Surgery (Austin & Northern Health) - Research Publications

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    Assessing operating theatre efficiency: A prospective cohort study to identify intervention targets to improve efficiency
    Wallace, L ; Muir, M ; Romano, L ; Wyllie, T ; Gyomber, D ; Hodgson, R (WILEY, 2021-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Operating theatre efficiency is critical to providing optimum healthcare and maintaining the financial success of a hospital. This study aims to assess theatre efficiency, with a focus on staff activities, theatre utilisation and case changeover. METHODS: Theatre efficiency data were collected prospectively at a single centre in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, over two 5-week periods. Characteristics of each case and various time points were collected, corresponding to either in-theatre staff activities or patient events. RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-nine cases were prospectively audited over a range of surgical specialties. Setting up represented 42.4% (37.28 min), operating time 40.1% (35.28 min) and finishing up time 17.5% (15.43 min). Theatres were empty (turnover time) for 17.42 min, which was 39.4% of the non-operative time between operations (44.25 min, turnaround time). Plastic surgery operations required the shortest set-up and finishing times on most of the measured metrics, with general surgery and obstetrics/gynaecology having longer times. List order made a significant difference, with efficiency improving over the list and over the day for separate am and pm lists. When a patient was not on time to theatre, efficiency in both set up and finishing up metrics was significantly worse. CONCLUSIONS: A large proportion of theatre time was being spent on non-operative tasks, making staff activities potential targets for operating theatre improvement interventions. Motivation and team familiarity were identified as the major factors behind efficiently run operating theatres, supporting the use of regular operating teams and maintenance of a highly motivated workforce.
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    Efficacy of patient selection criteria for obesity surgery in a non-high-dependency unit/intensive care unit facility.
    Newbold, R ; Craven, A ; Aly, A (Wiley, 2021-07)
    BACKGROUNDS: Publicly funded obesity surgery remains underfunded in Australia. One barrier to expansion is the perception that perioperative care requires critical care facilities. This study evaluates the effectiveness of patient selection criteria in avoiding unplanned patient transfer and adverse outcomes in obesity surgery performed at a facility without a high-dependency unit/intensive care unit (HDU/ICU). METHODS: Retrospective analysis was performed on patients undergoing obesity surgery between January 2017 and March 2020 in a centre with specific screening criteria. Criteria included: body mass index <48 for males and <52 for females with up to three stable comorbidities from a selected list. Revision sleeve or bypass procedures were contraindicated. Primary outcome was patient transfer to our main campus. Secondary outcomes included return to theatre (RTT), readmission and death. Outcomes were compared to laparoscopic cholecystectomies (LC) performed at the same centre. RESULTS: A total of 387 obesity surgery procedures were performed; 372 patients (96%) were discharged without complication. Fifteen (3.9%) were transferred to the main campus, eight were admitted to ICU and two required re-operation. Twelve (3.1%) were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, five required re-operation. Transfer, 30-day readmission and 30-day emergency department presentation rates were similar in comparison to LC. RTT during index admission (0.5% vs. 3.0%; p = 0.006) and during 30-day post-operative period (1.8% vs. 4.4%; p = 0.025) was lower in the obesity surgery group. CONCLUSION: Carefully selected screening criteria allow obesity surgery to be performed at a well-supported non-HDU/ICU facility with few complications and acceptable rates of unplanned patient transfer.
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    Serious incidents in testicular torsion management in England, 2007-2019: optimizing individual and training factors are the key to improved outcomes.
    Menzies-Wilson, R ; Folkard, SS ; Sevdalis, N ; Green, JSA (Wiley, 2022-02)
    OBJECTIVES: To establish the healthcare factors that contribute to testicular torsion adverse events (orchidectomies) and 'near misses'. The secondary objective was to identify areas suitable for impactful quality improvement initiatives to be undertaken by National Health Service (NHS) healthcare providers nationally. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective record review and analysis, carried out in four phases. We applied the well-validated London Protocol patient safety incident analysis framework to all eligible serious incidents related to testicular torsion submitted by English NHS Trusts over a 12-year period to the Strategic Executive Information System database. Clinical reviewers established the incident population (Phase 1), were trained and piloted the feasibility of using the London Protocol (Phase 2), applied the protocol and themed the identified contributing factors linked to adverse events (orchidectomies) and near-misses (Phase 3), and reviewed the evidence for improvement interventions (Phase 4). RESULTS: Our search returned 992 serious incidents, of which 732 were eligible for study inclusion and analysis. Of those, 137 resulted in orchidectomies, equivalent to one serious incident resulting in orchidectomy per month, and 595 were near misses. Factors contributing to all incidents were: individual staff/training (38%); team (18%); work environment (16%); task and technology (14%); and institutional context (13%). Subgroup analysis of incidents resulting in orchidectomies vs near misses demonstrated a different pattern of factors, with individual staff/training factors significantly more prominent: individual/training (88%); work environment (8%); and task and technology (1%). No evidenced improvement interventions were found in the literature. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to our knowledge to systematically analyse and classify factors that are associated with loss of a testicle and related near-miss incidents in patients presenting with testicular torsion. In England, a significant number of orchidectomies occur annually as a consequence of healthcare serious incidents. In order to improve outcomes, we propose clinical support to aid the diagnosis of torsion, improved national clinical guidelines, development of specific standard operating procedures and (in the longer term) more exposure of trainees and medical students to urology to improve the testicular salvage rate.
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    Vesico-urethral anastomosis sampling: a forgotten tool for guiding salvage radiation after radical prostatectomy
    Timm, B ; Farag, M ; Liodakis, P ; Angus, D ; Joon, DL ; Bolton, D (WILEY, 2021-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To review the utility of vesicourethral anastomosis (VUA)-directed biopsy in the setting of biochemical recurrence (BCR) after radical prostatectomy (RP) for prostate cancer (PCa) in patients who have undergone evaluation by gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography with computed tomography (68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT). METHODS: We completed a retrospective review of a prospectively maintained dataset from January 2015 to August 2020. Patient demographics were recorded for those who experienced BCR, as defined by a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level to above 0.2 ng/mL, who had a 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT that did not demonstrate recurrence within the prostate bed, and who subsequently underwent a transperineal ultrasonography (TPUS)-guided biopsy directed at the VUA. Histological reporting of the biopsies was undertaken in order to determine whether the benefits of salvage radiation therapy (SRT) could be justified by the presence of cancer cells. RESULTS: Eighteen patients who had a 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT and underwent VUA-directed biopsy were identified as having BCR. 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT scans demonstrated avidity at the VUA in none of the patients, although two out of 18 patients showed avidity in the seminal vesicles and two out of 18 patients showed avidity within regional lymph nodes. Histology from the TPUS-guided, VUA-directed biopsies demonstrated no prostatic tissue in six out of 18 and presence of prostatic tissue in 12 out of 18 of patients, respectively. In 7 out of 18 cases, there was histological evidence of recurrent PCa at the VUA in the absence of a positive 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT scan. CONCLUSION: This study highlights the potential value of VUA-directed biopsy. We are reminded that a negative 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT does not exclude local recurrence and that the addition of a VUA-directed biopsy may aid in the decision-making process for patients with BCR following RP, especially when 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT is locally negative. When the result of both 68 Ga-PSMA PET/CT and VUA-directed biopsy are negative, it should encourage clinicians to share decision-making in regard to undertaking SRT vs continuing BCR surveillance. This may delay the possible side effects associated with SRT, despite its excellent PSA failure-free survival rate.
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    Sarcopenia is a strong predictive factor of clinical and oncological outcomes following curative colorectal cancer resection.
    Chai, VW ; Chia, M ; Cocco, A ; Bhamidipaty, M ; D'Souza, B (Wiley, 2021-05)
    BACKGROUND: Skeletal muscle depletion and subsequent functional loss is common in gastrointestinal malignancy. Usual markers of nutritional status may not be part of routine workup. The predictive value of sarcopenia was assessed and compared with clinically utilized factors. The aim of this was to assess the association between computed tomography assessed sarcopenia with outcomes in colorectal cancer resection. METHODS: A total of 228 consecutive patients who underwent curative colorectal cancer resection were included. Skeletal muscle area was measured at L3, with pre-defined gender-specific cut-offs applied to a height standardized index. Albumin, body mass index and Subjective Global Assessment scores were recorded alongside measures of comorbidity. Predictors of complications, mortality, and recurrence were identified through multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Computed tomography assessed sarcopenia was significantly associated with longer stays, complications, 30-day mortality, readmissions and recurrence at 1 year. Specific associations with major, respiratory and cardiac complications were seen. It independently predicted overall complications (odds ratio 2.96, confidence interval 1.19-7.35 P = 0.019), recurrence at 1 year (odds ratio 8.00, confidence interval 1.45-44.21, P = 0.017) and an increase in comprehensive complication index of 14 (P = 0.002). Subgroup analysis found sarcopenia predicted overall complications in rectal surgery and major complications in colonic surgery. American Society of Anesthesiologists predicted complications but not major complications while cancer stage also predicted recurrence rates. CONCLUSIONS: Sarcopenia presents an objective, available predictive factor that may be superior to current biochemical and clinical measures of nutritional and functional status. This study found it to be predictive of complication rates and recurrence after curative in colorectal cancer resection.
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    Reduction of in-hospital cardiac arrest rates in intensive care-equipped New South Wales hospitals in association with implementation of Between the Flags rapid response system
    Bhonagiri, D ; Lander, H ; Green, M ; Straney, L ; Jones, D ; Pilcher, D (WILEY, 2021-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: The NSW Clinical Excellence commission introduced the 'Between the Flags' programme, in response to the death of a young patient, as a system-wide approach for early detection and management of the deteriorating patient in all NSW hospitals. The impact of BTF implementation on the 35 larger hospitals with intensive care units (ICU) has not been reported previously. AIM: To assess the impact of 'Between the Flags' (BTF), a two-tier rapid response system across 35 hospitals with an ICU in NSW, on the incidence of in-hospital cardiac arrests and the incidence and outcome of patients admitted to an ICU following cardiac arrest and rapid response team activation. METHODS: This is a prospective observational study of the BTF registry (August 2010 to June 2016) and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Adult Patient Database (January 2008 to December 2016) in 35 New South Wales public hospitals with an ICU. The primary outcome studied was the proportion of in-hospital cardiac arrests. Secondary outcomes included changes in the severity of illness and outcomes of cardiac arrest admissions to the ICU and changes in the volume of rapid response calls. RESULTS: The cardiac arrest rate per 1000 hospital admissions declined from 0.91 in the implementation period to 0.70. Propensity score analysis showed significant declines in ICU and hospital mortality and length of stay for cardiac arrest patients admitted to the ICU (all P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The BTF programme was associated with a significant reduction in cardiac arrests in hospitals and ICU admissions secondary to cardiac arrests in 35 NSW hospitals with an ICU.
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    Intensive care unit trainee perception of end-of-life care provided during medical emergency team activation events.
    Rotherham, HJ ; Jones, DA ; Presneill, JJ ; Victorian EOLC MET Investigators, (Wiley, 2022-06)
    BACKGROUND: Hospital medical emergency team (MET) activation events involving end-of-life care (EOLC) are common. The issues faced by medical staff attending these events are incompletely described. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to measure the perceptions of Victorian hospital medical staff, training in the speciality of intensive care, about multiple aspects of EOLC MET calls. We sought to determine the overall extent of formal training in MET and EOLC and assess the domains of self-perceived confidence, barriers to communication, frequency of clinician agreement and trainee distress. METHODS: We conducted an anonymous, voluntary, Internet-based survey of registered trainees of the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand in May 2019. The participants eligible were those trainees working in an adult intensive care unit in Victoria, Australia, during the study period. The main outcome measures were self-reported levels of confidence, barriers to communication, frequency of conflict and distress, senior support, supervision and access to training. RESULTS: Of 124 trainees surveyed, 75 (60%) responded. Overall, 78% of respondents felt confident to manage EOLC MET calls, but the frequently reported barriers to effective patient/next of kin communication included: (i) lack of private meeting rooms; (ii) resource and time constraints; and (iii) lack of patient and family availability during a MET call to discuss medical treatment limitations. Two-thirds of respondents reported emotional distress at least occasionally, this being frequent in one in five. Most (68%) trainees experienced conflict with other medical teams at least occasionally. Factors associated with experiencing distress at least occasionally include greater trainee age, patients' being unable to participate in discussion due to illness, resource and time constraints and negative encounters with other medical teams. CONCLUSIONS: Victorian intensive care trainees were confident managing EOLC MET activation events. However, distress was reported commonly and strategies are required to address the areas of concern.
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    Predictive value of chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 loss for benefit from bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer: A post hoc analysis of the randomized phase III-trial AGITG-MAX.
    van Dijk, E ; van Werkhoven, E ; Asher, R ; Mooi, JK ; Espinoza, D ; van Essen, HF ; van Tinteren, H ; van Grieken, NCT ; Punt, CJA ; Tebbutt, NC ; Ylstra, B (Wiley, 2022-04-30)
    The VEGF-A monoclonal antibody bevacizumab is currently recommended for first-line treatment of all metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. Cost-benefit ratio and side-effects however necessitate patient selection. A large retrospective yet nonrandomized study showed that patients with loss of chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 in the tumor and treated with bevacizumab have 3 months improved median progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) benefit compared to patients without this loss and/or treatment modality. Implementation for loss of chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 as a marker in clinical practice mandates evidence in a randomized controlled trial for bevacizumab. Of the trials with randomization of chemotherapy vs chemotherapy with bevacizumab, the AGITG-MAX trial was the only one with tumor materials available. Chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 copy number status was measured for 256 AGITG-MAX trial patients and correlated with PFS according to a predefined analysis plan with marker-treatment interaction as the primary end-point. Chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 losses were detected in 71% of patients (181/256) characteristic for mCRC. Consistent with the nonrandomized study, significant PFS benefit of bevacizumab was observed in patients with chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 loss (P = .009), and not in patients without 18q loss (P = .67). Although significance for marker-treatment interaction was not reached (Pinteraction  = .28), hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval of this randomized cohort (HRinteraction  = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.39-1.32) shows striking overlap with the nonrandomized study cohorts (HRinteraction  = 0.41; 95% CI = 0.32-0.8) supported by a nonsignificant Cochrane χ2 test (P = .11) for heterogeneity. We conclude that post hoc analysis of the AGITG-MAX RCT provides supportive evidence for chromosome 18q11.2-q12.1 as a predictive marker for bevacizumab in mCRC patients.
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    Implementing collaborative care for major depression in a cancer center: An observational study using mixed-methods.
    Walker, J ; Hobbs, H ; Wanat, M ; Solomons, L ; Richardson, A ; Sevdalis, N ; Magill, N ; Sharpe, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-05)
    OBJECTIVES: To describe the implementation of a collaborative care (CC) screening and treatment program for major depression in people with cancer, found to be effective in clinical trials, into routine outpatient care of a cancer center. METHOD: A mixed-methods observational study guided by the RE-AIM implementation framework using quantitative and qualitative data collected over five years. RESULTS: Program set-up took three years and required more involvement of CC experts than anticipated. Barriers to implementation were uncertainty about whether oncology or psychiatry owned the program and the hospital's organizational complexity. Selecting and training CC team members was a major task. 90% (14,412/16,074) of patients participated in depression screening and 61% (136/224) of those offered treatment attended at least one session. Depression outcomes were similar to trial benchmarks (61%; 78/127 patients had a treatment response). After two years the program obtained long-term funding. Facilitators of implementation were strong trial evidence, effective integration into cancer care and ongoing clinical and managerial support. CONCLUSION: A CC program for major depression, designed for the cancer setting, can be successfully implemented into routine care, but requires time, persistence and involvement of CC experts. Once operating it can be an effective and valued component of medical care.
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    A critical review of measures of childhood vaccine confidence.
    Shapiro, GK ; Kaufman, J ; Brewer, NT ; Wiley, K ; Menning, L ; Leask, J ; BeSD Working Group, (Elsevier BV, 2021-08)
    The World Health Organization and global partners sought to identify existing measures of confidence in childhood vaccines, as part of a broader effort to measure the range of behavioural and social drivers of vaccination. We identified 14 confidence measures applicable to childhood vaccination in general, all published between 2010 and 2019. The measures examined 1-5 constructs and included a mean of 12 items. Validation studies commonly examined factor structure, internal consistency reliability, and criterion-related validity. Fewer studies examined convergent and discriminant validity, test-retest reliability, or used cognitive interviewing. Most measures were developed and validated only in high-income countries. These findings highlight the need for a childhood vaccine confidence measure validated for use in diverse global contexts.