Kenji Hira

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (27)139.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although many clinical trials have demonstrated that anticoagulant therapy substantially reduces the risk of ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), some physicians are reluctant to use anticoagulants. We investigated attitudes of physicians in Japan toward anticoagulant therapy in chronic AF patients. We conducted a survey at the annual meeting of the Japanese Society of General Medicine. We presented subject physicians with 8 vignettes of chronic AF patients and requested that they indicate their most favored choice of therapy from among 6 strategies including warfarin and aspirin. We distributed 209 questionnaires and received 139 replies (67% response rate). For all 8 vignettes presented, only 26% of the respondents preferred to use anticoagulant therapy in AF patients. Longer clinical experiences and responsibility at a teaching hospital were associated with negative attitude toward anticoagulant therapy, while experience of preventive therapy in patients with thromboembolism due to AF and strong influence of clinical trials of anticoagulant prophylaxis on their practice were associated with positive attitude toward the therapy. Among patient characteristics in the vignettes, a risk of thromboembolism was positively associated with preference for anticoagulant therapy, but an advanced age and a risk of bleeding complications were negatively associated with the preference for the therapy. The physicians in Japan in this survey, especially those with longer clinical experiences or responsibility at a teaching hospital, have a negative attitude toward anticoagulant therapy in chronic AF patients. An advanced age and a risk of bleeding complications of patients are deterrent factors to the use of anticoagulant therapy.
    Internal Medicine 08/2004; 43(7):553-60. · 0.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudohyperkalaemia caused by recentrifugation after storage or delay in separation of serum from blood cells is not uncommon. The purpose of this study was to audit pseudohyperkalaemia at commercial laboratories in Japan. A questionnaire asking about how samples are handled for potassium measurement and information on pseudohyperkalaemia was sent to 431 commercial laboratories. A total of 263 (response rate 61%) questionnaires were returned and suitable for analysis. Pseudohyperkalaemia caused by recentrifugation was seen at 145 (70%) laboratories. Pseudohyperkalaemia caused by delay in separation of serum was also seen in many laboratories. Blood samples were centrifuged on site in only 46% of hospitals and in 17% of clinics served by these laboratories. The longest average time from venesection to centrifugation was 18 h. Although half the laboratories had asked their client facilities to centrifuge blood samples on site, very few complied. Pseudohyperkalaemia is not uncommon at commercial laboratories in Japan. Further efforts are necessary to avoid inappropriate handling at blood collection sites and in laboratories.
    Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 04/2004; 41(Pt 2):155-6. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Providing patients with disease- and treatment-related information is an important role of medical staff and is now reimbursed in Japan by the national health insurance system under the rubric 'patient education'. Evaluation of the effectiveness of patient education programs is necessary to ensure that limited health care resources are used efficiently. The objective is to determine whether educating patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) is related to better health-related quality of life (HRQOL). A cross-sectional study was conducted. Members of the Japan Association of Patients with Parkinson's disease were randomly selected. A total of 1200 patients with PD were asked to fill in written questionnaires and replies from 762 (63.5%) were analyzed. The questionnaire inquired about clinical characteristics, comorbidity, symptoms of PD, complications of therapy, HRQOL, and patient education. SF-36 was used to assess HRQOL. The section on patient education comprised one question each on patient-perceived satisfaction with information provided on (1) disease condition and pathophysiology, (2) effectiveness of drug therapy, (3) adverse drug reactions, (4) publicly available financial and social resources, and (5) rehabilitation and daily activities. Patient education score was defined as the sum of the individual scores for these five questions. The relationships between scores on the SF-36 subscales and the patient education score were examined. More satisfaction with patient education was associated with higher scores in all SF-36 subscales except physical functioning and bodily pain. The difference in score between the most satisfied and the least satisfied patients ranged from 8.4 points on the subscales of general health and 16.7 points on the subscale of role limitation due to emotional problems. The conclusion that patient education is associated with better HRQOL in patients with PD is drawn.
    Quality of Life Research 03/2004; 13(1):81-9. · 2.86 Impact Factor
  • Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 02/2004; 41(Pt 1):82. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Appropriate initial education for type-1 diabetes mellitus patients is important to prevent late complications. However, type-1 diabetic children have not appreciated traditional learning methods since they rarely contain the elements of fun and interactivity. In this study, we developed, implemented and evaluated a preliminary version of edutainment tools for initial education for type-1 diabetic children. Three games running on either personal computer (PC) and GameBoy Advance were developed. All games were designed to educate patients about relationships among food (carbohydrate), plasma glucose level, exercise, and insulin dose. A total of 58 testers evaluated degree of entertainment, usability and clinical usefulness of the games. Generally, testers felt all games were intuitive and fun and the usability of games was highly scored. More than 90% of testers showed an interest in the edutainment approach, and approximately 60% agreed that these games could provide attractive educational environment compared to traditional education, especially for children. Our edutainment systems were accepted as attractive learning tools for type-1 diabetic children who need initial education.
    Studies in health technology and informatics 02/2004; 107(Pt 2):855-9.
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    ABSTRACT: The operative morbidity and mortality for patients with gangrenous cholecystitis (GC) remains high. Our objective was to identify preoperative prognostic factors for GC in order to distinguish this subset of patients with acute cholecystitis (AC). From 1/98 to 11/01 the medical records of patients who presented with the diagnosis of AC were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed on this retrospective data. Of 113 patients with acute cholecystitis, 45 (39.8%) had histologically confirmed gangrenous cholecystitis. Nine variables were identified that were associated with GC by univariate analysis: age > or =51 years, African-American race, white blood cell count > or =15,000, diabetes, pericholecystic fluid, asparate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and lipase. Two variables were identified by multivariate analysis: diabetes, and white blood cell count. Our data suggest that patients with a history of diabetes and white blood cell count >15,000 to be at an increased risk for having GC upon presentation and they should have urgent surgical intervention.
    The American Journal of Surgery 11/2003; 186(5):481-5. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have investigated the usefulness of adenosine deaminase activity (ADA) in pleural fluid for the early diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. To summarize the diagnostic characteristics of ADA we undertook a meta-analysis using a summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve method. Data sources were MEDLINE (1966-1999), the Cochrane Library and bibliographies of review and original articles. Studies were included if the absolute numbers of true positive, false negative, true negative and false positive observations were available or could be derived from the data presented; gold standards were described explicitly; and the criteria for a positive ADA result were reported. We constructed an SROC curve based on these extracted data to estimate the test characteristics. Forty articles were available for analysis. The gold standards used were pleural biopsy histology, microbiological examination of pleural fluid, pleural biopsy and sputum and the patient's clinical course or combinations of these. The sensitivity of ADA reported in the articles ranged from 47.1% to 100% and the specificity from 50.0% to 100%. The summary measure of test characteristics derived from the SROC curve was 92.2% for both sensitivity and specificity. The test performance of ADA in tuberculous pleural effusion is reasonably good. Measurement of pleural ADA is thus likely to be a useful diagnostic tool for tuberculous pleurisy.
    Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 08/2003; 40(Pt 4):374-81. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate the cost of treating a tuberculosis (TB) case and to analyse TB-related medical service utilisation, a cost-of-illness study was conducted for all patients with a primary diagnosis of TB admitted to a public hospital in Japan. Retrospective analysis by abstracting in- and out-patient medical records of 57 paediatric patients diagnosed with TB during 1993-1998 at a public hospital in Osaka prefecture. Costs were estimated based on third party's payer perspectives according to the service utilisation pattern. In addition to cost data, sociodemographic information and service utilisation pattern were also extracted from the medical records. Cost of preventing a case of TB was abstracted from the published literature. The average cost of treatment was 8384 US dollars (95%CI 5667-11,099), while the average length of hospitalisation was 63 days (95%CI 43-84). Based on 20-80% vaccine efficacy, the cost of preventing a case of TB was 35,950-175,862 US dollars. In univariate analysis, site of TB (P = 0.04) was significantly associated with TB treatment cost, while case-finding method (contact tracing, symptoms, etc.) was associated with length of hospitalisation (P = 0.03). Multivariate regression analysis, however, showed none of the factors to be significant predictors of TB treatment cost and length of hospital stay. The cost of treating a case of paediatric TB is much lower than that of preventing one. Japan's universal BCG vaccination policy should be re-examined in the light of economic, social and political issues.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 04/2003; 7(3):254-7. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The determinants of preference for life in patients with Parkinson's disease are not well known. We assessed the effect of functional status on the preference for life as measured by the time trade-off method with a 10-year life span. Our survey was based on a random sample of 1,200 patients from the Japanese Association of Patients with Parkinson's Disease. Patients' demographics, clinical information, and functional status as measured by the MOS Short Form 36 were considered independent variables. The response rate was 63.5%. Linear regression showed that men had a significantly stronger preference for current health than women (by 10.4 months on a scale of 10 years). Patients with higher physical functioning, social functioning, and vitality had significantly higher preferences for life (each 10-point improvement in physical or social functioning led to a 1.5-month increment in preference for current health; a 10-point improvement in vitality led to a 3-month increment). Longer duration of disease and advanced Hoehn and Yahr stage were significantly associated with a lower preference for current health (by 0.5 months/year of disease and by 2.6 months/stage). Interventions that target social functioning and vitality may be beneficial to preference for life.
    Movement Disorders 03/2003; 18(2):171-5. · 4.56 Impact Factor
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 03/2003; 7(3):254-7. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) revaccination has been implemented in Japan among tuberculin-negative first grade primary and first grade junior high school students for decades. Controversies regarding the effectiveness of BCG revaccination and low incidence of tuberculosis (TB) among Japanese children prompted this study. Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses were conducted for a cohort of schoolchildren who underwent revaccination during 1996. The study population was a hypothetical cohort comprising 1.35 million first grade primary school and 1.51 million first grade junior high school students enrolled in 1996 at locations throughout Japan. Assuming 50% vaccine efficacy for revaccination, a 10-year duration of protection, and 5% annual discount rate, we calculated the total hypothetical number of TB cases averted, the cost and number of immunizations per TB case averted, and the benefit-cost ratio for the program. The revaccination program for 1996 schoolchildren cohort would prevent 296 TB cases over a 10-year period at a cost of US$ 108,378 per case averted. About 4,963 immunizations would be required to prevent one child from developing TB. The benefit-cost ratio remained at 0.13 with baseline assumptions and ranged from 0.05 to 0.29 and from 0.02 to 0.74 for one-way and two-way sensitivity analyses, respectively. BCG revaccination among schoolchildren is not supported by available scientific and economic data. Based on the results of this study, current BCG revaccination policies in Japan and other countries should be reexamined.
    Preventive Medicine 08/2002; 35(1):70-7. · 3.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies from the United States and from European countries have detected sex and age differences in clinical characteristics, management, and outcomes of acute myocardial infarction. The aim of this study was to determine how sex and age influence the management of and outcome for patients with acute myocardial infarction in Japan. A retrospective cohort study was performed by means of patient chart review at 4 teaching hospitals in Japan. There was a total of 482 patients (136 females [28%], 346 males [72%]) admitted consecutively with a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction between July, 1995 and June, 1996. Female patients were older and had more comorbid diseases than male patients. Female patients also tended to have more cardiac complications during hospitalization and a greater 30-day mortality (10% vs 4%, P <.05). After adjustment for baseline characteristics and age/sex interaction, it was found that female patients were less likely to undergo thrombolytic therapy, cardiac catheterization, or revascularization, and they had a greater 30-day mortality. These sex differences in cardiac catheterization and revascularization were more pronounced for older patients. On the other hand, the sex differences in 30-day mortality were greater for younger patients. Our data suggest that cardiac catheterization, revascularization and 30-day mortality may have been related to patient sex and age, but further study is needed.
    American heart journal 07/2002; 144(1):101-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human patient simulation (HPS) has been used since 1969 for teaching purposes. Only recently has technology advanced to allow application to the complex field of trauma resuscitation. The purpose of our study was to validate an advanced HPS as an evaluation tool of trauma team resuscitation skills. The pilot study evaluated 10 three-person military resuscitation teams from community hospitals that participated in a 28-day rotation at a civilian trauma center. Each team consisted of physicians, nurses, and medics. Using the HPS, teams were evaluated on arrival and again on completion of the rotation. In addition, the 10 trauma teams were compared with 5 expert teams composed of experienced trauma surgeons and nurses. Two standardized trauma scenarios were used, representing a severely injured patient with multiple injuries and with an Injury Severity Score of 41 (probability of survival, 50%). Performance was measured using a unique human performance assessment tool that included five scored and eight timed tasks generally accepted as critical to the initial assessment and treatment of a trauma patient. Scored tasks included airway, breathing, circulation, and disability assessments as well as overall organizational skills and a total score. The nonparametric Wilcoxon test was used to compare the military teams' scores for scenarios 1 and 2, and the comparison of the military teams' final scores with the expert teams. A value of p < 0.05 was considered significant. The 10 military teams demonstrated significant improvement in four of the five scored (p < or = 0.05) and six of the eight timed (p < or = 0.05) tasks during the final scenario. This improvement reflects the teams' cumulative didactic and clinical experience during the 28-day trauma refresher course as well as some degree of simulator familiarization. Improved final scores reflected efficient and coordinated team efforts. The military teams' initial scores were worse than the expert group in all categories, but their final scores were only lower than the expert groups in 2 of 13 measurements (p < or = 0.05). No studies have validated the use of the HPS as an effective teaching or evaluation tool in the complex field of trauma resuscitation. These pilot data demonstrate the ability to evaluate trauma team performance in a reproducible fashion. In addition, we were able to document a significant improvement in team performance after a 28-day trauma refresher course, with scores approaching those of the expert teams.
    The Journal of trauma 06/2002; 52(6):1078-85; discussion 1085-6. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical articles published in Japanese journals are said to be characterized by poor study design, less sophisticated statistics, and producing few high-grade clinical evidences. Two American and two Japanese medical journals, published in 1990, 1993, 1996, and 1999 were compared to find out the differences regarding study design, statistical methods, and level of clinical evidence of original articles and synthetic studies. There were 1689 original articles in American and 308 in Japanese joumals. Regarding study design, American articles contributed much more to randomized controlled trials/controlled trials/clinical trials (27.9% vs. 14.3%, p=0.001), cohort studies (21.6% vs. 6.2%, p=0.001), and case-control studies (6.5% vs.0.3 %, p=0.000). Among original articles in American and Japanese journals, mean number of statistical methods used were 2.4 and 1.7 per article (p=0.000), respectively. Articles providing high grade clinical evidence (grade Ia, Ib & IIa) were much greater in proportion in American journals than Japanese journals (31.1% vs. 12.7%, p=0.001). The overall picture of Japanese medical articles seems to be improving recently, at least in terms of statistical methods toward more diversified and sophisticated way of use, compared to the previous data.
    Journal of Epidemiology 05/2002; 12(3):266-70. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine to what extent the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) support medical interventions for in-patients at the department of general medicine of a university hospital in Japan. Retrospective analysis. By reviewing discharge summaries, two physicians first independently decided on patients' respective primary problems at admission and up to two secondary problems. Next, up to five interventions for the primary problem and one intervention for each of the secondary problems were selected. Differences of opinion (if any) between the two physicians regarding these selected interventions were resolved by discussion. MEDLINE and/or the Cochrane Library were used as data sources for literature regarding the selected interventions. A ward of the department of general medicine of a Japanese university hospital, 1995-1997. The proportion of therapeutic interventions supported by RCT results and associated meta-analyses. For the primary problems, 103 (48.8%) of the 211 most important interventions were supported by the results of RCTs, as were 47.8% of all the interventions including the most important and the adjunctive ones. Furthermore, 56.2% of the most important interventions for the secondary problems were also supported by the RCT results. Approximately half of the therapeutic interventions performed at an academic medical in-patient unit in Japan were RCT-supported. This was true not only for the most important interventions for primary problems but also for the adjunct interventions for the primary problems and the interventions for secondary problems.
    International Journal for Quality in Health Care 05/2002; 14(2):119-25. · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients and physicians often communicate using qualitative probability expressions that describe expected outcomes or risks of a medical intervention without knowing whether or not they share the same understanding. The aim of the present study was to determine interpretations of qualitative probability expressions in clinical settings by Japanese patients and physicians as well as their assessments and preferences about physicians' use of such expressions. One hundred and sixty-eight consecutive patients aged 16 years or older, who attended a university hospital during a 2-week period in 1999, and 156 physicians recruited through the Japanese General Medicine Research Network participated in this cross-sectional survey, using a self-administered questionnaire. Participants were asked to assign numerical interpretations as a percentage to 10 qualitative expressions of probability in two clinical situations related to prescribing a medicine for a cold and an anti-cancer drug. They were also asked which type of expression, qualitative or quantitative, they usually use when communicating probabilistic clinical information and which they prefer. The estimates of probability expressions showed wide variations, especially among patients. Patients tended to assign lower and higher values to highly positive and negative probability expressions, respectively, than physicians. Clinical context also influenced the estimation: both groups tended to assign higher estimates in the anti-cancer drug situation than in the cold treatment situation. Factor analysis revealed three psychologically meaningful factors in each situation. More patients than physicians (64.6% versus 50.3%) thought that physicians do not use numbers in routine practice. More than 20% of both patients and physicians considered that the actual use of qualitative terms by physicians is undesirable. Nevertheless, a sizable number of patients (41.4%) and physicians (15.2%) considered it preferable that physicians do not use numbers. Since interpretation of qualitative expressions of probability in Japanese is subject to large interpersonal variability and differences between patients and physicians, as well as context dependence, the use of qualitative expressions alone might cause misunderstanding among the parties involved. However, the majority of patients prefer words to numbers at present. Therefore, physicians, at least in Japan, ought to provide patients with both numbers and words when critical decisions need to be communicated.
    Family Practice 03/2002; 19(1):7-11. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low incidence of bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is allegedly responsible for poor survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Japan. This study was conducted to determine significant predictors for survival after collapse-witnessed OHCA of presumed cardiac etiology to investigate the impact of bystander-initiated CPR. Logistic regression analysis of OHCA of presumed cardiac etiology was performed on retrospective data sets from three Japanese suburban communities. All arrest incidents were witnessed and occurred prior to the arrival of EMS personnel. Outcome measure was survival to discharge. Initial electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythm (ventricular fibrillation (VF) or not), interval from collapse to CPR (within 5 min or not), and initial ECG rhythm/collapse-to-CPR interval interaction were significantly associated with survival. Patient age (70 years or less/over 70 years), interval from collapse to EMS response, and bystander-initiated CPR were significantly associated with VF in an initial ECG. The effectiveness of bystander-initiated CPR for OHCA can be successfully predicted based on the interval from collapse to CPR and initial ECG rhythm. The increase in the proportion of bystander-initiated CPR from the present level of 20-50% would be expected to rescue another 1800 victims of OHCA per year in Japan.
    Resuscitation 09/2001; 50(2):153-60. · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Because hyperkalaemia above a certain level is life-threatening, erroneous interpretation of serum potassium concentration may misguide and complicate diagnostic procedures. We investigated a number of cases with pseudohyperkalaemia, which was assumed to have been caused by the recentrifugation of blood samples after storage in gel separator tubes. The time trend of serum potassium concentration was explored before (January-March 1997) and after (May-July 1997) ceasing the practice of recentrifuging blood samples after overnight storage. Next, we conducted an experiment on a volunteer's serum. The sample was divided into two groups and centrifuged once (control group) or twice (recentrifugation group). For both groups, serum potassium concentrations were measured immediately, and at 24, 48 and 72 h. For the recentrifugation group, the second centrifugation was done just before the measurement. The time series study showed that the mean serum potassium concentrations measured after overnight storage were 4.68 (95% CI: 4.60-4.76) mmol/L before and 4.14 (4.07-4.20) mmol/L after ceasing the practice of recentrifugation. The experiment showed that the mean serum potassium concentrations in the control group versus the recentrifugation group were 3.95 (95% CI: 3.89-4.01) mmol/L versus 4.05 (3.92-4.17) immediately (P=0.0979), 3.95 (3.89-4.01) versus 5.95 (5.61-6.29) at 24 h (P=0.0001), 4.13 (4.05-4.22) versus 6.90 (6.46-7.34) at 48 h (P=0.0001), and 4.22 (3.85-4.58) versus 7.61 (6.94-8.30) at 72 h (P<0.0001). Recentrifugation of blood samples after storage causes a spurious rise in serum potassium concentration to the degree of clinical significance. Clinicians and biochemists should take appropriate measures to stop this practice.
    Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 08/2001; 38(Pt 4):386-90. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To ascertain the differences among hospitals in Japan in the management patterns and outcomes of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Retrospective cohort study by means of patient chart review. Four tertiary-care teaching hospitals in Japan observed over a 1-year period. Consecutive patients (N=482) admitted for AMI. Clinical characteristics, rates of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures performed, cardiac complications, and length of stay. Patients' clinical characteristics differed significantly among the four hospitals in terms of age, gender, and prior cardiac history, but not in terms of comorbidity or infarct location. The frequency and type of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures were different, and in-hospital mortality varied (4-14%, P=0.022). Average length of hospital stay ranged from 15.8+/-12.6 days to 41.0+/-19.4 days (P=0.0001). After adjustment for the clinical characteristics, these differences remained significant among hospitals. Considerable differences in the management and outcomes of patients with AMI exist in Japan.
    International Journal of Cardiology 06/2001; 78(3):277-84. · 6.18 Impact Factor