Patient reported outcomes (PRO) measure the quality of care from the patient’s perspective. PROs are an important measure of surgical outcome and can be used to calculate health gains after surgical treatment. The World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) 2.0 is a PRO used to evaluate pre and post-operative disability across a range of surgical specialities. In this study, Mercy Ships, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), used WHODAS 2.0 to evaluate patient reported disability in 401 consecutive patients in Madagascar. We hypothesised that surgical interventions would decrease pre-operative patient reported disability across a range of specialties (maxillofacial, plastic, orthopaedic, general and obstetric fistula surgery).
WHODAS 2.0 was administered preoperatively by face-to-face interview, and at 3 months post-operatively by telephone. Demographic data, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical classification score, duration of surgery, length of hospital stay, and in-hospital post-operative complications were collected from a separately maintained patient database. The primary outcome measure was difference in pre- and post-operative WHODAS 2.0 scores.
No differences were seen between the two groups in preoperative disability (p = 0.25), ASA score (p = 0.46), or duration of surgery (p = 0.85). At 3 months 44% (176/401) of patients were available for telephone for postoperative evaluation. All had a significant reduction in their disability score from 8.4% to 1.0% (p < 0.001), 17 experienced a post-operative complication, but none had residual disability and there were no deaths. The group lost to follow-up were more likely to be female (65% versus 50%, p < 0.05), were younger (mean age 31 versus 35, p < 0.05), had longer hospital stays (10 versus 4 days, p < 0.001), and were more likely to have experienced post-operative complications (p < 0.05).
This study demonstrates that surgical intervention in a LMIC decreases patient reported disability as measured by WHODAS 2.0.