[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The migration of healthcare workers from Africa depletes countries already suffering from substantial staffing shortages and considerable disease burdens. The recruitment of such individuals by high income countries has been condemned by the World Health Organisation. However, understanding the reasons why healthcare workers migrate is essential, in order to attempt to alter migration decisions. We aimed to systematically analyse factors influencing healthcare workers' decisions to migrate from Africa. We systematically searched CINAHL (1980–Nov 2010), Embase (1980–Nov 2010), Global Health (1973–Nov 2010) and Medline (1950–Nov 2010) for qualitative studies of healthcare workers from Africa which specifically explored views about migration. Two reviewers identified articles, extracted data and assessed quality of included studies. Meta-ethnography was used to synthesise new lines of understanding and meaning from the data. The search identified 1203 articles from which we included six studies of healthcare workers trained in seven African countries, namely doctors or medical students (two studies), nurses (three), and pharmacy students (one study). Using meta-ethnographic synthesis we produced six lines of argument relating to the migration decisions of healthcare workers: 1) Struggle to realise unmet material expectations of self, family and society, 2) Strain and emotion, interpersonal discord, and insecurity in workplace, 3) Fear from threats to personal or family safety, in and out of workplace, 4) Absence of adequate professional support and development, 5) Desire for professional prestige and respect, 6) Conviction that hopes and goals for the future will be fulfilled overseas. We conclude that a complex interaction of factors contribute to the migration decisions of healthcare workers from Africa. Some of the factors identified are more amenable to change than others, and addressing these may significantly affect migration decisions of African healthcare workers in the future.
Social Science [?] Medicine 01/2014; 100:99–106. · 2.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction
Many different dietary supplements are currently marketed for the management of hypertension, but the evidence for effectiveness is mixed. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for or against the effectiveness of green tea (Camellia sinensis) on blood pressure and lipid parameters.
Electronic searches were conducted in Medline, Embase, Amed, Cinahl and the Cochrane Library to identify relevant human randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Hand searches of bibliographies were also conducted. The reporting quality of included studies was assessed using a checklist adapted from the CONSORT Statement. Two reviewers independently determined eligibility, assessed the reporting quality of the included studies, and extracted the data.
474 citations were identified and 20 RCTs comprising 1,536 participants were included. There were variations in the designs of the RCTs. A meta-analysis revealed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure favouring green tea (MD: -1.94 mmHg; 95% CI: -2.95 to -0.93; I2=8%; p = 0.0002). Similar results were also observed for total cholesterol (MD: -0.13 mmol/l; 95% CI: -0.2 to -0.07; I2=8%; p < 0.0001) and LDL cholesterol (MD: -0.19 mmol/l; 95% CI: -0.3 to -0.09; I2=70%; p = 0.0004). Adverse events included rash, elevated blood pressure, and abdominal discomfort.
Green tea intake results in significant reductions in systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. The effect size on systolic blood pressure is small, but the effects on total and LDL cholesterol appear moderate. Longer-term independent clinical trials evaluating the effects of green tea are warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing globally, with the greatest projected increases in low-income and middle-income countries. We sought to quantify the proportion of Cochrane evidence relating to NCDs derived from such countries.
We searched the Cochrane database of systematic reviews for reviews relating to NCDs highlighted in the WHO NCD action plan (cardiovascular, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases). We excluded reviews at the protocol stage and those that were repeated or had been withdrawn. For each review, two independent researchers extracted data relating to the country of the corresponding author and the number of trials and participants from countries, using the World Bank classification of gross national income per capita.
797 reviews were analysed, with a reported total number of 12 340 trials and 10 937 306 participants. Of the corresponding authors 90% were from high-income countries (41% from the UK). Of the 746 reviews in which at least one trial had met the inclusion criteria, only 55% provided a summary of the country of included trials. Analysis of the 633 reviews in which country of trials could be established revealed that almost 90% of trials and over 80% of participants were from high-income countries. 438 (5%) trials including 1 145 013 (11.7%) participants were undertaken in low-middle income countries. We found that only 13 (0.15%) trials with 982 (0.01%) participants were undertaken in low-income countries. Other than the five Cochrane NCD corresponding authors from South Africa, only one other corresponding author was from Africa (Gambia).
The overwhelming body of evidence for NCDs pertains to high-income countries, with only a small number of review authors based in low-income settings. As a consequence, there is an urgent need for research infrastructure and funding for the undertaking of high-quality trials in this area.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To develop reference values and centile charts for respiratory rate based on age and body temperature, and to determine how well these reference values can predict the presence of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in children with fever.
Prospective observational study. PARTICIPANTS : Febrile children aged at least 1 month to just under 16 years (derivation population, n = 1555; validation population, n = 671) selected from patients attending paediatric emergency departments or assessment units in hospitals.
One hospital in the Netherlands in 2006 and 2008 (derivation population); one hospital in the Netherlands in 2003-05 and one hospital in the United Kingdom in 2005-06 (validation population).
We used the derivation population to produce respiratory rate centile charts, and calculated 50th, 75th, 90th, and 97th centiles of respiratory rate at a specific body temperature. Multivariable regression analysis explored associations between respiratory rate, age, and temperature; results were validated in the validation population by calculating diagnostic performance measures, z scores, and corresponding centiles of children with diagnoses of pneumonic LRTI (as confirmed by chest radiograph), non-pneumonic LRTI, and non-LRTI.
Age, respiratory rate (breaths/min) and body temperature (°C), presence of LRTI.
Respiratory rate increased overall by 2.2 breaths/min per 1°C rise (standard error 0.2) after accounting for age and temperature in the model. We observed no interactions between age, temperature, and respiratory rates. Age and temperature dependent cut-off values at the 97th centile were more useful for ruling in LRTI (specificity 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.92 to 0.96), positive likelihood ratio 3.66 (2.34 to 5.73)) than existing respiratory rate thresholds such as Advanced Pediatrics Life Support values (0.53 (0.48 to 0.57), 1.59 (1.41 to 1.80)). However, centile cut-offs could not discriminate between pneumonic LRTI and non-pneumonic LRTI.
Age specific and temperature dependent centile charts describe new reference values for respiratory rate in children with fever. Cut-off values at the 97th centile were more useful in detecting the presence of LRTI than existing respiratory rate thresholds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the vast majority of children with acute infections are managed at home, this is one of the most common problems encountered in children attending emergency departments (EDs) and primary care. Distinguishing children with serious infection from those with minor or self-limiting infection is difficult. This can result in misdiagnosis of children with serious infections, which results in a poorer health outcome, or a tendency to refer or admit children as a precaution; thus, inappropriately utilising secondary-care resources.
We systematically identified clinical features and laboratory tests which identify serious infection in children attending the ED and primary care. We also identified clinical prediction rules and validated those using existing data sets.
We searched MEDLINE, Medion, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects in October 2008, with an update in June 2009, using search terms that included terms related to five components: serious infections, children, clinical history and examination, laboratory tests and ambulatory care settings. We also searched references of included studies, clinical content experts, and relevant National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines to identify relevant studies. There were no language restrictions. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they were based in ambulatory settings in economically developed countries.
Literature searching, selection and data extraction were carried out by two reviewers. We assessed quality using the quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies (QUADAS) instrument, and used spectrum bias and validity of the reference standard as exclusion criteria. We calculated the positive likelihood ratio (LR+) and negative likelihood ratio (LR-) of each feature along with the pre- and post-test probabilities of the outcome. Meta-analysis was performed using the bivariate method when appropriate. We externally validated clinical prediction rules identified from the systematic review using existing data from children attending ED or primary care.
We identified 1939 articles, of which 35 were selected for inclusion in the review. There was only a single study from primary care; all others were performed in the ED. The quality of the included studies was modest. We also identified seven data sets (11,045 children) to use for external validation. The most useful clinical features for ruling in serious infection was parental or clinician overall concern that the illness was different from previous illnesses or that something was wrong. In low- or intermediate-prevalence settings, the presence of fever had some diagnostic value. Additional red flag features included cyanosis, poor peripheral circulation, rapid breathing, crackles on auscultation, diminished breath sounds, meningeal irritation, petechial rash, decreased consciousness and seizures. Procalcitonin (LR+ 1.75-2.96, LR- 0.08-0.35) and C-reactive protein (LR+ 2.53-3.79, LR- 0.25-0.61) were superior to white cell counts. The best performing clinical prediction rule was a five-stage decision tree rule, consisting of the physician's gut feeling, dyspnoea, temperature ≥ 40 °C, diarrhoea and age. It was able to decrease the likelihood of serious infections substantially, but on validation it provided good ruling out value only in low-to-intermediate-prevalence settings (LR- 0.11-0.28). We also identified and validated the Yale Observation Scale and prediction rules for pneumonia, meningitis and gastroenteritis.
Only a single study was identified from primary-care settings, therefore results may lack generalisability.
Several clinical features are useful to increase or decrease the probability that a child has a serious infection. None is sufficient on its own to substantially raise or lower the risk of serious infection. Some are highly specific ('red flags'), so when present should prompt a more thorough or repeated assessment. C-reactive protein and procalcitonin demonstrate similar diagnostic characteristics and are both superior to white cell counts. However, even in children with a serious infection, red flags will occur infrequently, and their absence does not lower the risk. The diagnostic gap is currently filled by using clinical 'gut feeling' and diagnostic safety-netting, which are still not well defined. Although two prediction rules for serious infection and one for meningitis provided some diagnostic value, we do not recommend widespread implementation at this time. Future research is needed to identify predictors of serious infection in children in primary-care settings, to validate prediction rules more widely, and determine the added value of blood tests in primary-care settings.
The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parent-reported symptoms are frequently used to triage children, but little is known about which symptoms identify children with serious respiratory infections. The authors aimed to identify symptoms and triage findings predictive of serious respiratory infection, and to quantify agreement between parent and nurse assessment.
Prospective diagnostic cohort study.
Paediatric Assessment Unit, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
535 children aged between 3 months and 12 years with suspected acute infection.
Parents completed a symptom questionnaire on arrival. Children were triaged by a nurse, who measured routine vital signs. The final diagnosis at discharge was used as the outcome. Symptoms and triage findings were analysed to identify features diagnostic of serious respiratory infection. Agreement between parent and triage nurse assessment was measured and kappa values calculated.
Parent-reported symptoms were poor indicators of serious respiratory infection (positive likelihood ratio (LR+) 0.56-1.93) and agreed poorly with nurse assessment (kappa 0.22-0.56). The best predictor was clinical assessment of respiratory distress (LR+ 5.04). Oxygen saturations <94% were highly specific (specificity 95.1%) but had poor sensitivity (35.6%). Tachypnoea (defined by current Advanced Paediatric Life Support standards) offered little discriminatory value.
Parent-reported symptoms were unreliable discriminators of serious respiratory infection in children with suspected acute infection, and did not correlate well with nurse assessment. Using symptoms to identify higher risk children in this setting is unreliable. Nurse triage assessment of respiratory distress and some vital signs are important predictors.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 05/2011; 96(8):708-14. · 3.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Medical devices are used widely for virtually every disease and condition. Although devices are subject to regulation, the number of recalls, the clinical data requirements for regulation and the impact on patient safety are poorly understood. Methods The authors defined a device using European directives and used publicly available information on the Medicines and Health Regulatory Authority website to determine the number of devices recalled from January 2006 to December 2010. Two reviewers independently assessed Field Safety Notices and Medical Device Alerts. The authors wrote to manufacturers to obtain further information and clinical data, and summarised data by year, Conformité Européenne classification, indication, and Food and Drug Administration recall system of severity. Results In total, 2124 field safety notices were issued over the 5-year period, an increase of 1220% (62 in 2006 to 757 in 2010). 447 Medical Device Alerts were issued in the same period, and 44% were assessed as a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. The authors wrote to 192 manufacturers of withdrawn devices and received 101 (53%) replies; only four (2.1%) provided the clinical data the authors requested. A lack of available transparent data prevented full analyses of the safety impact. Of the highest-risk recalled devices, more than half were related to the cardiovascular system (25%) or musculoskeletal system (33%), and 88% (95% CI 80% to 97%) were assessed as a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. For low-risk devices, the figure was 34% (95% CI 26% to 42%). Conclusion The number of medical devices subject to recalls or warnings in the UK has risen dramatically. A substantial number of these devices may have caused serious adverse effects in patients and contributed to healthcare costs. Significant problems exist in the UK with a lack of access to transparent data and a registry of the highest-risk devices.
BMJ Open 01/2011; 1(1):e000155. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to systematically examine the proportion of accurate readings attained by automatic digital blood pressure (BP) devices in published validation studies. We included studies of automatic digital BP devices using recognized protocols. We summarized the data as mean and s.d. of differences between measured and observed BP, and proportion of measurements within 5 mm Hg. We included 79 articles (10,783 participants) reporting 113 studies from 22 different countries. Overall, 25/31 (81%), 37/41 (90%) and 34/35 (97%) devices passed the relevant protocols [BHS, AAMI and ESH international protocol (ESH-IP), respectively]. For devices that passed the BHS protocol, the proportion of measured values within 5 mm Hg of the observed value ranged from 60 to 86% (AAMI protocol 47-94% and ESH-IP 54-89%). The results for the same device varied significantly when a different protocol was used (Omron HEM-907 80% of readings were within 5 mm Hg using the AAMI protocol compared with 62% with the ESH-IP). Even devices with a mean difference of zero show high variation: a device with 74% of BP measurements within 5 mm Hg would require six further BP measurements to reduce variation to 95% of readings within 5 mm Hg. Current protocols for validating BP monitors give no guarantee of accuracy in clinical practice. Devices may pass even the most rigorous protocol with as few as 60% of readings within 5 mm Hg of the observed value. Multiple readings are essential to provide clinicians and patients with accurate information on which to base diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Journal of human hypertension 04/2010; 24(7):431-8. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether vital signs identify children with serious infections, and to compare their diagnostic value with that of the Manchester triage score (MTS) and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) traffic light system of clinical risk factors.
Prospective cohort of children presenting with suspected acute infection. We recorded vital signs, level of consciousness, activity level, respiratory distress, hydration and MTS category.
Paediatric assessment unit at a teaching hospital in England.
700 children (median age 3 years), of whom 357 (51.0%) were referred from primary care, 198 (28.3%) self-referrals and 116 (16.6%) emergency ambulance transfers. Just over half (383 or 54.7%) were admitted.
Severity of infection categorised as serious, intermediate, minor or not infection.
Children with serious or intermediate infections (n = 313) were significantly more likely than those with minor or no infection (n = 387) to have a temperature >or=39 degrees C, tachycardia, saturations <or=94% or capillary refill time (CRT) >2 seconds. Having one or more of temperature >or=39 degrees C, saturations <or=94%, tachycardia and tachypnoea was 80% (95% CI 75% to 85%) sensitive and 39% (95% CI 34% to 44%) specific for serious or intermediate infection. This was comparable to the MTS score (84% sensitive, 38% specific), and the NICE traffic light system (85% sensitive, 29% specific).
A combination of vital signs can be used to differentiate children with serious infections from those with less serious infections in a paediatric assessment unit and has comparable sensitivity to more complicated triage systems. The diagnostic value of combined vital signs and the NICE traffic light system remains to be determined in populations where the prevalence of severe illness is much lower.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 07/2009; 94(11):888-93. · 3.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The strategies used by general practitioners in making a diagnosis are being formally recognised; this article is the first in a series that will illustrate their application, and is accompanied by a case study (doi:10.1136/bmj.b1187)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the reference range for heart rate in children aged 3 months-10 years presenting to primary care with self-limiting infections.
Cross-sectional study of children presenting to primary care with suspected acute infection. Heart rate was measured using a pulse oximeter and axillary temperature using an electronic thermometer. Centile charts of heart rates expected at given temperatures for children with self-limiting infections were calculated.
Ten general practice surgeries and two out-of-hours centres in England.
1933 children presenting with suspected acute infections were recruited from in-hours general practice surgeries (1050 or 54.3%) or out-of-hours centres (883 or 45.7%). After excluding children who subsequently attended hospital and those without a final diagnosis of acute infection, 1589 children were used to create the centile charts of whom (859 or 54.1%) had upper respiratory tract infections and (215 or 13.5%) non-specific viral illness.
Median, 75th, 90th and 97th centiles of heart rate at each temperature level.
Heart rate increased by 9.9-14.1 bpm with each 1 degrees C increment in temperature. The 50th, 75th, 90th and 97th centiles of heart rate at each temperature level are presented graphically.
Age-specific centile charts of heart rates expected at different temperatures should be used by clinicians in the initial assessment of children with acute infections. The charts will identify children who have a heart rate higher than expected for a given temperature and facilitate the interpretation of changes in heart rate on reassessment. Further research on the predictive value of the centile charts is needed to optimise their diagnostic utility.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 12/2008; 94(5):361-5. · 3.05 Impact Factor