Assessment of serum thyroxine binding capacity-dependent biases in free thyroxine assays. (1/1619)

BACKGROUND: Free thyroxine (FT4) assays may exhibit biases that are related to serum T4 binding capacity (sBC). We describe two tests that can be used to assess the presence and magnitude of sBC-dependent biases in FT4 assays. METHODS: We used a direct equilibrium dialysis FT4 assay as the reference method and compared the results obtained with those of the FT4 assays under investigation, in patient sera having a wide range of sBC. We then compared the expected and observed FT4 results for sera diluted with an inert buffer. Because serum dilution causes a predictable decrease in sBC, an increasingly negative bias on progressive dilution is indicative of a sBC-dependent bias. RESULTS: The automated FT4 assay investigated (Vitros FT4) showed no demonstrable sBC-dependent bias by either test. CONCLUSION: These two tests can be used to screen for sBC-dependent biases in FT4 assays.  (+info)

How patients perceive the role of hospital chaplains: a preliminary exploration. (2/1619)

OBJECTIVE: An exploratory study of the attitudes of hospital patients to the service provided by hospital chaplains. DESIGN: Questionnaire study of hospital inpatients in December 1992. SETTING: One large teaching hospital in London. PATIENTS: 180 hospital inpatients in 14 different general wards, 168 (93%) of whom agreed to take part. MAIN MEASURES: Attitudes to chaplains and their role contained in 12 questions developed during a pilot study on hospital inpatients (16) and staff (14) and their relation to patients' age, sex, length of hospital stay, and religious beliefs, according to Kendall rank order correlations. RESULTS: Of 168(93%) respondents, 72(43%) were women; mean age of patients was 63.1 (SD 16.8) years. Forty five (27%) were inpatients of three days or less and 22(13%) for one month or more. 136(81%) were Christian; 17(10%) atheist, agnostic, or had no religion; and 15(9%) were of other religions. In general, patients showed positive attitudes towards the role of hospital chaplains and to the services they provided. The correlation analysis showed that there was a significant tendency for older patients, those who had been inpatients for longer, and those with religious beliefs to be more sympathetic to the role of hospital chaplains. CONCLUSIONS: Hospital chaplains provide a service which is appreciated by patients. This study provides a simple instrument for assessing patients' attitudes to chaplains.  (+info)

User fees and patient behaviour: evidence from Niamey National Hospital. (3/1619)

Evidence is presented on the effects of price changes on the delay before seeking care and on referral status in a sample of hospital patients in Niger. Price changes are measured as differences across patients at one hospital in whether or not they pay for care, rather than as differences in prices across several hospitals. User fees are charged, but the fee system allows exemptions for some payor categories such as government employees, students, and indigent patients. Evidence is also presented on the effect of income on the delay before seeking care and referral status. The analysis demonstrates a technical point on whether household consumption or current income is a more appropriate measure of income. The analysis shows that user fees affect patient behaviour, but the effects are not the same for outpatients and inpatients. Outpatients who pay for care wait longer before seeking care, but inpatients do not. Inpatients who pay for care are more likely to be referred, but outpatients are not. Patients with more income wait less time to seek care and are less likely to be referred than other patients. Further, household consumption explains patient behaviour better than current income.  (+info)

What proportion of primary psychiatric interventions are based on evidence from randomised controlled trials? (4/1619)

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the proportion of psychiatric inpatients receiving primary interventions based on randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials. DESIGN: Retrospective survey. SETTING: Acute adult general psychiatric ward. SUBJECTS: All patients admitted to the ward during a 28 day period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary interventions were classified according to whether or not they were supported by evidence from randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews. RESULTS: The primary interventions received by 26/40 (65%; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 51% to 79%) of patients admitted during the period were based on randomised trials or systematic reviews. CONCLUSIONS: When patients were used as the denominator, most primary interventions given in acute general psychiatry were based on experimental evidence. The evidence was difficult to locate; there is an urgent need for systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials in this area.  (+info)

Willingness to pay for district hospital services in rural Tanzania. (5/1619)

This paper describes a study undertaken to investigate the willingness of patients and households to pay for rural district hospital services in north-western Tanzania. The surveys undertaken included interviews with 500 outpatients and 293 inpatients at three district level hospitals, interviews with 1500 households and discussions with 22 focus groups within the catchment areas of the primary health care programmes of these hospitals. Information was collected on willingness to pay fees for certain hospital services, willingness to become a member of a local insurance system, and exemptions for cost-sharing. The willingness to pay for district hospital services was large. Furthermore, most respondents favoured a local insurance system above user fee systems, a finding which applied at all places and in all the surveys. More female respondents were in favour of a local insurance scheme. The conditions needed for the introduction of a local insurance system are discussed.  (+info)

Measuring change in disability after inpatient rehabilitation: comparison of the responsiveness of the Barthel index and the Functional Independence Measure. (6/1619)

BACKGROUND: The importance of evaluating disability outcome measures is well recognised. The Functional Independence Measure (FIM) was developed to be a more comprehensive and "sensitive" measure of disability than the Barthel Index (BI). Although the FIM is widely used and has been shown to be reliable and valid, there is limited information about its responsiveness, particularly in comparison with the BI. This study compares the appropriateness and responsiveness of these two disability measures in patients with multiple sclerosis and stroke. METHODS: Patients with multiple sclerosis (n=201) and poststroke (n=82) patients undergoing inpatient neurorehabilitation were studied. Admission and discharge scores were generated for the BI and the three scales of the FIM (total, motor, and cognitive). Appropriateness of the measures to the study samples was determined by examining score distributions, floor and ceiling effects. Responsiveness was determined using an effect size calculation. RESULTS: The BI, FIM total, and FIM motor scales show good variability and have small floor and ceiling effects in the study samples. The FIM cognitive scale showed a notable ceiling effect in patients with multiple sclerosis. Comparable effect sizes were found for the BI, and two FIM scales (total and motor) in both patients with multiple sclerosis and stroke patients. CONCLUSION: All measures were appropriate to the study sample. The FIM cognitive scale, however, has limited usefulness as an outcome measure in progressive multiple sclerosis. The BI, FIM total, and FIM motor scales show similar responsiveness, suggesting that both the FIM total and FIM motor scales have no advantage over the BI in evaluating change.  (+info)

Relationship between TIMI frame count and clinical outcomes after thrombolytic administration. Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group. (7/1619)

BACKGROUND: The corrected TIMI frame count (CTFC) is the number of cine frames required for dye to first reach standardized distal coronary landmarks, and it is an objective and quantitative index of coronary blood flow. METHODS AND RESULTS: The CTFC was measured in 1248 patients in the TIMI 4, 10A, and 10B trials, and its relationship to clinical outcomes was examined. Patients who died in the hospital had a higher CTFC (ie, slower flow) than survivors (69. 6+/-35.4 [n=53] versus 49.5+/-32.3 [n=1195]; P=0.0003). Likewise, patients who died by 30 to 42 days had higher CTFCs than survivors (66.2+/-36.4 [n=57] versus 49.9+/-32.1 [n=1059]; P=0.006). In a multivariate model that excluded TIMI flow grades, the 90-minute CTFC was an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality (OR=1.21 per 10-frame rise [95% CI, 1.1 to 1.3], an approximately 0.7% increase in absolute mortality for every 10-frame rise; P<0.001) even when other significant correlates of mortality (age, heart rate, anterior myocardial infarction, and female sex) were adjusted for in the model. The CTFC identified a subgroup of patients with TIMI grade 3 flow who were at a particularly low risk of adverse outcomes. The risk of in-hospital mortality increased in a stepwise fashion from 0.0% (n=41) in patients with a 90-minute CTFC that was faster than the 95% CI for normal flow (0 to 13 frames, hyperemia, TIMI grade 4 flow), to 2.7% (n=18 of 658 patients) in patients with a CTFC of 14 to 40 (a CTFC of 40 has previously been identified as the cutpoint for distinguishing TIMI grade 3 flow), to 6.4% (35/549) in patients with a CTFC >40 (P=0.003). Although the risk of death, recurrent myocardial infarction, shock, congestive heart failure, or left ventricular ejection fraction 20 to +info)

A restrictive platelet transfusion policy allowing long-term support of outpatients with severe aplastic anemia. (8/1619)

The threshold for prophylactic platelet transfusions in patients with hypoplastic thrombopenia generally recommended in the standard literature is 20,000 platelets/microL. A more restrictive transfusion policy may be indicated in patients with chronic severe aplastic anemia (SAA) in need of long-term platelet support. We evaluated the feasibility and safety of a policy with low thresholds for prophylactic transfusions (+info)