Elizabeth Gwyther

University of Cape Town, Kaapstad, Western Cape, South Africa

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Publications (4)8.43 Total impact

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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Palliative Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the outcomes of a program in which antiretroviral therapy (ART) is offered to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients in South Africa admitted with tuberculosis (TB) or other opportunistic infection (OI) as part of in-patient care. Patients admitted with HIV and concurrent TB or other OI were initiated on early in-patient ART. The primary and secondary endpoints were respectively 24-week mortality and 24-week virologic suppression. Multivariable logistic regression modeling explored the associations between baseline (i.e., pre-hospital discharge) characteristics and mortality at 24 weeks. A total of 382 patients were prospectively enrolled (48% women, median age 37 years, median CD4 count 33 cells/mm(3)). Acute OIs were pulmonary TB, 39%; extra-pulmonary TB, 25%; cryptococcal meningitis (CM), 10%; and chronic diarrhea, 9%. The median time from admission to ART initiation was 14 days (range 4-32, IQR 11-18). At 24 weeks of follow-up, as-treated and intention-to-treat virologic suppression were respectively 57% and 93%. Median change in CD4 cell count was +100 cells/mm(3), overall 24-week mortality was 25% and loss to follow-up, 5%. Excess mortality was not observed among patients with CM who initiated early ART. A longer interval between admission and ART was associated with mortality (>21 days vs. <21 days after admission OR 2.1, 95%CI 1.2-4.0, P = 0.016). For HIV-infected in-patients with TB or an acquired immune-deficiency syndrome defining OI, we demonstrate the operational feasibility of early ART initiation in in-patients.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to assess the postgraduate palliative care distance education programme of the University of Cape Town (UCT) in terms of its perceived ability to influence palliative care delivery. A mixed-methods approach, consisting of two surveys using open-ended and multiple-choice options, was conducted from January to December 2007 at the UCT School of Public Health and Family Medicine. All students registered in the programme from 2000 - 2007 were invited to participate; 83 (66.4% of all eligible participants) completed the general survey, and 41 (65.7%) of the programme's graduates completed the graduate survey. The survey scores and open-ended data were triangulated to evaluate UCT's palliative care postgraduate programme. General survey scores of graduates were significantly higher in 5 of the 6 categories in comparison with current students. The graduate survey indicated that curriculum and teaching strengths were in communication and dealing with challenging encounters. Graduates also stressed the need to develop a curriculum that incorporated a practical component. In addition to current postgraduate training, palliative care education in South Africa should be extended to undergraduate medical students, as the benefits of UCT's programme were limited to a small cohort of practitioners.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde
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    S A Hitchcock · H P Meyer · E Gwyther
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    ABSTRACT: To measure the prevalence, severity and morbidity of neuropathic pain in AIDS patients, prior to the initiation of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. A prospective, cross-sectional and descriptive-analytical study. The Kalafong Hospital HIV Clinic in Pretoria. All patients with confirmed AIDS who were referred to the Kalafong HIV clinic to be initiated on ARV therapy during the period August 2006 to March 2007. Data were collected regarding the presence and severity of neuropathic pain in each subject. Pain of predominantly neuropathic origin (POPNO) was identified using the Neuropathic Pain Diagnostic Questionnaire (DN4). Numerical rating scales (NRS), adapted from the Brief Pain Inventory, were used to measure pain severity and pain-related interference with six aspects of daily living. Of the 354 patients studied, 20.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 16.8-25.2%) had POPNO. This pain was significantly more frequent in patients who were male, had lower CD4+ counts or higher viral load levels, and those on TB treatment. Eighty per cent of patients with POPNO experienced significant pain (worst pain severity > or =5 out of 10 on a NRS). Pain-related interference was highest for enjoyment of life, mood and ability to work. There was a significant positive correlation between severity of pain and pain-related interference for all domains of daily living evaluated. POPNO results in significant suffering and impaired functioning in patients with AIDS. It is therefore imperative that clinicians assess patients with AIDS for the presence and severity of neuropathic pain and manage it, using the most recent evidence-based guidelines.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2008 · South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde