Research affiliated to staff at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

Recent Submissions

  • Target 5000: a standardized all-Ireland pathway for the diagnosis and management of inherited retinal degenerations.

    Stephenson, Kirk A J; Zhu, Julia; Wynne, Niamh; Dockery, Adrian; Cairns, Rebecca M; Duignan, Emma; Whelan, Laura; Malone, Conor P; Dempsey, Hilary; Collins, Karen; et al. (2021-05-05)
    Introduction: Inherited retinal degenerations (IRD) are rare genetic disorders with > 300 known genetic loci, manifesting variably progressive visual dysfunction. IRDs were historically underserved due to lack of effective interventions. Many novel therapies will require accurate diagnosis (phenotype and genotype), thus an efficient and effective pathway for assessment and management is required. Methods: Using surveys of existing practice patterns and advice from international experts, an all-Ireland IRD service (Target 5000) was designed. Detailed phenotyping was followed by next generation genetic sequencing in both a research and accredited laboratory. Unresolved pedigrees underwent further studies (whole gene/whole exome/whole genome sequencing). Novel variants were interrogated for pathogenicity (cascade screening, in silico analysis, functional studies). A multidisciplinary team (MDT; ophthalmologists, physicians, geneticists, genetic counsellors) reconciled phenotype with genotype. A bespoke care plan was created for each patient comprising supports, existing interventions, and novel therapies/clinical trials. Results and discussion: Prior to Target 5000, a significant cohort of patients were not engaged with healthcare/support services due to lack of effective interventions. Pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in IRD-associated genes were detected in 62.3%, with 11.6% having variants of unknown significance. The genotyping arm of Target 5000 allowed a 42.73% cost saving over independent testing, plus the value of MDT expertise/processing. Partial funding has transferred from charitable sources to government resources. Conclusion: Target 5000 demonstrates efficacious and efficient clinical/genetic diagnosis, while discovering novel IRD-implicated genes/variants and investigating mechanisms of disease and avenues of intervention. This model could be used to develop similar IRD programmes in small/medium-sized nations.
  • Exploring and understanding HCV patient journeys- HEPCARE Europe project.

    Glaspy, Shannon; Avramovic, Gordana; McHugh, Tina; Oprea, Cristiana; Surey, Julian; Ianache, Irina; Macías, Juan; Story, Alistair; Cullen, Walter; Lambert, John S (2021-03-05)
    Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a leading cause for chronic liver diseases worldwide. The European Union and World Health Organization aspire to eliminate HCV by 2030. However, among at-risk populations, including, homeless people, prisoners and People Who Inject Drugs, access to diagnosis and treatment is challenging. Hepcare Europe is an integrated model of care developed to address this by assessing potential reasons for these restrictions and determining measures needed to improve HCV diagnosis, treatment and access to care within different communities. Objectives: HepCare Europe is an EU-supported project involving collaboration between five institutions in: Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain and Romania. We aim to explore the journey of care experienced by those living with HCV with a focus on previous care disruptions (loss to follow up) and the new HepCare Europe Programme. Methods: Research teams conducted semi-structured interviews with patients who accessed services through HepCare Europe thus, patients were recruited by purposeful sampling. Patients interviewed had received, or were in the final weeks of receiving, treatment. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and translated into English, and sent to the Dublin team for inductive thematic analysis. Researchers from the HepCare Europe research team coded the data separately, then together. Results: Common themes are introduced to present similarities, following individual site themes to highlight the importance of tailored interventions for each country. Key themes are: 1) Hepatitis C patients lost to follow up 2) HepCare improved access to treatment and 3) the need for improved HCV education. Individual themes also emerged for each site. These are: Ireland: New opportunities associated with achieving Sustained Virologic Responses (SVR). Romania: HCV is comparatively less crucial in light of Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV) coinfections. UK: Patients desire support to overcome social barriers and Spain: Improved awareness of HCV, treatment and alcohol use. Conclusion: This study identified how the tailored HepCare interventions enabled improved HCV testing and linkage to care outcomes for these patients. Tailored interventions that targeted the needs of patients, increased the acceptability and success of treatment by patients. HepCare demonstrated the need for flexibility in treatment delivery, and provided additional supports to keep patients engaged and educated on new treatment therapies.
  • Case report: adult onset diabetes with partial pancreatic agenesis and congenital heart disease due to a de novo GATA6 mutation.

    Sanchez-Lechuga, Begona; Saqlain, Muhammad; Ng, Nicholas; Colclough, Kevin; Woods, Conor; Byrne, Maria (2020-04-03)
    Background: Mutations in GATA6 are the most frequent cause of pancreatic agenesis. Most cases present with neonatal diabetes mellitus. Case presentation: The case was a female born after an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery in a non-consanguineous family (3.59 kg, 70th percentile). Severe cardiac malformations were diagnosed at two and a half months old. No hyperglycaemic episodes were recorded in the neonatal period. Diabetes was diagnosed at 21 years due to the detection of incidental glycosuria. She had a low but detectable C-peptide level at diagnosis. Anti-GAD and Islet-cell antibodies were negative and she failed oral hypoglycaemic therapy and was started on insulin. Abdominal MRI revealed the absence of most of the neck, body, and tail of pancreas with normal pancreas elastase levels. Criteria for type 1 or type 2 diabetes were not fulfilled, therefore a next generation sequencing (NGS) panel was performed. A novel heterozygous pathogenic GATA6 mutation (p.Tyr235Ter) was identified. The GATA6 variant was not detected in her parents, implying that the mutation had arisen de novo in the proband. Conclusion: Rarely GATA6 mutations can cause adult onset diabetes. This report highlights the importance of screening the GATA6 gene in patients with adult-onset diabetes, congenital cardiac defects and pancreatic agenesis with no first-degree family history of diabetes. It also emphasizes the importance of genetic counselling in these patients as future offspring will be at risk of inheriting the variant and developing GATA6 anomalies.
  • Application of the critical incident technique in refining a realist initial programme theory.

    Cunningham, U; De Brún, A; McAuliffe, E (2020-05-26)
    Background: As realist methodology is still evolving, there is a paucity of guidance on how to conduct theory driven interviews. Realist researchers can therefore struggle to collect interview data that can make a meaningful contribution to refining their initial programme theory. Collecting data to inform realist Inital Programme Theories (IPTs) in healthcare contexts is further compounded due to the healthcare workers' busy work schedules. In this case study of team interventions in acute hospital contexts, we explore the benefits of using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) in order to build and refine an initial programme theory. We contend that use of the CIT helps to draw on more specific experiences of "Key Informants" and therefore elicits richer and more relevant data for realist enquiry. Methods: The five steps of the CIT were mapped against realist methods guidance and adapted into an interview framework. Specifications to identify an incident as "critical" were agreed. Probes were embedded in the interview framework to confirm, refine and/or refute previous theories. Seventeen participants were interviewed and recordings were transcribed and imported for analysis into NVivo software. Using RAMESES guidelines, Context-Mechanism-Outcomes configurations were extrapolated from a total of 31 incidents. Results: We found that the CIT facilitated construction of an interview format that allowed participants to reflect on specific experiences of interest. We demonstrate how the CIT strengthened initial programme theory development as it facilitated the reporting of the specifics of team interventions and the contexts and mechanisms characteristic of those experiences. As new data emerged, it was possible to evolve previous theories synthesised from the literature as well as to explore new theories. Conclusions: Utilising a CIT framework paid dividends in terms of the relevance and usefulness of the data for refining the initial programme theory. Adapting the CIT questioning technique helped to focus the participants on the specifics relating to an incident allowing the interviewers to concentrate on probes to explore theories during the interview process. The CIT interview format therefore achieved its purpose and can be adapted for use within realist methodology.
  • Editorial: Cardiovascular Adjustments and Adaptations to Exercise: From the Athlete to the Patient.

    Crisafulli, Antonio; Piepoli, Massimo F; Thijssen, Dick; Bassareo, Pier Paolo (2020-02-27)
  • Fertility-sparing treatment in early endometrial cancer: current state and future strategies.

    Obermair, Andreas; Baxter, Eva; Brennan, Donal J; McAlpine, Jessica N; Muellerer, Jennifer J; Amant, Frédéric; van Gent, Mignon D J M; Coleman, Robert L; Westin, Shannon N; Yates, Melinda S; et al. (2020-07-08)
    Endometrial cancer (EC) is the fifth most common cancer in women worldwide. Global estimates show rising incidence rates in both developed and developing countries. Most women are diagnosed postmenopausal, but 14-25% of patients are premenopausal and 5% are under 40 years of age. Established risk factors include age and hyperestrogenic status associated with nulliparity, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Standard treatment for EC, which involves total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, has excellent survival outcomes, particularly for low-grade endometrioid tumors. However, it leads to permanent loss of fertility among women who wish to preserve their reproductive potential. With current trends of reproductive-age women delaying childbearing, rising EC incidence rates, and a growing epidemic of obesity, particularly in developed countries, research on conservative non-surgical treatment approaches remains a top priority. Fertility-sparing treatment predominantly involves the use of oral progestins and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices, which have been shown to be feasible and safe in women with early stage EC and minimal or no myometrial invasion. However, data on the efficacy and safety of conservative management strategies are primarily based on retrospective studies. Randomized clinical trials in younger women and high-risk obese patients are currently underway. Here, we have presented a comprehensive review of the current literature on conservative, fertility-sparing approaches, defining the optimal candidates and evaluating tumor characteristics, reproductive and oncologic outcomes, and ongoing clinical trials. We have also summarized current guidelines and recommendations based on the published literature.
  • Time taken from primary care referral to a specialist centre diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: an opportunity to improve patient outcomes?

    Brereton, Christopher J; Wallis, Timothy; Casey, Michelle; Fox, Lynn; Pontopiddan, Katarina; Laws, Diane; Graves, Jennifer; Titmuss, Vanessa; Kearney, Sarah; Evans, Sian; et al. (2020-07-20)
    For patients with IPF, length of time in healthcare systems prior to review in an ILD clinic reflects disease severity and may impact upon patient outcome https://bit.ly/2TkO26r.
  • Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database.

    Nguengang Wakap, Stéphanie; Lambert, Deborah M; Olry, Annie; Rodwell, Charlotte; Gueydan, Charlotte; Lanneau, Valérie; Murphy, Daniel; Le Cam, Yann; Rath, Ana (2019-09-16)
    Rare diseases, an emerging global public health priority, require an evidence-based estimate of the global point prevalence to inform public policy. We used the publicly available epidemiological data in the Orphanet database to calculate such a prevalence estimate. Overall, Orphanet contains information on 6172 unique rare diseases; 71.9% of which are genetic and 69.9% which are exclusively pediatric onset. Global point prevalence was calculated using rare disease prevalence data for predefined geographic regions from the 'Orphanet Epidemiological file' (http://www.orphadata.org/cgi-bin/epidemio.html). Of the 5304 diseases defined by point prevalence, 84.5% of those analysed have a point prevalence of <1/1 000 000. However 77.3-80.7% of the population burden of rare diseases is attributable to the 4.2% (n = 149) diseases in the most common prevalence range (1-5 per 10 000). Consequently national definitions of 'Rare Diseases' (ranging from prevalence of 5 to 80 per 100 000) represent a variable number of rare disease patients despite sharing the majority of rare disease in their scope. Our analysis yields a conservative, evidence-based estimate for the population prevalence of rare diseases of 3.5-5.9%, which equates to 263-446 million persons affected globally at any point in time. This figure is derived from data from 67.6% of the prevalent rare diseases; using the European definition of 5 per 10 000; and excluding rare cancers, infectious diseases, and poisonings. Future registry research and the implementation of rare disease codification in healthcare systems will further refine the estimates.
  • Clinical and surgical outcomes of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma discussed at a monthly national multidisciplinary team video-conference meeting.

    Brandl, A; Westbrook, S; Nunn, S; Arbuthnot-Smith, E; Mulsow, J; Youssef, H; Carr, N; Tzivanakis, A; Dayal, S; Mohamed, F; et al. (2020-01-30)
    Background: Peritoneal mesothelioma (PM) is a rare primary neoplasm of the peritoneum with an increasing incidence worldwide. Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has shown promise as a treatment strategy. A national PM multidisciplinary team (national PM MDT) video-conference meeting was established in the UK and Ireland in March 2016, aiming to plan optimal treatment, record outcomes and provide evidence for the benefits of centralization. This article reports on the activities and outcomes of the first 2·5 years. Methods: Between March 2016 and December 2018, patients with PM, referred to peritoneal malignancy centres in Basingstoke, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin, were discussed by the national PM MDT via video-conference. The MDT was composed of surgeons, radiologists, specialist nurses and pathologists. Patients were considered for CRS and HIPEC if considered fit for surgery and if radiological imaging suggested that complete surgical cytoreduction could be achieved. Morbidity and mortality following surgery were analysed. Survival analysis following MDT discussion was conducted. Results: A total of 155 patients (M : F ratio 0·96) with a mean(s.d.) age of 57(17) years were discussed. To date, 22 (14·2 per cent) have had CRS and HIPEC; the median Peritoneal Cancer Index for the surgical group was 17·0. Complete cytoreduction was achieved in 19 patients. Clavien-Dindo grade I-II complications occurred in 16 patients; there was no grade III-IV morbidity or 30-day in-hospital mortality. The median follow-up for the whole cohort was 18·7 months, and the 2-year survival rate from time of first review at the national PM MDT was 68·3 per cent. Conclusion: The centralized national PM MDT was effective at selecting patients suitable for CRS and HIPEC, reporting a good outcome from patient selection.
  • Feasibility, Acceptability, and Clinical Effectiveness of a Technology-Enabled Cardiac Rehabilitation Platform (Physical Activity Toward Health-I): Randomized Controlled Trial.

    Claes, Jomme; Cornelissen, Véronique; McDermott, Clare; Moyna, Niall; Pattyn, Nele; Cornelis, Nils; Gallagher, Anne; McCormack, Ciara; Newton, Helen; Gillain, Alexandra; et al. (2020-02-04)
    A convenience sample of 120 CVD patients (mean 61.4 years, SD 13.5 years; 22 women) was included. The PATHway system was deployed in the homes of 60 participants. System use decreased over time and system usability was average with a score of 65.7 (SD 19.7; range 5-100). Moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA increased in PW (PW: 127 [SD 58] min to 141 [SD 69] min, UC: 146 [SD 66] min to 143 [SD 71] min; Pinteraction=.04; effect size of 0.42), while diastolic blood pressure (PW: 79 [SD 11] mmHg to 79 [SD 10] mmHg, UC: 78 [SD 9] mmHg to 83 [SD 10] mmHg; Pinteraction=.004; effect size of -0.49) and cardiovascular risk score (PW: 15.9% [SD 10.4%] to 15.5% [SD 10.5%], UC: 14.5 [SD 9.7%] to 15.7% [SD 10.9%]; Pinteraction=.004; effect size of -0.36) remained constant, but deteriorated in UC.
  • Can routine perioperative haemodynamic parameters predict postoperative morbidity after major surgery?

    Bonnet, Jean-Francois; Buggy, Eleanor; Cusack, Barbara; Sherwin, Aislinn; Wall, Tom; Fitzgibbon, Maria; Buggy, Donal J (2020-03-24)
    Postoperative morbidity occurs in 10-15% of patients undergoing major noncardiac surgery. Predicting patients at higher risk of morbidity may help to optimize perioperative prevention. Preoperative haemodynamic parameters, systolic arterial pressure (SAP) < 100 mmHg, pulse pressure (PP) > 62 mmHg or < 53 mmHg, and heart rate (HR) > 87 min-1 are associated with increased postoperative morbidity. We evaluated the correlation between these and other routine haemodynamic parameters, measured intraoperatively, with postoperative morbidity. Postoperative morbidity was measured using the Comprehensive Complication Index (CCI) and length of stay (LOS). Additionally we correlated CCI with the cardiac risk biomarker, preoperative NT-ProBNP.
  • Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and co-existing lung disease: is this a new phenotype?

    Peacock, Andrew J; Ling, Yi; Johnson, Martin K; Kiely, David G; Condliffe, Robin; Elliot, Charlie A; Gibbs, J Simon R; Howard, Luke S; Pepke-Zaba, Joanna; Sheares, Karen K K; et al. (2020-03-30)
    Patients classified as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (defined as Group 1 on European Respiratory Society (ERS)/European Cardiac Society (ESC) criteria) may have evidence of minor co-existing lung disease on thoracic computed tomography. We hypothesised that these idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients (IPAH lung disease ) are a separate subgroup of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension with different phenotype and outcome compared with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients without co-existing lung disease (IPAH no lung disease ). Patients with 'IPAH lung disease ' have been eligible for all clinical trials of Group 1 patients because they have normal clinical examination and normal spirometry but we wondered whether they responded to treatment and had similar survival to patients with 'IPAH no lung disease '. We described the outcome of the cohort of patients with 'IPAH no lung disease ' in a previous paper. Here, we have compared incident 'IPAH lung disease ' patients with 'IPAH no lung disease ' patients diagnosed concurrently in all eight Pulmonary Hypertension centres in the UK and Ireland between 2001-2009. Compared with 'IPAH no lung disease ' (n = 355), 'IPAH lung disease ' patients (n = 137) were older, less obese, predominantly male, more likely to be current/ex-smokers and had lower six-minute walk distance, lower % predicted diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide, lower mean pulmonary arterial pressure and lower pulmonary vascular resistance index. After three months of pulmonary hypertension-targeted treatment, six-minute walk distance improved equally in 'IPAH lung disease ' and 'IPAH no lung disease '. However, survival of 'IPAH lung disease ' was lower than 'IPAH no lung disease ' (one year survival: 72% compared with 93%). This survival was significantly worse in 'IPAH lung disease ' even after adjusting for age, gender, smoking history, comorbidities and haemodynamics. 'IPAH lung disease ' patients had similar short-term improvement in six-minute walk distance with anti-pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy but worse survival compared with 'IPAH no lung disease ' patients. This suggests that 'IPAH lung disease ' are a separate phenotype and should not be lumped with 'IPAH no lung disease ' in clinical trials of Group 1 pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • Towards the automatic detection of skin lesion shape asymmetry, color variegation and diameter in dermoscopic images.

    Ali, Abder-Rahman; Li, Jingpeng; O'Shea, Sally Jane (2020-06-16)
    Asymmetry, color variegation and diameter are considered strong indicators of malignant melanoma. The subjectivity inherent in the first two features and the fact that 10% of melanomas tend to be missed in the early diagnosis due to having a diameter less than 6mm, deem it necessary to develop an objective computer vision system to evaluate these criteria and aid in the early detection of melanoma which could eventually lead to a higher 5-year survival rate. This paper proposes an approach for evaluating the three criteria objectively, whereby we develop a measure to find asymmetry with the aid of a decision tree which we train on the extracted asymmetry measures and then use to predict the asymmetry of new skin lesion images. A range of colors that demonstrate the suspicious colors for the color variegation feature have been derived, and Feret's diameter has been utilized to find the diameter of the skin lesion. The decision tree is 80% accurate in determining the asymmetry of skin lesions, and the number of suspicious colors and diameter values are objectively identified.
  • Neurological manifestations and implications of COVID-19 pandemic.

    Tsivgoulis, Georgios; Palaiodimou, Lina; Katsanos, Aristeidis H; Caso, Valeria; Köhrmann, Martin; Molina, Carlos; Cordonnier, Charlotte; Fischer, Urs; Kelly, Peter; Sharma, Vijay K; et al. (2020-06-09)
    The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China and rapidly spread worldwide, with a vast majority of confirmed cases presenting with respiratory symptoms. Potential neurological manifestations and their pathophysiological mechanisms have not been thoroughly established. In this narrative review, we sought to present the neurological manifestations associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Case reports, case series, editorials, reviews, case-control and cohort studies were evaluated, and relevant information was abstracted. Various reports of neurological manifestations of previous coronavirus epidemics provide a roadmap regarding potential neurological complications of COVID-19, due to many shared characteristics between these viruses and SARS-CoV-2. Studies from the current pandemic are accumulating and report COVID-19 patients presenting with dizziness, headache, myalgias, hypogeusia and hyposmia, but also with more serious manifestations including polyneuropathy, myositis, cerebrovascular diseases, encephalitis and encephalopathy. However, discrimination between causal relationship and incidental comorbidity is often difficult. Severe COVID-19 shares common risk factors with cerebrovascular diseases, and it is currently unclear whether the infection per se represents an independent stroke risk factor. Regardless of any direct or indirect neurological manifestations, the COVID-19 pandemic has a huge impact on the management of neurological patients, whether infected or not. In particular, the majority of stroke services worldwide have been negatively influenced in terms of care delivery and fear to access healthcare services. The effect on healthcare quality in the field of other neurological diseases is additionally evaluated.
  • Towards the automatic detection of skin lesion shape asymmetry, color variegation and diameter in dermoscopic images.

    Ali, Abder-Rahman; Li, Jingpeng; O'Shea, Sally Jane (2020-06-16)
    Asymmetry, color variegation and diameter are considered strong indicators of malignant melanoma. The subjectivity inherent in the first two features and the fact that 10% of melanomas tend to be missed in the early diagnosis due to having a diameter less than 6mm, deem it necessary to develop an objective computer vision system to evaluate these criteria and aid in the early detection of melanoma which could eventually lead to a higher 5-year survival rate. This paper proposes an approach for evaluating the three criteria objectively, whereby we develop a measure to find asymmetry with the aid of a decision tree which we train on the extracted asymmetry measures and then use to predict the asymmetry of new skin lesion images. A range of colors that demonstrate the suspicious colors for the color variegation feature have been derived, and Feret's diameter has been utilized to find the diameter of the skin lesion. The decision tree is 80% accurate in determining the asymmetry of skin lesions, and the number of suspicious colors and diameter values are objectively identified.
  • Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency: Therapeutic Options.

    Pastores, Gregory M; Hughes, Derralynn A (2020-02-11)
    Lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) deficiency is a metabolic (storage) disorder, encompassing a severe (Wolman disease) and attenuated (Cholesterol ester storage disease) subtype; both inherited as autosomal recessive traits. Cardinal clinical features include the combination of hepatic dysfunction and dyslipidemia, as a consequence of cholesteryl esters and triglyceride accumulation, predominately in the liver and vascular and reticuloendothelial system. Significant morbidity can arise, due to liver failure and/or atherosclerosis; in part related to the severity of the underlying gene defect and corresponding enzyme deficiency. Diagnosis is based on demonstration of decreased LAL enzyme activity, complemented by analysis of the cognate gene defects. Therapeutic options include dietary manipulation and the use of lipid-lowering drugs. Sebelipase alfa, a recombinant enzyme replacement therapy, has garnered regulatory approval, following demonstration of improvements in disease-relevant markers and clinical benefit in clinical trials, which included increased survival in the most severe cases.
  • Investigation of the long-term yield of auditing for conformity with the ISO 15189:2012 quality standard in a hospital pathology laboratory.

    Green, Alastair David; Kavanagh-Wright, Lucille; Lee, Graham Robert (2020-03-04)
    Introduction: Pathology laboratories are increasingly seeking accreditation to quality standards to assure Quality of Service (QoS). However, there is little data available regarding the value of this in laboratories with well-established Quality Management Systems (QMS). Moreover, critics of accreditation claim it redirects resources toward trivial issues. Our objective was to investigate the value of auditing for conformity with the ISO 15189:2012 standard in such laboratories. Design: and Methods: In total, 483 Audit-Identified Non-Conformities (AINCs) were documented within our department since transitioning to an ISO 15189:2012 compliant QMS. The potential consequences of these were assessed by three clinical laboratorians who assigned them into categories based on their likely impact. These were: Unlikely (no clear consequences); Possible (potential for poor QoS/harm); and Probable (Likely to cause poor QoS/harm). Additionally, total numbers/severity of Real-Time Non-Conformities (RTNCs) detected outside of auditing were examined to provide additional insight into the effects of accreditation on QoS. Results: According to majority decision: 395 (81.8%) of AINCs were classified Unlikely, 88 (18.2%) were Possible, and none were Probable. The relative proportion of Unlikely AINCs also rose over time. Total numbers and severity of RTNCs dropped in the short-term following transition to an ISO 15189:2012 QMS, but steadily rose thereafter. Conclusions: Our data suggest auditing for conformity with ISO 15189:2012 standards may be effective in attaining accreditation, but may have diminishing returns in the long-term once the QMS is established, unless there is continual improvement in the audit process to promote better use of resources.
  • Correction to: Core Rehabilitation Outcome Set for Single Sided Deafness (CROSSSD) study: protocol for an international consensus on outcome measures for single sided deafness interventions using a modified Delphi survey.

    Katiri, Roulla; Hall, Deborah A; Buggy, Nora; Hogan, Nicholas; Horobin, Adele; van de Heyning, Paul; Firszt, Jill B; Bruce, Iain A; Kitterick, Pádraig T (2020-03-17)
    Following the publication of our article [1], the authors have notified us of a typo in the third bullet point of the Consensus Criteria section.
  • Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Infective Endocarditis: Characteristics and Outcomes From a Large, Multinational Cohort.

    Fernández Hidalgo, Núria; Gharamti, Amal A; Aznar, María Luisa; Almirante, Benito; Yasmin, Mohamad; Fortes, Claudio Querido; Plesiat, Patrick; Doco-Lecompte, Thanh; Rizk, Hussein; Wray, Dannah; et al. (2020-04-10)
    Among 1336 definite cases of streptococcal IE, 823 were caused by VGS and 147 by BHS. Patients with BHS IE had a lower prevalence of native valve (P < .005) and congenital heart disease predisposition (P = .002), but higher prevalence of implantable cardiac device predisposition (P < .005). Clinically, they were more likely to present acutely (P < .005) and with fever (P = .024). BHS IE was more likely to be complicated by stroke and other systemic emboli (P < .005). The overall in-hospital mortality of BHS IE was significantly higher than that of VGS IE (P = .001). In univariate analysis, variables associated with in-hospital mortality for BHS IE were age (odds ratio [OR], 1.044; P = .004), prosthetic valve IE (OR, 3.029; P = .022), congestive heart failure (OR, 2.513; P = .034), and stroke (OR, 3.198; P = .009).
  • A Phase II Trial of Cabozantinib in Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer with Bone Metastases.

    Xu, Jing; Higgins, Michaela J; Tolaney, Sara M; Come, Steven E; Smith, Matthew R; Fornier, Monica; Mahmood, Umar; Baselga, Jose; Yeap, Beow Y; Chabner, Bruce A; et al. (2020-06-18)
    Background: We assessed the antitumor activity of cabozantinib, a potent multireceptor oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer with bone metastases. Patients and methods: In this single-arm multicenter phase II study, patients received an initial starting dose of 100 mg, later reduced to 60 mg, per day. The primary endpoint was the bone scan response rate. Secondary endpoints included objective response rate by RECIST, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS). Results: Of 52 women enrolled, 20 (38%) experienced a partial response on bone scan and 6 (12%) had stable disease. Prior to the first repeat bone scan at 12 weeks, 19 (35%) patients discontinued study treatment because of early clinical progression or unacceptable toxicity. RECIST evaluation based on best overall response by computed tomography revealed stable disease in extraosseous tissues in 26 patients (50%) but no complete or partial responses. In 25 patients with disease control on bone scan at 12 weeks, only 3 (12%) patients developed extraosseous progression. The median PFS was 4.3 months, and median OS was 19.6 months. The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicities were hypertension (10%), anorexia (6%), diarrhea (6%), fatigue (4%), and hypophosphatemia (4%). Conclusion: Bone scans improved in 38% of patients with metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and remained stable in an additional 12% for a minimum duration of 12 weeks on cabozantinib. Further investigations should assess the activity of cabozantinib in combination with other hormonal and other breast cancer therapies and determine whether bone scan responses correlate with meaningful antitumor effects. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier. NCT01441947 IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Most patients with metastatic hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer have bone involvement, and many have bone-only disease, which is difficult to evaluate for response. This phase II single-arm study evaluated the clinical activity of the small molecule MET/RET/VEGFR2 inhibitor cabozantinib in patients with metastatic HR+ breast cancer with bone metastases. This study met its primary endpoint, and cabozantinib treatment resulted in a significant bone scan response rate correlating with improved survival. This is the first study to use bone scan response as a primary endpoint in breast cancer. The results support further study of cabozantinib in HR+ breast cancer.

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