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Current trends and challenges: The landscape of perioperative mortality in intracranial surgeries in low‐ and middle‐income settings: A narrative review

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Roy, Sakshi 
Awuah, Wireko Andrew  ORCID logo
Adebusoye, Favour T.  ORCID logo
Ferreira, Tomas 


Background and Aims: Intracranial surgeries are pivotal in treating cerebral pathologies, particularly in resource‐limited contexts, utilizing techniques such as craniotomy, transsphenoidal approaches, and endoscopy. However, challenges in low and middle income countries (LMICs), including resource scarcity, diagnostic delays, and a lack of skilled neurosurgeons, lead to elevated perioperative mortality (POM). This review seeks to identify major contributors to these challenges and recommend solutions for improved patient outcomes in neurosurgical care within LMICs. Methods: This review examines POM in LMICs using a detailed literature search, focusing on studies from these regions. Databases like PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar were utilized using specific terms related to “intracranial surgery,” “perioperative mortality,” “traumatic brain injuries,” and “LMICs.” Inclusion criteria covered various study designs and both pediatric and adult populations while excluding stand‐alone abstracts and case reports. Results: POM rates for intracranial surgeries differ widely across many low and middle‐income regions: Africa sees rates from 2.5% to 39.1%, Asia between 3.6% and 34.8%, and Latin America and the Caribbean have figures ranging from 1.3% to 12%. The POM rates in LMICs were relatively higher compared to most first‐world countries. The high POM rates in LMICs can be attributed to considerable delays and compromises in neurosurgical care delivery, exacerbated by late diagnoses and presentations of neurosurgical pathologies. This, coupled with limited resources, underdeveloped infrastructure, and training gaps, complicates intracranial disease management, leading to elevated POM. Conclusion: Intracranial POM is a pronounced disparity within the neurosurgical field in LMICs. To mitigate intracranial POM, it is imperative to bolster healthcare infrastructure, amplify personnel training, foster global partnerships, and harness technologies like telemedicine. Tackling socioeconomic obstacles and prioritizing early detection through sustained funding and policy shifts can substantially enhance patient outcomes.


Publication status: Published


perioperative mortality, global neurosurgery, low‐ and middle‐income countries, intracranial surgeries

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