Dr. Knowlton is a trauma and critical care surgeon and public health researcher whose focus is on improving access to and quality of care for trauma patients. She obtained her medical degree at McGill University and completed her general surgery residency at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her desire to understand varied healthcare systems and develop solutions for vulnerable surgical populations led her to obtain an M.P.H. at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and complete a research fellowship at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Most recently, she trained as a Surgical Critical Care fellow at Stanford University Medical Center and joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in early 2018. Dr. Knowlton's research focuses on addressing barriers in access to care and reducing disparities among vulnerable surgical populations, including underinsured trauma patients. She is also investigating the financial burden that injury imposes upon both patients and hospitals, with the goal of finding economically sustainable strategies for ensuring best outcomes among trauma patients. She was recently awarded the 17th C. James Carrico Faculty Research Fellowship by the American College of Surgeons to better understand the link between socioeconomic status, insurance coverage and quality of patient outcomes for trauma patients receiving care within U.S hospitals. Dr. Knowlton is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
- General Surgery
- Trauma Surgery
- Acute Care Surgery
- Surgical Critical Care
Assistant Professor - Med Center Line, Surgery - General Surgery
Board Certification: Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Surgery (2018)
Board Certification: General Surgery, American Board of Surgery (2016)
Fellowship:Stanford University Medical Center (2016) CA
Board Certification: General Surgery, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (2014)
Residency:University of British Columbia - UBC (2014) Canada
Master of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Quantitative Methods / Global Health (2010)
Internship:University of British Columbia - UBC (2008) Canada
Medical Education:McGill University - Faculty of Medicine (2007) Canada
Derivation and Validation of a Model to Predict 30-Day Readmission in Surgical Patients Discharged to Skilled Nursing Facility.
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association
OBJECTIVES: To identify factors associated with 30-day all-cause readmission rates in surgical patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and derive and validate a risk score.DESIGN: Retrospective cohort.SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Patients admitted to 1 tertiary hospital's surgical services between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2014 and subsequently discharged to 110 SNFs within a 25-mile radius of the hospital. The first 2years were used for the derivation set and the last 2 for validation.METHODS: Data were collected on 30-day all cause readmissions, patient demographics, procedure and surgical service, comorbidities, laboratory tests, and prior health care utilization. Multivariate regression was used to identify risk factors for readmission.RESULTS: During the study period, 2405 surgical patients were discharged to 110 SNFs, and 519 (21.6%) of these patients experienced readmission within 30days. In a multivariable regression model, hospital length of stay [odds ratio (OR) per day: 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.04], number of hospitalizations in past year (OR 1.24 per hospitalization, 95% CI 1.18-1.31), nonelective surgery (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.18-1.65), low-risk service (orthopedic/spine service) (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.25-0.42), and intermediate-risk service (cardiothoracic surgery/urology/gynecology/ear, nose, throat) (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53-0.88) were associated with all-cause readmissions. The model had a C index of 0.71 in the validation set. Using the following risk score [0.8*(hospital length of stay)+7*(number of hospitalizations in past year)+10 for nonelective surgery,+36 for high-risk surgery, and+20 for intermediate-risk surgery], a score of >40 identified patients at high risk of 30-day readmission (35.8% vs 12.6%, P<.001).CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Among surgical patients discharged to an SNF, a simple risk score with 4 parameters can accurately predict the risk of 30-day readmission.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jamda.2019.04.016
View details for PubMedID 31176675
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Geographic Access to Trauma Care-A Multiple-Methods Study of US Urban Trauma Deserts.
JAMA network open
2019; 2 (3): e190277
View details for PubMedID 30848802
- Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Geographic Access to Trauma Care-A Multiple-Methods Study of US Urban Trauma Deserts JAMA NETWORK OPEN 2019; 2 (3)
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Geographic Access to Trauma Care-A Multiple-Methods Study of US Urban Trauma Deserts
JAMA NETWORK OPEN
2019; 2 (3)
View details for Web of Science ID 000465424000058
Balancing the Risks and Benefits of Surgical Prophylaxis: Timing and Duration Do Matter.
View details for PubMedID 31017641
- Mucormycosis emboli: a rare cause of segmental bowel ischemia. Trauma surgery & acute care open 2019; 4 (1): e000305
The Economic Footprint of Acute Care Surgery in the United States: Implications for Systems Development.
The journal of trauma and acute care surgery
BACKGROUND: Acute Care Surgery (ACS) comprises Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, and Emergency General Surgery (EGS), encompassing both operative and non-operative conditions. While the burden of EGS and trauma have been separately considered, the global footprint of ACS has not been fully characterized. We sought to characterize the costs and scope of influence of ACS-related conditions. We hypothesized that ACS patients comprise a substantial portion of the U.S. inpatient population. We further hypothesized that ACS patients differ from other surgical and non-surgical patients across patient characteristics METHODS: We queried the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) 2014, a nationally representative database for inpatient hospitalizations. In order to capture all adult ACS patients, we included adult admissions with any ICD-9-CM diagnosis of trauma or an ICD-9-CM diagnosis for one of the 16 AAST-defined EGS conditions. Weighted patient data were presented to provide national estimates.RESULTS: Of the 29.2 million adult patients admitted to U.S. hospitals, approximately 5.9 million (20%) patients had an ACS diagnosis. ACS patients accounted for $85.8 billion dollars, or 25% of total U.S. inpatient costs ($341 billion). When comparing ACS to non-ACS inpatient populations, ACS patients had higher rates of healthcare utilization with longer lengths of stay (5.9 vs. 4.5 days, p<0.001), and higher mean costs ($14,466 vs. $10,951, p<0.001. Of all inpatients undergoing an operative procedure, 27% were patients with an ACS diagnosis. Overall, 3,186 (70%) of U.S. hospitals cared for both trauma and EGS patients.CONCLUSION: Acute care surgery patients comprise 20% of the inpatient population, but 25% of total inpatient costs in the U.S. In addition to being costly, they overall have higher healthcare utilization and worse outcomes. This suggests there is an opportunity to improve clinical trajectory for ACS patients that in turn, can affect the overall U.S. healthcare costs.Epidemiologic, level III.
View details for PubMedID 30589750
Evaluating the collection, comparability and findings of six global surgery indicators.
The British journal of surgery
BACKGROUND: In 2015, six indicators were proposed to evaluate global progress towards access to safe, affordable and timely surgical and anaesthesia care. Although some have been adopted as core global health indicators, none has been evaluated systematically. The aims of this study were to assess the availability, comparability and utility of the indicators, and to present available data and updated estimates.METHODS: Nationally representative data were compiled for all WHO member states from 2010 to 2016 through contacts with official bodies and review of the published and grey literature, and available databases. Availability, comparability and utility were assessed for each indicator: access to timely essential surgery, specialist surgical workforce density, surgical volume, perioperative mortality, and protection against impoverishing and catastrophic expenditure. Where feasible, imputation models were developed to generate global estimates.RESULTS: Of all WHO member states, 19 had data on the proportion of the population within 2h of a surgical facility, 154 had data on workforce density, 72 reported number of procedures, and nine had perioperative mortality data, but none could report data on catastrophic or impoverishing expenditure. Comparability and utility were variable, and largely dependent on different definitions used. There were sufficient data to estimate that worldwide, in 2015, there were 2038947 (i.q.r. 1884916-2281776) surgeons, obstetricians and anaesthetists, and 266·1 (95 per cent c.i. 220·1 to 344·4) million operations performed.CONCLUSION: Surgical and anaesthesia indicators are increasingly being adopted by the global health community, but data availability remains low. Comparability and utility for all indicators require further resolution.
View details for PubMedID 30570764
INTER-HOSPITAL VARIABILITY IN TIME TO DISCHARGE TO REHABILITATION AMONG INSURED TRAUMA PATIENTS.
The journal of trauma and acute care surgery
BACKGROUND: Hospital costs are partly a function of length of stay (LOS), which can be impacted by the local availability of post-acute care (PAC) resources (inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities), particularly for injured patients. We hypothesized that LOS for trauma patients destined for PAC would be variable based on insurance type and hospitals from which they are discharged.METHODS: We used the 2014-2015 National Inpatient Sample from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). We included all adult admissions with a primary diagnosis of trauma (ICD-9CM codes), who were insured and discharged to PAC. We then ranked hospitals based upon mean LOS and divided them into quartiles to determine differences. The primary outcome was inpatient LOS; secondary outcome was cost.RESULTS: 958,005 trauma patients met inclusion criteria. Mean LOS varied based upon insurance type (Medicaid vs. Private vs. Medicare: 12.7 days vs. 8.8 and 5.7: p<0.001). Shortest LOS hospitals had a marginal variation in LOS (Medicaid vs. Private vs. Medicare: 5.5 days vs. 4.8 vs. 4.2, p<0.001). Longest LOS hospitals had mean LOS that varied substantially (16.4 vs. 11.0 vs. 6.7 days, p<0.001). Multivariate regression controlling for patient and hospital characteristics revealed that Medicaid patients spent Medicaid patients spent an additional 0.4 days in shortest LOS hospitals and an additional 2.6 days in longest LOS hospitals (p<0.001). The average daily cost of inpatient care was $3,500 (SD $132). Even with conservative estimates, Medicaid patients at hospitals without easy access to rehabilitation incur significant additional inpatient costs over $10,000 in some hospitals.CONCLUSION: Prolonged LOS is likely a function of access to post-acute facilities, which is largely out of the hands of trauma centers. Efficiencies in care are magnified by access to post-acute beds, suggesting that increased availability of rehabilitation facilities, particularly for Medicaid patients, might help to reduce length of stay.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Epidemiologic, level III.
View details for PubMedID 30531207
Financial Stability of Level I Trauma Centers Within Safety-Net Hospitals.
Journal of the American College of Surgeons
BACKGROUND: Level I trauma centers often exist within safety-net hospitals (SNHs), facilities servicing high proportions of low-income and uninsured patients. Given the current health care funding environment, trauma centers within SNHs may be at particular risk. Using California as a model, we hypothesized that SNHs with trauma centers vary in terms of financial stability.STUDY DESIGN: We performed a retrospective cohort study using data from publicly available financial disclosure reports from California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Safety-net hospitals were identified from the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. The primary outcomes metric for financial performance was operating margin.RESULTS: California hospitals with Level I trauma centers were analyzed (11 SNH sites, 2 non SNH). The SNHs did not behave uniformly, and were clustered into county-owned SNHs (36%, n= 4) and nonprofit-owned SNHs (64%, n= 7). Mean operating margins for county SNHs, nonprofit SNHs, and non SNHs were -16.5%, 8.4%, and 9.5%, respectively (p<0.001). From 2010 to 2015, operating margins improved for all hospitals, partly due to increases in the percent of insured patients and changes in payer mix. Nonprofit SNHs had a payer mix similar to that of non SNHs; county SNHs had the highest proportions of MediCal (California Medicaid) (45% vs 36% vs 12%, respectively, p < 0.001) and uninsured patients (17% vs 5% vs 0%, respectively, p < 0.001) compared with nonprofit SNHs and non SNHs, respectively.CONCLUSIONS: The majority (85%) of Level I trauma centers are within SNHs, whose financial stability is highly variable. A group of SNHs rely on infusions of government funds and are therefore susceptible to changes in policy. These findings suggest deliberate funding efforts are critical to protect the health of the US academic trauma system.
View details for PubMedID 29680414
Geriatric Trauma Partnership: Targeting The Right Population
WILEY. 2018: S157
View details for Web of Science ID 000430468400462
Trauma-induced insurance instability: Variation in insurance coverage for patients who experience readmission after injury.
The journal of trauma and acute care surgery
2018; 84 (6): 876–84
Traumatic injuries result in a significant disruption to patients' lives, including their ability to work, which may place patients at risk of losing insurance coverage. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of injury on insurance status. We hypothesized that trauma patients with ongoing health needs experience changes in coverage.We used the Nationwide Readmission Database (2013-2014), a nationally representative sample of readmissions in the United States. We included patients aged 27 years to 64 years admitted with any diagnosis of trauma with at least one readmission within 6 months. Patients on Medicare and with missing payer information were excluded. The primary outcome was payer status.57,281 patients met inclusion criteria, 11,006 (19%) changed insurance payer at readmission. Of these, 21% (n = 2,288) became uninsured, 25% (n = 2,773) gained coverage, and 54% (n = 5,945) switched insurance. Medicaid and Medicare gained the largest fraction of patients (from 16% to 30% and 0% to 18%, respectively), with a decrease in private payer coverage (37% to 17%). In multivariate analysis, patients who were younger (27-35 years vs. 56-64 years; odds ratio [OR], 1.30; p < 0.001); lived in a zip code with average income in the lowest quartile (vs. the highest quartile; OR, 1.37; p < 0.001); and had three or more comorbidities (vs. none; OR, 1.61; p < 0.001) were more likely to experience a change in insurance.Approximately one fifth of trauma patients who are readmitted within 6 months of their injury experience a change in insurance coverage. Most switch between insurers, but nearly a quarter lose their insurance. The government adopts a large fraction of these patients, indicating a growing reliance on government programs like Medicaid. Trauma patients face challenges after injury, and a change in insurance may add to this burden. Future policy and quality improvement initiatives should consider addressing this challenge.Epidemiologic, level III.
View details for PubMedID 29443863
A geospatial evaluation of timely access to surgical care in seven countries
BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
2017; 95 (6): 437–44
To assess the consistent availability of basic surgical resources at selected facilities in seven countries.In 2010-2014, we used a situational analysis tool to collect data at district and regional hospitals in Bangladesh (n = 14), the Plurinational State of Bolivia (n = 18), Ethiopia (n = 19), Guatemala (n = 20), the Lao People's Democratic Republic (n = 12), Liberia (n = 12) and Rwanda (n = 25). Hospital sites were selected by pragmatic sampling. Data were geocoded and then analysed using an online data visualization platform. Each hospital's catchment population was defined as the people who could reach the hospital via a vehicle trip of no more than two hours. A hospital was only considered to show consistent availability of basic surgical resources if clean water, electricity, essential medications including intravenous fluids and at least one anaesthetic, analgesic and antibiotic, a functional pulse oximeter, a functional sterilizer, oxygen and providers accredited to perform surgery and anaesthesia were always available.Only 41 (34.2%) of the 120 study hospitals met the criteria for the provision of consistent basic surgical services. The combined catchments of the study hospitals in each study country varied between 3.3 million people in Liberia and 151.3 million people in Bangladesh. However, the combined catchments of the study hospitals in each study country that met the criteria for the provision of consistent basic surgical services were substantially smaller and varied between 1.3 million in Liberia and 79.2 million in Bangladesh.Many study facilities were deficient in the basic infrastructure necessary for providing basic surgical care on a consistent basis.
View details for PubMedID 28603310
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5463808
Readmissions to the Hospital for Surgical Patients Discharged to Skilled Nursing Facilities
WILEY. 2017: S70–S71
View details for Web of Science ID 000402876300201
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Needs-Based Assessment of Trauma Systems (NBATS): Estimates for the State of California.
journal of trauma and acute care surgery
In 2015, the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma convened a consensus conference to develop the Needs-Based Assessment of Trauma Systems (NBATS) tool to assist in determining the number of trauma centers required for a region. We tested the performance of NBATS with respect to the optimal number of trauma centers needed by region in California.Trauma center data were obtained from the California Emergency Services Authority Information Systems (CEMSIS). Numbers of admitted trauma patients (ISS > 15) were obtained using statewide nonpublic admissions data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), CEMSIS, and data from local emergency medical service agency (LEMSA) directors who agreed to participate in a telephone survey. Population estimates per county for 2014 were obtained from the U.S. Census. NBATS criteria used included population, transport time, community support, and number of discharges for severely injured patients (ISS > 15) at nontrauma centers and trauma centers. Estimates for the number of trauma centers per region were created for each of the three data sources and compared to the number of existing centers.A total of 62 state-designated trauma centers were identified for California: 13 (21%) Level I, 36 (58%) Level II, and 13 (11%) Level III. NBATS estimates for the total number of trauma centers in California were 27% to 47% lower compared to the number of trauma centers in existence, but this varied based on urban/rural status. NBATS estimates were lower than the current state in 70% of urban areas but were higher in almost 90% of rural areas. All data sources (OSHPD, CEMSIS, local data) produced similar results.Estimates from the NBATS tool are different from what is currently in existence in California, and differences exist based on whether the region is rural or urban. Findings from the current study can help inform future iterations of the NBATS tool.Economic, level V.
View details for DOI 10.1097/TA.0000000000001408
View details for PubMedID 28248801
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5400714
National Readmission Patterns of Isolated Splenic Injuries Based on Initial Management Strategy.
2017; 152 (12): 1119–25
Options for managing splenic injuries have evolved with a focus on nonoperative management. Long-term outcomes, such as readmissions and delayed splenectomy rate, are not well understood.To describe the natural history of isolated splenic injuries in the United States and determine whether patterns of readmission were influenced by management strategy.The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Readmission Database is an all-payer, all-ages, longitudinal administrative database that provides data on more than 35 million weighted US discharges yearly. The database was used to identify patients with isolated splenic injuries and the procedures that they received. Adult patients with isolated splenic injuries admitted from January 1 through June 30, 2013, and from January 1 through June 30, 2014, were included. Those who died during the index hospitalization or who had an additional nonsplenic injury with an Abbreviated Injury Score of 2 or greater were excluded. Univariate and mixed-effects logistic regression analysis controlling for center effect were used. Weighted numbers are reported.Initial management strategy at the time of index hospitalization, including nonprocedural management, angioembolization, and splenectomy.All-cause 6-month readmission rate. Secondary outcome was delayed splenectomy rate.A weighted sample of 3792 patients (2146 men [56.6%] and 1646 women [43.4%]; mean [SE] age, 48.5 [0.7] years) with 5155 admission events was included. During the index hospitalization, 825 (21.8%) underwent splenectomy, 293 (7.7%) underwent angioembolization, and 2673 (70.5%) had no procedure. The overall readmission rate was 21.1% (799 patients). Readmission rates did not differ based on initial management strategy (195 patients undergoing splenectomy [23.6%], 70 undergoing angioembolism [23.9%], and 534 undergoing no procedure [20%]; P = .33). Splenectomy was performed in 36 of 799 readmitted patients (4.5%) who did not have a splenectomy at their index hospitalization, leading to an overall delayed splenectomy rate of 1.2% (36 of 2967 patients). In mixed-effects logistic regression analysis controlling for patient, injury, clinical, and hospital characteristics, the choice of splenectomy (odds ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.66-1.31) vs angioembolization (odds ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.72-1.97) as initial management strategy was not associated with readmission.This national evaluation of the natural history of isolated splenic injuries from index admission through 6 months found that approximately 1 in 5 patients are readmitted within 6 months of discharge after an isolated splenic injury. However, the chance of readmission for splenectomy after initial nonoperative management was 1.2%. This finding suggests that the current management strategies used for isolated splenic injuries in the United States are well matched to patient need.
View details for PubMedID 28768329
- A Multinational Evaluation of Timely Access to Basic Surgical Services Using Geospatial Analyses ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2016: E118
Trauma Surveillance in Cape Town, South Africa An Analysis of 9236 Consecutive Trauma Center Admissions
2014; 149 (6): 549-556
Trauma is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. In many low- and middle-income countries, formal trauma surveillance strategies have not yet been widely implemented.To formalize injury data collection at Groote Schuur Hospital, the chief academic hospital of the University of Cape Town, a level I trauma center, and one of the largest trauma referral hospitals in the world.This was a prospective study of all trauma admissions from October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011, at Groote Schuur Hospital. A standard admission form was developed with multidisciplinary input and was used for both clinical and data abstraction purposes. Analysis of data was performed in 3 parts: demographics of injury, injury risk by location, and access to and maturity of trauma services. Geographic information science was then used to create satellite imaging of injury "hot spots" and to track referral patterns. Finally, the World Health Organization trauma system maturity index was used to evaluate the current breadth of the trauma system in place.The demographics of trauma patients, the distribution of injury in a large metropolitan catchment, and the patterns of injury referral and patient movement within the trauma system.The minimum 34-point data set captured relevant demographic, geographic, incident, and clinical data for 9236 patients. Data field completion rates were highly variable. An analysis of demographics of injury (age, sex, and mechanism of injury) was performed. Most violence occurred toward males (71.3%) who were younger than 40 years of age (74.6%). We demonstrated high rates of violent interpersonal injury (71.6% of intentional injury) and motor vehicle injury (18.8% of all injuries). There was a strong association between injury and alcohol use, with alcohol implicated in at least 30.1% of trauma admissions. From a systems standpoint, the data suggest a mature pattern of referral consistent with the presence of an inclusive trauma system.The implementation of injury surveillance at Groote Schuur Hospital improved insights about injury risk based on demographics and neighborhood as well as access to service based on patterns of referral. This information will guide further development of South Africa's already advanced trauma system.
View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.5267
View details for Web of Science ID 000337909900015
View details for PubMedID 24789507
Prioritizing essential surgery and safe anesthesia for the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Operative capacities of 78 district hospitals in 7 low- and middle-income countries
2014; 155 (3): 365-373
Surgery has been neglected in low- and middle-income countries for decades. It is vital that the Post-2015 Development Agenda reflect that surgery is an important part of a comprehensive global health care delivery model. We compare the operative capacities of multiple low- and middle-income countries and identify critical gaps in surgical infrastructure.The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative survey tool was used to assess the operative capacities of 78 government district hospitals in Bangladesh (n = 7), Bolivia (n = 11), Ethiopia (n = 6), Liberia (n = 11), Nicaragua (n = 10), Rwanda (n = 21), and Uganda (n = 12) from 2011 to 2012. Key outcome measures included infrastructure, equipment availability, physician and nonphysician surgical providers, operative volume, and pharmaceutical capacity.Seventy of 78 district hospitals performed operations. There was fewer than one surgeon or anesthesiologist per 100,000 catchment population in all countries except Bolivia. There were no physician anesthesiologists in any surveyed hospitals in Rwanda, Liberia, Uganda, or in the majority of hospitals in Ethiopia. Mean annual operations per hospital ranged from 374 in Nicaragua to 3,215 in Bangladesh. Emergency operations and obstetric operations constituted 57.5% and 40% of all operations performed, respectively. Availability of pulse oximetry, essential medicines, and key infrastructure (water, electricity, oxygen) varied widely between and within countries.The need for operative procedures is not being met by the limited operative capacity in numerous low- and middle-income countries. It is of paramount importance that this gap be addressed by prioritizing essential surgery and safe anesthesia in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.eurg.2013.10.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000331991200001
View details for PubMedID 24439745
Liberian Surgical and Anesthesia Infrastructure: A Survey of County Hospitals
WORLD JOURNAL OF SURGERY
2013; 37 (4): 721-729
There is a significant burden of disease in low-income countries that can benefit from surgical intervention. The goal of this survey was to evaluate the current ability of the Liberian health care system to provide safe surgical care and to identify unmet needs in regard to trained personnel, equipment, infrastructure, and outcomes measurement.A comprehensive survey tool was developed to assess physical infrastructure of operative facilities, education and training for surgical and anesthesia providers, equipment and medications, and the capacity of the surgical system to collect and evaluate surgical outcomes at district-level hospitals in Africa. This tool was implemented in a sampling of 11 county hospitals in Liberia (January 2011). Data were obtained from the Ministry of Health and by direct government-affiliated hospital site visits.The total catchment area of the 11 hospitals surveyed was 2,313,429--equivalent to roughly 67 % of the population of Liberia (3,476,608). There were 13 major operating rooms and 34 (1.5 per 100,000 population) physicians delivering surgical, obstetric, or anesthesia care including 2 (0.1 per 100,000 population) who had completed formal postgraduate training programs in these specialty areas. The total number of surgical cases for 2010 was 7,654, with approximately 43 % of them being elective procedures. Among the facilities that tracked outcomes in 2010, a total of 11 intraoperative deaths (145 per 100,000 operative cases) were recorded for 2009. The 30-day postoperative mortality at hospitals providing data was 44 (1,359 per 100,000 operative cases). Metrics were also used to evaluate surgical output, safety of anesthesia, and the burden of obstetric disease.A significant volume of surgical care is being delivered at county hospitals throughout Liberia. The density and quality of appropriately trained personnel and infrastructure remain critically low. There is strong evidence for continued development of emergency and essential surgical services, as well as improved surgical outcomes tracking, at county hospitals in Liberia. These results serve to inform the international community and donors of the ongoing global surgical and anesthesia crisis.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00268-013-1903-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000317360900002
View details for PubMedID 23404484
Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
2012; 380 (9859): 2197-2223
Measuring disease and injury burden in populations requires a composite metric that captures both premature mortality and the prevalence and severity of ill-health. The 1990 Global Burden of Disease study proposed disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) to measure disease burden. No comprehensive update of disease burden worldwide incorporating a systematic reassessment of disease and injury-specific epidemiology has been done since the 1990 study. We aimed to calculate disease burden worldwide and for 21 regions for 1990, 2005, and 2010 with methods to enable meaningful comparisons over time.We calculated DALYs as the sum of years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs). DALYs were calculated for 291 causes, 20 age groups, both sexes, and for 187 countries, and aggregated to regional and global estimates of disease burden for three points in time with strictly comparable definitions and methods. YLLs were calculated from age-sex-country-time-specific estimates of mortality by cause, with death by standardised lost life expectancy at each age. YLDs were calculated as prevalence of 1160 disabling sequelae, by age, sex, and cause, and weighted by new disability weights for each health state. Neither YLLs nor YLDs were age-weighted or discounted. Uncertainty around cause-specific DALYs was calculated incorporating uncertainty in levels of all-cause mortality, cause-specific mortality, prevalence, and disability weights.Global DALYs remained stable from 1990 (2·503 billion) to 2010 (2·490 billion). Crude DALYs per 1000 decreased by 23% (472 per 1000 to 361 per 1000). An important shift has occurred in DALY composition with the contribution of deaths and disability among children (younger than 5 years of age) declining from 41% of global DALYs in 1990 to 25% in 2010. YLLs typically account for about half of disease burden in more developed regions (high-income Asia Pacific, western Europe, high-income North America, and Australasia), rising to over 80% of DALYs in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1990, 47% of DALYs worldwide were from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders, 43% from non-communicable diseases, and 10% from injuries. By 2010, this had shifted to 35%, 54%, and 11%, respectively. Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of DALYs worldwide in 2010 (up from fourth rank in 1990, increasing by 29%), followed by lower respiratory infections (top rank in 1990; 44% decline in DALYs), stroke (fifth in 1990; 19% increase), diarrhoeal diseases (second in 1990; 51% decrease), and HIV/AIDS (33rd in 1990; 351% increase). Major depressive disorder increased from 15th to 11th rank (37% increase) and road injury from 12th to 10th rank (34% increase). Substantial heterogeneity exists in rankings of leading causes of disease burden among regions.Global disease burden has continued to shift away from communicable to non-communicable diseases and from premature death to years lived with disability. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, many communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders remain the dominant causes of disease burden. The rising burden from mental and behavioural disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and diabetes will impose new challenges on health systems. Regional heterogeneity highlights the importance of understanding local burden of disease and setting goals and targets for the post-2015 agenda taking such patterns into account. Because of improved definitions, methods, and data, these results for 1990 and 2010 supersede all previously published Global Burden of Disease results.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000312387000016
View details for PubMedID 23245608
Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
2012; 380 (9859): 2163-2196
Non-fatal health outcomes from diseases and injuries are a crucial consideration in the promotion and monitoring of individual and population health. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies done in 1990 and 2000 have been the only studies to quantify non-fatal health outcomes across an exhaustive set of disorders at the global and regional level. Neither effort quantified uncertainty in prevalence or years lived with disability (YLDs).Of the 291 diseases and injuries in the GBD cause list, 289 cause disability. For 1160 sequelae of the 289 diseases and injuries, we undertook a systematic analysis of prevalence, incidence, remission, duration, and excess mortality. Sources included published studies, case notification, population-based cancer registries, other disease registries, antenatal clinic serosurveillance, hospital discharge data, ambulatory care data, household surveys, other surveys, and cohort studies. For most sequelae, we used a Bayesian meta-regression method, DisMod-MR, designed to address key limitations in descriptive epidemiological data, including missing data, inconsistency, and large methodological variation between data sources. For some disorders, we used natural history models, geospatial models, back-calculation models (models calculating incidence from population mortality rates and case fatality), or registration completeness models (models adjusting for incomplete registration with health-system access and other covariates). Disability weights for 220 unique health states were used to capture the severity of health loss. YLDs by cause at age, sex, country, and year levels were adjusted for comorbidity with simulation methods. We included uncertainty estimates at all stages of the analysis.Global prevalence for all ages combined in 2010 across the 1160 sequelae ranged from fewer than one case per 1 million people to 350,000 cases per 1 million people. Prevalence and severity of health loss were weakly correlated (correlation coefficient -0·37). In 2010, there were 777 million YLDs from all causes, up from 583 million in 1990. The main contributors to global YLDs were mental and behavioural disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and diabetes or endocrine diseases. The leading specific causes of YLDs were much the same in 2010 as they were in 1990: low back pain, major depressive disorder, iron-deficiency anaemia, neck pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anxiety disorders, migraine, diabetes, and falls. Age-specific prevalence of YLDs increased with age in all regions and has decreased slightly from 1990 to 2010. Regional patterns of the leading causes of YLDs were more similar compared with years of life lost due to premature mortality. Neglected tropical diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and anaemia were important causes of YLDs in sub-Saharan Africa.Rates of YLDs per 100,000 people have remained largely constant over time but rise steadily with age. Population growth and ageing have increased YLD numbers and crude rates over the past two decades. Prevalences of the most common causes of YLDs, such as mental and behavioural disorders and musculoskeletal disorders, have not decreased. Health systems will need to address the needs of the rising numbers of individuals with a range of disorders that largely cause disability but not mortality. Quantification of the burden of non-fatal health outcomes will be crucial to understand how well health systems are responding to these challenges. Effective and affordable strategies to deal with this rising burden are an urgent priority for health systems in most parts of the world.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000312387000015
View details for PubMedID 23245607
Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
2012; 380 (9859): 2095-2128
Reliable and timely information on the leading causes of death in populations, and how these are changing, is a crucial input into health policy debates. In the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), we aimed to estimate annual deaths for the world and 21 regions between 1980 and 2010 for 235 causes, with uncertainty intervals (UIs), separately by age and sex.We attempted to identify all available data on causes of death for 187 countries from 1980 to 2010 from vital registration, verbal autopsy, mortality surveillance, censuses, surveys, hospitals, police records, and mortuaries. We assessed data quality for completeness, diagnostic accuracy, missing data, stochastic variations, and probable causes of death. We applied six different modelling strategies to estimate cause-specific mortality trends depending on the strength of the data. For 133 causes and three special aggregates we used the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm) approach, which uses four families of statistical models testing a large set of different models using different permutations of covariates. Model ensembles were developed from these component models. We assessed model performance with rigorous out-of-sample testing of prediction error and the validity of 95% UIs. For 13 causes with low observed numbers of deaths, we developed negative binomial models with plausible covariates. For 27 causes for which death is rare, we modelled the higher level cause in the cause hierarchy of the GBD 2010 and then allocated deaths across component causes proportionately, estimated from all available data in the database. For selected causes (African trypanosomiasis, congenital syphilis, whooping cough, measles, typhoid and parathyroid, leishmaniasis, acute hepatitis E, and HIV/AIDS), we used natural history models based on information on incidence, prevalence, and case-fatality. We separately estimated cause fractions by aetiology for diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, and meningitis, as well as disaggregations by subcause for chronic kidney disease, maternal disorders, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. For deaths due to collective violence and natural disasters, we used mortality shock regressions. For every cause, we estimated 95% UIs that captured both parameter estimation uncertainty and uncertainty due to model specification where CODEm was used. We constrained cause-specific fractions within every age-sex group to sum to total mortality based on draws from the uncertainty distributions.In 2010, there were 52·8 million deaths globally. At the most aggregate level, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes were 24·9% of deaths worldwide in 2010, down from 15·9 million (34·1%) of 46·5 million in 1990. This decrease was largely due to decreases in mortality from diarrhoeal disease (from 2·5 to 1·4 million), lower respiratory infections (from 3·4 to 2·8 million), neonatal disorders (from 3·1 to 2·2 million), measles (from 0·63 to 0·13 million), and tetanus (from 0·27 to 0·06 million). Deaths from HIV/AIDS increased from 0·30 million in 1990 to 1·5 million in 2010, reaching a peak of 1·7 million in 2006. Malaria mortality also rose by an estimated 19·9% since 1990 to 1·17 million deaths in 2010. Tuberculosis killed 1·2 million people in 2010. Deaths from non-communicable diseases rose by just under 8 million between 1990 and 2010, accounting for two of every three deaths (34·5 million) worldwide by 2010. 8 million people died from cancer in 2010, 38% more than two decades ago; of these, 1·5 million (19%) were from trachea, bronchus, and lung cancer. Ischaemic heart disease and stroke collectively killed 12·9 million people in 2010, or one in four deaths worldwide, compared with one in five in 1990; 1·3 million deaths were due to diabetes, twice as many as in 1990. The fraction of global deaths due to injuries (5·1 million deaths) was marginally higher in 2010 (9·6%) compared with two decades earlier (8·8%). This was driven by a 46% rise in deaths worldwide due to road traffic accidents (1·3 million in 2010) and a rise in deaths from falls. Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, and HIV/AIDS were the leading causes of death in 2010. Ischaemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, stroke, diarrhoeal disease, malaria, and HIV/AIDS were the leading causes of years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) in 2010, similar to what was estimated for 1990, except for HIV/AIDS and preterm birth complications. YLLs from lower respiratory infections and diarrhoea decreased by 45-54% since 1990; ischaemic heart disease and stroke YLLs increased by 17-28%. Regional variations in leading causes of death were substantial. Communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes still accounted for 76% of premature mortality in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010. Age standardised death rates from some key disorders rose (HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease in particular), but for most diseases, death rates fell in the past two decades; including major vascular diseases, COPD, most forms of cancer, liver cirrhosis, and maternal disorders. For other conditions, notably malaria, prostate cancer, and injuries, little change was noted.Population growth, increased average age of the world's population, and largely decreasing age-specific, sex-specific, and cause-specific death rates combine to drive a broad shift from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes towards non-communicable diseases. Nevertheless, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes remain the dominant causes of YLLs in sub-Saharan Africa. Overlaid on this general pattern of the epidemiological transition, marked regional variation exists in many causes, such as interpersonal violence, suicide, liver cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis, Chagas disease, African trypanosomiasis, melanoma, and others. Regional heterogeneity highlights the importance of sound epidemiological assessments of the causes of death on a regular basis.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000312387000012
View details for PubMedID 23245604
Challenges of Surgery in Developing Countries: A Survey of Surgical and Anesthesia Capacity in Uganda's Public Hospitals
WORLD JOURNAL OF SURGERY
2012; 36 (5): 1056-1065
There are large disparities in access to surgical services due to a multitude of factors, including insufficient health human resources, infrastructure, medicines, equipment, financing, logistics, and information reporting. This study aimed to assess these important factors in Uganda's government hospitals as part of a larger study examining surgical and anesthesia capacity in low-income countries in Africa.A standardized survey tool was administered via interviews with Ministry of Health officials and key health practitioners at 14 public government hospitals throughout the country. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.There were a total of 107 general surgeons, 97 specialty surgeons, 124 obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs), and 17 anesthesiologists in Uganda, for a rate of one surgeon per 100,000 people. There was 0.2 major operating theater per 100,000 people. Altogether, 53% of all operations were general surgery cases, and 44% were OB/GYN cases. In all, 73% of all operations were performed on an emergency basis. All hospitals reported unreliable supplies of water and electricity. Essential equipment was missing across all hospitals, with no pulse oximeters found at any facilities. A uniform reporting mechanism for outcomes did not exist.There is a lack of vital human resources and infrastructure to provide adequate, safe surgery at many of the government hospitals in Uganda. A large number of surgical procedures are undertaken despite these austere conditions. Many areas that need policy development and international collaboration are evident. Surgical services need to become a greater priority in health care provision in Uganda as they could promise a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00268-012-1482-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000304096700018
View details for PubMedID 22402968
Surgical care during humanitarian crises: a systematic review of published surgical caseload data from foreign medical teams.
Prehospital and disaster medicine
2012; 27 (2): 184-189
Humanitarian surgery is often organized and delivered with short notice and limited time for developing unique strategies for providing care. While some surgical pathologies can be anticipated by the nature of the crisis, the role of foreign medical teams in treating the existing and unmet burden of surgical disease during crises is unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine published data from crises during the years 1990 through 2011 to understand the role of foreign medical teams in providing surgical care in these settings.A literature search was completed using PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases to locate relevant manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals. A qualitative review of the surgical activities reported in the studies was performed.Of 185 papers where humanitarian surgical care was provided by a foreign medical team, only 11 articles met inclusion criteria. The reporting of surgical activities varied significantly, and pooled statistical analysis was not possible. The quality of reporting was notably poor, and produced neither reliable estimates of the pattern of surgical consultations nor data on the epidemiology of the burden of surgical diseases. The qualitative trend analysis revealed that the most frequent procedures were related to soft tissue or orthopedic surgery. Procedures such as caesarean sections, hernia repairs, and appendectomies also were common. As length of deployment increased, the surgical caseload became more reflective of the existing, unmet burden of surgical disease.This review suggests that where foreign medical teams are indicated and requested, multidisciplinary surgical teams capable of providing a range of emergency and essential surgical, and rehabilitation services are required. Standardization of data collection and reporting tools for surgical care are needed to improve the reporting of surgical epidemiology in crisis-affected populations.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1049023X12000556
View details for PubMedID 22591739
Best practice guidelines on surgical response in disasters and humanitarian emergencies: report of the 2011 Humanitarian Action Summit Working Group on Surgical Issues within the Humanitarian Space.
Prehospital and disaster medicine
2011; 26 (6): 429-437
The provision of surgery within humanitarian crises is complex, requiring coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders. During the 2011 Humanitarian Action Summit best practice guidelines were proposed to provide greater accountability and standardization in surgical humanitarian relief efforts. Surgical humanitarian relief planning should occur early and include team selection and preparation, appropriate disaster-specific anticipatory planning, needs assessment, and an awareness of local resources and limitations of cross-cultural project management. Accurate medical record keeping and timely follow-up is important for a transient surgical population. Integration with local health systems is essential and will help facilitate longer term surgical health system strengthening.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1049023X12000064
View details for PubMedID 22475370
Consensus statements regarding the multidisciplinary care of limb amputation patients in disasters or humanitarian emergencies: report of the 2011 Humanitarian Action Summit Surgical Working Group on amputations following disasters or conflict.
Prehospital and disaster medicine
2011; 26 (6): 438-448
Limb amputations are frequently performed as a result of trauma inflicted during conflict or disasters. As demonstrated during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, coordinating care of these patients in austere settings is complex. During the 2011 Humanitarian Action Summit, consensus statements were developed for international organizations providing care to limb amputation patients during disasters or humanitarian emergencies. Expanded planning is needed for a multidisciplinary surgical care team, inclusive of surgeons, anesthesiologists, rehabilitation specialists and mental health professionals. Surgical providers should approach amputation using an operative technique that optimizes limb length and prosthetic fitting. Appropriate anesthesia care involves both peri-operative and long-term pain control. Rehabilitation specialists must be involved early in treatment, ideally before amputation, and should educate the surgical team in prosthetic considerations. Mental health specialists must be included to help the patient with community reintegration. A key step in developing local health systems the establishment of surgical outcomes monitoring. Such monitoring can optimizepatient follow-up and foster professional accountability for the treatment of amputation patients in disaster settings and humanitarian emergencies.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1049023X12000076
View details for PubMedID 22559308
Rwandan Surgical and Anesthesia Infrastructure: A Survey of District Hospitals
WORLD JOURNAL OF SURGERY
2011; 35 (8): 1770-1780
In low-income countries, unmet surgical needs lead to a high incidence of death. Information on the incidence and safety of current surgical care in low-income countries is limited by the paucity of data in the literature. The aim of this survey was to assess the surgical and anesthesia infrastructure in Rwanda as part of a larger study examining surgical and anesthesia capacity in low-income African countries.A comprehensive survey tool was developed to assess the physical infrastructure of operative facilities, education and training for surgical and anesthesia providers, and equipment and medications at district-level hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. The survey was administered at 21 district hospitals in Rwanda using convenience sampling.There are only nine Rwandan anesthesiologists and 17 Rwandan surgeons providing surgical care for a population of more than 10 million. The specialty-trained Rwandan surgeons and anesthesiologists are practicing almost exclusively at referral hospitals, leaving surgical care at district hospitals to the general practice physicians and nurses. All of the district hospitals reported some lack of surgical infrastructure including limited access to oxygen, anesthesia equipment and medications, monitoring equipment, and trained personnel.This survey provides strong evidence of the need for continued development of emergency and essential surgical services at district hospitals in Rwanda to improve health care and to comply with World Health Organization recommendations. It has identified serious deficiencies in both financial and human resources-areas where the international community can play a role.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00268-011-1125-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000293705300011
View details for PubMedID 21562869
Is coronary graft Doppler more sensitive for indiviual graft flows than TEE during CABG surgery?
JOURNAL OF CARDIAC SURGERY
2007; 22 (4): 356-358
In this case report we describe a situation where despite a normal TEE exam immediately postcardiopulmonary bypass, there was no flow in the left internal mammary artery graft to the left anterior descending artery. This was picked up by coronary Doppler and subsequently repaired.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1540-8191.2007.00423.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000247943500020
View details for PubMedID 17661786
Recombinant activated factor VII in cardiac surgery: A systematic review
ANNALS OF THORACIC SURGERY
2007; 83 (2): 707-714
Postoperative hemorrhage is a common complication in cardiac surgery, and it is associated with a considerable increase in morbidity, mortality, and cost. Recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) is an emerging hemostatic agent, increasingly used in cardiac surgery. This article systematically reviews the evidence regarding the efficacy, safety, and cost of rFVIIa in this setting. Although definitive evidence from randomized controlled trials is lacking, the use of rFVIIa in patients experiencing refractory postoperative hemorrhage seems promising and relatively safe. However further research is required to definitively establish its clinical utility in the postoperative cardiac patient.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2006.10.033
View details for Web of Science ID 000243716600070
View details for PubMedID 17258029