Priority points and cardiac events while waiting for coronary bypass surgery. (1/1401)

OBJECTIVE: To assess the risk of important cardiac events while waiting for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) in relation to the New Zealand priority scoring system; to compare clinical characteristics of patients referred for CABG in New Zealand with those in Ontario, Canada; and to compare the New Zealand priority scoring system for CABG with the previously validated Ontario urgency score. DESIGN: Analysis of outcomes in a consecutive case series of patients referred for CABG. SETTING: University hospital. PATIENTS: All 324 patients from Christchurch Hospital wait listed for isolated CABG between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1995. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Death, myocardial infarction, and unstable angina while waiting for CABG; waiting time to surgery. RESULTS: Clinical characteristics at referral were very similar, but median waiting time was longer in New Zealand than in a large Canadian case series (212 days v 17 days). While waiting for elective CABG, 44% (114/257) of New Zealand patients had cardiac events: death 4% (13/257), non-fatal myocardial infarction 6% (16/257), readmission with unstable angina 34% (87/257). Priority scores did not predict cardiac events while waiting for CABG. Indeed, death or non-fatal myocardial infarction occurred in 4% (3/76) and 8% (6/76), respectively, of those with priority scores < 35. These people are no longer eligible for publicly funded surgery in New Zealand. CONCLUSIONS: Very long waiting times for CABG are associated with frequent cardiac events, at considerable cost to both patients and health care providers. Priority scores may facilitate comparison between countries but such scores did not predict clinical events while waiting.  (+info)

Total joint replacement: implication of cancelled operations for hospital costs and waiting list management. (2/1401)

OBJECTIVE: To identify aspects of provision of total joint replacements which could be improved. DESIGN: 10 month prospective study of hospital admissions and hospital costs for patients whose total joint replacement was cancelled. SETTING: Information and Waiting List Unit, Musgrave Park Regional Orthopaedic Service, Belfast. PATIENTS: 284 consecutive patients called for admission for total joint replacement. MAIN MEASURES: Costs of cancellation of operation after admission in terms of hotel and opportunity costs. RESULTS: 28(10%) planned operations were cancelled, 27 of which were avoidable cancellations. Five replacement patients were substituted on the theatre list, leaving 22(8%) of 232 operating theatre opportunities unused. Patients seen at assessment clinics within two months before admission had a significantly higher operation rate than those admitted from a routine waiting list (224/232(97%) v 32/52(62%), x2 = 58.6, df = 1; p < 0.005). Mean duration of hospital stay in 28 patients with cancelled operations was 1.92 days. Operating theatre opportunity costs were 73% of the total costs of cancelled total joint replacements. CONCLUSION: Patients on long waiting lists for surgery should be reassessed before admission to avoid wasting theatre opportunities, whose cost is the largest component of the total costs of cancelled operations.  (+info)

Quality: link with effectiveness. (3/1401)

In summary, though the notion of "quality of care" has become fashionable, most of the focus has been on initiatives such as the patient's charter, waiting times, quality of the physical environment, patient centredness in outcomes measurement, etc. Nevertheless, at the heart of quality must be the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions. Without ensuring that health technologies are effective and are delivered appropriately then many of the other dimensions of quality may simply be window dressing. Substantial variations in the rates of procedures, the way in which similar patients are treated, and the degree to which professionals often ignore the best scientific evidence have all been well documented. The NHS needs methods for ensuring that the effectiveness dimension of quality is brought to the fore and becomes a routine part of quality assessment and activity. Clinical autonomy can no longer be an excuse for inappropriate care. The challenge for the future is twofold: to increase the amount of health technology assessment carried out and to develop methods of ensuring that health care converges with this best practice--that is, the promotion of evidence based practice. By introducing evidence based clinical guidelines and associated utilisation review and persuading purchasers to "purchase protocols" rather than just procedures the effectiveness dimension may become more routine, but it will require a radical rethink of the type of data collected and the way in which the purchaser provider split is managed.  (+info)

Predictors for waiting time for coronary angioplasty in a high risk population. (4/1401)

Objective--To describe the clinical and non-clinical factors which influence the waiting time from initial angiography to angioplasty. Design--Follow up of a random sample of 106 patients undergoing their first coronary angiography for whom a decision to revascularise by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty was made in 1991. The period between the date of angiography and the date of angioplasty and various clinical characteristics of patients were retrieved from medical notes in mid 1993. Patients were sampled from those investigated in the two Northern Ireland catheterisation laboratories in Belfast, which provide services for the whole of the province (population 1.5 million). Main measures--The dependent variable was the period between initial angiography and angioplasty, and the independent variables included age, sex, distance from cardiac catheterisation centre, referral source, characteristics of the clinical history, severity of angina, and anatomical extent of disease. Cox's proportional hazards analysis was used to derive a relative hazard, expressing the relative chances of revascularisation occurring at any time during follow up. Results--Of the 106 patients studied, 93 had had percutaneous transluminal angioplasty at follow up. The most important predictors of waiting time were the presence of severe angina (relative hazards 3.1(95 % confidence interval (95% CI) 1.4-6.8) and 2.7(1.2-6.2) for Canadian Cardiovascular grades III and IV v angina grade I angina), a recent history of myocardial infarction (relative hazard, 2.5(1.3-4.8), and whether or not the patient was economically active (relative hazard 0.6(0.4-1.0) for economically inactive v active patients). Although there was also an association with the relative deprivation of the area of residence of the patient it had no clear linear trend. Conclusions--Although waiting time for percutaneous transluminal angioplasty was predictably related to the patient's clinical presentation, demographic factors may also be important in determining access to intervention. These factors clearly merit further study; ultimately, the evaluation of equity in a waiting time distribution may more properly be a societal rather than a clinical judgment.  (+info)

Primary hip and knee replacement surgery: Ontario criteria for case selection and surgical priority. (5/1401)

OBJECTIVES: To develop, from simple clinical factors, criteria to identify appropriate patients for referral to a surgeon for consideration for arthroplasty, and to rank them in the queue once surgery is agreed. DESIGN: Delphi process, with a panel including orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists, general practitioners, epidemiologists, and physiotherapists, who rated 120 case scenarios for appropriateness and 42 for waiting list priority. Scenarios incorporated combinations of relevant clinical factors. It was assumed that queues should be organised not simply by chronology but by clinical and social impact of delayed surgery. The panel focused on information obtained from clinical histories, to ensure the utility of the guidelines in practice. Relevant high quality research evidence was limited. SETTING: Ontario, Canada. MAIN MEASURES: Appropriateness ratings on a 7-point scale, and urgency rankings on a 4-point scale keyed to specific waiting times. RESULTS: Despite incomplete evidence panellists agreed on ratings in 92.5% of appropriateness and 73.8% of urgency scenarios versus 15% and 18% agreement expected by chance, respectively. Statistically validated algorithms in decision tree form, which should permit rapid estimation of urgency or appropriateness in practice, were compiled by recursive partitioning. Rating patterns and algorithms were also used to make brief written guidelines on how clinical factors affect appropriateness and urgency of surgery. A summary score was provided for each case scenario; scenarios could then be matched to chart audit results, with scoring for quality management. CONCLUSIONS: These algorithms and criteria can be used by managers or practitioners to assess appropriateness of referral for hip or knee replacement and relative rankings of patients in the queue for surgery.  (+info)

Preliminary assessment of patients' opinions of queuing for coronary bypass graft surgery at one Canadian centre. (6/1401)

OBJECTIVES: To explore psychological and socioeconomic concerns of patients who queued for coronary artery bypass surgery and the effectiveness of support existing in one Canadian cardiovascular surgical center. DESIGN: Standardised questionnaire and structured interview. SETTING: Victoria General Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia. SUBJECTS: 100 consecutive patients awaiting non-emergency bypass surgery. RESULTS: Most patients (96%) found the explanation of findings at cardiac catheterisation and the justification given for surgery satisfactory. However, 84 patients complained that waiting for surgery was stressful and 64 registered at least moderate anxiety. Anger over delays was expressed by 16%, but only 4% thought that queuing according to medical need was unfair. Economic hardship, attributed to delayed surgery, was declared by 15 patients. This primarily affected those still working--namely, blue collar workers and younger age groups. Only 41% of patients were satisfied with existing institutional supports. Problems related mainly to poor communication. CONCLUSIONS: Considerable anxiety seems to be experienced by most patients awaiting bypass surgery. Better communication and education might alleviate some of this anxiety. Economic hardship affects certain patient subgroups more than others and may need to be weighed in the selection process. A more definitive examination of these issues is warranted.  (+info)

Comparison of NHS and private patients undergoing elective transurethral resection of the prostate for benign prostatic hypertrophy. (7/1401)

OBJECTIVES: To compare the operative thresholds and clinical management of men undergoing elective transurethral resection of the prostate for benign prostatic hypertrophy in the NHS and privately. DESIGN: Cohort study of patients recruited by 25 surgeons during 1988. SETTING: Hospitals in Oxford and North West Thames regions. PATIENTS: Of 400 consecutive patients, 129 were excluded because of open surgery (nine), lack of surgeons' information (three), and emergency admission (117) and three failed to give information, leaving 268 patients, 214 NHS patients and 54 private patients. MAIN MEASURES: Sociodemographic factors, prevalence and severity of symptoms, comorbidity, general health (Nottingham health profile) obtained from patient questionnaire preoperatively and reasons for operating, and operative management obtained from surgeons perioperatively. RESULTS: NHS and private patients were similar in severity of symptoms and prevalence of urinary tract abnormalities. They differed in four respects: NHS patients' general health was poorer as a consequence of more comorbid conditions (49, 23% v 7, 13% in severe category); the condition had a greater detrimental effect on their lives (36, 17% v 2, 4% severely affected; p < 0.01); private patients received more personalised care more quickly and were investigated more before surgery, (29, 54% v 60, 20% receiving ultrasonography of the urinary tract); and NHS patients stayed in hospital longer (57, 27% v 3, 6% more than seven days; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Private patients' need for surgery, judged by symptom severity, was as great as that of NHS patients, and there was no evidence of different operative thresholds in the two sectors, but, judged by impact on lifestyle, NHS patients' need was greater.  (+info)

Mortality remains high for outpatient transplant candidates with prolonged (>6 months) waiting list time. (8/1401)

OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to determine the risk of death or urgent transplant for patients who survived an initial 6 months on the outpatient heart transplant waiting list when criteria emphasizing reduced peak oxygen consumption are used for transplant candidate selection. BACKGROUND: Waiting time is a key criterion for heart donor allocation. A recent single-center investigation described decreasing survival benefit from transplant for patients who survived an initial 6 months on the outpatient waiting list. METHODS: Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed for 80 patients from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) listed from July 1986 to January 1991, and 132 patients from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC) listed from September 1993 to September 1995. Survival from the time of outpatient listing for the entire group (ALL) was compared to subsequent survival from 6 months onward for those patients who survived the initial 6 months after placement on the outpatient list (6M). Both urgent transplant and left ventricular assist device implantation were considered equivalent to death; elective transplant was censored. RESULTS Survival for 6M was not significantly better than ALL at HUP (subsequent 12 months: 60+/-7 vs. 60+/-6% [mean+/-SD]; p = 0.89) nor at CPMC (subsequent 12 months: 60+/-6 vs. 48+/-5%; p = 0.35). Survival for 6M at both centers was substantially lower than survival following transplant from the outpatient list in the United States in 1995. CONCLUSIONS: When high-risk patients are selected for nonurgent transplant listing, mortality remains high, even among those who survive the initial six months after listing. Time accrued on the waiting list remains an appropriate criterion for donor allocation.  (+info)