Recent Submissions

  • A Comparison of Presentations with Self-Harm to Hospital in Lithuania and Ireland.

    Kamal, Samah; McGovern, Mark; Kunideliene, Aida; Casey, Patricia; Doherty, Anne M (2021-03-02)
    Suicide is a serious problem globally, especially in Europe, with suicide rates varying between different countries. Self-harm is a known risk factor for dying by suicide and represents an opportunity to intervene in order to treat any associated mental illness and reduce risk. This study aimed to compare the characteristics of people presenting to hospital with self-harm at two clinical sites: Galway, Ireland and Kaunas, Lithuania. Data were obtained from the services' database and anonymised for analysis. Over a 5-month period, 89 patients presented with self-harm at the Lithuanian site and 224 patients presented with self-harm at the Irish site. This study found significant differences in presentation, diagnosis and treatment between the two sites. All patients at the Lithuanian site were admitted to psychiatry, compared to 22% of patients at the Irish site (p < 0.001). In Lithuania, the main clinical diagnoses were adjustment disorder (37.1%) and major depression (20.2%), compared to substance misuse being the main clinical diagnosis (33.8%) in Ireland (p < 0.001). There were significant differences in the prescription of psychotropic medications (which were three times more commonly prescribed at the Lithuanian site) after controlling for age, gender and psychiatric history (p < 0.001). Further research is required to understand the cultural context behind and further association between hospitalisation and future death by suicide.
  • SafePsych: improving patient safety by delivering high-impact simulation training on rare and complex scenarios in psychiatry.

    Tong, Kezanne; McMahon, Eimear; Reid-McDermott, Bronwyn; Byrne, Dara; Doherty, Anne M; National Forensic Mental Health Service, Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Ireland. 2School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland. 3Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland. 4Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation, National University of Ireland - Galway, Galway, Ireland. 5Department of Psychiatry, University College Dublin, School of Medicine, Dublin, Ireland 6Department of Psychiatry, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. (BMJ Journals, 2021-09-10)
    Introduction: Despite an evidence base demonstrating simulation to be an effective medical education tool, it is not commonly used in postgraduate psychiatry training as it is in other medical specialties. Objective: This paper outlines the development and effectiveness of a hybrid-virtual simulation-based workshop designed to improve patient care by improving clinical skills of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) in detecting and managing rare and complex psychiatric emergencies. Methods: Three clinical vignettes based on near-miss psychiatric cases were developed by a multidisciplinary team of physicians and nurses in psychiatry and experts in simulation-based medical education. The workshop, 'SafePsych' was delivered in a simulation laboratory while and broadcast via Zoom video-conferencing platform to observers. Debriefing followed each clinical scenario. Participants completed preworkshop and postworkshop questionnaires to evaluate clinical knowledge. Results: The workshop was attended by consultants (n=12) and NCHDs in psychiatry and emergency medicine (n=19), and psychiatric nurses (n=5). In the psychiatry NCHD group, test scores significantly improved following the workshop (p<0.001). There were significant improvements in the test scores with a mean difference of 2.56 (SD 1.58, p<0.001). Feedback from participants and observers was positive, with constructive appraisals to improve the virtual element of the workshop. Conclusion: Simulation-based training is effective in teaching high risk, rare complex psychiatric cases to psychiatry NCHDs. Further exploration of the learning needs of nursing staff is required. Future workshop delivery is feasible in the COVID-19 environment and beyond, using a virtual element to meet social distancing requirements while enhancing the reach of the training.
  • Impact on percutaneous coronary intervention for acute coronary syndromes during the COVID-19 outbreak in a non-overwhelmed European healthcare system: COVID-19 ACS-PCI experience in Ireland.

    Connolly, Niall Patrick; Simpkin, Andrew; Mylotte, Darren; Crowley, James; O'Connor, Stephen; AlHarbi, Khalid; Kiernan, Thomas; Arockiam, Sacchin; Owens, Patrick; John, Amal; et al. (2021-04-02)
    Aims: To evaluate temporal trends of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) treated via percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) throughout the COVID-19 outbreak in a European healthcare system affected but not overwhelmed by COVID-19-related pathology. Methods and results: We performed a retrospective multicentre analysis of the rates of PCI for the treatment of ACS within the period 2 months pre and post the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Ireland, as well as comparing PCI for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with the corresponding period in 2019. During the 2020 COVID-19 period (29 February-30 April 2020), there was a 24% decline in PCI for overall ACS (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.76; 95% CI 0.65 to 0.88; p<0.001), including a 29% reduction in PCI for non-ST-elevation ACS (IRR 0.71; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.88; p=0.002) and an 18% reduction in PCI for STEMI (IRR 0.82; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.01; p=0.061), as compared with the 2020 pre-COVID-19 period (1 January-28 February 2020). A 22% (IRR 0.78; 95% CI 0.65 to 0.93; p=0.005) reduction of PCI for STEMI was seen as compared with the 2019 reference period. Conclusion: This study demonstrates a significant reduction in PCI procedures for the treatment of ACS since the COVID-19 outbreak in Ireland. The reasons for this decline are still unclear but patients need to be encouraged to seek medical attention when cardiac symptoms appear, in order to avoid incremental cardiac morbidity and mortality due to a reduction in coronary revascularisation for the treatment of ACS.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with pre-existing anxiety disorders attending secondary care.

    Plunkett, R; Costello, S; McGovern, M; McDonald, C; Hallahan, B (2020-06-08)
    Objectives: To examine the psychological and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with established anxiety disorders during a period of stringent mandated social restrictions. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 individuals attending the Galway-Roscommon Mental Health Services with an International Classification of Diseases diagnosis of an anxiety disorder to determine the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on anxiety and mood symptoms, social and occupational functioning and quality of life. Results: Twelve (40.0%) participants described COVID-19 restrictions as having a deleterious impact on their anxiety symptoms. Likert scale measurements noted that the greatest impact of COVID-19 related to social functioning (mean = 4.5, SD = 2.9), with a modest deleterious effect on anxiety symptoms noted (mean = 3.8, SD = 2.9). Clinician rated data noted that 8 (26.7%) participants had disimproved and 14 (46.7%) participants had improved since their previous clinical review, prior to commencement of COVID-19 restrictions. Conditions associated with no 'trigger', such as generalised anxiety disorder, demonstrated a non-significant increase in anxiety symptoms compared to conditions with a 'trigger', such as obsessive compulsive disorder. Psychiatric or physical comorbidity did not substantially impact on symptomatology secondary to COVID-19 mandated restrictions. Conclusions: The psychological and social impact of COVID-19 restrictions on individuals with pre-existing anxiety disorders has been modest with only minimal increases in symptomatology or social impairment noted.
  • Ottawa Knee Rule: Investigating Use and Application in a Tertiary Teaching Hospital.

    Mohamed, Abubakr; Babikir, Elkhidir; Mustafa, Mohamed Kamal Elbashir (2020-06-24)
    Background Knee injuries are encountered commonly in the emergency departments (EDs) in Ireland. Validated clinical decision rules such as Ottawa knee rule (OKR) can be used in acute knee injury settings to reduce the number of unnecessary radiography. Clinical judgment can be used to distinguish between suspected fractures and non-fractures in many cases; however, radiography is still routinely requested. Objectives We evaluated the OKRs in a high-volume tertiary teaching hospital in Ireland to determine whether the rule could be safely used to decide whether patients with acute blunt knee trauma should undergo radiography. Methods This was an observational study conducted in the ED over a three-month period in a tertiary referral hospital. A total of 110 patients with acute knee injuries were examined using OKR. Inclusion criteria included patients with acute knee injuries due to blunt trauma or twisting injury and patients with lacerations or contusions. Open fractures and fractures due to penetrating injury were excluded from the study. Results Fractures were seen in 12 (13.2%) of the 110 patents who met the inclusion criteria. The OKR predicted all 12 fractures. Sensitivity was 100%, and specificity was 39%. Conclusions The OKR is highly sensitive for fracture in this setting and can be safely used to decide whether patients with acute blunt knee trauma should undergo radiography.
  • Determining the Effect of External Stressors and Cognitive Distraction on Microsurgical Skills and Performance.

    Carr, Shane; McDermott, Bronwyn Reid; McInerney, Niall; Hussey, Alan; Byrne, D; Potter, Shirley (2020-01-22)
    Introduction: Microsurgery is an essential element of Plastic Surgery practice. There is a paucity of studies assessing the impact of stress and cognitive distraction on technical microsurgical performance. The ability to complete cognitive and technical skills in parallel has not been assessed in a microsurgical setting. Aim: To test the hypothesis that cognitive distraction and external stressors negatively affect microsurgical performance in a high fidelity simulation setting. Materials/Methods: Fourteen surgeons across all levels of training undertook 2 microsurgical skills sessions, 1 month apart. Session one established baseline microsurgical skill. In session two, skills were assessed with the introduction of realistic operative room cognitive distractions (ORDIs). Outcome measures were efficiency and accuracy, measured by Time to Completion (TTC) and Anastomosis Lapse Index (ALI), respectively. Key Results: Fourteen participants (6 novices, 5 plastic surgery specialist trainees and 3 consultants) completed both microsurgical skills sessions. In total, 28-microvascular anastomosis were analyzed. Mean baseline TTC for the group was 20.36 min. With cognitive distraction and external stress mean TTC decreased to 17.87 min. Mean baseline ALI score for the group was 3.32 errors per anastomosis. The introduction of cognitive distraction and external stress increased the mean to 4.86 errors per anastomosis. Total errors per anastomosis increased from 91 errors at baseline to 137 errors with cognitive distraction and external stress. Under stress, participants were more efficient but had reduced anastomotic accuracy. Conclusion: Under stress, surgeons were more efficient, this translated into faster completion of a microsurgical anastomosis. Efficiency, however, came at the expense of accuracy.
  • When the bowel meets the bladder: Optimal management of colorectal pathology with urological involvement.

    Keady, Conor; Hechtl, Daniel; Joyce, Myles (2020-05-27)
    Fistulae between the gastrointestinal and urinary systems are rare but becoming increasingly more common in current surgical practice. They are a heterogeneous group of pathological entities that are uncommon complications of both benign and malignant processes. As the incidence of complicated diverticular disease and colorectal malignancy increases, so too does the extent of fistulous connections between the gastrointestinal and urinary systems. These complex problems will be more common as a factor of an aging population with increased life expectancy. Diverticular disease is the most commonly encountered aetiology, accounting for up to 80% of cases, followed by colorectal malignancy in up to 20%. A high index of suspicion is required in order to make the diagnosis, with ever improving imaging techniques playing an important role in the diagnostic algorithm. Management strategies vary, with most surgeons now advocating for a single-stage approach to enterovesical fistulae, particularly in the elective setting. Concomitant bladder management techniques are also disputed. Traditionally, open techniques were the standard; however, increased experience and advances in surgical technology have contributed to refined and improved laparoscopic management. Unfortunately, due to the relative rarity of these entities, no randomised studies have been performed to ascertain the most appropriate management strategy. Rectourinary fistulae have dramatically increased in incidence with advances in the non-operative management of prostate cancer. With radiotherapy being a major contributing factor in the development of these complex fistulae, optimum surgical approach and exposure has changed accordingly to optimise their management. Conservative management in the form of diversion therapy is effective in temporising the situation and allowing for the diversion of faecal contents if there is associated soiling, macerated tissues or associated co-morbidities. One may plan for definitive surgical intervention at a later stage. Less contaminated cases with no fibrosis may proceed directly to definitive surgery if the appropriate expertise is available. An abdominal approach with direct repair and omentum interposition between the repaired tissues has been well described. In low lying fistulae, a transperineal approach with the patient in a prone-jack knife position provides optimum exposure and allows for the use of interposition muscle grafts. According to recent literature, it offers a high success rate in complex cases.
  • Screening Tools Used by Clinical Pharmacists to Identify Elderly Patients at Risk of Drug-Related Problems on Hospital Admission: A Systematic Review.

    Brady, Amanda; Curtis, Chris E; Jalal, Zahraa (2020-04-10)
    None of the models met the four key stages required to create a quality risk prediction model. Further research is needed to either refine the tools developed to date or develop new ones that have good performance and have been externally validated before considering the potential impact and implementation of such tools.
  • Chimney Stenting During Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.

    Rosseel, Liesbeth; Rosseel, Michael; Hynes, Brian; Bel, Xavier Armario; Crilly, Emily; Mylotte, Darren (2020-07-13)
    Acute coronary artery obstruction is a rare but life-threatening complication of transcatheter aortic valve implantation. In patients at risk of coronary artery obstruction, pre-emptive coronary artery protection with a coronary wire, balloon or stent provides a bailout treatment option. The authors describe the steps involved in performing chimney stenting and summarise the short- and long-term outcome data associated with this technique.
  • COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of infection in multiple sclerosis patients on disease modifying therapies: "what the bleep do we know?"

    Mansoor, Salman; Kelly, Siobhan; Murphy, Kevin; Waters, Aine; Siddiqui, Nauman Saleem (2020-05-01)
    The novel coronavirus which emerged in Wuhan province of China has taken world by surprise. Since been diagnosed in December 2019, it has been termed a "Pandemic" and there is a growing concern in physicians across the globe. As new evidence is emerging, there are various preventative strategies which are being deployed. Multiple sclerosis patients who are on disease modifying therapies (DMTs) might be at a higher risk of acquiring or a poorer outcome due to their immune status. This review looks at the available evidence in managing this global crisis.
  • Routine neck ultrasound by respiratory physicians in the diagnosis and staging of patients with lung cancer and mediastinal lymphadenopathy: a prospective pilot study.

    Ahmed, Mohammed; Daneshvar, Cyrus; Breen, David (2020-02-10)
    Introduction: Cervical lymphadenopathy in lung cancer indicates advanced disease. The presence of mediastinal lymphadenopathy is commonly associated with involvement of neck lymph nodes and some studies suggest routine neck ultrasound (NUS) in this group of patients. We conducted a two-phase study looking at training a respiratory physician to perform ultrasound-guided neck lymph node aspiration in patients with suspected lung cancer. Methods: In the first phase of the study, one of the authors underwent training in NUS according to predetermined criteria. The adequacy of sampling was prospectively recorded. In the second phase, consecutive patients with suspected lung cancer and mediastinal lymphadenopathy underwent NUS and sampling of abnormal lymph nodes. The outcomes were the adequacy of samples for pathological analysis and molecular analysis, prevalence of cervical lymphadenopathy, and change in stage. Results: Following the period of training, 35 patients underwent neck node sampling with an overall adequacy of 88.6% (95% CI 78.1-99.1%). Cervical lymph node involvement was confirmed in 13 out of 30 patients with lung cancer (43.3%, 95% CI 25.5-62.6%). Further immunohistochemistry and molecular studies were possible in all patients when it was required (nine cases). NUS led to nodal upstaging in four out of 30 (13.3%) cases. Conclusion: Training a respiratory physician to perform NUS and needle sampling to an acceptable level is feasible. Benefits of embedding this procedure in lung cancer diagnosis and pathway staging need to be explored in further studies.
  • Comparison of long-term clinical outcomes in multivessel coronary artery disease patients treated either with bioresoarbable polymer sirolimus-eluting stent or permanent polymer everolimus-eluting stent: 5-year results of the CENTURY II randomized clinical trial.

    Iñiguez, Andrés; Chevalier, Bernard; Richardt, Gert; Neylon, Antoinette; Jiménez, Victor A; Kornowski, Ran; Carrie, Didier; Moreno, Raul; Barbato, Emanuele; Serra-Peñaranda, Antoni; et al. (2019-04-29)
    Objectives: To assess the long-term safety and efficacy of a sirolimus-eluting stent with bioresorbable polymer (BP-SES; Ultimaster), in comparison to a benchmark everolimus-eluting, permanent polymer stent (PP-EES; Xience), in a prespecified subgroup of patients with multivessel coronary artery disease (MVD) enrolled in the CENTURY II trial. Background: The use of coronary stenting in high-risk subgroups, like MVD patients, is rising. The clinical evidence, including long-term comparative analysis of the efficacy and safety benefits of different new-generation drug eluting stents, however, remains insufficient. Methods: Among 1,119 patients (intention-to-treat) enrolled in the CENTURY II prospective, randomized, single-blind, multicenter trial, a prespecified subgroup of 456 MVD patients were allocated by stratified randomization to treatment with BP-SES (n = 225) or PP-EES (n = 231). The previously reported primary endpoint of this study was freedom from target lesion failure (TLF: a composite of cardiac death, target vessel-related myocardial infarction [MI] and clinically-indicated target lesion revascularization) at 9 months. Results: In this MVD substudy, baseline patient, lesion and procedure characteristics were similar between the treatment arms. At 1 and 5 years, both BP-SES and PP-EES displayed low and comparable rates of TLF (5.3 vs. 7.8%; p = .29 and 10.2 vs. 13.4%; p = .29), and definite or probable stent thrombosis (0.4 vs. 1.3%; p = .33 and 0.9 vs. 1.7%; p = .43), respectively. Composite endpoint of cardiac death and MI, and patient-oriented composite endpoint of any death, MI, and coronary revascularizations were also similar. Conclusions: These results confirm good long-term safety and efficacy of the studied bioresorbable polymer stent in this high-risk patient population.
  • Inflammatory marker alteration in response to systemic therapies in psoriasis.

    Grechin, Cristina; Gheucă Solovăstru, Laura; Vâță, Dan; Ionela Pătrașcu, Adriana; Ioana Grăjdeanu, Alina; Porumb-Andrese, Elena (2020-02-18)
    Substantial research has focused on the presence of biomarkers involved in both the pathogenesis of psoriasis and its comorbidities. The identification of these biomarkers has a crucial role in establishing the diagnosis and prognosis, in understanding the physiopathological mechanism and in determining the therapeutic response. The aim of this study was to emphasize the alteration in inflammatory markers in response to systemic therapies in psoriasis. Evolution of inflammatory marker alteration was studied in 194 patients with psoriasis, aged between 7 and 87 years. Two groups were set up: the first comprised of patients treated with methotrexate (n=51), while the second comprised patients treated with biological therapy (n=143). Each group was evaluated for blood values of C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and fibrinogen before and after treatment, the fluctuation of these values according to the treatment, the interrelation between inflammatory markers and inflammatory activity of the disease and the evolution of the disease after treatment. In group I, 46 out of 51 patients had elevated levels of acute phase reactants before treatment. After treatment with methotrexate 7.5 mg/week, 12 out of 46 patients had elevated blood levels of ESR and 18 out of 46 patients of CRP and fibrinogen. Before treatment with biological therapy, 138 patients out of 143 presented abnormal high range for acute phase reactants. After treatment with biological therapy, 18 patients out of 138 had elevated blood levels of ESR and 37 patients out of 138 had elevated CRP and fibrinogen. A favorable evolution was noted in 98 patients out of 138. It was concluded that the systemic treatment with both methotrexate and biological therapy showed a marked decline in the patients with abnormal values of CRP, ESR and fibrinogen, indirectly showing a decline in the inflammatory activity of psoriasis.
  • Senescence and Inflammatory Markers for Predicting Clinical Progression in Parkinson's Disease: The ICICLE-PD Study.

    Martin-Ruiz, Carmen; Williams-Gray, Caroline H; Yarnall, Alison J; Boucher, John J; Lawson, Rachael A; Wijeyekoon, Ruwani S; Barker, Roger A; Kolenda, Claire; Parker, Craig; Burn, David J; et al. (2020-01-13)
    Background: Cognitive decline is a frequent complication of Parkinson's disease (PD) and the identification of predictive biomarkers for it would help in its management. Objective: Our aim was to analyse whether senescence markers (telomere length, p16 and p21) or their change over time could help to better predict cognitive and motor progression of newly diagnosed PD patients. We also compared these senescence markers to previously analysed markers of inflammation for the same purpose. Methods: This study examined the association of blood-derived markers of cell senescence and inflammation with motor and cognitive function over time in an incident PD cohort (the ICICLE-PD study). Participants (154 newly diagnosed PD patients and 99 controls) underwent physical and cognitive assessments over 36 months of follow up. Mean leukocyte telomere length and the expression of senescence markers p21 and p16 were measured at two time points (baseline and 18 months). Additionally, we selected five inflammatory markers from existing baseline data. Results: We found that PD patients had shorter telomeres at baseline and 18 months compared to age-matched healthy controls which also correlated to dementia at 36 months. Baseline p16 levels were associated with faster rates of motor and cognitive decline over 36 months in PD cases, while a simple inflammatory summary score at baseline best predicted cognitive score over this same time period in PD patients. Conclusion: Our study suggests that both inflammatory and senescence markers (p16) are valuable predictors of clinical progression in PD patients.
  • Preference for Alternate-Day Versus Conventional In-Center Dialysis: A Health Utility Elicitation.

    Solimano, Rafael J; Lineen, James; Naimark, David M J (2020-04-26)
    Background: Mortality rates for patients on hemodialysis (HD) continue to be high, in particular, following the long interdialytic period, yet thrice-weekly conventional HD (CHD) is still an almost universal regimen. Alternate-day dialysis (ADD) may have advantages over the current schedule because it would eliminate the long interdialytic break. A preliminary, as yet unpublished, patient simulation and cost-utility analysis compared CHD versus ADD and demonstrated that the economic attractiveness of ADD was sensitive, in particular, to patients' preference for ADD versus CHD. To date, this preference has not been elicited. Objective: To elicit utilities for both CHD and ADD using 3 standard elicitation methods among a prevalent cohort of patients on CHD. Design: This study is a single-center survey of patient preferences (utilities). Setting: This study took place within the dialysis units of Sunnybrook Health Centre, a university-affiliated teaching hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which encompasses 174 patients on in-center HD. Patients: Those older than 18 years of age, on thrice-weekly HD, were included in this study. Measurements: Descriptive statistics were used to summarize patient characteristics and the utility values generated. A multiple linear regression was performed to determine an association between participant characteristics and the utility ratio. Methods: Via standardized face-to-face interviews by a single investigator, 3 utility elicitation methods, visual analogue scale (VAS), time trade-off (TTO), and standard gamble (SG), were administered to generate utilities for each patient for their current health state of CHD (thrice-weekly). After completing this task, we provided each patient with a concise summary regarding the current literature on how ADD may impact their health. Finally, patients were asked to envision their health while on an ADD regimen while repeating the VAS, TTO, and SG. Results: We recruited 65 participants. The mean utilities of CHD versus ADD were similar for all 3 methods. Visual analogue scale, TTO, and SG had utility values of 0.6 ± 0.2, 0.6 ± 0.3, and 0.7 ± 0.3, and 0.6 ± 0.2, 0.7 ± 0.3, and 0.7 ± 0.3 for CHD and ADD, respectively. The ratio for CHD to ADD was 1.1 ± 0.4, 1.1 ± 0.5, and 1.0 ± 0.2 for VAS, TTO, and SG, respectively. Limitations: Small sample size from a single center, where not all participants agreed to participate, wide variability in participant responses and requiring patients to conceptually imagine life on ADD may have affected our results. Conclusions: Compared with CHD, there was no difference in the preference toward ADD which demonstrates promise that adopting an alternate-day schedule may be acceptable to patients. Furthermore, with the generation of a utility for ADD, this will allow for more precise estimates in future simulation studies of the economic attractiveness of ADD.
  • ERS International Congress, Madrid, 2019: highlights from the Airway Diseases, Asthma and COPD Assembly.

    Lahousse, Lies; Bahmer, Thomas; Cuevas-Ocaña, Sara; Flajolet, Pauline; Mathioudakis, Alexander G; McDonnell, Melissa; Uller, Lena; Schleich, Florence; Dortas Junior, Sergio; Idzko, Marco; et al. (2020-02-17)
    The European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2019 in Madrid, Spain, was a platform for scientific discussion of the highest quality scientific research, cutting-edge techniques and innovative new therapies within the respiratory field. This article discusses some of the high-quality research studies presented at that Congress, with a focus on airway diseases, including asthma, COPD, small airways, bronchiectasis and cough, presented through the Airway Diseases, Asthma and COPD Assembly (Assembly 5) of the ERS. The authors establish the key take-home messages of these studies, compare their findings and place them into context of current understanding.
  • Prevalence and clinical implications of respiratory viruses in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and exacerbations: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.

    Kefala, Anastasia M; Fortescue, Rebecca; Alimani, Gioulinta S; Kanavidis, Prodromos; McDonnell, Melissa Jane; Magiorkinis, Emmanouil; Megremis, Spyridon; Paraskevis, Dimitrios; Voyiatzaki, Chrysa; Mathioudakis, Georgios A; et al. (2020-04-07)
    Introduction: Both stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute exacerbations represent leading causes of death, disability and healthcare expenditure. They are complex, heterogeneous and their mechanisms are poorly understood. The role of respiratory viruses has been studied extensively but is still not adequately addressed clinically. Through a rigorous evidence update, we aim to define the prevalence and clinical burden of the different respiratory viruses in stable COPD and exacerbations, and to investigate whether viral load of usual respiratory viruses could be used for diagnosis of exacerbations triggered by viruses, which are currently not diagnosed or treated aetiologically. Methods and analysis: Based on a prospectively registered protocol, we will systematically review the literature using standard methods recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation working group. We will search Medline/PubMed, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), the Cochrane Library, the WHO's Clinical Trials Registry and the proceedings of relevant international conferences on 2 March 2020. We will evaluate: (A) the prevalence of respiratory viruses in stable COPD and exacerbations, (B) differences in the viral loads of respiratory viruses in stable COPD vs exacerbations, to explore whether the viral load of prevalent respiratory viruses could be used as a diagnostic biomarker for exacerbations triggered by viruses and (C) the association between the presence of respiratory viruses and clinical outcomes in stable COPD and in exacerbations. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval is not required since no primary data will be collected. Our findings will be presented in national and international scientific conferences and will be published in peer reviewed journals. Respiratory viruses currently represent a lost opportunity to improve the outcomes of both stable COPD and exacerbations. Our work aspires to 'demystify' the prevalence and clinical burden of viruses in stable COPD and exacerbations and to promote clinical and translational research.
  • Biallelic CYP24A1 variants presenting during pregnancy: clinical and biochemical phenotypes.

    Griffin, Tomás P; Joyce, Caroline M; Alkanderi, Sumaya; Blake, Liam M; O'Keeffe, Derek T; Bogdanet, Delia; Islam, Md Nahidul; Dennedy, Michael C; Gillan, John E; Morrison, John J; et al.
    Introduction: Inactivating mutations in CYP24A1, encoding vitamin D-24-hydroxylase, can lead to an accumulation of active vitamin D metabolites and consequent hypercalcaemia. Patient (infantile and adult) presentation is varied and includes mild-severe hypercalcaemia, hypercalciuria, nephrocalcinosis and nephrolithiasis. This study aimed to characterize the clinical and biochemical phenotypes of a family with two CYP24A1 missense variants. Methods: The proband and seven family members underwent detailed clinical and biochemical evaluation. Laboratory measurements included serum calcium, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), vitamin D metabolites and urine calcium and creatinine. Results: The proband presented during the second trimester of a planned pregnancy with flu-like symptoms. Laboratory tests showed elevated adjusted calcium of 3.27 (upper reference limit (URL: 2.30) mmol/L), suppressed iPTH (<6 ng/L), elevated 25(OH)D (264 (URL: 55) nmol/L) and elevated 1,25(OH)D (293 (URL: <280) pmol/L). Ionized calcium was 1.55 (URL: 1.28) mmol/L. Sanger sequencing revealed two heterozygous missense variants in the CYP24A1: p.(Arg439Cys), R439C and p.(Trp275Arg), W275R. The proband's brother and sister had the same genotype. The brother had intermittent hypercalcaemia and hypervitaminosis D. Only the sister had a history of nephrolithiasis. The proband's daughter and two nephews were heterozygous for the R439C variant. The proband and her brother frequently had elevated 25(OH)D:24,25(OH)2D ratios (>50) during follow-up. Conclusions: W275R is a new pathogenic CYP24A1 mutation in compound heterozygotic form with R439C in this family.
  • A prospective cohort study of the conservative management of focal cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2.

    McMahon, Gabriela; Griffin, Sinead; Curley, Jennifer; Hartel, Paul; Kilgallen, Clive; Kondaveeti, Nirmala; Sligo University Hospital (European Society of Gynaecology, 2020)
    Background and Purpose: Traditionally, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 (CIN 2) is managed by the removal of affect-ed tissue in a procedure known as a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). In our unit, pathology reports on LLETZ specimens done for a diagnosis of CIN 2 often are reported as CIN 1 or a normal result. So we wondered – are we over-managing CIN 2? Methods: This study was designed to assess the acceptability and outcomes of the conservative management of focal CIN 2. We wanted to establish if monitoring of the disease is sufficient in selected women. In this prospective cohort, women were selected for inclusion in the study by having a histological diagnosis of focal CIN 2 from a cervical biopsy and after discussion at the colposcopy multi-disciplinary team meeting. After explanation of CIN 2 and its future impli-cations, women were informed of the risks and benefits of conservative management versus LLETZ. Women who opted for conservative management were seen in the colposcopy clinic for colposcopy examination, cervical biopsy ± cervical smear and HPV testing at six monthly intervals for two years.Results: Over the two-year follow-up period, 20/31 women (64.5%) had regression of disease, 7/31 women (22.6%) had persistence of CIN 2 and 4/31 women (12.9%) had progression of disease to CIN 3. There were no reported cases of cervical carcinoma in situ or invasive cervical carcinoma. During the follow-up period, patients were offered treatment if there was progression to CIN 3 or worse, persistence of CIN 2 or if they wished to undergo treatment at any stage.Conclusions: Conservative management of CIN 2 may be considered in women who are under the age of 30 with focal CIN 2. However, larger studies should be carried out to define the safety or acceptability of changing this practice.
  • The Prevalence and Management of Metabolic Acidosis of Chronic Kidney Disease

    Ahmed, A.R.; Satti, M.M.; Abdalla, A.E.; Giblin, L.; Lappin, D. (Irish Medical Journal, 2019-10)
    Emerging evidence supports initiating oral sodium bicarbonate (OSB) at a serum bicarbonate (HCO3) level of less than 22mmol/L. We look to identify the prevalence of metabolic acidosis of chronic kidney disease (MA-CKD) and its management with OSB at a regional university hospital.

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