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Highlights from #BAUS15

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#BAUS15 started to gain momentum from as early as the 26th June 2014 and by the time we entered the Manchester Central Convention Complex well over 100 tweets had been made. Of course it wasn’t just Twitter that started early with a group of keen urologists cycling 210 miles to conference in order to raise money for The Urology Foundation.

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Monday 15th June 2015

By the time the cyclists arrived conference was well under way with the andrology, FNUU and academic section meetings taking place on Monday morning:

  • The BJU International Prize for the Best Academic Paper was awarded to Richard Bryant from the University of Oxford for his work on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition changes found within the extraprostatic extension component of locally invasive prostate cancers.
  • Donna Daly from the University of Sheffield received the BJUI John Blandy prize for her work on Botox, demonstrating reductions in afferent bladder signaling and urothelial ATP release.

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  • Professor Reisman’s talk on ‘Porn, Paint and Piercing’ as expected drew in the crowds and due to a staggering 44% complication rate with genital piercings it is important for us to try to manage these without necessarily removing the offending article as this will only serve to prevent those in need from seeking medical attention.
  • With the worsening worldwide catastrophe of antibiotic resistance, the cycling of antibiotics for prevention of recurrent UTIs is no longer recommended. Instead, Tharani Nitkunan provided convincing evidence for the use of probiotics and D-Mannose.

The afternoon was dominated by the joint oncology and academic session with Professor Noel Clarke presenting the current data from the STAMPEDE trial. Zolendronic acid conferred no survival benefit over hormones alone and consequently has been removed from the trial (stampede 1). However, Docetaxal plus hormones has shown benefit, demonstrated significantly in M1 patients with disease-free survival of 65 months vs. 43 months on hormones alone (Hazard ratio 0.73) (stampede 2). This means that the control arm of M1 patients who are fit for chemotherapy will now need to be started on this treatment as the trial continues to recruit in enzalutamide, abiraterone and metformin arms.

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The evening was rounded off with the annual BAUS football tournament won this year by team Manchester (obviously a rigged competition!), whilst some donned the

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lycra and set out for a competition at the National Cycle Centre. For those of us not quite so energetic, it was fantastic to catch up with old friends at the welcome drinks reception.

 

Tuesday 16th June 2015

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Tuesday kicked off bright and early with Professor John Kelly presenting results from the BOXIT clinical trial, which has shown some benefit over standard treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, but with significant cardiovascular toxicity.

The new NICE bladder cancer guidelines were presented with concerns voiced by Professor Marek Babjuk over discharging low-risk bladder cancer at 12 months given a quoted 30-50% five-year recurrence risk. Accurate risk stratification, it would seem, is going to be key.

The President’s address followed along with the presentation of the St. Peter’s medal for notable contribution to the advancement of urology, which was presented to Pat Malone from Southampton General Hospital. Other medal winners included Adrian Joyce who received the BAUS Gold Medal, and the St. Paul’s medal went to Mark Soloway.

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A plethora of other sessions ensued but with the help of the new ‘native’ BAUS app my programme was already conveniently arranged in advance:

  •     ‘Heartsink Conditions’ included pelvic and testicular pain and a fascinating talk by Dr Gareth Greenslade highlighted the importance of early and motivational referral to pain management services once no cause has been established and our treatments have been exhausted. The patient’s recovery will only start once we have said no to further tests: ‘Fix the thinking’
  • Poster sessions are now presented as ‘e-posters’, abolishing the need to fiddle with those little pieces of Velcro and allowing for an interactive review of the posters.

 

Photo 22-06-2015 22 36 07Pravisha Ravindra from Nottingham demonstrated that compliance with periodic imaging of patients with asymptomatic small renal calculi (n=147) in primary care is poor, and indeed, these patients may be better managed with symptomatic imaging and re-referral as no patients required intervention based on radiograph changes alone.

Archana Fernando from Guy’s presented a prospective study demonstrating the value of CTPET in the diagnosis of malignancy in  patients with retroperitoneal fibrosis (n=35), as well as demonstrating that those with positive PET are twice as likely to respond to steroids.

 

Wednesday 17th June 2015

Another new addition to the programme this year was the Section of Endourology ‘as live surgery’ sessions. This was extremely well received and allowed delegates to benefit from observing operating sessions from experts in the field whilst removing the stressful environment and potential for risk to patient associated with live surgery. This also meant that the surgeon was present in the room to answer questions and talk through various steps of the operation allowing for a truly interactive session.
Wednesday saw multiple international speakers dominating the Exchange Auditorium:

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  • The BJU International guest lecture was given by Professor Hendrik Van Poppel: a heartfelt presentation describing what he believes to be the superiority of surgery over radiotherapy for high-risk localised prostate cancer.
  • The Urology Foundation presented the Research Scholar Medal to Ashwin Sachdeva from Freeman Hospital, Newcastle for his work on the ‘Role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in prostate carcinogenesis’. This was followed by an inspiring guest lecture by Inderbir Gill on ‘Robotic Urologic Oncology: the best is yet to come’ with the tag line ‘the only thing that should be open in 2015 is our minds’
  • Robotic Surgery in UK Urology: Clinical & Commissioning Priorities was a real highlight in the programme with talks from Jim Adshead and Professor Jens-Uwe Stolzenburg focussing on the fact that only 40% of T1a tumours in the UK were treated with partial (as opposed to radical) nephrectomy, and that the robot really is the ‘game-changer’ for this procedure. Inderbir Gill again took to the stage to stress that all current randomised trials into open vs. robotic cystectomy have used extracorporeal reconstruction and so do not reflect the true benefits of the robotic procedure as the dominant driver of complications is in the open reconstruction.

These lectures were heard by James Palmer, Clinical Director of Specialised Commissioning for NHS England who then discussed difficulties in making decisions to provide new technologies, controlling roll out and removing them if they show no benefit. Clinical commissioning policies are currently being drafted for robotic surgery in kidney and bladder cancer. This led to a lively debate with Professor Alan McNeill having the last word as he pointed out that what urologists spend on the robot to potentially cure cancer is a drop in the ocean compared with what the oncologists spend to palliate!

 

Thursday 18th June 2015

The BJU International session on evidence-based urology highlighted the need for high-quality evidence, especially in convincing commissioners to spend in a cash-strapped NHS. Professor Philipp Dahm presented a recent review in the Journal of Urology indicated that the quality of systematic reviews in four major urological journals was sub-standard. Assistant Professor Alessandro Volpe then reviewed the current evidence behind partial nephrectomy and different approaches to this procedure.

Another fantastic technology, which BAUS adopted this year, was the BOD-POD which allowed delegates to catch-up on sessions in the two main auditoria that they may have missed due to perhaps being in one of the 21 well designed teaching courses that were available this year. Many of these will soon be live on the BAUS website for members to view.

The IBUS and BAUS joint session included a lecture from Manoj Monga from The Cleveland Clinic, which led to the question being posed on Twitter: ‘Are you a duster or a basketer?’The audience was also advised to always stent a patient after using an access sheath unless the patient was pre-stented.

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The updates session is always valuable especially for those studying for the FRCS (Urol) exam with far too many headlines to completely cover:

  • Endourology: The SUSPEND trial published earlier this year was a large multi-centre RCT that showed no difference in terms of rates of spontaneous passage of ureteric stone, time to stone passage or analgesic use between placebo, tamsulosin and nifedipine. There was a hot debate on this: should we be waiting for the meta-analysis or should a trial of this size and design be enough to change practice?
  • Oncology-Prostate: The Klotz et al., paper showed active surveillance can avoid over treatment, with 98% prostate cancer survival at 10 years.
  • Oncology-Kidney: Ellimah Mensah’s team from Imperial College London (presented at BAUS earlier in the week) demonstrated that over a 14-year period there were a higher number of cardiovascular-related admissions to hospital in patients who have had T1 renal tumours resected than the general population, but no difference between those who have had partial or radical nephrectomy.
  • Oncology-Bladder: Arends’s team presented at EAU in March on the favourable results of hyperthermic mitomycin C vs. BCG in the treatment of intermediate- and high-risk bladder cancer.
  • Female and BPH: The BESIDE study has demonstrated increased efficacy with combination solifenacin and mirabegron.
  • Andrology: Currently recruiting in the UK is the MASTER RCT to evaluate synthetic sling vs. artificial sphincter in men with post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence.

 

Overall BAUS yet again put on a varied and enjoyable meeting. The atmosphere was fantastic and the organisers should be proud of the new additions in terms of allowing delegates to engage with new technologies, making for a memorable week. See you all in Liverpool!

 

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Rebecca Tregunna, Urological Trainee, West Midlands Deanery @rebeccatregunna

 

Dominic Hodgson, Consultant Urologist, Portsmouth @hodgson_dominic

 

Learning from The Lancet

The Lancet, established in 1823, is one of the most respected medical journals in the world. It has an impact factor of 39, and therefore attracts and publishes only the very best papers. Like most journals that have evolved with modern times, it has an active web and social media presence, particularly based around Twitter.

On a Monday morning, last autumn, the Editor of the BJUI had a meeting with the Web Editor of The Lancet at Guy’s Hospital. There was a mutual interest in surgical technology, particularly as Naomi Lee had been a urology trainee before joining The Lancet full-time. The topic of discussion was robot-assisted radical cystectomy with the emergence of randomised trials showing little difference between open and robotic surgery, despite the minimally invasive nature of the latter [1, 2]. Thereafter, The Lancet kindly invited the BJUI team to visit its offices in London. The location is rather bohemian with a mural of John Lennon on the wall across the street! Here is a summary of what we learnt that day.

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1. Democracy – what gets published in The Lancet after peer review is decided at a team meeting, where editors of the main journal and its sister publications gather around a table to discuss individual articles. Most work full-time for The Lancet, unlike surgical journals that are led by working clinicians. No wonder that >80% of papers are immediately rejected and the final acceptance rate is ≈6%. Interesting case reports are still published and often highly cited because of the wider readership.

2. Quality has no boundaries – it does not matter where the article comes from as long as it has an important message. The BJUI recently published an excellent paper on circumcision in HIV-positive men from Africa [3]; the original randomised controlled trial had appeared some 7 years earlier in The Lancet [4].

3. Statisticians – the good ones are a rare breed and sometimes rather difficult to find. While we have two statistical editors at the BJUI, sometimes, it is difficult to approach the most qualified reviewer on a particular subject. The Lancet occasionally faces similar difficulties, which it almost always overcomes due to its’ team approach.

4. Meta-analysis and systematic reviews – they form a significant number of submissions to both journals. It is not always easy to judge their quality although a key starting point is to identify whether the topic is one of contemporary interest where there are significant existing data that can be analysed. Rare subjects usually fail to make the cut.

5. Paper not dead yet – this is certainly the case at The Lancet office, where its editors gather together with paper folders and hand-written notes. We are almost fully paperless at the BJUI offices, and are hoping to be completely electronic in the future. A recent live vote of our readership during the USANZ Annual Scientific Meeting in Adelaide, Australia, indicated that the majority would like us to go electronic in about 2–3 years’ time; however, ≈30% of our institutional subscribers still prefer the paper version and are reluctant to make the switch.

The BJUI and The Lancet are coming together to host a joint Social Media session at BAUS 2015, which will provide more opportunity to learn from one of the best journals ever. We hope to see many of you there.

References

 

 

2 Lee N. Robotic surgery: where are we now? Lancet 2014; 384: 1417

 

 

4 Gray RH, Kigozi G, Serwadda D et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial. Lancet 2007; 369: 65766

 


Prokar Dasgupta @prokarurol
Editor-in-Chief, BJUI 

 

Scott Millar
Managing Editor, BJUI 

 

Naomi Lee
Web Editor, The Lancet

 

Article of the week: Enhanced Recovery Programme for radical cystectomy

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by prominent members of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one

Implementation of the Exeter Enhanced Recovery Programme for patients undergoing radical cystectomy

Thomas J. Dutton, Mark O. Daugherty, Robert G. Mason and John S. McGrath

Exeter Surgical Health Services Research Unit, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK

OBJECTIVES

• To describe our experience with the implementation and refinement of an enhanced recovery programme (ERP) for radical cystectomy (RC) and urinary diversion.

• To assess the impact on length of stay (LOS), complication and readmission rates.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

• In all, 165 consecutive patients undergoing open RC (ORC) and urinary diversion between January 2008 and April 2013 were entered into an ERP.

• A retrospective case note review was undertaken.

• Outcomes recorded included LOS, time to mobilisation, complication rates within the first 30 days (Clavien-Dindo classification) and readmissions.

RESULTS

• All patients were successfully entered into the ERP.

• As enhanced recovery principles became embedded in the unit, LOS reduced from a mean of 14 days over the initial year of the ERP to a mean of 9.2 days.

• The complication rate was 6.6% for Clavien ≥3, and 43.5% for Clavien ≤2. The 30-day mortality rate was 1.2%.

• The 30-day readmission rate was 13.9%.

• In the most contemporary subset of 52 patients: the median time after ORC to sit out of bed, mobilise and open bowels was day 1, 2 and 6, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

• The ERP described for patients undergoing ORC appears to be safe.

• Benefits include early feeding, mobilisation and hospital discharge.

• The ERP will continue to develop with the incorporation of advancing evidence and technology, in particular the introduction of robot-assisted RC.

 

Editorial: Enhanced recovery programmes: an important step towards going lean in healthcare

Enhanced recovery programmes (also known as clinical care pathways) are excellent examples of ‘lean thinking’. The ‘lean’ approach is derived from the management philosophy known as the ‘Toyota Production System’ (TPS) that helped the Japanese company become the world’s largest automaker. This management approach has been widely adopted throughout the manufacturing world and has revolutionised the way many businesses operate. Indeed, the concept of clinical care pathways has its roots in the management theories of the TPS, Six Sigma, Business Process Redesign, the Theory of Constraints, and other such methodologies.

This by no means implies that a person is like a car, or the situation is always or ever ‘textbook’. Toyota and medical practitioners alike must strive to improve quality and efficiency while controlling costs. And, in the case of healthcare, all of these goals must come under the provision of optimising patient care.

Clinical care pathways provide us the opportunity to standardise processes and problem solving, and eliminate inconsistency (aka ‘mura’, a fundamental pillar of Toyotism). The result is that in every aspect of the delivery of care, there exist clear expectations and demonstrated capabilities. Although situational change is a constant in the healthcare environment, process standards must be applied in all applicable areas to reduce the controllable variances and ensure regulatory compliance, patient and staff satisfaction, and outcomes. Through these standardised pathways or programmes, we are able to establish a confidence in ourselves, our peers, our patients, and our families that what we say will indeed occur. In other words, the right process will produce the right results.

Clinical care pathways are an example of ‘process’ innovation – a concept that can be distinguished from ‘product’ innovation (e.g. drug development, diagnostic tests, robotic and other surgical tools). Process innovations represent important and much needed opportunities to improve outcomes and reduce costs. Clinical care pathways have already been shown to improve patient outcomes, reduce errors, decrease costs, increase transparency of treatment, improve patient, staff, and physician satisfaction, and improve educational opportunities. Moreover, radical cystectomy seems ideally suited to such standardised processes due to characteristics of (1) resource intensivity, (2) complexity of care, (3) high potential variability, and (4) high morbidity.

In this month’s BJU International, Dutton et al. [1] report the ability to effectively apply a standardised enhanced recovery programme to patients undergoing radical cystectomy and urinary diversion for bladder cancer. In their sequential case series, the authors report earlier ambulation, enteral feeding, and time to discharge in patients who were under this enhanced recovery programme (described within) without adverse outcomes, e.g. increased re-admission rates. Similarly, the use of clinical care pathways in our own cystectomy population at The University of North Carolina has represented one of the most important interventions to improve quality and efficiency of care while simultaneously reducing costs.

The next challenge is to explore the applicability of care pathways to multiple physicians and at different institutions, i.e. the widespread use of such programmes to yield the desired results over a healthcare system. Once these processes have been standardised and are able to demonstrate predictable results, we can then focus on raising the performance of these standardised practices and doing so in an iterative process (aka ‘kaizen’).

Raj S. Pruthi and Mathew C. Raynor
Department of Urology and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Reference

  1. Dutton TJ, Daugherty MO, Mason RG, McGrath JS. Implementation of the Exeter Enhanced Recovery Programme for patients undergoing radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2014; 113: 719–725

 

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