Acute polyhydramnios in monozygotic twin pregnancy causes severe maternal discomfort and carries a high risk of premature labor. During the years 1980 to 1987, 36 patients with this complication were delivered in Sweden, giving an incidence of 1/20,000 births, or 1/200 twin births. In 18 patients (group A) who were treated with one or more amniotic taps, the delivery was postponed by 2 weeks, as compared with one week in 18 conservatively treated patients (group B). The peri- and neonatal death rate was 47% in group A and 58% in group B. Our own experience is that amniotic taps are safe if the amniotic fluid is removed slowly under prophylactic tocolysis. It gives symptomatic relief to the mother and may postpone labor until the gestational age of the twins is more compatible with survival.
General practitioners (GPs) in Denmark (n = 374) answered a questionnaire on attitudes toward including information on diet and sex in the prevention of coronary artery disease, cancers, osteoporosis, and weight problems. Risk factors for disease were ranked as follows: smoking, alcohol, stress, diet, physical exercise, heredity, and hygiene. Patients' lack of motivation, insufficient time for each patient, and inadequate knowledge about nutrition were listed by GPs as barriers to dietary counseling. GPs stated that the sex of the patient was important only for counseling on osteoporosis. Lack of time and insufficient knowledge were perceived as barriers to including sex-specific issues in prevention. One-half of the GPs were questioned about the issue of prevention on the basis of female case stories and the other half on the basis of male case stories with identical wording. Responses to the case stories indicated that GPs would give dietary guidance and recommend loss of weight to slightly overweight male patients to a much greater degree than to overweight female patients for prevention of coronary artery disease, give dietary counseling and recommend loss of weight and exercise to female patients more than to male patients for prevention of cancers, recommend a supplement of calcium and vitamin D for prevention of osteoporosis to female patients, and recommend weight gain and discuss psychosocial issues more with underweight female patients than with underweight male patients. Female GPs included measures of prevention such as dietary counseling, exercise prescription, dietary supplement prescription, and discussion of psychosocial issues to a greater extent than did male GPs.
By uni- and multivariate analysis, predictors of surgical mortality and postoperative angina were identified retrospectively in 189 patients having had coronary arterial bypass surgery over the period 1978-1984. After modification of these risk factors, surgical outcome was followed up in another 178 patients undergoing operation from 1985 to 1987. The surgical mortality of 7% in the first series was closely associated with postoperative signs of acute myocardial injury. All deaths occurred in patients having at least 3 out of 5 pre- and peroperative risk factors: triple vessel/left main coronary arterial disease, incomplete revascularization, no propranolol treatment, Bretschneider cardioplegia other than "HTP"-solution with blood preperfusion and perioperative vasopressor support. The procedures of cardiac protection were modified. St Thomas multidose potassium cardioplegia and general hypothermia were introduced, perioperative propranolol treatment increased and bypass time decreased. Improved cardiac protection with this regime was seen in the patients operated in 1985-1987 when compared with the first series with regard to perioperative vasopressor support (8 vs 33%, P less than 0.001), spontaneous operative defibrillation (72 vs 52%, P less than 0.001), postoperative arrhythmias (20 vs 43%, P less than 0.001), peak levels of serum enzymes (P less than 0.001), myocardial infarction (7 vs 19%, P less than 0.001) and hospital mortality (2 vs 7%, P less than 0.05). The incidence of freedom from symptoms at 3 months was also increased in the patients undergoing operation from 1985 to 1987 (72 vs 61%, P less than 0.05). Even small centers can improve their surgical outcome by carefully analysing their own results and modifying the identified risk factors.
A total of 21 families with complete sets of triplets, born within 200 km of Stockholm, were invited to participate in a follow-up study with the aim of assessing the physical and mental development of their triplets at 4-6 years of age. Four families declined to participate in the study and thus the study group consisted of 17 sets of triplets who were born at 33-36 gestational weeks from 1986 to 1989. Mean birth weight was 2104 g (range 1310-2670 g) for the boys and 1882 g (range 1290-2590 g) for the girls. At birth, none of the 51 triplets showed any malformations. No asphyxia or other major complications were noted to have occurred at delivery. The children were examined in their homes with a neurological examination and the Griffiths mental development scales (GMDS). No major physical disabilities were found. In a group of triplets born small for dates, the total GMDS score and most of the subscale scores were significantly lower than for their siblings. In contrast to what has been found in singletons and twins, the differences in mental development between triplet boys and girls were not significant. On the whole, physical and mental development did not differ from what has been found in twins and singletons of the same age and with the same birth weight.
In 181 patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest, the prevalence and duration of coma were registered and related to the site of occurrence of cardiac arrest, cardiac rhythm during arrest, age and clinical outcome of the patients. Coma was most frequent after cardiac arrest outside the hospital, as 84% of these patients were comatose for more than 1 h and 56% for more than 24 h; the corresponding values for patients with cardiac arrest in general wards were 63% and 30%, respectively, and for patients with cardiac arrest during ambulance transport, 80% and 44%. Permanent brain damage was extremely rare if the coma lasted less than 6 h (1 out of 62 patients), and relatively rare with a coma duration between 6 and 24 h (5 out of 34 patients). Of the patients, 85 remained comatose for more than 24 h and only 7 of them were discharged alive, all with cerebral impairment of a severity increasing with the duration of the coma. None regained consciousness after more than 7 days' coma, and a total of 80 patients died in coma, 20 with signs of cerebral death. Older patients were more vulnerable to coma than younger ones, but coma as such was not more frequent. We found no differences in coma after asystole and ventricular fibrillation. Problems concerning the selection of patients who have a chance of survival, although comatose after cardiac arrest, are discussed.
In an attempt to determine the relation between duration of coma and neurologic recovery following cardiac resuscitation 163 survivors of cardiac arrest from Winnipeg, Manitoba and Aarhus, Denmark were studied. The age of the patients did not influence the outcome. Of the 153 patients who had awakened from the coma within 24 hours, only 11 suffered brain damage, compared with all of the 10 patients who wakened after 24 hours. The three who wakened after 72 hours had severe brain damage and required permanent care in an institution. It was concluded that recovery of communicative brain function is unlikely if coma persists longer than 72 hours after cardiac arrest and that full recovery cannot be expected after 24 hours of coma.