• 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.
    • COVID-19 and Congenital Heart Disease: Results from a Nationwide Survey.

      Sabatino, Jolanda; Ferrero, Paolo; Chessa, Massimo; Bianco, Francesco; Ciliberti, Paolo; Secinaro, Aurelio; Oreto, Lilia; Avesani, Martina; Bucciarelli, Valentina; Calcaterra, Giuseppe; et al. (2020-06-08)
      This is a multi-centre, observational, nationwide survey, involving high-volume Italian CHD centres. COVID-19 diagnosis was defined as either "clinically suspected" or "confirmed", where a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) test had been performed and was positive. Cardiovascular comorbidities were observed among adult patients-atrial fibrillation (seven; 9%), hypertension (five; 7%), obesity (seven; 9%) and diabetes (one; 1%)-but were absent among children. Cardiovascular complications were mainly observed in the "confirmed" COVID-19+ group, consisting of heart failure (9%), palpitations/arrhythmias (3%), stroke/TIA (3%) and pulmonary hypertension (3%). Cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain (1%), myocardial injury (1%) and pericardial effusion (1%) were also recorded. On the contrary, CHD patients from the clinically suspected COVID-19 group presented no severe symptoms or complications.
    • Sepsis at ICU admission does not decrease 30-day survival in very old patients: a post-hoc analysis of the VIP1 multinational cohort study.

      Ibarz, Mercedes; Boumendil, Ariane; Haas, Lenneke E M; Irazabal, Marian; Flaatten, Hans; de Lange, Dylan W; Morandi, Alessandro; Andersen, Finn H; Bertolini, Guido; Cecconi, Maurizio; et al. (2020-05-13)
      Background: The number of intensive care patients aged ≥ 80 years (Very old Intensive Care Patients; VIPs) is growing. VIPs have high mortality and morbidity and the benefits of ICU admission are frequently questioned. Sepsis incidence has risen in recent years and identification of outcomes is of considerable public importance. We aimed to determine whether VIPs admitted for sepsis had different outcomes than those admitted for other acute reasons and identify potential prognostic factors for 30-day survival. Results: This prospective study included VIPs with Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores ≥ 2 acutely admitted to 307 ICUs in 21 European countries. Of 3869 acutely admitted VIPs, 493 (12.7%) [53.8% male, median age 83 (81-86) years] were admitted for sepsis. Sepsis was defined according to clinical criteria; suspected or demonstrated focus of infection and SOFA score ≥ 2 points. Compared to VIPs admitted for other acute reasons, VIPs admitted for sepsis were younger, had a higher SOFA score (9 vs. 7, p < 0.0001), required more vasoactive drugs [82.2% vs. 55.1%, p < 0.0001] and renal replacement therapies [17.4% vs. 9.9%; p < 0.0001], and had more life-sustaining treatment limitations [37.3% vs. 32.1%; p = 0.02]. Frailty was similar in both groups. Unadjusted 30-day survival was not significantly different between the two groups. After adjustment for age, gender, frailty, and SOFA score, sepsis had no impact on 30-day survival [HR 0.99 (95% CI 0.86-1.15), p = 0.917]. Inverse-probability weight (IPW)-adjusted survival curves for the first 30 days after ICU admission were similar for acute septic and non-septic patients [HR: 1.00 (95% CI 0.87-1.17), p = 0.95]. A matched-pair analysis in which patients with sepsis were matched with two control patients of the same gender with the same age, SOFA score, and level of frailty was also performed. A Cox proportional hazard regression model stratified on the matched pairs showed that 30-day survival was similar in both groups [57.2% (95% CI 52.7-60.7) vs. 57.1% (95% CI 53.7-60.1), p = 0.85]. Conclusions: After adjusting for organ dysfunction, sepsis at admission was not independently associated with decreased 30-day survival in this multinational study of 3869 VIPs. Age, frailty, and SOFA score were independently associated with survival.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • An Overview of Tickborne Infections in Pregnancy and Outcomes in the Newborn: The Need for Prospective Studies.

      Lambert, John S (2020-03-06)
      Tick-borne infections are an ever-increasing issue internationally, many factors contribute to this including a changing climate. Pregnant women represent the single largest vulnerable group in populations due to a relative immune deficiency status. Infections in pregnant women have the added gravity of potential infection in the developing fetus which may have catastrophic consequences including death in-utero or lifelong debilitation. Currently there is a paucity of data surrounding tick-borne infections in pregnancy and long-term outcomes for mother and infant for conditions like Lyme disease and co-infections. At present there are no established international surveillance systems to identify and gain understanding of these infections in pregnancy. Furthermore, the removal of Congenital Lyme Disease from ICD-11 codes hampers dialogue and characterization of borreliosis in pregnancy and stifles future developments of this understudied domain. This review makes the case for further study and re-opening a dialogue of tick-borne infections in pregnancy.
    • Bi-allelic JAM2 Variants Lead to Early-Onset Recessive Primary Familial Brain Calcification.

      Schottlaender, Lucia V; Abeti, Rosella; Jaunmuktane, Zane; Macmillan, Carol; Chelban, Viorica; O'Callaghan, Benjamin; McKinley, John; Maroofian, Reza; Efthymiou, Stephanie; Athanasiou-Fragkouli, Alkyoni; et al. (2020-03-05)
      Primary familial brain calcification (PFBC) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a combination of neurological, psychiatric, and cognitive decline associated with calcium deposition on brain imaging. To date, mutations in five genes have been linked to PFBC. However, more than 50% of individuals affected by PFBC have no molecular diagnosis. We report four unrelated families presenting with initial learning difficulties and seizures and later psychiatric symptoms, cerebellar ataxia, extrapyramidal signs, and extensive calcifications on brain imaging. Through a combination of homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we mapped this phenotype to chromosome 21q21.3 and identified bi-allelic variants in JAM2. JAM2 encodes for the junctional-adhesion-molecule-2, a key tight-junction protein in blood-brain-barrier permeability. We show that JAM2 variants lead to reduction of JAM2 mRNA expression and absence of JAM2 protein in patient's fibroblasts, consistent with a loss-of-function mechanism. We show that the human phenotype is replicated in the jam2 complete knockout mouse (jam2 KO). Furthermore, neuropathology of jam2 KO mouse showed prominent vacuolation in the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum and particularly widespread vacuolation in the midbrain with reactive astrogliosis and neuronal density reduction. The regions of the human brain affected on neuroimaging are similar to the affected brain areas in the myorg PFBC null mouse. Along with JAM3 and OCLN, JAM2 is the third tight-junction gene in which bi-allelic variants are associated with brain calcification, suggesting that defective cell-to-cell adhesion and dysfunction of the movement of solutes through the paracellular spaces in the neurovascular unit is a key mechanism in CNS calcification.
    • 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 (2020-03-04)
      Background: Single-sided deafness (SSD) describes the presence of a unilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. SSD disrupts spatial hearing and understanding speech in background noise. It has functional, psychological and social consequences. Potential options for rehabilitation include hearing aids and auditory implants. Benefits and harms of these interventions are documented inconsistently in the literature, using a variety of outcomes ranging from tests of speech perception to quality of life questionnaires. It is therefore difficult to compare interventions when rehabilitating SSD. The Core Rehabilitation Outcome Set for Single Sided Deafness (CROSSSD) study is an international initiative that aims to develop a minimum set of core outcomes for use in future trials of SSD interventions. Methods/design: The CROSSSD study adopts an international two-round online modified Delphi survey followed by a stakeholder consensus meeting to identify a patient-centred core outcome domain set for SSD based on what is considered critical and important for assessing whether an intervention for SSD has worked. Discussion: The resulting core outcome domain set will act as a minimum standard for reporting in future clinical trials and could have further applications in guiding the use of outcome measures in clinical practice. Standardisation will facilitate comparison of research findings.
    • 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.
    • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) and Obesity-Related Cancer.

      Donohoe, Fionán; Wilkinson, Michael; Baxter, Eva; Brennan, Donal J (2020-02-13)
      Obesity is a major public health concern worldwide. The increased risk of certain types of cancer is now an established deleterious consequence of obesity, although the molecular mechanisms of this are not completely understood. In this review, we aim to explore the links between MAPK signalling and obesity-related cancer. We focus mostly on p38 and JNK MAPK, as the role of ERK remains unclear. These links are seen through the implication of MAPK in obesity-related immune paralysis as well as through effects on the endoplasmic reticulum stress response and activation of aromatase. By way of example, we highlight areas of interest and possibilities for future research in endometrioid endometrial cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and MAPK.
    • 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.
    • HepCare Europe-A service innovation project. HepCheck: Characteristics of the patient population with active infection as defined by HCV RNA.

      Avramovic, Gordana; Oprea, Cristiana; Surey, Julian; Story, Alistair; Macías, Juan; Cullen, Walter; Iglesias, Maria; Mc Hugh, Tina; Crowley, Des; Naughton, Anna Marie; et al. (2019-11-27)
      BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a main cause of chronic liver disease worldwide and is consistently under-diagnosed. Community-based screening initiatives, such as HepCheck, have been identified as important components of HCV care. HepCheck focuses on screening and identifying HCV RNA-positive cases in high-risk populations and linking them to care as part of a larger European project to improve HCV care (HepCare). METHODS: HCV testing with a self-administered questionnaire was offered to 2822 individuals. RESULTS: There were 2079 patients screened. Overall, 397 (19%) of the total screened cohort were identified as having active HCV infections as measured by HCV RNA PCR. The patients were mostly male (84%), white (88%), and had a history of injecting drug use (IDU) (86%), homelessness (58%), and tattooing (42%). There were 136 new cases (7% of the total sample and 34% of identified active infections). Romania had the highest proportion of newly identified cases with 87%, then Ireland with 60%, and Spain with 43%; the UK had the lowest proportion of new cases at 10%. CONCLUSIONS: For those lost to follow-up, a major strategy is re-engagement. For those newly diagnosed, the 'seek and treat' approach is a key strategy. Thus, different priorities are defined for different countries.
    • Psychosocial effects of whole-body MRI screening in adult high-risk pathogenic mutation carriers: a case-controlled study (SIGNIFY).

      Bancroft, Elizabeth K; Saya, Sibel; Brown, Emma; Thomas, Sarah; Taylor, Natalie; Rothwell, Jeanette; Pope, Jennifer; Chamberlain, Anthony; Page, Elizabeth; Benafif, Sarah; et al. (2019-11-12)
      Germline TP53 gene pathogenic variants (pv) cause a very high lifetime risk of developing cancer, almost 100% for women and 75% for men. In the UK, annual MRI breast screening is recommended for female TP53 pv carriers. The SIGNIFY study (Magnetic Resonance Imaging screening in Li Fraumeni syndrome: An exploratory whole body MRI) study reported outcomes of whole-body MRI (WB-MRI) in a cohort of 44 TP53 pv carriers and 44 matched population controls. The results supported the use of a baseline WB-MRI screen in all adult TP53 pv carriers. Here we report the acceptability of WB-MRI screening and effects on psychosocial functioning and health-related quality of life in the short and medium terms.
    • Single Core Genome Sequencing for Detection of both Sensu Lato and Relapsing Fever Borrelia Species.

      Lee, Sin Hang; Healy, John Eoin; Lambert, John S (2019-05-20)
      Lyme disease, initially described as Lyme arthritis, was reported before nucleic-acid based detection technologies were available. The most widely used diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are based on the serologic detection of antibodies produced against antigens derived from a single strain of Borrelia burgdorferi. The poor diagnostic accuracy of serological tests early in the infection process has been noted most recently in the 2018 Report to Congress issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. Clinical Lyme disease may be caused by a diversity of borreliae, including those classified as relapsing fever species, in the United States and in Europe. It is widely accepted that antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease is most successful during this critical early stage of infection. While genomic sequencing is recognized as an irrefutable direct detection method for laboratory diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis, development of a molecular diagnostic tool for all clinical forms of borreliosis is challenging because a "core genome" shared by all pathogenic borreliae has not yet been identified. After a diligent search of the GenBank database, we identified two highly conserved segments of DNA sequence among the borrelial 16S rRNA genes. We further developed a pair of Borrelia genus-specific PCR primers for amplification of a segment of borrelial 16S rRNA gene as a "core genome" to be used as the template for routine Sanger sequencing-based metagenomic direct detection test. This study presented examples of base-calling DNA sequencing electropherograms routinely generated in a clinical diagnostic laboratory on DNA extracts of human blood specimens and ticks collected from human skin bites and from the environment. Since some of the tick samples tested were collected in Ireland, borrelial species or strains not known to exist in the United States were also detected by analysis of this 16S rRNA "core genome". We recommend that hospital laboratories located in Lyme disease endemic areas begin to use a "core genome" sequencing test to routinely diagnose spirochetemia caused by various species of borreliae for timely management of patients at the early stage of infection.
    • The Role of Religion in Buffering the Impact of Stressful Life Events on Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Depressive Episodes or Adjustment Disorder.

      Lorenz, Louisa; Doherty, Anne; Casey, Patricia (2019-04-08)
      Most studies into the role of religiousness in relation to depression severity have mainly found an inverse relationship between greater religiousness and lower levels of depressive symptoms. There is reason to assume that religiousness has a buffering effect on the relationship between stressful life events and depressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of religiousness in moderating the impact of stressors on depressive symptoms. n = 348 patients with either a depressive episode or adjustment disorder were assessed at referral to the liaison psychiatry services in three Dublin hospitals and n = 132 patients were followed up six months later. We assessed depressive symptoms, life events, social support, and religiosity, and used hierarchical and multiple linear regression for data analysis. The interaction of organised religious activity and the amount of life events was significant (β = -0.19, p = 0.001) in the cross-sectional prediction of depressive symptoms while non-organised religious activity (β = -0.23, p = 0.001) and intrinsic religiousness (β = -0.15, p = 0.033) interacted significantly with life events in the longitudinal analysis. This study demonstrated that various dimensions of religiousness buffered the impact of life events on outcome.
    • Bilateral Plantar Fibromatosis

      Newman, C; McQuaid, S.E (Irish Medical Journal, 2019-04)
      Plantar fibromastosis is a hyperproliferative disorder of the plantar fascia which predominantly affects males over the age of fifty. Its etiology is incompletely understood; however up to 42% of affected patients also have a diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus.
    • Patient involvement in the implementation of infection prevention and control guidelines and associated interventions: a scoping review.

      Fernandes Agreli, Heloise; Murphy, Michael; Creedon, Sile; Ni Bhuachalla, Cliodhna; O'brien, Deirdre; Gould, Dinah; Savage, Eileen; Barry, Fiona; Drennan, Jonathan; Smiddy, Maura P; et al. (2019-03-23)
      From an identified 2078 papers, 14 papers were included in this review. Our findings provide insights into the need for a fundamental change to IPC, from being solely the healthcare professionals (HCPs) responsibility to one that involves a collaborative relationship between HCPs and patients. This change should be underpinned by a clear understanding of patient roles, potential levels of patient involvement in IPC and strategies to overcome barriers to patient involvement focusing on the professional-patient relationship (eg, patient encouragement through multimodal educational strategies and efforts to disperse professional's power).
    • 'HepCheck Dublin': an intensified hepatitis C screening programme in a homeless population demonstrates the need for alternative models of care.

      Lambert, John S; Murtagh, Ross; Menezes, Dee; O'Carroll, Austin; Murphy, Carol; Cullen, Walter; McHugh, Tina; Avramovic, Gordana; Tinago, Willard; Van Hout, Marie Claire (2019-02-07)
      Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease worldwide. Prevalence of HCV in homeless populations ranges from 3.9 to 36.2%. The HepCheck study sought to investigate and establish the characterisation of HCV burden among individuals who attended an intensified screening programme for HCV in homeless services in Dublin, Ireland. Methods: The HepCheck study was conducted as part of a larger European wide initiative called HepCare Europe. The study consisted of three phases; 1) all subjects completed a short survey and were offered a rapid oral HCV test; 2) a convenience sample of HCV positive participants from phase 1 were selected to complete a survey on health and social risk factors and 3) subjects were tracked along the referral pathway to identify whether they were referred to a specialist clinic, attended the specialist clinic, were assessed for cirrhosis by transient elastography (Fibroscan) and were treated for HCV. Results: Five hundred ninety-seven individuals were offered HCV screening, 73% were male and 63% reported having had a previous HCV screening. We screened 538 (90%) of those offered screening, with 37% testing positive. Among those who tested positive, 112 (56%) were 'new positives' and 44% were 'known positives'. Undiagnosed HCV was prevalent in 19% of the study sample. Active past 30-day drug use was common, along with attendance for drug treatment. Unstable accommodation was the most common barrier to attending specialist appointments and accessing treatment. Depression and anxiety, dental problems and respiratory conditions were common reported health problems. Forty-six subjects were referred to specialised services and two subjects completed HCV treatment. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the current hospital-based model of care is inadequate in addressing the specific needs of a homeless population and emphasises the need for a community-based treatment approach. Findings are intended to inform HepCare Europe in their development of a community-based model of care in order to engage with homeless individuals with multiple co-morbidities including substance abuse, who are affected by or infected with HCV.
    • Operative Management of Perinatal Lumbar Disc Herniation and Cauda Equina Syndrome: A Case Series

      Ahern, DP; Gibbons, D; Dodds, M; Timlin, M; Cassidy, N; Morris, S; Synnott, K; Butler, JS (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-11)
      Perinatal lumbar discectomy for lumbar disc herniation or cauda equina syndrome is a rare clinical scenario. This case series outlines the surgical management of this clinical scenario at a national tertiary referral centre over a 10-year period
    • The Case for Shared Medical and Psychiatric Units: Are They Needed and How They Could Run?

      Duffy, R.M; Sadlier, M; Van Der Ploeg, A.H.; Sheehan, J; 1. Mater Misericordiae University Hospital . 2. Academic Centre of Psychiatry, University of Groningen (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-10)
      A diagnosis of major mental illness is associated with a 15-20 year reduction in life expectancy. Individuals with mental illness face many difficulties accessing and receiving healthcare, many of these barriers exist in secondary care. On medical and surgical wards, the majority of mental healthcare is delivered by consultation liaison services. Hospital based psychiatry is increasingly important; well designed services are often cost-effective and can reduce patient’s length of stay. Some individual’s care needs, however, exceed the capacity of such a service. There is a significant unmet need for individuals with severe co-morbid mental and physical illness, due to their increased lengths of stay, costs and readmission rate. In these cases ‘both medical and psychiatric safety features form a prerequisite for the physical settings’ 4. This paper examines the need for shared care units (SCU), with additional mental health input. A Vision for Change proposes one adult liaison mental health services for 300,000 people and a national 6-10 bed neuropsychiatry unit. While the proposed neuropsychiatry unit does not currently exist it would only address a small proportion of the individuals who could benefit from a SCU. In Ireland there are currently just over 10,000 acute inpatient beds. Overall 52.5 people per 100,000 require inpatients mental health services. Based on these numbers there is a need for 5 inpatient beds nationally where medical and psychiatric needs can be addressed simultaneously. This calculation however falsely assumes no association between physical and mental health morbidity. In reality a bidirectional association is well established. Psychological morbidity is higher in medical inpatients. A study of general medical and trauma orthopedic admissions, showed that 64% of those over 70 had significant psychiatric morbidity including 8% with delusions and 6% with hallucinations. Patients with major mental illnesses have increased levels of mortality, even in highly income countries greatly reduced life expentancy Kishi and Kanthol suggest that one percent of patients admitted to general hospital would benefit from a SCU4. Compounding this association between physical and psychological illness is the fact that Ireland’s population is aging, older patients have higher rates of inpatient care for both physical and mental health reasons. A review of four studies of such wards demonstrated that SCUs reduce psychiatric symptoms, shorten in length of stay, improve functional outcomes and a decrease the need for long-term care. A medical and mental health unit for older individuals with delirium and dementia has been trialed in the UK with initially favorable and cost effective results11. We identify three cohorts of patients who may benefit from this service. The interventions such a ward could deliver are examined and some of the potential practical considerations are discussed. Key potential benefits that this shared model could provide are highlighted.