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The learning hospital is distinguished by ceaseless evolution of erudition, enhancement, and implementation of clinical best practices. We describe a model for the learning hospital within the framework of a hospital infection prevention program and argue that a critical assessment of safety practices is possible without significant grant funding. We reviewed 121 peer-reviewed manuscripts published by the VCU Hospital Infection Prevention Program over 16 years. Publications included quasi-experimental studies, observational studies, surveys, interrupted time series analyses, and editorials. We summarized the articles based on their infection prevention focus, and we provide a brief summary of the findings. We also summarized the involvement of nonfaculty learners in these manuscripts as well as the contributions of grant funding. Despite the absence of significant grant funding, infection prevention programs can critically assess safety strategies under the learning hospital framework by leveraging a diverse collaboration of motivated nonfaculty learners. This model is a valuable adjunct to traditional grant-funded efforts in infection prevention science and is part of a successful horizontal infection control program.
Head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy can experience a number of toxicities, including weight loss and malnutrition, which can impact upon the quality of treatment. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study is to evaluate weight loss and identify predictive factors for this patient group.
Materials and methods
A total of 40 patients treated with radiotherapy since 2012 at the study centre were selected for analysis. Data were collected from patient records. The association between potential risk factors and weight loss was investigated.
Mean weight loss was 5 kg (6%). In all, 24 patients lost >5% starting body weight. Age, T-stage, N-stage, chemotherapy and starting body weight were individually associated with significant differences in weight loss. On multiple linear regression analysis age and nodal status were predictive.
Younger patients and those with nodal disease were most at risk of weight loss. Other studies have identified the same risk factors along with several other variables. The relative significance of each along with a number of other potential factors is yet to be fully understood. Further research is required to help identify patients most at risk of weight loss; and assess interventions aimed at preventing weight loss and malnutrition.
Introduction: Functionally univentricular hearts palliated with superior or total cavopulmonary connection result in circulations in series. The absence of a pre-pulmonary pump means that cardiac output is more difficult to adjust and control. Continuous monitoring of cardiac output is crucial during cardiac catheter interventions and can provide new insights into the complex physiology of these lesions. Materials and methods: The Icon® cardiac output monitor was used to study the changes in cardiac output during catheter interventions in 15 patients (median age: 6.1 years, range: 4.8–15.3 years; median weight: 18.5 kg, range: 15–63 kg) with cavopulmonary circulations. A total of 19 interventions were undertaken in these patients and the observed changes in cardiac output were recorded and analysed. Results: Cardiac output was increased with creation of stent fenestrations after total cavopulmonary connection (median increase of 22.2, range: 6.7%–28.6%) and also with drainage of significant pleural effusions (16.7% increase). Cardiac output was decreased with complete or partial occlusion of fenestrations (median decrease of 10.6, range: 7.1%–13.4%). There was a consistent increase in cardiac output with stenting of obstructive left pulmonary artery lesions (median increase of 7.7, range: 5%–14.3%, p = 0.007). Conclusions: Icon® provides a novel technique for the continuous, non-invasive monitoring of cardiac output. It provides a further adjunct for monitoring of physiologically complex patients during catheter interventions. These results are consistent with previously reported series involving manipulation of fenestrations. This is the first report identifying an increase in cardiac output with stenting of obstructive pulmonary arterial lesions.
While health warnings are present on cigarette packs around the world, the nature of the warnings varies considerably between countries. In the United States, a small text warning citing the dangers of cigarette smoking is found on the side of all packs. This pilot study sought to determine whether graphic cigarette warning images, like those found in the United Kingdom and Canada, were better at decreasing cravings to smoke than existing text warnings found on cigarette packs in the United States. Twenty-five smokers seeking treatment to quit at a specialty tobacco treatment program were administered the Brief Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU — BRIEF), a validated measure of craving, prior to and following exposure to cigarette pack warning images. The graphic cigarette warning images reduced cravings to smoke (6.20 point decrease) more than neutral images (3.36 point decrease) and current text warnings used in the United States (5.75 point decrease), although this difference was not statistically significant. Based on these pilot data, a larger study could further examine the effectiveness of graphic warning images and whether such warnings hold an advantage over the currently used text warnings.
We describe the clinical, microbiologic, and molecular features of the first series of qacA/B-containing strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from infected US patients. All qac-carrying strains were clonally diverse, and qacA strains exhibited increased tolerance to chlorhexidine as measured by minimum inhibitory concentrations, minimum bactericidal concentrations, and postexposure colony counts.
To analyze a decade of hospital staff and student exposures to blood and body fluids (BBF) and to identify risk factors relevant to prevention strategies.
Retrospective review of a 1999–2008 data set of BBF exposures. The data, maintained by occupational health staff, detailed the type of exposure, the setting in which the exposure occurred, and the occupational group of the BBF-exposed personnel.
Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA-DC), an inner-city tertiary care hospital.
All healthcare workers and staff at the VA-DC.
Review of database.
A review of 10 years of data revealed 564 occupational exposures to BBF, of which 66% were caused by needlesticks and 20% were caused by sharp objects. Exposures occurred most often in the acute care setting (which accounted for 39% of exposures) and the operating room (which accounted for 22%). There was a mean of 4.9 exposures per 10,000 acute care patient-days, 0.5 exposures per 10,000 long-term care patient-days, and 0.35 exposures per 10,000 outpatient visits. Housestaff accounted for the highest number of all exposures (196 [35%]). There were, on average, 15.2 exposures per 100 housestaff full-time equivalents. An average of only 1 exposure per year occurred in the hemodialysis center.
Occupational exposures to BBF remain common, but rates vary widely by setting and occupational group. Overall rates are steady across a decade, despite the use of various antiexposure devices and provider education programs. Targeting occupational groups and hospital settings that have been shown to have the highest risk rates should become foundational to future preventative strategies.
To our knowledge, no comprehensive, interdisciplinary initiatives have been taken to examine the role of genetic variants on patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes. The overall objective of this paper is to describe the establishment of an international and interdisciplinary consortium, the GENEQOL Consortium, which intends to investigate the genetic disposition of patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes. We have identified five primary patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes as initial targets: negative psychological affect, positive psychological affect, self-rated physical health, pain, and fatigue. The first tangible objective of the GENEQOL Consortium is to develop a list of potential biological pathways, genes and genetic variants involved in these quality-of-life outcomes, by reviewing current genetic knowledge. The second objective is to design a research agenda to investigate and validate those genes and genetic variants of patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes, by creating large datasets. During its first meeting, the Consortium has discussed draft summary documents addressing these questions for each patient-reported quality-of-life outcome. A summary of the primary pathways and robust findings of the genetic variants involved is presented here. The research agenda outlines possible research objectives and approaches to examine these and new quality-of-life domains. Intriguing questions arising from this endeavor are discussed. Insight into the genetic versus environmental components of patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes will ultimately allow us to explore new pathways for improving patient care. If we can identify patients who are susceptible to poor quality of life, we will be able to better target specific clinical interventions to enhance their quality of life and treatment outcomes.
Emergency medicine continues to grow as an international specialty. With >30 countries developing emergency medicine training, supporting international physician education is imperative. The proposed Emergency Medicine International (EMI) observational fellowship is a systematic model for the academic and experiential training of future leaders.
This program is a result of interest in academic emergency medicine and the responsibility of the educational institution. A literature review on the international development of emergency medicine was performed and the weaknesses were assessed. Based on this review, the goals for EMI are providing: (1) leadership; (2) exposure to education training models; and (3) research instruction. The EMI structure consists of four blocks: (1) emergency medicine clinical rotations; (2) emergency medical services (EMS) experience; (3) medical toxicology exposure; and (4) emergency medicine operations/administration. All blocks are tailored to the training background and interests of participants such as focusing on education methodology (conference organization, simulation) or departmental operations (quality improvement, faculty development). Overlapping all blocks is crucial to education in research methodology and evidence-based practice of medicine.
Assessment of the program includes pre-/post-survey completion by participants and yearly post-fellowship contact tracking the development of emergency medicine in their country.
While different types of organizations can assist in other ways, only academic emergency medicine can help grow and mentor faculty to expand the specialty worldwide.
Hog producers in Indiana and Nebraska were surveyed about sources of risk, effectiveness of risk management strategies, and prior participation in and desire for additional risk management education. Ownership of hogs by the producer, size of the operation, and age did have significant effects on ratings of both sources of risk and effectiveness of risk management strategies. Probit analysis found age, prior attendance, knowledge and prior use of the tool, level of integration, and concern about price and performance risk have significant effects on interest in further education about production contracts, futures and options, packer marketing contracts, and financial management.
We have taken a unique approach to the synthesis and study of hybrid organic/inorganic materials. Our method involves synthesizing nano-size inorganic P1R7Si8O12 clusters which contain seven inert “R” groups for solubility and only one functional “P” group for polymerization. This strategy permits the synthesis of melt processable, linear hybrid polymers containing pendent inorganic clusters and allows us to study the effect these clusters have on chain motions and polymer properties. The synthesis of norbomenyl-based polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) macromers, their ring opening metathesis copolymerizations with varying amounts of norbornene, and analysis of the effect of the pendent POSS group is presented. The mechanical relaxation behavior and microstructure of norbornyl-POSS hybrid copolymers have been examined for their dependencies on the mole fraction of POSS-norbornyl monomer, as well as for potential sensitivity to the seven inert “R” groups present in each POSS macromer. POSS copolymerization is observed to enhance the α-relaxation temperature, Tα, in proportion to the mole fraction of POSS-norbornyl comonomer. Interestingly, however, the magnitude of this dependence is larger for POSS-norbornyl comonomer possessing cyclohexyl groups (CyPOSS) than for cyclopentyl groups (CpPOSS). While POSS copolymerization yields only slight enhancement of the tensile storage modulus measured near room temperature, at temperatures lower than a strong mechanical relaxation (β-relaxation near T = -75 °C), there is a significant POSS-reinforcement of the storage modulus.
Non-alloyed ohmic contacts of HgTe on Hg1−xCdxTe (x = 0.60) with metallisations of Ti, In and Au have been investigated. Layers of HgTe with thickness in the range from 0.1 μm to 1.0 μm were grown by organometallic epitaxy either as an abrubt or a graded junction, depending on the in-situ annealing conditions. The layer thickness and the extent of interdiffusion with the Hg1−CdxTe were determined using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). The results have shown that an abrupt rather than a graded structure was essential in order to achieve the minimum value of specific contact resistance, ρc, of ≈5 × 10−5 Ωcm2. In addition, a critical thickness of HgTe (≥0.2 μm) was required in order to obtain a substantial reduction in ρc. For these metal/HgTe/Hg1−xCdxTe contacts, the metal Ti has produced the lowest values of ρc and greatest adhesion to the HgTe. Both of these properties have been attributed to the strong interfacial reaction of the overlayer of Ti with HgTe.
The incidence of compositional and structural inhomogenieties in MSM detectors based on Hg1−xCdxTe/GaAs and Hg1−xCdxTe/GaAs/Si has been examined by nuclear microprobe. With a 2 MeV He+ beam focussed to ≤5 μm, the microprobe has demonstrated the capability for RBS channelling in the active region of a Hg1−xCdxTe device and the imaging of defects by Channelling Contrast Microscopy (CCM). A series of linear growth defects in some Hg1−xCdxTe devices were identified using CCM. The channelling RBS spectra from these regions have shown an increase in χmin compared with the surrounding high quality crystal. The occurence of these defects was associated with a degradation in the performance of affected devices in an array. RBS spectra have also revealed the presence of an anomalous CdTe layer, correlating with a significant reduction in dark current and increase in breakdown voltage of these devices. RBS channelling of individual devices has identified differences in χmin between arrays which were prepared under equivalent conditions of growth and processing.
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