Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Surgery]]> vol. 60 num. 4 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Burn-injured patients - the preferably unheard</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Workplace-based assessment - a new era of surgical training competency assessment in South Africa</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Colorectal cancer in South Africa study on the effect of delayed diagnosis to treatment intervals on survival</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Data on colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis to treatment interval (DTI), an index of quality assurance in high-income countries (HICs) is lacking in South Africa. This study aimed to determine DTIs and their impact on CRC survival in a South African cohort METHODS: Participants (n = 289) from the Colorectal Cancer in South Africa (CRCSA) cohort were identified for inclusion. The DTI was defined as the duration between the diagnosis and initial definitive treatment and categorised into approximate quartiles (Q1-4). The DTI quartiles were 0-14 days, 15-28 days, 29-70 days, and &gt; 71 days. Overall survival (OS) was illustrated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared between DTI groups using Cox proportional hazards (PH) regression. RESULTS: There was no significant impact of the DTI (as quartiles) on overall CRC survival. The median length of time between DTI in this cohort was 29 days. Significant associations were identified between the DTI and self-reported ethnicity (p-value = 0.025), the site of the malignancy (colon vs rectum) (p-value < 0.0001), multidisciplinary team (MDT) review (p-value = 0.015) and the initial treatm.ent modality (p-value < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Prolonged DTIs did not significantly impact survival for those with CRC in the CRCSA cohort. Symptom to diagnosis time should be investigated as a determinant of survival. <![CDATA[<b>Thirteen-year audit of the management of anorectal fistulae in a tertiary colorectal unit</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Persistent anorectal fistulae are referred for assessment in the Durban Metropolitan area to the colorectal unit at the tertiary hospital. This audit aimed to report the assessment and management of these fistulae to benchmark the outcomes from these approaches at a South African tertiary colorectal unit METHODS: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data of patients with anorectal fistulae over a 13-year period at a tertiary referral centre. Data analysed included demographics, clinical presentation, comorbidity, management and outcome. Study outcomes measures were healing time and secondary outcome measures were complications of surgery RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-three patients (median age 44 and M:F ratio 2.8:1) with 206 fistulae were accrued. The initial assessment and diagnostic procedures included insertion of seton (126), fistulectomy (14), and fistulotomy (65). Definitive procedures included two-stage seton fistulotomy (43), ligation of the inter-sphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) procedure (39), modified Hanley procedure (17), and mucosal advancement flap (5). One patient had no surgery and nine did not undergo a definitive procedure. Additional procedures included anal sphincter reconstruction (2) and repair of rectovaginal fistula (2). Residual anal incontinence occurred in 13.5%. The failure rate was 6% and healing occurred in 94%. The median healing time was 8 months after the initial surgery and 4 months following the definitive procedure CONCLUSION: The fistula healing rate overall was 94% and was associated with an incontinence rate of 13.5% <![CDATA[<b>A comparative analysis of the upper gastrointestinal endoscopic reporting systems within the Durban Metropolitan complex</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The minimal standard terminology (MST) was developed by the World Endoscopy Organization (WEO) to standardise endoscopic reporting. This study compared current reporting within the Durban Metropolitan complex with the MST METHODS: This observational retrospective study included 130 upper gastrointestinal endoscopy reports from five different hospitals. The data were compared to the current reporting standard in the MST. The Noorbhai Maharaj (NM) score was used to assess and grade the quality of reporting RESULTS: Each of the five hospitals has different endoscopic reporting systems. One hundred and thirty patients were included in the study, of which 60 were female. The indications for upper endoscopy were stated in 77 reports (59%). The commonest indications were epigastric pain (23%), dyspepsia (10%) and heartburn (10%). Sedation information per hospital was mostly seen at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) (83%), followed by Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital (PMMH) (67%), Addington (ADH) (13%), King Edward VIII Hospital (KEH) (13%), and RK Khan Hospital (RKKH) (0%). Consultant endoscopies per hospital were RKKH (91%), IALCH (86%), PMMH (78%), ADH (73%) and KEH (40%). All 130 reports were graded as NM Grade C. Scores of less than 20 points were seen in 106 reports (82%) and reflected across the different hospitals as follows: RKKH (100%), ADH (97%), KEH (93%), PMMH (56%) and IALCH (55% CONCLUSION: There is no uniform structured endoscopic reporting system within the Durban Metropolitan Hospital complex. The current reporting methods do not meet the MST. The introduction of a structured standard endoscopic reporting system could improve the quality of reporting <![CDATA[<b>Spectrum and surgical outcomes of gastrointestinal stromal tumours</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Surgery and imatinib are the mainstays of the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). This study aimed to analyse the outcomes in the management of GIST utilising surgery and imatinib. METHODS: Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analysed in relation to imatinib therapy, location of tumour, resection margins, type and extent of surgery. Imatinib was administered in the neoadjuvant (maximum 12 months) and adjuvant setting (minimum 36 months) and until disease progression or drug intolerance. Disease response was assessed with the Choi criteria. Survival analysis included calculation of PFS, OS and Kaplan-Meier curves. RESULTS: Sixty-two patients were reviewed and 56 had surgical resection. The median age (range) was 58.5 (8-95) years. The median PFS and OS (IQR) was 24.0 (0-52.0) and 41.0 (15.0-74.0) months, respectively. Thirty-nine (70%) patients were treated with imatinib, with 21 of these in a neoadjuvant setting. In the patients undergoing surgery, surgical margins were R0, R1 and R2 in 41 (75%), eight (15%) and six (11%) respectively. There was an insignificant difference in the overall survival in these three groups. For those having liver metastasectomy and multivisceral resection, the PFS and OS were 32.5 (17.5-60.3) and 28.5 (5.75-49.8) (p = 0.008), and 96.0 (58.5-116) and 80 (50.5-92.3) months (p = 0.033), respectively. CONCLUSION: Whilst the numbers were small, certain trends were observed. Surgery in combination with imatinib offers survival benefit in patients undergoing R0, R1, R2, liver metastases and multivisceral resections. <![CDATA[<b>Aortoenteric fistulas - our experiences with surgeons' nightmare</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Aortoenteric fistula (AEF) is a rare medical emergency, but one of the most difficult and threatening complications of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. METHODS: A retrospective observational study was performed on patients hospitalised with GI bleeding and a definitive AEF diagnosis. We collected operative reports and medical records of patients operated on with an AEF diagnosis. The literature data and our data were analysed and discussed. RESULTS: We admitted eight patients who were definitively diagnosed with AEF after reviewing our hospital records. All patients were male except one. Their ages ranged from 28 to 82, with a mean of 64. All but two patients had secondary AEF (SAEF). Four SAEF cases had open aortic surgery and three had a history of endovascular procedure. The main complaints of the patients on admission were poor general condition, abdominal pain, and GI bleeding. Melena was found in all patients. Hematemesis and hematochezia were other significant GI bleeding findings. Infected grafts were removed in all but one patient; extra-anatomical bypass surgery and bowel repairs were performed. One patient underwent endovascular repair. In all patients, the 30-day in-hospital mortality rate was 50%. CONCLUSION: In patients presenting with GI bleeding, an aortoenteric fistula should be considered. The outcome depends on early diagnosis, the patient's medical status, the severity of infection, and the anatomic location of the affected aorta. A multidisciplinary approach, appropriate treatment planning and close follow-up after treatment lead to positive outcomes. <![CDATA[<b>Technology alone does not achieve error reduction - a study of handwritten, tick-sheet, ink stamp and electronic medical prescriptions</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Technology in the form of electronic record systems and prescriptions have been touted as a potential solution to human error. In South Africa, a middle-income country where health facilities have large variations in technological capacity, prescription errors can be complex and varied. We evaluated different prescribing methods to find if the increased use of technology in prescriptions will assist in reducing error rates METHODS: A retrospective, non-randomised study compared prescriptions, error rates and types in four hospitals with different prescribing methods: these were handwritten, ink stamp, tick-sheet and electronic prescriptions. A modern human error theory data collection tool was designed which included patient complexity. Cataract surgery was chosen as the single common procedure RESULTS: One thousand six hundred and sixty-one individual scripts had 1 307 prescription errors. Increasing patient complexity was not an indicator of error rate. Handwritten and tick-sheet prescriptions had the fewest errors (49% and 51%, respectively). Electronic (96%) and ink stamp scripts (101%) had almost twice as many errors as handwritten scripts (p < 0.001) mainly due to systemic inbuilt errors CONCLUSION: The application of increasing degrees of technological complexity does not automatically reduce error rate. This is especially apparent when technology is not integrated into human factors engineering and persistent critical assessment <![CDATA[<b>Oncoplastic surgery for breast carcinoma in South Africa - an audit of outcomes from a single breast unit</b>]]> INTRODUCTION: Oncoplastic breast surgery permits tumours traditionally requiring total mastectomy to be excised with acceptable oncological and aesthetic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes following oncoplastic breast surgery in the breast unit at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban. METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of patient records. Patients who underwent oncoplastic breast surgery with curative intent from 2011 and 2012 were included in this study. Male patients, those with contraindications to breast conservation, and those with metastatic disease were excluded. Demographic and tumour-related data were collected and margin status, surgical site sepsis, recurrence and overall survival (OS) were recorded over a 5-year period starting from the date of presentation. RESULTS: Forty-five patients with 45 tumours were evaluated. The most prevalent tumour size at presentation was T2 (55.6%), and the most commonly performed procedure was a therapeutic mammoplasty. Twelve patients (27%) developed surgical site infection (SSI), eight of which were classified as deep SSI with wound breakdown. The resection margin was clear in 95.6%. Recurrence was noted in 8.9% of patients, with an OS of 91.1%. CONCLUSION: Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) using oncoplastic techniques results in favourable oncological outcomes in patients treated in a resource-constrained setting. <![CDATA[<b>Factors influencing the outcomes of patients with severe traumatic brain injury following road traffic crashes</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in South Africa. Road traffic crashes (RTCs) are among the commonest aetiology of TBI in South Africa. This study aimed to determine the factors influencing the outcomes in patients with severe TBI following RTCs. METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted of patients who were admitted to the neurosurgery department at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital between January 2013 and December 2017 with TBI following RTCs and with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) < 9. Demographic, clinical, and radiological information was obtained. The outcome at discharge was categorised into favourable and unfavourable, using the Glasgow outcome score. Statistical analysis was performed to determine factors contributing to the outcome. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 100 patients. The mean age was 29.5 ± 14.1 years old (range 3-81 years). The majority of patients (85%) were males. Pedestrian vehicle accidents accounted for 46%, compared to motor vehicle collisions (54%). The mean hospital stay duration was 14.2 ± 8.8 days (range 1-43 days). The median post-resuscitation GCS was 6 (range 3-8), (p = 0.52). Fifty-two patients had an unfavourable outcome compared to 48 who had a favourable outcome. Eleven patients presented with pupillary abnormalities (p = 0.88), which included unilateral dilated non-reactive (DNR) pupil in seven patients, whilst four patients had bilateral. Five patients developed refractory intracranial hypertension (RIC-HTN), all these patients had unfavourable outcomes, (p = 0.03). Thirty-eight patients developed systemic hypotension (SBP < 90 mmHg), 32 out of these patients had unfavourable outcomes (p < 0.001). In female patients, 80% had unfavourable outcomes compared to 47% of male patients (p = 0.02). Extracranial injuries were diagnosed in 50 patients, and 24 patients had unfavourable outcomes (p = 0.42) CONCLUSION: The outcomes in patients with severe TBI following road traffic crashes are influenced by hypotension (SBP < 90 mmHg), RIC-HTN and female gender, which have a negative influence on outcomes <![CDATA[<b>The neglected epidemic of trauma from interpersonal violence against the elderly in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Geriatric injuries comprise a significant burden in the developed world but much less are known in the developing world setting. This study aims to review our experience of geriatric injuries with a focus on interpersonal violence (IPV) managed at a major trauma centre in South Africa. METHODS: This was a retrospective study on all patients who were aged > 65 years admitted to our trauma centre from January 2013 to December 2020, based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. RESULTS: Over the 8-year study period, 323 cases were included (62% male, mean age 72 years). Mechanism of injury: 80% blunt, 16% penetrating and 4% others. The median injury severity score (ISS) was 9. The median Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) for all 323 cases was 3. Diabetes (n = 53) was the most prevalent comorbidity which was followed by pulmonary disease (n = 23), cerebral vascular accidents (n = 16) and myocardial infarction (n = 15). Fifteen patients were on antiretroviral therapy (5%). Twenty-four per cent required surgical intervention. Eight per cent of cases experienced one or more complications. Twenty-five per cent (80/323) were related to IPV, 61% (49/80) of these were penetrating injuries and the remaining 31 cases were blunt injuries. Of the 49 cases of penetrating injuries, 33 were gunshot wounds (GSWs) and 16 were stab wounds (SWs) (1 GSW and 2 SWs were self-inflicted and were not included in IPV). Those cases that resulted from IPV were significantly more likely to require operative intervention, experience complications and longer lengths of hospital stay. Geriatric patients had poorer outcomes than non-geriatric patients and rural geriatric patients had worse outcomes than urban geriatric patients. CONCLUSION: Although the burden of geriatric trauma in South Africa appears to be relatively low, it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Trauma from interpersonal violence is especially common and is associated with significantly worse outcomes than that of non-interpersonal violence-related trauma. Elderly rural trauma victims have worse outcomes than their urban counterparts. <![CDATA[<b>Mediastinoscopy as a diagnostic tool in a South African tertiary hospital</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Mediastinoscopy is an effective and safe diagnostic tool for anterior mediastinal lesions. The study was done to assess the usefulness of mediastinoscopy as a diagnostic modality for mediastinal lesions. METHODS: A retrospective study of patients who had mediastinoscopy over 12 years at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. Preoperative data, intraoperative and postoperative data were collected. RESULTS: The records of 115 patients were reviewed. Male to female ratio was 1.4:1 with a mean age of 48.5 (± 16.8) years. Preoperative computerised tomography (CT) scan was done in 98.3%. The most common indications for mediastinoscopy were mediastinal lymphadenopathy (87.8%) and anterior mediastinal mass (12.2%). Prior endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) biopsy was done in 11.3%. All the patients had conventional cervical mediastinoscopy. Lung cancer staging accounted for 16.5% of the procedures. A biopsy was successfully done in 103 patients (89.6%). The most common lymph node station biopsied was 2R (55.7% of 76 patients), though the information on stations biopsied could not be ascertained in 25.2% of patients. The complication rate was 1.7 % (suprasternal haematoma and brachiocephalic artery injury). Histopathologic diagnoses were obtained in 89.5% (103/115 patients). Benign diagnoses accounted for 72.8% (75), while malignant diagnoses were 27.2% (28). Intensive care unit (ICU) stay and mechanical ventilation were required in 5% and 2.5% of patients, respectively. The median postoperative hospital stay was 2 days. There were no postoperative deaths. The median follow-up period was 14 days. CONCLUSION: Mediastinoscopy's diagnostic role is assured, still required and is safe with minimal morbidity and no mortality. <![CDATA[<b>Defining the role of bilateral groin dissection for squamous cell carcinoma of the penis in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The current recommendation for the management of penile cancer is that all patients with palpable groin nodes should undergo a routine lymph node dissection (LND). This study reviews our yield from LND in patients with palpable lymph nodes (LNs) and penile cancer. METHODS: All patients with a penile cancer, who presented to the urology departments of St Aidan's and Grey's hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN) were reviewed. Clinical data records and histological reports of all the patients who underwent a penectomy and inguinal lymph node dissection (ILND) were analysed. RESULTS: A total of 93 cases of penile cancer were managed between 2014 and 2019. Of this total overall cohort, 38 patients had palpable groin nodes and underwent a bilateral ILND. The majority (84%) of these patients were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive and none were circumcised. Tumour grade was mostly grade II (84%), and tumour size was an average of 6.2 cm with a range from 1.5 to 12 cm. The overall incidence of metastatic inguinal lymph nodes (ILNs) in the group undergoing dissection was 23.7%. In the remainder there was only reactive lymphadenopathy. CONCLUSION: ILND performed in patients with penile cancer and bilateral palpable ILN in our setting has a low yield. This might be a reflection on our high rate of HIV. Local validation of international cancer guidelines is essential prior to adopting them in the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>A surgeon's dress code - the patients' perspective</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The dress code for surgeons has evolved over time from formal suit-and-tie to crisp white coat, and currently to various forms of smart-casual attire; however, there is no stipulated or rigid uniform guideline. It is important to explore and discuss the various forms of attire in relation to patients' ideals and perceptions of a surgeon. METHODS: An observational study in the form of a paper-based questionnaire was carried out at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH), Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) and Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC). Seven questions (Q1-Q7) were posed with various dress categories to select from in each question, namely: formal, smart, smart-casual and scrubs. Descriptive analysis of the survey responses, and the determination of the association between survey responses and a) hospital, b) gender, c) age group was performed. Fisher's exact test was used where the requirements for the chi-square test could not be met. Attire groups with n < 15 were not analysed. The strength of the associations was measured by Cramer's V and the phi coefficient respectively. Data analysis was carried out using SAS v9.4 for Windows. A 5% significance level was used. RESULTS: A total of 387 questionnaires were filled out with a total of 376 fully completed and eligible samples in consenting participants of 18 years and older. In all seven questions, scrubs were the preferred attire. Overall, for Q1-Q5 and Q7, after scrubs, smart was the next most popular attire. For Q6, after scrubs, smart, smart-casual and formal were all popular, indicating some leeway on weekends and public holidays. There was a significant association between each of the responses to the question and hospital (p < 0.0001). At CHBAH, patients preferred scrubs more and smart attire less, compared to CMJAH and WDGMC. At CMJAH, preference for formal attire was greater when compared to the other two hospitals. CONCLUSION: Overall, patients preferred their surgeons to be dressed in scrubs as this attire easily identified surgeons and instilled confidence in the wearer. <![CDATA[<b>Experience and perceptions of laparoscopic appendectomy amongst surgical trainees in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study is a survey amongst surgical trainees in South Africa (SA) designed to document their exposure to laparoscopic appendicectomy (LA) and their perceptions about the procedure and to identify possible barriers to its uptake. METHODS: A structured survey was developed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions designed to determine the clinical exposure of surgical trainees to laparoscopic appendectomy and then probe possible factors limiting their access to the procedure. A questionnaire was created online, and a link was distributed to various surgical trainees in Southern Africa. A list of trainees was obtained from the Surgreg Training Association of South Africa (STA). RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-two (47%) trainees completed the survey out of an estimated 280 general surgery registrars. Ninety-five (72%) were male and 37 (28%) were female respondents. Their median age was 31 years (25-36). There were 14 (11%) year-1 and 21 (16%) year-2, 32 (24%) year-3, 37 (28%) year-4 and 28 (21%) year-5 trainees. The breakdown according to region was area 1 (inland and central) 47 (36%), area 2 (western seaboard) 12 (9%) and area 3 (eastern seaboard) 73 (55%). Forty-three (33%) respondents experienced face-to-face teaching on how to perform a LA. Forty-two (32%) had exposure to laparoscopic simulators. Respondents reported a general lack of experience in performing this procedure. Sixty-nine (52%) had performed this procedure without a senior (i.e., solo) and 13 (10%) had only assisted a senior to perform this procedure. Seventy-four (56%) respondents felt confident performing a LA independently. One hundred and thirteen (86%) respondents expected to be taught this procedure. One hundred and five respondents (80%) were keen to learn to perform LA. One hundred and five respondents (80%) stated that they would be interested in attending an online course on LA. The respondents felt that the following were the significant barriers to performing LA: resource constraints 49 (37%) and time constraints 46 (35%). Thirty per cent of respondents (22) in area 3 reported a reluctance by seniors to teach the procedure. CONCLUSION: There appears to be a lack of exposure to and confidence with LA amongst South African surgical trainees. This implies a deficiency in formal surgical training programmes. Addressing this deficiency will require innovative solutions. <![CDATA[<b>A case of bowel perforation secondary to burn conversion</b>]]> Burn conversion is a process by which superficial partial-thickness burns spontaneously progress into deep partial-thickness or full-thickness wounds. Factors that influence this process centre around poor perfusion which can be related to either too much or too little fluid resuscitation, infection, free radical damage, and metabolic or nutritional derangements. Therein lies the role of preventative strategies, i.e., adequate fluid resuscitation, prompt identification and management of sepsis, correction of electrolyte derangements and early institution of feeds. Prevention of burn conversion could prevent the need for surgical intervention and improve the morbidity and mortality of burns patients. <![CDATA[<b>Delayed management of paediatric burn sepsis resulting in limb loss</b>]]> Primary health care centres, community health centres and district hospitals often have medical staff that have minimal exposure to paediatric patients. This may contribute to the challenge of recognising a critically ill paediatric patient. It is already a difficult task as many clinicians are not comfortable or well equipped to manage burn patients, even in regional or tertiary facilities. Identification of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) versus sepsis is difficult in burns owing to the clinical presentation. Identifying the clinical signs determines the need for immediate treatment (i.e., fluid resuscitation) no matter the cause. Investigations will follow to determine the cause, further management and response to treatment. These two cases illustrate the deficit in skill and knowledge in the identification of the sick burn-injured child. Although telemedicine has made large advances in allowing access to expert advice in remote locations, its usefulness is dependent on the clinical signs being identified and adequately portrayed to the expert. The way forward is better undergraduate and postgraduate training in this area with an emphasis on clinical acumen. <![CDATA[<b>Orbital metastases of breast carcinoma</b>]]> Orbital metastases, although rare, originate from systemic breast cancer in up to 35% of patients. Metastases more commonly arise from invasive lobular carcinomas than from invasive ductal carcinomas. Due to the diagnostic challenge of determining the primary site for the metastases, immunohistochemistry is essential. Clinical and radiological information are usually insufficient. This disease typically progresses quickly and has a poor prognosis. We report the case of a 55-year-old female who presented in 2017 with a left breast carcinoma and defaulted treatment during many different stages, then returned three years later with a right orbital mass which was confirmed to be a breast cancer metastasis on biopsy. <![CDATA[<b>Spontaneous pneumomediastinum in two young women</b>]]> Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is a rare benign condition which must be differentiated from secondary pneumomediastinum due to chest trauma, abscess formation or Boerhaave's syndrome. We present two young women with SPM due to chronic self-induced vomiting and starvation associated with psychosis and pregnancy-associated vomiting respectively. This report highlights the exclusionary diagnostic pathway, the principles of conservative management and the need for a tailored multidisciplinary approach to enhance patient recovery and prevent future recurrence. <![CDATA[<b>Colonic perforation in a right atraumatic diaphragmatic hernia</b>]]> A 38-year female with no prior medical or surgical history presented with pleuritic pain and respiratory distress. Imaging revealed a right diaphragmatic hernia with colonic content. At right anterolateral thoracotomy, a diaphragmatic hernia containing a perforated right hemi-colon was found. The colon was resected in the chest and continuity restored via a laparotomy. This case illustrates the risk of obstruction, ischaemia and perforation and highlights the importance of early identification and prompt surgical management to reduce morbidity and mortality. <![CDATA[<b>Gall bladder torsion masquerading as appendicitis in a teenage boy</b>]]> This report describes acute gallbladder torsion in a previously healthy 16-year-old male. The patient presented with acute right-sided abdominal pain in keeping with acute appendicitis and was taken for a diagnostic laparoscopy where an intraoperative diagnosis of gallbladder torsion was made. This case highlights a very rare surgical presentation in an uncommon patient profile. It highlights the benefit of diagnostic laparoscopy in a resource-constrained facility. <![CDATA[<b>Transdiaphragmatic pericardial washout post penetrating cardiac injury found incidentally at diagnostic laparoscopy</b>]]> A 22-year-old male presented following a precordial stab. He was haemodynamically and metabolically normal. Initial investigations did not reveal pericardial fluid or haemothorax. At diagnostic laparoscopy, we encountered haemoperi-toneum and a diaphragmatic injury through which the heart was visible. After pericardial washout, laparoscopic repair was effected. This case highlights a potential problem with extended focused assessment with sonography in trauma (eFAST) in that it will only be positive if there is an accumulation of pericardial fluid. It also confirms the utility of diagnostic laparoscopy for penetrating left thoracoabdominal injuries and shows that principles of open surgery can be safely applied laparoscopically in select patients. <![CDATA[<b>Dr Brian Duncan Warman</b>]]> A 22-year-old male presented following a precordial stab. He was haemodynamically and metabolically normal. Initial investigations did not reveal pericardial fluid or haemothorax. At diagnostic laparoscopy, we encountered haemoperi-toneum and a diaphragmatic injury through which the heart was visible. After pericardial washout, laparoscopic repair was effected. This case highlights a potential problem with extended focused assessment with sonography in trauma (eFAST) in that it will only be positive if there is an accumulation of pericardial fluid. It also confirms the utility of diagnostic laparoscopy for penetrating left thoracoabdominal injuries and shows that principles of open surgery can be safely applied laparoscopically in select patients.