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Multicentre research databases can provide insights into healthcare processes to improve outcomes and make practice recommendations for novel approaches. Effective audits can establish a framework for reporting research efforts, ensuring accurate reporting, and spearheading quality improvement. Although a variety of data auditing models and standards exist, barriers to effective auditing including costs, regulatory requirements, travel, and design complexity must be considered.
Materials and methods:
The Congenital Cardiac Research Collaborative conducted a virtual data training initiative and remote source data verification audit on a retrospective multicentre dataset. CCRC investigators across nine institutions were trained to extract and enter data into a robust dataset on patients with tetralogy of Fallot who required neonatal intervention. Centres provided de-identified source files for a randomised 10% patient sample audit. Key auditing variables, discrepancy types, and severity levels were analysed across two study groups, primary repair and staged repair.
Of the total 572 study patients, data from 58 patients (31 staged repairs and 27 primary repairs) were source data verified. Amongst the 1790 variables audited, 45 discrepancies were discovered, resulting in an overall accuracy rate of 97.5%. High accuracy rates were consistent across all CCRC institutions ranging from 94.6% to 99.4% and were reported for both minor (1.5%) and major discrepancies type classifications (1.1%).
Findings indicate that implementing a virtual multicentre training initiative and remote source data verification audit can identify data quality concerns and produce a reliable, high-quality dataset. Remote auditing capacity is especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Operators are mindful of the balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio when performing balloon aortic valvuloplasty. The method of measurement of the aortic valve annulus has not been standardised.
Methods and results:
Patients who underwent aortic valvuloplasty at two paediatric centres between 2007 and 2014 were included. The valve annulus measured by echocardiography and angiography was used to calculate the balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio and measurements were compared. The primary endpoint was an increase in aortic insufficiency by ≥2 degrees. Ninety-eight patients with a median age at valvuloplasty of 2.1 months (Interquartile range (IQR): 0.2–105.5) were included. The angiographic-based annulus was 8.2 mm (IQR: 6.8–16.0), which was greater than echocardiogram-based annulus of 7.5 mm (IQR: 6.1–14.8) (p < 0.001). This corresponded to a significantly lower angiographic balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio of 0.9 (IQR: 0.9–1.0), compared to an echocardiographic ratio of 1.1 (IQR: 1.0–1.1) (p < 0.001). The degree of discrepancy in measured diameter increased with smaller valve diameters (p = 0.041) and in neonates (p = 0.044). There was significant disagreement between angiographic and echocardiographic balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio measures regarding “High” ratio of >1.2, with angiographic ratio flagging only 2/12 (16.7%) of patients flagged by echocardiographic ratio as “High” (p = 0.012). Patients who had an increase in the degree of aortic insufficiency post valvuloplasty, only 3 (5.5%) had angiographic ratio > 1.1, while 21 (38%) had echocardiographic ratio >1.1 (p < 0.001). Patients with resultant ≥ moderate insufficiency more often had an echocardiographic ratio of >1.1 than angiographic ratio of >1.1 There was no association between increase in balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio and gradient reduction.
Angiographic measurement is associated with a greater measured aortic valve annulus and the development of aortic insufficiency. Operators should use caution when relying solely on angiographic measurement when performing balloon aortic valvuloplasty.
Adults with significant childhood trauma and/or serious mental illness may exhibit persistent structural brain changes within limbic structures, including the amygdala. Little is known about the structure of the amygdala prior to the onset of SMI, despite the relatively high prevalence of trauma in at-risk youth.
Data were gathered from the Canadian Psychiatric Risk and Outcome study. A total of 182 youth with a mean age of 18.3 years completed T1-weighted MRI scans along with clinical assessments that included questionnaires on symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants also completed the Childhood Trauma and Abuse Scale. We used a novel subfield-specific amygdala segmentation workflow as a part of FreeSurfer 6.0 to examine amygdala structure.
Participants with higher trauma scores were more likely to have smaller amygdala volumes, particularly within the basal regions. Among various types of childhood trauma, sexual and physical abuse had the largest effects on amygdala subregions. Abuse-related differences in the right basal region mediated the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms, even though no participants met criteria for clinical diagnosis at the time of assessment.
The experience of physical or sexual abuse may leave detectable structural alterations in key regions of the amygdala, potentially mediating the risk of psychopathology in trauma-exposed youth.
To obtain a community perspective on key nutrition-specific problems and solutions for mothers and children.
A qualitative study comprising nine focus group discussions (FGD) following a semi-structured interview guide.
The township of Soweto in South Africa with a rising prevalence of double burden of malnutrition.
Men and women aged ≥18 years (n 66). Three FGD held with men, six with women.
Despite participants perceived healthy diet to be important, they felt their ability to maintain a healthy diet was limited. Inexpensive, unhealthy food was easier to access in Soweto than healthier alternatives. Factors such as land use, hygiene and low income played a fundamental role in shaping access to foods and decisions about what to eat. Participants suggested four broad areas for change: health sector, social protection, the food system and food environment. Their solutions ranged from improved nutrition education for women at clinic visits, communal vegetable gardens and government provision of food parcels to regulatory measures to improve the healthiness of their food environment.
South Africa’s current nutrition policy environment does not adequately address community-level needs that are often linked to structural factors beyond the health sector. Our findings suggest that to successfully address the double burden of malnutrition among women and children, a multifaceted approach is needed combining action on the ground with coherent policies that address upstream factors, including poverty. Further, there is a need for public engagement and integration of community perspectives and priorities in developing and implementing double-duty actions to improve nutrition.
Electronic health record (EHR) data have emerged as an important resource for population health and clinical research. There have been significant efforts to leverage EHR data for research; however, given data security concerns and the complexity of the data, EHR data are frequently difficult to access and use for clinical studies. We describe the development of a Clinical Research Datamart (CRDM) that was developed to provide well-curated and easily accessible EHR data to Duke University investigators.
The CRDM was designed to (1) contain most of the patient-level data elements needed for research studies; (2) be directly accessible by individuals conducting statistical analyses (including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) core members); (3) be queried via a code-based system to promote reproducibility and consistency across studies; and (4) utilize a secure protected analytic workspace in which sensitive EHR data can be stored and analyzed. The CRDM utilizes data transformed for the PCORnet data network, and was augmented with additional data tables containing site-specific data elements to provide additional contextual information.
We provide descriptions of ideal use cases and discuss dissemination and evaluation methods, including future work to expand the user base and track the use and impact of this data resource.
The CRDM utilizes resources developed as part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) program and could be replicated by other institutions with CTSAs.
We examined demographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics of a large cohort (n = 368) of adults with dissociative seizures (DS) recruited to the CODES randomised controlled trial (RCT) and explored differences associated with age at onset of DS, gender, and DS semiology.
Prior to randomisation within the CODES RCT, we collected demographic and clinical data on 368 participants. We assessed psychiatric comorbidity using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) and a screening measure of personality disorder and measured anxiety, depression, psychological distress, somatic symptom burden, emotional expression, functional impact of DS, avoidance behaviour, and quality of life. We undertook comparisons based on reported age at DS onset (<40 v. ⩾40), gender (male v. female), and DS semiology (predominantly hyperkinetic v. hypokinetic).
Our cohort was predominantly female (72%) and characterised by high levels of socio-economic deprivation. Two-thirds had predominantly hyperkinetic DS. Of the total, 69% had ⩾1 comorbid M.I.N.I. diagnosis (median number = 2), with agoraphobia being the most common concurrent diagnosis. Clinical levels of distress were reported by 86% and characteristics associated with maladaptive personality traits by 60%. Moderate-to-severe functional impairment, high levels of somatic symptoms, and impaired quality of life were also reported. Women had a younger age at DS onset than men.
Our study highlights the burden of psychopathology and socio-economic deprivation in a large, heterogeneous cohort of patients with DS. The lack of clear differences based on gender, DS semiology and age at onset suggests these factors do not add substantially to the heterogeneity of the cohort.
Transcatheter right ventricle decompression in neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is technically challenging, with risk of cardiac perforation and death. Further, despite successful right ventricle decompression, re-intervention on the pulmonary valve is common. The association between technical factors during right ventricle decompression and the risks of complications and re-intervention are not well described.
This is a multicentre retrospective study among the participating centres of the Congenital Catheterization Research Collaborative. Between 2005 and 2015, all neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum and attempted transcatheter right ventricle decompression were included. Technical factors evaluated included the use and characteristics of radiofrequency energy, maximal balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, infundibular diameter, and right ventricle systolic pressure pre- and post-valvuloplasty (BPV). The primary end point was cardiac perforation or death; the secondary end point was re-intervention.
A total of 99 neonates underwent transcatheter right ventricle decompression at a median of 3 days (IQR 2–5) of age, including 63 patients by radiofrequency and 32 by wire perforation of the pulmonary valve. There were 32 complications including 10 (10.5%) cardiac perforations, of which two resulted in death. Cardiac perforation was associated with the use of radiofrequency (p=0.047), longer radiofrequency duration (3.5 versus 2.0 seconds, p=0.02), and higher maximal radiofrequency energy (7.5 versus 5.0 J, p<0.01) but not with patient weight (p=0.09), pulmonary valve diameter (p=0.23), or infundibular diameter (p=0.57). Re-intervention was performed in 36 patients and was associated with higher post-intervention right ventricle pressure (median 60 versus 50 mmHg, p=0.041) and residual valve gradient (median 15 versus 10 mmHg, p=0.046), but not with balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, atmospheric pressure used during BPV, or the presence of a residual balloon waist during BPV. Re-intervention was not associated with any right ventricle anatomic characteristics, including pulmonary valve diameter.
Technical factors surrounding transcatheter right ventricle decompression in pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum influence the risk of procedural complications but not the risk of future re-intervention. Cardiac perforation is associated with the use of radiofrequency energy, as well as radiofrequency application characteristics. Re-intervention after right ventricle decompression for pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is common and relates to haemodynamic measures surrounding initial BPV.
This study aimed to extend the current understanding of dissociative symptoms experienced by patients with dissociative (psychogenic, non-epileptic) seizures (DS), including psychological and somatoform types of symptomatology. An additional aim was to assess possible relationships between dissociation, traumatic experiences, post-traumatic symptoms and seizure manifestations in this group.
A total of 40 patients with DS were compared with a healthy control group (n = 43), matched on relevant demographic characteristics. Participants completed several self-report questionnaires, including the Multiscale Dissociation Inventory (MDI), Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire-20, Traumatic Experiences Checklist and the Post-Traumatic Diagnostic Scale. Measures of seizure symptoms and current emotional distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) were also administered.
The clinical group reported significantly more psychological and somatoform dissociative symptoms, trauma, perceived impact of trauma, and post-traumatic symptoms than controls. Some dissociative symptoms (i.e. MDI disengagement, MDI depersonalization, MDI derealization, MDI memory disturbance, and somatoform dissociation scores) were elevated even after controlling for emotional distress; MDI depersonalization scores correlated positively with trauma scores while seizure symptoms correlated with MDI depersonalization, derealization and identity dissociation scores. Exploratory analyses indicated that somatoform dissociation specifically mediated the relationship between reported sexual abuse and DS diagnosis, along with depressive symptoms.
A range of psychological and somatoform dissociative symptoms, traumatic experiences and post-traumatic symptoms are elevated in patients with DS relative to healthy controls, and seem related to seizure manifestations. Further studies are needed to explore peri-ictal dissociative experiences in more detail.
The aim of this study was to describe previously unrecognised or under-recognised adverse events associated with Melody® valve implantation.
In rare diseases and conditions, it is typically not feasible to conduct large-scale safety trials before drug or device approval. Therefore, post-market surveillance mechanisms are necessary to detect rare but potentially serious adverse events.
We reviewed the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database and conducted a structured literature review to evaluate adverse events associated with on- and off-label Melody® valve implantation. Adverse events were compared with those described in the prospective Investigational Device Exemption and Post-Market Approval Melody® transcatheter pulmonary valve trials.
We identified 631 adverse events associated with “on-label” Melody® valve implants and 84 adverse events associated with “off-label” implants. The most frequent “on-label” adverse events were similar to those described in the prospective trials including stent fracture (n=210) and endocarditis (n=104). Previously unrecognised or under-recognised adverse events included stent fragment embolisation (n=5), device erosion (n=4), immediate post-implant severe valvar insufficiency (n=2), and late coronary compression (n=2 cases at 5 days and 3 months after implantation). Under-recognised adverse events associated with off-label implantation included early valve failure due to insufficiency when implanted in the tricuspid position (n=7) and embolisation with percutaneous implantation in the mitral position (n=5).
Post-market passive surveillance does not demonstrate a high frequency of previously unrecognised serious adverse events with “on-label” Melody® valve implantation. Further study is needed to evaluate safety of “off-label” uses.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
Societal aging is expected to impact the use of emergency medical services (EMS). Older adults are known as high users of EMS. Our primary objective was to quantify the rate of EMS use by older adults in a Canadian provincial EMS system. Our secondary objective was to compare those transported to those not transported.
We analysed data from a provincial EMS database for emergency responses between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 and included all older adults (≥65 years) requesting EMS for an emergency call. We described EMS use in relation to age, sex, and resources.
There were 30,653 emergency responses for older adults in 2010, representing close to 50% of the emergency call volume and an overall response rate of 202.8 responses per 1,000 population 65 years and older. The mean age was 79.9±8.5 years for those 57.3% who were female. The median paramedic-determined Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) score was 3 and the mean on-scene time was 24.2 minutes. Non-transported calls (12.3%) for the elderly involved predominantly (54.9%) female patients of similar mean age (78.3 years) but lower acuity (CTAS 5) and longer average on-scene times (32.6 minutes).
We confirmed the increasingly high rate of EMS use with age to be consistent with other industrialized populations. The low-priority and non-transport calls by older adults consumed considerable resources in this provincial system and might be the areas most malleable to meet the challenges facing EMS systems.
We wanted to present our experience with the extended endoscopic approach to clival pathology, focusing on cerebrospinal fluid leak and reconstruction challenges.
We examined a consecutive series of 37 patients undergoing the extended endoscopic approach for skull base tumours, 9 patients with clival pathology. Patients were examined for the incidence of post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak in relation to tumour pathology, location, size, reconstruction and lumbar drain.
The overall incidence of post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak was 10.8 per cent. Seventy-five per cent of patients who had a post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak underwent a transclival approach (p < 0.05). All patients with clival pathology who underwent an intradural dissection had a post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak (p < 0.05).
Post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak rates after the extended endoscopic approach have improved significantly after advancements including the vascularised nasoseptal flap. Despite this, transclival approaches continue to pose much difficulty. Further investigation is necessary to develop technical improvements that can meet the unique challenges associated with this region.
Continued monitoring of the seriousness of influenza viruses is a public health priority. We applied time-series regression models to data on cardio-respiratory mortality rates in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2011. We used surveillance data on outpatient consultations for influenza-like illness, and laboratory detections of influenza types/subtypes to construct proxy measures of influenza activity. In the model we allowed the regression coefficients for influenza to drift over time, and adjusted for temperature and humidity. The regression coefficient for influenza A(H3N2) increased significantly in 2005. The regression coefficients for influenza A(H1N1) and B were relatively stable over the period. Our model suggested an increase in seriousness of A(H3N2) in 2005, the year after the appearance of the A/Fujian/411/2002(H3N2)-like virus when the drifted A/California/7/2004(H3N2)-like virus appeared. Ongoing monitoring of mortality and influenza activity could permit identification of future changes in seriousness of influenza virus infections.
This issue of the Journal features collaborative follow-up studies of two unique pregnancy cohorts recruited during 1959–1966 in the United States. Here we introduce the Early Determinants of Adult Health (EDAH) study. EDAH was designed to compare health outcomes in midlife (age 40s) for same-sex siblings discordant on birthweight for gestational age. A sufficient sample of discordant siblings could only be obtained by combining these two cohorts in a single follow-up study. All of the subsequent six papers are either based upon the EDAH sample or are related to it in various ways. For example, three papers report results from studies that significantly extended the ‘core’ EDAH sample to address specific questions.
We first present the overall design of and rationale for the EDAH study. Then we offer a synopsis of past work with the two cohorts to provide a context for both EDAH and the related studies. Next, we describe the recruitment and assessment procedures for the core EDAH sample. This includes the process of sampling and recruitment of potential participants; a comparison of those who were assessed and not assessed based on archived data; the methods used in the adult follow-up assessment; and the characteristics at follow-up of those who were assessed. We provide online supplementary tables with much further detail. Finally, we note further work in progress on EDAH and related studies, and draw attention to the broader implications of this endeavor.