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  • Introduction of a standardised protocol, including systematic use of tranexamic acid, for management of severe adult trauma patients in a low-resource setting: the MSF experience from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

    Jachetti, A; Massenat, RB; Edema, N; Woolley, SC; Benedetti, G; Van Den Bergh, R; Trelles, M (BioMed Central, 2019-10-18)
    Background Bleeding is an important cause of death in trauma victims. In 2010, the CRASH-2 study, a multicentre randomized control trial on the effect of tranexamic acid (TXA) administration to trauma patients with suspected significant bleeding, reported a decreased mortality in randomized patients compared to placebo. Currently, no evidence on the use of TXA in humanitarian, low-resource settings is available. We aimed to measure the hospital outcomes of adult patients with severe traumatic bleeding in the Médecins Sans Frontières Tabarre Trauma Centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, before and after the implementation of a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including systematic early administration of TXA. Methods Patients admitted over comparable periods of four months (December2015- March2016 and December2016 - March2017) before and after the implementation of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol were investigated. Included patients had blunt or penetrating trauma, a South Africa Triage Score ≥ 7, were aged 18–65 years and were admitted within 3 h from the traumatic event. Measured outcomes were hospital mortality and early mortality rates, in-hospital time to discharge and time to discharge from intensive care unit. Results One-hundred and sixteen patients met inclusion criteria. Patients treated after the introduction of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol had about 70% less chance of death during hospitalization compared to the group “before” (adjusted odds ratio 0.3, 95%confidence interval 0.1–0.8). They also had a significantly shorter hospital length of stay (p = 0.02). Conclusions Implementing a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including early administration of TXA was associated with the reduced mortality and hospital stay of severe adult blunt and penetrating trauma patients in a context with poor resources and limited availability of blood products.
  • Comparison of Operative Logbook Experience of Australian General Surgical Trainees With Surgeons Deployed on Humanitarian Missions: What Can Be Learnt for the Future?

    Coventry, CA; Dominguez, L; Read, DJ; Trelles, M; Ivers, RQ; Montazerolghaem, M; Holland, AJA (Elsevier, 2019-08-23)
    OBJECTIVE: General surgical training in Australia has undergone considerable change in recent years with less exposure to other areas of surgery. General surgeons from many high-income countries have played important roles in assisting with the provision of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries during sudden-onset disasters (SODs) as part of emergency medical teams (EMTs). It is not known if contemporary Australian general surgeons are receiving the broad surgical training required for work in EMTs. DESIGN: Logbook data on the surgical procedures performed by Australian general surgical trainees were obtained from General Surgeons Australia (GSA) for the time period February 2008 to February 2017. Surgical procedures performed by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) surgeons during 5 projects in 3 SODs (the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2013 Philippines typhoon and the 2015 Nepal earthquake) were obtained from previously published data for 6 months following each disaster. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: This was carried out at the University of Sydney with input from MSF Operational Centre Brussels and GSA. RESULTS: Australian general surgical trainees performed a mean of 2107 surgical procedures (excluding endoscopy) during their training (10 6-month rotations). Common procedures included abdominal wall hernia repairs (268, 12.7%), cholecystectomies (247, 11.8%), and specialist colorectal procedures (242, 11.5%). MSF surgeons performed a total of 3542 surgical procedures across the 5 projects analyzed. Common procedures included Caesarean sections (443, 12.5%), wound debridement (1115, 31.5%), and other trauma-related procedures (472, 13.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Australian general surgical trainees receive exposure to both essential and advanced general surgery but lack exposure to specialty procedures including the obstetric and orthopedic procedures commonly performed by MSF surgeons after SODs. Further training in these areas would likely be beneficial for general surgeons prior to deployment with an EMT.
  • The blast wounded of Raqqa, Syria: observational results from an MSF-supported district hospital.

    OKeeffe, J; Vernier, L; Cramond, V; Majeed, S; Carrion Martin, AI; Hoetjes, M; Amirtharajah, M (BioMed Central, 2019-06-20)
    BACKGROUND: In June 2017, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a military operation to retake the city of Raqqa, Syria, from the so-called Islamic State. The city population incurred mass numbers of wounded. In the post-offensive period, the population returned to a city (Raqqa) contaminated with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERWs), resulting in a second wave of wounded patients. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supported a hospital in Tal-Abyad (north of Raqqa) and scaled up operations in response to this crisis. We describe the cohort of blast-wounded cases admitted to this hospital in order help prepare future humanitarian responses. METHODS: We retrospectively extracted data from clinical charts in the MSF-supported hospital. We included all new admissions for blast-wounded patients with key data elements documented. We performed comparative analyses from the offensive period (June 6, 2017 to October 17, 2017) and the post-offensive period (October 18, 2017 to March 17, 2018). RESULTS: We included 322 blast related injuries. There were more than twice the number of cases with blast injuries in the post-offensive period as the offensive period (225 vs. 97, p = <.001). The offensive period saw a significantly higher proportion of female patients (32.0%, n = 31 vs. 11.1%, n = 25, p < 0.001) and paediatric patients (42.3%, n = 41 vs 24.9%, n = 56, p = 0.002). Blast-injured patients in the post-offensive period included more cases with multiple traumatic injuries (65.8%, n = 148 vs. 39.2%, n = 38, p < 0.001). The treatment of the blast-injured cases in the post-offensive period was more labor intensive with those patients having a higher median number of interventions (2 vs 1, p = <0.001) and higher median number of days in hospital (7 vs 4, p = < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In the wake of the Raqqa offensive, the MSF-supported district hospital received an unpredicted second, larger and more complex wave of blast-wounded cases as the population returned to a city strewn with IEDs and ERWs. These findings indicate the high risk of traumatic injury to the population even after warring factions have vacated conflict zones. Medical humanitarian actors should be prepared for a continued and scaled up response in areas known to be highly contaminated with explosive ordnance.
  • Association Between Gender, Surgery and Mortality for Patients Treated at Médecins Sans Frontières Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

    Tounsi, LL; Daebes, HL; Warnberg, MG; Jaweed, M; Mamozai, BA; Nasim, M; Drevin, G; Trelles, M; von Schreeb, J (Springer, 2019-05-07)
    INTRODUCTION: There is paucity of literature describing type of injury and care for females in conflicts. This study aimed to describe the injury pattern and outcome in terms of surgery and mortality for female patients presenting to Médecins Sans Frontières Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and compare them with males. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study retrospectively analysed patient data from 17,916 patients treated at the emergency department in Kunduz between January and September 2015, before its destruction by aerial bombing in October the same year. Routinely collected data on patient characteristics, injury patterns, triage category, time to arrival and outcome were retrieved and analysed. Comparative analyses were conducted using logistic regression. RESULTS: Females constituted 23.6% of patients. Burns and back injuries were more common among females (1.4% and 3.3%) than among males (0.6% and 2.0%). In contrast, open wounds and thoracic injuries were more common among males (10.1% and 0.6%) than among females (5.2% and 0.2%). Females were less likely to undergo surgery (OR 0.60, CI 0.528-0.688), and this remained significant after adjustment for age, nature of injury, triage category, multiple injuries and delay to arrival (OR 0.80, CI 0.690-0.926). Females also had lower unadjusted odds of mortality (OR 0.49, CI 0.277-0.874), but this was not significant in the adjusted analysis (OR 0.81, CI 0.446-1.453). CONCLUSION: Our main findings suggest that females seeking care at Kunduz Trauma Centre arrived later, had different injury patterns and were less likely to undergo surgery as compared to males.
  • "Reality rarely looks like the guidelines": a qualitative study of the challenges hospital-based physicians encounter in war wound management

    Älgå, A; Karlow Herzog, K; Alrawashdeh, M; Wong, S; Khankeh, H; Stålsby Lundborg, C (BioMed Central, 2018-06-27)
    Globally, armed conflict is a major contributor to mortality and morbidity. The treatment of war-associated injuries is largely experience-based. Evidence is weak due to difficulty in conducting medical research in war settings. A qualitative method could provide insight into the specific challenges associated with providing health care to injured civilians. The aim of this study was to explore the challenges hospital-based physicians encounter in war wound management, focusing on surgical intervention and antibiotic use.
  • Surgery with Limited Resources in Natural Disasters: What Is the Minimum Standard of Care?

    Trelles Centurion, M; Crestani, R; Dominguez, L; Caluwaerts, A; Benedetti, G (Springer International Publishing, 2018)
    In a challenging scenario, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster, minimum standards of care must be in place from the moment surgical care activities are launched.
  • [Orthopedic Surgery with Limited Resources After Mass Disasters and During Armed Conflicts : First International Guidelines for the Management of Limb Injuries and the Experience of Doctors Without Borders]

    Osmers, I (SpringerLink, 2017-08-29)
    Disasters and armed conflicts are often the unfortunate basis for aid projects run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The nature of war and disasters means that surgery is an integral part of this medical emergency aid. In these situations, resources are usually limited. As a result, surgical work in these contexts differs significantly from the daily routine of a surgeon working in a highly resourced hospital. The principles of surgery do not change but surgeons must adapt their tactical approach to the changed context otherwise there is a high risk of failing to improve the health of patients and potentially jeopardizing their prospects for recovery. Every experienced war surgeon has learned new skills the hard way. The Field Guide to Manage Limb Injury in Disaster and Conflict has been written to help new surgeons who may face the challenges of disaster and war surgery and to avoid unnecessary suffering for patients ( https://icrc.aoeducation.org ). Under the guidance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with participation of the World Health Organization (WHO), financed by the AO Foundation, and featuring the experiences of experts from different organizations (amongst them MSF), the book details techniques and guidelines for surgery in low resource settings. The following article provides a short summary of some of the surgical challenges when working with limited resources and reflects on a few specific recommendations for so-called war surgery.
  • Are American Surgical Residents Prepared for Humanitarian Deployment?: A Comparative Analysis of Resident and Humanitarian Case Logs

    Lin, Y; Dahm, J; Kushner, A; Lawrence, J; Trelles, M; Dominguez, L; Kuwayama, D (Springer International Publishing, 2017-08-04)
    Effective humanitarian surgeons require skills in general surgery, OB/GYN, orthopedics, and urology. With increasing specialization, it is unclear whether US general surgery residents are receiving exposure to these disparate fields. We sought to assess the preparedness of graduating American surgical residents for humanitarian deployment.
  • Forensic Investigation Into a Death: Post-Traumatic Amnesia in a Worker with a Work-Related Head Injury Sustained in a Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant in India

    Muralidhar, V (BMJ Publishing Group, 2017-03-15)
    This is the first reported case of a work-related head injury in a coal-fired thermal power plant in India. This case highlights the trend of not reporting work injuries due to fears of reprisal from the management team that may include the termination of employment. Post-traumatic amnesia in a worker presenting with head trauma must be recognised by coworkers, so the cause of injury can be elicited early and the victim gets timely medical help. There are few published studies on work-related traumatic brain injury, and they provide no information on either anatomical localisation or signs and symptoms. It is imperative that this under-researched area is studied, so detailed epidemiology and accurate national and global statistics are made available to address this dangerous yet preventable condition.
  • Before the Bombing: High Burden of Traumatic Injuries in Kunduz Trauma Center, Kunduz, Afghanistan

    Hemat, H; Shah, S; Isaakidis, P; Das, M; Kyaw, NTT; Zaheer, S; Qasemy, AQ; Zakir, M; Mahama, G; Van Overloop, C; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-03-10)
    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing healthcare in Afghanistan since 1981 including specialized health services for trauma patients in Kunduz Trauma Center (KTC) from 2011. On October 3rd, 2015, a US airstrike hit the KTC, killing 42 people including 14 MSF staff. This study aims to demonstrate the impact on healthcare provision, after hospital destruction, by assessing the extent of care provided for trauma and injuries by the MSF KTC and to report on treatment outcomes from January 2014 to June 2015, three months prior to the bombing.
  • Emergency Obstetric Care in a Rural District of Burundi: What Are the Surgical Needs?

    De Plecker, E; Zachariah, R; Kumar, A M V; Trelles, M; Caluwaerts, S; van den Boogaard, W; Manirampa, J; Tayler-Smith, K; Manzi, M; Nanan-N'zeth, K; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-02-07)
    In a rural district hospital in Burundi offering Emergency Obstetric care-(EmOC), we assessed the a) characteristics of women at risk of, or with an obstetric complication and their types b) the number and type of obstetric surgical procedures and anaesthesia performed c) human resource cadres who performed surgery and anaesthesia and d) hospital exit outcomes.
  • Anesthesia Provision in Disasters and Armed Conflicts

    Trelles Centurion, M; Van Den Bergh, R; Gray, H (Springer, 2017)
    Disasters and armed conflicts are characterized by high numbers of trauma cases, and occur mainly in developing countries where the healthcare response is already impaired, resulting in an inadequate response. Aside of the trauma cases, other surgical health conditions are also still present and require urgent care. Surgical care needs are different from context to context and depend on local means and capabilities.
  • Regional Anesthesia for Painful Injuries after Disasters (RAPID): Study Protocol For A Randomized Controlled Trial

    Levine, AC; Teicher, C; Aluisio, AR; Wiskel, T; Valles, P; Trelles, M; Glavis-Bloom, J; Grais, RF (BioMed Central, 2016-11-14)
    Lower extremity trauma during earthquakes accounts for the largest burden of disaster-related injuries. Insufficient pain management is common in resource-limited disaster settings, and regional anesthesia (RA) may reduce pain in injured patients beyond current standards of care. To date, no controlled trials have been conducted to evaluate the use of RA for pain management in a disaster setting.
  • Multidrug-Resistant Surgical Site Infections in a Humanitarian Surgery Project

    Murphy, RA; Okoli, O; Essien, I; Teicher, C; Elder, G; Pena, J; Ronat, JB; Bernabé, KJ (Cambridge University Press, 2016-08-11)
    The epidemiology of surgical site infections (SSIs) in surgical programmes in sub-Saharan Africa is inadequately described. We reviewed deep and organ-space SSIs occurring within a trauma project that had a high-quality microbiology partnership and active follow-up. Included patients underwent orthopaedic surgery in Teme Hospital (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) for trauma and subsequently developed a SSI requiring debridement and microbiological sampling. Data were collected from structured chart reviews and programmatic databases for 103 patients with suspected SSI [79% male, median age 30 years, interquartile range (IQR) 24-37]. SSIs were commonly detected post-discharge with 58% presenting >28 days after surgery. The most common pathogens were: Staphylococcus aureus (34%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (16%) and Enterobacter cloacae (11%). Thirty-three (32%) of infections were caused by a multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogen, including 15 patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Antibiotics were initiated empirically for 43% of patients and after culture and sensitivity report in 32%. The median number of additional surgeries performed in patients with SSI was 5 (IQR 2-6), one patient died (1%), and amputation was performed or recommended in three patients. Our findings suggest the need for active long-term monitoring of SSIs, particularly those associated with MDR organisms, resulting in increased costs for readmission surgery and treatment with late-generation antibiotics.
  • Averted Health Burden Over 4 Years at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Prior to its Closure in 2015

    Trelles, M; Stewart, B T; Hemat, H; Naseem, M; Zaheer, S; Zakir, M; Adel, E; Van Overloop, C; Kushner, A L (Elsevier, 2016-07)
  • Providing Anesthesia Care in Resource-limited Settings: A 6-year Analysis of Anesthesia Services Provided at Médecins Sans Frontières Facilities

    Ariyo, P; Trelles, M; Helmand, R; Amir, Y; Hassani, G H; Mftavyanka, J; Nzeyimana, Z; Akemani, C; Ntawukiruwabo, I B; Charles, A; et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016-03-01)
    Anesthesia is integral to improving surgical care in low-resource settings. Anesthesia providers who work in these areas should be familiar with the particularities associated with providing care in these settings, including the types and outcomes of commonly performed anesthetic procedures.
  • Invasive Infection and Outcomes in a Humanitarian Surgical Burn Program in Haiti

    Murphy, RA; Nisenbaum, L; Labar, AS; Sheridan, RL; Ronat, JB; Dilworth, K; Pena, J; Kilborn, E; Teicher, C (SpringerLink - We regret that this article is behind a paywall., 2016-02-25)
    Compare to high-income settings, survival in burn units in low-income settings is lower with invasive infections one leading cause of death. Médecins Sans Frontières is involved in the treatment of large burns in adults and children in Haiti.
  • Surgical Care of Pediatric Patients in the Humanitarian Setting: The Médecins Sans Frontières Experience, 2012-2013

    Trudeau, MO; Baron, E; Hérard, P; Labar, AS; Lassalle, X; Teicher, CL; Rothstein, DH (American Medical Association, 2015-11-01)
    Little is known about the scope of practice and outcomes in pediatric surgery performed by humanitarian organizations in resource-poor settings and conflict zones. This study provides the largest report to date detailing such data for a major nongovernmental organization providing humanitarian surgical relief support in these settings.

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