Publications by authors named "Adam Boutall"

7 Publications

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Patient understanding of and participation in infection-related care across surgical pathways: a scoping review.

Int J Infect Dis 2021 Jul 19;110:123-134. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:

Objective: To explore the existing evidence on patient understanding of and/or participation in infection-related care in surgical specialties.

Method: A scoping review of the literature was conducted. PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and grey literature sources were searched using predefined search criteria for policies, guidelines, and studies in the English language. Data synthesis was done through content and thematic analysis to identify key themes in the included studies.

Results: The initial search identified 604 studies, of which 41 (36 from high-income and five from low- and middle-income countries) were included in the final review. Most of the included studies focused on measures to engage patients in infection prevention and control (IPC) activities, with few examples of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) engagement strategies. While patient engagement interventions in infection-related care varied depending on study goals, surgical wound management was the most common intervention. AMS engagement was primarily limited to needs assessment, without follow-up to address such needs.

Conclusion: Existing evidence highlights a gap in patient participation in infection-related care in the surgical pathway. Standardization of patient engagement strategies is challenging, particularly in the context of surgery, where several factors influence how the patient can engage and retain information. Infection-related patient engagement and participation strategies in surgery need to be inclusive and contextually fit.
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July 2021

Characteristics of Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Review.

JAMA Surg 2021 Sep;156(9):865-874

Department of Surgery, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.

Importance: The incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer (younger than 50 years) is rising globally, the reasons for which are unclear. It appears to represent a unique disease process with different clinical, pathological, and molecular characteristics compared with late-onset colorectal cancer. Data on oncological outcomes are limited, and sensitivity to conventional neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy regimens appear to be unknown. The purpose of this review is to summarize the available literature on early-onset colorectal cancer.

Observations: Within the next decade, it is estimated that 1 in 10 colon cancers and 1 in 4 rectal cancers will be diagnosed in adults younger than 50 years. Potential risk factors include a Westernized diet, obesity, antibiotic usage, and alterations in the gut microbiome. Although genetic predisposition plays a role, most cases are sporadic. The full spectrum of germline and somatic sequence variations implicated remains unknown. Younger patients typically present with descending colonic or rectal cancer, advanced disease stage, and unfavorable histopathological features. Despite being more likely to receive neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy, patients with early-onset disease demonstrate comparable oncological outcomes with their older counterparts.

Conclusions And Relevance: The clinicopathological features, underlying molecular profiles, and drivers of early-onset colorectal cancer differ from those of late-onset disease. Standardized, age-specific preventive, screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies are required to optimize outcomes.
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September 2021

Visual mapping of team dynamics and communication patterns on surgical ward rounds: an ethnographic study.

BMJ Qual Saf 2021 Feb 9. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Background: The effect of team dynamics on infection management and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) behaviours is not well understood. Using innovative visual mapping, alongside traditional qualitative methods, we studied how surgical team dynamics and communication patterns influence infection-related decision making.

Materials/methods: Between May and November 2019, data were gathered through direct observations of ward rounds and face-to-face interviews with ward round participants in three high infection risk surgical specialties at a tertiary hospital in South Africa. Sociograms, a visual mapping method, mapped content and flow of communication and the social links between participants. Data were analysed using a grounded theory approach.

Results: Data were gathered from 70 hours of ward round observations, including 1024 individual patient discussions, 60 sociograms and face-to-face interviews with 61 healthcare professionals. AMS and infection-related discussions on ward rounds vary across specialties and are affected by the content and structure of the clinical update provided, consultant leadership styles and competing priorities at the bedside. Registrars and consultants dominate the discussions, limiting the input of other team members with recognised roles in AMS and infection management. Team hierarchies also manifest where staff position themselves, and this influences their contribution to active participation in patient care. Leadership styles affect ward-round dynamics, determining whether nurses and patients are actively engaged in discussions on infection management and antibiotic therapy and whether actions are assigned to identified persons.

Conclusions: The surgical bedside ward round remains a medium of communication between registrars and consultants, with little interaction with the patient or other healthcare professionals. A team-focused and inclusive approach could result in more effective decision making about infection management and AMS.
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February 2021

Investigating infection management and antimicrobial stewardship in surgery: a qualitative study from India and South Africa.

Clin Microbiol Infect 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:

Objectives: To investigate the drivers for infection management and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) across high-infection-risk surgical pathways.

Methods: A qualitative study-ethnographic observation of clinical practices, patient case studies, and face-to-face interviews with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients-was conducted across cardiovascular and thoracic and gastrointestinal surgical pathways in South Africa (SA) and India. Aided by Nvivo 11 software, data were coded and analysed until saturation was reached. The multiple modes of enquiry enabled cross-validation and triangulation of findings.

Results: Between July 2018 and August 2019, data were gathered from 190 hours of non-participant observations (138 India, 72 SA), interviews with HCPs (44 India, 61 SA), patients (six India, eight SA), and case studies (four India, two SA). Across the surgical pathway, multiple barriers impede effective infection management and AMS. The existing implicit roles of HCPs (including nurses and senior surgeons) are overlooked as interventions target junior doctors, bypassing the opportunity for integrating infection-related care across the surgical team. Critically, the ownership of decisions remains with the operating surgeons, and entrenched hierarchies restrict the inclusion of other HCPs in decision-making. The structural foundations to enable staff to change their behaviours and participate in infection-related surgical care are lacking.

Conclusions: Identifying the implicit existing HCP roles in infection management is critical and will facilitate the development of effective and transparent processes across the surgical team for optimized care. Applying a framework approach that includes nurse leadership, empowering pharmacists and engaging surgical leads, is essential for integrated AMS and infection-related care.
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January 2021

Risk factors for COVID-19 death in a population cohort study from the Western Cape Province, South Africa.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 Aug 29. Epub 2020 Aug 29.

Health Programmes Directorate, Western Cape Government: Health.

Background: Risk factors for COVID-19 death in sub-Saharan Africa and the effects of HIV and tuberculosis on COVID-19 outcomes are unknown.

Methods: We conducted a population cohort study using linked data from adults attending public sector health facilities in the Western Cape, South Africa. We used Cox-proportional hazards models adjusted for age, sex, location and comorbidities to examine the association between HIV, tuberculosis and COVID-19 death from 1 March-9 June 2020 among (i) public sector "active patients" (≥1 visit in the 3 years before March 2020), (ii) laboratory-diagnosed COVID-19 cases and (iii) hospitalized COVID-19 cases. We calculated the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for COVID-19 comparing HIV positive vs. negative adults using modelled population estimates.

Results: Among 3,460,932 patients (16% HIV positive), 22,308 were diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom 625 died. COVID-19 death was associated with male sex, increasing age, diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease. HIV was associated with COVID-19 mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.14; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.70-2.70), with similar risks across strata of viral load and immunosuppression. Current and previous tuberculosis were associated with COVID-19 death (aHR [95%CI] 2.70 [1.81-4.04] and 1.51 [1.18-1.93] respectively). The SMR for COVID-19 death associated with HIV was 2.39 (95%CI 1.96-2.86); population attributable fraction 8.5% (95%CI 6.1-11.1).

Conclusion: While our findings may over-estimate HIV- and tuberculosis-associated COVID-19 mortality risks due to residual confounding, both HIV and current tuberculosis were independently associated with increased COVID-19 mortality. The associations between age, sex and other comorbidities and COVID-19 mortality were similar to other settings.
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August 2020

Definitions for Loss of Domain: An International Delphi Consensus of Expert Surgeons.

World J Surg 2020 04;44(4):1070-1078

The Abdominal Wall Unit, University College London Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BU, UK.

Background: No standardized written or volumetric definition exists for 'loss of domain' (LOD). This limits the utility of LOD as a morphological descriptor and as a predictor of peri- and postoperative outcomes. Consequently, our aim was to establish definitions for LOD via consensus of expert abdominal wall surgeons.

Methods: A Delphi study involving 20 internationally recognized abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) surgeons was performed. Four written and two volumetric definitions of LOD were identified via systematic review. Panelists completed a questionnaire that suggested these definitions as standardized definitions of LOD. Consensus on a preferred term was pre-defined as achieved when selected by ≥80% of panelists. Terms scoring <20% were removed.

Results: Voting commenced August 2018 and was completed in January 2019. Written definition: During Round 1, two definitions were removed and seven new definitions were suggested, leaving nine definitions for consideration. For Round 2, panelists were asked to select all appealing definitions. Thereafter, common concepts were identified during analysis, from which the facilitators advanced a new written definition. This received 100% agreement in Round 3. Volumetric definition: Initially, panelists were evenly split, but consensus for the Sabbagh method was achieved. Panelists could not reach consensus regarding a threshold LOD value that would preclude surgery.

Conclusions: Consensus for written and volumetric definitions of LOD was achieved from 20 internationally recognized AWR surgeons. Adoption of these definitions will help standardize the use of LOD for both clinical and academic activities.
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April 2020

Toward colorectal cancer control in Africa.

Int J Cancer 2016 Feb 5;138(4):1033-4. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Department of Surgery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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February 2016