Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Surgery]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0038-236120140001&lang=es vol. 52 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Understanding the reasons for delay to definitive surgical care of patients with acute appendicitis in rural South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Acute appendicitis in rural South Africa is associated with significant morbidity due to prolonged delays before definitive surgical care. OBJECTIVE: This audit aimed to quantify the delay in our healthcare system. METHODS: From September 2010 to September 2012, all patients with confirmed acute appendicitis were interviewed and asked about the onset of symptoms and subsequent events in the disease process. Events before and after contact with the healthcare system were referred to as the pre-hospital or behavioural domain and the in-hospital or assessment domain, respectively. RESULTS: Of the 500 patients, 350 (70.0%) experienced a delay of &gt;48 hours from onset of symptoms to definitive surgical care. The mean time before treatment for this group was 5 days (range 3 - 7), while the mean for the group without delay was 1.6 days (range 1 - 2) (p<0.0001). Of 463 delays, 291 were in the behavioural domain and 172 in the assessment domain; 178 patients (50.9%) experienced delay in the behavioural domain only, 59 (16.9%) in the assessment domain only, and 113 (32.2%) in both domains. The mean ambulance transport time from the district hospital to the regional hospital was 4.9 hours. CONCLUSION: There are barriers that prevent patients with acute appendicitis from accessing care. There are also prolonged delays within the system once care has been accessed. Both these sources of delay need to be addressed by quality improvement programmes. <![CDATA[<b>Incidental cancer in multinodular goitre post thyroidectomy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The risk of malignancy in patients with multinodular goitre (MNG) is approximately 7.2%. The gold standard for diagnosis of thyroid cancer is fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Unsuccessful, inconclusive or suspicious results mandate further investigations. The concern is that with a benign FNAB result there is no indication for surgery unless the patient has compression symptoms or cosmetic issues, but the risk of missed malignancy is nevertheless present. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and histological features of incidental cancers in patients who had thyroidectomy for MNG. METHOD: Records of patients who underwent thyroidectomy between January 2005 and December 2010 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa, were retrospectively reviewed. Data retrieved included demographic characteristics of the patients, type of thyroidectomy, thyroid function test results, FNAB cytology and final histology results. RESULT: A total of 166 thyroidectomies were performed on 162 patients, the majority (139) of whom were females. The mean age was 46 years (range 15 - 79 years). A total of 120 pre-operative FNABs were available for analysis, 78 of which were suggestive of benign nodular goitre; 70 benign FNAB results were histologically confirmed to be MNG after thyroidectomy. Incidental malignancy was found in four of 70 cases of MNG (5.7%); all were papillary carcinomas, predominantly (75.0%) the follicular variant. CONCLUSION: The risk of missing cancer in patients with MNG was 5.7%. The commonest histological subtype of thyroid cancer found in MNG was papillary carcinoma. <![CDATA[<b>Lessons from emergency laparotomy for abdominal tuberculosis in the HIV/AIDS era</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The rising incidence of HIV/AIDS has resulted in a resurgence of abdominal tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-positive patients in South Africa. These often debilitated patients frequently present with acute complications requiring surgery. METHODS: A prospective audit of all patients with abdominal TB undergoing emergency laparotomy was conducted. From January 2008 to June 2010, 49 patients had emergency laparotomy and specimens obtained from them were diagnostic of TB. Twenty-five were males and 24 females, with a median age of 32 years (range 2 - 62). Thirty-nine patients were HIV-positive (79.6%). RESULTS: Intra-operative findings were bowel perforations in 13 cases, small-bowel obstruction in seven, a frozen abdomen in ten, and enlarged lymph nodes and an ileocaecal mass in 19. Eleven patients (22.4%) underwent small-bowel resection and eight (16.3%) right hemicolectomy. Eighteen patients (36.7%) ended up with stomas, 14 (28.6%) had re-laparotomies, and 18 (36.7%) were admitted to the intensive care unit. Twenty-three patients (46.9%) required blood transfusion and 15 (30.6%) total parenteral nutrition. Three patients (6.1%) developed an enterocutaneous fistula and 19 (38.8%) died. Pre-operative illness severity indices of acidosis, anaemia and hypo-albuminaemia were significant predictors of death, but mode of presentation and surgical interventions were not. CONCLUSION: Laparotomy as currently practised for the 'acute abdomen' in patients with suspected HIV and abdominal TB is associated with very high morbidity and mortality, which is related to pre-operative severity indices. More liberal use of imaging may define cases in which a more conservative approach could improve outcome. <![CDATA[<b>The role of limb perfusion studies in the paediatric ischaemic limb</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es OBJECTIVES: To study the use of limb perfusion scans in children with limb-threatening ischaemia and determine whether such scans are helpful in making clinical decisions. METHODS: This retrospective study compared the clinical, scan and surgical findings in children who had limb perfusion scans for critical limb ischaemia at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, from July 2001 to December 2010. Records were reviewed and the data analysed for aetiology, clinical findings, limb perfusion results, operative findings and outcome. RESULTS: There were complete clinical and scan records for 20/22 patients, aged 1 month to 12 years. The causes of limb ischaemia were meningococcal septicaemia (n=9), septic shock (n=6), hypovolaemic shock due to gastroenteritis (n=4), and electrical burns (n=1). The clinical, scan and surgical findings correlated in 40/48 imaged limbs. In one leg the findings did not correlate, but the perfusion scan results predicted the outcome. In the remaining seven cases the exact correlation was uncertain owing to technical difficulties or absent operative notes. CONCLUSION: This study describes a method for performing limb perfusion studies in children. Limb perfusion studies correlated well with surgical findings. These studies were useful in treatment decisions, parent and patient counselling and surgical planning. They supplemented clinical examination in assessment of the children. <![CDATA[<b>The intramyocardial left anterior descending artery</b>: <b>Prevalence and surgical considerations in coronary artery bypass grafting</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Major coronary arteries usually have a subepicardial course and only dip into the myocardium near or at their termination. However, occasionally a segment of the epicardial artery may have an intramural course, and it is often referred to as a myocardial bridge. The left anterior descending (LAD) artery is the most commonly bridged vessel. Its prevalence has been evaluated at both autopsy and angiography. However, in the literature reviewed it is apparent that there are no reports of the prevalence of the intramyocardial LAD (IMLAD) artery in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) series. OBJECTIVES: To document the prevalence of the IMLAD artery in a series of CABGs and to describe the surgical techniques used in these cases. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 1 349 surgical reports of consecutive CABGs performed over a period of 23 years was conducted. RESULTS: An IMLAD artery was present in 293 patients (21.7%). The prevalence was 20.2% (51/253) in females and 22.1% (242/1 096) in males. The IMLAD arteries extended into the interventricular septum in 3.8% (11/293) of the patients. CONCLUSION: An intramyocardial course of the LAD artery is relatively common in patients undergoing CABG and poses a challenge in bypass grafting. Techniques are described to address this anatomical variation when it is encountered at surgery. <![CDATA[<b>Severity of upper-limb panga injuries and infection rates associated with early v. late tendon repair</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Panga or machete attacks are a common cause of significant upper-limb trauma in South Africa. Pangas are a multipurpose household tool used predominantly for foraging and agricultural purposes and are highly contaminated. While some centres advocate immediate primary repair if no concern exists regarding the risk of infection, others delay definitive repair until satisfied there is no evidence of infection. OBJECTIVES: To compare infection rates and tendon re-rupture following early primary repair (within 24 h), primary repair after 24 h, and delayed repair following initial debridement. METHODS: We conducted a multicentre, retrospective, observational study of 49 patients (mean age 28.9 years; range 17 - 69), who were followed up for a mean of 3.4 months (range 0 - 8). The injuries sustained included 32 flexor tendon injuries, 14 extensor tendon injuries, 9 fractures and 21 peripheral nerve injuries. RESULTS: Of the patients, 17 underwent early primary repair (within 24 h), 19 delayed primary repair, and 13 delayed repair following primary washout. Wounds were assessed postoperatively using the ASEPSIS wound scoring system and patients were clinically assessed for tendon re-rupture. No significant differences were found in the comparative infection rates for early primary repair (5.9%; 1/17), delayed primary repair (10.5%; 2/19) and delayed repair following primary washout (23.1%; 3/13; p=0.662). CONCLUSION: Our results indicate indicate that panga injuries can be repaired safely at first presentation with no increased risk of infection or re-rupture. <![CDATA[<b>Endometriotic stricture of the sigmoid colon presenting with intestinal obstruction</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Endometriosis, a relatively common condition, rarely involves the bowel; even more rarely does it present as a large-bowel stricture with intestinal obstruction. We report the case of a young woman who presented to an emergency department with intestinal obstruction secondary to an endometriotic stricture of the sigmoid colon, without evidence of disease elsewhere in the peritoneal cavity. Although large-bowel obstruction is usually caused by a malignant tumour, it can sometimes result from rare causes such as endometriosis. Symptoms of a cyclical nature may remind the clinician of this possibility. <![CDATA[<b>Colonic perforation following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography-associated pancreatitis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es We highlight a potentially lethal complication of acute severe pancreatitis that may not be suspected in severely ill patients. A 41-year-old woman developed acute severe pancreatitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for suspected choledocholithiasis. When her condition deteriorated dramatically after 2 weeks of intensive medical management, a computed tomography scan and water-soluble contrast enema examination revealed a large colonic perforation and associated collection in the right flank. Surgical management included an extended right hemicolectomy and a second laparotomy to attend to soiling at the surgical site. She survived and was discharged. Colonic perforation is a recognised complication of pancreatitis that carries a high mortality. It may result from a combination of ischaemia to the colon and a direct effect of noxious pancreatic enzymes. Almost all cases are only diagnosed at laparotomy. In view of the current trend of non-surgical management of pancreatitis and associated complications, colonic perforation should be considered in patients who deteriorate or fail to improve. To our knowledge this is the first case of a secure pre-operative diagnosis of colonic perforation due to to pancreatitis. <![CDATA[<b>Hymie Gaylis 1921 - 2013</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23612014000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es We highlight a potentially lethal complication of acute severe pancreatitis that may not be suspected in severely ill patients. A 41-year-old woman developed acute severe pancreatitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for suspected choledocholithiasis. When her condition deteriorated dramatically after 2 weeks of intensive medical management, a computed tomography scan and water-soluble contrast enema examination revealed a large colonic perforation and associated collection in the right flank. Surgical management included an extended right hemicolectomy and a second laparotomy to attend to soiling at the surgical site. She survived and was discharged. Colonic perforation is a recognised complication of pancreatitis that carries a high mortality. It may result from a combination of ischaemia to the colon and a direct effect of noxious pancreatic enzymes. Almost all cases are only diagnosed at laparotomy. In view of the current trend of non-surgical management of pancreatitis and associated complications, colonic perforation should be considered in patients who deteriorate or fail to improve. To our knowledge this is the first case of a secure pre-operative diagnosis of colonic perforation due to to pancreatitis.