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Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a pathogenic nematode and the cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis, an eosinophilic meningitis more commonly known as rat lungworm disease. Transmission is thought to be primarily due to ingestion of infective third stage larvae (L3) in gastropods, on produce, or in contaminated water. The gold standard to determine the effects of physical and chemical treatments on the infectivity of A. cantonensis L3 larvae is to infect rodents with treated L3 larvae and monitor for infection, but animal studies are laborious and expensive and also raise ethical concerns. This study demonstrates propidium iodide (PI) to be a reliable marker of parasite death and loss of infective potential without adversely affecting the development and future reproduction of live A. cantonensis larvae. PI staining allows evaluation of the efficacy of test substances in vitro, an improvement upon the use of lack of motility as an indicator of death. Some potential applications of this assay include determining the effectiveness of various anthelmintics, vegetable washes, electromagnetic radiation and other treatments intended to kill larvae in the prevention and treatment of neuroangiostrongyliasis.
Background: Focal cortical dysplasias (FCDs) are congenital structural abnormalities of the brain, and represent the most common cause of medication-resistant focal epilepsy in children and adults. Recent studies have shown that somatic mutations (i.e. mutations arising in the embryo) in mTOR pathway genes underlie some FCD cases. Specific therapies targeting the mTOR pathway are available. However, testing for somatic mTOR pathway mutations in FCD tissue is not performed on a clinical basis, and the contribution of such mutations to the pathogenesis of FCD remains unknown. Aim: To investigate the feasibility of screening for somatic mutations in resected FCD tissue and determine the proportion and spatial distribution of FCDs which are due to low-level somatic mTOR pathway mutations. Methods: We performed ultra-deep sequencing of 13 mTOR pathway genes using a custom HaloPlexHS target enrichment kit (Agilent Technologies) in 16 resected histologically-confirmed FCD specimens. Results: We identified causal variants in 62.5% (10/16) of patients at an alternate allele frequency of 0.75–33.7%. The spatial mutation frequency correlated with the FCD lesion’s size and severity. Conclusions: Screening FCD tissue using a custom panel results in a high yield, and should be considered clinically given the important potential implications regarding surgical resection, medical management and genetic counselling.
Introduction: Although use of point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols for patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the Emergency Department (ED) is widespread, our previously reported SHoC-ED study showed no clear survival or length of stay benefit for patients assessed with PoCUS. In this analysis, we examine if the use of PoCUS changed fluid administration and rates of other emergency interventions between patients with different shock types. The primary comparison was between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock types. Methods: A post-hoc analysis was completed on the database from an RCT of 273 patients who presented to the ED with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP <100 or shock index > 1) and who had been randomized to receive standard care with or without PoCUS in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Shock categories and diagnoses recorded at 60 minutes after ED presentation, were used to allocate patients into subcategories of shock for analysis of treatment. We analyzed actual care delivered including initial IV fluid bolus volumes (mL), rates of inotrope use and major procedures. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: Although there were expected differences in the mean fluid bolus volume between patients with non-cardiogenic and cardiogenic shock, there was no difference in fluid bolus volume between the control and PoCUS groups (non-cardiogenic control 1878 mL (95% CI 1550 – 2206 mL) vs. non-cardiogenic PoCUS 1687 mL (1458 – 1916 mL); and cardiogenic control 768 mL (194 – 1341 mL) vs. cardiogenic PoCUS 981 mL (341 – 1620 mL). Likewise there were no differences in rates of inotrope administration, or major procedures for any of the subcategories of shock between the control group and PoCUS group patients. The most common subcategory of shock was distributive. Conclusion: Despite differences in care delivered by subcategory of shock, we did not find any significant difference in actual care delivered between patients who were examined using PoCUS and those who were not. This may help to explain the previously reported lack of outcome difference between groups.
Introduction: Burnout includes emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA). Emergency Department (ED) staff have high levels of burnout that may be responsive to communication skills training. We surveyed ED staff perception of need and efficacy before and after an intervention using an established conflict resolution methodology. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff were surveyed at two regional hospitals using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and a communications questionnaire to establish the perceived need for communication skill training. Participants from one center were provided with a communications intervention (Crucial Conversations®, VitalSmarts®), and a refresher course 6-15 months later. The survey was then repeated at both sites and course participant feedback was elicited. Results: MBI results were high (mean EE = 25.25 (high > 25), 95% CI = 22.5-28; DP = 11.6 (high > 8), 95% CI = 10.1-13.2; PA = 35.85 (low <34), 95% CI = 34.3-37.4). Initially 82% of intervention and 77% of control site participants responded that “attending an educational session about ways to communicate better would help the participants at work”. Post intervention group responses to “The program will be helpful to me in communicating more effectively in my work environment” were: 75% “strongly agree” and 25% “agree”. No rating below “agree” was assigned by any of the participants. Participants preferred facilitated small group simulations and advocated for earlier career implementation. Conclusion: There was a perceived need for and impact from communication skills training for ED staff with high measured burnout. Training may be best implemented in small group simulated encounters and in health professional education curriculum or as part of work orientation.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) staff carry a high risk for the burnout syndrome of increased emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and decreased personal accomplishment. Previous research has shown that task-oriented coping skills were associated with reduced levels of burnout compared to emotion-oriented coping. ED staff at one hospital participated in an intervention to teach task-oriented coping skills. We hypothesized that the intervention would alter staff coping behaviors and ultimately reduce burnout. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff at two regional hospitals were surveyed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Surveys were performed before and after the implementation of communication and conflict resolution skills training at the intervention facility (I) consisting of a one-day course and a small group refresher 6 to 15 months later. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis assessed differences in staff burnout and coping styles compared to the control facility (C) and over time. Results: 85/143 (I) and 42/110 (C) ED staff responded to the initial survey. Post intervention 46 (I) and 23(C) responded. During the two year study period there was no statistically significant difference in CISS or MBI scores between hospitals (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .02, F(3,63) = .47, p = .71, partial η2 = .02); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .11, p = .95, partial η2 = .01)) or between pre- and post-intervention groups (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .22, p = .88, partial η2 = .01); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .09, F(3,63) = 2.15, p = .10, partial η2 = .01)). Conclusion: We were not able to measure improvement in staff coping or burnout in ED staff receiving communication skills intervention over a two year period. Burnout is a multifactorial problem and environmental rather than individual factors may be more important to address. Alternatively, to demonstrate a measurable effect on burnout may require more robust or inclusive interventions.
Introduction: Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) is being increasingly utilized during cardiac arrests for prognosis. Following the publication of recent studies, the goal of this study was to systematically review and analyze the literature to evaluate the accuracy of PoCUS in predicting return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), survival to hospital admission (SHA), and survival to hospital discharge (SHD) in adult patients with non-traumatic, non- shockable out- of-hospital or emergency department cardiac arrest. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was completed. A search of Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov and the World Health Organization Registry was completed from 1974 until August 24th 2018. Adult randomized controlled trials and observational studies were included. The QUADAS-2 tool was applied by two independent reviewers. Data analysis was completed according to PRISMA guidelines and with a random effects model for the meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was assessed using I-squared statistics. Results: Ten studies (1,485 participants) were included. Cardiac activity on PoCUS had a pooled sensitivity of 59.9% (95% confidence interval 36.5%-79.4%) and specificity of 91.5% (80.8%-96.5%) for ROSC; 74.7% (58.3%-86.2%) and 80.5% (71.7%-87.4%) for SHA; and 69.4% (45.5%-86.0%) and 74.6% (59.8%-85.3%) for SHD. The sensitivity of cardiac activity on PoCUS for predicting ROSC was 24.7%(6.8%-59.4%) in the asystole subgroup compared with 77% (59.4%-88.5%) within the PEA subgroup. Cardiac activity on PoCUS, compared to an absence had an odd ratio of 15.9 (5.9-42.5) for ROSC, 9.8 (4.9-19.4) for SHA and 5.7 (2.1-15.6) for SHD. Positive likelihood ratio (LR) was 6.65 (3.16-14.0) and negative LR was 0.27 (0.12-0.61) for ROSC. Conclusion: Cardiac activity on PoCUS was associated with improved odds for ROSC, SHA, and SHD among adults with non-traumatic asystole and PEA. We report lower sensitivity and higher negative likelihood ratio, but with greater heterogeneity compared to previous systematic reviews. PoCUS may provide valuable information in the management of non-traumatic PEA or asystole, but should not be viewed as the sole predictor in determining outcomes in these patients.
Introduction: There is currently no protocol for the initiation of extra corporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Atlantic Canada. Advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform advanced cardiac life support in the prehospital setting often completing the entire resuscitation on-scene. Implementation of ECPR will present a novel intervention that is only available at the receiving hospital, altering how ACPs manage selected patients. Our objective is to determine if an educational program can improve paramedic identification of ECPR candidates. Methods: An educational program was delivered to paramedics including a short seminar and pocket card coupled with simulations of OHCA cases. A before and after study design using a case-based survey was employed. Paramedics were scored on their ability to correctly identify OHCA patients who met the inclusion criteria for our ECPR protocol. Scores before and after the education delivery were compared using a two tailed t-test. A 6-month follow-up is planned to assess knowledge retention. Qualitative data was also collected from paramedics during simulation to help identify potential barriers to implementation of our protocol in the prehospital setting. Results: Nine advanced care paramedics participated in our educational program. Mean score pre-education was 9.7/16 (61.1%) compared to 14/16 (87.5%) after education delivery. The mean difference between groups was 4.22 (CI = 2.65-5.80, p = 0.0003). There was a significant improvement in the paramedics’ ability to correctly identify ECPR candidates after completing our educational program. Conclusion: Paramedic training through a didactic session coupled with a pocket card and simulation appears to be a feasible method of knowledge translation. 6-month retention data will help ensure knowledge retention is achieved. If successful, this pilot will be expanded to train all paramedics in our prehospital system as we seek to implement an ECPR protocol at our centre.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has been reported to improve diagnosis in non-traumatic hypotensive ED patients. We compared diagnostic performance of physicians with and without PoCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive patients as part of an international prospective randomized controlled study. The primary outcome was diagnostic performance of PoCUS for cardiogenic vs. non-cardiogenic shock. Methods: SHoC-ED recruited hypotensive patients (SBP < 100 mmHg or shock index > 1) in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. We describe previously unreported secondary outcomes relating to diagnostic accuracy. Patients were randomized to standard clinical assessment (No PoCUS) or PoCUS groups. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses including shock category were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes. Final diagnosis was determined by independent blinded chart review. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: 273 patients were enrolled with follow-up for primary outcome completed for 270. Baseline demographics and perceived category of shock were similar between groups. 11% of patients were determined to have cardiogenic shock. PoCUS had a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% CI 54.8 to 93.0%), specificity 95.5% (90.0 to 98.1%), LR+ve 17.9 (7.34 to 43.8), LR-ve 0.21 (0.08 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 85.6 (18.2 to 403.6) and accuracy 93.7% (88.0 to 97.2%) for cardiogenic shock. Standard assessment without PoCUS had a sensitivity of 91.7% (64.6 to 98.5%), specificity 93.8% (87.8 to 97.0%), LR+ve 14.8 (7.1 to 30.9), LR- of 0.09 (0.01 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 166.6 (18.7 to 1481) and accuracy of 93.6% (87.8 to 97.2%). There was no significant difference in sensitivity (-11.7% (-37.8 to 18.3%)) or specificity (1.73% (-4.67 to 8.29%)). Diagnostic performance was also similar between other shock subcategories. Conclusion: As reported in other studies, PoCUS based assessment performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test. However performance was similar to standard (non-PoCUS) assessment, which was excellent in this study.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) staff burnout correlates with psychological coping strategies used by Emergency department health professionals (EDHPs). Staff at two urban referral EDs in New Brunswick took part in a survey of burnout and coping strategies after one ED experienced an influx of new physicians and a newly renovated ED in 2011. Six years later, ED crowding and EDHP staffing problems became prevalent at both EDs. We compared levels of burnout at two urban referral EDs to determine if burnout and coping worsened over time. Methods: An anonymous survey of all EDHPs at 2 urban referral EDs was performed in 2011 and in 2017. A demographics questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI, measuring emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment), and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS, measuring task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping styles) were collected. Descriptive statistics and linear regression models examined relationships over time and between the two hospitals. Results: Burnout scores were similar both at the two facilities and in 2011 (n=153) and 2017 (n=127). There were no differences between samples or EDs for important factors. Emotion-oriented coping was associated with higher levels of burnout, while task-oriented coping was inversely correlated with burnout. Experiencing professional stress was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion, while those working longer years in their current department had higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. By 2017, both EDs had experienced significant nursing staff turnover (50%) compared to 2011. Conclusion: Burnout scores remained consistent after 6 years at these two urban referral EDs. Given the evidence that increased years of service is associated with increased burnout, high staff turnover rate at both EDs could explain how scores remained constant. Staff turnover may represent a way these ED systems cope in a challenging environment. In 2017, task-oriented copers continued to score lower while emotionally-oriented copers showed higher burnout risk, and experiencing professional stress remains a strong predictor of burnout.
Introduction: Situational awareness (SA) is essential for maintenance of scene safety and effective resource allocation in mass casualty incidents (MCI). Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can potentially enhance SA with real-time visual feedback during chaotic and evolving or inaccessible events. The purpose of this study was to test the ability of paramedics to use UAV video from a simulated MCI to identify scene hazards, initiate patient triage, and designate key operational locations. Methods: A simulated MCI, including fifteen patients of varying acuity (blast type injuries), plus four hazards, was created on a college campus. The scene was surveyed by UAV capturing video of all patients, hazards, surrounding buildings and streets. Attendees of a provincial paramedic meeting were invited to participate. Participants received a lecture on SALT Triage and the principles of MCI scene management. Next, they watched the UAV video footage. Participants were directed to sort patients according to SALT Triage step one, identify injuries, and localize the patients within the campus. Additionally, they were asked to select a start point for SALT Triage step two, identify and locate hazards, and designate locations for an Incident Command Post, Treatment Area, Transport Area and Access/Egress routes. Summary statistics were performed and a linear regression model was used to assess relationships between demographic variables and both patient triage and localization. Results: Ninety-six individuals participated. Mean age was 35 years (SD 11), 46% (44) were female, and 49% (47) were Primary Care Paramedics. Most participants (80 (84%)) correctly sorted at least 12 of 15 patients. Increased age was associated with decreased triage accuracy [-0.04(-0.07,-0.01);p=0.031]. Fifty-two (54%) were able to localize 12 or more of the 15 patients to a 27x 20m grid area. Advanced paramedic certification, and local residency were associated with improved patient localization [2.47(0.23,4.72);p=0.031], [-3.36(-5.61,-1.1);p=0.004]. The majority of participants (78 (81%)) chose an acceptable location to start SALT triage step two and 84% (80) identified at least three of four hazards. Approximately half (53 (55%)) of participants designated four or more of five key operational areas in appropriate locations. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential of UAV technology to remotely provide emergency responders with SA in a MCI. Additional research is required to further investigate optimal strategies to deploy UAVs in this context.
We describe a new freshwater myxosporean species Ceratomyxa gracillima n. sp. from the gall bladder of the Amazonian catfish Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii; the first myxozoan recorded in this host. The new Ceratomyxa was described on the basis of its host, myxospore morphometry, ssrDNA and internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1) sequences. Infected fish were sampled from geographically distant localities: the Tapajós River, Pará State, the Amazon River, Amapá State and the Solimões River, Amazonas State. Immature and mature plasmodia were slender, tapered at both ends, and exhibited vermiform motility. The ribosomal sequences from parasite isolates from the three localities were identical, and distinct from all other Ceratomyxa sequences. No population-level genetic variation was observed, even in the typically more variable ITS-1 region. This absence of genetic variation in widely separated parasite samples suggests high gene flow as a result of panmixia in the parasite populations. Maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses placed C. gracillima n. sp. sister to Ceratomyxa vermiformis in a subclade together with Ceratomyxa brasiliensis and Ceratomyxa amazonensis, all of which have Amazonian hosts. This subclade, together with other Ceratomyxa from freshwater hosts, formed an apparently early diverging lineage. The Amazonian freshwater Ceratomyxa species may represent a radiation that originated during marine incursions into the Amazon basin that introduced an ancestral lineage in the late Oligocene or early Miocene.
Background: No standardized method of resident operative-case logging exists. Our study sought to develop a standardized form used by residents to log operative-cases. Methods: Members of the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC), a national resident-led research organization have created a standardized document based on the current Royal College objectives for operative procedures (section 5). Modifications to structure and content will be guided via consensus from Canadian neurosurgery program-directors. Results: Program directors in each CNRC collaborative institution will be asked to modify the standardized form. The CNRC currently involves thirteen of the fourteen Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Additional consensus, if necessary, can be reached at the Royal College meeting for program directors of neurosurgery March 20th 2017. Conclusions: A standardized operative-case log represents the first step in a prospective study towards compiling operative volume of all Canadian neurosurgical residents over one academic year. Such data will be essential to guide informed decisions with regard to Royal College requirements as Canadian neurosurgical programs transition to a competency based framework.