Internal Medicine Journal

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1445-5994
Print ISSN: 1444-0903
To determine the optimal diagnostic cut-off point using a simplified criterion for the detection of pulmonary embolus (PE) and to evaluate the criterion's utility and reporter reproducibility. Lung scintigraphy was carried out in 924 patients for the diagnosis of PE. This group consisted of 316 men and 608 women with median age of 63 years (range 18-94 years). Ventilation imaging was carried out with Tc-99m Technegas followed by perfusion imaging using 190 MBq Tc-99m macroaggregated albumin. Studies were classified using a 6-category probability criterion of incremental ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) mismatch: A, normal; B, low (minor matched V/Q defects or segmental matched V/Q defects without opacity on chest X-ray); C, low-moderate (a partial segment of V/Q mismatch); D, moderate (1 segment of mismatch); E, moderate-high (1-2 segments of V/Q mismatch) and F, high probability (=2 segments of V/Q mismatch). Clinical end-points at 3 and 6 months were death by PE or PE treated with anticoagulation therapy. Three-reporter reproducibility was determined by kappa statistic on a subgroup of patients (53/924). A total of 122 patients (13%) had a confirmed diagnosis of PE at 3 months and no additional cases were registered at 6 months. The lung scintigraphy probability classification showed: normal 152 (16%), low 620 (67%), low-moderate 20 (2%), moderate 28 (3%), moderate-high 24 (3%) and high 80 (9%). The respective sensitivities and specificities, where the diagnostic cut-offs were established at F, high; E, moderate-high; D, moderate and C, low-moderate probability, were F, 64 and 100%; E, 82 and 99%; D, 95 and 98% and C, 98 and 96%. The respective false-negative cases for F, E, D and C cut-offs were 44, 22, 7 and 3. Using the revised Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis reporting classification reporter agreement showed kappa values of 0.31-0.48. Using a simplified 2-category (>0.5 segment of V/Q mismatch positive, all others negative) criterion resulted in a higher reporting agreement (kappa 0.74-0.83). There were only 3% of indeterminate cases if this was defined by the D category and a maximum of 8% if categories C, D and E were included. Using a simplified diagnostic criterion where all studies showing >0.5 segments of V/Q mismatch are regarded as positive and all others as negative, lung scintigraphy, incorporating Tc-99m Technegas ventilation imaging or its equivalent, can achieve a very high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of PE. Using this technique, less than 5% of scans are indeterminate. A simplified, unambiguous approach to reporting is recommended.
Large outbreaks of Legionella pneumonia are rare, but when they occur provide an opportunity to assess predictors of mortality and efficacy of drug therapy. Although erythromycin has been the treatment of choice for many years, newer antimicrobials with increased activity against Legionella are available. A large outbreak of legionnaires' disease associated with the Melbourne Aquarium occurred in April 2000. To describe the patterns and impact of Legionella therapy, and predictors of outcome in a large group of hospitalized patients with legionnaires' disease. A 6-month retrospective audit of hospitalized patients with proven legionnaires' disease around the time of the Melbourne Aquarium outbreak was conducted. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS version 8.0 (SAS Institute Inc., NC, USA). Data were obtained on 104 patients (71 aquarium related, 33 not related). There were six deaths (mortality rate 5.8%), three of which were attributable directly to progressive legionnaires' disease. The major predictors of death were pre-existing cardiac failure (P = 0.0035) and renal disease (P = 0.026). Erythro-mycin is still the most commonly used antibiotic (80% received i.v. erythromycin) with clinicians prescribing more than one active Legionella drug in the majority of cases (76%). Choice of initial antibiotic therapy did not statistically affect outcome as measured by death, length of hospital stay or time to defervescence, although there was a trend towards improved survival with i.v. erythromycin (P = 0.063). Intravenous erythromycin was associated with a 19% rate of phlebitis, whereas side-effects from other antibiotics were uncommon. The most commonly used Legionella therapy in Australia remains erythromycin. This continues to be an effective agent, however, side-effects are common.
Bortezomib has been shown to be a safe and efficacious for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Here we report a subset analysis of Australian and New Zealand data from the International Extended Access Programme for bortezomib. Patients with more than or equal to two prior lines of therapy were given bortezomib 1.3 mg/m(2) (i.v. bolus days 1, 4, 8, 11) for up to eight 21-day cycles (C). Dexamethasone, 20 mg/day p. o. on the day of, and day after, bortezomib was added after C2 for progressive disease or after C4 for stable disease. Efficacy was assessed using modified Southwest Oncology Group criteria in the intent-to-treat group. Results were compared between the Australian and New Zealand and international cohort. One hundred and eleven patients from 16 centres (55% men, median age 61.9 years) had a median of 5.2 +/- 2.8 treatment cycles of bortezomib. Among them, 82% had > or =3 prior therapies. Grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were reported in 57 patients (52%); the most common were thrombocytopenia (25.7%), anaemia (8.3%), peripheral neuropathy (7.3%) and diarrhoea (7.3%). Responses were evaluable in 106 patients: 22% achieved a best response of complete response/response and 20% partial response (overall response rate of 42%). Median times to first and best responses were 42 days and 69 days, respectively. Compared with the international cohort, the cohorts from Australian and New Zealand showed inferior overall response rates (54 vs 42%, P = 0.001), possibly due to heavier pretreatment (82% greater than or equal to three prior therapies vs 68%, P < 0.001). Our analysis confirms that bortezomib is safe and effective in relapsed and refractory MM in a real-life clinical setting.
133Xenon ventilation scintigraphy and (99m)Tc-MAA perfusion scintigraphy can be used to assess dynamic ventilation patterns in patients with severe emphysema. To describe the scintigraphic features of attempted bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR), exploring mechanisms that might explain the unexpected lack of postoperative atelectasis. Five patients with heterogenous severe upper lobe emphysema were evaluated with 133Xenon ventilation and (99m)Tc-MAA perfusion scintigraphy, chest radiography, bronchoscopy and high resolution computed tomography before and up to 1 month after endoscopic placement of bronchial prostheses (BLVR). Ex vivo assessment of the lungs of two further patients with severe upper lobe emphysema was performed. No significant subsegmental or lobar collapse was evident on post-procedure chest radiography or high resolution computed tomography, despite bronchoscopic confirmation of adequate position and functioning of prostheses. 133Xenon ventilation scintigraphy confirms significantly decreased upper lobe wash-in (P < 0.023), unchanged lower lobe wash-in and significantly increased lower lobe wash-out rates (P < 0.005) after BLVR. Significant redistribution of perfusion to the lower lobes occurred after BLVR (P < 0.025). Ex vivo experiments on explanted emphysematous lungs demonstrated that these findings could best be explained by collateral interlobar ventilation, which was calculated in one specimen to be as high as 15% of total lower lobe ventilation. Peri-valvular leak is a much less likely possibility. 133Xenon ventilation scintigraphy indicated the presence of significant interlobar collateral ventilation in patients with severe emphysema that may have major relevance to these novel alternative techniques to lung volume reduction surgery. 133Xenon scintigraphy can be used in the evaluation of severe emphysema before and after novel therapeutic interventions.
Recent reports suggest genetic polymorphisms influence susceptibility to rituximab-induced late-onset neutropenia (LON), which in turn may be a predictor of good outcome in B-cell lymphoma. We report the largest study to date assessing FCGR3A-V158F polymorphisms in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) treated with cyclophosphamide/hydroxydaunorubicin/Oncovin (vincristine)/prednisone/rituximab (CHOP-R). The influence of C1qA-A276G polymorphisms in DLBCL, and the impact of both polymorphisms on susceptibility to LON and outcome were also examined. 115 DLBCL patients treated with CHOP-R were compared with 105 healthy White people controls with regards to FCGR3A-V158F and C1qA-A276G polymorphisms. LON incidence and event-free and overall survival (EFS and OS) were analysed for linkage to either polymorphism. The FCGR3A-V158F but not the C1qA-A276G polymorphism influenced the risk of developing LON. 50% of FCGR3A-158V/V patients experienced LON. In contrast, only 7% V/F and 2% F/F experienced LON. The FCGR3A-158V/V genotype was associated with LON compared with V/F (P = 0.028) and F/F genotypes (P = 0.005). Although no patients with either LON or FCGR3A-158V homozygosity relapsed compared with 33% FCGR3A-158F/F and 21% non-LON, this did not translate into improved EFS or OS. Polymorphic analysis may be a predictive tool to identify those at high risk of LON. Prospective studies are required to establish definitively if LON or FCGR3A-158V/V genotype influences outcome.
High on treatment platelet reactivity has been associated with poor outcomes following Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS). Both the loss of function CYP2C19*2 allele and the gain of function CYP2C19*17 allele along with a range of clinical characteristics have been associated with variation in the response to clopidogrel. To examine the frequency of CYP2C19 variants and understand the factors associated with on treatment platelet reactivity in a New Zealand ACS population. We prospectively enrolled 312 ACS patients . We collected clinical characteristics and measured on treatment platelet reactivity using two validated point-of-care assays, VerifyNow and Multiplate. DNA was extracted and CYP2C19*2 and *17 alleles were identified using real time PCR. CYP2C19*2 or CYP2C19*17 alleles were observed in 101 (32%) and 106 (34%) of patients respectively, with significant differences in distribution by ethnicity. In Maori and Pacific Island patients 47% (CI 31-63%) had CYP2C19*2 and 11% (CI 4-19%) CYP2C19*17 compared to 26% (CI 19-32%) and 41% (CI 32-49%) in Europeans. Carriage of CYP2C19*2 alleles was associated with higher levels of platelet reactivity measured by either assay, but we observed no relationship between platelet reactivity and CYP2C19*17. In multivariate analysis diabetes, clopidogrel dose and CYP2C19*2 status were all significant independent predictors of platelet reactivity. Both CYP2C19*2 and *17 were common in a New Zealand ACS population, with CYP2C19*2 observed in almost half the Maori and Pacific Island patients. CYP2C19*2, diabetes and clopidogrel dose were independent contributors to on-treatment platelet reactivity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Asthma is associated with fixed airflow obstruction and an increased risk of death. The aim of this study was to relate asthma mortality and airflow obstruction to severity of asthma in a cohort of patients with chronic asthma studied over a 17-year period. In 1980, asthma severity based on symptoms, asthma duration, treatment and smoking habits were assessed and lung function was measured after maximal therapy in 89 patients. In 1997, mortality was recorded and 44 of 60 patients known to be alive were restudied. Eighteen patients had died: eight deaths were associated with asthma (seven occurred before and one after 1990). The risk of death was higher with decreased forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), increased FEV1 variability, age and treatment requirements but not symptom severity, at initial study. In the patients restudied, asthma severity and FEV1 variability decreased whereas the dose of inhaled corticosteriods increased 2.8-fold. Highest FEV1 was negatively related to treatment score and smoking history at initial study, but not at follow up and was <80% predicted in 19 (43%) patients, 11 of whom had never smoked. The mean (+/-standard deviation) decrement in FEV1 was 32 +/- 24 mL/year and correlated positively with FEV1 at initial study, smoking history, age of onset of asthma and treatment requirements at follow up. In this cohort study, asthma was associated with chronic airflow obstruction and that with increased risk of mortality. Symptoms and mortality risk improved in association with increased reported use of inhaled corticosteroids; however, there was ongoing chronic airflow obstruction.
The aims of this study were (i) to assess and validate the incremental information of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) over conventional staging investigations (CSI) and (ii) to assess the management impact of PET/CT in patients with known or suspected pancreatic cancer. Between October 2007 and September 2008, 22 PET/CT scans were performed using a dedicated PET/CT scanner in 21 patients with known or suspected pancreatic cancer. Follow up was used to reconcile discordance between PET/CT and CSI. The pre-PET/CT management plan and/or intent were prospectively recorded in all scans. The post-PET/CT management plan was determined from the medical record and/or discussions with treating clinicians. The management impact of PET/CT was classified as high, medium, low or none defined using Australian and New Zealand Association of Physicians in Nuclear Medicine PET data collection project criteria. PET/CT and CSI were discordant in 14/22 (64%: 95% CI; 43-84%) scans. Of the 14 discordant scans, PET/CT assessment was correct in eight, conventional imaging in four and there was insufficient information in two. Overall, PET/CT management impact was classified as high (n= 6), medium (n= 3), low (n= 9) or none (n= 4). Significant changes in management (high or medium impact) were induced by PET/CT in 9/22 scans (41%: 95% CI; 20-62%) predominantly by correctly modifying the disease extent. PET/CT has an incremental benefit over CSI and has a significant impact on management in patients with known or suspected pancreatic cancer. PET/CT merits consideration as part of the non-invasive evaluation of patients with known or suspected pancreatic cancer.
The present study compared the performance of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) using a coincidence dual-head gamma camera (FDG Co-PET) with 67gallium scinti graphy (GS) in pretreatment staging of lymphoma. A total of 46 patients underwent FDG Co-PET, computed tomography (CT) scanning and GS for pretreatment staging of lymphoma (40 newly diagnosed and recurrence) between November 1997 and December 1999. Histological subgroups comprised low grade (8 patients), intermediate grade (25) high-grade (3) non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease (10). Based on clinical assessment, CT scan findings and biopsy, 100 nodal sites and 15 extra-nodal sites were deemed positive. FDG Co-PET was superior to GS in nodal site positivity rate (97%vs 79%, P < 0.0001). Compared with GS, FDG Co-PET detected 39 more abnormal sites in 22 patients (48%), of which 28 sites were validated by biopsy, CT and/or progress FDG Co-PET scanning. There was only one proven false negative FDG site in the spleen. CT + FDG Co-PET led to upstaging in 2 patients (4%), compared to CT + GS. FDG Co-PET shows potential for providing an accurate means for pretreatment staging of lymphoma and can detect extra sites of disease activity compared to GS.
Accurate staging of lung cancer is essential in determining the most appropriate management plan, as detection of occult metastasis can significantly alter management. The aims of this study are to determine the prevalence of occult metastasis in patients undergoing 2-(18)F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ((18)F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) for evaluation of suspected/proven lung carcinoma and correlate pre-PET TNM stage with prevalence of metastasis. FDG-PET, which identified patients with metastasis on institutional database, was re-evaluated by a nuclear medicine physician blinded to clinical information. The confidence level of metastasis was scored on a 5-point scale, with a score of >/=4 considered positive. There were 67 of 645 (10%) patients identified with suspected occult metastasis on FDG-PET. Twelve patients scoring </=3 were excluded. Prevalence of occult metastasis was 10/156 (6%) in solitary pulmonary nodules (SPN); 22/319 (7%) and 23/170 (14%) in proven and suspected lung cancer, respectively. Positive predictive value of FDG-PET for metastasis was 8/10 (80%) in solitary pulmonary nodules, 14/20 (70%) and 17/21 (81%) in proven and suspected lung cancer, respectively. (18)F-FDG-avid lesions classified as false positives were patients with cholelithiasis, rib fractures and those with equivocal/negative bone scans or computed tomography on follow up. There was a higher incidence of true positive occult metastasis in patients in all stages of disease, particularly stage III disease. (18)F-FDG PET is predictive for occult metastatic disease in patients with solitary pulmonary nodules and proven or suspected lung cancer and is more likely to be present in all stages, particularly in stage III. PET findings should be actively pursued with correlative investigation to identify benign pathology in patients who remain candidates for curative treatment.
This study investigates the diagnostic value of (18) F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography ((18) F-FDG PET/CT) in patients with 109 classical fever of unknown origin (FUO). Of the 48 (18) F-FDG PET/CT scans, 41 (85.4%) were interpreted as abnormal, and 25 (52.1% of all scans) were considered clinically helpful. The final cause of fever was determined in 41 patients (85.4%); infection (25%), malignancy (12.5%), non-infectious inflammatory disease (16.7%) and miscellaneous causes (31.3%). (18) F-FDG PET/CT contributed to the final diagnosis of FUO in 65.8%.
Background Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS) is a rare, idiopathic systemic vasculitis. There is emerging evidence of an association between the presence or absence of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and clinical phenotype. Thromboembolism is an increasingly recognised complication of the disease. AimsGiven the paucity of Australian data, the aim of this study was to examine the clinical and laboratory features of CSS in a single Australian centre. Methods We performed a retrospective review of all patients who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for CSS managed at the Department of Immunology, Royal Adelaide Hospital between 2002 and 2008. ResultsNineteen patients were included. All patients had asthma and most had upper airway involvement. Peripheral nerve, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal and cutaneous involvement was common. Renal and cardiac involvement was uncommon in this series. Histological confirmation was obtained in 15 patients (78.9%). Ten patients (52.6%) were ANCA+, and these were more likely to have musculoskeletal involvement, such as arthralgia or myalgia (odds ratio 57, P = 0.005). Thrombosis was a feature at diagnosis in six patients (31.6%); two of these recurred with relapse. Sixteen patients (84.2%) were followed up; five died, and mean survival was 8.9 years. Conclusions This is the first Australian study to focus on CSS. Our results demonstrate similar presentation and prognosis of CSS to previous descriptions; however, we noted that musculoskeletal involvement was more common in ANCA+ patients. In our series, thrombosis was a significant complication and we suggest that thromboprophylaxis may be warranted.
To characterize long-term mortality trends for infectious and parasitic diseases in Australia during the twentieth century, explore influencing factors and provide suggestions to health policy-makers. A descriptive study was conducted. Deaths due to communicable diseases from 1907 to 1997 were tallied, according to the International Classification of Diseases version 9 (ICD-9). Trends in infectious disease mortality in overall population and in the 0-4 years age group were examined and standardized by sex. Death rates were also studied for: (i) diarrhoea/enteritis, (ii) pneumonia and all respiratory diseases and (iii) tuberculosis. There has been a substantial decline in -mortality from communicable diseases over the study period. The death rate dropped from 258.9 per 100,000 population in 1907 to 7.2 per 100,000 population in 1997. Six phases of the decline were observed. A combination of improved living conditions and access to readily available treatments over the twentieth century played an important role in the reduction of infectious disease mortality in Australia.
Australia has a low cadaver organ donor (CD) rate by international standards, leading to the increasing use of live donor (LD) renal grafts. To review the Australian experience with LD transplants from 1964 to 1999. Data were obtained from the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry. Survival was assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method. A total of 1584 LD and 10 252 CD transplants was performed between 1964 and 1999. While the CD rate dropped over the last decade, the LD rate increased, maintaining the overall transplantation rate. Only 3.6% of grafts before 1980 were LD, increasing to 28.4% during 1995-1999. Patient and graft survival of LD grafts was superior to CD grafts. Most LD grafts were from live related donors (LRD), most commonly parents or siblings. The number of transplants from live unrelated donors (LURD) has risen (1980-1989, n = 6; 1990-1999, n = 143), primarily due to more spousal donation, with no difference in survival between LRD and LURD groups. Grafts from older donors (> 50 years of age) increased, with no graft survival difference between donors < 50 years and donors > 50 years. LD transplants performed prior to commencement of dialysis increased, with survival similar to grafts performed after dialysis. The pattern of renal transplantation in Australia has changed, with increasing numbers of LD transplants, growing use of unrelated and older donors, and more transplants before dialysis commences. Long-term patient and graft survival advantages have been maintained, supporting the growing use of live donors to expand the donor pool.
Healthcare is considered a service profession and most of what clinicians do is manage information. Thus, information is not a necessary adjunct to care. It is care and effective patient management that require effective management of patients' clinical data. This perspective is supported by the World Health Organisation in its use of the quotation from Gonzalo Vecina Neto, head of the Brazilian National Health Regulatory Agency, ‘There is no health without management, and there is no management without information’. This opinion paper discusses how traditional clinical decision-making led ‘by the doctor’ is unsustainable in the modern era and how e-technologies will facilitate distributed effective decision-making and new divisions of labour across the health workforce.
Abstract Failure to identify all relevant reports of controlled trials is a potential source of bias in systematic reviews of health-care interventions. The present study aims to identify how many reports of trials -initially published as conference abstracts in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine were subsequently published in full. We identified trial reports by handsearching conference abstracts published in the Journal from 1980 to 2000. We then searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register and PubMed to determine how many of these had been subsequently published in full. A total of 962 reports of controlled trials was identified from the conference proceedings of 17 medical societies. Of these, 589 (61%) reports of trials were subsequently published in full, and on average within 1-2 years. Handsearching conference abstracts identified a large number of reports of controlled trials, over one-third of which were unpublished and therefore not easily accessible.
To perform a clinical audit of all patients diagnosed with inflammatory myopathy in the North Canterbury region. A retrospective case note audit of patients with a discharge diagnosis of inflammatory myopathy from June 1989 to June 2001 was performed. The audit was based at Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand, which services a population of 430,000. Of 77 case notes reviewed, 44 patients were identified who were considered to fulfil clinical criteria for inflammatory myopathy. There was a female preponderance (80% female, 20% male). Diagnostic categories in descending order of frequency included: dermatomyositis (41%), polymyositis (39%), inclusion body myositis (IBM) (14%) and overlap syndromes (6%). Malignancy-associated myositis occurred in 20% overall (dermatomyositis 11%, polymyositis 9%). Delays in diagnosis and late age at presentation (average 72 years) were seen in the IBM group. Proximal limb weakness was common, but not universal at presentation (80%). A muscle biopsy was performed in all patients and electromyography in 82%. All were treated with high dose prednisone (0.5-1 mg/kg) of whom 29% were maintained on prednisone alone. Immunosuppressives/immunomodulators used included: azathioprine (58%), methotrexate (31%), intravenous immunoglobulin (13%), chlorambucil (13%), and cyclophosphamide (9%). Thirteen patients (42%) required more than one agent, with three trialling five agents. There were 59 relapses in 20 patients (45%), with mean time to first relapse of 7.8 months. At audit completion, 33% had deceased with malignancy and respiratory failure the main causes. Inflammatory myopathy is a challenging condition in both diagnosis and management. Our audit has shown delays in the diagnosis of IBM, a relatively high incidence of malignancy and a notable risk of relapse and mortality.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a relatively new method used in the investigation and staging of upper gastrointestinal tract (UGIT) disease. To review practice and outcomes of EUS in an Australian university teaching hospital. The first part of the study was a retrospective review of indications, safety, referral patterns and technical difficulties of all EUS procedures performed at Concord Hospital, New South Wales, Australia, over a 10-year period from 1990 to 2000. The second part of the study examined the impact of EUS on the management of 225 consecutive cases, as determined by a questionnaire completed by each of the referring doctors. A total of 537 EUS examinations was performed over the 10-year period. Indications for EUS included: (i) assessment of oesophageal lesions (241), (ii) assessment of gastric lesions (184) and (iii) assessment of pancreaticobiliary (112) disease. Cancer staging was performed in 46.7% of oesophageal and 31.4% of gastric cases. Sedation was achieved using intravenous midazolam (5.3+/-1.3 mg; mean +/- SD) and 52% of cases required additional intravenous pethidine (48.5+/-10.0 mg; mean +/- SD). Technical difficulties were encountered in 11% of cases and these were mainly related to nontraversable luminal stricturing. Of the 537 referrals, 48.2% were from within Central Sydney Area Health Services, and the remainder were from other Sydney hospitals, New South Wales regional centres and interstate. Of 225 questionnaires sent to referring doctors, 146 questionnaires were completed and returned for analysis. EUS aided staging of malignant disease, and confirmed or established a diagnosis in 86% of cases. The diagnostic accuracy of EUS was 76% when confirmed histologically. EUS avoided further diagnostic investigations in the majority of cases and in 25% of cases surgery was avoided. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) during EUS would have been useful in 30% of cases. Overall, clinical decision-making and management were changed in one-third of cases. Endoscopic ultrasound is an accurate, safe and useful imaging method in UGIT disease. The increasing demand for EUS and EUS-guided FNAB suggests an expanding future for EUS in Australia.
Many diverse pathogenic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been described since 1988. The Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Institute (MNRI) has undertaken diagnostic detection of selected mtDNA mutations since 1990. MtDNA mutations screened have included point mutations associated with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON; G3460A, G11778A and T14484C), mitochondrial encephalopathy lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS; A3243G), myoclonus epilepsy and ragged red fibres (MERRF; A8344G) and Leigh's syndrome/neuropathy ataxia retinitis pigmentosa (LS/NARP; T8993C/G). Samples have also been screened for deletions/ rearrangements associated with Kearns-Sayre syndrome (KSS) and chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO). To present an audit of the MNRI mtDNA diagnostic service between 1990 and 2001, encompassing 1725 referred patients. The detection techniques carried out included polymerase chain reaction amplification of mtDNA combined with restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis for mtDNA point mutation detection, supplemented with selected sequence analysis and Southern blots for the detection of deletions/ rearrangements. Tissues tested included blood, hair and skeletal muscle. Of the 1184 patients screened for MELAS A3243G, 6.17% were positive for the mutation, whereas for MERRF A8344G, 2.21% carried the mutation and for LS/NARP T8993C/G, 0.32% carried the mutation. The outcomes for the LHON mutations were G11778A, 6.60%, T14484C, 5.76% and G3460A, 0.29%. Of the patients referred for KSS and CPEO, 17.72% had deletions/rearrangements. Overall, the detection rate of mtDNA point mutations was low. The protean clinical features of mitochondrial disorders and the frequency of partial phenotypes lead to requests for tests in many patients with a relatively low likelihood of mtDNA mutations. An improved algorithm could involve mutation screening appropriate to the phenotype using sequencing of selected mtDNA regions in patients with a high likelihood of mtDNA disease. Features increasing the likelihood of mtDNA mutations include the following: (i) a typical phenotype, (ii) a maternal inheritance pattern and (iii) histochemical evidence of mitochondrial abnormality in the muscle biopsy. Efficient laboratory diagnosis of mtDNA disease involves good communication between the physician and laboratory scientists, coupled with screening of the appropriate tissue.
Medical malpractice litigation has become an important issue worldwide. Although many epidemiological studies have been carried out, most studies were conducted cross-sectionally in developed countries and focused on malpractice litigation. We conducted nationwide surveys to investigate physicians' experiences associated with malpractice in 1991 and 2005, respectively. By stratified systemic sampling, questionnaires were mailed to physicians in 1991 and 2005. Physicians were asked about the experience of medical malpractice and outcomes of malpractice. The outcomes of the malpractice were classified as resolution, settlement and lawsuit. We also collected physicians' demographic and professional characteristics. The prevalence of malpractice experience decreased from 44.1% in 1991 to 36.0% in 2005 (P = 0.004). The estimated annual malpractice claims decreased from 0.14 to 0.10 per physician in 1991 and 2005, respectively (P < 0.001). Physicians 45-64 years of age, obstetrician/gynaecologists and surgeons had significantly higher risk of malpractice. Compared with 1991, malpractice claims in 2005 were more likely to be brought into courts (23.1% in 2005 vs 15.7% in 1991, odds ratio (OR) = 1.48, P = 0.020). In litigation cases, malpractice events in 2005 had more than triple the risk of 1991 to be sued in both civil and criminal courts (12.4% in 2005 vs 4.1% in 1991, OR = 3.31, P < 0.001). Compared with 1991, medical malpractice experiences were decreasing in prevalence, but increasing in severity in 2005. Additional studies, especially among different legal systems, are necessary to confirm these observations.
Background: Patient characteristics and cytogenetics of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in clinical trials do not reflect that of the general population. There has not been a large population-based study that has examined cytogenetic features and outcomes of AML in Australia. Aim: Investigation of epidemiological, prognostic, treatment and outcome data in adults diagnosed with AML in Western Australia between 1991 and 2005. Methods: Patients were identified utilising the Western Australia Cancer Registry, cytogenetic databases and hospital inpatient discharge diagnoses. Data were retrospectively collected from patients presenting to tertiary hospitals on patient characteristics, karyotype, induction therapy, remission, transplantation and survival. Results: A total of 987 patients with AML was identified, of which 91% (898) attended a tertiary hospital. Median age was 67 years and 45% of cases represented secondary AML. Cytogenetic analysis was available in 81% of patients. Frequent karyotypes were normal (38.8%), complex (13.8%) and -7/add(7q)/del(7q) (12.1%). Aggressive therapy was initiated in 62.6%. Less than 15% were enrolled in clinical trials. Overall 16.5% received a stem cell transplant. Median overall survival for all patients was 5.6 months. In patients treated aggressively, complete remission was achieved in 56.9% and median overall survival was 12.2 months. Age, secondary disease and karyotype were significantly predictive of remission and overall survival. Conclusion: Age distribution, remission and survival rates were comparable with published population-based studies. High median age was reflected in the rate of secondary AML and trial eligibility. These findings highlight the need for prospective data collection.
Bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation is now used as curative therapy for a range of haematological malignancies and other conditions. The Australasian Bone Marrow Transplant Recipient Registry (ABMTRR) has recorded transplant activity in Australia since 1992; transplant centres in New Zealand have corresponded with the Registry since 1998. To describe allogeneic and autologous bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation activity and outcomes in Australia and New Zealand from 1992 to 2001. Each haemopoietic stem cell transplant centre in Australia and New Zealand contributes information to the Registry via a single information form compiled when a transplant is performed. An annual follow-up request is then sent from the Registry to the contributing centre at the anniversary of each individual transplant. Haemopoietic stem cell transplants in Australia have increased in number from 478 in 1992 to 937 in 2001, whereas in New Zealand the number has grown from 91 in 1998 to 105 in 2001, mainly as a result of an increase in autologous blood stem cell transplants. The number of hospitals contributing to the ABMTRR has grown from 20 in 1992 to 37 in 2001. The most common indication for autologous transplantation in 2001 was non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, whereas for allogeneic transplants it was acute myeloid leukaemia. The 9-year actuarial disease-free survival probability for patients aged 16 and above between 1992 and 2000 was 37% for autologous, 39% for allogeneic related donor and 30% for allogeneic unrelated donor transplants. Recurrence of the underlying disease was the main cause of death post-transplant after both allogeneic (26.3% of deaths in the first year and 68.0% of deaths in the second year) and autologous transplants (59.0% and 86.2%). Treatment-related mortality was 16.9% after allogeneic transplantation and 2.1% after autologous transplantation in 2000. The ABMTRR provides a comprehensive source of information on the use of bone marrow transplant, and allows for continuing analysis of changes in the application of this high-cost technology and the outcome of patients undergoing these procedures. Registry data provide a means for directing future clinical research into perceived areas of priority for improvement of outcome, such as the reduction in the risk of disease recurrence post-transplant.
  Numbers of unrelated donor allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplants (HCT) for acute myeloid leukaemia have increased in Australia in recent years. The aims of this study were to investigate the components of this change and find contributing factors to changes in outcome.   The study method was a retrospective analysis of 213 consecutive first unrelated donor HCT for acute myeloid leukaemia performed within Australia for adult patients during the years of 1992-1997 (n= 43) and 1998-2005 (n= 170).   The proportion of patients transplanted in first or second complete remission (CR) increased markedly from 21% in 1992-1997 to 52% in 1998-2005. The cumulative incidence of relapse at 1 year post HCT was significantly lower for the later cohort (22% vs 30%, P= 0.04) and for patients transplanted in CR compared with those not in CR (16% vs 31%, P= 0.01). The overall survival probability was significantly better at 5 years post HCT for patients transplanted in 1998-2005 compared with 1992-1997 (40% vs 21%, P= 0.04). Multivariate analysis identified five independent significant favourable factors for survival among the whole patient group: age under 40 years, transplant in CR1, CR2 or first relapse, patient CMV seronegativity, good performance status and year of transplant within 1998-2005.   The later cohort of patients had improved survival even after allowing for the effects of age, remission status and other factors, which suggests a general improvement in the safety of the procedure over time, particularly for patients in early disease stages at transplant.
Opioid prescribing is controversial with evidence of both significant under-utilization and over-utilization. There is some evidence to support efficacy for chronic non-malignant pain, but community and individual harms are increasingly reported. To review availability of opioid preparations and prescription patterns of opioids through the subsidized Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia from 1992 to 2007. Interrogation of the Health Insurance Commission database from 1992 to 2007. Item numbers for all available opioid preparations were identified, and frequency of dispensing was collected and collated. The number of opioids on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) increased from 11 preparations of four medications to 70 preparations of eight medications during this period. The total number of PBS opioid prescriptions increased from 2 397 006 in 1992 to 6 998 556 in 2007. We identified a dramatic and continuing increase in prescription of oxycodone in all dose ranges. Fentanyl prescribing is increasing to a lesser degree. Morphine and tramadol prescribing appears to have plateaued. Opioid use is increasing. There is a pressing need for co-ordinated assessment of efficacy and harms to facilitate quality usage of opioids.
  Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is an important contributor to the total burden of alcohol-related harm; however, the morbidity of different types of ALD in Australia has not been described. The aim of this study was to investigate recent trends in hospital admission rates among alcoholic liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatic failure and alcoholic hepatitis in Australia, as well as the mortality of ALD.   This is a population-based cohort study including the total 15+ years Australian population. Data were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Main outcome measures: (i) trend of standardized mortality rates and trend of standardized hospital admission rates for males and females for 1993/1994-2004/2005 (fiscal year), (ii) relative risk of alcoholic liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatic failure and alcoholic hepatitis hospital admissions for 1999/2000-2004/2005.   The mortality rate of ALD decreased significantly. Significant increases in hospital admissions for alcoholic hepatic failure among older adults and alcoholic hepatitis among younger age groups were observed. There is a significant 10-fold increase in the risk of hospital admissions of alcoholic cirrhosis in 2002/2003 for the 20-29 years population.   Reductions in overall ALD mortality observed are likely the result of advances in disease management. Significant increase in hospital admissions suggests an increase in the prevalence of ALD among the Australian population. Dramatic increases in hospital admissions for alcoholic cirrhosis in 2002/2003 for the 20-29 years population may have been due to an increase in screening of alcohol-related harms in primary care settings.
This study reviewed the epidemiological features, management and outcomes of patients with Q fever treated at a tertiary facility in North Queensland during the period from July 1994 to January 2006. Twenty-seven patients were identified. Our findings were consistent with the observations about Q fever that have been made in other regions of Australia. A diagnosis of Q fever should be considered in patients with a non-specific febrile illness.
Febrile neutropenia is a life-threatening complication of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Empirical antibiotic treatment should be based on predominant pathogens and epidemiological characteristics of the treated community. The aim of the present study was to review cases of febrile neutropenia at the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) in order to assess the appropriateness of empirical antibiotic therapy. A retrospective review of cases of febrile neutropenia secondary to malignancy or chemotherapy occurring at the RDH over the period 1994-99. In order to compare infections in this group with those in the wider hospital community, all positive blood cultures in the medical and intensive care units were reviewed for the same time period. Thirty-six episodes of febrile neutropenia were reviewed. Staphylococcus aureus (predominantly methicillin resistant), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli were the most common organisms identified. Nine patients died of their infection, four with methicillin-resistant S. aureus bacteraemia. S. aureus, E. coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioid) were the most frequently isolated organisms from blood cultures taken in the medical and intensive care units. Gram-positive organisms are the predominant pathogens in febrile neutropenic episodes at the RDH. Standard empirical therapy with an extended-spectrum penicillin and an aminoglycoside remains appropriate, with the addition of vancomycin when clinical status fails to improve. When practising in the Top End, particular consideration should be given to skin integrity and scabies and testing for Strongyloides in Aboriginal patients.
To evaluate trends in survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at The Alfred over a 15-year period from 1995–2009 A retrospective cohort study of patients with HCC comparing epidemiology, clinical presentation, treatment parameters and overall survival of those diagnosed between 1995–2001 and 2002–2009. Overall survival of patients with primary liver cancer. The study population consisted of 215 patients; 110 diagnosed between 1995–2001 (Cohort A) and 105 between 2002–2009 (Cohort B). Overall survival increased significantly between 1995–2010 (P = 0.016); median survival was 365 days in Cohort A compared with 665 in Cohort B. The improvement in survival was associated with an increase in the proportion of cases detected at an asymptomatic stage (P = 0.012), a decline in the severity of liver disease at diagnosis (P = 0.002) and increased utilisation of loco-regional therapy (P = 0.001) over the same period. Survival of patients detected through screening was significantly higher than those detected through non-screening methods (1309 vs 233 days, P < 0.001). The survival of patients with HCC managed at a tertiary referral centre has improved over the period 1995–2009. This improvement may relate to the increased detection of the disease at an asymptomatic stage (e.g. through screening) as well as increased utilisation of effective loco-regional therapies for HCC.
Patterns-of-care studies emphasize significant variation in the management of lung cancer. The aim of the study was to compare the patterns of care for patients diagnosed with lung cancer in 1996 and 2002 within three health areas in New South Wales. Treatment data were collected from medical records and treating doctors for the calendar year 1996 and between 1 November 2001 and 31 December 2002. Patients were residents of either south-western Sydney, Hunter or Northern Sydney health areas at the time of diagnosis. chi(2)-tests were used to investigate changes in treatment patterns between the two time periods. An adjusted odds ratio for treatment in 2002 relative to 1996 was calculated using logistic regression. Data were available for 738 and 567 cases in 1996 and 2002, respectively. Cancer-specific therapy was given within 6 months of diagnosis to 62 and 64% of patients, respectively. Adjusting for health area, age, sex, pathology and performance status, the odds ratio (OR) of treatment in 2002 relative to 1996 was 1.03 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78-1.35). When stage was included, the odds of treatment in 2002 relative to 1996 for non-small-cell lung cancer (n = 950) was 1.21 (95%CI 0.87-1.68). After adjustment for potential confounders, patients diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer (n = 176) were substantially less likely to receive treatment in 2002 compared with patients diagnosed in 1996 (OR = 0.11; 95%CI 0.04-0.34). The odds of receiving treatment in 2002 and 1996 were similar. However, patients diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in 2002 were significantly less likely to receive treatment. Overall, this study suggests there has been no change in lung cancer care in New South Wales. Further work is required to determine what proportion of persons with lung cancer should receive cancer-specific treatment so that clinical practices can be judged appropriately.
Despite marked increases in cases of treated end-stage renal disease in Australia, little is known about renal disease mortality. To quantify the contribution of renal diseases to mortality in Australia and to explore the relationship between renal disease and other common diseases as causes of death. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on underlying and associated causes of death (based on death certificates) were examined for deaths occurring in 1997-1999 and registered by the end of 1999. Causes of death were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Several causes outside the ICD-10 chapter on diseases of the genito-urinary system (e.g. diabetic renal disease, hypertensive renal disease and congenital malformations of the kidney) were included as renal. Of 378,832 recorded deaths, renal disease was coded as the underlying cause for 7888 (2.1%) and as an associated cause for an additional 28,012 (7.4%). Almost all renal deaths (98.4%) had at least one other cause of death recorded on the death certificate. The contribution of renal disease to Australian mortality has been underestimated because of historical reliance on a single (underlying) cause of death. Deaths involving renal disease usually occur in the context of multiple coexisting chronic and/or acute conditions.
Comparison of 5-year survival data from this study with other similar national and international studies. Interpolated curves were approximated based on correlation coefficients. Raw data published in each study from which the curves presented here were interpolated from is given in the table. ( ), This study; ( ), National Data (2004– 2008); ( ), Western Australia (1998–2006); ( ), UK (1995–2004).  
Background: Heart failure and its management represents a significant health burden, the extent of which is poorly understood in regional New Zealand. Aims: To investigate mortality, quality of life, hospitalisation, and evidence-based medical and device management of severe left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction in a regional New Zealand setting. Methods: A retrospective case series was undertaken of 1126 patients with a LV ejection fraction <36% on transthoracic echocardiograms performed between 1 October 1997 and 31 March 2011 in Nelson Marlborough District Health Board. All-cause mortality and hospitalisation data were analysed for all participants. Substudies were undertaken regarding pharmacotherapy, demographics, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation rates and quality of life based on the EQ-5D questionnaire and New York Heart Association class. Results: Five-year cumulative survival was 44.5%. The mean annual medical admission rate was 204/100 000; 54.84% of which were readmissions in the same year. Prescription rates for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin-receptor blockers, beta-blockers and spironolactone were 68.3%, 74.2% and 24.9%, respectively, with only 17.6%, 19.0% and 16.4% on maximum recommended doses. implantable cardioverter-defibrillator devices were inserted in 11.5% of eligible patients. Quality of life was impaired in patients <70 years relative to the age-approximated New Zealand index population. Mean EQ-5D visual analogue score was 72.6 ± 0.032 and self-reported New York Heart Association class 2.09 ± 0.107 Conclusion: Patients with severe LV systolic dysfunction in this regional New Zealand community experience similar mortality and first hospitalisation rates to those seen elsewhere in patients with clinical heart failure, but a greater number of readmissions. Medical and device therapy utilisation was suboptimal, and quality of life impaired, together supporting the need for a dedicated heart failure service.
In 1997, a survey of New Zealand physicians' opinions on the management of stroke was carried out. Since then, there have been a number of advances in stroke therapy. We have repeated the 1997 survey to assess changes in physicians' opinions on stroke management. A questionnaire was sent to 293 physicians responsible for patients admitted with acute stroke to hospitals throughout New Zealand. It included questions on the management of acute stroke and secondary prevention and was based on the 1997 questionnaire. Responses were received from 211 physicians of whom 174 (82%) managed patients with an acute stroke. The number of respondents who thought that stroke units were efficacious has increased (57% in 1997 to 89%, P < 0.001). The use of aspirin acutely (P < 0.001) and intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (P = 0.006) has also increased. In 2004, antihypertensive therapy for secondary stroke prevention would be commenced if the blood pressure was 150/90 by 98% of respondents and 140/90 by 70% of respondents. In 2004, a statin would be commenced if the total cholesterol level was 4.0 mmol/L by 56% of respondents and 5.0 mmol/L by 91% of respondents. This survey has shown important changes in the management of ischaemic stroke over the past 7 years.
The background of the study is a comparison of risk-adjusted mortality across hospitals from different jurisdictions is now common worldwide. To examine temporal trends in risk-adjusted mortality in Victoria over the last decade. Retrospective cohort study of 6.89 million adult (>14 years) patient episodes from 23 major Victorian public hospitals between 1999 and 2009. The primary outcome was in-hospital death. Three measures were calculated: the crude mortality rate, risk-adjusted mortality rate and standardised mortality ratio (SMR). The Hospital Outcome Prediction Equation (HOPE) was applied to generate estimates of predicted mortality that were used to compute the SMR and risk-adjusted mortality rates. The HOPE model includes 26 exogenous risk factors for which providers have no influence. The model was calibrated using the 2004–2005 data. Temporal mortality trends from 1999–2009 were evaluated using negative binomial regression for crude mortality and SMR estimates and random-intercept hierarchical logistic regression for risk-adjusted mortality. The study population included 84 423 in-hospital deaths (1.2%). Crude mortality risk declined from 1.5% in 2000 to 1.1% in 2005–2009 (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95–0.97; P < 0.001). There were 1.39 million episodes in the HOPE calibration cohort. Between 1999 and 2009, the SMR decreased from 1.4 to 0.9 (IRR = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.90–0.97; P < 0.001) and adjusted mortality risk declined from 2.1% to 0.9% (odds ratio = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.94–0.94, P < 0.001). Declining mortality trends were evident in the tertiary, metropolitan and regional peer groups (P < 0.001). Analysis of in-hospital risk-adjusted mortality trends using the HOPE model indicates significant improvement in patient outcomes in the State of Victoria over the past decade.
Background Minimal trauma hip fractures are prevalent in Australia. The incidence rate and trend of hip fractures in Indigenous Western Australians have not been formally reported. AimsTo evaluate incidence rates and trend of minimal trauma hip fractures in Indigenous and other Western Australians aged 40 years and over in 1999-2009 Methods Hip fracture data were obtained from an administrative database for all hospitalisations in Western Australia. Age-standardised incidence rates were calculated using direct standardisation, and standardised rate ratios were calculated using the indirect method. Trend in incidence rates were calculated using Poisson regression. ResultsIn 1999-2009, 11844 admissions for minimal trauma hip fractures were reported among Western Australians aged 40 years and over, of which 201 were recorded as indigenous. The age-standardised hip fracture rate was 273.0 (95% confidence interval (CI) 230.7-315.4) per 100000 person-years for indigenous adults and 148.8 (95% CI 146.1-151.5) per 100000 person-years for non-indigenous adults. The standardised morbidity ratio was 2.2 (95% CI 1.9-2.5). Over this period, age-standardised rates increased by an average of 7.2% per year among indigenous adults (P = 0.006), whereas non-indigenous rates fell by an average of 3.4% per year (P < 0.001). The relatively higher rates among indigenous adults were more evident in the younger age groups. Conclusion There is a widening gap in minimal trauma hip fracture rates between indigenous and other Western Australians. This study demonstrates a need for public health review and management strategies to reduce falls and hip fracture in the indigenous community.
Laura was unusual. She had always been different and at times difficult. She was born with a genetic disorder, diagnosed as 1p36 deletion syndrome when she was 21 years old. At 23 she suffered her first cardiac arrest at home and entered the hospital system for the first time apart from infancy. After initially appearing to do well, she suffered a second cardiac arrest 10 weeks after admission. This was followed by an irreversible deterioration and she died 14 weeks after admission. We her family had been with her throughout her traumatic experience. This is our story.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is an increasingly recognised serious illness with insidious onset, delayed diagnosis, complex diagnostic algorithms and poor prognosis, but with recently available effective treatments. To efficiently diagnose and to offer treatment for PAH, we established a multidisciplinary service in 2005, where patients attend a clinic staffed by specialists in cardiology, respiratory medicine, rheumatology and immunology in a tertiary referral hospital setting. We studied the first 200 patients referred. Serology, echocardiography, lung function tests, high-resolution computed tomography, World Health Organisation Class determination and 6-min walk tests and/or right heart catheterisation were performed, as clinically indicated. Of the 200 patients seen, 66 had confirmed pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure > 25 mmHg) diagnosed on echocardiography ± right heart catheterisation. Of these patients, 58 had catheter-proven PAH (mean pulmonary artery pressure > 25 mmHg with mean wedge pressure < 15 mmHg). Underlying diagnoses for the confirmed PAH patients were idiopathic (32), scleroderma-associated (14), other connective tissue disease (4) and associated with congenital heart disease (8). Patients with confirmed PAH were commenced on PAH-specific therapy – initially bosentan in the majority but sildenafil, and iloprost were occasionally used initially for patient-specific reasons. Median time from when the patient first called the clinic to prescription of therapy was 16 days (interquartile range; 0–31 days). All surviving patients with PAH have attended for regular 6-monthly follow-up visits with a 100% retention rate up to 4 years. A multidisciplinary clinic can provide efficient diagnosis and rapid triage to PAH-specific therapy, if appropriate. Retention rates remain high, at follow up.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) co-infection can adversely affect prognosis and complicate management of chronic hepatitis B. The epidemiology and clinical practices surrounding HDV in Australia are poorly understood, with no robust estimates of the burden of disease, and the extent of appropriate testing and clinical follow-up is unknown. Data regarding HDV diagnoses in Victoria for 2000-2009 were obtained from notifiable disease surveillance and public health laboratory testing records. Notifications data were analysed to determine risk factors and demographics of HDV diagnoses where available, and laboratory records used to determine screening practices and follow-up testing. Eighty-seven notifications for HDV were recorded between 2000-2009. The median age at diagnosis was 34 (IQR 27-44), and the majority of cases were men (77%), and born overseas (71.4% of those with country of birth reported). During the same period 2,314 Victorian residents were tested for HDV infection, with 110 (4.75%) found to be positive. Both the number of people testing positive and the number of tests conducted steadily increased between 2005 and 2009. Of those patients with positive HDV antibody results less than half (44 patients, 40%) were subsequently evaluated for replicative infection by PCR. The number of people being tested for HDV has increased over the last decade however gaps in the appropriate follow-up of infected patients are apparent. Birth overseas has become an increasingly important risk factor in Victorian notifications, highlighting the need for routine testing of people living with chronic hepatitis B for HDV infection.
The aim of this paper is to describe the risk factors for invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in southern Queensland. A case control study during the calendar years 2000-2001 was undertaken. Eighty-four laboratory-confirmed cases of IMD were notified. Four patients died and were excluded from the present study. Sixty-two (78%) eligible cases and 79 controls selected from the same age group and medical practice as cases, were interviewed. Univariate analysis found that IMD was associated with sharing bedrooms with two or more people (odds ratio (OR) 4.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-17.0, P = 0.01), any exposure to tobacco smoke (smoker or passive exposure; OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1-4.8, P = 0.02), passive exposure to tobacco smoke (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.0-5.6, P = 0.03) and recent upper respiratory tract infection (OR 1.9, 95% CI 0.9-4.1, P = 0.06). Children who were breast-fed were less likely to develop IMD (OR 0.3; 95% CI 0.1-1.1, P = 0.04). Attendance at a childcare centre was not associated with an increased risk of IMD. In multivariate analysis, IMD was associated with children under 6 years of age who shared a bedroom with two or more people (OR 7.4; 95% CI 1.5-36.1, P = 0.01) or who had a primary carer who smoked (OR 9.1; 95% CI 2.1-39.9, P = 0.003). This is the second Australian study that identifies links between risk of IMD and exposure to cigarette smoke. The risk of IMD in young children could be further reduced if primary caregivers did not smoke. This information may contribute a new perspective to antismoking campaigns.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) have been demonstrated to reduce mortality in survivors of life-threatening arrhythmias (secondary prevention) and in patients at increased risk of sudden cardiac death (primary prevention). Other nations have reported significant increases in ICD use in recent years. To investigate Australian nationwide trends of ICD procedures over a 10-year period (2000–2009). A retrospective analysis of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's National Hospital Morbidity Database was performed to determine the annual number of ICD implantation and replacement procedures between 2000 and 2009. Rates were calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics data on the annual estimated population. Time trends in the yearly procedure number and rate were analysed using negative binomial regression models with comparisons made by age and sex. The number of new ICD implantations increased from 708 to 3198 procedures between 2000 and 2009. Replacement procedures increased from 290 to 1378. The implantation rate (per million) increased from 37.0 to 145.6 and the replacement rate from 15.1 to 62.7. When rates were adjusted for age and sex, the implantation rate increased annually by 15.8% and the replacement rate by 16.6% (P < 0.0001). Procedures occurred most commonly in men (implantations: 80.1%; replacements: 78.0%) between ages 70–79. ICD procedures increased significantly in Australia between 2000–2009. Despite these increases, other studies have suggested ICD devices are currently under-utilised. During the study period, males accounted for the majority of ICD procedures. While there are numerous reasons for this, it is not known if device under-use is more common in females.
Top-cited authors
Ian A Scott
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital (Queensland Health)
Karin A Thursky
  • Melbourne Health
Jeffrey Szer
  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital
Matthew T Naughton
  • Alfred Hospital
Ian Kerridge
  • The University of Sydney