Near-patient test for C-reactive protein in general practice: assessment of clinical, organizational, and economic outcomes.
BACKGROUND: The benefits of near-patient, point-of-care tests have not been fully examined. We have assessed the clinical, organizational, and economic outcomes of implementing a near-patient test for C-reactive protein (CRP) in general practice. METHODS: In a randomized crossover trial during intervention periods, general practitioners (GPs) were allowed to measure CRP within 3 min, using NycoCard(R) CRP. During control periods, they had to mail blood samples for CRP measurements to the hospital laboratory and received test results 24-48 h later. Twenty-nine general practice clinics participated (64 GPs), and 1853 patients were included in the study. Results were evaluated at both the level of participating GPs and the level of included patients. RESULTS: For participating GPs, the overall use of erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESRs) decreased by 8% (95% confidence interval, 1-14%) during intervention periods, and the number of blood samples mailed to the hospital laboratory decreased by 6% (1-10%). No reduction in the prescription of antibiotics was seen. The proportion of study patients having a follow-up telephone consultation was reduced from 63% to 53% (P = 0. 0001), and patients with CRP concentrations >50 mg/L had their antibiotic treatments started earlier when CRP was measured in general practices (P = 0.0161). CONCLUSION: The implementation of the near-patient CRP test was cost-effective mainly on the basis of a reduction in the use of services from the hospital laboratory by GPs. If the implementation is followed by education and clinical guidelines, opportunities exist for additional reduction in the use of ESR and for a more appropriate use of antibiotics. (+info)
Patients with thrombocytosis have normal or slightly elevated thrombopoietin levels.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The distinction between clonal and reactive thrombocytoses is a frequent problem and implies different therapeutic options. As thrombopoietin (TPO) is the main regulator of megakaryocytopoiesis and thrombopoiesis, we measured TPO levels in patients with thrombocytosis in an attempt to understand the regulation and potential utility of distinguishing thrombocytoses. DESIGN AND METHODS: Serum TPO levels, platelet counts, mean platelet volume, hemoglobin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and age were evaluated in 25 patients with clonal thrombocytosis (15 with essential thrombocythemia, 6 with polycythemia vera and 4 with chronic myeloid leukemia) and in 50 patients with reactive thrombocytosis distributed in three groups: 1) patients in post-surgical states; 2) patients with solid tumors; and 3) patients with inflammatory diseases. RESULTS: TPO levels were slightly increased in patients with clonal (135+/-50 pg/mL) and reactive (147+/-58 pg/mL) thrombocytosis compared with controls (121+/-58 pg/mL). Analyzing the different groups, patients with essential thrombocythemia had the lowest TPO levels (120+/-28 pg/mL) and patients with solid tumors the highest levels (162+/-59 pg/mL). Patients with clonal thrombocytosis were older, had higher platelet counts, mean platelet volume and hemoglobin, and lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate than patients with reactive thrombocytosis. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Minor differences were observed in TPO levels between patients with primary and secondary thrombocytoses. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, but not TPO levels, may be a useful tool for discriminating both types of thrombocytoses. (+info)
Effect of leukocytapheresis therapy using a leukocyte removal filter in Crohn's disease.
Eighteen patients with active Crohn's disease were treated with one leukocytapheresis session per week for a five-week intensive therapy, decreasing to one leukocytapheresis session per month for five sessions of initial maintenance therapy. Nutritional indices, inflammatory reactions, flow cytometry profiles, and cytokine production were also assessed before and after the intensive and initial maintenance therapy. Nine of the patients (50%) attained remission at the end of the intensive therapy. The nine non-remission patients had exhibited longer periods of suffering and more severely affected sites prior to the therapy. In 14 of 18 patients (77.8%), the nutritional indices, Internal Organization of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD) score and Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) improved from the pretherapy levels, but only the remission group (50%) showed improvement in C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). The remission group showed significantly higher pretherapy CD4+ CD45+ cell ratios and interleukin-2 (IL-2) production than the non-remission group, and significantly lower activated cells. (+info)
HLA-DRB1 alleles associated with polymyalgia rheumatica in northern Italy: correlation with disease severity.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association of HLA-DRB1 alleles with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) in a Mediterranean country and to explore the role of HLA-DRB1 genes in determining disease severity. METHODS: A five year prospective follow up study of 92 consecutive PMR patients diagnosed by the secondary referral centre of rheumatology of Reggio Emilia, Italy was conducted. HLA-DRB1 alleles were determined in the 92 patients, in 29 DR4 positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, and in 148 controls from the same geographical area by polymerase chain reaction amplification and oligonucleotide hybridisation. RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in the frequencies of HLA-DRB1 types and in the expression of HLA-DRB 70-74 shared motif between PMR and controls. The frequency of the patients with double dose of epitope was low and not significantly different in PMR and in controls. No significant differences in the distribution of HLA-DR4 subtypes were observed between DR4+ PMR, DR+ RA, and DR4+ controls. Results of the univariate analysis indicated that an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) at diagnosis > 72 mm 1st h, the presence of HLA-DR1, DR10, rheumatoid epitope, and the type of rheumatoid epitope were significant risk factors associated with relapse/recurrence. Cox proportional hazards modelling identified two variables that independently increased the risk of relapse/recurrence: ESR at diagnosis > 72 mm 1st h (RR=1.5) and type 2 (encoded by a non-DR4 allele) rheumatoid epitope (RR=2.7). CONCLUSION: These data from a Mediterranean country showed no association of rheumatoid epitope with PMR in northern Italian patients. A high ESR at diagnosis and the presence of rheumatoid epitope encoded by a non-DR4 allele are independent valuable markers of disease severity. (+info)
Relationship between urinary pyridinium cross-links, disease activity and disease subsets of ankylosing spondylitis.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aimed to determine the urinary levels of pyridinium cross-links and urinary beta-isomerized fragments derived from the C-telopeptide of the alpha1 chain of type I collagen (beta-CTX) as markers of bone resorption in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and to study their relationship to markers of disease activity [erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)] and to disease subsets of this condition. METHODS: The serum calcium, osteocalcin (OC), parathormone (PTH), 25 OHD3 levels, beta-CTX and the urinary combined free pyridinolines (f-Pyr + f-Dpyr), urinary free deoxypyridinoline (f-Dpyr) and urinary free pyridinoline (f-Pyr) were evaluated and compared in 32 AS patients and 25 controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) was evaluated at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck. RESULTS: The serum markers of bone metabolism (serum calcium, PTH, 25 OHD3 and OC) were in the normal range in the AS group. AS patients had a lowered lumbar spine BMD (P = 0.01) (corresponding T score: P = 0.03), but femoral neck BMD did not differ significantly between AS and controls (P = 0.08) (corresponding T score: P = 0.11). There was no difference in the urinary levels of pyridinium cross-links and beta-CTX between AS patients and controls. A positive correlation between ESR, (f-Pyr + f-Dpyr) (r = 0.42; P = 0.018) and f-Dpyr (r = 0.49; P = 0.005) was observed. In the different disease subsets of AS, we found that patients with peripheral involvement had higher (f-Pyr + f-Dpyr) (P = 0.04) and f-Dpyr levels (P = 0.04), patients with early disease had elevated (f-Pyr + f-Dpyr) (P = 0.01), f-Dpyr (P = 0.02) and f-Pyr (P = 0.01) levels, and that those with raised ESR had enhanced f-Dpyr (P = 0.009) excretion. Patients were then stratified according to disease duration, peripheral involvement and sex, and this allowed us to observe that only urinary f-Dpyr remained elevated in patients independently from these variables and that raised ESR is the more relevant parameter for explaining this high level of excretion. CONCLUSION: We conclude that there was no difference in the levels of urinary pyridinium cross-links and beta-CTX between AS and controls. However, urinary excretion of some of these collagen compounds was enhanced in subgroups of AS, mainly in patients with raised ESR. Thus, AS patients with laboratory evidence of active disease could have a higher risk of bone loss. (+info)
The influence of a partially HLA-matched blood transfusion on the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis.
OBJECTIVE: Based on the immunosuppressive effects of blood transfusions in organ transplantation, we determined the effect of a blood transfusion on disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHOD: In this double-blind pilot study, 40 patients with active RA were randomly assigned to receive a HLA-DRB1-matched blood transfusion (n = 30) or placebo (n = 10). Disease activity was scored according to the American College of Rheumatology response criteria during 6 months of follow-up. RESULTS: After 1 month and 6 months, respectively, 6 and 16% of patients fulfilled the response criteria in the blood transfusion group compared to none and 30%, respectively, in the placebo group. Following correction for the increase in haemoglobin levels, a majority of the response parameters in the blood transfusion group showed significant improvement compared to the placebo group. CONCLUSION: A DRB1-matched blood transfusion shows improvement of symptoms in several RA patients. Additional studies are required to identify blood transfusion regimens that enhance the potential for therapeutic responses. (+info)
Inflammatory status as a main determinant of outcome in patients with unstable angina, independent of coagulation activation and endothelial cell function.
AIMS: Inflammation, endothelial cell function and the coagulation system have been demonstrated to be involved in the onset and course of unstable angina. Whether a proinflammatory state independently determines outcome is unknown and has not been determined yet in a clinically well defined study population of consecutive patients admitted with unstable angina. METHODS AND RESULTS: Markers of inflammation, coagulation activation and endothelial cell function were determined on admission in blood of 211 consecutive patients with severe unstable angina and were related to the in-hospital course. Refractory unstable angina occurred in 76 patients (36%) during their hospital stay. In a univariate analysis, C-reactive protein (P = 0.03), fibrinogen (P < 0.001) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P = 0.001) levels were significantly higher in patients with refractory unstable angina, when compared with patients who had an uneventful clinical course. The odds ratios (95% CI) adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, smoking behaviour and cholesterol levels of the occurrence of refractory unstable angina for patients in the highest quartile compared with patients in the lowest quartile of inflammatory markers were 2.19 (0.94-5.11) for C-reactive protein, 2.83 (1.13-7.10) for fibrinogen and 4.72 (1.70-13.09) for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The findings were not affected by the presence or absence of myocardial necrosis or the interval between onset of angina and blood collection. No association was found between markers of coagulation activation or markers of endothelial cell function, and in-hospital outcome. CONCLUSION: We found that in a clinically well-defined study population of patients with severe unstable angina, a proinflammatory state is an important and independent determinant of short-term outcome. The data strengthen the importance of inflammation in this syndrome. (+info)
Genotyping for disease associated HLA DR beta 1 alleles and the need for early joint surgery in rheumatoid arthritis: a quantitative evaluation.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the value of HLA DR beta 1 disease associated epitope (DAE) and erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR) in predicting the need for major joint replacement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Sixty five RA patients who had undergone hip, knee or shoulder arthroplasty within 15 years of disease onset and 65 who had not. HLA DR beta 1 genotype was determined by polymerase chain reaction. ESR at first hospital visit was noted. RESULTS: Significantly more patients with two DAE required surgery, (32% v 9%), chi 2 = 13.9, p = 0.001, odds ratio = 5.4 (95% CI: 1.8, 16). Sensitivity was poor, 32%, specificity high, 91%. Presentation ESR was higher in surgery patients compared with non-surgery patients, 52 mm 1st h v 25 mm 1st h, p < 0.001, but was independent of DAE status. Sensitivity of an ESR of 30 mm 1st h was 75%, specificity 53%. CONCLUSION: The presence of two DAE is a risk factor for major joint surgery in RA and is independent of ESR, whereas in those with one or no DAE, a high ESR is an important predictor. (+info)