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Guidelines on epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) standards have been recently published. We aimed to survey Canadian EMUs to describe the landscape of safety practices and compare these to the recommendations from the new guidelines.
A 34-item survey was created by compiling questions on EMU structure, patient monitoring, equipment, personnel, standardized protocol use, and use of injury prevention tools. The questionnaire was distributed online to 24 Canadian hospital centers performing video-EEG monitoring (VEM) in EMUs. Responses were tabulated and descriptively summarized.
In total, 26 EMUs responded (100% response rate), 50% of which were adult EMUs. EMUs were on average active for 23.4 years and had on average 3.6 beds. About 81% of respondents reported having a dedicated area for VEM, and 65% reported having designated EMU beds. Although a video monitoring station was available in 96% of EMUs, only 48% of EMUs provided continuous observation of patients (video and/or physical). A total of 65% of EMUs employed continuous heart monitoring. The technologist-to-patient ratio was 1:1–2 in 52% of EMUs during the day. No technologist supervision was most often reported in the evening and at night. Nurse-to-EMU-patient ratio was mostly 1:1–4 independent of the time of day. Consent forms were required before admission in 27% of EMUs.
Canadian EMUs performed decently in terms of there being dedicated space for VEM, continuous heart monitoring, and adequate nurse-to-patient ratios. Other practices were quite variable, and adjustments should be made on a case-by-case basis to adhere to the latest guidelines.
To compare clinical outcomes associated with appropriate and inappropriate management of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) and urinary tract infection (UTI) among inpatients with neurogenic bladder (NB).
Multicenter, retrospective cohort.
The study was conducted across 4 Veterans’ Affairs hospitals.
The study included veterans with NB due to spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D), multiple sclerosis (MS), or Parkinson’s disease (PD) hospitalized between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018, with diagnosis of ASB or UTI.
In a medical record review, we classified ASB and UTI diagnoses and treatments as appropriate or inappropriate based on national guidelines.
Main outcome measures:
Frequencies of Clostridioides difficile infection, acute kidney injury, 90-day hospital readmission, postculture length-of-stay (LOS), and multidrug-resistant organisms in subsequent urine cultures were compared between those who received appropriate and inappropriate management.
We included 170 encounters with ASB (30%) or UTI (70%) diagnoses occurring for 166 patients. Overall, 86.1% patients were male, 47.6% had SCI/D and 77.6% used bladder catheters. All ASB encounters had appropriate diagnoses, and 96.1% had appropriate treatment. In contrast, 37 UTI encounters (31.1%) had inappropriate diagnoses and 61 (51.3%) had inappropriate treatment, including 30 encounters with true ASB. Among patients with SCI/D or MS, appropriate ASB or UTI diagnosis was associated with a longer postculture LOS (median, 14 vs 7.5 days; P = .02). We did not detect any significant associations between appropriate versus inappropriate diagnosis and treatment and other outcomes.
Almost one-third of UTI diagnoses and half of treatments in hospitalized patients with NB are inappropriate. Opportunities exist to improve ASB and UTI management in patients with NB to minimize inappropriate antibiotic use.
There is limited data on the utility, yield, and cost efficiency of genetic testing in adults with epilepsy. We aimed to describe the yield and utility of genetic panels in our adult epilepsy clinic.
We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional study of all patients followed by an epileptologist at a Canadian tertiary care centre’s epilepsy clinic between January 2016 and August 2021 for whom a genetic panel was ordered. A panel was generally ordered when the etiology was unknown or in the presence of a malformation of cortical development. We determined the yield of panel positivity and of confirmed genetic diagnoses. We also estimated the proportion of these diagnoses that were clinically actionable.
In total, 164 panels were ordered in 164 patients. Most had refractory epilepsy (80%), and few had comorbid intellectual disability (10%) or a positive family history of epilepsy (11%). The yield of panel positivity was 11%. Panel results were uncertain 49% of the time and negative 40% of the time. Genetic diagnoses were confirmed in 7 (4.3%) patients. These genetic conditions involved the following genes: SCARB2, DEPDC5, PCDH19, LGI1, SCN1A, MT-TL1, and CHRNA7. Of the seven genetic diagnoses, 5 (71%) were evaluated to be clinically actionable.
We report a lower diagnostic yield for genetic panels in adults with epilepsy than what has so far been reported. Although the field of the genetics of epilepsy is a fast-moving one and more data is required, our findings suggest that guidelines for genetic testing in adults are warranted.
The insular cortex is an extensively connected brain region that has recently gained considerable interest due to its elusive role in several pathological conditions and its involvement in a variety of functions. Structural connectivity studies have identified connections to the frontal, temporal, and parietal cortices, with both a rostro-caudal and a dorso-ventral organizational pattern. The insula is also widely connected to subcortical structures. The use of diffusion-weighted imaging in insular epilepsy has not yet reached its full potential; however, it may still provide some insights into its pathophysiology, assess long-term consequences, and help prevent operative complications. This chapter explores the insula’s structural connectivity and promising applications in the field of insular epilepsy.
Caring for women with epilepsy (WWE) during pregnancy poses unique challenges. We conducted an audit of the care our epilepsy clinic provided to pregnant WWE.
We performed a retrospective study on all pregnancies followed by an epileptologist at a Canadian tertiary care centre’s epilepsy clinic between January 2003 and March 2021. Among 81 pregnancies in 53 patients, 72 pregnancies in 50 patients were analyzed to determine patient-related, follow-up-related, antiseizure-medication-related, and child-related pregnancy characteristics. Univariate analyses were performed to explore if these characteristics were associated with disabling seizure occurrence during pregnancy.
Most pregnancies were intended (72%) and occurred in women who used folic acid pre-pregnancy (76%) and who followed recommended blood tests for antiseizure medication (ASM) levels (71%). In 49% of pregnancies, ASM dosage was modified; 53% of these modifications were made in response to ASM blood levels. Most often used ASMs were lamotrigine (43%), followed by carbamazepine (32%) and levetiracetam (13%). One child was born with a thyroglossal duct cyst; our congenital malformation rate was thus 2%. Disabling seizures occurred in 24% of pregnancies. Exploratory analyses suggested that disabling seizure occurrence during pregnancy was associated with younger patient age (p = 0.018), higher number of ASMs used during pregnancy (p = 0.048), lamotrigine usage in polytherapy (p = 0.008), and disabling seizure occurrence pre-pregnancy (p = 0.027).
This Canadian audit provides an in-depth description of pregnancies benefiting from specialized epilepsy care. Our results suggest an association between disabling seizure occurrence during pregnancy and lamotrigine usage in polytherapy that warrants further evaluation.
Intervention time (IT) in response to seizures and adverse events (AEs) have emerged as key elements in epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) management. We performed an audit of our EMU, focusing on IT and AEs.
We performed a retrospective study on all clinical seizures of admissions over a 1-year period at our Canadian academic tertiary care center’s EMU. This EMU was divided in two subunits: a daytime three-bed epilepsy department subunit (EDU) supervised by EEG technicians and a three-bed neurology ward subunit (NWU) equipped with video-EEG where patients were transferred to for nights and weekends, under nursing supervision. Among 124 admissions, 58 were analyzed. A total of 1293 seizures were reviewed to determine intervention occurrence, IT, and AE occurrence. Seizures occurring when the staff was present at bedside at seizure onset were analyzed separately.
Median IT was 21.0 (11.0–40.8) s. The EDU, bilateral tonic–clonic seizures (BTCS), and the presence of a warning signal were associated with increased odds of an intervention taking place. The NWU, BTCS, and seizure rank (seizures were chronologically ordered by the patient for each subunit) were associated with longer ITs. Bedside staff presence rate was higher in the EDU than in the NWU (p < 0.001). AEs occurred in 19% of admissions, with no difference between subunits. AEs were more frequent in BTCS than in other seizure types (p = 0.001).
This study suggests that close monitoring by trained staff members dedicated to EMU patients is key to optimize safety. AE rate was high, warranting corrective measures.
We undertook a quality improvement project to address challenges with pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) line maintenance in a setting of low-baseline central-line infection rates. We observed a subsequent reduction in Staphylococcal PAC line infections and a trend toward a reduction in overall PAC infection rates over 1 year.
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