Over a period of two months in 1988 and 1989 general practitioners in the Norwegian county of Møre and Romsdal recorded all contacts with their patients. Participation was close to 100%. We report data from 10,850 surgery consultations with elderly patients (65 years and older). 60% of the consultations involved female patients, and 58% of the patients were 65-74 years old. New diagnoses were made in one-third of the cases; two-thirds were follow-ups. The most common groups of diagnoses were cardiovascular (28%), musculoskeletal (13%), psychiatric (8%) and respiratory diseases (8%). Almost 10% of all consultations were for hypertension. Drugs were prescribed in 45% of all cases. 27% of all prescriptions were for cardiovascular drugs, and 25% were for drugs for the nervous system. The 20 most common diagnoses made up more than half of the total number of diagnoses. Almost 70% of all prescriptions were for the ten most common therapeutic groups.
Over a period of two months in 1988 and 1989 all general practitioners in the Norwegian county of Møre and Romsdal recorded all contacts with their patients. We report data from 1,384 house calls to elderly patients (65 years and older). House calls made up 11.3% of all face-to-face contacts between general practitioners and elderly patients. 59% of the visits were to female patients, and 60% were to patients 75 years and older. 23% of the house calls took place during weekends, and new diagnoses were made in 58% of the cases. The most common groups of diagnoses were cardiovascular (21%), respiratory (16%), and musculoskeletal diseases (13%). Drugs were prescribed for 42% of the house calls. 28% of all drugs prescribed were for the nervous system, while 26% were antibiotics for systemic use. Most house calls were made because of acute illnesses. Our results suggest that preventive home visits to the elderly are rarely, if ever, performed in general practice.
Occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel was investigated. The aims of this study were to assess trichloramine exposure levels and exhaled nitric oxide in relation to the prevalence of airway symptoms in swimming pool facilities and to determine protein effects in the upper respiratory tract.
The presence of airway symptoms related to work was examined in 146 individuals working at 46 indoor swimming pool facilities. Levels of trichloramine, as well as exhaled nitric oxide, were measured in five facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation and four facilities with no airway irritation among the personnel. Nasal lavage fluid was collected, and protein profiles were determined by a proteomic approach.
17 % of the swimming pool personnel reported airway symptoms related to work. The levels of trichloramine in the swimming pool facilities ranged from 0.04 to 0.36 mg/m(3). There was no covariance between trichloramine levels, exhaled nitric oxide and prevalence of airway symptoms. Protein profiling of the nasal lavage fluid showed that the levels alpha-1-antitrypsin and lactoferrin were significantly higher, and S100-A8 was significantly lower in swimming pool personnel.
This study confirms the occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel. Our results indicate altered levels of innate immunity proteins in the upper airways that may pose as potential biomarkers. However, swimming pool facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation could not be explained by higher trichloramine exposure levels. Further studies are needed to clarify the environmental factors in indoor swimming pools that cause airway problems and affect the immune system.
The absence of IgE sensitization to allergen components in the presence of sensitization to the corresponding extract has been reported, but its clinical importance has not been studied.
To evaluate the clinical significance of IgE sensitization to three aeroallergen extracts and the corresponding components in relation to the development of respiratory disease.
A total of 467 adults participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) II and 302 in ECRHS III, 12 years later. IgE sensitization to allergen extract and components, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and bronchial responsiveness to methacholine were measured in ECRHS II. Rhinitis and asthma symptoms were questionnaire-assessed in both ECRHS II and III.
A good overall correlation was found between IgE sensitization to extract and components for cat (r = 0.83), timothy (r = 0.96) and birch (r = 0.95). However, a substantial proportion of subjects tested IgE positive for cat and timothy allergen extracts but negative for the corresponding components (48% and 21%, respectively). Subjects sensitized to both cat extract and components had higher FeNO (P = 0.008) and more bronchial responsiveness (P = 0.002) than subjects sensitized only to the extract. Further, subjects sensitized to cat components were more likely to develop asthma (P = 0.005) and rhinitis (P = 0.007) than subjects sensitized only to cat extract.
Measurement of IgE sensitization to cat allergen components would seem to have a higher clinical value than extract-based measurement, as it related better to airway inflammation and responsiveness and had a higher prognostic value for the development of asthma and rhinitis over a 12-year period.
There is a paucity of information regarding the usefulness of non-traditional data streams for real-time syndromic surveillance systems. The objective of this paper is to examine the temporal relation between Ontario's emergency department (ED) visits and telephone health line (Telehealth) call volume for respiratory illnesses to test the feasibility of using Ontario's Telehealth system for real-time surveillance.
Retrospective time-series data from the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) and the Telehealth Ontario program from June 1, 2004, to March 31, 2006, were analyzed. The added value of Telehealth Ontario data was determined by comparing it temporally with NACRS data, which uses the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 10-Canadian Enhancement coding system for discharge diagnoses.
Telehealth Ontario had 216,105 calls for respiratory complaints, while 819,832 ICD-coded complaints from NACRS were identified with a comparable diagnosis of respiratory illness. Telehealth Ontario call volume was heavily weighted for the 0-4 years age group (49%), while the NACRS visits were mainly from those 18-64 years old (44%). The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was calculated to be 0.97, with the time-series analysis also resulting in significant correlations at lags (semi-monthly) 0 and 1, indicating that increases in Telehealth Ontario call volume correlate with increases in NACRS discharge diagnosis data for respiratory illnesses.
Telehealth Ontario call volume fluctuation reflects directly on ED respiratory visit data on a provincial basis. These call complaints are a timely, useful and representative data stream that shows promise for integration into a real-time syndromic surveillance system.
To discover the prevalence of chronic respiratory disease and the various factors associated with it, 1162 men (85% of the defined population) aged 25 to 69 years were surveyed using a questionnaire, chest radiograph and spirometry. 112 men with pulmonary tuberculosis or "other respiratory disease" were excluded from the analysis. Excluding the youngest age group (25 to 39 years), the smokers were thinner than the non-smokers. The percentages of overweight men among the non-smokers, ex-smokers and smokers were 22%, 27% and 14%, respectively (P less than 0.001). Almost all respiratory symptoms were more common in the smokers than in the non-smokers, and the prevalence of cough, phlegm, severe breathlessness and the effect of weather on respiratory symptoms significantly increased with age. Asthma was not associated with age or smoking, nor was socioeconomic status associated with chronic respiratory disease. The ventilatory function, measured by FEV1, FVC and FEV%, was worse in the smokers than in the non-smokers. In addition the slope of FEV% on age was significantly steeper in the ex-smokers and the various groups of smokers than in the non-smokers.