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David Kitya, Maria Punchak, Jihad Abdelgadir, Oscar Obiga, Derek Harborne, and Michael M. Haglund

OBJECTIVE

Causes, clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) in low- and middle-income countries are not well characterized in the literature. Knowledge regarding these factors would be beneficial in the development and implementation of effective preventive and management measures for affected patients. The authors conducted a study to gain a better understanding of these factors in a low-income setting.

METHODS

This prospective study was performed at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) in Uganda between January 2014 and June 2017. Patients of any age who presented and were diagnosed with CSDH during the aforementioned time period were included in the study. Variables were collected from patients’ files at discharge and follow-up clinic visits. The primary outcome of interest was death. Secondary outcomes of interest included discharge Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, ICU admission, wound infection, and CSDH recurrence.

RESULTS

Two hundred five patients, the majority of whom were male (147 [72.8%]), were enrolled in the study. The mean patient age was 60.2 years (SD 17.7). Most CSDHs occurred as a result of motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) and falls, 35.6% (73/205) and 24.9% (51/205), respectively. The sex ratio and mean age varied depending on the mechanism of injury. Headache was the most common presenting symptom (89.6%, 173/193), whereas seizures were uncommon (11.5%, 23/200). Presenting symptoms differed by age. A total of 202 patients underwent surgical intervention with burr holes and drainage, and 22.8% (46) were admitted to the ICU. Two patients suffered a recurrence, 5 developed a postoperative wound infection, and 18 died. Admission GCS score was a significant predictor of the discharge GCS score (p = 0.004), ICU admission (p < 0.001), and death (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Trauma from an MVC is the commonest cause of CSDH among the young. For the elderly, falling is common, but the majority have CSDH with no known cause. Although the clinical presentation is broad, there are several pronounced differences based on age. Burr hole surgery plus drainage is a safe and reliable intervention. A low preoperative GCS score is a risk factor for ICU admission and death.

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Swagoto Mukhopadhyay, Maria Punchak, Abbas Rattani, Ya-Ching Hung, James Dahm, Serena Faruque, Michael C. Dewan, Sophie Peeters, Sonal Sachdev, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

In 2000, the global density of neurosurgeons was estimated at 1 per 230,000 population, which remains the most recent estimate of the global neurosurgeon workforce density. In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were 33,193 neurosurgeons worldwide, including trainees. There have been no updates to this estimate in the past decade. Moreover, only WHO region–level granularity regarding neurosurgeon distribution exists; country-level estimates are limited. The neurosurgery workforce is a crucial component to meeting the growing burden of neurosurgical diseases, which not only represent high absolute incidences and prevalences, but also represent correspondingly high disability-adjusted life years affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Combining the lack of knowledge about the availability of the neurosurgical workforce and the increasing demand for neurosurgical services underscores the need for a system of neurosurgical workforce density surveillance.

METHODS

This study involved 3 key steps: 1) global survey/literature review to obtain the number of working neurosurgeons per WHO-recognized country, 2) regression to interpolate any missing data, and 3) calculation of workforce densities and comparison to available historical data by WHO region.

RESULTS

Data for 198 countries were collected (158) or interpolated (40). The global total number of neurosurgeons was estimated at 49,940. Overall, neurosurgeon density ranged from 0 to 58.95 (standardized to per 1,000,000 population) with a median of 3.56 (IQR 0.29–8.26). Thirty-three countries were found to have no neurosurgeons (zero). The highest density, 58.95, was in Japan, where 7495 neurosurgeons are taking care of a population of 127,131,800.

CONCLUSIONS

In 2015, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery estimated that 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed in low- and middle-income countries each year, and a subsequent study revealed that approximately 15% of those surgical procedures are neurosurgical. Based on our results, we can conclude that there are approximately 49,940 neurosurgeons currently, worldwide. The availability of neurosurgeons appears to have increased in all geographic regions over the past decade, with Southeast Asia experiencing the greatest growth. Such remarkable expansion should be assessed to determine factors that could play a role in other regions where the acceleration of growth would be beneficial.

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Michael C. Dewan, Abbas Rattani, Saksham Gupta, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Ya-Ching Hung, Maria Punchak, Amit Agrawal, Amos O. Adeleye, Mark G. Shrime, Andrés M. Rubiano, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—the “silent epidemic”—contributes to worldwide death and disability more than any other traumatic insult. Yet, TBI incidence and distribution across regions and socioeconomic divides remain unknown. In an effort to promote advocacy, understanding, and targeted intervention, the authors sought to quantify the case burden of TBI across World Health Organization (WHO) regions and World Bank (WB) income groups.

METHODS

Open-source epidemiological data on road traffic injuries (RTIs) were used to model the incidence of TBI using literature-derived ratios. First, a systematic review on the proportion of RTIs resulting in TBI was conducted, and a meta-analysis of study-derived proportions was performed. Next, a separate systematic review identified primary source studies describing mechanisms of injury contributing to TBI, and an additional meta-analysis yielded a proportion of TBI that is secondary to the mechanism of RTI. Then, the incidence of RTI as published by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 was applied to these two ratios to generate the incidence and estimated case volume of TBI for each WHO region and WB income group.

RESULTS

Relevant articles and registries were identified via systematic review; study quality was higher in the high-income countries (HICs) than in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Sixty-nine million (95% CI 64–74 million) individuals worldwide are estimated to sustain a TBI each year. The proportion of TBIs resulting from road traffic collisions was greatest in Africa and Southeast Asia (both 56%) and lowest in North America (25%). The incidence of RTI was similar in Southeast Asia (1.5% of the population per year) and Europe (1.2%). The overall incidence of TBI per 100,000 people was greatest in North America (1299 cases, 95% CI 650–1947) and Europe (1012 cases, 95% CI 911–1113) and least in Africa (801 cases, 95% CI 732–871) and the Eastern Mediterranean (897 cases, 95% CI 771–1023). The LMICs experience nearly 3 times more cases of TBI proportionally than HICs.

CONCLUSIONS

Sixty-nine million (95% CI 64–74 million) individuals are estimated to suffer TBI from all causes each year, with the Southeast Asian and Western Pacific regions experiencing the greatest overall burden of disease. Head injury following road traffic collision is more common in LMICs, and the proportion of TBIs secondary to road traffic collision is likewise greatest in these countries. Meanwhile, the estimated incidence of TBI is highest in regions with higher-quality data, specifically in North America and Europe.