Building a "brain attack" team to administer thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke. (17/878)

Before tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was licensed for use in Canada, in February 1999, the Calgary Regional Stroke Program spearheaded the development and organization of local resources to use thrombolytic therapy in patients who had experienced acute ischemic stroke. In 1996 special permission was obtained from the Calgary Regional Health Authority to use intravenously administered tPA for acute ischemic stroke, and ethical and scientific review boards approved the protocols. After 3 years our efforts have resulted in improved patient outcomes, shorter times from symptom onset to treatment and acceptable adverse event rates. Areas for continued improvement include the door-to-needle time and broader education of the public about the symptoms of acute ischemic stroke.  (+info)

Risk factors for benign proliferative breast disease. (18/878)

BACKGROUND: As part of a nested case-control study of benign proliferative breast disease (BPBD) conducted within the cohort of women participating in the Alberta breast screening programme, an analysis of all women who had a benign breast biopsy between 1990 and 1995 was undertaken to identify the epidemiological risk factors for BPBD. METHODS: The breast biopsies of all eligible women were re-reviewed by a panel of four pathologists using Page's classification for benign breast disease. Cases were 165 women whose biopsies, upon review, showed benign breast tissue changes ranging from sclerosing adenosis to atypical ductal hyperplasia. Controls were 217 women whose biopsies showed no evidence of any proliferative or neoplastic changes. In-person interviews were conducted with all study subjects. RESULTS: Women with >/=25% fibroglandular breast tissue density, as compared to women with <25% density, experienced nearly a doubling in risk of BPBD (OR = 1.91, 95% CI : 1.24-2.94). All other possible risk factors examined were not associated with BPBD. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that fibroglandular tissue density may be a risk factor, or marker, for increased risk of BPBD.  (+info)

When should hypertension be treated? The different perspectives of Canadian family physicians and patients. (19/878)

BACKGROUND: Hypertension guidelines from different organizations often specify different treatment thresholds, and none explicitly state how these thresholds were chosen. This study was undertaken to determine the treatment thresholds of family physicians and hypertensive patients for mild, uncomplicated essential hypertension. A subject's treatment threshold can be determined by eliciting the minimum reduction in cardiovascular risk that he or she feels outweighs the inconvenience, costs and side effects of antihypertensive therapy (the minimal clinically important difference [MCID]). METHODS: The study subjects consisted of a random sample of family physicians and a consecutive sample of hypertensive patients without overt cardiovascular disease from Ottawa and Edmonton. To determine participants' MCIDs, we used a survey employing hypothetical scenarios (each depicting a different baseline cardiovascular risk) and a probability trade-off tool. RESULTS: Of 94 family physicians and 146 patients approached for the study, 72 and 74 participated respectively. There was marked variability in the MCIDs of both groups. In general, patients were less likely to want antihypertensive therapy than physicians, particularly when baseline cardiovascular risks were low: 49% v. 64% (p = 0.06), 68% v. 92% (p < 0.001) and 86% v. 100% (p = 0.001) for 5-year cardiovascular risks of 2%, 5% and 10% respectively. Moreover, patients expressed larger MCIDs (i.e., wanted greater benefits before accepting therapy) than physicians. However, a subgroup of patients (15% to 26%, depending on the scenario) wanted treatment even if there was no anticipated benefit. Multivariate analysis showed that no sociodemographic factors strongly predicted the MCIDs of either group. INTERPRETATION: Guidelines that set treatment thresholds on the basis of physician or expert opinion may not accurately reflect the preferences of hypertensive patients. There is a need for patient decision aids and attention to patient preferences when initiation of antihypertensive therapy is considered for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Further research is needed to define treatment thresholds for other chronic conditions and in other groups.  (+info)

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in northern Alberta, Canada: clinical and laboratory findings for 19 cases. (20/878)

We reviewed the clinical and laboratory findings for 19 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) identified either serologically or by immunohistochemical testing of archival tissue at our tertiary care center. Fever (95%), cough (89%), and dyspnea (89%) were the most common presenting symptoms. The most prevalent presenting signs were respiratory abnormalities (95%) and tachycardia (84%). Common laboratory findings included thrombocytopenia (95%) and leukocytosis (79%). Elevated aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase levels were found in all patients tested. Intubation was required in 58% of the patients, and inotropic support was required in 53%. Our study confirms that serological responses appear early during clinical illness, making the enzyme immunoassay a useful tool for the diagnosis of acute HPS. The mortality (26%) and severity of disease that we observed among patients with HPS appear to be less than those reported elsewhere.  (+info)

Quantitative gram stain interpretation criteria used by microbiology laboratories in Alberta, Canada. (21/878)

Microbiology laboratories in Alberta, Canada, were surveyed to determine the quantitative interpretive criteria used to routinely read and report Gram stains. There was a wide variability in the quantitative reporting criteria cited for both cells and bacteria, with only 11 of 32 (34.4%) laboratories surveyed using the criteria recommended by the external proficiency-testing program. Lack of standardized criteria not only poses a problem in the grading of proficiency testing results but may also impact the quality of patient care.  (+info)

On the delivery of intensive care. (22/878)

A 12-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit in a provincial, university-affiliated teaching hospital had 810 admissions during an 18-month period. Most patients were admitted under the care of a family physician. Quality care in the ICU was maintained by the efforts of dedicated unit managers, specialists and house staff. The overall mortality in the ICU of 8.1%, when added to the post-ICU mortality of 2.7% (giving a total hospital mortality of 10.8%), compares favourably with the best reported figures. Strong emphasis on selection of patients with potentially reversible disease, prompted in part by the limited facilities, may have played a role in yielding such favourable statistics. It is possible to retain participation of all members of the health care team during the brief phase of severe illness requiring intensive care.  (+info)

Thrombolysis in brain ischemia (TIBI) transcranial Doppler flow grades predict clinical severity, early recovery, and mortality in patients treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator. (23/878)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: TIMI angiographic classification measures coronary residual flow and recanalization. We developed a Thrombolysis in Brain Ischemia (TIBI) classification by using transcranial Doppler (TCD) to noninvasively monitor intracranial vessel residual flow signals. We examined whether the emergent TCD TIBI classification correlated with stroke severity and outcome in patients treated with intravenously administered tPA (IV-tPA). METHODS: TCD examination occurred acutely and on day 2. TIBI flows were determined at distal MCA and basilar artery depths, depending on occlusion site. TIBI waveforms were graded as follows: 0, absent; 1, minimal; 2, blunted; 3, dampened; 4, stenotic; and 5, normal. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores were obtained at baseline and 24 hours after administration of tPA. RESULTS: One hundred nine IV tPA patients were studied. Mean+/-SD age was 68+/-16 years; median NIHSS score before administration of tPA (pre-tPA) was 17.5. The tPA bolus was administered 143+/-58 minutes and the TCD examination 141+/-57 minutes after symptom onset. Pre-tPA NIHSS scores were higher in patients with TIBI grade 0 than TIBI grade 4 or 5 flow. TIBI flow improvement to grade 4 or 5 occurred in 35% of patients (19/54) with an initial grade of 0 or 1 and in 52% (12/23) with initial grade 2 or 3. The 24-hour NIHSS scores were higher in follow-up in patients with TIBI grade 0 or 1 than those with TIBI grade 4 or 5 flow. TIBI flow recovery correlated with NIHSS score improvement. Lack of flow recovery predicted worsening or no improvement. In-hospital mortality was 71% (5/7) for patients with posterior circulation occlusions; it was 22% (11/51) for patients with pre-tPA TIBI 0 or 1 compared with 5% (1/19) for those with pre-tPA TIBI 2 or 3 anterior circulation occlusions. CONCLUSIONS: Emergent TCD TIBI classification correlates with initial stroke severity, clinical recovery, and mortality in IV-tPA-treated stroke patients. A flow-grade improvement correlated with clinical improvement.  (+info)

Outcomes after the regionalization of major surgical procedures in the Alberta Capital Health Region (Edmonton). (24/878)

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of regionalization on the outcomes of 16 surgical procedures performed in the Capital Health Region (Edmonton) of Alberta. DESIGN: A computer search of hospital discharge abstracts coded for the Canadian Institute for Health Information. SETTING: Two major hospitals in Edmonton. PATIENTS: The study population comprised 9250 patients (9727 procedures [4524, pre-regionalization, 5203 post-regionalization]) who underwent any of 16 major procedures in the 2 years before and the 2 years after restructuring. OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic data, Charlson's comorbidity index, number of urgent and emergent cases, death rate, average length of hospital stay and the readmission rate. RESULTS: The post-regionalization patient group was slightly older, had a higher comorbidity index, and fewer urgent and emergent cases. The case volume increased by 15%, and 43.6% of patients used some form of community-based health care services. The median length of hospital stay decreased from 8.0 days pre-regionalization to 7.0 days post-regionalization (p < 0.001). Overall and for specific procedures the death rate was unchanged (3.1% pre-regionalization, 2.4% post-regionalization, p = 0.06). The readmission rates were similar for both groups (8.0% versus 7.0%). CONCLUSIONS: The consolidation of these 16 major surgical procedures had minimal impact on death and readmission rates even though patients in the post-regionalization group were slightly older and had greater comorbidity. There was a significant decline in the length of hospital stay, which occurred nationally over the same period, and a corresponding increase in the use of community-based services.  (+info)