Delay in presentation of patients with acute stroke to hospital in Oxford.
We identified prospectively all patients (181 patients, 183 episodes) admitted to hospital in Oxford with acute stroke from 1 January to 30 June 1997. Data were inadequate in 30, leaving 153 episodes in 151 patients (63 men, 90 women). Structured interviews were used to investigate the timing of events preceding admission. Most strokes (91%) occurred at home, and 36% of patients were alone. After a median delay of 15 min, 56% called a GP (median 30 min response), 41% an ambulance (median 48 min to admission), and 3% went directly to A&E. Median time from hospital admission to doctor assessment was 69 min. Factors reducing delay were: initially calling an ambulance rather than a GP (p < 0.0001); onset not at home (p < 0.001); symptoms improving between onset and admission (p < 0.002); and altered consciousness (p < 0.002). The stroke was not recognized by 44% of patients, but no significant delay resulted. Overall, 31% were admitted within 3 h of onset, 46% within 6 h. Initial contact with the GP is a major determinant of delay. If acute therapies for stroke become available, GPs should be the primary targets for an educational initiative. (+info)
Late referral of end-stage renal failure.
We studied all new patients accepted for renal replacement therapy (RRT) in one unit from 1/1/96 to 31/12/97 (n = 198), to establish time from nephrology referral to RRT, evidence of renal disease prior to referral and the adequacy of renal management prior to referral. Sixty four (32.3%, late referral group) required RRT within 12 weeks of referral. Fifty-nine (29.8%) had recognizable signs of chronic renal failure > 26 weeks prior to referral. Patients starting RRT soon after referral were hospitalized for significantly longer on starting RRT (RRT within 12 weeks of referral, median hospitalization 25.0 days (n = 64); RRT > 12 weeks after referral, median 9.7 days (n = 126), (p < 0.001)). Observed survival at 1 year was 68.3% overall, with 1-year survival of the late referral and early referral groups being 60.5% and 72.5%, respectively (p = NS). Hypertension was found in 159 patients (80.3%): 46 (28.9%) were started on antihypertensive medication following referral, while a further 28 (17.6%) were started on additional antihypertensives. Of the diabetic population (n = 78), only 26 (33.3%) were on an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) at referral. Many patients are referred late for dialysis despite early signs of renal failure, and the pre-referral management of many of the patients, as evidenced by the treatment of hypertension and use of ACEI in diabetics, is less than optimal. (+info)
Tuberculous meningitis in South African urban adults.
We retrospectively reviewed 56 adults with culture-proven tuberculous meningitis (TBM), investigating clinical signs, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings and outcome. There were 50 patients, aged 18-59 years, 39 with and 11 without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Six were aged 60 years or older. Neurological signs of TBM in 18-59-year-olds were unaffected by HIV serostatus while, compared to those > or = 60 years of age, there were more patients with meningism (86.0% vs. 33.3%; p = 0.011) and fewer with seizures (12.0% vs. 50.0%; p = 0.046). The HIV-infected 18-59-year-olds had significantly more extrameningeal tuberculosis compared to the non-HIV-infected (76.9% vs. 9.1%; p = 0.0001) and 23.1% had 'breakthrough' TBM. CSF analysis revealed 12 patients (21.4%) with acellular fluid (more common in those > or = 60 years of age, p = 0.016), of whom three had completely normal CSF. A neutrophil predominance was found in 22 patients (39.3%). Only three patients (5.4%) had a positive CSF smear for acid-fast bacilli. In-hospital mortality occurred in 39 patients (69.1%), was similar in all study groups, and was not related to neurological stage. The diagnosis of TBM can be masked by lack of meningism in the elderly and by atypical CSF findings. (+info)
Premature morbidity from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in women with systemic lupus erythematosus.
OBJECTIVE: To determine rates of morbidity due to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases among women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS: I used the California Hospital Discharge Database, which contains information on all discharges from acute care hospitals in California, to identify women with SLE who had been hospitalized for treatment of either acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) from 1991 to 1994. I compared the proportions of hospitalizations for each cause among women with SLE with those in a group of women without SLE, for 3 age strata (18-44 years, 45-64 years, and > or =65 years). RESULTS: Compared with young women without SLE, young women with SLE were 2.27 times more likely to be hospitalized because of AMI (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.08-3.46), 3.80 times more likely to be hospitalized because of CHF (95% CI 2.41-5.19), and 2.05 times more likely to be hospitalized because of CVA (95% CI 1.17-2.93). Among middle-aged women with SLE, the frequencies of hospitalization for AMI and CVA did not differ from those of the comparison group, but the risk of hospitalization for CHF was higher (odds ratio [OR] 1.39, 95% CI 1.05-1.73). Among elderly women with SLE, the risk of hospitalization for AMI was significantly lower (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.51-0.89), the risk of hospitalization for CHF was higher (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.01-1.49), and the risk of hospitalization for CVA was not significantly different from those in the comparison group. CONCLUSION: Young women with SLE are at substantially increased risk of AMI, CHF, and CVA. The relative odds of these conditions decrease with age among women with SLE. (+info)
Elevated levels of C-reactive protein at discharge in patients with unstable angina predict recurrent instability.
BACKGROUND: In a group of patients admitted for unstable angina, we investigated whether C-reactive protein (CRP) plasma levels remain elevated at discharge and whether persistent elevation is associated with recurrence of instability. METHODS AND RESULTS: We measured plasma levels of CRP, serum amyloid A protein (SAA), fibrinogen, total cholesterol, and Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydia pneumoniae antibody titers in 53 patients admitted to our coronary care unit for Braunwald class IIIB unstable angina. Blood samples were taken on admission, at discharge, and after 3 months. Patients were followed for 1 year. At discharge, CRP was elevated (>3 mg/L) in 49% of patients; of these, 42% had elevated levels on admission and at 3 months. Only 15% of patients with discharge levels of CRP <3 mg/L but 69% of those with elevated CRP (P<0.001) were readmitted because of recurrence of instability or new myocardial infarction. New phases of instability occurred in 13% of patients in the lower tertile of CRP (/=8.7 mg/L, P<0.001). The prognostic value of SAA was similar to that of CRP; that of fibrinogen was not significant. Chlamydia pneumoniae but not Helicobacter pylori antibody titers significantly correlated with CRP plasma levels. CONCLUSIONS: In unstable angina, CRP may remain elevated for at >/=3 months after the waning of symptoms and is associated with recurrent instability. Elevation of acute-phase reactants in unstable angina could represent a hallmark of subclinical persistent instability or of susceptibility to recurrent instability and, at least in some patients, could be related to chronic Chlamydia pneumoniae infection. (+info)
Acinetobacter bacteremia in Hong Kong: prospective study and review.
The epidemiological characteristics of 18 patients with acinetobacter bacteremia were analyzed. Patients (mean age, 55.5 years) developed bacteremia after an average of 14.1 days of hospitalization. Fifteen of 16 patients survived bacteremia caused by Acinetobacter baumannii. Cultures of blood from the remaining two patients yielded Acinetobacter lwoffii. Most patients (78%) resided in the general ward, while four patients (22%) were under intensive care. Genotyping by arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction analysis and the temporal sequence of isolation were more useful than phenotyping by antimicrobial susceptibility in the determination of the source of bacteremia, and the intravascular catheter was the leading infection source (39% of cases). The possibility of an association of glucose with the pathogenesis of acinetobacter infection was raised. (+info)
Alternate child care, history of hospitalization, and preschool child behavior.
BACKGROUND: With more single mothers entering the workforce due to welfare reform efforts, more hospitalized children from single-parent families will have experienced alternate child care arrangements where routine care is provided by adults other than the child's mother. OBJECTIVES: To investigate with secondary analysis of data whether experience with alternate child care has a moderating effect on the relationship between hospitalization and behavior of preschool children living in female-headed single-parent families. METHOD: A sample of 60 preterm and 61 full-term children who were 3, 4, or 5 years old was recruited for the larger longitudinal study. Behavior problems were measured with the Child Behavior Checklist. History of hospitalization and alternate child care arrangements were measured with the Life History Calendar. RESULTS: Preschool children who experienced hospitalization without alternate child care experience had more somatic complaints, but those with both hospital and alternate child care experience had fewer aggressive behaviors than other children. For children with a history of hospitalization, aggressive behaviors decreased as the proportion of the child's life in alternate child care increased. CONCLUSIONS: Experience with alternate child care may ameliorate some of the negative effects of hospitalization, and potentially other novel and negative experiences, for preschool children. This could be due to child care providing positive experiences with separation from the mother, a peer group with which to talk about the novel experience, or actual instruction about the novel experience. (+info)
Can restrictions on reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decrease Medicaid pharmacy costs without increasing hospitalizations?
OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a policy restricting reimbursement for Medicaid anti-ulcer drugs on anti-ulcer drug use and peptic-related hospitalizations. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: In addition to U.S. Census Bureau data, all of the following from Florida: Medicaid anti-ulcer drug claims data, 1989-1993; Medicaid eligibility data, 1989-1993; and acute care nonfederal hospital discharge abstract data (Medicaid and non-Medicaid), 1989-1993. STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, a Poisson multiple regression model was used to compare changes, after policy implementation, in Medicaid reimbursement for prescription anti-ulcer drugs as well as hospitalization rates between pre- and post-implementation periods in Medicaid versus non-Medicaid patients hospitalized with peptic ulcer disease. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Following policy implementation, the rate of Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decreased 33 percent (p < .001). No associated increase occurred in the rate of Medicaid peptic-related hospitalizations. CONCLUSIONS: Florida's policy restricting Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs was associated with a substantial reduction in outpatient anti-ulcer drug utilization without any significant increase in the rate of hospitalization for peptic-related conditions. (+info)