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Balloon valvuloplasty and surgical aortic valvotomy have been the treatment mainstays for congenital aortic stenosis in children. Choice of intervention often differs depending upon centre bias with limited relevant, comparative literature.
This study aims to provide an unbiased, contemporary matched comparison of these balloon and surgical approaches.
Retrospective analysis of patients with congenital aortic valve stenosis who underwent balloon valvuloplasty (Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane) or surgical valvotomy (Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne) between 2005 and 2016. Patients were excluded if pre-intervention assessment indicated ineligibility to either group. Propensity score matching was performed based on age, weight, and valve morphology.
Sixty-five balloon patients and seventy-seven surgical patients were included. Overall, the groups were well matched with 18 neonates/25 infants in the balloon group and 17 neonates/28 infants in the surgical group. Median age at balloon was 92 days (range 2 days – 18.8 years) compared to 167 days (range 0 days – 18.1 years) for surgery (rank-sum p = 0.08). Mean follow-up was 5.3 years. There was one late balloon death and two early surgical deaths due to left ventricular failure. There was no significant difference in freedom from reintervention at latest follow-up (69% in the balloon group and 70% in the surgical group, p = 1.0).
Contemporary analysis of balloon aortic valvuloplasty and surgical aortic valvotomy shows no difference in overall reintervention rates in the medium term. Balloon valvuloplasty performs well across all age groups, achieving delay or avoidance of surgical intervention.
Systemic inflammation has been linked with mood disorder and cognitive impairment. The extent of this relationship remains uncertain, with the effects of serum inflammatory biomarkers compared to genetic predisposition toward inflammation yet to be clearly established.
We investigated the magnitude of associations between C-reactive protein (CRP) measures, lifetime history of bipolar disorder or major depression, and cognitive function (reaction time and visuospatial memory) in 84,268 UK Biobank participants. CRP was measured in serum and a polygenic risk score for CRP was calculated, based on a published genome-wide association study. Multiple regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical confounders.
Increased serum CRP was significantly associated with mood disorder history (Kruskal–Wallis H = 196.06, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.002) but increased polygenic risk for CRP was not (F = 0.668, p = 0.648, η2 < 0.001). Compared to the lowest quintile, the highest serum CRP quintile was significantly associated with both negative and positive differences in cognitive performance (fully adjusted models: reaction time B = −0.030, 95% CI = −0.052, −0.008; visuospatial memory B = 0.066, 95% CI = 0.042, 0.089). More severe mood disorder categories were significantly associated with worse cognitive performance and this was not moderated by serum or genetic CRP level.
In this large cohort study, we found that measured inflammation was associated with mood disorder history, but genetic predisposition to inflammation was not. The association between mood disorder and worse cognitive performance was very small and did not vary by CRP level. The inconsistent relationship between CRP measures and cognitive performance warrants further study.
Twelve hyper-β carotene-producing strains of algae assigned to the genus Dunaliella salina have been isolated from various hypersaline environments in Israel, South Africa, Namibia and Spain. Intron-sizing of the SSU rDNA and phylogenetic analysis of these isolates were undertaken using four commonly employed markers for genotyping, LSU rDNA, ITS, rbcL and tufA and their application to the study of Dunaliella evaluated. Novel isolates have been identified and phylogenetic analyses have shown the need for clarification on the taxonomy of Dunaliella salina. We propose the division of D. salina into four sub-clades as defined by a robust phylogeny based on the concatenation of four genes. This study further demonstrates the considerable genetic diversity within D. salina and the potential of genetic analyses for aiding in the selection of prospective economically important strains.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Adolescent diet, physical activity and nutritional status are generally known to be sub-optimal. This is an introduction to a special issue of papers devoted to exploring factors affecting diet and physical activity in adolescents, including food insecure and vulnerable groups.
Eight settings including urban, peri-urban and rural across sites from five different low- and middle-income countries.
Focus groups with adolescents and caregivers carried out by trained researchers.
Our results show that adolescents, even in poor settings, know about healthy diet and lifestyles. They want to have energy, feel happy, look good and live longer, but their desire for autonomy, a need to ‘belong’ in their peer group, plus vulnerability to marketing exploiting their aspirations, leads them to make unhealthy choices. They describe significant gender, culture and context-specific barriers. For example, urban adolescents had easy access to energy dense, unhealthy foods bought outside the home, whereas junk foods were only beginning to permeate rural sites. Among adolescents in Indian sites, pressure to excel in exams meant that academic studies were squeezing out physical activity time.
Interventions to improve adolescents’ diets and physical activity levels must therefore address structural and environmental issues and influences in their homes and schools, since it is clear that their food and activity choices are the product of an interacting complex of factors. In the next phase of work, the Transforming Adolescent Lives through Nutrition consortium will employ groups of adolescents, caregivers and local stakeholders in each site to develop interventions to improve adolescent nutritional status.
Our research group demonstrated that vitamin A restriction affected meat quality of Angus cross and Simmental steers. Therefore, the aim of this study is to highlight the genotype variations in response to dietary vitamin A levels. Commercial Angus and Simmental steers (n = 32 per breed; initial BW = 337.2 ± 5.9 kg; ~8 months of age) were fed a low-vitamin A (LVA) (1017 IU/kg DM) backgrounding diet for 95 days to reduce hepatic vitamin A stores. During finishing, steers were randomly assigned to treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of genotype × dietary vitamin A concentration. The LVA treatment was a finishing diet with no supplemental vitamin A (723 IU vitamin A/kg DM); the control (CON) was the LVA diet plus supplementation with 2200 IU vitamin A/kg DM. Blood samples were collected at three time points throughout the study to analyze serum retinol concentration. At the completion of finishing, steers were slaughtered at a commercial abattoir. Meat characteristics assessed were intramuscular fat concentration, color, Warner-Bratzler shear force, cook loss and pH. Camera image analysis was used for determination of marbling, 12th rib back fat and longissimus muscle area (LMA). The LVA steers had lower (P < 0.001) serum retinol concentration than CON steers. The LVA treatment resulted in greater (P = 0.03) average daily gain than the CON treatment, 1.52 and 1.44 ± 0.03 kg/day, respectively; however, there was no effect of treatment on final BW, DM intake or feed efficiency. Cooking loss and yield grade were greater and LMA was smaller in LVA steers (P < 0.05). There was an interaction between breed and treatment for marbling score (P = 0.01) and percentage of carcasses grading United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Prime (P = 0.02). For Angus steers, LVA treatment resulted in a 16% greater marbling score than CON (683 and 570 ± 40, respectively) and 27% of LVA Angus steers graded USDA Prime compared with 0% for CON. Conversely, there was no difference in marbling score or USDA Quality Grades between LVA and CON for Simmental steers. In conclusion, feeding a LVA diet during finishing increased marbling in Angus but not in Simmental steers. Reducing the vitamin A level of finishing diets fed to cattle with a high propensity to marble, such as Angus, has the potential to increase economically important traits such as marbling and quality grade without negatively impacting gain : feed or yield grade.
There is a dearth of epidemiological research on psychosis. Most of the published literature is either at a national scale, or compares urban and rural areas. Little is known about how psychosis rates vary within urban areas. Variation in rates would have implications for the aetiology of psychosis
We conducted a retrospective audit of the caseloads of the four Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) in Luton,UK. Caseloads were categorised by diagnoses recorded in the medical notes, and by patient age. We performed a descriptive analysis of the levels of psychosis in each CMHT, considered against multiple population parameters including deprivation and ethnicity as recorded in the 2001 UK census.
Areas with high indices of deprivation, and a large ethnic minority and migrant population, were found to have higher rates of psychosis. There was considerable overlap between areas with large ethnic minority and migrant populations, and areas of high deprivation. We were unable to disentangle this confounder in our audit.
Our findings are consistent with, and build on, the MRC Aetiology & Ethnicity of Schizophrenia & Other Psychoses (AESOP) study which showed variation in psychosis between three urban centers. The increased rates of psychosis observed in areas with large migrant and ethnic minority populations, and in areas of high deprivation, has implications for the planning of local services, and in further understanding the role of environmental factors in the aetiology of psychosis. There is a need for further prospective epidemiological studies at this geographical scale.
People displaying persistent, full-blown psychotic experiences without a need-for-care in the general population are an ideal group to investigate to differentiate those factors that are linked to distress and dysfunction from those that are merely associated with benign anomalous experiences. The UNIQUE study investigated the cognitive and social processes predicted by cognitive models of psychosis to differentiate between benign and pathological outcomes of psychotic experiences (PEs).
Two hundred and fifty-nine individuals were recruited (84 clinical participants with PEs; 92 non-clinical participants with PEs; 83 controls without PEs) from urban (South-East London) and rural (North Wales) UK sites. The three groups were compared on clinical and psychological measures, on reasoning tasks, and on their appraisals of experimental tasks inducing anomalous experiences (of thought interference symptoms and auditory hallucinations).
The clinical picture demonstrated a distinctive pattern of similarities and differences on PEs between the clinical and non-clinical groups, while their demographic and psychological profiles were markedly different. As predicted, the clinical group showed a ‘jump-to-conclusions’ reasoning style, and endorsed more threatening appraisals ratings of the experimentally-induced anomalous experiences than the non-clinical group, who did not differ from the controls.
The results of this study identified a number of specific factors that may be protective against transition to psychosis in individuals with persistent PEs. They also provide robust experimental evidence for the key role of appraisals in determining outcome, as postulated by cognitive models of psychosis.
Medical research Council, UK.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Estimates of the components of nutrient intake variation are needed for modelling distributions of usual intake or predicting the usual intake of individuals. Season is a potential source of variation in nutrient intakes in addition to within- and between-person variation, particularly in low- or middle-income countries. We aimed to describe seasonal variation in nutrient intakes and estimate within-person, between-person and other major components of intake variance among Zambian children. Children from rural villages and peri-urban towns in Mkushi District, Zambia aged 4–8 years were enrolled in the non-intervened arm of a randomised controlled trial of pro-vitamin A carotenoid biofortified maize (n 200). Up to seven 24-h dietary recalls per child were obtained at monthly intervals over a 6-month period covering the late post-harvest (August–October), early lean (November–January) and late lean (February–April) seasons (2012–2013). Nutrient intakes varied significantly by season. For energy and most nutrients, intakes were highest in the early lean season and lower in the late post-harvest and late lean seasons. Season and recall on a market day had the strongest effects on nutrient intakes among covariates examined. Unadjusted within- to between-person variance ratios ranged from 4·5 to 31·3. In components of variance models, season accounted for 3–20 % of nutrient intake variance. Particularly in rural settings in low- and middle-income countries, where availability of locally grown, nutrient-rich foods may vary seasonally, studies should include replicates across seasons to more precisely estimate long-term usual intakes.
This study evaluated the quality of YouTube content focusing on common paediatric otolaryngology procedures, as this content can influence the opinions and medical decisions of patients.
A total of 120 YouTube videos were compiled to review using the terms ‘adenoid removal’, ‘adenoidectomy’, ‘ear tubes’, ‘tympanostomy’, ‘tonsil removal’ and ‘tonsillectomy’. The Discern criteria was used to rate the quality of health information presented in each video.
The mean bias Discern score was 3.18 and the mean overall Discern score was 2.39. Videos including US board certified physicians were rated significantly higher (p < 0.001) than videos without (bias Discern score = 3.00 vs 2.38; overall Discern score = 3.79 vs 1.55). The videos had been viewed a total of 176 769 549 times.
Unbiased, high quality videos on YouTube are lacking. As patients may rely on this information when making medical decisions, it is important that practitioners continually evaluate and improve this video content. Otolaryngologists should be prepared to discuss YouTube content with patients.
As the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension is the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality globally. Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure (BP), has a number of well-established risk factors, including genetics. A common C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding the folate metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) affects 10–12% of UK and Irish populations and has been linked with 24–87% increased risk of hypertension globally. Evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) conducted at this Centre has shown BP to be highly responsive (by 5–13 mmHg) to supplementation with riboflavin (MTHFR co-factor), an effect confined to homozygous individuals (TT genotype). To date, our trials have focused on peripheral BP; however, additional measures of vascular health such as central pressure are reported to be more closely correlated with CVD risk. Investigation of central BP, augmentation index (AIx) and pulse pressure amplification (PPA) may thus offer further insight into the role of this gene-nutrient interaction in blood pressure. The present study aims to investigate BP, and measures of vascular health in healthy adults stratified by MTHFR 677 genotype. Apparently healthy adults aged 18–60 years were recruited from workplaces across Northern Ireland and screened for MTHFR genotype via buccal swab. Clinic BP, anthropometry and blood sample were measured in TT individuals (n 209) and age and sex-matched CC (n 98) and CT (n 102) controls. AIx and central BP were assessed using SphygmoCor® (AtCor Medical, Australia). Preliminary results demonstrate higher BP in individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype compared to non-TT controls (systolic BP 134.7 ± 13.8 mmHg vs 129.7 ± 12.4 mmHg, P < 0.001; diastolic BP 81.6 ± 9.5 mmHg vs 79.7 mmHg ± 8.9 mmHg, P = 0.023, respectively). The MTHFR 677TT genotype group had significantly higher central systolic BP (119.4 ± 11.8 vs 116.7 ± 10.9 mmHg, P = 0.018), central pulse pressure (P = 0.006) and central mean pressure (P = 0.011) compared to the non-TT group. No significant differences for central diastolic BP, pulse pressure amplification, pulse pressure ratio and augmentation index were observed. This study confirms the phenotype of elevated BP in individuals with the C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding MTHFR. For the first time, this study reports that individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype have higher central systolic BP, central mean pressure and pulse pressure. Further investigations through RCTs investigating the effect of the MTHFR cofactor, riboflavin, on central blood pressure in these genetically at-risk adults are warranted.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among older adults, even with dietary intakes well in excess of current recommendations. Severe clinical B12 deficiency (i.e. pernicious anaemia) leads to irreversible neurological damage, but once diagnosed, can be treated effectively with B12 injections. A much more common cause of low vitamin B12 status in older adults is food-bound malabsorption owing to atrophic gastritis. This in turn leads to reduced gastric acid secretion, thus limiting B12 absorption from food (given the essential role of gastric acid in releasing B12 from food proteins). Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs reduce gastric acid secretion, similar to atrophic gastritis, thus there is a concern that these medications may lead to vitamin B12 malabsorption. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate biomarker status of vitamin B12 in relation to atrophic gastritis and PPI usage. Data were accessed from The Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) Ageing Cohort Study, a cross-sectional study of community-dwelling adults (n 5186, ≥ 60 years) recruited across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (2008–2012). TUDA participants were classified into 3 groups; ‘healthy’ controls, atrophic gastritis and PPI users. Vitamin B12 status was assessed using a total of four biomarkers: serum total B12; serum holotranscobalamin, holoTC; plasma methylmalonic acid, MMA; plasma homocysteine. Atrophic gastritis was identified using pepsinogen analysis (via ELISA), with a pepsinogen I : II ratio of < 3 considered indicative of atrophic gastritis. Based on results from all four biomarkers, participants with atrophic gastritis were found to have significantly lower B12 status compared to healthy controls: e.g. mean (95% CI) serum total vitamin B12, 188 (156, 218) pmol/L vs. 262 (252, 272) pmol/L P < 0.001; holoTC, 46.0 (38.1, 53.8) pmol/L vs. 60.3 (57.8, 62.8) pmol/L P < 0.001; plasma MMA, 0.65 (0.52, 0.78) μmol/L vs. 0.37 (0.32, 0.42) μmol/L P = 0.001. No differences in B12 biomarker concentrations were observed between PPI users and healthy controls. Regular consumption of fortified foods (i.e. ≥ 5 portions per week) compared to non-regular consumption (i.e. 0–4 portions per week) impacted positively on B12 biomarker status in all participants. This effect however appeared insufficient to restore normal vitamin B12 status in those with atrophic gastritis. These results show that older adults with atrophic gastritis have significantly lower vitamin B12 biomarker status, particularly in those who did not regularly consume fortified foods. Further investigations of the effect of atrophic gastritis and PPI usage on B12 status are warranted.
A higher intake of food rich in flavonoids such as quercetin can reduce the risk of CVD. Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ®) has a bioavailability 17-fold higher than quercetin aglycone and has shown potential CVD moderating effects in animal studies. The present study aimed to determine whether acute ingestion of EMIQ® improves endothelial function, blood pressure (BP) and cognitive function in human volunteers at risk of CVD. Twenty-five participants (twelve males and thirteen females) with at least one CVD risk factor completed this randomised, controlled, crossover study. In a random order, participants were given EMIQ® (2 mg aglycone equivalent)/kg body weight or placebo alongside a standard breakfast meal. Endothelial function, assessed by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery was measured before and 1·5 h after intervention. BP, arterial stiffness, cognitive function, BP during cognitive stress and measures of quercetin metabolites, oxidative stress and markers of nitric oxide (NO) production were assessed post-intervention. After adjustment for pre-treatment measurements and treatment order, EMIQ® treatment resulted in a significantly higher FMD response compared with the placebo (1·80 (95 % CI 0·23, 3·37) %; P = 0·025). Plasma concentrations of quercetin metabolites were significantly higher (P < 0·001) after EMIQ® treatment compared with the placebo. No changes in BP, arterial stiffness, cognitive function or biochemical parameters were observed. In this human intervention study, the acute administration of EMIQ® significantly increased circulating quercetin metabolites and improved endothelial function. Further clinical trials are required to assess whether health benefits are associated with long-term EMIQ® consumption.
The disproportionate burden of prevalent, persistent pathogens among disadvantaged groups may contribute to socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in long-term health. We assessed if the social patterning of pathogen burden changed over 16 years in a U.S.-representative sample. Data came from 17 660 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants. Pathogen burden was quantified by summing the number of positive serologies for cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, HSV-2, human papillomavirus and Toxoplasma gondii and dividing by the number of pathogens tested, giving a percent-seropositive for each participant. We examined sex- and age-adjusted mean pathogen burdens from 1999–2014, stratified by race/ethnicity and SES (poverty-to-income ratio (PIR); educational attainment). Those with a PIR < 1.3 had a mean pathogen burden 1.4–1.8 times those with a PIR > 3.5, with no change over time. Educational disparities were even greater and showed some evidence of increasing over time, with the mean pathogen burden among those with less than a high school education approximately twice that of those who completed more than high school. Non-Hispanic Black, Mexican American and other Hispanic participants had a mean pathogen burden 1.3–1.9 times non-Hispanic Whites. We demonstrate that socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in pathogen burden have persisted across 16 years, with little evidence that the gap is closing.
We examined race differences in the DSM-IV clinical significance criterion (CSC), an indicator of depressive role impairment, and its impact on assessment outcomes in older white and black women with diagnosed and subthreshold depression.
We conducted a secondary analysis of a community-based interview study, using group comparisons and logistic regression.
Lower-income neighborhoods in a Midwestern city.
411 community-dwelling depressed and non-depressed women ≥ 65 years (45.3% Black; mean age = 75.2, SD = 7.2) recruited through census tract-based telephone screening.
SCID interview for DSM-IV to assess major depression and dysthymia; Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale to define subthreshold depression (≥16 points); Mini-Mental State Examination, count of medical conditions, activities of daily living, and mental health treatment to assess health factors.
Black participants were less likely than Whites to endorse the CSC (11.8% vs. 24.1%; p = .002). There were few race differences in depressive symptom type, severity, or count. Blacks with subthreshold depression endorsed more symptoms, though this comparison was not significant after adjustments. Health factors did not account for race differences in CSC endorsement. Disregarding the CSC-eliminated differences in diagnosis rate, race was a significant predictor of CSC endorsement in a logistic regression.
Race differences in CSC endorsement are not due to depressive symptom presentations or health factors. The use of the CSC may lead to underdiagnosis of depression among black older adults. Subthreshold depression among Blacks may be more severe compared to Whites, thus requiring tailored assessment and treatment approaches.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
We evaluated the performance of three serological tests – an immunoglobulin G indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA), a Rose Bengal test and a slow agglutination test (SAT) – for the diagnosis of bovine brucellosis in Bangladesh. Cattle sera (n = 1360) sourced from Mymensingh district (MD) and a Government owned dairy farm (GF) were tested in parallel. We used a Bayesian latent class model that adjusted for the conditional dependence among the three tests and assumed constant diagnostic accuracy of the three tests in both populations. The sensitivity and specificity of the three tests varied from 84.6% to 93.7%, respectively. The true prevalences of bovine brucellosis in MD and the GF were 0.6% and 20.4%, respectively. Parallel interpretation of iELISA and SAT yielded the highest negative predictive values: 99.9% in MD and 99.6% in the GF; whereas serial interpretation of both iELISA and SAT produced the highest positive predictive value (PPV): 99.9% in the GF and also high PPV (98.9%) in MD. We recommend the use of both iELISA and SAT together and serial interpretation for culling and parallel interpretation for import decisions. Removal of brucellosis positive cattle will contribute to the control of brucellosis as a public health risk in Bangladesh.
Work describing patient and family outcomes after tracheostomy has indicated that patients do not feel prepared at the time of discharge.
To assess healthcare professional–patient interactions in tracheostomy care and the current provision of care.
A global electronic survey was disseminated via e-mail.
The majority of respondents were nursing or speech and language staff, from over 10 countries. Only 23 per cent of respondents’ institutions routinely offered patients the ability to meet people with a tracheostomy pre-operatively. Only 31 per cent consistently provided or co-ordinated full nursing and equipment requirements on discharge. Only half of the institutions participated in tracheostomy quality improvement initiatives; less than one-third of these involved patients.
The provision of tracheostomy care in hospital and at discharge can be improved. The current practice of clinician-led audit is becoming less viable; future initiatives should focus upon patient-centred outcomes to ensure excellence in healthcare delivery.