How long do patients wait for elective general surgery? (49/878)

OBJECTIVE: Because data published on waiting times are largely determined from questionnaire-type surveys, which generate inconclusive opinion-based results, the objective of this study was to provide a quantitative measure of the extent and variance of waiting times among 3 elective general surgery procedures DESIGN: A prospective case study. SETTING: The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton. PATIENTS: From Feb. 1 to Mar. 15, 1999, all cases (90 patients) for each designated procedure--open or laparoscopic cholecystectomv for biliary colic or cholelithiasis, segmental resection or modified radical mastectomy for breast carcinoma and colon or rectal resection for colorectal carcinoma--were tabulated daily from the hospital elective operating lists. Data were prospectively acquired from individual surgeon offices (11 surgeons). Sixteen of the 90 patients were excluded, leaving 74 for analysis. OUTCOME MEASURES: Time in days from initial referral by the general practitioner to the surgeon (T1), time in days from the initial visit with the surgeon to operation for patients requiring no further diagnostic work-up by the surgeon (T2A), and time in days from the initial visit with the surgeon to operation for patients requiring further diagnostic work-up (T2B). RESULTS: The waiting period for patients who underwent non-cancer-related procedures (cholecystectomy) ranged from 83 to 106 days; patients with breast cancer waited an average of 24 (T1 + T2A) to 66 (T1 + T2B) days from the day of referral to the date of surgery and those with colorectal cancer waited an average of 32 (T1 + T2A) to 51 (T1 + T2B) days from the time of referral to operation (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: This preliminary report aimed at quantitative measurement of time spent waiting for elective general surgery indicates that patients who underwent non-cancer-related procedures waited significantly longer for their surgery than patients who required procedures for cancer.  (+info)

Health service costs for patients on the waiting list. (50/878)

OBJECTIVE: To find out if the cost of health services was artificially increased because of a delay in surgery due to a lack of resources. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Three urban hospitals in Calgary, Alta. PATIENTS: The study cohort comprised 4441 patients (1 index procedure for each patient). INTERVENTIONS: Cholecystectomy, discectomy, hysterectomy, total knee and total hip replacements. OUTCOME MEASURES: The costs for physician claims, use of home care and pharmaceutical prescriptions 1 year before and after the selected procedures, using 1997/98 administrative records and waiting times maintained by Alberta Health and Wellness and Calgary Regional Health Authority. RESULTS: The median wait for joint surgery (88 d for knee replacements and 65 d for hip replacements) was longer than for the other selected procedures (29 d for cholecystectomies, 21 d for discectomies and 42 d for hysterectomies). Total per patient physician claim costs decreased after surgery (cholecystectomy--30%, discectomy--24%, hip replacement--6%, hysterectomy--23% and knee replacement--4%). Seeing the procedure specialist more than once preoperatively was associated with a greater decrease in postoperative physician claim costs. Longer waits were not associated with more physician claim costs or Blue Cross prescriptions claim costs for seniors (> or = 65 yr) in the year before or after surgery nor were they associated with more physician claim costs during the actual wait compared with a matched postoperative time period. CONCLUSIONS: No evidence was found to suggest that waiting for 1 of 5 common surgical procedures is correlated with greater health service expenditures pre- or postoperatively. In this study, wait time is not a proxy for health service use nor do health service costs decrease markedly after surgery.  (+info)

Neighbourhood level versus individual level correlates of women's body dissatisfaction: toward a multilevel understanding of the role of affluence. (51/878)

STUDY OBJECTIVE: This study examined the prevalence of body dissatisfaction as a function of individual level and neighbourhood level indicators of affluence. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A subset of data from a larger random digit dialling telephone survey was used to obtain individual level data on body dissatisfaction, body weight and height, and income from a group of 895 adult women (age 24-56, 61% English speaking) living in 52 neighbourhoods (census tract areas) within the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada who were selected for their heterogeneity in social class. DESIGN: Aggregated census tract data from 1996 were used to develop neighbourhood indicators of affluence. Using hierarchical linear modelling, body dissatisfaction (dichotomous) was examined as a function of individual body mass index, individual level affluence and neighbourhood level affluence. MAIN RESULTS: The impact of body mass index on body dissatisfaction depended on the level of neighbourhood affluence: an average body mass index was associated with higher likelihood of reporting body dissatisfaction in a neighbourhood of above average affluence (71% probability) than in a neighbourhood of average affluence (58% probability), independent of a woman's individual affluence (whether she was low income or not). CONCLUSION: It is concluded that a clearer understanding of the role of affluence on body dissatisfaction can be achieved by a joint examination of individual and neighbourhood level influences.  (+info)

Business planning for university health science programs: a case study. (52/878)

Many publicly funded education programs and organizations have developed business plans to enhance accountability. In the case of the Department of Dentistry at the University of Alberta, the main impetus for business planning was a persistent deficit in the annual operating fund since a merger of a stand-alone dental faculty with the Faculty of Medicine. The main challenges were to balance revenues with expenditures, to reduce expenditures without compromising quality of teaching, service delivery and research, to maintain adequate funding to ensure future competitiveness, and to repay the accumulated debt owed to the university. The business plan comprises key strategies in the areas of education, clinical practice and service, and research. One of the strategies for education was to start a BSc program in dental hygiene, which was accomplished in September 2000. In clinical practice, a key strategy was implementation of a clinic operations fee, which also occurred in September 2000. This student fee helps to offset the cost of clinical practice. In research, a key strategy has been to strengthen our emphasis on prevention technologies. In completing the business plan, we learned the importance of identifying clear goals and ensuring that the goals are reasonable and achievable; gaining access to high-quality data to support planning; and nurturing existing positive relationships with external stakeholders such as the provincial government and professional associations.  (+info)

Acute and subchronic mammalian toxicity of naphthenic acids from oil sands tailings. (53/878)

Naphthenic acids are the most significant environmental contaminants resulting from petroleum extraction from oil sands deposits. In this study, a mixture of naphthenic acids isolated from Athabasca oil sands (AOS) tailings pond water was used in acute and subchronic toxicity tests with rodents, in order to assess potential risks posed to terrestrial wildlife. Dosages were chosen to bracket worst-case environmental exposure scenarios. In acute tests, adult female Wistar rats were given single po dosages of naphthenic acids at either 3, 30, or 300 mg per kg body weight (mg/kg), while adult male rats received 300 mg/kg. Food consumption was temporarily suppressed in the high-dose groups of both sexes. Following euthanasia 14 days later, histopathology revealed a significant incidence of pericholangitis in the high-dose group of both sexes, suggesting hepatotoxicity as an acute effect. Other histological lesions included brain hemorrhage in high-dose males, and cardiac periarteriolar necrosis and fibrosis in female rats. In subchronic tests, naphthenic acids were po administered to female Wistar rats at 0.6, 6, or 60 mg/kg, 5 days per week for 90 days. Results again suggested the liver as a potential target organ. The relative liver weight in the high-dose group was 35% higher than in controls. Biochemical analysis revealed elevated blood amylase (30% above controls) and hypocholesterolemia (43% below controls) in high-dose rats. Excessive hepatic glycogen accumulation was observed in 42% of animals in this group. These results indicate that, under worst-case exposure conditions, acute toxicity is unlikely in wild mammals exposed to naphthenic acids in AOS tailings pond water, but repeated exposure may have adverse health effects.  (+info)

Outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (54/878)

From December 1999 to April 2001, the greater Edmonton region had 61 cases of invasive meningococcal infection, two fatal. The outbreak was due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C, electrophoretic type 15, serotype 2a. Analysis of the strains showed that 50 of 56 culture-confirmed cases were due to a single clone and close relatives of this clone. This strain had not been previously identified in the province of Alberta dating back to January 1997.  (+info)

Survival after coronary revascularization in the elderly. (55/878)

BACKGROUND: Elderly patients with ischemic heart disease are increasingly referred for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). However, reports of poor outcomes in the elderly have led to questions about the benefit of these strategies. We studied survival by prescribed treatment (CABG, PCI, or medical therapy) for patients in 3 age categories: <70 years, 70 to 79 years, and > or =80 years of age. METHODS AND RESULTS: The Alberta Provincial Project for Outcomes Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease (APPROACH) is a clinical data collection and outcome monitoring initiative capturing all patients undergoing cardiac catheterization and revascularization in the province of Alberta, Canada, since 1995. Characteristics and long-term outcomes of a cohort of >6000 elderly patients with ischemic heart disease were compared with younger patients. In 15 392 patients >70 years of age, 4-year adjusted actuarial survival rates for CABG, PCI, and medical therapy were 95.0%, 93.8%, and 90.5%, respectively. In 5198 patients 70 to 79 years of age, survival rates were 87.3%, 83.9%, and 79.1%, respectively. In 983 patients > or = 80 years of age, survival was 77.4% for CABG, 71.6% for PCI, and 60.3% for medical therapy. Absolute risk differences in comparison to medical therapy for CABG (17.0%) and PCI (11.3%) were greater for patients > or =80 years of age than for younger patients. CONCLUSIONS: Elderly patients paradoxically have greater absolute risk reductions associated with surgical or percutaneous revascularization than do younger patients. The combination of these results with a recent randomized trial suggests that the benefits of aggressive revascularization therapies may extend to subsets of patients in older age groups.  (+info)

Vitamin D insufficiency in a population of healthy western Canadians. (56/878)

BACKGROUND: People with low levels of vitamin D and its metabolites are at increased risk for osteoporotic fractures. We wished to ascertain levels of vitamin D in a representative sample of adult western Canadians, to help assess the level of risk. We evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency, defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] less than 40 nmol/L, and seasonal variations in 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone and related biochemical indices in a community-dwelling population of healthy Canadians living in Calgary (latitude 51 degrees 07'N). METHODS: During calendar year 1999, we collected fasting overnight blood samples every 3 months from 60 men and 128 women (age range 27 to 89 years) who had volunteered to participate in another study. We used commercial radioimmunoassay kits to measure calciotrophic hormones and other biochemical indices. Regression models for longitudinal data were used to assess the effect of season and other potential predictors on individual parameters. RESULTS: For a total of 64 participants (34%), vitamin D insufficiency, defined as 25(OH)D less than 40 nmol/L, was recorded at least once out of the 4 sampling times. After adjustment for age, body mass index and holiday travel, we observed the anticipated rise in serum 25(OH)D from a mean of 57.3 (standard deviation [SD] 21.3) nmol/L in the winter to 62.9 (SD 28.8) nmol/L in spring (p = 0.001) and 71.6 (SD 23.6) nmol/L in summer (p < 0.001), with a subsequent decline to 52.9 (SD 17.2) nmol/L in the fall (p = 0.008). The anticipated inverse relation between 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone was not consistently observed: after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index and serum calcium, serum levels of parathyroid hormone did decrease significantly, from 39.5 (SD 18.8) ng/L in winter to 36.3 (SD 17.8) ng/L in summer (p = 0.001), but they continued to decline to 34.5 (SD 17.3) ng/L in the fall (p < 0.001). There was no association between 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone (p = 0.21). INTERPRETATION: We documented a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency, which warrants consideration of dietary vitamin D supplementation.  (+info)