Sunday June 16, 2019

Surgical Infections More Common in Low-Income Countries, Study Finds

Overall, about one in 10 patients developed a surgical site infection. But in low-income countries, that rate rose to nearly one in four

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Infections at the site of surgery are the most common complications after operations.
Infections at the site of surgery are the most common complications after operations. Wikimedia Commons
  • Infections at the site of surgery are the most common complications after operations
  • Overall, about one in 10 patients developed a surgical site infection. But in low-income countries, that rate rose to nearly one in four
  • More than 1,500 health care providers took part in the research

Surgeries in low-income countries had higher rates of infections than those in higher-income countries, according to a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The authors said their report provided a starting point for making surgery safer.

Infections at the site of surgery are the most common complications after operations. These infections raise the cost of procedures that are already expensive. And they often make recovery longer and more painful.

Also Read: Tips That Will Help In Recovery From Surgery

The study looked at more than 12,000 gastrointestinal surgeries at 343 hospitals in 66 countries.

Marked difference

Overall, about one in 10 patients developed a surgical site infection. But in low-income countries, that rate rose to nearly one in four.

The study noted that hospitals in low-income countries gave patients more antibiotics than elsewhere, both before and after surgery. Wikimedia Commons
The study noted that hospitals in low-income countries gave patients more antibiotics than elsewhere, both before and after surgery. Wikimedia Commons

That’s after taking into account factors such as the patient’s health, the type of surgery and the condition being treated.

Other elements that could have been behind the difference included the kinds of facilities available in low-income countries, or how long it took to get patients to a hospital, said study co-author Ewen Harrison at the University of Edinburgh.

“If you’re in rural sub-Saharan Africa and you’re run over by a car, it may be a number of days before you can get to a hospital,” he said. “During that time, the infection can get into wounds.”

Drug resistance

Another component could have been the availability of effective antibiotics, Harrison said.

Antibiotics were nearly always given before surgery to prevent infection. But overall, about one in five surgical site infections were resistant to these antibiotics. The rate was higher in low-income countries — one in three — but the authors cautioned that they did not have enough data to draw firm conclusions.

Also Read: Study: Partial Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Provides Protection

Resistance generally develops faster the more antibiotics are used. The study noted that hospitals in low-income countries gave patients more antibiotics than elsewhere, both before and after surgery.

“That may be completely appropriate if the patients are needing the antibiotics,” Harrison said. “But that may also be an area where the unnecessary use of antibiotics could be reduced in order to reduce drug resistance.”

Antibiotics were nearly always given before surgery to prevent infection. Wikimedia Commons
Antibiotics were nearly always given before surgery to prevent infection. Wikimedia Commons

The authors’ next plan is to test different skin-cleaning techniques, antibiotic-impregnated stitches, and other simple, low-cost methods to reduce surgical site infections in low-income countries.

More than 1,500 health care providers took part in the research. Harrison said the study organizers “crowdsourced” their participants, using social media to recruit young surgeons-in-training around the world.

“They are really the driving force behind the change that we hope to happen,” he said.

Next Story

WhatsApp Troubling its Users in Several Countries

Some users complained they were having trouble sending messages and photos and status updates were not loading properly

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whatsapp business app
FILE - The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

WhatsApp users in several countries took to Twitter on Thursday to report trouble in using the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform.

While WhatsApp didn’t immediately responded to a query, some users thanked Twitter as it helped them check if other users were having similar problems.

However, most reports were coming from outside India. With over 200 million users, India forms the largest user base for the instant messaging platform.

“OMG.. Thank god there is Twitter.. Now I know Whatsapp is really down. What would happen if Twitter was down.. Where on earth I would check that #Twitter #whatsappdown,” Twitter user Jani Karttunen said.

“Am I the only one who thinks that #whatsappdown,” reported another user.

whatsapp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“WhatsApp spends more time down than it does working, and even worse they’ll soon be displaying ads (on the service) and it’ll keep failing. Everybody move to Telegram, it never goes down!” wote a user from Spain.

According to a report in RT.com, most reports of outage were coming from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. It remains unclear if it’s just WhatsApp or other apps from the Facebook family that are going through the outage.

Also Read- New Survey States the Urgent Need of Scaling up Digitalisation by the APAC Banks

Some users complained they were having trouble sending messages and photos and status updates were not loading properly.

“#whatsappdown — Not getting background notifications, some messages refusing to send, photos/statuses/stories not loading. @WhatsApp,” said a user. (IANS)