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  • Web-based rehabilitation interventions for people with rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review.

    28 June 2018

    Background Rehabilitation approaches for people with rheumatoid arthritis include joint protection, exercises and self-management strategies. Health interventions delivered via the web have the potential to improve access to health services overcoming time constraints, physical limitations, and socioeconomic and geographic barriers. The objective of this review is to determine the effects of web-based rehabilitation interventions in adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Methods Randomised controlled trials that compared web-based rehabilitation interventions with usual care, waiting list, no treatment or another web-based intervention in adults with rheumatoid arthritis were included. The outcomes were pain, function, quality of life, self-efficacy, rheumatoid arthritis knowledge, physical activity and adverse effects. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and quality of evidence with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach. Results Six source documents from four trials ( n = 567) focusing on self-management, health information or physical activity were identified. The effects of web-based rehabilitation interventions on pain, function, quality of life, self-efficacy, rheumatoid arthritis knowledge and physical activity are uncertain because of the very low quality of evidence mostly from small single trials. Adverse effects were not reported. Conclusion Large, well-designed trials are needed to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of web-based rehabilitation interventions in rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Methylene blue fluorescence of the ureter during colorectal surgery.

    29 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: Iatrogenic ureteric injury is a serious complication of colorectal surgery. Incidence is estimated to be between 0.3 and 1.5%. Of all ureteric injuries, 9% occur during colorectal procedures. Ureteric stents are utilised as a method to reduce the risk of injury; however, these are not without risk and do not guarantee prevention of injury. Fluorescence is a safe and effective alternative for intraoperative ureteric localisation. This proof of principle study aims to assess the use of methylene blue to fluoresce the ureter during colorectal surgery. METHOD: Patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery were included in this open label, non-randomised study. Methylene blue was administered intravenously at varying doses (0.25-1 mg/kg) over 5 min, 10-15 min prior to entering 'ureteric territory.' Fluorescence was assessed using the PINPOINT Deep Red laparoscopic system at fixed time points by the surgeon and an independent observer. RESULTS: 42 patients received methylene blue; 2 patients were excluded from analysis. Of the 69 ureters assessed, 64 were seen under fluorescence. Of these, 14 were not visible under white light. 50 ureters were observed with both fluorescence and white light with 14 of these being seen earlier with fluorescence. In ten cases, fluorescence revealed the ureter to be in a different location than suspected. CONCLUSION: Fluorescence is a promising method to allow visualisation of the ureter, where it is not identified easily under standard operative conditions, thereby improving safety and reducing operative time and difficulty.

  • Outcomes and Resource Use of Sepsis-associated Stays by Presence on Admission, Severity, and Hospital Type.

    27 June 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To establish a baseline for the incidence of sepsis by severity and presence on admission in acute care hospital settings before implementation of a broad sepsis screening and response initiative. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study using hospital discharge abstracts of 5672 patients, aged 18 years and above, with sepsis-associated stays between February 2012 and January 2013 at an academic medical center and 5 community hospitals in Texas. RESULTS: Sepsis was present on admission in almost 85% of cases and acquired in-hospital in the remainder. The overall inpatient death rate was 17.2%, but was higher in hospital-acquired sepsis (38.6%, medical; 29.2%, surgical) and Stages 2 (17.6%) and 3 (36.4%) compared with Stage 1 (5.9%). Patients treated at the academic medical center had a higher death rate (22.5% vs. 15.1%, P<0.001) and were more costly ($68,050±184,541 vs. $19,498±31,506, P<0.001) versus community hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Greater emphasis is needed on public awareness of sepsis and the detection of sepsis in the prehospitalization and early hospitalization period. Hospital characteristics and case mix should be accounted for in cross-hospital comparisons of sepsis outcomes and costs.

  • Mapping Radiation Injury and Recovery in Bone Marrow Using 18F-FLT PET/CT and USPIO MRI in a Rat Model.

    27 June 2018

    UNLABELLED: We present and test the use of multimodality imaging as a topological tool to map the amount of the body exposed to ionizing radiation and the location of exposure, which are important indicators of survival and recovery. To achieve our goal, PET/CT imaging with 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) was used to measure cellular proliferation in bone marrow (BM), whereas MRI using ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) particles provided noninvasive information on radiation-induced vascular damage. METHODS: Animals were x-ray-irradiated at a dose of 7.5 Gy with 1 of 3 radiation schemes-whole-body irradiation, half-body shielding (HBS), or 1-leg shielding (1LS)-and imaged repeatedly. The spatial information from the CT scan was used to segment the region corresponding to BM from the PET scan using algorithms developed in-house, allowing for quantification of proliferating cells, and BM blood volume was estimated by measuring the changes in the T2 relaxation rates (ΔR2) collected from MR scans. RESULTS: (18)F-FLT PET/CT imaging differentiated irradiated from unirradiated BM regions. Two days after irradiation, proliferation of 1LS animals was significantly lower than sham (P = 0.0001, femurs; P < 0.0001, tibias) and returned to sham levels by day 10 (P = 0.6344, femurs; P = 0.3962, tibias). The degree of shielding affected proliferation recovery, showing an increase in the irradiated BM of the femurs, but not the tibias, of HBS animals when compared with 1LS (P = 0.0310, femurs; P = 0.5832, tibias). MRI of irradiated spines detected radiation-induced BM vascular damage, measured by the significant increase in ΔR2 2 d after whole-body irradiation (P = 0.0022) and HBS (P = 0.0003) with a decreasing trend of values, returning to levels close to baseline over 10 d. Our data were corroborated using γ-counting and histopathology. CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that (18)F-FLT PET/CT and USPIO MRI are valuable tools in mapping regional radiation exposure and the effects of radiation on BM. Analysis of the (18)F-FLT signal allowed for a clear demarcation of exposed BM regions and elucidated the kinetics of BM recovery, whereas USPIO MRI was used to assess vascular damage and recovery.

  • Humerus length evaluation in different ethnic groups.

    27 June 2018

    OBJECTIVE: Femoral length has gained much attention for its use as a marker for Down syndrome, and racial variation has been evaluated. We hypothesized that no racial differences in humerus length will be shown from 14 to 22 weeks' gestation. METHODS: Our sonography database was queried from January 1, 1994, to September 30, 2001, for obstetric sonographic examinations of singleton fetuses. Cases with incomplete data, fetal anomalies, and cases without documented ethnicity were excluded. Only 1 examination per fetus was used. Individual parameters were evaluated from 14 to 22 weeks' gestation in white non-Hispanic, Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Eastern Indian women. Linear regression was used to model the relation of humerus length to menstrual age and to compare the humerus length for gestational age among ethnic groups. We compared the sensitivity for Down syndrome detection from a standard expected humerus length formula and ethnic-specific formulas. RESULTS: We identified 1164 fetuses: 380 white, 224 Hispanic, 432 African American, 116 Asian, and 12 Eastern Indian. Comparing with white fetuses, we found differences in humerus length among African American (P < .001) and Asian (P < .001) fetuses but not among Hispanic fetuses (P = .98). The sensitivity for Down syndrome detection from standard and ethnic-specific formulas was identical. CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort, small differences in humerus length exist among ethnic groups. These differences did not affect the sensitivity of expected humerus length as a marker of Down syndrome in our diverse population.

  • Bone density, microarchitecture, and material strength in chronic kidney disease patients at the time of kidney transplantation.

    27 June 2018

    Bone health is assessed by bone mineral density (BMD). Other techniques such as trabecular bone score and microindentation could improve the risk of fracture's estimation. Our chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients presented worse bone health (density, microarchitecture, mechanical properties) than controls. More than BMD should be done to evaluate patients at risk of fracture. INTRODUCTION: BMD measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is used to assess bone health in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. Recently, trabecular bone score (TBS) and microindentation that can measure microarchitectural and mechanical properties of bone have demonstrated better correlation with fractures than DXA in different populations. We aimed to characterize bone health (BMD, TBS, and strength) and calcium/phosphate metabolism in a cohort of 53 ESRD patients undergoing kidney transplantation (KT) and 94 controls with normal renal function. METHODS: Laboratory workout, lumbar spine/hip BMD measurements (using DXA), lumbar spine TBS, and bone strength were carried out. The latter was assessed with an impact microindentation device, standardized as percentage of a reference value, and expressed as bone material strength index (BMSi) units. Multivariable linear regression was used to study differences between cases and controls adjusted by age, gender, and body mass index. RESULTS: Among cases, serum calcium was 9.6 ± 0.7 mg/dl, phosphorus 4.4 ± 1.2 mg/dl, and intact parathyroid hormone 214 pg/ml [102-390]. Fourteen patients (26.4%) had prevalent asymptomatic fractures in spinal X-ray. BMD was significantly lower among ESRD patients compared to controls: lumbar 0.966 ± 0.15 vs 0.982 ± 0.15 (adjusted p = 0.037), total hip 0.852 ± 0.15 vs 0.902 ± 0.13 (adjusted p < 0.001), and femoral neck 0.733 ± 0.15 vs 0.775 ± 0.12 (adjusted p < 0.001), as were TBS (1.20 [1.11-1.30] vs 1.31 [1.19-1.43] (adjusted p < 0.001)) and BMSi (79 [71.8-84.2] vs 82. [77.5-88.9] (adjusted p = 0.005)). CONCLUSIONS: ESRD patients undergoing transplant surgery have damaged bone health parameters (density, microarchitecture, and mechanical properties) despite acceptably controlled hyperparathyroidism. Detecting these abnormalities may assist in identifying patients at high risk of post-transplantation fractures.

  • Study protocol: A multi-centre, double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group, phase II trial (RIDD) to determine the efficacy of intra-nodular injection of anti-TNF to control disease progression in early Dupuytren's disease, with an embedded dose response study.

    3 July 2018

    Dupuytren's disease is a common fibrotic condition of the hand affecting 4% of the population and causes the fingers to curl irreversibly into the palm. It has a strong familial tendency, there is no approved treatment for early stage disease, and patients with established digital contractures are most commonly treated by surgery. This is associated with prolonged recovery, and less invasive techniques have high recurrence rates.The myofibroblasts, the cells responsible for the excessive matrix deposition and contraction, are aggregated in nodules. Using excised diseased and control human tissue, we found that immune cells interspersed amongst the myofibroblasts secrete cytokines. Of these, only tumour necrosis factor (TNF) promoted the development of myofibroblasts. The clinically approved anti-TNF agents led to inhibition of the myofibroblast phenotype in vitro. This clinical trial is designed to assess the efficacy of the anti-TNF agent adalimumab on participants with early disease. The first part is a dose-ranging study where nodules of participants already scheduled for surgery will be injected with either placebo (saline) or varying doses of adalimumab. The excised tissue will then be analysed for markers of myofibroblast activity.The second part of the study will recruit participants with early stage disease. They will be randomised 1: 1 to receive either adalimumab or placebo at 3 month intervals over 1 year and will then be followed for a further 6 months. Outcome measures will include nodule hardness, size and disease progression. The trial will also determine the cost-effectiveness of adalimumb treatment for this group of participants.

  • Interventions for preventing silent cerebral infarcts in people with sickle cell disease.

    29 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. SCD can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Silent cerebral infarcts are the commonest neurological complication in children and probably adults with SCD. Silent cerebral infarcts also affect academic performance, increase cognitive deficits and may lower intelligence quotient. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD. SEARCH METHODS: We searched for relevant trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases; all searches current to 19 September 2016. We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Trials Register: 06 October 2016. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials comparing interventions to prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD. There were no restrictions by outcomes examined, language or publication status. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methodological procedures. MAIN RESULTS: We included five trials (660 children or adolescents) published between 1998 and 2016. Four of the five trials were terminated early. The vast majority of participants had the haemoglobin (Hb)SS form of SCD. One trial focused on preventing silent cerebral infarcts or stroke; three trials were for primary stroke prevention and one trial dealt with secondary stroke prevention.Three trials compared the use of regular long-term red blood cell transfusions to standard care. Two of these trials included children with no previous long-term transfusions: one in children with normal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities; and one in children with abnormal TCD velocities. The third trial included children and adolescents on long-term transfusion.Two trials compared the drug hydroxyurea and phlebotomy to long-term transfusions and iron chelation therapy: one in primary prevention (children), and one in secondary prevention (children and adolescents).The quality of the evidence was moderate to very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to trials being at high risk of bias because they were unblinded; indirectness (available evidence was only for children with HbSS); and imprecise outcome estimates. Long-term red blood cell transfusions versus standard care Children with no previous long-term transfusions and higher risk of stroke (abnormal TCD velocities or previous history of silent cerebral infarcts) Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, risk ratio (RR) 0.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.86) (one trial, 124 participants, low-quality evidence); but make little or no difference to the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging and normal or conditional TCDs, RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.23 to 2.13) (one trial, 196 participants, low-quality evidence).No deaths were reported in either trial.Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of: acute chest syndrome, RR 0.24 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and painful crisis, RR 0.63 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.95) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and probably reduces the incidence of clinical stroke, RR 0.12 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, moderate-quality evidence).Long-term red blood cell transfusions may improve quality of life in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts (difference estimate -0.54; 95% confidence interval -0.92 to -0.17; one trial; 166 participants), but may have no effect on cognitive function (least squares means: 1.7, 95% CI -1.1 to 4.4) (one trial, 166 participants, low-quality evidence). Transfusions continued versus transfusions halted: children and adolescents with normalised TCD velocities (79 participants; one trial)Continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts, RR 0.29 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.97 (low-quality evidence).We are very uncertain whether continuing red blood cell transfusions has any effect on all-cause mortality, Peto odds ratio (OR) 8.00 (95% CI 0.16 to 404.12); or clinical stroke, RR 0.22 (95% CI 0.01 to 4.35) (very low-quality evidence).The trial did not report: comparative numbers for SCD-related adverse events; quality of life; or cognitive function. Hydroxyurea and phlebotomy versus transfusions and chelation Primary prevention, children (121 participants; one trial)We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts (no infarcts); all-cause mortality (no deaths); risk of stroke (no strokes); or SCD-related complications, RR 1.52 (95% CI 0.58 to 4.02) (very low-quality evidence). Secondary prevention, children and adolescents with a history of stroke (133 participants; one trial)We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts, Peto OR 7.28 (95% CI 0.14 to 366.91); all-cause mortality, Peto OR 1.02 (95%CI 0.06 to 16.41); or clinical stroke, RR 14.78 (95% CI 0.86 to 253.66) (very low-quality evidence).Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may increase the risk of SCD-related complications, RR 3.10 (95% CI 1.42 to 6.75) (low-quality evidence).Neither trial reported on quality of life or cognitive function. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We identified no trials for preventing silent cerebral infarcts in adults, or in children who do not have HbSS SCD.Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, but may have little or no effect on children with normal TCD velocities. In children who are at higher risk of stroke and have not had previous long-term transfusions, long-term red blood cell transfusions probably reduce the risk of stroke, and other SCD-related complications (acute chest syndrome and painful crises).In children and adolescents at high risk of stroke whose TCD velocities have normalised, continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the risk of silent cerebral infarcts. No treatment duration threshold has been established for stopping transfusions.Switching to hydroxyurea with phlebotomy may increase the risk of silent cerebral infarcts and SCD-related serious adverse events in secondary stroke prevention.All other evidence in this review is of very low-quality.