Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Surgery]]> vol. 57 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Oesophageal cancer in South Africa: the need for a public health response</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Oesophageal cancer in Area 2 of Kwazulu-Natal: predictors of late presentation</b>]]> BACKGROUND: There are limited prospective data sets on clinical characteristics, stage of presentation and treatment of patients with Oesophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) in South Africa. This study aimed to assess the frequency and severity of clinical characteristics associated with late presentation of patients with OSCC presenting to a cancer referral centre in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. METHODS: A prospective consecutive series of patients presenting with confirmed OSCC treated at Greys Hospital in 2016/2017 were enrolled. Data collected included: age, gender, home language, referral centre, clinical and laboratory characteristics: dysphagia score, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status, body mass index (BMI), serum albumin, tumour pathology and treatment administered. RESULTS: One hundred patients were analysed. Ninety four percent spoke isiZulu. The mean age was 61 with a male to female ratio of 1.5:1 Ninety percent had palliative treatment as their overall assessment precluded curative treatment. Five patients underwent curative treatment. The age standardised incidence (ASR) was 25.2 per 100 000. The factors associated with late presentation and their frequency were: advanced dysphagia grade ( &gt;/=2 in 68%), malnutrition (BMI <18.5kg/m² in 49%), hypoalbuminaemia (serum albumin < 35 g/l in 70%), poor performance status (ECOG&gt;/=2 in 50% ) and moderate to poor tumour differentiation in 95% of patients. CONCLUSIONS: OSCC in Kwazulu-Natal has double the ASR of South Africa and places a significant burden on the region's health care system. Factors associated with late presentation occur in the majority and alone or in combination preclude curative therapies. The frequency of these factors serve as a benchmark for comparison, and reduction in their frequency may indicate effectiveness of interventions designed to improve awareness and access to proper care. <![CDATA[<b>Disparity in oesophageal cancer management in South Africa: a comparison between two tertiary centres with special focus on the palliation of dysphagia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: For most patients with oesophageal cancer worldwide, palliation of dysphagia is the goal which is most commonly achieved with self-expanding metal stents (SEMS). The aim of this study was to assess the profile and management of oesophageal cancer patients at Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape, and compare this to a similar cohort from Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) in the Western Cape Province. METHODS: This study is a retrospective comparative cohort which reviewed all patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer by the Frere Hospital and GSH endoscopy units from January to December 2015. Independent prospective electronic databases for the two hospitals were merged for comparative analysis. RESULTS: During the study period, 346 and 108 patients were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at Frere Hospital and GSH respectively. The rate of curative intended intervention was similarly low, with 3% of cases at Frere Hospital undergoing oesophagectomy or definitive radiotherapy as compared to 5% at GSH (p=0.48). In terms of palliation, significantly more patients received palliative oncological therapy at GSH as compared to Frere Hospital (21% vs 8%, p < 0.001). At Frere Hospital, 281 patients (81%) were treated primarily with serial dilatations. At GSH, 9 patients received a single dilatation, all as a bridge to radiotherapy or stenting. At Frere Hospital, 28 patients (8%) were stented, as compared to GHS where 69 patients (64%) were managed with a stent (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: This study shows significant differences in the oncological and endoscopic palliation of patients between the two institutions, highlighting a gross disparity in healthcare provision between them. The reasons for these disparities should be investigated and equipoise addressed by national health policy makers. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of oesophageal cancer between the public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The frequency of the occurrence and type of oesophageal cancer from pathology laboratory data from the private and public sector has never been compared in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). This study aims to compare data from the public and private pathology services in the province. METHODS: All the malignant and pre-malignant oesophageal biopsies at the academic department of histopathology and at three private laboratories in the KZN were retrieved for comparison. RESULTS: Between January 2012 and December 2014, there were a total of 1087 new diagnoses of an oesophageal malignancy or pre-malignant diagnosis. There were 613 specimens from the private laboratories in KZN and 474 from IALCH. The sex distribution was (41%) females and (59%) males. In the private sector, the mean age was 61.6 years and in the public sector it was 62.7 years. (Range 18-75 years) Africans comprised 63% of the total, Whites 28% and Indians 7%. In the public sector 89.5 % of patients were African whereas in the private sector, Africans comprised 45.7% and Whites made up 46% of the total. Eighty-eight per cent of biopsy specimens were malignant lesions of which 68% were squamous carcinoma. Squamous carcinomas accounted for 87.5% and 54% of all lesions in the public and private sectors respectively. Pre-malignant lesions accounted for 5% and 23% of diagnoses in the public and private sectors respectively. Pre-malignant lesions in the public sector showed mainly dysplastic squamous cell dysplasia whereas dysplastic Barrett's oesophagus lesions accounted for the majority in the private sector. CONCLUSION: Oesophageal cancer is a major public health problem in KZN. Although squamous carcinoma predominates, adenocarcinoma is a significant problem in the White population. It would appear that surveillance for oesophageal adenocarcinoma is taking place in the private sector albeit in a non-systematic or coordinated fashion. This does not appear to be the case in the state sector. <![CDATA[<b>Metabolic surgery in South Africa: an initial academic hospital experience</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In South Africa, 42.0% of adult females and 13.5% of adult males are classified as obese, the highest recorded numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Metabolic surgery has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment, yet due to demand on government resources has only been performed to a limited extent in public hospitals. The aim of this study was to describe the safety and efficacy of performing metabolic surgery at a single academic hospital in South Africa. METHODS: This was a single centre retrospective review of 57 metabolic surgery procedures performed from October 2011 to September 2017 at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. The primary outcome was safety including mortality and adverse events. Secondary outcomes included effect of surgery on weight and diabetes resolution. RESULTS: A total of 57 patients underwent laparoscopic metabolic surgery, of which 44 (83.0%) were female with a mean age (standard deviation) of 42.8 (8.0) years. Fifty-six patients (98%) underwent Roux-and-Y gastric bypass and one (2%) had a sleeve gastrectomy performed. There were no mortalities and overall morbidity was 14.0%, with 3 (5.3%) classified as major and 5 (8.8%) as minor. The follow-up rate at 1 year was 100%. Mean preoperative body mass index (BMI) was 58.8 kg/m2, and comorbidities included hypertension (59.6%), Type 2 Diabetes (42.1%), and dyslipidaemia (36.8%). There were no conversions to open surgery and at one year the mean (95% confidence interval) percentage excess body mass index loss was 50.4% (44.0-56.8%), CONCLUSIONS: Metabolic surgery can be performed safely in the public sector in South Africa, with short-term safety and efficacy outcomes comparable to international reports. Larger scale studies are needed to determine long-term outcomes and cost-effectiveness, <![CDATA[<b>General attitudes toward research: a pilot survey of HIV-positive surgical patients</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The general attitude of HIV-positive surgical patients toward research has not been described, and it is uncertain whether interventions aimed at improving general attitudes toward research are required in this group. The aim of this pilot survey was to address the aforementioned paucity in the literature. METHODS: This was a prospective survey of 39 HIV-positive surgical patients. The 7-item Research Attitudes Questionnaire (RAQ) and a demographic characteristics questionnaire were administered to each study participant. Likert responses for the RAQ were converted into numeric values, and cumulative research attitude scores were computed for each study participant. A descriptive analysis of study participant responses to the RAQ was performed. Statistical associations between demographic characteristics and cumulative research attitude scores were also assessed. RESULTS: Depending on the RAQ item, between 74.3% and 95.9% of study participants responded positively toward research. Negative responses ranged between 0.0% and 10.3%, while neutral responses to RAQ items ranged between 2.6% and 23.1%. Female study participants had lower median research attitudes scores when compared with their male counterparts (p = 0.014). CONCLUSION: In general, study participants expressed a positive attitude toward research. The proportion of neutral responses for some RAQ items suggests there are certain aspects of research which require clarification to prospective research participants. Efforts should be made to improve female HIV-positive surgical patients' overall attitude toward research. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the differences in psychological traits between surgical specialties at an academic hospital in Bloemfontein</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Studies have attempted to categorise undergraduate medical and postgraduate students and specialists into personality types, to determine what influences personality has on specialty choice and job satisfaction. This study explored the personality characteristics of doctors in four surgical and three consulting specialties at an academic hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa. METHODS: This analytical cross-sectional study used the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire as a measuring tool which included five scales: impulsive sensation seeking (subscales impulsivity and sensation seeking), neuroticism-anxiety, aggression-hostility, sociability (parties and friends and isolation intolerance), and activity (work activity and general activity). Overall, 70 consultants and senior registrars from surgical specialties (anaesthesiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery, surgery), (response rate 60.3%) and 58 consultants and senior registrars from three consulting specialties (internal medicine, paediatrics, family medicine) (response rate 71.6%) participated. RESULTS: Respondents from four surgical specialties had higher medians than the overall consulting group for the subscale sensation seeking. The subscale sensation seeking scored higher than impulsivity across surgical and consulting groups. The surgical group scored lower than the consulting group in neuroticism-anxiety, with anaesthesiology scoring the highest (42.1%) and orthopaedic surgery scoring the lowest (15.8%). Orthopaedic surgery scored the highest (50.0%) in aggression-hostility, sociability (52.9%), parties and friends (44.4%) and isolation intolerance (65.5%). The surgical group scored significantly higher than the consulting group for activity (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: In exploring the personality types of specialists, the orthopaedic surgeons in specialist departments in Bloemfontein seem unique in their sociability and aggression-hostility traits, anaesthesiologists scored strongly on the sensation seeking and neuroticism-anxiety scales, while the obstetricians and gynaecologists did not manifest either of these traits strongly. This data contributes to a growing discussion on personality choice and job satisfaction. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of four weight estimation systems for paediatric resuscitation</b>]]> BACKGROUND: One of the most important parameters that must be obtained when resuscitating a critically ill or injured paediatric patient is their weight. The best known paediatric weight estimation system is arguably the Broselow Tape, but the tape has been shown to be very inaccurate. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the accuracy of the Broselow tape, a modified Broselow tape system, the PAWPER XL tape and the hanging leg weight technique for potential utilisation in the paediatric resuscitation setting. METHODS: A convenience sample of 200 children between the ages of 1 month and 16 years were enrolled. All the children's weights were estimated using the Broselow tape, a habitus-modified Broselow tape system, the PAWPER XL tape and the hanging leg weight technique. Overall accuracy was evaluated using the percentage of weight estimations falling within 10% of actual weight (PW10). RESULTS: The PAWPER XL tape performed the best, whilst the hanging leg weight technique performed the poorest with PW10s of 74% and 19.5%, respectively. The Broselow tape with and without habitus-modification only showed modest accuracy, with PW10s of 61.7% and 59.1% respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The PAWPER XL tape performed significantly better than other weight estimation systems and is most appropriate for use in South African paediatric emergencies. The habitus-modified Broselow system produced only modest improvement in overall weight estimation accuracy of the Broselow tape. <![CDATA[<b>Infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis: profile, management and outcome of patients admitted to a tertiary hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) is the thickening of both muscle layers of the pylorus and is most commonly found in first-born males. It usually presents with projectile, non-bilious vomiting. Late presentation leads to severe dehydration and malnutrition with deranged serum-electrolytes and acid-base imbalance delaying treatment and prolonging hospital stay. This study aims to evaluate the profile, management and outcome of IHPS at a tertiary hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa. METHODS: The study was a retrospective, descriptive record review including all patients with IHPS admitted to Universitas Hospital from January 2008 to February 2016. Of the 22 patients admitted, files for 19 patients were available for inclusion. RESULTS: Sixteen (84.2%) of the 19 patients were male. Of the 11 patients with available birth order, two were first-, two second-, six third- and one fourth-born. The patients' ages ranged from 27 to 194 days (median 51 days). The most common symptoms were projectile vomiting (78.9%) and poor weight gain (68.4%). Six patients had no ultrasound done, and 17 patients underwent a Ramstedt-pyloromyotomy. Eight patients received atropine as part of their initial management. The duration of symptoms ranged from 1 to 58 days (median 14 days). There was no reported mortality. The length of stay ranged from 2 to 60 days (median 7 days). CONCLUSION: The gender distribution and age at presentation were in keeping with the literature but not the birth order. The delay before surgery emphasises the poor general health and deranged biochemical state the patients present at the hospital. <![CDATA[<b>Quantifying the burden of trauma imaging on the CT scan service at a major trauma centre in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Imaging is an integral part of trauma management and the huge burden of trauma in South Africa places substantial pressures on radiology resources. This study aims to provide a holistic overview of the burden of trauma imaging and the cost of trauma to a busy CT scanning facility at a tertiary hospital in South Africa. METHODS: We set out to describe and quantify the impact of blunt poly-trauma on CT scanning services at Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. We aimed to provide a holistic assessment in terms of use of equipment and staff, cost to the hospital and overall usage of CT scanning. RESULTS: Over the four-year study period, 1572 patients required a CT scan following blunt torso trauma (mean age: 30 years, 81% males). Of the 1572 patients, 625 had a chest radiograph (40%), 383 a cervical spine X-ray (24%), 347 a pelvic X-ray (22%), 292 a skull X-ray (18%), 193 a limb X-ray (12%), 133 an abdominal radiograph (8%), and 86 a FAST scan (5%). The 1572 CT included: 967 head, 568 neck, 65 chest, 241 abdominal, 228 pelvic, 12 upper limb, 38 lower limb and 394 had full body (Pan) CT scan. The mean total cost of the CT scanning for blunt poly-trauma is ZAR 12 000. The total cost of CT scanning for blunt poly-trauma is 0.92% of the total hospital expenditure. Roughly 7.8% of the total hours worked by the CT scanner over the time period under review was dedicated to blunt poly-trauma. CONCLUSION: Blunt poly-trauma is a preventable disease, which has a major financial impact on the healthcare system in general. This study has documented the tremendous burden it places on an already stretched CT scanning service. <![CDATA[<b>Advanced radiological investigations and findings amongst community assault victims admitted to a tertiary South African hospital</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Community assault (CA) has been increasing in certain Cape Town suburbs over the past decade. There are limited CA-related imaging data. The aim of this study was to review CA-related advanced radiological investigations and findings at a Level 1 South African Trauma Centre. METHODS: A retrospective study at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, from 1 January through 30 June 2013. All advanced radiological investigations performed on CA victims at the time of admission were retrieved and analysed by patient demographics, imaging investigations and radiological findings. RESULTS: Sixty-two patients (n=62) with a median age of 25 years were included; CT brain was acquired in 90% (n=56) and was abnormal in 68% (n=42). Craniofacial fractures were demonstrated in 60% (n=37), with involvement of the paranasal sinuses in 32% (n=20) and the base of skull in 19% (n=12). Almost half (n=28/62; 45%) had intracranial haemorrhage, which was intra-axial in 36% (n=22/62), extra-axial in 34% (n=21/62) and both intra- and extra-axial in 23% (n=14/62). Cerebral oedema was present in 29% (n=18/62), with herniation in 10% (n=6/62). Non-cranial CT was acquired in 52% (n=32/62), of whom 19 (n=19/32; 59%) also underwent CT brain. CT abdomen was acquired in approximately a quarter of the cohort (n=16/62, 26%), demonstrating abnormalities in 15 (24%). Fifteen cervical spine CTs were performed (n=15/62; 24%) demonstrating no acute bony injury. CONCLUSION: We recommend a high index of suspicion for severe intracranial injury in CA victims and urgent tertiary referral of those with a depressed level of consciousness. Prospective work is required to determine the long-term outlook for survivors. <![CDATA[<b>Hyperlactataemia with acute kidney injury following community assault: cause or effect?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Crush injury is a common presenting clinical problem in South African trauma patients, causing acute kidney injury (AKI). It has been theorised previously that the AKI was not due to an anaerobic phenomenon. A previous local study noted the presence of a mild hyperlactataemia among patients with crush syndrome, but the significance and causes of this was not fully explored. This study aimed to examine the incidence of hyperlactataemia in patients with crush syndrome presenting to a busy emergency department (ED) in rural South Africa. METHODS: The study was conducted at Edendale Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa from 1 June 2016 to 31 December 2017. All patients from the ED who had sustained a crush injury secondary to a mob assault were included in the study. Patients with GCS on arrival of < 13 or polytrauma were excluded from analysis. The primary outcome of interest was the presence of hyperlactataemia (&gt; 2.0mmol/L) on presentation. The Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) criteria were used to diagnose and stage AKI as a secondary outcome. RESULTS: A total of 84 patients were eligible for analysis. Sixty-nine (82%) patients presented with hyperlactataemia. The median serum lactate was 4.9mmol/L (IQR 2.3-7.2mmol/L). Fifteen (18%) patients were diagnosed with AKI on presentation according to serum creatinine. Ten patients were diagnosed as Stage 1, three were Stage 2 and two Stage 3 AKI respectively. There was no difference in the incidence of AKI in patients with or without hyperlactataemia (p = 0.428). Time from injury to presentation was a median 365 minutes (IQR 180-750 minutes). Six (7%) patients were admitted to high care unit and nine (11%) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). No patients died within 48 hours of admission. Two patients received renal replacement therapy during the first 48 hours of admission to hospital. CONCLUSION: Hyperlactataemia is a common feature of patients presenting to the ED following crush syndrome secondary to beatings received during interpersonal violence. The origin of this hyperlactataemia is currently unknown. Further research needs to be conducted into the origin of the hyperlactataemia and its clinical significance. In this cohort, the utilisation of RRT was low but the incidence of AKI was high and developed rapidly following the injury. The utilisation of RRT also needs to be further studied in larger patient populations in South Africa to make local clinical recommendations for use. <![CDATA[<b>The spectrum of self inflicted injuries managed at a major trauma centre in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Self-harm behaviour is a major public health problem that is commonly underreported. This study reviews the spectrum of these self inflicted injuries managed by a major trauma centre in South Africa. METHODS: A retrospective review of the regional trauma registry was undertaken over a five-year period from December 2012 to December 2017 at the Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Trauma Service (PMTS) in South Africa. All patients who were admitted after they had sustained an injury as a result of self-harm were included. RESULTS: During the five-year study period, a total of 179 patients were included. The mean age was 29 years (SD12) and there were 139 (77%) males and 40 (23%) females. Of these, 16 had a previously established psychiatric diagnosis and two had a prior history of having sustained self-harm. The previously diagnosed psychiatric illnesses included mood dysphoria disorders (5), schizophrenia (3), substance abuse and dependency (1), anti-social personality disorder (1) and unspecified (6). The mechanism was penetrating trauma in 47 (26%). The penetrating mechanisms included stab wounds (SW) in 33, gunshot wounds (GSW) in 10, broken glass in 2 and a single impalement. Blunt mechanisms accounted for the remaining 131 (73%) injuries. The most common mechanism of blunt self-harm was hanging in 101 patients. This was followed by vehicular related trauma (8), jumping in front of a train (1) and jumping from a height (1). In 17 patients the exact mechanism of the blunt trauma was unclear. There was no statistical difference in the mechanism of injury between male and female patients. There were 38 (28%) men and 9 (23%) women who sustained a penetrating injury and there were 100 (72%) male and 31 (78%) female patients who had a blunt mechanism of injury. A total of 53 CT scans were obtained, 40 chest X-rays, 9 abdominal X-rays and 2 ultrasounds. There were 113 neck injuries, 68 head injuries, 24 abdominal injuries, 15 upper limb and 15 lower limb injuries and four facial injuries. A total of 32 operations were performed. These included laparotomy (14), neck exploration (5), tracheostomy (4). A total of 22 patients developed a complication CONCLUSION: Self-inflicted injury is not uncommon and frequently requires investigation and or surgical treatment. Patients who sustain such an injury constitute a distinct vulnerable group who are under researched. Future research on this vulnerable patient group is needed. <![CDATA[<b>"A tale of two cities." A snapshot survey of neurosurgical procedures performed in public and private sectors in eThekwini</b>]]> Access to neurosurgical care in South Africa is influenced by prevailing inequities in healthcare. It is generally perceived that the public sector performs mainly emergencies relating to trauma, and the private sector performs mainly elective spinal surgery. In March 2015, emergencies constituted 51% of cases in the public sector compared to 8% in the private sector. Trauma, paediatric hydrocephalus and intracranial sepsis constituted nearly 75% of the operative workload in the public sector. Cranial surgery accounted for the majority (95%) of operations in the public sector, whereas the majority in the private sector was spinal (75%). There is considerable disparity in the type of neurosurgery being performed in the public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal and with the current financial constraints, there is a potential unmet need for elective spinal surgery in the public sector. <![CDATA[<b>The prevalence of sodium abnormalities in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury patients in a level 1 Trauma unit in Durban</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The prevalence of sodium abnormalities in the moderate to severe brain injury patient is not known in the South African population.OBJECTIVES: Determine the prevalence of sodium abnormalities in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Determine Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) between sodium groups.METHODS: Patients admitted to the trauma intensive care unit between January 2013 and June 2015 with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury were included in the study. Descriptive statistics, tests of association and tests of differences were usedRESULTS: There were 184 patients with 143 (77.7%) males and 41 (22.3%) females. Abnormal sodium was present in 126 (68.4%), 61 of whom had hyponatremia and 65 hypernatremia, a prevalence of 33.1% and 35.3% respectively. Of the 65 patients with hypernatremia, 52 (80%) had dehydration, 7 (10.7%) had diabetes insipidus (DI) and 6 (9.3%) had hyperosmolar therapy as the cause. Of the 61 patients with hyponatremia, the commonest cause was fluid overload in 47 patients (77.1%) with SIADH in 11 (18%) and CSWS in 3 (4.9%). Death occurred in 34 (18.5%) patients and diagnosis was found to be significantly associated with mortality (p = 0.01), the most common diagnoses amongst those who died being dehydration (29.4%), fluid overload (17.7%) and DI (14.7%).CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of sodium abnormalities was 126 (68.4%) patients of whom 61 (33.1%) had hyponatremia and 65 (35.3%) hypernatremia. In those patients who survived, a later onset was related to a better outcome. The GOS in DI tended to be worse. <![CDATA[<b>Papillary renal cell carcinoma presenting as a renal abscess</b>]]> Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a highly aggressive and lethal urological malignancy, has a wide variation of signs and symptoms. We report a rare case of papillary RCC (pRCC), presenting as a renal abscess. The knowledge of this association between RCC and a renal abscess is critical to prevent misdiagnosis and/or delayed treatment especially in the elderly and immunocompromised patients. <![CDATA[<b>Laparoscopic appendicectomy in a patient with Situs Inversus Totalis</b>]]> We report a case of acute appendicitis in a patient with Situs Inversus Totalis (SIT) successfully managed by laparoscopic surgery to highlight awareness of this rare condition and the diagnostic difficulties and technical considerations posed by this anatomical anomaly when conducting surgery. <![CDATA[<b>The conundrum of a resolving cavernous sinus syndrome</b>]]> A middle-aged lady who presented with headaches and sudden onset of left cavernous sinus syndrome was found to have a left persistent primitive trigeminal artery (PPTA) on scans. The syndrome uniquely resolved spontaneously after a few days. Vascular variations in the region of the cavernous sinus should be actively sought in cross-sectional imaging performed for cavernous sinus syndrome. <![CDATA[<b>47<sup>th</sup> Meeting of The Surgical Research Society of Southern Africa</b>]]> A middle-aged lady who presented with headaches and sudden onset of left cavernous sinus syndrome was found to have a left persistent primitive trigeminal artery (PPTA) on scans. The syndrome uniquely resolved spontaneously after a few days. Vascular variations in the region of the cavernous sinus should be actively sought in cross-sectional imaging performed for cavernous sinus syndrome. <![CDATA[<b>Professor Hugh Hill Lawson. 13 January 1926 - 14 March 2019</b>]]> A middle-aged lady who presented with headaches and sudden onset of left cavernous sinus syndrome was found to have a left persistent primitive trigeminal artery (PPTA) on scans. The syndrome uniquely resolved spontaneously after a few days. Vascular variations in the region of the cavernous sinus should be actively sought in cross-sectional imaging performed for cavernous sinus syndrome.