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Using existing data from clinical registries to support clinical trials and other prospective studies has the potential to improve research efficiency. However, little has been reported about staff experiences and lessons learned from implementation of this method in pediatric cardiology.
We describe the process of using existing registry data in the Pediatric Heart Network Residual Lesion Score Study, report stakeholders’ perspectives, and provide recommendations to guide future studies using this methodology.
The Residual Lesion Score Study, a 17-site prospective, observational study, piloted the use of existing local surgical registry data (collected for submission to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons-Congenital Heart Surgery Database) to supplement manual data collection. A survey regarding processes and perceptions was administered to study site and data coordinating center staff.
Survey response rate was 98% (54/55). Overall, 57% perceived that using registry data saved research staff time in the current study, and 74% perceived that it would save time in future studies; 55% noted significant upfront time in developing a methodology for extracting registry data. Survey recommendations included simplifying data extraction processes and tailoring to the needs of the study, understanding registry characteristics to maximise data quality and security, and involving all stakeholders in design and implementation processes.
Use of existing registry data was perceived to save time and promote efficiency. Consideration must be given to the upfront investment of time and resources needed. Ongoing efforts focussed on automating and centralising data management may aid in further optimising this methodology for future studies.
Introduction: Today's emergency department sees healthcare system pressures manifest through longer wait times, increased costs, and provider burnout. In the face of questionable sustainability, there is a greater role for training future innovators and entrepreneurs in healthcare. However, there is currently little formal education or mentorship in these areas. The aim of this scoping review was to identify the current and ideal educational practices to foster innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets, with specific interest amongst emergency medicine trainees. Methods: Using a scoping review methodology, the relationship between healthcare and entrepreneurship was explored. OVID, PubMed and Google Scholar were searched using the keywords “entrepreneurship”, “health education” and “health personnel”, on March 8th, 2018. Results were screened by title, abstract and full text by a team of three calibrated researchers, based upon pre-defined exclusion and inclusion criteria. The final list of papers was reviewed using an extraction tool to identify demographics, details of the paper, and its attitudes and perceptions towards entrepreneurship and innovation. Results: After screening, 59 papers were identified for qualitative analysis. These papers ranged from 1970-2018, mainly from the USA (n = 36). Most papers were commentaries/opinions (n = 35); 11 papers described specific innovations. Entrepreneurship was viewed positively in 45 papers, negatively in 2 papers, and mixed in 12 papers. Common specialties discussed were surgery (n = 9), internal medicine (n = 3), and not specified (n = 44). Emergency medicine was described in one paper. Major themes were: entrepreneurial environment (n = 29), funding and capital (n = 12), idea generation (n = 9), and teaching entrepreneurship (n = 6). Of the 11 innovation papers, the discussion was focused on educational (n = 6) or system (n = 5) innovations. These innovations related to surgery (n = 1), public health (n = 1) and palliative care (n = 1). None of these innovations were specific to emergency medicine. Conclusion: This review indicates a small number of programs focused on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship amongst trainees, but no programs specific to the emergency department. There may be benefit for educators in emergency medicine to consider how to foster a greater innovative spirit in our speciality, so our next generation of physicians can help tackle problems affecting patient care.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) consultations are often necessary for safe and effective patient care. Delays in throughput related to ED consultations can increase a patient's ED length of stay (LOS) and contribute to ED crowding. This review aimed to characterize and evaluate interventions to improve consultation metrics. Methods: Eight primary literature databases and the grey literature were comprehensively searched. Comparative studies of interventions to improve ED consultation metrics were included. Unique citations were screened for relevance and the full-texts of relevant articles were reviewed by two independent reviewers. Data on study characteristics and outcomes were extracted in duplicate onto standardized forms. Disagreements were resolved through consensus. Categorical variables are reported as proportions. Continuous variables are reported as the median of the means and total range. Results: After screening 2632 unique citations and 19 from the grey literature items, 24 studies were included. Seventeen interventions targeted specific conditions or speciality services, while the remainder targeted all ED presentations. Interventions fell into three broad categories: strategies to expedite patient care, including clinical pathways (42%); interventions to improve consultant responsiveness (33%); and addition of a specialized care team to the ED (25%). Overall, eight studies reported on the overall proportion of consults in the ED, of which six reported an increase in the consultation proportion (median: +0.6%, range: −11.3% to +49.6%). Six studies reported the proportion of consulted patients who were admitted, of which four reported an increase (median: +1.1%, range: −5.9% to +3.5%). On the other hand, six of seven studies reporting on time from request to consult arrival reported a decrease (median: −25 minutes, range: −66 to +3.8 minutes). Similarly, overall ED LOS was reported to be lower in 17/19 studies reporting this metric (median: −47.6 minutes, range: −600 minutes to +59 minutes). Conclusion: A variety of strategies have been employed to improve ED consultation processes and outcomes. Neither the proportion of consulted patients in the ED nor the proportion of admissions were improved; however, interventions appeared successful at improving consultant arrival times and overall ED LOS. Improvements in consultation processes may be an effective strategy to improve ED throughput and thereby reduce ED crowding.
Introduction: While consultation is a common and important aspect of emergency department (ED) care, a previous systematic review identified significant utilization and process variation across ED's. The aim of this review update was to examine the proportion of the patients undergoing consultation in the ED among recent studies. Methods: Eight primary literature databases and the grey literature were searched. Studies published from 2007 to 2018 focusing on all-comers to the ED and reporting a consultation-related outcome were included. Disease- and specialty-specific studies were not eligible. Two independent reviewers screened studies for relevance, inclusion, quality assessment, and data extraction. Disagreements were resolved through consensus. Means, medians and interquartile ranges are reported. Wilcoxon-rank sum test and one-way ANOVA were used to identify differences between groups, as appropriate. Results: A total of 2632 unique citations and 49 studies from the grey literature were screened, of which 29 primary studies were included. Fifteen studies reported on the proportion of ED patients undergoing consultation, involving EDs in the Middle East (n = 4), North America (n = 4), Asia (n = 4), and Europe (n = 3). Overall, the proportion of patients receiving consultation ranged from 7% to 78% (median: 26%; IQR: 20%, 38%). There were no differences in the proportions of consulted patients based on country of origin. Ten studies were conducted prior to 2013, while five studies recruited patients during and after 2013. The mean proportion of consulted patients was lower for post-2012 studies compared to pre-2012 studies (mean: 18% vs. 36%; p = 0.0048). The proportion of consulted patients admitted to hospital ranged considerably between the 14 reporting studies (median: 56%; IQR: 49%, 76%). No differences in the proportion of admitted patients undergoing a consult were identified based on country of origin or year of recruitment for the study. Conclusion: Although consultation utilization appears to be decreasing overall, there is considerable practice variation in EDs around the world. These differences may result from variation in patient acuity, case-load, staffing levels, institutional and health-system organization, and medical training and future research should explore reasons for these differences.
In this paper we give a new flavour to what Peter Jagers and his co-authors call `the path to extinction'. In a neutral population of constant size N, assume that each individual at time 0 carries a distinct type, or allele. Consider the joint dynamics of these N alleles, for example the dynamics of their respective frequencies and more plainly the nonincreasing process counting the number of alleles remaining by time t. Call this process the extinction process. We show that in the Moran model, the extinction process is distributed as the process counting (in backward time) the number of common ancestors to the whole population, also known as the block counting process of the N-Kingman coalescent. Stimulated by this result, we investigate whether it extends (i) to an identity between the frequencies of blocks in the Kingman coalescent and the frequencies of alleles in the extinction process, both evaluated at jump times, and (ii) to the general case of Λ-Fleming‒Viot processes.
In order to control and optimize chicken quality products, it is necessary to improve the description of the responses to dietary amino acid (AA) concentration in terms of carcass composition and meat quality, especially during the finishing period. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Lysine (Lys, i.e. a limiting AA used as reference in AA nutrition) and AA other than Lys (AA effect). In total, 12 experimental diets were formulated with four levels of digestible Lys content (7, 8.5, 10 and 11.5 g/kg) combined with either a low (AA−), adequate control (AAc) and high (AA+) amount of other essential AA (EAA) expressed as a proportion of Lys. They were distributed to male Ross PM3 from 3 to 5 weeks of age. No significant AA×Lys interaction was found for growth performance or carcass composition. Body weight and feed conversion ratio were significantly improved by addition of Lys but were impaired in broilers receiving the AA− diets, whereas breast meat yield and abdominal fat were only affected by Lys. No additional benefit was found when the relative amount of other EAA was increased. There was a significant AA×Lys interaction on most of the meat quality traits, including ultimate pH, color and drip loss, with a significant effect of both AA and Lys. For example, AA− combined with reduced Lys level favored the production of meat with high ultimate pH (>6.0), dark color and low drip loss whereas more acid, light and exudative meat (<5.85) was produced with AA+ combined with a low Lys level. In conclusion, growth performance, carcass composition and meat quality are affected by the levels of dietary Lys and AA in finishing broilers. In addition, interactive responses to Lys and AA are found on meat quality traits, leading to great variations in breast pHu, color and drip loss according AA balance or imbalance.
The aim of this retrospective review was to assess the overall burden and trend in spinal tuberculosis (TB) at tertiary hospitals in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. All spinal TB cases seen at the province's three tertiary hospitals between 2012 and 2015 were identified and clinical records of each case assessed. Cases were subsequently classified as bacteriologically confirmed or clinically diagnosed and reported with accompanying clinical and demographic information. Odds ratios (OR) for severe spinal disease and corrective surgery in child vs. adult cases were calculated. A total of 393 cases were identified (319 adults, 74 children), of which 283 (72%) were bacteriologically confirmed. Adult cases decreased year-on-year (P = 0.04), however there was no clear trend in child cases. Kyphosis was present in 60/74 (81%) children and 243/315 (77%) adults with available imaging. Corrective spinal surgery was performed in 35/74 (47%) children and 80/319 (25%) adults (OR 2.7, 95% confidence interval 1.6–4.5, P = 0.0003). These findings suggest that Western Cape tertiary hospitals have experienced a substantial burden of spinal TB cases in recent years with a high proportion of severe presentation, particularly among children. Spinal TB remains a public health concern with increased vigilance required for earlier diagnosis, especially of child cases.
Pertussis morbidity is highest in infants too young to be fully protected by routine vaccination schedules. Alternate vaccine strategies are required to maximise protection in this age-group. To understand baseline pertussis epidemiology prior to the introduction of the maternal pertussis vaccination program in 2014, we conducted a retrospective case series analyses of 53 901 notifications and temporal trends from 1997 to 2014. Notifications were highest in infants younger than 4 months of age and highest annual notification rates in infants younger than 1 month of age (308/100 000 per year). Amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants aged younger than 1 month, this rate was 576/100 000 per year. Notification rates were 40% higher amongst women 15–44 years, 62·4/100 000 population compared with men (44·5/100 000) and 90% higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of the same age (38·2/100 000) compared with men (19·7/100 000). Six infant deaths were identified, all younger than 2 months of age. Monitoring epidemiology in at-risk groups – infants too young to be vaccinated, women of childbearing age and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – following implementation of the maternal pertussis vaccination program will be important to assess its impact and safety.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
We performed a spatial-temporal analysis to assess household risk factors for Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in a remote, severely-affected village. We defined a household as a family's shared living space and a case-household as a household with at least one resident who became a suspect, probable, or confirmed Ebola case from 1 August 2014 to 10 October 2014. We used Geographic Information System (GIS) software to calculate inter-household distances, performed space-time cluster analyses, and developed Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Village X consisted of 64 households; 42% of households became case-households over the observation period. Two significant space-time clusters occurred among households in the village; temporal effects outweighed spatial effects. GEE demonstrated that the odds of becoming a case-household increased by 4·0% for each additional person per household (P < 0·02) and 2·6% per day (P < 0·07). An increasing number of persons per household, and to a lesser extent, the passage of time after onset of the outbreak were risk factors for household Ebola acquisition, emphasizing the importance of prompt public health interventions that prioritize the most populated households. Using GIS with GEE can reveal complex spatial-temporal risk factors, which can inform prioritization of response activities in future outbreaks.
Reducing the dietary CP content is an efficient way to limit nitrogen excretion in broilers but, as reported in the literature, it often reduces performance, probably because of an inadequate provision in amino acids (AA). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of decreasing the CP content in the diet on animal performance, meat quality and nitrogen utilization in growing-finishing broilers using an optimized dietary AA profile based on the ideal protein concept. Two experiments (1 and 2) were performed using 1-day-old PM3 Ross male broilers (1520 and 912 for experiments 1 and 2, respectively) using the minimum AA:Lys ratios proposed by Mack et al. with modifications for Thr and Arg. The digestible Thr (dThr): dLys ratio was increased from 63% to 68% and the dArg:dLys ratio was decreased from 112% to 108%. In experiment 1, the reduction of dietary CP from 19% to 15% (five treatments) did not alter feed intake or BW, but the feed conversion ratio was increased for the 16% and 15% CP diets (+2.4% and +3.6%, respectively), while in experiment 2 (three treatments: 19%, 17.5% and 16% CP) there was no effect of dietary CP on performance. In both experiments, dietary CP content did not affect breast meat yield. However, abdominal fat content (expressed as a percentage of BW) was increased by the decrease in CP content (up to +0.5 and +0.2 percentage point, in experiments 1 and 2, respectively). In experiment 2, meat quality traits responded to dietary CP content with a higher ultimate pH and lower lightness and drip loss values for the low CP diets. Nitrogen retention efficiency increased when reducing CP content in both experiments (+3.5 points/CP percentage point). The main consequence of this higher efficiency was a decrease in nitrogen excretion (−2.5 g N/kg BW gain) and volatilization (expressed as a percentage of excretion: −5 points/CP percentage point). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that with an adapted AA profile, it is possible to reduce dietary CP content to at least 17% in growing-finishing male broilers, without altering animal performance and meat quality. Such a feeding strategy could therefore help improving the sustainability of broiler production as it is an efficient way to reduce environmental burden associated with nitrogen excretion.
Introduction: Unnecessary imaging of adult cervical spine (C-spine) injury patients in the Emergency Department (ED) is a concern. Guidance for C-spine image ordering exists; however, the effectiveness and safety of their implementation in the ED is not well studied. This review examines their implementation and effectiveness at reducing C-spine imaging in adults presenting to the ED with stable neck trauma. Methods: Six electronic databases and the grey literature were searched. Comparative studies examining interventions to reduce C-spine imaging were eligible for inclusion. Two independent reviewers screened for study eligibility, assessed study quality, and extracted data. Data were analyzed using RevMan (Version 5.3) to explore the effectiveness of these interventions in safely reducing C-Spine radiography. Results: A total of 848 unique citations were screened of which six before-after studies and one randomized controlled trial were included. The study population varied with respect to injury severity (i.e., stability status). None of the studies were assessed as high quality. The interventions employed included locally developed guidelines and clinical decision rules, specifically the National X-radiography Utilization Study (NEXUS) criteria and the Canadian C-Spine Rule (CCR). Various implementation strategies, such as teaching sessions, pocket reminder cards, posters and computerized decision support were used. Several studies used multi-faceted interventions. Overall, of the five study groups that examined change in x-ray ordering, three groups reported a significant reduction in c-spine radiography. The remaining two showed no change in imaging. A pooled estimate of the effectiveness of the interventions was prohibited by significant heterogeneity. Conclusion: The evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions to reduce C-spine imaging in adult ED patients with stable neck trauma is inconclusive. Given the national and international focus on improving appropriateness and reducing unnecessary imaging through campaigns such as Choosing Wisely®, additional interventional research in this field is warranted.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Introduction: Low back pain (LBP) is an extremely frequent emergency department (ED) presentation. Although LBP imaging often results in no change to the ED management, does not identify abnormalities, and has documented risks (e.g., radiation exposure), advanced imaging (i.e., computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) for patients with LBP has become increasingly frequent in the ED. The objective of this review was to identify and examine the effectiveness and safety of interventions aimed at reducing imaging in the ED for LBP patients. Methods: Six bibliographic databases and grey literature were searched. Comparative studies assessing interventions aimed at reducing ED imaging for adult patients with LBP were eligible for inclusion. Two reviewers independently screened study eligibility, completed data extraction, and assessed the quality of included studies. Due to a limited number of studies and significant heterogeneity, a descriptive analysis was performed. Results: The search yielded 510 unique citations of which three before-after studies were included. Quality assessment identified potential biases relating to comparability between the pre- and post-intervention groups, reliable assessment of outcomes, and an overall lack of information on the intervention (i.e., time point, description, intervention data collection). The interventions to reduce lumbar spine imaging varied considerably. Study interventions included: 1) clinical decision support (i.e., a specialized X-ray requisition form), which reported a 47.4% relative reduction of lumbar spine radiography referrals; 2) clinical decision guidelines, which reduced referrals by 43.8%; and 3) multidisciplinary protocols, which reported a reduction in the MRI referral rate by 26.1%. Despite reductions in simple imaging, CT use increased in two of the three studies. Conclusion: LBP has been identified as a key area of imaging overuse (e.g., Choosing Wisely recommendation). Yet, evidence of interventions’ effectiveness in reducing imaging for ED patients with LBP is sparse. While there is some evidence to suggest that interventions can reduce the use of simple imaging in LBP in the ED, unintended consequences have been reported and additional studies employing higher quality methods are strongly recommended.
Pertussis epidemics have displayed substantial spatial heterogeneity in countries with high socioeconomic conditions and high vaccine coverage. This study aims to investigate the relationship between pertussis risk and socio-environmental factors on the spatio-temporal variation underlying pertussis infection. We obtained daily case numbers of pertussis notifications from Queensland Health, Australia by postal area, for the period January 2006 to December 2012. A Bayesian spatio-temporal model was used to quantify the relationship between monthly pertussis incidence and socio-environmental factors. The socio-environmental factors included monthly mean minimum temperature (MIT), monthly mean vapour pressure (VAP), Queensland school calendar pattern (SCP), and socioeconomic index for area (SEIFA). An increase in pertussis incidence was observed from 2006 to 2010 and a slight decrease from 2011 to 2012. Spatial analyses showed pertussis incidence across Queensland postal area to be low and more spatially homogeneous during 2006–2008; incidence was higher and more spatially heterogeneous after 2009. The results also showed that the average decrease in monthly pertussis incidence was 3·1% [95% credible interval (CrI) 1·3–4·8] for each 1 °C increase in monthly MIT, while average increase in monthly pertussis incidences were 6·2% (95% CrI 0·4–12·4) and 2% (95% CrI 1–3) for SCP periods and for each 10-unit increase in SEIFA, respectively. This study demonstrated that pertussis transmission is significantly associated with MIT, SEIFA, and SCP. Mapping derived from this work highlights the potential for future investigation and areas for focusing future control strategies.
We examined functional outcomes and quality of life of whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) with integrated fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy boost (FSRT) for brain metastases treatment. Methods Eighty seven people with 1-3 brain metastases were enrolled on this Phase II trial of WBRT (30Gy/10)+simultaneous FSRT, (60Gy/10). Results Mean (Min-Max) baseline KPS, Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) and FACT-BR quality of life were 83 (70-100), 28 (21-30) and 143 (98-153). Lower baseline MMSE (but not KPS or FACT-Br) was associated with worse survival after adjusting for age, number of metastases, primary and extra-cranial disease status. Crude rates of deterioration (>10 points decrease from baseline for KPS and FACT-Br, MMSE fall to<27) ranged from 26-38% for KPS, 32-59% for FACT-Br and 0-16%for MMSE depending on the time-point assessed with higher rates generally noted at earlier time points (<6months post-treatment). Using a linear mixed models analysis, significant declines from baseline were noted for KPS and FACT-Br (largest effects at 6 weeks to 3 months) with no significant change in MMSE. Conclusions The effects on function and quality of life of this integrated treatment of WBRT+simultaneous FSRT were similar to other published series combining WBRT+SRS.