In most parts of the world, curatively intended treatment for esophageal cancer includes neoadjuvant therapy, either with chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy alone, followed by esophagectomy. Currently 18F-FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) is used for preoperative disease staging, but is not well established in the evaluation of neoadjuvant treatment.
To evaluate changes in PET parameters in relation to the histological primary tumor response in the surgical specimen in patients randomized to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Patients were randomized between either neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy followed by esophagectomy.18F-FDG PET/CT exams were conducted at baseline and following neoadjuvant treatment. Standardized uptake ratio (SUR) values were measured in the primary tumor and compared as regards histological responders and non-responders as well as different treatment arms.
Seventy-nine patients were enrolled and 51 were available for analysis. A significant rate of SUR reduction was observed ( P?=?0.02) in the primary tumor in histological responders compared to non-responders. Changes in SUR were significantly greater in responders following chemoradiotherapy ( P?=?0.02), but not following chemotherapy alone ( P?=?0.49). There was no statistically significant difference in SUR in patients with a complete histological response compared to those with a subtotal response.
Our results are similar to those of previous studies and show that changes in the rate of SUR can be used reliably to differentiate histological responders from non-responders after neoadjuvant treatment with either chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy. Limitations of current PET technology are likely to restrict the possibility of accurately ruling out limited residual disease.
Peripheral arterial disease and vascular calcifications contribute significantly to the outcome of dialysis patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic role of severity of abdominal aortic calcifications and peripheral arterial disease on outcome of peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients using methods easily available in everyday clinical practice.
We enrolled 249 PD patients (mean age 61 years, 67% male) in this prospective, observational, multicenter study from 2009 to 2013. The abdominal aortic calcification score (AACS) was assessed using lateral lumbar X ray, and the ankle-brachial index (ABI) using a Doppler device.
The median AACS was 11 (range 0 - 24). In 58% of the patients, all 4 segments of the abdominal aorta showed deposits, while 19% of patients had no visible deposits (AACS 0). Ankle-brachial index was normal in 49%, low ( 1.3) in 34% of patients. Altogether 91 patients (37%) died during the median follow-up of 46 months. Only 2 patients (5%) with AACS 0 died compared with 50% of the patients with AACS = 7 (p
The ICD-10 codes are used globally for comparison of diagnoses and complications, and are an important tool for the development of patient safety, healthcare policies and the health economy. The aim of this study was to investigate the accuracy of verified complication rates in surgical admissions identified by ICD-10 codes and to validate these estimates against complications identified using the established Global Trigger Tool (GTT) methodology.
This was a prospective observational study of a sample of surgical admissions in two Norwegian hospitals. Complications were identified and classified by two expert GTT teams who reviewed patients' medical records. Three trained reviewers verified ICD-10 codes indicating a complication present on admission or emerging in hospital.
A total of 700 admissions were drawn randomly from 12 966 procedures. Some 519 possible complications were identified in 332 of 700 admissions (47·4 per cent) from ICD-10 codes. Verification of the ICD-10 codes against information from patients' medical records confirmed 298 as in-hospital complications in 141 of 700 admissions (20·1 per cent). Using GTT methodology, 331 complications were found in 212 of 700 admissions (30·3 per cent). Agreement between the two methods reached 83·3 per cent after verification of ICD-10 codes. The odds ratio for identifying complications using the GTT increased from 5·85 (95 per cent c.i. 4·06 to 8·44) to 25·38 (15·41 to 41·79) when ICD-10 complication codes were verified against patients' medical records.
Verified ICD-10 codes strengthen the accuracy of complication rates. Use of non-verified complication codes from administrative systems significantly overestimates in-hospital surgical complication rates.
To assess the accuracy of computed tomography in diagnosing acute appendicitis with a special reference to radiologist experience.
Data were collected prospectively in our randomized controlled trial comparing surgery and antibiotic treatment for uncomplicated acute appendicitis (APPAC trial, NCT01022567). We evaluated 1065 patients who underwent computed tomography for suspected appendicitis. The on-call radiologist preoperatively analyzed these computed tomography images. In this study, the radiologists were divided into experienced (consultants) and inexperienced (residents) ones, and the comparison of interpretations was made between these two radiologist groups.
Out of the 1065 patients, 714 had acute appendicitis and 351 had other or no diagnosis on computed tomography. There were 700 true-positive, 327 true-negative, 14 false-positive, and 24 false-negative cases. The sensitivity and the specificity of computed tomography were 96.7% (95% confidence interval, 95.1-97.8) and 95.9% (95% confidence interval, 93.2-97.5), respectively. The rate of false computed tomography diagnosis was 4.2% for experienced consultant radiologists and 2.2% for inexperienced resident radiologists (p?=?0.071). Thus, the experience of the radiologist had no effect on the accuracy of computed tomography diagnosis.
The accuracy of computed tomography in diagnosing acute appendicitis was high. The experience of the radiologist did not improve the diagnostic accuracy. The results emphasize the role of computed tomography as an accurate modality in daily routine diagnostics for acute appendicitis in all clinical emergency settings.
The National Guideline for Assessment, Treatment and Social Rehabilitation of Persons with Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders, launched in 2012, is to be implemented in mental health services in Norway. Audit and feedback (A&F) is commonly used as the starting point of an implementation process. It aims to measure the research-practice gap, but its effect varies greatly. Less is known of how audit and feedback is used in natural settings. The aim of this study was to describe and investigate what is discussed and thematised when Quality Improvement (QI) teams in a District Psychiatric Centre (DPC) work to complete an action form as part of an A&F cycle in 2014.
This was an instrumental multiple case study involving four units in a DPC in Norway. We used open non-participant observation of QI team meetings in their natural setting, a total of seven teams and eleven meetings.
The discussions provided health professionals with insight into their own and their colleagues' practices. They revealed insufficient knowledge of substance-related disorders and experienced unclear role expectations. We found differences in how professional groups sought answers to questions of clinical practice and that they were concerned about whether new tasks fitted in with their routine ways of working.
Acting on A&F provided an opportunity to discuss practice in general, enhancing awareness of good practice. There was a general need for arenas to relate to practice and QI team meetings after A&F may well be a suitable arena for this. Self-assessment audits seem valuable, particular in areas where no benchmarked data exists, and there is a demand for implementation of new guidelines that might change routines and develop new roles. QI teams could benefit from having a unit leader present at meetings. Nurses and social educators and others turn to psychiatrists or psychologists for answers to clinical and organisational questions beyond guidelines, and show less confidence or routine in seeking research-based information. There is a general need to emphasise training in evidence-based practice and information seeking behaviour for all professional groups.
Cites: JAMA. 1999 Oct 20;282(15):1458-65 PMID 10535437
Cites: J Health Serv Res Policy. 2016 Apr;21(2):91-100 PMID 26811374
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Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) are rare diseases with a gradual decline in physical health. Adherence to treatment is crucial in these very symptomatic and life threatening diseases.
To describe PAH and CTEPH patients experience of their self-reported medication adherence, beliefs about medicines and information about treatment.
A quantitative, descriptive, national cohort survey that included adult patients from all PAH-centres in Sweden. All patients received questionnaires by mail: The Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) assesses treatment-related attitudes and behaviour problems, the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire-Specific scale (BMQ-S) assesses the patient's perception of drug intake and the QLQ-INFO25 multi-item scale about medical treatment information.
The response rate was 74% (n?=?325), mean age 66?±?14 years, 58% were female and 69% were diagnosed with PAH and 31% with CTEPH. Time from diagnosis was 4.7?±?4.2 years. More than half of the patients (57%) reported a high level of adherence. There was no difference in the patients' beliefs of the necessity of the medications to control their illness when comparing those with high, medium or low adherence. Despite high satisfaction with the information, concerns about potential adverse effects of taking the medication were significantly related to adherence.
Treatment adherence is relatively high but still needs improvement. The multi-disciplinary PAH team should, together with the patient, seek strategies to improve adherence and prevent concern.
Studies have related air pollution to myocardial infarction (MI) events over days or weeks, with few data on very short-term risks. We studied risk of ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI) within hours of exposure to air pollution while adjusting for weather.
We performed a case-crossover study of STEMI cases in Stockholm, Sweden (Jan 2000-June 2014) based on SWEDEHEART. Exposures during hazard periods up to 24?h prior to admission were compared to bidirectionally sampled control periods. Risks attributable to sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone and particulate pollutants (PM2.5, PM10) were studied in conditional logistic regression models for interquartile range increments.
Risk of STEMI (n?=?14,601) was associated with NO2 (strongest at 15-h lag) and with PM2.5 (strongest at 20-h lag), in single-pollutant models adjusting for air temperature and humidity (NO2: odds ratio (OR; 95% confidence interval) 1.065 (1.031-1.101); PM2.5: 1.026 (1.001-1.054)). After adjusting models for atmospheric pressure (significantly associated with STEMI risk at 14-24-h lags), NO2 remained highly statistically significant (1.057 (1.022-1.094)) but not PM2.5 (1.024 (0.997-1.052)). No associations were seen for SO2, ozone or PM10.
Risk of STEMI rises within hours of exposure to air pollutants, with strongest impact of NO2. These findings are complementary to earlier reports which have not acknowledged widely the importance of very short-term fluctuations in air pollution.
In Norway, elder care is primarily a municipal responsibility. Municipal health services strive to offer the 'lowest level of effective care,' and home healthcare services are defined as the lowest level of care in Norway. Municipalities determine the type(s) of service and the amount of care applicants require. The services granted are outlined in an individual decision letter, which serves as a contract between the municipality and the home healthcare recipient. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the scope and duration of home healthcare services allocated by municipalities and to determine where home care recipients live in relation to home healthcare service offices.
A document analysis was performed on data derived from 833 letters to individuals allocated home care services in two municipalities in Northern Norway (Municipality A = 500 recipients, Municipality B = 333 recipients).
In Municipality A, 74% of service hours were allotted to home health nursing, 12% to practical assistance, and 14% to support contact; in Municipality B, the distribution was 73%, 19%, and 8%, respectively. Both municipalities allocated home health services with no service end date (41% and 85% of the total services, respectively). Among recipients of "expired" services, 25% in Municipality A and 7% in Municipality B continued to receive assistance.
Our findings reveal that the municipalities adhered to the goal for home care recipients to remain at home as long as possible before moving into a nursing home. The findings also indicate that the system for allocating home healthcare services may not be fair, as the municipalities lacked procedures for revising individual decisions. Our findings indicate that local authorities should closely examine how they design individual decisions and increase their awareness of how long a service should be provided.
Cites: BMC Health Serv Res. 2014 Sep 26;14:439 PMID 25258004
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The aim of this study was to analyse electronic health record-related patient safety incidents in the patient safety incident reporting database in fully digital hospitals in Finland. We compare Finnish data to similar international data and discuss their content with regard to the literature. We analysed the types of electronic health record-related patient safety incidents that occurred at 23 hospitals during a 2-year period. A procedure of taxonomy mapping served to allow comparisons. This study represents a rare examination of patient safety risks in a fully digital environment. The proportion of electronic health record-related incidents was markedly higher in our study than in previous studies with similar data. Human-computer interaction problems were the most frequently reported. The results show the possibility of error arising from the complex interaction between clinicians and computers.
The biological mechanism by which smoking reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia (PE) is unresolved. We studied serum levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1), placental growth factor (PlGF) and their ratio, in addition to soluble endoglin (sEng) in early and late pregnancy to ascertain whether these factors are altered in women who smoke.
First trimester serum samples were available from 217 women who later developed PE and 238 women who did not develop PE. Second/third trimester serum samples were available from 174 PE and 54 non-PE women.
PE women who smoked during pregnancy had elevated first trimester concentrations of serum PlGF [geometric mean (95% CI): 39.8 (32.6-48.5) pg/ml, p?=?.001] and reduced sEng concentration [5.0 (4.6-5.6) ng/ml, p?=?.047] compared to PE non-smokers [30.0 (28.1-32.1) pg/ml and 6.1 (5.9-6.4) ng/ml, respectively]. Non-smoking women in the PE group had the highest sFlt-1/PlGF ratio in early and late pregnancy.
The protective effect of smoking in reducing the risk of PE may be due to the early pregnancy change towards pro-angiogenic marker profile. Also, in late pregnancy, smoking exerted effect in sFlt-1/PlGF ratio in PE pregnancies, and may complicate its use as a prognostic and diagnostic marker. Key messages Smoking appears to have angiogenic effects in early pregnancy with reduced sEng concentrations and elevated PlGF concentrations in both normal and PE pregnancies. Throughout pregnancy, smoking exerted effect in PlGF concentration and sFlt-1/PlGF ratio in PE pregnancies, and thus may complicate its use as a prognostic and diagnostic marker.