South African Medical Journal <p>The <em>South African Medical Journal</em> is published by the South African Medical Association, which represents most medical professionals in South Africa.&nbsp;</p> <p>Other websites related to this journal: <a title="" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Back issues</span> of the journal from years 1886 - 2002 can be found on the journal's website under the 'Back Issues' link at the top of the home page.</p> <p>The SAMJ 2010 impact factor is 1.676</p> en-US <p>Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it <em>[forthcoming].</em></p><p>Material submitted for publication in the <em>SAMJ</em> is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The <em>SAMJ</em> does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.</p><p><strong>Previously published images</strong></p><p>If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.</p><p> </p> (Claudia Naidu) (Gertrude Fani) Mon, 20 Feb 2023 05:21:55 +0000 OJS 60 Practising in a post-truth world: Pandemic ethics can inform patient autonomy and clinical communication <p>The COVID-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge to modern bioethical frameworks in the clinical setting. Now, as the pandemic stabilises and we learn to ‘live with COVID’, the medical community has a duty to evaluate its response to the challenge, and reassess our ethical reasoning, considering how we practise in the future. This article considers a number of clinical and bioethical challenges encountered by the author team and colleagues during the most severe waves of the pandemic. We argue that the changed clinical context may require reframing our ethical thought in such a manner as to adequately accommodate all parties in the clinical interaction. We argue that clinicians have become relatively disempowered by the ‘infodemic’, and do not necessarily have adequate skills or training to assess the scientific literature being published at an unprecedented rate. Conversely, we acknowledge that patients and families are more empowered by the infodemic, and bring this empowerment to bear on the clinical consultation. Sometimes these interactions can be unpleasant and threatening, and involve inviting clinicians to practise against best evidence or even illegally. Generally, these requests are framed within ‘patient autonomy’ (which some patients or families perceive to be unlimited), and several factors may prevent clinicians from adequately navigating these requests. In this article, we conclude that embracing a framework of shared decision-making (SDM), which openly acknowledges clinical expertise and in which patient and family autonomy is carefully balanced against other bioethics principles, could serve us well going forward. One such principle is the recognition of clinician expertise as holding weight in the clinical encounter, when framed in terms of non-maleficence and beneficence. Such a framework incorporates much of our learning and experience from advising and treating patients during the pandemic.</p> L Brannigan, H R Etheredge, C Lundgren, J Fabian Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Acute obstructive hydrocephalus in posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome <p>Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is an uncommon, subacute neurological disorder that presents radiologically with a pattern of bilateral parieto-occipital areas of vasogenic oedema. Conditions commonly associated with PRES include autoimmune disorders, cytotoxic drugs, metabolic abnormalities and, most frequently, hypertensive emergencies. Clinically, headache, visual disturbances, seizures and an altered level of consciousness are often reported. The outcome is favourable if the underlying cause is addressed. Posterior fossa involvement resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus is a rare presentation and may be misdiagnosed as a mass lesion or infection, leading to delayed or unnecessary treatment. We describe the clinical presentation, findings on neuroimaging and conservative management of a man with PRES resulting in severe cerebellar oedema and acute obstructive hydrocephalus. This case illustrates that awareness of atypical neuroimaging in PRES is important for the management of these patients and to avoid morbidity and mortality.</p> J Hiesgen, T N Annor Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 A critical analysis of Discovery Health’s claims-based risk adjustment of mortality rates in South African private sector hospitals <p>In 2019, Discovery Health published a risk adjustment model to determine standardised mortality rates across South African private hospital systems, with the aim of contributing towards quality improvement in the private healthcare sector. However, the model suffers from limitations due to its design and its reliance on administrative data. The publication’s aim of facilitating transparency is unfortunately undermined by shortcomings in reporting. When designing a risk prediction model, patient-proximate variables with a sound theoretical or proven association with the outcome of interest should be used. The addition of key condition-specific clinical data points at the time of hospital admission will dramatically improve model performance. Performance could be further improved by using summary risk prediction scores such as the EUROSCORE II for coronary artery bypass graft surgery or the GRACE risk score for acute coronary syndrome. In general, model reporting should conform to published reporting standards, and attempts should be made to test model validity by using sensitivity analyses. In particular, the limitations of machine learning prediction models should be understood, and these models should be appropriately developed, evaluated and reported.</p> R N Rodseth, D Smith, C Maslo, A Laubscher, L Thabane Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Recovering from COVID lockdowns: Routine public sector PHC services in South Africa, 2019 - 2021 <p><strong>Background</strong>. In a previous article on the impact of COVID-19, the authors compared access to routine health services between 2019 and 2020. While differential by province, a number of services provided, as reflected in the District Health Information System (DHIS), were significantly affected by the pandemic. In this article we explore the extent to which the third and fourth waves affected routine services.<br><strong>Objectives</strong>. To assess the extent to which waves 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 pandemic affected routine health services in South Africa, and whether there was any recovery in 2021.<br><strong>Methods</strong>. Data routinely collected via the DHIS in 2019, 2020 and 2021 were analysed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and extent of recovery.<br><strong>Results</strong>. While there was recovery in some indicators, such as number of children immunised and HIV tests, in many other areas, including primary healthcare visits, the 2019 numbers have yet to be reached – suggesting a slow recovery and continuing impact of the pandemic.<br><strong>Conclusions</strong>. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect routine health services in 2021 in a number of areas. There are signs of recovery to 2019 levels in some of the health indicators. However, the impact indicators of maternal and neonatal mortality continued to worsen in 2021, and if interventions are not urgently implemented, the country is unlikely to meet the Sustainable Development Goals targets.&nbsp;</p> Y Pillay, H Museriri, P Barron, T Zondi Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Thank you from SAMA and the editors <p>No Abstract.</p> Bridget Farham Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 A doctor at a PHC clinic: A ‘must-have’ or ‘nice-to-have’? <p><strong>Background</strong>. Many patients have their healthcare needs met at primary healthcare (PHC) clinics in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), without having to travel to a hospital. Doctors form part of the teams at many PHC clinics throughout KZN, offering a decentralised medical service in a PHC clinic.<br><strong>Objectives</strong>. To assess the benefit of having a medical doctor managing patients with more complex clinical conditions at PHC clinic level in uMgungundlovu District, KZN. Two key questions were researched: (i) were the patients whom the clinic doctors managed of sufficient clinical complexity that they warranted a doctor managing them, rather than a PHC nurse clinician? and (ii) what was the spectrum of medical conditions that the clinic doctors managed?<br><strong>Methods</strong>. Doctors collected data at all medical consultations in PHC clinics in uMgungundlovu during February 2020. A single-page standardised data tool was used to collect data at every consultation.<br><strong>Results</strong>. Thirty-five doctors were working in 45 PHC clinics in February 2020. Twenty-six of the clinic doctors were National Health Insurance (NHI)-employed. The 35 doctors conducted 7 424 patient consultations in February. Staff in the PHC clinics conducted 143 421 consultations that month, mostly by PHC nurse clinicians. The doctors concluded that 6 947 (93.6%) of the 7 424 doctor consultations were of sufficient complexity as to warrant management by a doctor. The spectrum of medical conditions was as follows: (i) consultations for maternal and child health; n=761 (10.2%); (ii) consultations involving non-communicable diseases (NCDs), n=4 372 (58.9%) – the six most common NCDs were, in order: hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, mental illness and renal disease; (iii) consultations involving communicable diseases constituted 1 745 (23.5%) of cases; and (iv) consultations involving laboratory result interpretation 1 180 (15.9%).<br><strong>Conclusion</strong>. This research showed that at a PHC clinic the more complex patient consultations did indeed require the skills and knowledge of a medical doctor managing these patients. These data support the benefit of a doctor working at every PHC clinic: the doctor is a ‘musthave’ member of the PHC clinic team, offering a regular, reliable and predictable medical service.</p> T P Kerry, P G T Cudahy, H L Holst, A Ramsunder, N G McGrath Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Access to postpartum tubal ligation services in Cape Town, South Africa – an observational study <p><strong>Background.</strong> Many women receiving antenatal care in public health services in Cape Town choose bilateral tubal ligation as their preferred method of postpartum contraception during their antenatal course. If the sterilisation does not occur immediately, these women are discharged on an alternative form of contraception and, ideally, an interval date for bilateral tubal ligation is arranged.<br><strong>Objectives</strong>. To assess the access to tubal ligation services in the Metro West area of Cape Town, South Africa, in women who request permanent contraception following delivery, looking specifically at the number of women requesting bilateral tubal ligation who receive the procedure intrapartum, immediately postpartum or as an interval procedure. Other objectives included determining the reproductive outcomes if bilateral tubal ligation was not performed, investigating the alternative forms of contraception provided and to study the demographics of the population requesting bilateral tubal ligation as a form of contraception.<br><strong>Methods</strong>. The study was conducted as a cross-sectional observational study collecting data over a period of 3 months, from June 2019 to August 2019. Maternity case records for deliveries between June 2019 and August 2019 from four facilities were reviewed. The facilities, representing all levels of care, were Vanguard Midwife Obstetric Unit, Wesfleur Hospital (district hospital), New Somerset Hospital (regional hospital), Groote Schuur Hospital (tertiary hospital).<br><strong>Results</strong>. There were 260 women who requested tubal ligation as their choice of contraception. Only 50% of these received a tubal ligation. Of the 131 tubal ligations performed, 2 were interval sterilisations. Ninety-one percent (120/131) of the tubal ligations were done at the time of caesarean section. Of the 129 women who received alternative forms of contraception, 13 women had a recurrent pregnancy.<br><strong>Conclusion</strong>. The study suggests that only 50% of women requesting tubal ligation as form of contraception actually end up receiving the procedure. Alternative forms of contraception are widely used and relied upon, but not without risks of recurrent pregnancy. Interval tubal ligation was not easily accessed by those women who were referred for the procedure.</p> M Vorster, G Petro, M Patel Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Exploring a community’s understanding of HIV vaccine‑induced seropositivity in a South African research setting <p><strong>Background</strong>. The high HIV prevalence and incidence in South Africa makes it suitable for recruitment of participants for large-scale HIV preventive vaccine trials. However, fear of vaccine-induced seropositivity (VISP) may be a barrier for community acceptability of the trial, for volunteers to participate in HIV preventive vaccine trials and for uptake of an efficacious vaccine. Prior to 2015, when the first phase 1 safety HIV vaccine trial was undertaken at Setshaba Research Centre, Soshanguve, the local community stakeholders and healthcare workers were naive about HIV vaccine research and HIV preventive vaccines.<br><strong>Objective</strong>. To explore knowledge and perceptions regarding VISP among community stakeholders and healthcare workers in peri-urban Soshanguve, Tshwane.<br><strong>Methods</strong>. Using a quantitative-qualitative mixed-methods study design, surveys (n=50) and in-depth interviews (n=18) were conducted during July - August 2015. Participants included community stakeholders, community advisory board members and healthcare workers, who were &gt;18 years old and had attended community educational workshops during September 2014 - May 2015. Audio recordings of interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded using content thematic analysis. Data were further analysed by sex, age and educational level.<br><strong>Results</strong>. Of a maximum score of 2 on knowledge on VISP, the 50 survey participants (mean age 33.78 years; 45 females) obtained an average of 0.88 (44%). Of 17 in-depth interviewees (one interview could not be transcribed; mean age 30.9 years; 12 females), 8 (47%) displayed some knowledge about VISP, of whom only 5 defined VISP correctly. Women were more knowledgeable about VISP than men; 5 of 12 women (42%) came close to defining VISP correctly, while none of the 5 men did so. The main fear of trial participation expressed by most participants (n=6) was testing HIV-positive as a result of the vaccine. While some participants believed that the community’s perceptions of VISP would negatively affect HIV vaccine trial support and recruitment efforts, others noted that if trial participants understand the concept of VISP and are part of support groups, then they would have the information to combat negative attitudes within their community.<br><strong>Conclusion</strong>. Most participants had an inaccurate and incomplete understanding of VISP. Many feared testing HIV-positive at clinics; therefore, education on improving a basic understanding of how vaccines work and why VISP occurs is essential. In addition, assessing participant understanding of HIV testing, transmission and VISP is critical for recruitment of participants into HIV vaccine trials and may improve acceptability of an HIV preventive vaccine.</p> M Malahleha, A Dilraj, J Jean, N S Morar, J J Dietrich, M Ross, E Mbatsane, MC Keefer, K Ahmed Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The utility of mobile telephone-recorded videos as adjuncts to the diagnosis of seizures and paroxysmal events in children with suspected epileptic seizures <p><strong>Background</strong>. Epilepsy is often diagnosed through clinical description, but inter-observer interpretations can be diverse and misleading.<br><strong>Objective</strong>. To assess the utility of smartphone videos in the diagnosis of paediatric epilepsy.<br><strong>Methods</strong>. The literature was reviewed for evidence to support the use of smartphone videos, inclusive of advantages, ethical practice and potential disadvantages. An existing adult-based quality of video (QOV) scoring tool was adapted for use in children. A pilot study used convenience sampling of videos from 25 patients, which were reviewed to assess the viability of the adapted QOV tool against the subsequent diagnosis for the patients with videos. The referral mechanism of the videos was reviewed for the source and consent processes followed.<br><strong>Results</strong>. A total of 14 studies were identified. Methodologies varied; only three focused on videos of children, and QOV was formally scored in three. Studies found that smartphone videos of good quality assisted the differentiation of epilepsy from non-epileptic events, especially with accompanying history and with more experienced clinicians. The ethics and risks of circulation of smartphone videos were briefly considered in a minority of the reports. The pilot study found that the adapted QOV tool correlated with videos of moderate and high quality and subsequent diagnostic closure.<br><strong>Conclusions</strong>. Data relating to the role of smartphone video of events in children is lacking, especially from low- and middle-income settings. Guidelines for caregivers to acquire good-quality videos are not part of routine practice. The ethical implications of transfer of sensitive material have not been adequately addressed for this group. Prospective multicentre studies are needed to formally assess the viability of the adapted QOV tool for paediatric videos.</p> K Oyieke, J M Wilmshurst Copyright (c) 0 Mon, 20 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000