BACKGROUND: Warfarin is used for the prevention of stroke in chronic atrial fibrillation. The product has a narrow therapeutic index and to obtain treatment success, patients must be maintained within a given therapeutic range (International Normalised Ratio;INR). To ensure a wise allocation of health care resources, scrutiny of costs associated with various treatments is justified. The objective of this study was to estimate the health care cost of INR controls in patients on warfarin treatment with chronic atrial fibrillation in primary care in Sweden. METHODS: Data from various sources were applied in the analysis. Resource consumption was derived from two observational studies based on electronic patient records and two Delphi-panel studies performed in two and three rounds, respectively. Unit costs were taken from official databases and primary health care centres. RESULTS: The mean cost of one INR control was SEK 550. The mean costs of INR controls during the first three months, the first year and during the second year of treatment were SEK 6,811, SEK 16,244 and SEK 8,904 respectively. CONCLUSION: INR controls of patients on warfarin treatment in primary care in Sweden represent a substantial cost to the health care provider and they are particularly costly when undertaken in home care. The cost may however be off-set by the reduced incidence of stroke.
BACKGROUND: In order to get sickness benefit a sick-listed person need a medical certificate issued by a physician; in Sweden after one week of self-certification. Physicians experience sick-listing tasks as problematic and conflicts may arise when patients regard themselves unable to work due to complaints that are hard to objectively verify for the physician. Most GPs and orthopaedic surgeons (OS) deal regularly with sick-listing issues in their daily practice. The aim of this study was to explore perceived problems and coping strategies related to tasks of sickness certification among general practitioners (GP) and orthopaedic surgeons (OS). METHODS: A cross-sectional study about sickness certification in two Swedish counties, with 673 participating GPs and 149 OSs, who answered a comprehensive questionnaire. Frequencies together with crude and adjusted (gender and working years) Odds ratios were calculated. RESULTS: A majority of the GPs and OSs experienced problems in sickness certification every week. To assess the patient's work ability, to handle situations when they and the patient had different opinions about the need for sickness absence, and to issue prolongation certificates when the previous was issued by another physician were reported as problematic by a majority in both groups. Both GPs and OSs prolonged sickness certifications due to waiting times in health care or at Social Insurance Office (SIO). To handle experienced problems they used different strategies; OSs issued sickness certificates without personal appointment more often than the GPs, who on the other hand reported having contact with SIO more often than the OSs. A higher rate of GPs experienced support from management and had a common strategy for handling sickness certification at the clinic than the OSs. CONCLUSION: Most GPs and OSs handled sickness certification weekly and reported a variety of problems in relation to this task, generally GPs to a higher extent, and they used different coping strategies to handle the problems.
Endostatin, a proteolytic fragment of collagen XVIII, is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis and tumor growth. We studied the development of carcinogen-induced skin tumors in transgenic J4 mice overexpressing endostatin in their keratinocytes. Unexpectedly, we did not observe any differences in tumor incidence and multiplicity between these and control mice, nor in the rate of conversion of benign papillomas to malignant squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). We did find, however, that endostatin regulates the terminal differentiation of keratinocytes because the SCCs in the J4 mice were less aggressive and more often well differentiated than those in the control mice. We observed an inhibition of tumor angiogenesis by endostatin at an early stage in skin tumor development, but more strikingly, there was a significant reduction in lymphatic vessels in the papillomas and SCCs in association with elevated endostatin levels and also a significant inhibition of lymph node metastasis in the J4 mice. We showed that tumor-infiltrating mast cells strongly expressed vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C), and that the accumulation of these cells was markedly decreased in the tumors of the J4 mice. Moreover, endostatin inhibited the adhesion and migration of murine MC/9 mast cells on fibronectin in vitro. Our data suggest that endostatin can inhibit tumor lymphangiogenesis by decreasing the VEGF-C levels in the tumors, apparently via inhibition of mast cell migration and adhesion, and support the view that the biological effects of endostatin are not restricted to endothelial cells because endostatin also regulates tumor-associated inflammation and differentiation, and the phenotype of epithelial tumors.
In order to obtain a better understanding of barriers to the implementation of clinical decision-support systems (CDSSs) in primary health care, we explored general practitioners' (GPs) handling of a CDSS during the implementation process. An Internet-based application for the management of chronic heart failure was used that was an adaptation of established clinical guidelines for computer use. The whole implementation process was followed closely, using a combination of different methods for data collection: repeated interviews with the five participating GPs, observations of patient visits, patient interviews, and detection of usage. We analysed the data using qualitative content analysis. The results showed that GPs' attitudes and characteristics constituted different profiles that seemed to be associated with the degree of acceptance of the CDSS. Those profiles were related to conceptions about the GPs' professional role and their attitudes towards the computer's function in disease management and in decision-making. Some additional barriers were insufficient level of computer skills and time constraints in everyday work. These findings can help us identify groups of GPs with definable needs during the implementation of a CDSS and make it easier to meet those needs with individually tailored interventions.