• An analysis of the utilisation and expenditure of medicines dispensed for the management of severe asthma.

      McGowan, B; Bennett, K; Barry, M; Owens, M; O'Connor, M; Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, James's St, Dublin 8. mcgowab@tcd.ie (2009-03)
      There are approximately 6,300 people in Ireland with a diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and with a fast growing elderly population the incidence of COPD is likely to increase. This study examines the prescribing patterns of medicines dispensed for the management Asthma/COPD in patients over the age of 35 years using the HSE-Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) prescribing databases. The HSE-PCRS pharmacy claims data, which covers all those over 70 years of age and means tested for those less than 70 years, was analysed for the years 2005/2006. Approximately 26,548 (17.9%) of patients who were prescribed a respiratory drug received inhaled short-acting beta2 agonists in combination with a regular standard-dose inhaled corticosteroid. A further 5,044 (3.4%) were also prescribed a regular inhaled long-acting beta2 agonist (salmeterol or formoterol). A total of 2506 patients (6.2%) on combination therapy were co-prescribed four different anti-asthmatic treatments inclusive of oral prednisolone. A small proportion of the patients prescribed a respiratory drug were co-prescribed nicotine replacement therapy (n = 5177, 3.5%). In total there were 9,728 (6.2%) patients prescribed a mucolytic drug in combination with a respiratory drug and the rate of co-prescribing with antibiotics was 22%. COPD is a debilitating disease that is primarily caused by smoking and is therefore largely preventable. The HSE-PCRS pharmacy claims data is a valuable tool for helping to assess the burden of this disease in the Irish context.
    • AP diameter shows the strongest correlation with CTDI and DLP in abdominal and chest CT.

      Zarb, Francis; Rainford, Louise; McEntee, Mark F; Radiography, Institute of Health Care, University of Malta, Malta. francis.zarb@um.edu.mt (Oxford Journals, 2010)
      The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships among cross-sectional diameters, weight and computed tomography (CT) dose descriptors (CTDI and DLP) to identify which is best used as a measure for the establishment of DRLs in CT. Data (gender, weight, cross-sectional diameters, dose descriptors) from 56 adult patients attending for either a CT examination of the abdomen or chest was obtained from two spiral CT units using automatic milliampere modulation. The AP diameter was demonstrated as the main contributing factor influencing the dose in CT (CTDI: r(2) = 0.269, p-value < or =0.001; DLP: r(2) = 0.260, p-value < or =0.001) since it has a greater correlation with radiation dose than body weight and can thus be its substitute in dose-reduction strategies and establishment of DRLs. The advantages of using the AP diameter are that it can easily be measured prior to scanning or retrospectively from previous CT images. However, further studies on the practicality of this approach are recommended.
    • Are pregnant women receiving support for smoking dependence when attending routine antenatal appointments?

      Cully, G; Health Promotion Service, 52 Broomhill Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24. geraldine.cully@hse.ie (2010-09)
      Early and consistent intervention with pregnant smokers can reduce the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with smoking during pregnancy. A survey of 470 pregnant women was conducted to establish the care they received in relation to smoking whilst attending routine public antenatal appointments. The overall prevalence of smoking was 23.5%. Age, level of education and nationality were associated with smoking status with younger, less educated Irish women being most likely to smoke. Women attending for their first visit were much more likely to be asked about their smoking status 71 (85.5) versus 68 (17.8) and advised to quit if they were smokers 11 (73.3) versus 11 (15.7). None of the women were offered specific assistance to help them stop smoking or had a follow-up appointment arranged specifically to do with smoking. 167 women (35.6) were exposed to passive smoking in their own homes.
    • Autoantibodies to a 140-kd protein in juvenile dermatomyositis are associated with calcinosis.

      Gunawardena, H; Wedderburn, L R; Chinoy, H; Betteridge, Z E; North, J; Ollier, W E R; Cooper, R G; Oddis, C V; Ramanan, A V; Davidson, J E; et al. (2009-06)
      OBJECTIVE: The identification of novel autoantibodies in juvenile dermatomyositis (DM) may have etiologic and clinical implications. The aim of this study was to describe autoantibodies to a 140-kd protein in children recruited to the Juvenile DM National Registry and Repository for UK and Ireland. METHODS: Clinical data and sera were collected from children with juvenile myositis. Sera that recognized a 140-kd protein by immunoprecipitation were identified. The identity of the p140 autoantigen was investigated by immunoprecipitation/immunodepletion, using commercial monoclonal antibodies to NXP-2, reference anti-p140, and anti-p155/140, the other autoantibody recently described in juvenile DM. DNA samples from 100 Caucasian children with myositis were genotyped for HLA class II haplotype associations and compared with those from 864 randomly selected UK Caucasian control subjects. RESULTS: Sera from 37 (23%) of 162 patients with juvenile myositis were positive for anti-p140 autoantibodies, which were detected exclusively in patients with juvenile DM and not in patients with juvenile DM-overlap syndrome or control subjects. No anti-p140 antibody-positive patients were positive for other recognized autoantibodies. Immunodepletion suggested that the identity of p140 was consistent with NXP-2 (the previously identified MJ autoantigen). In children with anti-p140 antibodies, the association with calcinosis was significant compared with the rest of the cohort (corrected P < 0.005, odds ratio 7.0, 95% confidence interval 3.0-16.1). The clinical features of patients with anti-p140 autoantibodies were different from those of children with anti-p155/140 autoantibodies. The presence of HLA-DRB1*08 was a possible risk factor for anti-p140 autoantibody positivity. CONCLUSION: This study has established that anti-p140 autoantibodies represent a major autoantibody subset in juvenile DM. This specificity may identify a further immunogenetic and clinical phenotype within the juvenile myositis spectrum that includes an association with calcinosis.
    • Before and after study of bar workers' perceptions of the impact of smoke-free workplace legislation in the Republic of Ireland.

      Pursell, Lisa; Allwright, Shane; O'Donovan, Diarmuid; Paul, Gillian; Kelly, Alan; Mullally, Bernie J; D'Eath, Maureen; Department of Health Promotion, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland. lisa.pursell@nuigalway.ie (2007)
      BACKGROUND: Objectives: To compare support for, and perceptions of, the impacts of smoke-free workplace legislation among bar workers in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) pre- and post-implementation, and to identify predictors of support for the legislation. METHODS: Setting: Public houses (pubs) in three areas of the ROI. Design: Comparisons pre- and post-implementation of smoke-free workplace legislation. Participants: From a largely non-random selection, 288 bar workers volunteered for the baseline survey; 220 were followed up one year later (76.4%). Outcome measures: Level of support for the legislation, attitude statements concerning potential impacts of the law and modelled predictors of support for the legislation. RESULTS: Pre-implementation 59.5% of participants supported the legislation, increasing to 76.8% post-implementation. Support increased among smokers by 27.3 percentage points from 39.4% to 66.7% (p < 0.001) and among non-smokers by 12.4% percentage points from 68.8% to 81.2% (p = 0.003).Pre-legislation three-quarters of participants agreed that the legislation would make bars more comfortable and was needed to protect workers' health. Post-legislation these proportions increased to over 90% (p < 0.001). However, negative perceptions also increased, particularly for perceptions that the legislation has a negative impact on business (from 50.9% to 62.7%, p = 0.008) and that fewer people would visit pubs (41.8% to 62.7%, p < 0.001). After adjusting for relevant covariates, including responses to the attitude statements, support for the ban increased two to three-fold post-implementation. Regardless of their views on the economic impact, most participants agreed, both pre- and post-implementation, that the legislation was needed to protect bar workers' health. CONCLUSION: Smoke-free legislation had the support of three-quarters of a large sample of bar workers in the ROI. However, this group holds complex sets of both positive and negative perspectives on the legislation. Of particular importance is that negative economic perceptions did not diminish the widely held perception that the ban is needed to protect workers' health.
    • Bronchoplastic procedure for an unusual indication--Wegener's granulomatosis.

      Soo, Alan; Aziz, Rasheed; Buckley, Mella; Young, Vincent; Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Crest Directorate, St James's Hospital, James Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. alan.soo@ucd.ie (2009-09)
      Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a systemic vasculitic condition that commonly affects the lung and kidneys. With improvement in medical therapy, airway complications are increasingly encountered and are difficult to manage. Here, we present a case whereby a patient presenting with airway complication is successfully treated with surgery.
    • Changing trend in congenital abdominal wall defects in Eastern region of Ireland.

      McDonnell, R; Delany, V; Dack, P; Johnson, H; Dublin EUROCAT Registry, Department of Public Health, Health Information Unit, Eastern Regional Health Authority, Dr Steeven's Hospital, Republic of Ireland. bobmcdonnell@erha.ie (2002-09)
      In the past six years, there have been reports from abroad of an unexplained rise in the birth prevalence rate of the congenital abdominal wall defect gastroschisis, while rates for the macroscopically similar anomaly omphalocoele have remained stable. The Dublin EUROCAT Registry of congenital anomalies monitors trends in the birth prevalence of birth defects in the eastern region of Ireland. We analysed births of children with omphalocoele and gastroschisis born in the period 1981-2000, with comparisons of a number of demographic and obstetric variables. During the 20 year period the birth prevalence rate for omphalocoele remained stable at 2.5/10,000 births, whereas the rate for gastroschisis increased significantly during the 1990s from 1.0/10,000 in 1991 to 4.9/10,000 in 2000. Most of the increase occurred among mothers under 25 years of age. Omphalocoele was associated with a relatively high proportion of other major congenital anomalies. This study showed that there has been an unexpected rise in the birth prevalence of gastroschisis in the region, similar to that experienced in other countries in the same time period and likely to have common aetiological features.
    • Chronic illness and multimorbidity among problem drug users: a comparative cross sectional pilot study in primary care.

      Cullen, Walter; O'Brien, Sarah; O'Carroll, Austin; O'Kelly, Fergus D; Bury, Gerard; UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Coombe Healthcare Centre, Dublin, Ireland. walter.cullen@ucd.ie (2009)
      BACKGROUND: Although multimorbidity has important implications for patient care in general practice, limited research has examined chronic illness and health service utilisation among problem drug users. This study aimed to determine chronic illness prevalence and health service utilisation among problem drug users attending primary care for methadone treatment, to compare these rates with matched 'controls' and to develop and pilot test a valid study instrument. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of patients attending three large urban general practices in Dublin, Ireland for methadone treatment was conducted, and this sample was compared with a control group matched by practice, age, gender and General Medical Services (GMS) status. RESULTS: Data were collected on 114 patients. Fifty-seven patients were on methadone treatment, of whom 52(91%) had at least one chronic illness (other then substance use) and 39(68%) were prescribed at least one regular medication. Frequent utilisation of primary care services and secondary care services in the previous six months was observed among patients on methadone treatment and controls, although the former had significantly higher chronic illness prevalence and primary care contact rates. The study instrument facilitated data collection that was feasible and with minimal inter-observer variation. CONCLUSION: Multimorbidity is common among problem drug users attending general practice for methadone treatment. Primary care may therefore have an important role in primary and secondary prevention of chronic illnesses among this population. This study offers a feasible study instrument for further work on this issue. (238 words).
    • Clinical risk prediction for pre-eclampsia in nulliparous women: development of model in international prospective cohort.

      North, Robyn A; McCowan, Lesley M E; Dekker, Gustaaf A; Poston, Lucilla; Chan, Eliza H Y; Stewart, Alistair W; Black, Michael A; Taylor, Rennae S; Walker, James J; Baker, Philip N; et al. (2011-04)
      To develop a predictive model for pre-eclampsia based on clinical risk factors for nulliparous women and to identify a subgroup at increased risk, in whom specialist referral might be indicated.
    • The clinical spectrum of Lyme neuroborreliosis.

      Elamin, M; Monaghan, T; Mulllins, G; Ali, E; Corbett-Feeney, G; O'Connell, S; Counihan, T J; Department of Neurology, University Hospital Galway, Newcastle Rd, Galway. (2010-02)
      Lyme disease is a multisystem infectious disease, endemic in parts of Europe, including the West of Ireland. Neurological manifestions (neuroborreliosis) are variable. Presenting neurological syndromes include meningitis, cranial neuropathies, myeloradiculitis and mononeuritis multiplex. A lack of specificity in serological diagnosis may add to diagnostic confusion. We reviewed thirty cases of acute Lyme disease in the West of Ireland and found neurological syndromes in 15 (50%), with painful radiculopathy (12 patients; 80%) and cranial neuropathy (7 patients; 46%) occurring frequently. Neuroborreliosis needs to be considered in the differential diagnosis of these neurological syndromes in the appropriate clinical context.
    • Clinical, ultrasound and molecular biomarkers for early prediction of large for gestational age infants in nulliparous women: An international prospective cohort study.

      Vieira, Matias C; McCowan, Lesley M E; Gillett, Alexandra; Poston, Lucilla; Fyfe, Elaine; Dekker, Gustaaf A; Baker, Philip N; Walker, James J; Kenny, Louise C; Pasupathy, Dharmintra (2017)
      To develop a prediction model for term infants born large for gestational age (LGA) by customised birthweight centiles.
    • Cocaine-related admissions to an intensive care unit: a five-year study of incidence and outcomes.

      Galvin, S; Campbell, M; Marsh, B; O'Brien, B; Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. sineadagalvin@yahoo.ie (2010-02)
      Cocaine misuse is increasing and it is evidently considered a relatively safe drug of abuse in Ireland. To address this perception, we reviewed the database of an 18-bed Dublin intensive care unit, covering all admissions from 2003 to 2007. We identified cocaine-related cases, measuring hospital mortality and long-term survival in early 2009. Cocaine-related admissions increased from around one annually in 2003-05 to 10 in 2007. Their median (IQR [range]) age was 25 (21-35 [17-47]) years and 78% were male. The median (IQR [range]) APACHE II score was 16 (11-27 [5-36]) and length of intensive care stay was 5 (3-9 [1-16]) days. Ten patients died during their hospital stay. A further five had died by the time of follow-up, a median of 24 months later. One was untraceable. Cocaine toxicity necessitating intensive care is increasingly common in Dublin. Hospital mortality in this series was 52%. These findings may help to inform public attitudes to cocaine.
    • Comparison of self-reported health & healthcare utilisation between asylum seekers and refugees: an observational study.

      Toar, Magzoub; O'Brien, Kirsty K; Fahey, Tom; Department of General Practice, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School, Dublin 2, Ireland. mtoar@hotmail.com (2009)
      BACKGROUND: Adult refugees and asylum seekers living in Western countries experience a high prevalence of mental health problems, especially post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. This study compares and contrasts the prevalence of health problems, and potential risk factors as well as the utilisation of health services by asylum seekers and refugees in the Irish context. METHODS: Cross sectional study using validated self reported health status questionnaires of adult asylum seekers (n = 60) and refugees (n = 28) from 30 countries, living in Ireland. Outcome measures included: general health status (SF-36), presence of PTSD symptoms and anxiety/depression symptoms. Data on chronic conditions and pre or post migration stressors are also reported. The two groups are compared for utilisation of the health care system and the use of over the counter medications. RESULTS: Asylum seekers were significantly more likely than refugees to report symptoms of PTSD (OR 6.3, 95% CI: 2.2-17.9) and depression/anxiety (OR 5.8, 95% CI: 2.2-15.4), while no significant difference was found in self-reported general health. When adjusted by multivariable regression, the presence of more than one chronic disease (OR 4.0, 95%CI: 1.3-12.7; OR 3.4, 95% CI: 1.2-10.1), high levels of pre migration stressors (OR 3.6, 95% CI: 1.1-11.9; OR 3.3, 95% CI: 1.0-10.4) or post migration stressors (OR 17.3, 95% CI: 4.9-60.8; OR 3.9, 95% CI: 1.2-12.3) were independent predictors of self reported PTSD or depression/anxiety symptoms respectively, however, residence status was no longer significantly associated with PTSD or depression/anxiety. Residence status may act as a marker for other explanatory variables; our results show it has a strong relationship with post migration stressors (chi2 = 19.74, df = 1, P < 0.001).In terms of health care utilisation, asylum seekers use GP services more often than refugees, while no significant difference was found between these groups for use of dentists, medication, hospitalisation or mental health services. CONCLUSION: Asylum seekers have a higher level of self reported PTSD and depression/anxiety symptoms compared to refugees. However, residence status appears to act as a marker for post migration stressors. Compared to refugees, asylum seekers utilise GP services more often, but not mental health services.
    • Coping strategies and styles of family carers of persons with enduring mental illness: a mixed methods analysis.

      Kartalova-O'Doherty, Yulia; Doherty, Donna Tedstone; Health Research Board (HRB) (Health Research Board (HRB), 2008-03)
      A qualitative exploratory study investigated the experiences and needs of family carers of persons with enduring mental illness in Ireland. The current mixed-methods secondary study used content analysis and statistical procedures to identify and explore the coping strategies emerging from the original interviews. The majority of family carers reported use of active behavioural coping strategies, sometimes combined with active cognitive or avoidance strategies. The percentage of cares reporting use of active cognitive strategies was the lowest among those whose ill relative lived in their home, and the highest among those whose relative lived independently. Participants with identified active cognitive strategies often reported that their relative was employed or in training. Participants who reported use of avoidance strategies were significantly younger than participants who did not report use of such strategies. The lowest percentage of avoidance strategies was among participants whose ill relative lived independently, whereas the highest was among carers whose relative lived in their home. The findings of this study highlight the importance of a contextual approach to studying coping styles and processes. Further research questions and methodological implications are discussed.
    • Delayed cystic fibrosis presentation in children in the absence of newborn screening.

      Jackson, A; Foley, L; Daly, L; Fitzpatrick, P; Harrington, M; Zhou, S; Kelleher, C; UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, Woodview Hse, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4. abaigeal.jackson@ucd.ie (2010-04)
      Newborn cystic fibrosis (CF) screening facilitates early diagnosis and nutritional intervention, which prevents malnourishment and improves growth in childhood. To provide baseline information on the natural history of CF in the Republic of Ireland, where newborn screening has not yet been introduced and CF incidence is high (1:1353 live births), we examined the effect of presentation mode, symptom type and gender on age at diagnosis. Median age at diagnosis was calculated by gender and for presentation mode/symptom type for 601 CF registry children diagnosed 1986-2007. Modes of presentation were each significantly associated with delayed presentation. An adjusted odds ratio of 4.5 (95% CI: 1.8, 11.1) was determined for presentation with family history, 43.1 for gastrointestinal symptoms presentation (95% CI: 18.3, 101.4), 96.9 for both respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms (95% CI: 38.6, 243,4), and 115.4 for respiratory symptoms (95% CI: 45.2, 294.7). Children with respiratory symptoms had the greatest likelihood of delayed diagnosis (median age: 20.4 months), followed by those with respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms (9.2 months). Gender was not significantly associated with a delayed presentation when presentation mode was taken into account.
    • The demographic and academic profile of Irish dental school faculty members.

      O'Sullivan, Eleanor M; Cork University Dental School and Hospital, Wilton, Cork. eleanor.osullivan@ucc.ie (2010-04-23)
      AIM: This paper reviews the demographic, academic and professional profile of Irish dental school faculty members. Faculty duties are explored. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Custom-designed questionnaires were distributed to faculty members for self-completion, adopting a 'mixed-method' approach with quantitative and qualitative components. Response rate was 64.60%. RESULTS: Demographic profile reveals a male-dominated regime (64%). Males also occupy a disproportionate number of senior academic positions. The age profile mirrors international trends with 75% of staff over 40 and c.33% over 50, including 78% of professorial staff (p < 0.001). Dental school faculties are comprised of highly educated professionals with the following qualifications: 89% BDS, 43% FDS, 39% Masters, 16% Doctorates. Most (77%) have 10+ years of clinical experience, while 47% have over 20 years' experience. Clinical experience varied by age, rank (p < 0.001) and gender (p < 0.05). A review of contractual agreements and duties confirms the major role of part-time clinical staff in dental education, comprising the largest single group (48%) delivering the bulk of the clinical teaching. However, 54% of part-time clinical staff have less than five years teaching experience. This study also explores staff views of various faculty roles. CONCLUSIONS: This report provides a benchmark profile of Irish dental school faculty members. It reflects on the heavily skewed age groups of our current dental educators and the impending retirement of many senior academics. Educational organisations need to explore ways to make a career in dental education financially and sociologically attractive and provide adequate support for existing faculty to ensure their development during these challenging times.
    • Determinants of folic acid knowledge and use among antenatal women.

      McDonnell, R; Johnson, Z; Doyle, A; Sayers, G; Health Information Unit, Eastern Health Board, Dr Steeven's Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. (1999-06)
      Although recommendations on folic acid use were issued by health authorities in a number of countries in the early 1990s, uptake of peri-conceptional folic acid is still disappointingly low. Regardless of food fortification policies, folic acid promotion will probably be required in most countries to optimize folate levels among women of child-bearing age. The aim of this study was to examine folic acid knowledge and use, and their determinants among antenatal women in the east of Ireland in 1997.