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ISSN 1911-2092

Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Unexpected death within 24 hours of admission is a real challenge for the clinician in the emergency room. How to diagnose these patients and the right approach to prevent sudden death with 24 hours is still an enigma. The aims of our study were to find the independent factors that may affect the clinical outcome in the first 24 hours of admission to the hospital. Methods: We performed a retrospective study defining unexpected death within 24 hours of admission in our Department of Medicine in the last 6 years. We found 43 patients who died within 24 hours of admission, and compared their clinical and biochemical characteristics to 6055 consecutive patients who were admitted in that period of time and did not die within the first 24 hours of admission. The parameters that were used include gender, age, temperature, clinical and laboratory criteria for SIRS, arterial blood lactate, and arterial blood pH. Results: Most of the patients who died within 24 hours had sepsis with SIRS. These patients were older (78.6±14.7 vs. 65.2±20.2 years [p<.0001]), had higher lactate levels (8.0±4.8 vs. 2.1±1.8mmol/L[p<.0001]), and lower pH (7.2±0.2 vs. 7.4±0.1 [p<.0001]). Logistic regression analysis found that lactate was the strongest independent parameter to predict death within 24 hours of admission (OR1.366 [95% CI 1.235-1.512]), followed by old age (OR 1.048 [95% CI 1.048-1.075] and low arterial blood pH (OR 0.007 [CI <0.001-0.147]). When gender was analyzed, pH was not an independent variable in females (only in males). Conclusions: The significant independent variable that predicted death within 24 hours of admission was arterial blood lactate level on admission. Older age was also an independent variable; low pH affected only males, but was a less dominant variable. We suggest use of arterial blood lactate level on admission as a bio-marker in patients with suspected sepsis admitted to the hospital for risk assessment and prediction of death within 24 hours of admission.
    Open Medicine 06/2015; DOI: 10.1515/med-2015-0045, June 2015(1):319-323. DOI:10.1515/med-2015-0045
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    ABSTRACT: Francophones who live outside the primarily French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada, risk being excluded from research by lack of a sampling frame. We examined the adequacy of random sampling, advertising, and respondent-driven sampling for recruitment of francophones for survey research. We recruited francophones residing in the city of Calgary, Alberta, through advertising and respondentdriven sampling. These 2 samples were then compared with a random subsample of Calgary francophones derived from the 2006 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). We assessed the effectiveness of advertising and respondent-driven sampling in relation to the CCHS sample by comparing demographic characteristics and selected items from the CCHS (specifically self-reported general health status, perceived weight, and having a family doctor). We recruited 120 francophones through advertising and 145 through respondent-driven sampling; the random sample from the CCHS consisted of 259 records. The samples derived from advertising and respondentdriven sampling differed from the CCHS in terms of age (mean ages 41.0, 37.6, and 42.5 years, respectively), sex (proportion of males 26.1%, 40.6%, and 56.6%, respectively), education (college or higher 86.7% , 77.9% , and 59.1%, respectively), place of birth (immigrants accounting for 45.8%, 55.2%, and 3.7%, respectively), and not having a regular medical doctor (16.7%, 34.5%, and 16.6%, respectively). Differences were not tested statistically because of limitations on the analysis of CCHS data imposed by Statistics Canada. The samples generated exclusively through advertising and respondent-driven sampling were not representative of the gold standard sample from the CCHS. Use of such biased samples for research studies could generate misleading results.
    Open Medicine 10/2014; 8(4):e120-9.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Based on the pivotal trial showing no clinicallyrelevant differences between pegylated interferon α-2b (Peg-α-2b) and α-2a (Peg-α-2a) combined with ribavirin for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection in Ukraine, a cost-minimization analysis was performed using a 1 year time horizon and both a health care and patients’ perspective. A decision tree reflects treatment pathways. Drug costs were based on drug labeling and adjusted to the average body mass in Ukraine. Subgroup analysis was applied to deal with heterogeneity of patient’s weight causing dose changes. A break-even price of Peg-α-2a and Peg-α-2b (based on the average dose) was calculated. Univariate sensitivity analyses and probabilistic sensitivity analysis were carried out to reflect decision uncertainty. For an average body weight, total medical costs per patient differ from US$9220 for Peg-α-2b to US$9513 for Peg-α-2a from a health care perspective, and from US$15,212 to US$15,696 from a patients’ perspective. Sensitivity analyses show these results are robust. With average body weight, the break-even price of Peg-α-2b may be 7.3% higher than Peg-α-2a to have similar total costs.
    Open Medicine 10/2014; 10(1):25-33.
  • Open Medicine 10/2014; 8(4):e116-e119.
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    Open Medicine 09/2014; 8(3):e102-4.
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the relationships among psychiatrist supply, practice patterns, and access to psychiatrists in Ontario Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) with differing levels of psychiatrist supply. We analyzed practice patterns of full-time psychiatrists (n = 1379) and postdischarge care to patients who had been admitted to hospital for psychiatric care, according to LHIN psychiatrist supply in 2009. We measured the characteristics of psychiatrists' patient panels, including sociodemographic characteristics, outpatient panel size, number of new patients, inpatient and outpatient visits per psychiatrist, and percentages of psychiatrists seeing fewer than 40 and fewer than 100 unique patients. Among patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression (n = 21,123), we measured rates of psychiatrist visits, readmissions, and visits to the emergency department within 30 and 180 days after discharge. Psychiatrist supply varied from 7.2 per 100 000 residents in LHINs with below-average supply to 62.7 per 100 000 in the Toronto Central LHIN. Population-based outpatient and inpatient visit rates and psychiatric admission rates increased with LHIN psychiatrist supply. However, as the supply of psychiatrists increased, outpatient panel size for full-time psychiatrists decreased, with Toronto psychiatrists having 58% smaller outpatient panels and seeing 57% fewer new outpatients relative to LHINs with the lowest psychiatrist supply. Similar patterns were found for inpatient practice. Moreover, as supply increased, annual outpatient visit frequency increased: the average visit frequency was 7 visits per outpatient for Toronto psychiatrists and 3.9 visits per outpatient in low-supply LHINs. One-quarter of Toronto psychiatrists and 2% of psychiatrists in the lowest-supply LHINs saw their outpatients more than 16 times per year. Of full-time psychiatrists in Toronto, 10% saw fewer than 40 unique patients and 40% saw fewer than 100 unique patients annually; the corresponding proportions were 4% and 10%, respectively, in the lowest-supply LHINs. Overall, follow-up visits after psychiatric discharge were low, with slightly higher rates in LHINs with a high psychiatrist supply. Full-time psychiatrists who practised in Ontario LHINs with high psychiatrist supply saw fewer patients, but they saw those patients more frequently than was the case for psychiatrists in low-supply LHINs. Increasing the supply of psychiatrists while funding unlimited frequency and duration of psychotherapy care may not improve access for patients who need psychiatric services.
    Open Medicine 07/2014; 8(3):e87-99.
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    ABSTRACT: Elevators are ubiquitous and active inside hospitals, potentially facilitating bacterial transmission. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of bacterial colonization on elevator buttons in large urban teaching hospitals. A total of 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces were swabbed over separate intervals at 3 tertiary care hospitals on weekdays and weekends in Toronto, Ontario. For the elevators, swabs were taken from 2 interior buttons (buttons for the ground floor and one randomly selected upper-level floor) and 2 exterior buttons (the "up" button from the ground floor and the "down" button from the upper-level floor). For the toilet surfaces, swabs were taken from the exterior and interior handles of the entry door, the privacy latch, and the toilet flusher. Samples were obtained using standard bacterial collection techniques, followed by plating, culture, and species identification by a technician blind to sample source. The prevalence of colonization of elevator buttons was 61% (95% confidence interval 52%-70%). No significant differences in colonization prevalence were apparent in relation to location of the buttons, day of the week, or panel position within the elevator. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common organisms cultured, whereas Enterococcus and Pseudomonas species were infrequent. Elevator buttons had a higher prevalence of colonization than toilet surfaces (61% v. 43%, p = 0.008). Hospital elevator buttons were commonly colonized by bacteria, although most pathogens were not clinically relevant. The risk of pathogen transmission might be reduced by simple countermeasures.
    Open Medicine 07/2014; 8(3):e81-6.
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    Open Medicine 06/2014; 8(2):e73-80.