Talking About Ethical Issues in Surgery-Results of a Novel Online Pilot Curriculum
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Surgical ethics has been suggested as a distinct field of study apart from clinical ethics due to a unique practice type and treatment dynamic. At our institution, most if not all teaching of clinical ethics is undertaken by nonsurgical faculty. We introduced a novel online Surgical Ethics Program (SEO) in a pilot form (SEO-P) for initial presentation to learners in our environment. The overall goal of our educational intervention was to enhance knowledge, understanding and appreciation for surgical ethics in medical students and to evaluate our curriculum. SETTING/METHODS:SEO-P was undertaken over a 4-week period in 2018 with 9 fourth-year medical students enrolled in a surgery elective at our institution. These learners all had career plans in general surgery or a surgical subspecialty. There was 3 weeks of content: (1) background in clinical ethics as it applies to surgical practice, (2) surgical consents and autonomy, and (3) the impaired physician. All pilot learners were evaluated with: (1) postprogram final exam assessment (compared to preprogram knowledge base test), (2) self-reflection essay of ethical practice in surgery, (3) evaluation of 2 case studies, and (4) an assessment of participation in online discussion forums. Postprogram survey of the learners was also undertaken in an anonymous fashion. RESULTS:Four of 9 or 44.4% of students scored greater than or equal to 80% on the postprogram knowledge assessment test. A preprogram knowledge-based examination of all learners yielded a mean and standard deviation of 57.1 ± 6.0%. Postprogram knowledge-based test with mean and standard deviation was 78.8 ± 15%. This was a statistically significant increase in scores (p = 0.004; t test). All 9 passed the course with a mean final summative course grade of 95.2 ± 3.2%. From the postprogram evaluation survey, all 7 students who responded felt that the SEO-P would help them become an "ethical" practitioner. Surprisingly, only half of the learners (57.1%) thought "technology used to support the SEO Course (i.e., the chosen curriculum management system) was effective in conducting the course." CONCLUSIONS:We set forth to use "web-based" technology to enhance exposure of medical students in our institution to surgical ethics. Hence, we designed our pilot curriculum to be a completely online offering. We feel that the utilization of the surgical voice, that is a surgical ethics curriculum developed by surgeons to explore surgically related clinical ethical issues, is an essential theme and goal of our program. Future challenges will be to present this voice in an effective manner with either an improved curriculum delivery system or by potentially utilizing a blended approach.
Phase 1 Study of Neoadjuvant Short-Course Radiation Therapy Concurrent With Infusional 5-Fluorouracil for the Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To assess the safety and feasibility of neoadjuvant short-course radiation therapy (RT) concurrent with continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) for the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer. METHODS AND MATERIALS/METHODS:/d. RESULTS:/d with no dose-limiting toxicity. Thirteen patients received the neoadjuvant mFOLFOX, and only 1 patient went straight to surgery after chemoradiation. Clinical response was 21% complete, 63% partial, 14% stable disease, and no patients had progression. Three patients with cCR had negative biopsies and did not have TME. Pathologic response was 64% partial response and 14% stable disease. No patients had pathologic progression. The most common grade 3 and 4 toxicities were cytopenias. The most common grade 1 and 2 toxicities were cytopenia, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that concurrent chemotherapy with neoadjuvant short-course RT is feasible and can be safely given with concurrent continuous infusion 5-FU. This works adds to the growing evidence that short-course RT is not only equivalent to long-course RT, but also may provide additional benefits, such as allowing for a transition to full dose systemic therapy in the neoadjuvant setting, selective organ preservation in complete responders, and providing a more convenient and cost-effective way of delivering pelvic RT.
Predictors of Short-Term Readmission After Pancreaticoduodenectomy
BACKGROUND:Readmissions are a common complication after pancreaticoduodenectomy and are increasingly being used as a performance metric affecting quality assessment, public reporting, and reimbursement. This study aims to identify general and pancreatectomy-specific factors contributing to 30-day readmission after pancreaticoduodenectomy, and determine the additive value of incorporating pancreatectomy-specific factors into a large national dataset. METHODS:Prospective American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (ACS-NSQIP) data were retrospectively analyzed for patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) between 2011 and 2015. Additionally, a subset of patients with pancreatectomy-targeted data between 2014 and 2015 were analyzed. RESULTS:Outcomes of 18,440 pancreaticoduodenectomies were analyzed, and found to have an 18.7% overall readmission rate. Multivariable modeling with pancreatectomy-specific variables increased the predictive value of the model (area under receiver operator characteristic 0.66 to 0.73). Statistically significant independent contributors to readmission included renal insufficiency, sepsis, septic shock, organ space infection, dehiscence, venous thromboembolism, pancreatic fistula, delayed gastric emptying, need for percutaneous drainage, and reoperation. CONCLUSIONS:Large registry analyses of pancreatectomy outcomes are markedly improved by the incorporation of granular procedure-specific data. These data emphasize the need for prevention and careful management of perioperative infectious complications, fluid management, thromboprophylaxis, and pancreatic fistulae.
The CivaSheet: The new frontier of intraoperative radiation therapy or a pricier alternative to LDR brachytherapy?
Improving resident well-being and clinical learning environment through academic initiatives
BACKGROUND:Organizational effects on job satisfaction, burnout, work-life balance, and perceived support have not been studied in the context of the clinical learning environment. We evaluated the relationship between academic resources and resident well-being, the clinical learning environment, and in-service examination performance of surgical residents. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Residents of general surgery and surgical specialty programs were recruited from March 2016 through June 2016 across the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions. Program directors were asked to allow distribution of a paper survey or to forward an electronic survey link onto residents. Five dichotomous questions were asked regarding access to academic resources. Validated measures were obtained assessing resident well-being and perceived clinical learning environment. Data were analyzed through t-tests and chi-squared test of independence. RESULTS:We received 276 respondents across 50 programs. Residents perceiving adequate support to succeed had less burnout (P = 0.008), better resilience (P = 0.009), better job satisfaction (P < 0.001), less work/life strain (P = 0.001), better workplace climate (P < 0.001), better organizational support (P < 0.001), and were more likely to have high performance on the in-service examination (P = 0.001). Specific resources including educational stipends, review questions, in-service board prep, and support for poor performers correlated with improved well-being and perceived clinical learning environment. CONCLUSIONS:Provision of academic resources has implications beyond in-service examination performance, correlating with improved resident well-being and perceptions of the clinical learning environment.
Changing paradigm in pancreatic cancer: from adjuvant to neoadjuvant chemoradiation
BACKGROUND:Historically, management of pancreatic cancer has been determined based on whether the tumor was amenable to resection and all patients deemed resectable received curative intent surgery followed by adjuvant therapy with chemotherapy (CT) ± RT. However, patients who undergo resection with microscopic (R1) positive margins have inferior rates of survival. The purpose of this study is to identify patients who have undergone pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer, determine the surgical margins, types of adjuvant therapies given and patterns of failure. Our hypothesis was that in patients who have surgery without pre-operative therapy, there is a high rate of R1 resections and subsequent local recurrence, despite adjuvant therapy. METHODS:CT alone, stratified by surgical margin status. RESULTS:13 months, P=0.06), but there was no significant difference in time to death compared to patients with CT alone (P=0.68). CONCLUSIONS:After curative resection, the addition of RT to CT improves PFS in both R0 and R1 settings. However, patients with R1 have significantly worse PFS and OS compared to patients with R0 and even aggressive adjuvant therapy does not make up for the difference. The paradigm has shifted and now for patients with resectable pancreatic cancers we recommend neoadjuvant CT + RT to improve RT targeting and treatment response assessment and most importantly, improve chances of obtaining R0.
Desmoplastic Melanoma: Clinical Behavior and Management Implications
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Desmoplastic melanoma is a rare variant of melanoma that has been reported to demonstrate unique clinical behavior when compared with other histological subtypes. In this study, we present the clinical course of patients with this unusual diagnosis. We hypothesized that desmoplastic melanoma would differ from nondesmoplastic melanoma with regard to its presentation, rate of regional metastasis, and recurrence pattern. METHODS:After institutional review board approval, a retrospective chart review was performed on all patients with a diagnosis of desmoplastic melanoma since 1998. The following data were collected: patient demographics, histopathological details of the lesion, initial treatment, and clinical course. In addition, the available slides were reviewed by a dermatopathologist. RESULTS:Twenty-eight patient charts were reviewed. Mean age at diagnosis was 65 years. Fifty-seven percent of patients were men, and 67% of the lesions originated from the head and neck. Of the 28 patients, 11 had pathology slides that were adequate for evaluation. Pure desmoplastic melanoma, defined by more than 90% of the specimen demonstrating desmoplastic features, was found in only 3 patients. Taking into account all cases, the mean Breslow thickness was 5.09 mm and ulceration was present in 12.5% of lesions. Regional disease was discovered in 18% of patients. The mean follow-up time was 43 months, and the overall recurrence rate was 32%. 66.7% of first recurrences were local. Two of 3 patients with pure desmoplastic melanoma developed regional metastasis. CONCLUSIONS:Our data largely support previous studies that suggest desmoplastic melanoma behaves differently compared with other histological subtypes. However, the incidence of regional disease among patients with pure desmoplastic melanoma appears to be higher in our study than in previous reports. Although this rare variant typically presents with advanced local disease, the rate of regional metastasis is less than what would be expected for similar thickness, nondesmoplastic cutaneous melanoma. The recurrence pattern is different compared with nondesmoplastic melanoma, and the most common site of recurrence is local. Discrepancy in the literature regarding the clinical behavior of this disease may be related to inconsistent pathological criteria for diagnosis. Further research will help clarify the optimal management of desmoplastic melanoma.
Maintenance of certification: what everyone needs to know [Editorial]
Using a Root Cause Analysis Curriculum for Practice-Based Learning and Improvement in General Surgery Residency
OBJECTIVE:To describe and evaluate a root cause analysis (RCA)-based educational curriculum for quality improvement (QI) practice-based learning and implementation in general surgery residency. DESIGN/METHODS:A QI curriculum was designed using RCA and spaced-learning approaches to education. The program included a didactic session about the RCA methodology. Resident teams comprising multiple postgraduate years then selected a personal complication, completed an RCA, and presented the findings to the Department of Surgery. Mixed methods consisting of quantitative assessment of performance and qualitative feedback about the program were used to assess the value, strengths, and limitations of the program. SETTING/METHODS:Urban tertiary academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS/METHODS:General surgery residents, faculty, and medical students. RESULTS:An RCA was completed by 4 resident teams for the following 4 adverse outcomes: postoperative neck hematoma, suboptimal massive transfusion for trauma, venous thromboembolism, and decubitus ulcer complications. Quantitative peer assessment of their performance revealed proficiency in selecting an appropriate case, defining the central problem, identifying root causes, and proposing solutions. During the qualitative feedback assessment, residents noted value of the course, with the greatest limitation being time constraints and equal participation. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:An RCA-based curriculum can provide general surgery residents with QI exposure and training that they value. Barriers to successful implementation include time restrictions and equal participation from all involved members.
Cadaver laboratory as a useful tool for resident training