OBJECTIVES: Patient-based health status measures have an important role to play in the assessment of health care outcomes. Among these measures, global assessments increasingly have been used, although the understanding of the performance of these indicators and the determinants of patients responses is underdeveloped. In this study, the performance of a single-item global indicator of visual function in cataract patients of four international settings was compared. METHODS: Visual acuity and ocular comorbidity was assessed by patients' ophthalmologist using Snellen-type charts in patients referred for a first cataract surgery in the United States, Manitoba (Canada), Denmark, and Barcelona (Spain). Patients also were interviewed by telephone and asked to report overall trouble with vision on a single-item indicator ("great deal," "moderate," "a little," "none") and to complete the Visual Functioning Index (VF-14), a scale of visual function ranging from 0 (worst function) to 100 (best level of function), along with other questions including the degree the patient was bothered by symptoms as measured by the Cataract Symptom Score (CSS). A total of 1,407 patients completed the clinical examination and the preoperative interview. RESULTS: Distribution of overall trouble with vision varied across the sites, with the proportion of patients reporting a great deal of trouble ranging from 21.7% to 37.9%. In all sites, patients reporting more trouble with vision tended to show a poorer age-adjusted and sex-adjusted visual acuity. The proportion of patients reporting great deal of trouble with vision was higher in the groups with worse visual acuity (P
The adverse respiratory health effects of dampness and mould in the home have been extensively reported, but few studies have evaluated the health effects of such exposures in schools.
To assess the associations between dampness and mould in school buildings and respiratory symptoms among 6-12-year-old pupils in three European countries with different climates.
Based on information from self-reports and observations, we selected 29 primary schools with and 27 without moisture damage in Spain, the Netherlands and Finland. Information on respiratory symptoms and potential determinants was obtained using a parent-administered questionnaire among 6-12-year-old pupils. Country-specific associations between moisture damage and respiratory symptoms were evaluated using multivariable multilevel mixed effects logistic regression analysis.
Data from 9271 children were obtained. Nocturnal dry cough was consistently associated with moisture damage at school in each of the three countries: OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.30 with p for heterogeneity 0.54. Finnish children attending a moisture damaged school more often had wheeze (OR 1.36; CI 1.04 to 1.78), nasal symptoms (OR 1.34; CI 1.05 to 1.71) and respiratory-related school absence (OR 1.50; CI 1.10 to 2.03). No associations with these symptoms were found in the Netherlands or Spain (p for heterogeneity
Comment In: Occup Environ Med. 2013 Oct;70(10):679-8023940192
Respiratory health effects of damp housing are well recognised, but less is known about the effect of dampness and water damage in schools. The HITEA study previously reported a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms in pupils from moisture damaged schools, but the role of specific microbial exposures remained unclear.
To study associations between school dampness, levels of fungal and bacterial markers, respiratory symptoms and lung function in children.
Primary schools in Spain, the Netherlands and Finland were selected on the basis of the observed presence (n=15) or absence (n=10) of moisture, dampness and/or mould. Settled dust was repeatedly sampled in 232 classrooms and levels of 14 different microbial markers and groups of microbes were determined. Parental reports of respiratory symptoms were available from 3843 children aged 6-12 years, of whom 2736 provided acceptable forced spirometry testing. Country-specific associations between exposure and respiratory health were evaluated by multilevel mixed-effects logistic and linear regression models and combined using random-effects meta-analysis.
The prevalence of respiratory symptoms was higher in moisture damaged schools, being more pronounced in Finnish pupils. Effects on lung function were not apparent. Levels of microbial markers were generally higher in moisture damaged schools, varied by season and were lower in Finnish schools. Wheeze tended to be inversely associated with microbial levels. All other respiratory symptoms were not consistently associated with microbial marker levels.
Health effects of moisture and microbial exposures may vary between countries, but this requires further study.
To report the effects of bleach use at home on the frequency of infections in 9102 school-age children participating in the HITEA project.
Parents of pupils aged 6-12 years from schools in Barcelona province (Spain), Utrecht province (the Netherlands) and Eastern and Central Finland were administered a questionnaire including questions on the frequency of infections (influenza, tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis, bronchitis and pneumonia) in the past 12 months and bleach use at home. We developed multivariable mixed-effects multilogistic regression models to obtain relative risk ratios (RRR) and their 95% CI per country, and combined the RRR using random-effects meta-analyses.
Bleach use was common in Spain (72%, n=1945) and uncommon in Finland (7%, n=279). Overall, the prevalence of infections (recurrent or once) was higher among children of bleach users. Significant combined associations were shown for influenza only once (RRR=1.20, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.38), recurrent tonsillitis (RRR=1.35, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.71) and any infection (RRR=1.18, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.38).
Passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse effects on school-age children's health by increasing the risk of respiratory and other infections. The high frequency of use of disinfecting irritant cleaning products may be of public health concern, also when exposure occurs during childhood.
To describe international variation in anesthesia care and monitoring during cataract surgery and to discuss its implications for cost and safety.
A standardized questionnaire was sent to random samples of ophthalmologists in the United States, Canada, and Barcelona, Spain, and to all ophthalmologists in Denmark. The survey was conducted in 1993 and 1994. Certified ophthalmologists who had performed 1 or more cataract extractions in the previous year were eligible for enrollment.
The response rates were 62% in the United States (n=148), 67% in Canada (n=276), 70% in Barcelona (n=89), and 80% in Denmark (n=82). The anesthetic technique for cataract surgery varied significantly between sites (P
OBJECTIVES: To describe international variation in the management of patients with cataacts in 4 health care systems and to discuss the potential implications for cost and utilization of services. DESIGN: To characterize current clinical practice on patients with no coexisting medical or ocular conditions, a standardized questionnaire was sent to random samples of ophthalmologists in the United States (response rate, 82.5%), Canada (66.9%), and Barcelona, Spain (70.4%), and to all ophthalmologists in Denmark (80.1%). From the United States, 526 ophthalmologists who performed cataract surgery participated in the study; there were 276 from Canada, 89 from Barcelona, and 82 from Denmark. RESULTS: Although in all 4 sites most surgeons reported that they performed A-scanning, fundus examination, and refraction routinely before surgery, significant crossnational variation was observed in preoperative ophthalmic and medical testing. While preoperative medical tests were virtually unused in Denmark, they were widely used in the other sites. A significantly higher proportion of the surgeons in the United States and Barcelona reported that they performed less than 100 extractions per year compared with surgeons in Canada and Denmark (P
The patient's perspective about waiting for elective surgery is an important consideration in the management of waiting lists, yet it has received little attention to date. This study was undertaken to assess the acceptability of personal waiting times from the perspective of patients, and to examine waiting time and patient characteristics associated with the perception that a wait for cataract surgery is too long. The international prospective study was conducted in three sites with explicit waiting systems: Manitoba, Canada; Denmark; and Barcelona, Spain. Patients over the age of 50 years were recruited consecutively from ophthalmologists' practices at the time of their enlistment for first-eye cataract surgery. Anticipated waiting time, opinions about personal waiting time, and patients' visual and health characteristics were identified by means of telephone interviews. The 550 patients interviewed at the time of enlistment for surgery anticipated waits varying from
BACKGROUND/AIMS: International comparisons of clinical practice may help in assessing the magnitude and possible causes of variation in cross national healthcare utilisation. With this aim, the indications for cataract surgery in the United States, Denmark, the province of Manitoba (Canada), and the city of Barcelona (Spain) were compared. METHODS: In a prospective multicentre study, patients scheduled for first eye cataract surgery and aged 50 years or older were enrolled consecutively. From the United States 766 patients were enrolled; from Denmark 291; from Manitoba 152; and from Barcelona 200. Indication for surgery was measured as preoperative visual status of patients enlisted for cataract surgery. Main variables were preoperative visual acuity in operative eye, the VF-14 score (an index of functional impairment in patients with cataract) and ocular comorbidity. RESULTS: Mean visual acuity were 0.23 (USA), 0.17 (Denmark), 0.15 (Manitoba), and 0.07 (Barcelona) (p 0.05). Mean VF-14 scores were 76 (USA), 76 (Denmark), 71 (Manitoba), and 64 (Barcelona) (p