional database was used to review rates of lymphoedema and shoulder function in women undergoing breast cancer surgery between 2008 and 2012.

Results

The overall lymphoedema rate in 745 patients was 8.2% at 12 months. There was no difference in lymphoedema rates between those undergoing immediate or delayed ALND (17.8 and 8.6%, respectively, P = 0.092). Post-operative shoulder elevation, odds ratio (OR) = 0.390, 95% confidence interval (CI) = (0.218, 0.698) and abduction, OR = 0.437 (95% CI = (0.271, 0.705)) were reduced if an ALND was performed although there was no difference between immediate or delayed.

Conclusion

ALND remains a risk factor for post-operative morbidity. There is no increased risk of lymphoedema or shoulder function deficit with a positive SLNB and delayed ALND compared to immediate ALND.

Medicine in small doses

February 2, 2018 - 14:20

Hazards of predatory publication

February 2, 2018 - 14:20

Issue information - TOC

February 2, 2018 - 14:20

Re: Acute cholangitis: current concepts

February 2, 2018 - 14:20