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## Third delay in traumatic brain injury: time to management as a predictor of mortality

### OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global epidemic with an increasing incidence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The time from arrival at the hospital to receiving appropriate treatment (“third delay”) can vary widely in LMICs, although its association with mortality in TBI remains unknown.

### METHODS

A retrospective cohort analysis with multivariable logistic regression was conducted using the Toward Improved Trauma Care Outcomes in India database, which contains data from 4 urban trauma centers in India from 2013–2015.

### RESULTS

There were 6278 TBIs included in the cohort. The patients’ median age was 39 years (interquartile range 27–52 years) and 80% of patients were male. The most frequent mechanisms of injury were road traffic accidents (52%) and falls (34%). A majority of cases were transfers from other facilities (79%). In-hospital 30-day mortality was 27%; of patients who died, 21% died within 24 hours of arrival. The median third delay was 10 minutes (interquartile range 0–60 minutes); 34% of cases had moderate third delay (10–60 minutes) and 22% had extended third delay (≥ 61 minutes). Overall 30-day mortality was associated with moderate third delay (OR 1.3, p = 0.001) and extended third delay (OR 1.3, p = 0.001) after adjustment by pertinent covariates. This effect was pronounced for 24-hour mortality: moderate and extended third delays were independently associated with ORs of 3.4 and 3.8, respectively, for 24-hour mortality (both p < 0.001).

### CONCLUSIONS

Third delay is associated with early mortality in patients with TBI, and represents a target for process improvement in urban trauma centers.

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## The economic consequences of neurosurgical disease in low- and middle-income countries

### OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to estimate the economic consequences of neurosurgical disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

### METHODS

The authors estimated gross domestic product (GDP) losses and the broader welfare losses attributable to 5 neurosurgical disease categories in LMICs using two distinct economic models. The value of lost output (VLO) model projects annual GDP losses due to neurosurgical disease during 2015–2030, and is based on the WHO’s “Projecting the Economic Cost of Ill-health” tool. The value of lost economic welfare (VLW) model estimates total welfare losses, which is based on the value of a statistical life and includes nonmarket losses such as the inherent value placed on good health, resulting from neurosurgical disease in 2015 alone.

### RESULTS

The VLO model estimates the selected neurosurgical diseases will result in $4.4 trillion (2013 US dollars, purchasing power parity) in GDP losses during 2015–2030 in the 90 included LMICs. Economic losses are projected to disproportionately affect low- and lower-middle-income countries, risking up to a 0.6% and 0.54% loss of GDP, respectively, in 2030. The VLW model evaluated 127 LMICs, and estimates that these countries experienced$3 trillion (2013 US dollars, purchasing power parity) in economic welfare losses in 2015. Regardless of the model used, the majority of the losses can be attributed to stroke and traumatic brain injury.

### CONCLUSIONS

The economic impact of neurosurgical diseases in LMICs is significant. The magnitude of economic losses due to neurosurgical diseases in LMICs provides further motivation beyond already compelling humanitarian reasons for action.

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## Operative and consultative proportions of neurosurgical disease worldwide: estimation from the surgeon perspective

### OBJECTIVE

The global magnitude of neurosurgical disease is unknown. The authors sought to estimate the surgical and consultative proportion of diseases commonly encountered by neurosurgeons, as well as surgeon case volume and perceived workload.

### METHODS

An electronic survey was sent to 193 neurosurgeons previously identified via a global surgeon mapping initiative. The survey consisted of three sections aimed at quantifying surgical incidence of neurological disease, consultation incidence, and surgeon demographic data. Surgeons were asked to estimate the proportion of 11 neurological disorders that, in an ideal world, would indicate either neurosurgical operation or neurosurgical consultation. Respondent surgeons indicated their confidence level in each estimate. Demographic and surgical practice characteristics—including case volume and perceived workload—were also captured.

### RESULTS

Eighty-five neurosurgeons from 57 countries, representing all WHO regions and World Bank income levels, completed the survey. Neurological conditions estimated to warrant neurosurgical consultation with the highest frequency were brain tumors (96%), spinal tumors (95%), hydrocephalus (94%), and neural tube defects (92%), whereas stroke (54%), central nervous system infection (58%), and epilepsy (40%) carried the lowest frequency. Similarly, surgery was deemed necessary for an average of 88% cases of hydrocephalus, 82% of spinal tumors and neural tube defects, and 78% of brain tumors. Degenerative spine disease (42%), stroke (31%), and epilepsy (24%) were found to warrant surgical intervention less frequently. Confidence levels were consistently high among respondents (lower quartile > 70/100 for 90% of questions), and estimates did not vary significantly across WHO regions or among income levels. Surgeons reported performing a mean of 245 cases annually (median 190). On a 100-point scale indicating a surgeon’s perceived workload (0—not busy, 100—overworked), respondents selected a mean workload of 75 (median 79).

### CONCLUSIONS

With a high level of confidence and strong concordance, neurosurgeons estimated that the vast majority of patients with central nervous system tumors, hydrocephalus, or neural tube defects mandate neurosurgical involvement. A significant proportion of other common neurological diseases, such as traumatic brain and spinal injury, vascular anomalies, and degenerative spine disease, demand the attention of a neurosurgeon—whether via operative intervention or expert counsel. These estimates facilitate measurement of the expected annual volume of neurosurgical disease globally.

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## Costs and benefits of neurosurgical intervention for infant hydrocephalus in sub-Saharan Africa

### Object

Evidence from the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda (CCHU) suggests that treatment for hydrocephalus in infants can be effective and sustainable in a developing country. This model has not been broadly supported or implemented due in part to the absence of data on the economic burden of disease or any assessment of the cost and benefit of treatment. The authors used economic modeling to estimate the annual cost and benefit of treating hydrocephalus in infants at CCHU. These results were then extrapolated to the potential economic impact of treating all cases of hydrocephalus in infants in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

### Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all children initially treated for hydrocephalus at CCHU via endoscopic third ventriculostomy or shunt placement in 2005. A combination of data and explicit assumptions was used to determine the number of times each procedure was performed, the cost of performing each procedure, the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted with neurosurgical intervention, and the economic benefit of the treatment. For CCHU and SSA, the cost per DALY averted and the benefit-cost ratio of 1 year's treatment of hydrocephalus in infants were determined.

### Results

In 2005, 297 patients (median age 4 months) were treated at CCHU. The total cost of neurosurgical intervention was $350,410, and the cost per DALY averted ranged from$59 to $126. The CCHU's economic benefit to Uganda was estimated to be between$3.1 million and $5.2 million using a human capital approach and$4.6 million–$188 million using a value of a statistical life (VSL) approach. The total economic benefit of treating the conservatively estimated 82,000 annual cases of hydrocephalus in infants in SSA ranged from$930 million to $1.6 billion using a human capital approach and$1.4 billion–\$56 billion using a VSL approach. The minimum benefit-cost ratio of treating hydrocephalus in infants was estimated to be 7:1.

### Conclusions

Untreated hydrocephalus in infants exacts an enormous price from SSA. The results of this study suggest that neurosurgical intervention has a cost/DALY averted comparable to other surgical interventions that have been evaluated, as well as a favorable benefit-cost ratio. The prevention and treatment of hydrocephalus in SSA should be recognized as a major public health priority.