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Introduction: Trauma and injury play a significant role in the population's burden of disease. Limited research exists evaluating the role of trauma bypass protocols. The objective of this study was to assess the impact and effectiveness of a newly introduced prehospital field trauma triage (FTT) standard, allowing paramedics to bypass a closer hospital and directly transport to a trauma centre (TC) provided transport times were within 30 minutes. Methods: We conducted a 12-month multi-centred health record review of paramedic call reports and emergency department health records following the implementation of the 4 step FTT standard (step 1: vital signs and level of consciousness, step 2: anatomical injury, step 3: mechanism and step 4: special considerations) in nine paramedic services across Eastern Ontario. We included adult trauma patients transported as an urgent transport to hospital, that met one of the 4 steps of the FTT standard and would allow for a bypass consideration. We developed and piloted a standardized data collection tool and obtained consensus on all data definitions. The primary outcome was the rate of appropriate triage to a TC, defined as any of the following: injury severity score ≥12, admitted to an intensive care unit, underwent non-orthopedic operation, or death. We report descriptive and univariate analysis where appropriate. Results: 570 adult patients were included with the following characteristics: mean age 48.8, male 68.9%, attended by Advanced Care Paramedic 71.8%, mechanisms of injury: MVC 20.2%, falls 29.6%, stab wounds 10.5%, median initial GCS 14, mean initial BP 132, prehospital fluid administered 26.8%, prehospital intubation 3.5%, transported to a TC 74.6%. Of those transported to a TC, 308 (72.5%) had bypassed a closer hospital prior to TC arrival. Of those that bypassed a closer hospital, 136 (44.2%) were determined to be “appropriate triage to TC”. Bypassed patients more often met the step 1 or step 2 of the standard (186, 66.9%) compared to the step 3 or step 4 (122, 39.6%). An appropriate triage to TC occurred in 104 (55.9%) patients who had met step 1 or 2 and 32 (26.2%) patients meeting step 3 or 4 of the FTT standard. Conclusion: The FTT standard can identify patients who should be bypassed and transported to a TC. However, this is at a cost of potentially burdening the system with poor sensitivity. More work is needed to develop a FTT standard that will assist paramedics in appropriately identifying patients who require a trauma centre.
High-intensity laser–plasma interactions produce a wide array of energetic particles and beams with promising applications. Unfortunately, the high repetition rate and high average power requirements for many applications are not satisfied by the lasers, optics, targets, and diagnostics currently employed. Here, we aim to address the need for high-repetition-rate targets and optics through the use of liquids. A novel nozzle assembly is used to generate high-velocity, laminar-flowing liquid microjets which are compatible with a low-vacuum environment, generate little to no debris, and exhibit precise positional and dimensional tolerances. Jets, droplets, submicron-thick sheets, and other exotic configurations are characterized with pump–probe shadowgraphy to evaluate their use as targets. To demonstrate a high-repetition-rate, consumable, liquid optical element, we present a plasma mirror created by a submicron-thick liquid sheet. This plasma mirror provides etalon-like anti-reflection properties in the low field of 0.1% and high reflectivity as a plasma, 69%, at a repetition rate of 1 kHz. Practical considerations of fluid compatibility, in-vacuum operation, and estimates of maximum repetition rate are addressed. The targets and optics presented here demonstrate a potential technique for enabling the operation of laser–plasma interactions at high repetition rates.
Outbreaks of Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) have significantly increased due to the conflicts in the Middle East, with most of the cases occurring in resource-limited areas such as refugee settlements. The standard methods of diagnosis include microscopy and parasite culture, which have several limitations. To address the growing need for a CL diagnostic that can be field applicable, we have identified five candidate neoglycoproteins (NGPs): Galα (NGP3B), Galα(1,3)Galα (NGP17B), Galα(1,3)Galβ (NGP9B), Galα(1,6)[Galα(1,2)]Galβ (NGP11B), and Galα(1,3)Galβ(1,4)Glcβ (NGP1B) that are differentially recognized in sera from individuals with Leishmania major infection as compared with sera from heterologous controls. These candidates contain terminal, non-reducing α-galactopyranosyl (α-Gal) residues, which are known potent immunogens to humans. Logistic regression models found that NGP3B retained the best diagnostic potential (area under the curve from receiver-operating characteristic curve = 0.8). Our data add to the growing body of work demonstrating the exploitability of the human anti-α-Gal response in CL diagnosis.
Introduction: There is a high risk for communication breakdown, discontinuity of clinical care, and medical errors during ED physician handover. Locally, there is no standardized handover process to ensure adequate communication of critical information. Our aim was to use a locally developed handover tool to increase frequency of adequate physician handover during overnight shift change by 50% in 4 months. Methods: Using published best practices, local observational data, and stakeholder input, we determined critical components of ED handovers. We developed a structured communication tool for two unique populations in our ED: ED-VITAL for patients receiving active ED care; ED-VSA for patients who are admitted/referred. Strategies used to implement the tool included: engagement of staff physicians to introduce & modify the tool; formal education and training to ED residents; and provision of cognitive aids. A QI coordinator conducted direct observations of handovers using convenience sampling. We provided feedback to staff and resident physicians, and used their input to continuously modify the tool. The main outcome measure was adequate patient handover, defined as verbal communication of 50% of critical handover components, or documentation of key information on an electronic note. Process measures included tool utilization characteristics. Balance measures included time metrics such as handover duration. We present run charts and qualitative statistics. Results: We assessed 368 individual patient handovers (93 pre- & 275 post-implementation). The median proportion of patients in active ED care who were verbally handed over increased from 75% to 100%. The median proportion of adequate handovers improved from 50% to 72%. The time to deliver handover increased by 13 seconds per patient. Qualitative feedback from end users was positive overall, particularly for communication quality and resident educational value. Conclusion: Use of a standardized handover tool improved both verbal and documented communication during shift change. A customized approach, sensitive to local context, was important to successful implementation. Residents play a large role in handovers; strategies to improve handover processes that emphasize medical education appear to enhance success. Future PDSA cycles will focus on interventions to further enhance the utilization of the tool, and to measure direct impact on clinical outcomes.
Introduction: Early recognition of sepsis can improve patient outcomes yet recognition by paramedics is poor and research evaluating the use of prehospital screening tools is limited. Our objective was to evaluate the predictive validity of the Regional Paramedic Program for Eastern Ontario (RPPEO) prehospital sepsis notification tool to identify patients with sepsis and to describe and compare the characteristics of patients with an emergency department (ED) diagnosis of sepsis that are transported by paramedics. The RPPEO prehospital sepsis notification tool is comprised of 3 criteria: current infection, fever &/or history of fever and 2 or more signs of hypoperfusion (eg. SBP<90, HR 100, RR24, altered LOA). Methods: We performed a review of ambulance call records and in-hospital records over two 5-month periods between November 2014 February 2016. We enrolled a convenience sample of patients, assessed by primary and advanced care paramedics (ACPs), with a documented history of fever &/or documented fever of 38.3°C (101°F) that were transported to hospital. In-hospital management and outcomes were obtained and descriptive, t-tests, and chi-square analyses performed where appropriate. The RPPEO prehospital sepsis notification tool was compared to an ED diagnosis of sepsis. The predictive validity of the RPPEO tool was calculated (sensitivity, specificity, NPV, PPV). Results: 236 adult patients met the inclusion criteria with the following characteristics: mean age 65.2 yrs [range 18-101], male 48.7%, history of sepsis 2.1%, on antibiotics 23.3%, lowest mean systolic BP 125.9, treated by ACP 58.9%, prehospital temperature documented 32.6%. 34 (14.4%) had an ED diagnosis of sepsis. Patients with an ED diagnosis of sepsis, compared to those that did not, had a lower prehospital systolic BP (114.9 vs 127.8, p=0.003) and were more likely to have a prehospital shock index >1 (50.0% vs 21.4%, p=0.001). 44 (18.6%) patients met the RPPEO sepsis notification tool and of these, 27.3% (12/44) had an ED diagnosis of sepsis. We calculated the following predictive values of the RPPEO tool: sensitivity 35.3%, specificity 84.2%, NPV 88.5%, PPV 27.3%. Conclusion: The RPPEO prehospital sepsis notification tool demonstrated modest diagnostic accuracy. Further research is needed to improve accuracy and evaluate the impact on patient outcomes.
Patients with cardiovascular diseases are common in the emergency department (ED), and continuity of care following that visit is needed to ensure that they receive evidence-based diagnostic tests and therapy. We examined the frequency of follow-up care after discharge from an ED with a new diagnosis of one of three cardiovascular diseases.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients with a new diagnosis of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, or hypertension, who were discharged from 157 non-pediatric EDs in Ontario, Canada, between April 2007 and March 2014. We determined the frequency of follow-up care with a family physician, cardiologist, or internist within seven and 30 days, and assessed the association of patient, emergency physician, and family physician characteristics with obtaining follow-up care using cause-specific hazard modeling.
There were 41,485 qualifying ED visits. Just under half (47.0%) had follow-up care within seven days, with 78.7% seen by 30 days. Patients with serious comorbidities (renal failure, dementia, COPD, stroke, coronary artery disease, and cancer) had a lower adjusted hazard of obtaining 7-day follow-up care (HRs 0.77-0.95) and 30-day follow-up care (HR 0.76-0.95). The only emergency physician characteristic associated with follow-up care was 5-year emergency medicine specialty training (HR 1.11). Compared to those whose family physician was remunerated via a primarily fee-for-service model, patients were less likely to obtain 7-day follow-up care if their family physician was remunerated via three types of capitation models (HR 0.72, 0.81, 0.85) or via traditional fee-for-service (HR 0.91). Findings were similar for 30-day follow-up care.
Only half of patients discharged from an ED with a new diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and hypertension were seen within a week of being discharged. Patients with significant comorbidities were less likely to obtain follow-up care, as were those with a family physician who was remunerated via primarily capitation methods.
This article presents a conceptual clarification of asymmetric hypotheses and a discussion of methodologies available to test them. Despite the existence of a litany of theories that posit asymmetric hypotheses, most empirical studies fail to capture their core insight: boundaries separating zones of data from areas that lack data are substantively interesting. We discuss existing set-theoretic and large-N approaches to the study of asymmetric hypotheses, introduce new ones from the literatures on stochastic frontier and data envelopment analysis, evaluate their relative merits, and give three examples of how asymmetric hypotheses can be studied with this suite of tools.
Hypertension following primary coarctation repair affects up to a third of subjects. A number of studies suggest that future hypertension risk is reduced if primary repair is performed at a younger age.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of future medical treatment for hypertension depending on age of primary coarctation repair.
This study was carried out at a tertiary paediatric cardiology referral centre. Retrospective database evaluation of children aged <16 years undergoing primary surgical coarctation repair between October, 2005 and October, 2014 was carried out. Patients with complex heart diseases were excluded. The following age groups were considered: neonate (⩽28 days), infant (>28 days and ⩽12 months), and children (>12 months). Main outcome measure is the need for long-term anti-hypertensive medication. The risk for re-coarctation was also evaluated.
A total of 87 patients were analysed: 60 neonates, 17 infants, 10 children. Among them, 6.7% neonates, 29.4% infants, and 40% children required long-term anti-hypertensive medications. Group differences were statistically significant (p=0.004). After adjustment for type of repair, the risk of long-term anti-hypertensive therapy was 4.5 (95% confidence interval 1.2–16.9, p=0.025) and 10.5 times (95% confidence interval 2.6–42.3, p=0.001) higher if primary repair was carried out in infancy and childhood, respectively, compared with neonates. Among all, 13 patients developed re-coarctation: 21.7% in the neonatal group, 5.9% in the infant group, and 20% in the child group. We could not demonstrate a significant difference between these proportions or calculate a reliable risk for developing re-coarctation.
Risk of medical treatment for hypertension was lowest when primary repair was carried out during the neonatal period, rising 10-fold if first operated on as a child. Knowing the likelihood of hypertension development depending on age of primary repair is useful for long-term surveillance and counselling.
Introduction: In Ottawa, STEMI patients are transported directly to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by advanced care paramedics (ACPs), primary care paramedics (PCPs), or transferred from PCP to ACP crew (ACP-intercept). PCPs have a limited skill set to address complications during transport.The objective of this study was to determine what clinically important events (CIEs) occurred in STEMI patients transported for primary PCI via a PCP crew, and what proportion of such events could only be treated by ACP protocols. Methods: We conducted a health record review of STEMI patients transported for primary PCI from Jan 1, 2011-Dec 21, 2015. Ottawa has a single PCI center and its EMS system employs both PCP and ACP paramedics. We identified consecutive STEMI bypass patients transported by PCP-only and ACP-intercept using the dispatch database. A data extraction form was piloted and used to extract patient demographics, transport times, and primary outcomes: CIEs and interventions performed during transport, and secondary outcomes: hospital diagnosis, and mortality. CIEs were reviewed by two investigators to determine if they would be treated differently by ACP protocols. We present descriptive statistics. Results: We identified 967 STEMI bypass cases among which 214 (118 PCP-only and 96 ACP-intercept) met all inclusion criteria. Characteristics were: mean age 61.4 years, 78% male, 31.8% anterior and 44.4% inferior infarcts, mean response time 6 min, total paramedic contact time 29 min, and in cases of ACP-intercept 7 min of PCP-only contact time.A CIE occurred in 127 (59%) of cases: SBP<90 mmHg 26.2%, HR<60 30.4%, HR>100 20.6%, malignant arrhythmias 7.5%, altered mental status 6.5%, airway intervention 2.3%, 2 patients (0.9%) arrested, both survived. Of the CIE identified, 54 (42.5%) could be addressed differently by ACP vs PCP protocols (25.2% of total cases). The majority related to fluid boluses for hypotension (44 cases; 35% of CIE). ACP intervention for CIEs within the ACP intercept group was 51.6%. There were 6 in-hospital deaths (2.8%) with no difference in transport crew type. Conclusion: CIEs are common in STEMI bypass patients however a smaller proportion of such CIE would be addressed differently by ACP protocols compared to PCP protocols. The vast majority of CIE appeared to be transient and of limited clinical significance.
Introduction/Innovation Concept: In 2014, Eastern Ontario paramedic services, their medical director staff and area community colleges developed an EMS Boot Camp experience to orient Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa emergency medicine residents to the role of paramedics and the challenges they face in the field. Current EMS ride-alongs and didactic classroom sessions were deemed ineffective at adequately preparing residents to provide online medical control. From those early discussions came the creation of a real-world, real-time (RWRT) educational experience. Methods: Specific challenges unique to paramedicine are difficult to communicate to a medical control physician at the other end of a telephone. The goal of this one-day educational experience is for residents to gain insight into the complexity and time sensitive nature of delivering medical care in the field. Residents are immersed as responding paramedics in a day of intense RWRT simulation exercises reflecting the common paramedic logistical challenges to delivering patient care in an uncontrolled and dynamic environment. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: Scenarios, run by paramedic students, are overseen by working paramedics from participating paramedic services. Residents learn proper use of key equipment found on an Ontario ambulance while familiarize themselves with patient care standards and medical directives. Scenarios focus on prehospital-specific clinical care issues; performing dynamic CPR in a moving vehicle, extricating a bariatric patient with limited personnel, large scale multi-casualty triage as well as other time sensitive, high risk procedures requiring online medical control approval (i.e. chest needle thoracostomy). Conclusion: EMS Boot Camp dispels preconceived biases regarding “what it’s really like” to deliver high quality prehospital clinical care. When providing online medical control in the future, the residents will be primed to understand and expect certain challenges that may arise. The educational experience fosters collaboration between prehospital and hospital-based providers. The sessions provide a reproducible, standardized experience for all participants; something that cannot be guaranteed with traditional EMS ride-alongs. Future sessions will evaluate participant satisfaction and self-efficacy with the use of a standard evaluation form including pre/post self-evaluations.
Few studies have evaluated the development in the use of antipsychotic medication and psychotic symptoms in patients with first-episode psychosis on a long-term basis. Our objective was to investigate how psychotic symptoms and the use of antipsychotic medication changed over a 10-year period in a cohort of patients with first-episode psychosis.
The study is a longitudinal prospective cohort study over 10 years with follow-ups at years 1, 2, 5 and 10. A total of 496 patients with first-episode psychosis were included in a multi-centre study initiated between 1998 and 2000 in Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark.
At all follow-ups, a large proportion (20–30%) of patients had remission of psychotic symptoms without use of antipsychotic medication at the time of the follow-up. Patients who were in this group at the 5-year follow-up had an 87% [95% confidence interval (CI) 77–96%] chance of being in the same group at the 10-year follow-up. This stability was also the case for patients who had psychotic symptoms and were treated with antipsychotic medication at year 5, where there was a 67% (95% CI 56–78%) probability of being in this group at the consecutive follow-up.
A large group of patients with psychotic illness were in remission without the use of antipsychotic medication, peaking at year 10. Overall there was a large degree of stability in disease courses over the 10-year period. These results suggest that the long-term outcome of psychotic illness is heterogeneous and further investigation on a more individualized approach to long-term treatment is needed.
Different treatment options for pulmonary hypertension have emerged in recent years, and evidence-based management strategies have improved quality of life and survival in adults. In children with pulmonary vascular disease, therapeutic algorithms are not so clearly defined; this study determined current treatment initiation in children with pulmonary hypertension in participating centres of a registry.
Through the multinational Tracking Outcomes and Practice in Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension registry, patient demographics, diagnosis, and treatment as judged and executed by the local physician were collected. Inclusion criteria were >3 months and <18 years of age and diagnostic cardiac catheterisation consistent with pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary arterial pressure ⩾25 mmHg, pulmonary vascular resistance index ⩾3 Wood units×m2, and mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure ⩽12 mmHg).
At diagnostic catheterisation, 217/244 patients (88.9%) were treatment naïve for pulmonary hypertension-targeted therapy. Targeted therapy was initiated after catheterisation in 170 (78.3%) treatment-naïve patients. A total of 19 patients received supportive therapy, 28 patients were not started on therapy, and 26 patients (10.7%) were on targeted treatment before catheterisation. Among treatment-naïve subjects, treatment was initiated with one targeted drug (n=112, 51.6%), dual therapy (n=39, 18%) or triple-therapy (n=5, 2.3%), and calcium channel blockers with one targeted medication in one patient (0.5%). Phosphodiesterase inhibitors type 5 were used frequently; some patients with pulmonary hypertension related to lung disease received targeted therapy.
There is a diverse therapeutic approach for children with pulmonary hypertension with a need of better-defined treatment algorithms based on paediatric consensus for different aetiologies including the best possible diagnostic workup.
Introduction: Patients seen primarily for hypertension are common in the emergency department. The outcomes of these patients have not been described at a population level. In this study we describe the characteristics and outcomes of the patients making these visits, as well as changes over time. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used linked health databases from the province of Ontario, Canada, to assess emergency department visits made between April 1, 2002 and March 31, 2012 with a primary diagnosis of hypertension. We determined the annual number of visits as well as the age and sex standardized rates. We examined visit disposition and assessed mortality outcomes and potential hypertensive complications at 7, 30, 90, 365 days and 2 years subsequent to the ED visit. Results: There were 206,147 qualifying ED visits from 180 sites. Visits increased by 64% between 2002 and 2012, from 15793 to 25950 annual visits, respectively. The age- and sex-standardized rate increased from 170/100,000 persons to 228/100,000 persons over the same time period, a 34% increase. Eight percent of visits ended in hospitalization, but this proportion decreased from 9.9% to 7.1% over the study period. Mortality was very low, at less than 1% within 90 days, 2.5% within 1 year, and 4.1% within 2 years. Among subsequent hospitalizations for potential hypertensive complications, stroke was the most frequent admitting diagnosis, but the frequency was still <1% within 1 year. Together hospitalizations for stroke, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, renal failure, hypertensive encephalopathy and dissection were <1% at 30 days. Conclusion: The number of visits made primarily for hypertension has increased dramatically over the last decade. While some of the increase is due to aging of the population, other forces are contributing to the increase. Subsequent mortality and complication rates are low and have declined. With current practice patterns, the feared complications of hypertension are extremely infrequent.
Expert judgement has been used since the actuarial profession was founded. In the past, there has often been a lack of transparency regarding the use of expert judgement, even though those judgements could have a very significant impact on the outputs of calculations and the decisions made by organisations. The lack of transparency has a number of dimensions, including the nature of the underlying judgements, as well as the process used to derive those judgements. This paper aims to provide a practical framework regarding expert judgement processes, and how those processes may be validated. It includes a worked example illustrating how the process could be used for setting a particular assumption. It concludes with some suggested tools for use within expert judgement. Although primarily focussed on the insurance sector, the proposed process framework could be applied more widely without the need for significant changes.
Periods of rapid growth seen during the early stages of fetal development, including cell proliferation and differentiation, are greatly influenced by the maternal environment. We demonstrate here that over-nutrition, specifically exposure to a high-fat diet in utero, programed the extent of atherosclerosis in the offspring of ApoE*3 Leiden transgenic mice. Pregnant ApoE*3 Leiden mice were fed either a control chow diet (2.8% fat, n=12) or a high-fat, moderate-cholesterol diet (MHF, 19.4% fat, n=12). Dams were fed the chow diet during the suckling period. At 28 days postnatal age wild type and ApoE*3 Leiden offspring from chow or MHF-fed mothers were fed either a control chow diet (n=37) or a diet rich in cocoa butter (15%) and cholesterol (0.25%), for 14 weeks to induce atherosclerosis (n=36). Offspring from MHF-fed mothers had 1.9-fold larger atherosclerotic lesions (P<0.001). There was no direct effect of prenatal diet on plasma triglycerides or cholesterol; however, transgenic ApoE*3 Leiden offspring displayed raised cholesterol when on an atherogenic diet compared with wild-type controls (P=0.031). Lesion size was correlated with plasma lipid parameters after adjustment for genotype, maternal diet and postnatal diet (R2=0.563, P<0.001). ApoE*3 Leiden mothers fed a MHF diet developed hypercholesterolemia (plasma cholesterol two-fold higher than in chow-fed mothers, P=0.011). The data strongly suggest that maternal hypercholesterolemia programs later susceptibility to atherosclerosis. This is consistent with previous observations in humans and animal models.