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To determine whether the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) severity criteria adequately predicts poor outcomes.
Retrospective validation study.
Setting and participants:
Patients with CDI in the Veterans’ Affairs Health System from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2016.
For the 2010 criteria, patients with leukocytosis or a serum creatinine (SCr) value ≥1.5 times the baseline were classified as severe. For the 2018 criteria, patients with leukocytosis or a SCr value ≥1.5 mg/dL were classified as severe. Poor outcomes were defined as hospital or intensive care admission within 7 days of diagnosis, colectomy within 14 days, or 30-day all-cause mortality; they were modeled as a function of the 2010 and 2018 criteria separately using logistic regression.
We analyzed data from 86,112 episodes of CDI. Severity was unclassifiable in a large proportion of episodes diagnosed in subacute care (2010, 58.8%; 2018, 49.2%). Sensitivity ranged from 0.48 for subacute care using 2010 criteria to 0.73 for acute care using 2018 criteria. Areas under the curve were poor and similar (0.60 for subacute care and 0.57 for acute care) for both versions, but negative predictive values were >0.80.
Model performances across care settings and criteria versions were generally poor but had reasonably high negative predictive value. Many patients in the subacute-care setting, an increasing fraction of CDI cases, could not be classified. More work is needed to develop criteria to identify patients at risk of poor outcomes.
Starting in 2016, we initiated a pilot tele-antibiotic stewardship program at 2 rural Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMCs). Antibiotic days of therapy decreased significantly (P < .05) in the acute and long-term care units at both intervention sites, suggesting that tele-stewardship can effectively support antibiotic stewardship practices in rural VAMCs.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate alterations in functional connectivity, white matter integrity, and cognitive abilities due to sports-related concussion (SRC) in adolescents using a prospective longitudinal design. Methods: We assessed male high school football players (ages 14–18) with (n=16) and without (n=12) SRC using complementary resting state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) along with cognitive performance using the Immediate Post-Concussive Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT). We assessed both changes at the acute phase (<7 days post-SRC) and at 21 days later, as well as, differences between athletes with SRC and age- and team-matched control athletes. Results: The results revealed rs-fMRI hyperconnectivity within posterior brain regions (e.g., precuneus and cerebellum), and hypoconnectivity in more anterior areas (e.g., inferior and middle frontal gyri) when comparing SRC group to control group acutely. Performance on the ImPACT (visual/verbal memory composites) was correlated with resting state network connectivity at both time points. DTI results revealed altered diffusion in the SRC group along a segment of the corticospinal tract and the superior longitudinal fasciculus in the acute phase of SRC. No differences between the SRC group and control group were seen at follow-up imaging. Conclusions: Acute effects of SRC are associated with both hyperconnectivity and hypoconnectivity, with disruption of white matter integrity. In addition, acute memory performance was most sensitive to these changes. After 21 days, adolescents with SRC returned to baseline performance, although chronic hyperconnectivity of these regions could place these adolescents at greater risk for secondary neuropathological changes, necessitating future follow-up. (JINS, 2018, 24, 781–792)
Ultraviolet (UV) Solar spectral Irradiance (SSI) has been measured from orbit on a regular basis since the beginning of the space age. These observations span four Solar Cycles, and they are crucial for our understanding of the Sun-Earth connection and space weather. SSI at these wavelengths are the main drivers for the upper atmosphere including the production and destruction of ozone in the stratosphere. The instruments that measure UV SSI not only require good preflight calibration, but also need a robust method to maintain that calibration on orbit. We will give an overview of the catalog of current and former UV SSI measurements along with the calibration philosophy of each instrument and an estimation of the uncertainties in the published irradiances.
The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) on mortality following infection, regardless of patient location.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with an inpatient admission in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system between October 1, 2007, and November 30, 2010. We constructed multivariate log-binomial regressions to assess the impact of a positive culture on mortality in the 30- and 90-day periods following the first positive culture, using a propensity-score–matched subsample.
Patients identified with positive cultures due to MDR Acinetobacter (n=218), MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n=1,026), and MDR Enterobacteriaceae (n=3,498) were propensity-score matched to 14,591 patients without positive cultures due to these organisms. In addition, 3,471 patients with positive cultures due to MRSA were propensity-score matched to 12,499 patients without positive MRSA cultures. Multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria were associated with a significantly elevated risk of mortality both for invasive (RR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.85–2.92) and noninvasive cultures (RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.22–1.44) during the 30-day period. Similarly, patients with MRSA HAIs (RR, 2.77; 95% CI, 2.39–3.21) and colonizations (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.22–1.50) had an increased risk of death at 30 days.
We found that HAIs due to gram-negative bacteria and MRSA conferred significantly elevated 30- and 90-day risks of mortality. This finding held true both for invasive cultures, which are likely to be true infections, and noninvasive infections, which are possibly colonizations.
Training for the clinical research workforce does not sufficiently prepare workers for today’s scientific complexity; deficiencies may be ameliorated with training. The Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications developed competency standards for principal investigators and clinical research coordinators.
Clinical and Translational Science Awards representatives refined competency statements. Working groups developed assessments, identified training, and highlighted gaps.
Forty-eight competency statements in 8 domains were developed.
Training is primarily investigator focused with few programs for clinical research coordinators. Lack of training is felt in new technologies and data management. There are no standardized assessments of competence.
Standard estimates of the impact of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) on inpatient lengths of stay (LOS) may overstate inpatient care costs attributable to CDI. In this study, we used multistate modeling (MSM) of CDI timing to reduce bias in estimates of excess LOS.
A retrospective cohort study of all hospitalizations at any of 120 acute care facilities within the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) between 2005 and 2012 was conducted. We estimated the excess LOS attributable to CDI using an MSM to address time-dependent bias. Bootstrapping was used to generate 95% confidence intervals (CI). These estimates were compared to unadjusted differences in mean LOS for hospitalizations with and without CDI.
During the study period, there were 3.96 million hospitalizations and 43,540 CDIs. A comparison of unadjusted means suggested an excess LOS of 14.0 days (19.4 vs 5.4 days). In contrast, the MSM estimated an attributable LOS of only 2.27 days (95% CI, 2.14–2.40). The excess LOS for mild-to-moderate CDI was 0.75 days (95% CI, 0.59–0.89), and for severe CDI, it was 4.11 days (95% CI, 3.90–4.32). Substantial variation across the Veteran Integrated Services Networks (VISN) was observed.
CDI significantly contributes to LOS, but the magnitude of its estimated impact is smaller when methods are used that account for the time-varying nature of infection. The greatest impact on LOS occurred among patients with severe CDI. Significant geographic variability was observed. MSM is a useful tool for obtaining more accurate estimates of the inpatient care costs of CDI.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1024–1030
Healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and cost among hospitalized patients. Little is known about their impact on post-discharge resource utilization. The purpose of this study was to estimate post-discharge healthcare costs and utilization attributable to positive MRSA cultures during a hospitalization.
Our study cohort consisted of patients with an inpatient admission lasting longer than 48 hours within the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system between October 1, 2007, and November 30, 2010. Of these patients, we identified those with a positive MRSA culture from microbiology reports in the VA electronic medical record. We used propensity score matching and multivariable regression models to assess the impact of positive culture on post-discharge outpatient, inpatient, and pharmacy costs and utilization in the 365 days following discharge.
Our full cohort included 369,743 inpatients, of whom, 3,599 (1.0%) had positive MRSA cultures. Our final analysis sample included 3,592 matched patients with and without positive cultures. We found that, in the 12 months following hospital discharge, having a positive culture resulted in increases in post-discharge pharmacy costs ($776, P<.0001) and inpatient costs ($12,167, P<.0001). Likewise, having a positive culture increased the risk of a readmission (odds ratio [OR]=1.396, P<.0001), the number of prescriptions (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.138; P<.0001) and the number of inpatient days (IRR, 1.204; P<.0001,) but decreased the number of subsequent outpatient encounters (IRR, 0.941; P<.008).
The results of this study indicate that MRSA infections are associated with higher levels of post-discharge healthcare cost and utilization. These findings indicate that financial benefits resulting from infection prevention efforts may extend beyond the initial hospital stay.
It is uncertain whether antipsychotic long-acting injection (LAI) medication in schizophrenia is associated with better clinical outcomes than oral preparations.
To examine the impact of prior treatment delivery route on treatment outcomes and whether any differences are moderated by adherence.
Analysis of data from two pragmatic 1-year clinical trials in which patients with schizophrenia were randomised to either an oral first-generation antipsychotic (FGA), or a non-clozapine second-generation antipsychotic (SGA, CUtLASS 1 study), or a non-clozapine SGA or clozapine (CUtLASS 2 study).
Across both trials, 43% (n = 155) of participants were prescribed an FGA-LAI before randomisation. At 1-year follow-up they showed less improvement in quality of life, symptoms and global functioning than those randomised from oral medication. This difference was confined to patients rated as less than consistently adherent pre-randomisation. The relatively poor improvement in the patients prescribed an LAI pre-randomisation was ameliorated if they had been randomised to clozapine rather than another SGA. There was no advantage to being randomly assigned from an LAI at baseline to a non-clozapine oral SGA rather than an oral FGA.
A switch at randomisation from an LAI to an oral antipsychotic was associated with poorer clinical and functional outcomes at 1-year follow-up compared with switching from one oral antipsychotic to another. This effect appears to be moderated by adherence, and may not extend to switching to clozapine. This has implications for clinical trial design: the drug from which a participant is randomised may have a greater effect than the drug to which they are randomised.