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Background: Although small- and medium-sized hospitals comprise most healthcare providers in South Korea, data on antibiotic usage is limited in these facilities. We evaluated the pattern of antibiotic usage and its appropriateness in hospitals with <400 beds in South Korea. Methods: A multicenter retrospective study was conducted in 10 hospitals (6 long-term care hospitals, 3 acute-care hospitals, and 1 orthopedic hospital), with <400 beds in South Korea. We analyzed patterns of antibiotic prescription and their appropriateness in the participating hospitals. Data on the monthly antibiotic prescriptions and patient days for hospitalized patients were collected using electronic databases from each hospital. To avoid the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, data were collected from January to December 2019. For the evaluation of the appropriateness of the prescription, 25 patients under antibiotic therapy were randomly selected at each hospital over 2 separate periods. Due to the heterogeneity of their characteristics, the orthopedics hospital was excluded from the analysis. The collected data were reviewed, and the appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated by 5 specialists in infectious diseases (adult and pediatric). Data from 2 hospitals were assigned to each specialist. The appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated from 3 aspects: route of administration, dose, and class. If the 3 aspects were ‘optimal,’ the prescription was considered ‘optimal.’ If only the route was ‘optimal,’ and the dose and/or class was ‘suboptimal,’ but not ‘inappropriate,’ it was considered ‘suboptimal.’ If even 1 aspect was ‘inappropriate,’ it was classified as ‘inappropriate.’ Results: The most commonly prescribed antibiotics in long-term care hospitals was fluoroquinolone, followed by β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor (antipseudomonal). In acute-care hospitals, these were third-generation cephalosporin, followed by first-generation cephalosporin and second-generation cephalosporin. The major antibiotics that were prescribed in the orthopedics hospital was first-generation cephalosporin. Only 2.3% of the antibiotics were administered inappropriately. In comparison, 15.3% of patients were prescribed an inappropriate dose. The proportion of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions was 30.6% of the total antibiotic prescriptions. Conclusions: The antibiotic usage patterns vary between small- and medium-sized hospitals in South Korea. The proportion of inappropriate prescriptions exceeded 30% of the total antibiotic prescriptions.
Adverse effects of intoxicated driving have been well documented over the years, with clear conclusions. In addition, it is evident that the cognitive and neurological functions and reaction times deteriorate with the consumption of alcohol. Addressing the lack of literature on the subject, this paper focuses on studying the effects of alcohol on manoeuvring, navigational and decision-making ability in ship navigation. Ten participants – five cadets and five experienced navigation officers – volunteered and carried out a standard manoeuvre using a computer-controlled vessel simulator, under three different blood alcohol concentrations (0⋅00%, 0⋅05% and 0⋅08% BAC). Results from the simulations were used to assess the performance and the decision-making ability of participants under the influence of alcohol. In addition, the responses and behaviour of the simulated vessel when the navigators were intoxicated were analysed. Workload experienced by participants during the simulations were also assessed using the NASA Task Load Index. Findings of this preliminary study proved that the ability to make the correct decisions at the right time was drastically deteriorated when the blood alcohol concentration was increased.
There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
The potential of digital solutions and legal tech (LT) for increasing access to justice is real. Although many LT developments focus on innovation of law practices, in several countries we see LT as champion of access to justice. These typically are new types of players in the market that provide legal services directly to the public. Even though practice-based evidence shows their positive impact, legal services regulations struggle to catch up and facilitate these developments. They, as a matter of fact, may actually hamper access to justice improvements. In that respect, it is illustrative that private investors acknowledge the potential of LT, but only dared to invest 2.8 per cent of their $1 billion total investments in 2018 in customer-facing services.1
The caridean shrimp family Chlorotocellidae has so far not been reported from Korean waters. One of the four genera in the family is herein reported, based on the species Anachlorocurtis commensalis. Specimens were collected from antipatharian black corals by scuba diving at depths ranging from 20–60 m from three localities: Jejudo Island (33°13′N) between the South Sea of Korea and the north-eastern East China Sea, Namhyeongjedo Islet (34°53′N) in the Korea Strait, and Dokdo Island (37°15′N) in the East Sea. The species had previously been reported in tropical to subtropical latitudes in the western Pacific, with known records from southern Taiwan (up to 21°55′N) to central Japan (down to 34°50′N). The species is thus recorded for the first time from a temperate region in the western Pacific Ocean, postulated to be influenced by a branch of the Kuroshio Warm Current.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to significant strain on front-line healthcare workers.
In this multicentre study, we compared the psychological outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region and identified factors associated with adverse psychological outcomes.
From 29 April to 4 June 2020, the study recruited healthcare workers from major healthcare institutions in five countries in the Asia-Pacific region. A self-administrated survey that collected information on prior medical conditions, presence of symptoms, and scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales and the Impact of Events Scale-Revised were used. The prevalence of depression, anxiety, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) relating to COVID-19 was compared, and multivariable logistic regression identified independent factors associated with adverse psychological outcomes within each country.
A total of 1146 participants from India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam were studied. Despite having the lowest volume of cases, Vietnam displayed the highest prevalence of PTSD. In contrast, Singapore reported the highest case volume, but had a lower prevalence of depression and anxiety. In the multivariable analysis, we found that non-medically trained personnel, the presence of physical symptoms and presence of prior medical conditions were independent predictors across the participating countries.
This study highlights that the varied prevalence of psychological adversity among healthcare workers is independent of the burden of COVID-19 cases within each country. Early psychological interventions may be beneficial for the vulnerable groups of healthcare workers with presence of physical symptoms, prior medical conditions and those who are not medically trained.
Background: After the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak in Korea in 2015, the government newly established the additional reimbursement for infection prevention to encourage infection control activities in the hospitals. The new policy was announced in December 2015 and was implemented in September 2016. We evaluated how infection control activities improved in hospitals after the change of government policy in Korea. Methods: Three cross-sectional surveys using the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework (HHSAF) were conducted in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Using multivariable linear regression model including hospital characteristics, we analyzed the changes in total HHSAF scores according to the survey time. Results: In total, 32 hospitals participated in the survey in 2013, 52 in 2015, and 101 in 2017. The number of inpatient beds per infection control professionals decreased from 324 in 2013 to 303 in 2015 and 179 in 2017. Most hospitals were at intermediate or advanced levels of progress (90.6% in 2013, 86.6% in 2015, and 94.1% in 2017). In a multivariable linear regression model, the total HHSAF scores were significantly associated with hospital teaching status (β coefficient of major teaching hospital, 52.6; 95% CI, 8.9–96.4; P = .018), bed size (β coefficient of 100-bed increase, 5.1; 95% CI, 0.3–9.8; P = .038), and survey time (β coefficient of 2017 survey, 45.1; 95% CI, 19.3–70.9; P = .001). Conclusions: After the national policy implementation, the number of infection control professionals increased, and the promotion of hand hygiene activities was strengthened in Korean hospitals.
Early replacement of a new central venous catheter (CVC) may pose a risk of persistent or recurrent infection in patients with a catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI). We evaluated the clinical impact of early CVC reinsertion after catheter removal in patients with CRBSIs.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of adult patients with confirmed CRBSIs in 2 tertiary-care hospitals over a 7-year period.
To treat their infections, 316 patients with CRBSIs underwent CVC removal. Among them, 130 (41.1%) underwent early CVC reinsertion (≤3 days after CVC removal), 39 (12.4%) underwent delayed reinsertion (>3 days), and 147 (46.5%) did not undergo CVC reinsertion. There were no differences in baseline characteristics among the 3 groups, except for nontunneled CVC, presence of septic shock, and reason for CVC reinsertion. The rate of persistent CRBSI in the early CVC reinsertion group (22.3%) was higher than that in the no CVC reinsertion group (7.5%; P = .002) but was similar to that in the delayed CVC reinsertion group (17.9%; P > .99). The other clinical outcomes did not differ among the 3 groups, including rates of 30-day mortality, complicated infection, and recurrence. After controlling for several confounding factors, early CVC reinsertion was not significantly associated with persistent CRBSI (OR, 1.59; P = .35) or 30-day mortality compared with delayed CVC reinsertion (OR, 0.81; P = .68).
Early CVC reinsertion in the setting of CRBSI may be safe. Replacement of a new CVC should not be delayed in patients who still require a CVC for ongoing management.
A disaster in the hospital is particularly serious and quite different from other ordinary disasters. This study aimed at analyzing the activity outcomes of a disaster medical assistance team (DMAT) for a fire disaster at the hospital.
The data which was documented by a DMAT and emergent medical technicians of a fire department contained information about the patient’s characteristics, medical records, triage results, and the hospital which the patient was transferred from. Patients were categorized into four groups according to results of field triage using the simple triage and rapid treatment method.
DMAT arrived on the scene in 37 minutes. One hundred and thirty eight (138) patients were evacuated from the disaster scene. There were 25 patients (18.1%) in the Red group, 96 patients (69.6%) in the Yellow group, and 1 patient (0.7%) in the Green group. One patient died. There were 16 (11.6%) medical staff and hospital employees. The injury of the caregiver or the medical staff was more severe compared to the family protector.
For an effective disaster-response system in hospital disasters, it is important to secure the safety of medical staff, to utilize available medical resources, to secure patients’ medical records, and to reorganize the DMAT dispatch system.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
We recently reported an association between TAAR6 (trace amine associated receptor 6 gene) variations and schizophrenia (SZ). We now report an association of a set of TAAR6 variations and clinical presentation and outcome in a sample of 240 SZ Korean patients. Patients were selected by a Structured Clinical Interview, DSM-IV Axis I disorders – Clinical Version (SCID-CV). Other psychiatric or neurologic disorders, as well as medical diseases, were exclusion criteria. To assess symptom severity, patients were administered the CGI scale and the PANSS at baseline and at the moment of discharge, 1 month later on average. TAAR6 variations rs6903874, rs7452939, rs8192625 and rs4305745 were investigated; rs6903874, rs7452939 and rs8192625 entered the statistical investigation after LD analysis. Rs8192625 G/G homozygosis was found to be significantly associated both with a worse clinical presentation at PANSS total and positive scores and with a shorter period of illness before hospitalization. No haplotype significant findings were found. The present study stands for a role of the TAAR6 in the clinical presentation of SZ. Moreover, our results show that this genetic effect may be counteracted by a correct treatment. Haplotype analysis was not informative in our sample, probably also because of the incomplete SNPs' coverage of the gene we performed. Further studies in this direction are warranted.
Delirium occur frequently in hospitalized patients. High-potency antipsychotic drugs have been used for the treatment of delirium; however, there is a risk of acute side effects. Therefore, atypical antipsychotic drugs could be used to the treatment of delirium.
The present study aimed to provide comparison of intramuscular injection of olanzapine and intramuscular injection of haloperidol for patients with delirium was conducted with a randomized, open prospective study.
Sixty-two patients admitted at the Catholic University of Korea Kangnam St. Mary's hospital, Seoul, South Korea were enrolled in this study. They were diagnosed as delirium by two independent psychiatrists using DSM-IV-TR. the Delirium Rating Scale-revised-98(DRS-R-98) and clinical global impression-severity (CGI-S) were checked daily. the Simpson-Angus Rating Scale, the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale and the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale were used for the assessment of side effects.
The DRS-R-98 and CGI-S scores were significantly decreased over time in both treatment groups without any significant group difference and time by the group interaction effect (F=28.35, P< 0.0001). Adverse events occurred lower in olanzapine group. both treatments were well tolerated and there were no serious adverse events occurred by intramuscular olanzapine or haloperidol.
This study showed that either intramuscular olanzapine or intramuscular haloperidol would be effective and tolerable for treating delirium, however, olanzapine showed lower side effects than haloperidol. Adequately powered studies will be mandatory to draw any definite conclusion.
To investigate the impacts of depression screening, diagnosis and treatment on major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Prospective cohort study including a nested 24-week randomised clinical trial for treating depression was performed with 5–12 years after the index ACS. A total of 1152 patients recently hospitalised with ACS were recruited from 2006 to 2012, and were divided by depression screening and diagnosis at baseline and 24-week treatment allocation into five groups: 651 screening negative (N), 55 screening positive but no depressive disorder (S), 149 depressive disorder randomised to escitalopram (E), 151 depressive disorder randomised to placebo (P) and 146 depressive disorder receiving medical treatment only (M).
Cumulative MACE incidences over a median 8.4-year follow-up period were 29.6% in N, 43.6% in S, 40.9% in E, 53.6% in P and 59.6% in M. Compared to N, screening positive was associated with higher incidence of MACE [adjusted hazards ratio 2.15 (95% confidence interval 1.63–2.83)]. No differences were found between screening positive with and without a formal depressive disorder diagnosis. Of those screening positive, E was associated with a lower incidence of MACE than P and M. M had the worst outcomes even compared to P, despite significantly milder depressive symptoms at baseline.
Routine depression screening in patients with recent ACS and subsequent appropriate treatment of depression could improve long-term cardiac outcomes.
To overcome the limited feasibility of various refractory high-entropy alloys (HEAs) due to the presence of (i) very dense elements (W and Ta), (ii) costly elements (Hf and Ta), and (iii) oxidation prone elements (V) in them, AlxCryMozNbTiZr HEAs were prepared via arc-melting. Considering the critical nature of oxidation resistance in high-temperature applications, HEAs were characterized to form a combinatorial library of microstructural and oxidation behavior. AlxCryMozNbTiZr HEAs revealed multiphase microstructures consisting of intermetallic phases along with BCC matrices. Mass loss and porous microstructures were obtained in Mo-rich HEAs after oxidation at 1000 °C for 1 h. The presence of Al enhanced the oxidation resistance and developed a protective oxide layer on the HEAs. Al30Cr10-NTZ exhibited promising potential for use in high temperature applications, as it showed an oxidation time exponent of ∼0.5 and a dense and continuous oxide layer.
Stable carbon isotope ratios were measured on the alpha-cellulose in tree rings of a pine tree (Pinus densiflora) from Yeongwol, Korea. We developed an annual-resolution δ13C series (1835–1905) by correcting the measured data for changes in δ13C of air to minimize non-climatic influences. To investigate the climatic signal in the δ13C series, we performed correlation analysis between δ13C and the Cheugugi climate data. The Cheugugi precipitation data were first recorded by King Sejong (1397–1450) of the Joseon Dynasty. However, the longest set of precipitation data available is the one collected in Seoul (1776–1907). Although many studies support the reliability of the Cheugugi data, no previous studies have investigated the potential of the δ13C signal in tree rings as paleoclimate proxy using the Cheugugi data. Recent precipitation trends in Yeongwol are quite similar to that of Seoul, and we found significant correlations between the Cheugugi data and the δ13C series. We suggest further studies to replicate these results and confirm whether comparing δ13C variations in tree rings and Cheugugi data is a useful method of investigating the potential of the δ13C signal as a paleoclimate proxy in or near the Korean peninsula.
The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke-Canadian Stroke Network (NINDS-CSN) 5-minute neuropsychology protocol consists of only verbal tasks, and is proposed as a brief screening method for vascular cognitive impairment. We evaluated its feasibility within two weeks after stroke and ability to predict the development of post-stroke dementia (PSD) at 3 months after stroke.
We prospectively enrolled subjects with ischemic stroke within seven days of symptom onset who were consecutively admitted to 12 university hospitals. Neuropsychological assessments using the NINDS-CSN 5-minute and 60-minute neuropsychology protocols were administered within two weeks and at 3 months after stroke onset, respectively. PSD was diagnosed with reference to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association statement, requiring deficits in at least two cognitive domains.
Of 620 patients, 512 (82.6%) were feasible for the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol within two weeks after stroke. The incidence of PSD was 16.2% in 308 subjects who had completed follow-up at 3 months after stroke onset. The total score of the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol differed significantly between those with and without PSD (4.0 ± 2.7, 7.4 ± 2.7, respectively; p < 0.01). A cut-off value of 6/7 showed reasonable discriminative power (sensitivity 0.82, specificity 0.67, AUC 0.74). The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol score was a significant predictor for PSD (adjusted odds ratio 6.32, 95% CI 2.65–15.05).
The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol is feasible to evaluate cognitive functions in patients with acute ischemic stroke. It might be a useful screening method for early identification of high-risk groups for PSD.
To clarify the effect of bainite in microstructure on hydrogen diffusion and trapping behavior and susceptibility to hydrogen assisted cracking of API grade linepipe steel, three specimens with different fraction of bainite in the microstructure are used. Firstly, hydrogen diffusion and trapping behaviors of the steels are studied by utilizing the electrochemical permeation technique. For fundamental analysis on the experimental data, a variety of diffusion parameters were determined by curve-fitting with a theoretical diffusion equation based on numerical finite difference method (FDM). It indicates that the steel with higher fraction of bainite exhibits much higher sub-surface hydrogen concentration and much lower apparent hydrogen diffusivity. This behavior can be understood by the fact that the steel containing higher fraction of bainite in the microstructure has higher concentration of reversible traps and consequent larger diffusible hydrogen, leading to much slower diffusion kinetics of hydrogen atoms. Consequently, the susceptibility to hydrogen induced cracking (HIC) and sulfide stress cracking (SSC) of the steel with higher fraction of bainite increases significantly.