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Introduction: An increasing number of Canadian paramedic services are creating Community Paramedic programs targeting treatment of long-term care (LTC) patients on-site. We explored the characteristics, clinical course and disposition of LTC patients cared for by paramedics during an emergency call, and the possible impact of Community Paramedic programs. Methods: We completed a health records review of paramedic call reports and emergency department (ED) records between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. We utilized paramedic dispatch data to identify emergency calls originating from LTC centers resulting in transport to one of the two EDs of the Ottawa Hospital. We excluded patients with absent vital signs, a Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) score of 1, and whose transfer to hospital were deferrable or scheduled. We stratified remaining cases by month and selected cases using a random number generator to meet our apriori sample size. We collected data using a piloted standardized form. We used descriptive statistics and categorized patients into groups based on the ED care received and if the treatment received fit into current paramedic medical directives. Results: Characteristics of the 381 included patients were mean age 82.5 years, 58.5% female, 59.7% hypertension, 52.6% dementia and 52.1% cardiovascular disease. On arrival at hospital, 57.7% of patients waited in offload delay for a median time of 45 minutes (IQR 33.5-78.0). We could identify 4 groups: 1) Patients requiring no treatment or diagnostics in the ED (7.9%); 2) Patients receiving ED treatment within current paramedic medical directives and no diagnostics (3.2%); 3) Patients requiring diagnostics or ED care outside current paramedic directives (54.9%); and 4) patients requiring admission (34.1%). Most patients were discharged from the ED (65.6%), and 1.1% died. The main ED diagnoses were infection (18.6%) and musculoskeletal injury (17.9%). Of the patients that required ED care but were discharged, 64.1% required x-rays, 42.1% CT, and 3.4% ultrasound. ED care included intravenous fluids (35.7%), medication (67.5%), antibiotics (29.4%), non-opioid analgesics (29.4%) and opioids (20.7%). Overall, 11.1% of patients didn't need management beyond current paramedic capabilities. Conclusion: Many LTC patients could receive care by paramedics on-site within current medical directives and avoid a transfer to the ED. This group could potentially grow using Community Paramedics with an expanded scope of practice.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) crowding, long waits for care, and paramedic offload delay are of increasing concern. Older adults living in long-term care (LTC) are more likely to utilize the ED and are vulnerable to adverse events. We sought to identify existing programs that seek to avoid ED visits from LTC facilities where allied health professionals are the primary providers of the intervention and, to evaluate their efficacy and safety. Methods: We completed this systematic review based on a protocol we published apriori and following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. We systematically searched Medline, CINAHL and EMBASE with terms relating to long-term care, emergency services, hospitalization and allied health personnel. Two investigators independently selected studies and extracted data using a piloted standardized form and evaluated the risk of bias of included studies. We report a narrative synthesis grouped by intervention categories. Results: We reviewed 11,176 abstracts and included 22 studies. Most studies were observational and few assessed patient safety. We found five categories of interventions including: 1) use of advanced practice nursing; 2) a program called Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT); 3) end-of-life care; 4) condition specific interventions; and 5) use of extended care paramedics. Of the 13 studies that reported ED visits, all (100%) reported a decrease, and of the 16/17 that reported hospitalization, 94.1% reported a decrease. Patient adverse events such as functional status and relapse were seldom reported (6/22) as were measures of emergency system function such as crowding/inability of paramedics to transfer care to the ED (1/22). Only 4/22 studies evaluated patient mortality and 3/4 found a non-statistically significant worsening. When measured, studies reported decreased hospital length of stay, more time spent with patients by allied health professionals and cost savings. Conclusion: We found five types of programs/interventions which all demonstrated a decrease in ED visits or hospitalization. Many identified programs focused on improved primary care for patients. Interventions addressing acute care issues such as those provided by community paramedics, patient preferences, and quality of life indicators all deserve more study.
Introduction: Children account for a low proportion of paramedic transports. Evidence suggests that many pediatric transports are of low acuity, but there are few studies comparing these patients to those that self-present to the ED. Our primary objective was to determine if illness severity was associated with presentation by ambulance among pediatric patients. Methods: We undertook a single centre, retrospective cohort study at a tertiary care pediatric centre. All patients presenting to the ED in 2015 by any route other than air ambulance were eligible. Patients were divided into two groups based on the route of presentation – ambulance or self-presentation. The primary outcome was disposition decision; the secondary outcome was CTAS level. To determine whether patient discharge disposition or CTAS was associated with the method of arrival, we conducted generalized estimating equations (GEE) to account for correlation within patients with multiple ED visits. Results: Of the 69,092 visits, 69,034 were eligible and analyzed. Of those, 4478 (6.5%) arrived by ambulance, while 64,556 (93.5) self-presented. Those arriving by ambulance had a median age of 10 years [IQR: 2-5 years] vs. 4 years [IQR: 1.75-10 years] in the self-presenting group and were 52.6% male (vs. 52.8%). Two percent of the ambulance cohort were admitted to the ICU (vs. 0.2%), and 16.6% were admitted to the ward (vs. 5%). Patients presenting by ambulance had higher CTAS scores – 5.3% CTAS 1 (vs. 0.3%), 16.4% CTAS 2 (vs. 7.0%), 61.2% CTAS 3 (vs. 45.8%), and 17.1% CTAS 4-5 (vs. 46.9%). The odds of arriving by ambulance were 10.2 x higher for patients admitted to the ICU (OR = 10.2, 95%CI: 7.9 to 13.3) vs. those discharged home. The odds of arriving by ambulance were 64.2 x (OR = 64.2, 95% CI: 48.6 to 84.7) higher for patients CTAS 1 patients vs. CTAS 5 patients. The top 3 complaints among ambulance patients were neurological (22.5%), respiratory (22.7%), and orthopaedic (11.3%). Among self-presenting patients, the top three were general/minor (20.4%), respiratory (16.4%), and gastrointestinal (14.3%). Conclusion: Children presenting to the ED via ambulance are at higher risk for admission to the ward and critical care unit. It is important that paramedics have sufficient training to ensure adequate skills to manage critically ill children. Given the low proportion but higher severity of illness of pediatric transports, further research and consideration must be given to how best to enable paramedics in the management of children.
This chapter reviews the literature on social intelligence (SI) as it has evolved over the century since Thorndike (1920) popularized the concept. Most research on SI has been guided by an ability view, and an analogy to IQ, as exemplified by the George Washington University Social Intelligence Test, and the “behavioral” contents in Guilford’s Structure of Intellect. The assessment of SI is important for the assessment of intellectual disability (mental retardation) and the autistic spectrum, but raises the question of whether SI is a qualitatively different form of intelligence, or simply general intelligence applied in social situations. The chapter proposes an alternative knowledge view of SI as the fund of declarative and procedural knowledge which the individual brings to bear on social interactions, especially in the pursuit of important life tasks.
Bioelectronics requires versatile, efficient, and low-cost interfaces between the biological entities and the conductive unit. Conductive polymers represent a valid choice to assemble such interfaces able to extract or impinge charges between the biological units and the conductive electronic systems. A drawback in the use of such systems is that the polymerization reaction often takes place in environments whose chemical and physical characteristics clash with the mild conditions required for living biological systems. In the present work, we successfully prove that the conductive polymer poly(gallic acid) can be synthesized in medium designed for bacterial growth, characterised by the presence of several adverse conditions including numerous chemicals, high ionic strength, and almost neutral pH. The gallic acid successfully polymerizes within few hours and with a 40% yield, by exploiting the catalytic activity of the enzyme laccase from the polypore mushroom Trametes versicolor. The resulting polymer is characterised by absorption and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopies. The viability of Rhodobacter sphaeroides culture, assessed via the coffee-ring technique, shows an important, but not complete detrimental effect of the gallic acid on the bacterial growth.
Disturbed sleep and activity are prominent features of bipolar disorder type I (BP-I). However, the relationship of sleep and activity characteristics to brain structure and behavior in euthymic BP-I patients and their non-BP-I relatives is unknown. Additionally, underlying genetic relationships between these traits have not been investigated.
Relationships between sleep and activity phenotypes, assessed using actigraphy, with structural neuroimaging (brain) and cognitive and temperament (behavior) phenotypes were investigated in 558 euthymic individuals from multi-generational pedigrees including at least one member with BP-I. Genetic correlations between actigraphy-brain and actigraphy-behavior associations were assessed, and bivariate linkage analysis was conducted for trait pairs with evidence of shared genetic influences.
More physical activity and longer awake time were significantly associated with increased brain volumes and cortical thickness, better performance on neurocognitive measures of long-term memory and executive function, and less extreme scores on measures of temperament (impulsivity, cyclothymia). These associations did not differ between BP-I patients and their non-BP-I relatives. For nine activity-brain or activity-behavior pairs there was evidence for shared genetic influence (genetic correlations); of these pairs, a suggestive bivariate quantitative trait locus on chromosome 7 for wake duration and verbal working memory was identified.
Our findings indicate that increased physical activity and more adequate sleep are associated with increased brain size, better cognitive function and more stable temperament in BP-I patients and their non-BP-I relatives. Additionally, we found evidence for pleiotropy of several actigraphy-behavior and actigraphy-brain phenotypes, suggesting a shared genetic basis for these traits.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly heritable mood disorder with complex genetic architecture and poorly understood etiology. Previous transcriptomic BD studies have had inconsistent findings due to issues such as small sample sizes and difficulty in adequately accounting for confounders like medication use.
We performed a differential expression analysis in a well-characterized BD case-control sample (Nsubjects = 480) by RNA sequencing of whole blood. We further performed co-expression network analysis, functional enrichment, and cell type decomposition, and integrated differentially expressed genes with genetic risk.
While we observed widespread differential gene expression patterns between affected and unaffected individuals, these effects were largely linked to lithium treatment at the time of blood draw (FDR < 0.05, Ngenes = 976) rather than BD diagnosis itself (FDR < 0.05, Ngenes = 6). These lithium-associated genes were enriched for cell signaling and immune response functional annotations, among others, and were associated with neutrophil cell-type proportions, which were elevated in lithium users. Neither genes with altered expression in cases nor in lithium users were enriched for BD, schizophrenia, and depression genetic risk based on information from genome-wide association studies, nor was gene expression associated with polygenic risk scores for BD.
These findings suggest that BD is associated with minimal changes in whole blood gene expression independent of medication use but emphasize the importance of accounting for medication use and cell type heterogeneity in psychiatric transcriptomic studies. The results of this study add to mounting evidence of lithium's cell signaling and immune-related mechanisms.
Introduction: Oxygen is commonly administered to prehospital patients presenting with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We conducted a systematic review to determine if oxygen administration, in AMI, impacts patient outcomes. Methods: We conducted a systematic search using MeSH terms and keywords in Medline, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central, clinicaltrials.gov and ISRCTN for relevant randomized controlled trials and observational studies comparing oxygen administration and no oxygen administration. The outcomes of interest were: mortality (≤30 days, in-hospital, and intermediate 2-11 months), infarct size, and major adverse cardiac events (MACE). Risk of Bias assessments were performed and GRADE methodology was employed to assess quality and overall confidence in the effect estimate. A meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5 software. Results: Our search yielded 1192 citations of which 48 studies were reviewed as full texts and a total of 8 studies were included in the analysis. All evidence was considered low or very low quality. Five studies reported on mortality finding low quality evidence of no benefit or harm. Low quality evidence demonstrated no benefit or harm from supplemental oxygen administration. Similarly, no benefit or harm was found in MACE or infarct size (very low quality). Normoxia was defined as oxygen saturation measured via pulse oximetry at ≥90% in one recent study and ≥94% in another. Conclusion: We found low and very low quality evidence that the administration of supplemental oxygen to normoxic patients experiencing AMI, provides no clear harm nor benefit for mortality or MACE. The evidence on infarct size was inconsistent and warrants further prospective examination.
Introduction: Opioids are routinely administered for analgesia to prehospital patients experiencing chest discomfort from acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We conducted a systematic review to determine if opioid administration impacts patient outcomes. Methods: We conducted a systematic search using MeSH terms and keywords in Medline, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central and Clinicaltrials.gov for relevant randomized controlled trials and observational studies comparing opioid administration in AMI patients from 1990 to 2017. The outcomes of interest were: all-cause short-term mortality (≤30 days), major adverse cardiac events (MACE), platelet activity and aggregation, immediate adverse events, infarct size, and analgesia. Included studies were hand searched for additional citations. Risk of Bias assessments were performed and GRADE methodology was employed to assess quality and overall confidence in the effect estimate. Results: Our search yielded 3001 citations of which 19 studies were reviewed as full texts and a total of 9 studies were included in the analysis. The studies predominantly reported on morphine as the opioid. Five studies reported on mortality (≤30 days), seven on MACE, four on platelet activity and aggregation, two on immediate adverse events, two on infarct size and none on analgesic effect. We found low quality evidence suggesting no benefit or harm in terms of mortality or MACE. However, low quality evidence indicates that opioids increase infarct size. Low-quality evidence also shows reduced serum P2Y12 (eg: clopidogrel and ticagrelor) active metabolite levels and increased platelet reactivity in the first several hours post administration following an increase in vomiting. Conclusion: We find low and very low quality evidence that the administration of opioids in STEMI may be adversely related to vomiting and some surrogate outcomes including increased infarct size, reduced serum P2Y12 levels, and increased platelet activity. We found no clear benefit or harm on patient-oriented clinical outcomes including mortality.
Introduction: Children account for a low proportion of paramedic transports. Evidence suggests that many pediatric transports are of low acuity, but there are few studies comparing these patients to those that self-present to the ED. Our primary objective was to determine if illness severity was associated with presentation by ambulance among pediatric patients. Methods: We undertook a single centre, retrospective cohort study at a tertiary care pediatric centre. All patients presenting to the ED in 2015 by any route other than air ambulance were eligible. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on the route of presentation – ambulance or self-presentation. The primary outcome was disposition decision; the secondary outcome was CTAS level. To determine whether patient discharge disposition or CTAS was associated with method of arrival, we conducted generalized estimating equations (GEE) to account for correlation within patients with multiple ED visits. Results: Of the 69,092 visits, 69,034 were eligible and analyzed. Of those, 4478 arrived by ambulance, while 64,556 self-presented. Those arriving by ambulance had a median age of 10 years [IQR: 2-5 years] vs. 4 years [IQR: 1.75-10 years] in the self-presenting group, and were 52.6% male (vs. 52.8%). Two percent of the ambulance cohort were admitted to the ICU (vs. 0.2%), and 16.6% were admitted to the ward (vs. 5%). Patients presenting by ambulance had higher CTAS scores – 5.3% CTAS 1 (vs. 0.3%), 16.4% CTAS 2 (vs. 7.0% ), 61.2% CTAS 3 (vs. 45.8%), and 17.1% CTAS 4-5 (vs. 46.9%). The odds of arriving by ambulance were 10.2 x higher for patients admitted to the ICU (OR = 10.2, 95%CI: 7.9 to 13.3) vs. those discharged home. The odds of arriving by ambulance was 64.2 x (OR = 64.2, 95% CI: 48.6 to 84.7) higher for patients CTAS 1 patients vs. CTAS 5 patients. The top 3 complaints among ambulance patients were respiratory (22.7%), orthopedic (14.7%), and general/minor (10.3%). Among self-presenting patients, the top three were general/minor (22.5%), respiratory (18.0%), and gastrointestinal (15.7%). Conclusion: Children presenting to the ED via ambulance are at higher risk for admission to the ward and critical care unit. It is important that EMS staff responsible for transporting children be well trained in managing critically ill children. Given the low proportion of pediatric transports, consideration must be given to how best to train EMS services in managing these children.