• Advancing surgical research in a sea of complexity.

      O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Department of Surgery, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. geraldc@iol.ie (2012-01-31)
    • Ageing well at home: advice to help you age well in your community

      Moloney, Elizabeth; Gillman, Ciara; O’Brien, Gillian; Mercy University Hospital, Grenville Place, Cork (Mercy University Hospital, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, 2021-06)
      The aim of this booklet is to help you age well and avoid becoming frail through general health and wellbeing advice. COVID-19 has made it more difficult to engage in normal social and physical group activities. We have had to adapt our lifestyles and regular social connections. This booklet reflects the hope we all feel as normal routines return. Included is information about a range of activities, services and agencies available in your community to help you age well. As healthcare workers, we want to support you to live well at home. By remaining active and engaged in your local community, you can delay the onset of frailty. This booklet encourages you to look after your health and wellbeing and to feel positive about the future. Now is the time to invest in your physical and mental health so you can reap the benefits in years to come.
    • Antimicrobial usage in an intensive care unit: a prospective analysis.

      Conrick-Martin, I; Buckley, A; Cooke, J; O'Riordan, F; Cahill, J; O'Croinin, D; Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, Mercy University Hospital,, Grenville Place, Cork. iancm25@hotmail.com (2012-01-31)
      Antimicrobial therapies in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) need to be appropriate in both their antimicrobial cover and duration. We performed a prospective observational study of admissions to our semi-closed ICU over a three-month period and recorded the indications for antimicrobial therapy, agents used, duration of use, changes in therapy and reasons for changes in therapy. A change in therapy was defined as the initiation or discontinuation of an antimicrobial agent. There were 51 patients admitted during the three-month study period and all received antimicrobial therapy. There were 135 changes in antimicrobial therapy. 89 (66%) were made by the ICU team and 32 (24%) were made by the primary team. Changes were made due to a deterioration or lack of clinical response in 41 (30%) cases, due to the completion of prescribed course in 36 (27%) cases, and in response to a sensitivity result in 25 (19%) cases. Prophylactic antibiotic courses (n=24) were of a duration greater than 24 hours in 15 (63%) instances. In conclusion, the majority of changes in antimicrobial therapy were not culture-based and the duration of surgical prophylaxis was in excess of current recommended guidelines.
    • Artificial Intelligence in Radiology-Ethical Considerations.

      Brady, Adrian P; Neri, Emanuele (2020-04-17)
      Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to change much about the way we practice radiology in the near future. The power of AI tools has the potential to offer substantial benefit to patients. Conversely, there are dangers inherent in the deployment of AI in radiology, if this is done without regard to possible ethical risks. Some ethical issues are obvious; others are less easily discerned, and less easily avoided. This paper explains some of the ethical difficulties of which we are presently aware, and some of the measures we may take to protect against misuse of AI.
    • Audit of compliance with HSE standards and recommended practices for healthcare records management for discharge summaries in St. Michael's Unit, Mercy University Hospital, Cork

      Vrabec, Michal; Geary, Eoin; O'Brien, Sinead; North Lee Mental Health Services, HSE Southern Area (Centre for Recovery and Social Inclusion (CRSI), 2019-06-07)
    • An audit of empiric antibiotic choice in the inpatient management of community-acquired pneumonia

      Delaney, F; Jackson, A (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-04)
      Adherence to antimicrobial guidelines for empiric antibiotic prescribing in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) has been reported to be worryingly low. We conducted a review of empiric antibiotic prescribing for sixty consecutive adult patients admitted to the Mercy University Hospital with a diagnosis of CAP. When analysed against local antimicrobial guidelines, guideline concordant empiric antibiotics were given in only 48% of cases, lower than the average rate in comparable studies. Concordance was 100% in cases where the CURB-65 pneumonia severity assessment score, on which the guidelines are based, was documented in the medical notes. The use of excessively broad spectrum and inappropriate antibiotics is a notable problem. This study supports the theory that lack of knowledge regarding pneumonia severity assessment tools and unfamiliarity with therapeutic guidelines are key barriers to guideline adherence, which remains a significant problem despite increased focus on antimicrobial stewardship programs in Ireland
    • Autophagy induction by Bcr-Abl-expressing cells facilitates their recovery from a targeted or nontargeted treatment.

      Crowley, Lisa C; Elzinga, Baukje M; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; McKenna, Sharon L; Leslie C. Quick Laboratory, Cork Cancer Research Centre, BioSciences Institute,, University College Cork and Mercy University Hospital, Grenville Place, Cork,, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Although Imatinib has transformed the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), it is not curative due to the persistence of resistant cells that can regenerate the disease. We have examined how Bcr-Abl-expressing cells respond to two mechanistically different therapeutic agents, etoposide and Imatinib. We also examined Bcr-Abl expression at low and high levels as elevated expression has been associated with treatment failure. Cells expressing low levels of Bcr-Abl undergo apoptosis in response to the DNA-targeting agent (etoposide), whereas high-Bcr-Abl-expressing cells primarily induce autophagy. Autophagic populations engage a delayed nonapoptotic death; however, sufficient cells evade this and repopulate following the withdrawal of the drug. Non-Bcr-Abl-expressing 32D or Ba/F3 cells induce both apoptosis and autophagy in response to etoposide and can recover. Imatinib treatment induces both apoptosis and autophagy in all Bcr-Abl-expressing cells and populations rapidly recover. Inhibition of autophagy with ATG7 and Beclin1 siRNA significantly reduced the recovery of Imatinib-treated K562 cells, indicating the importance of autophagy for the recovery of treated cells. Combination regimes incorporating agents that disrupt Imatinib-induced autophagy would remain primarily targeted and may improve response to the treatment in CML.
    • Bacteria as vectors for gene therapy of cancer.

      Baban, Chwanrow K; Cronin, Michelle; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C. Quick Jr., Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Anti-cancer therapy faces major challenges, particularly in terms of specificity of treatment. The ideal therapy would eradicate tumor cells selectively with minimum side effects on normal tissue. Gene or cell therapies have emerged as realistic prospects for the treatment of cancer, and involve the delivery of genetic information to a tumor to facilitate the production of therapeutic proteins. However, there is still much to be done before an efficient and safe gene medicine is achieved, primarily developing the means of targeting genes to tumors safely and efficiently. An emerging family of vectors involves bacteria of various genera. It has been shown that bacteria are naturally capable of homing to tumors when systemically administered resulting in high levels of replication locally. Furthermore, invasive species can deliver heterologous genes intra-cellularly for tumor cell expression. Here, we review the use of bacteria as vehicles for gene therapy of cancer, detailing the mechanisms of action and successes at preclinical and clinical levels.
    • A budget impact analysis of a clinical medication review of patients in an Irish university teaching hospital

      Kearney, Alan; Walsh, Elaine. K; Kirby, Ann; Halleran, Ciaran; Byrne, Derina; Haugh, Jennifer; Sahm, Laura. J (Global & Regional Health Technology, 2018-09)
      To measure the net benefit of a pharmacist-led medication review in acute public hospitals. To identify and measure the resources used when completing a pharmacist-led medication review, an observational study was conducted in an acute urban university teaching hospital. Health Information and Quality Authority guidelines were used to value resources used in a pharmacist-led medication review. Model inputs included demographic data, probability of adverse drug events associated with the pharmacist interventions, estimates of future discharges and cost data. The cost of a pharmacist-led medication review and savings generated from avoidance of adverse drug events were estimated and projected over a 5-year period, using hospital discharge rates taken from the hospital inpatient enquiry system and the census of population. Using the per-patient cost of a medication review, the annual cost of delivering a bi-weekly medication review is projected to vary between €6 m and €6.4 m over a 5-year period from 2017 to 2021. The per-patient net benefit of a bi-weekly medication review is €45.88. Therefore, the projected annual net benefit of a bi-weekly medication review is between €29.5 m and €31.2 m over the 5-year period of 2017 to 2021. Introducing a pharmacist-led medication review for each inpatient saves in the short and longer term. The results are consistent with previous findings. Substantial savings were estimated, regardless of variation in model parameters tested in sensitivity analysis.
    • Cautionary considerations regarding N.O.T.E.S. in oncology.

      O'Riordain, M G; Mercy University Hospital, Grenville Place, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Over the last number of years, the emphasis in abdominal surgery has been to reduce invasiveness and to minimise trauma to the patient. This has led to the rapid development of laparoscopic techniques initially for the surgical management of benign disease and later for the successful management of malignant disease. Laparoscopy has now been shown to provide significant benefits to the cancer patient, in particular the reduction of wound infection, herniation and pain. More recently, benefits have been demonstrated in earlier discharge from hospital and return to normal activity. Laparoscopy has therefore been accepted as at least a valid alternative to open surgery for most types of abdominal cancer. With the objective of reducing invasiveness even more, the last few years has seen a rapid expansion in the development of Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES). Currently, NOTES is still in the early stages of evolution but its potential uses in the field of cancer surgery are already being proposed. To develop NOTES to the stage that it will be safe, effective and widely available for the management of cancer patients represents a huge challenge ranging from the development of equipment and techniques to the demonstration of safety and efficacy in clinical trials as well as training and competence issues. It is still not clear whether these challenges will be surmounted so that NOTES becomes mainstream therapy. A period of 'watchful waiting' seems appropriate therefore for the uncommitted general surgeon in order that NOTES may be given time to prove compelling and convincing before its general uptake into routine practice.
    • Characteristics of patients presenting with erythema nodosum and sarcoidosis.

      O'Connor, T M; Cagney, D; Jahangir, A; Brady, A; Fitzgibbon, J; Lee, G; El-Gammal, A; Brennan, N J; Department of Respiratory Medicine, Mercy University Hospital, Cork., terryoconnor@eircom.net (2012-01-31)
      We explored the relationship between erythema nodosum (EN) and sex, age, serum angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), bronchoalveolar lavage lymphocytosis (BAL-I), interstitial granulomas and radiological stage in patients presenting with pulmonary sarcoidosis in Ireland. Sixty-nine patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis between 2003 and 2006 were studied. Forty one patients (59%) were male. Sixteen patients (23%) presented with EN. Forty one patients of 65 (63%) had transbronchial biopsies demonstrating non-caseating granulomas. Patients with sarcoidosis presenting with EN were more likely to be female (p=0.042), younger (p=0.012) and have earlier stage pulmonary disease (p=0.02). There were no correlations between serum ACE, interstitial granulomas and disease stage. BAL-I did however predict increasing disease radiological stage (p=0.042). In this study, one quarter of patients with sarcoidosis presented with EN among their presenting features. These patients were more likely to be young females with early stage radiological disease.
    • Chronic kidney disease and obesity in Ireland: comparison of self-reported coronary artery disease in population study with clinic attendees.

      Lannin, U; Vaughan, C; Perry, I J; Browne, G (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-02)
      Obesity is a growing issue in Ireland. The link between obesity, CKD and CAD has not previously been described in the Irish population. The prevalence of obesity and CKD was compared across 3 groups: population based estimates with self-reported CAD, population based estimates without self-reported CAD (SLAN-07) and a random selection of cardiology outpatients with CAD. The SLAN-07 is a representative survey of 1207 randomly selected participants ≥ 45 years. Validated methods measured parameters including waist circumference, blood pressure and markers of renal function specifically glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albumin: creatinine ratio. The Cardiology clinic surveyed a random selection of 126 participants ≥ 45 years with CAD. Similar parameters were measured using the validated methods utilised in SLAN-07 study. Prevalence of obesity and renal disease was significantly higher in both CAD groups. At population level, risk factors were modelled using logistic regression to compare odds of participants with self-reported CAD with those without. Age, hypertension, obesity, elevated waist circumference, renal disease and diabetes are significantly associated with existing CAD. Obesity and CKD are more frequent in patients with CAD. Routine evaluation is essential to facilitate more intensive management of these risk factors.
    • Comparison of arterial and venous blood gases and the effects of analysis delay and air contamination on arterial samples in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and healthy controls.

      O'Connor, T M; Barry, P J; Jahangir, A; Finn, C; Buckley, B M; El-Gammal, A; Department of Respiratory Medicine, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., terryoconnor@eircom.net (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Arterial blood gases (ABGs) are often sampled incorrectly, leading to a 'mixed' or venous sample. Delays in analysis and air contamination are common. OBJECTIVES: We measured the effects of these errors in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations and controls. METHODS: Arterial and venous samples were analyzed from 30 patients with COPD exacerbation and 30 controls. Venous samples were analysed immediately and arterial samples separated into non-air-contaminated and air-contaminated specimens and analysed at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 180 min. RESULTS: Mean venous pH was 7.371 and arterial pH was 7.407 (p < 0.0001). There was a correlation between venous and arterial pH (r = 0.5347, p < 0.0001). The regression equation to predict arterial pH was: arterial pH = 4.2289 + 0.43113 . venous pH. There were no clinically significant differences in arterial PO associated with analysis delay. A statistically significant decline in pH was detected at 30 min in patients with COPD exacerbation (p = 0.0042) and 90 min in controls (p < 0.0001). A clinically significant decline in pH emerged at 73 min in patients with COPD exacerbation and 87 min in controls. Air contamination was associated with a clinically significant increase in PO in all samples, including those that were immediately analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: Arterial and venous pH differ significantly. Venous pH cannot accurately replace arterial pH. Temporal delays in ABG analysis result in a significant decline in measured pH. ABGs should be analysed within 30 min. Air contamination leads to an immediate increase in measured PO, indicating that air-contaminated ABGs should be discarded.
    • COPD exacerbations: a comparison of Irish data with European data from the ERS COPD audit

      Crinion, S; Cotter, O; Kennedy, B; O’Connor, B; Curran, DR; McCormack, S; McDonnell, T J; O’Connor, TM (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2013-10)
      The European Respiratory Society COPD audit was a cross-sectional, multicentre study that analysed outcomes for COPD patients admitted to hospital with an exacerbation across Europe. We present the data on patients admitted to 11 Irish hospitals that participated in the audit. Among 237 patients (123 Male), the median age was 71 years and 79 (33%) patients were current smokers. 82 (35%) patients received high-flow oxygen before admission and 43 (18%) were cared for in a dedicated respiratory ward. 54 (23%) patients required ventilatory support. Median length of stay was 7 days, 98 (41%) patients were readmitted and 211 (89%) patients were alive at the 90 day follow up point. Irish patients were more likely to receive high-flow oxygen before admission, less likely to be managed in a dedicated respiratory ward and had a higher likelihood of readmission or death within 90 days than the European average.
    • Counselling in Primary Care – A General Practitioner’s Perspective

      Rafferty, M.; Bradley, C.; 1. Mercy University Hospital 2. Department of General Practice, University College Cork (Irish Medical Journal, 2019-02)
      Counselling in Primary care (CIPC) is a new service introduced by the HSE in 2013, providing short-term counselling for medical-card holders, suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems.
    • Curcumin induces apoptosis-independent death in oesophageal cancer cells.

      O'Sullivan-Coyne, G; O'Sullivan, G C; O'Donovan, T R; Piwocka, K; McKenna, S L; Leslie C. Quick Laboratory, Cork Cancer Research Centre, BioSciences Institute,, University College Cork and Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Oesophageal cancer incidence is increasing and survival rates remain extremely poor. Natural agents with potential for chemoprevention include the phytochemical curcumin (diferuloylmethane). We have examined the effects of curcumin on a panel of oesophageal cancer cell lines. METHODS: MTT (3-(4,5-dimethyldiazol-2-yl)-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assays and propidium iodide staining were used to assess viability and DNA content, respectively. Mitotic catastrophe (MC), apoptosis and autophagy were defined by both morphological criteria and markers such as MPM-2, caspase 3 cleavage and monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining. Cyclin B and poly-ubiquitinated proteins were assessed by western blotting. RESULTS: Curcumin treatment reduces viability of all cell lines within 24 h of treatment in a 5-50 muM range. Cytotoxicity is associated with accumulation in G2/M cell-cycle phases and distinct chromatin morphology, consistent with MC. Caspase-3 activation was detected in two out of four cell lines, but was a minor event. The addition of a caspase inhibitor zVAD had a marginal or no effect on cell viability, indicating predominance of a non-apoptotic form of cell death. In two cell lines, features of both MC and autophagy were apparent. Curcumin-responsive cells were found to accumulate poly-ubiquitinated proteins and cyclin B, consistent with a disturbance of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This effect on a key cell-cycle checkpoint regulator may be responsible for the mitotic disturbances and consequent cytotoxicity of this drug. CONCLUSION: Curcumin can induce cell death by a mechanism that is not reliant on apoptosis induction, and thus represents a promising anticancer agent for prevention and treatment of oesophageal cancer.
    • Dual tasking interferes with dynamic balance in young and old healthy adults

      Sulaiman, Amal Al-Shaikh; Kelly, Marie; O'Connor, Mairead; Eva-Bamiou, Doris; Pavlou, Marousa (IOS Press, 2021-01-11)
      BACKGROUND:Functional mobility requires an ability to adapt to environmental factors together with an ability to execute a secondary task simultaneously while walking. A complex dual-tasking gait test may provide an indication of functional ability and falls risk among community-dwelling older adults. PURPOSE:The aim of this cross-sectional study is to investigate age-related differences in dual-tasking ability and to evaluate whether dual-tasking ability is related to executive function. METHODS:Forty-one community-dwelling healthy older and forty-one younger adults completed a dual-tasking assessment in which concurrent tasks were incorporated into the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA). The manual dual-task involved carrying a glass of water (FGA-M) while the cognitive dual-tasks involved numeracy (FGA-N) and literacy (FGA-L) related tasks. FGA scores under single (FGA-S) and dual-task conditions together with associated dual-task costs and response accuracy were determined. Executive function was assessed using The Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome (BADS). RESULTS:FGA-N and FGA-L scores were adversely affected in both groups compared to FGA-S (p≤0.001). However, score reductions and dual-task costs were significantly greater for older adults compared to younger adults on FGA-N (p≤0.05) and FGA-L (p≤0.001), with older adult performance on FGA-N associated with falls risk (p≤0.05). Executive function did not appear to be related to dual-tasking ability. CONCLUSION:Findings suggest that cognitively demanding tasks while walking, have a deleterious effect on dynamic balance and could place older adults at a greater risk of falls.
    • Effective immunotherapy of weakly immunogenic solid tumours using a combined immunogene therapy and regulatory T-cell inactivation.

      Whelan, M C; Casey, G; MacConmara, M; Lederer, J A; Soden, D; Collins, J K; Tangney, M; O'Sullivan, G C; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C Quick Jnr, Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Obstacles to effective immunotherapeutic anti-cancer approaches include poor immunogenicity of the tumour cells and the presence of tolerogenic mechanisms in the tumour microenvironment. We report an effective immune-based treatment of weakly immunogenic, growing solid tumours using a locally delivered immunogene therapy to promote development of immune effector responses in the tumour microenvironment and a systemic based T regulatory cell (Treg) inactivation strategy to potentiate these responses by elimination of tolerogenic or immune suppressor influences. As the JBS fibrosarcoma is weakly immunogenic and accumulates Treg in its microenvironment with progressive growth, we used this tumour model to test our combined immunotherapies. Plasmids encoding GM-CSF and B7-1 were electrically delivered into 100 mm(3) tumours; Treg inactivation was accomplished by systemic administration of anti-CD25 antibody (Ab). Using this approach, we found that complete elimination of tumours was achieved at a level of 60% by immunogene therapy, 25% for Treg inactivation and 90% for combined therapies. Moreover, we found that these responses were immune transferable, systemic, tumour specific and durable. Combined gene-based immune effector therapy and Treg inactivation represents an effective treatment for weakly antigenic solid growing tumours and that could be considered for clinical development.
    • Effects of non-invasive respiratory support on gas exchange and outcomes in COVID-19 outside the ICU

      Gough, Ciara; Casey, Michelle; McCartan, Thomas A; Franciosi, Alessandro N; Nash, Derek; Doyle, Dominic; Hyland, Neil; Kavanagh, Grace; Toland, Sile; Powell, Caleb; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-05-25)
      Non-invasive respiratory support (NRS) outside of the ICU has played an important role in the management of COVID-19 pneumonia. There is little data to guide selection of NRS modality. We present outcomes of NRS outside the ICU and discuss the effects of NRS on gas exchange with implications for management.
    • Evaluation of an emergency department falls pathway for older people: A patient chart review

      O'Keeffe, Anne; O'Grady, Sile; Cronin, Finola; Dolan, Clodagh; O'Hea, Ann; O'Shea, Katie Louise; Naughton, Corina; Mercy University Hospital (Elsevier BV, 2020-07)
      The number of older adults presenting to EDs following a fall continues to rise, yet falls management often ignores opportunities for secondary falls risk reduction. Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) in EDs have an important clinical leadership role in improving outcomes for this group of patients. Aim: This study describes the development of an ANP led falls pathway in an ED to improve safe discharge. It evaluates compliance with the pathway and referrals to community falls prevention services. It also draws comparison with baseline practice as recorded in 2014. Methods: The Falls Pathway involves four steps: 1) screening at triage (3 questions), 2) risk stratification (low, medium, high), 3) risk assessment (lying and standing blood pressure (B/P), timed-up and go (TUG), 4-AT for delirium screening, polypharmacy), and 4) referral to community falls services. We undertook a 12-month chart review of all patients aged 65 years or older presenting following a fall to the ANP service in 2018. We compared data to a baseline audit in 2014; descriptive and Chi squared statistics were used to examine the data. Results: The 2018 audit involved 77 patients representing 27% of ANP caseload. A repeat fall occurred in 42% (32/77) of cases and 35% (22/77) reported a fear of falling. The Falls Pathway was initiated in nearly 80% (62/77) of patients and compliance with falls risk assessment ranged from 42% for lying and standing B/P to 75% for TUG. In 2014, a review of 59 patient charts showed 27% (16/59) experienced a repeat fall, but other risk factors such as fear of falling were not recorded. In 2018, the majority of patients (88%) discharged home were referred to community falls prevention services compared to 22% in 2014. Conclusion: The Falls Pathway improved falls risk assessment in the ED, identified opportunities for risk reduction and optimised referral to community falls services. The pathway continues to be a valuable tool but requires resources for ongoing implementation among the wider ED team.