Out-of-hours service in Denmark: the effect of a structural change.
BACKGROUND: In Denmark, the provision of out-of-hours care by general practitioners (GPs) was reformed at the start of 1992. Rota systems were replaced locally by county-based services. The new out-of-hours service resulted in a considerable reduction in the total number of GPs on call. AIM: To describe how the patients experienced the change from a satisfaction point of view, and how the pattern of patient contact and the fee for GPs changed with the new system. METHOD: The county of Funen was chosen as the geographical area where data were collected. A questionnaire measuring patient satisfaction was posted before the change, immediately after the change, and three years later to a random selection of patients who had been in contact with the out-of-hours service within two weeks before the mailing date. All primary care services for the Danish population are stored in a database (National Health Service Registry). From this continuously updated database, the contact pattern and the fee for GPs were extracted for 1991, 1992, and 1995. RESULTS: The total number of patient contacts was reduced by 16% in the first year, but by only 6% three years later. Three years after the change, there were more than twice as many telephone consultations as before the change, and there were only a third as many home visits. After three years, the GPs' fees were reduced by 20%. There was a significant decrease in patient satisfaction, although the overall level remained high. This decrease was lower three years after the change than immediately after the new system was introduced. CONCLUSION: The new service had a major cost-effectiveness benefit, but there was a price to pay in patient satisfaction. (+info)
Clusters of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: analysis of person-to-person transmission by genotyping.
Genotyping at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rRNA operon was performed on isolates of P. carinii sp. f. hominis from three clusters of P. carinii pneumonia among eight patients with haematological malignancies and six with HIV infection. Nine different ITS sequence types of P. carinii sp. f. hominis were identified in the samples from the patients with haematological malignancies, suggesting that this cluster of cases of P. carinii pneumonia was unlikely to have resulted from nosocomial transmission. A common ITS sequence type was observed in two of the patients with haematological malignancies who shared a hospital room, and also in two of the patients with HIV infection who had prolonged close contact on the ward. In contrast, different ITS sequence types were detected in samples from an HIV-infected homosexual couple who shared the same household. These data suggest that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis may occur from infected to susceptible immunosuppressed patients with close contact within hospital environments. However direct transmission between patients did not account for the majority of cases within the clusters, suggesting that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis infection may be a relatively infrequent event and does not constitute the major route of transmission in man. (+info)
Why do short term workers have high mortality?
Increased mortality is often reported among workers in short term employment. This may indicate either a health-related selection process or the presence of different lifestyle or social conditions among short term workers. The authors studied these two aspects of short term employment among 16,404 Danish workers in the reinforced plastics industry who were hired between 1978 and 1985 and were followed to the end of 1988. Preemployment hospitalization histories for 1977-1984 were ascertained and were related to length of employment between 1978 and 1988. Workers who had been hospitalized prior to employment showed a 20% higher risk of early termination of employment than those never hospitalized (rate ratio (RR) = 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16-1.29), and the risk increased with number of hospitalizations. For workers with two or more preemployment hospitalizations related to alcohol abuse or violence, the rate ratios for short term employment were 2.30 (95% CI 1.74-3.06) and 1.86 (95% CI 1.35-2.56), respectively. An unhealthy lifestyle may also be a determinant of short term employment. While it is possible in principle to adjust for lifestyle factors if proper data are collected, the health-related selection of workers requires careful consideration when choosing a reference group for comparative studies of cumulative occupational exposure. (+info)
Gallstones, cholecystectomy and risk of cancers of the liver, biliary tract and pancreas.
To examine the association between gallstones and cholecystectomy, we conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study in Denmark. Patients with a discharge diagnosis of gallstones from 1977 to 1989 were identified from the Danish National Registry of Patients and followed up for cancer occurrence until death or the end of 1993 by record linkage to the Danish Cancer Registry. Included in the cohort were 60 176 patients, with 471 450 person-years of follow-up. Cancer risks were estimated by standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) stratified by years of follow-up and by cholecystectomy status. Among patients without cholecystectomy, the risks at 5 or more years of follow-up were significantly elevated for cancers of liver (SIR = 2.0, CI = 1.2-3.1) and gallbladder (SIR = 2.7, CI = 1.5-4.4) and near unity for cancers of extrahepatic bile duct (SIR = 1.1), ampulla of Vater (SIR = 1.0) and pancreas (SIR = 1.1). The excess risk of liver cancer was seen only among patients with a history of hepatic disease. Among cholecystectomy patients, the risks at 5 or more years of follow-up declined for cancers of liver (SIR = 1.1) and extrahepatic bile duct (SIR = 0.7), but were elevated for cancers of ampulla of Vater (SIR = 2.0, CI = 1.0-3.7) and pancreas (SIR = 1.3, CI = 1.1-1.6). These findings confirm that gallstone disease increases the risk of gallbladder cancer, whereas cholecystectomy appears to increase the risk of cancers of ampulla of Vater and pancreas. Further research is needed to clarify the carcinogenic risks associated with gallstones and cholecystectomy and to define the mechanisms involved. (+info)
Effects of family history and place and season of birth on the risk of schizophrenia.
BACKGROUND: Although a family history of schizophrenia is the best-established risk factor for schizophrenia, environmental factors such as the place and season of birth may also be important. METHODS: Using data from the Civil Registration System in Denmark, we established a population-based cohort of 1.75 million persons whose mothers were Danish women born between 1935 and 1978. We linked this cohort to the Danish Psychiatric Central Register and identified 2669 cases of schizophrenia among cohort members and additional cases among their parents. RESULTS: The respective relative risks of schizophrenia for persons with a mother, father, or sibling who had schizophrenia were 9.31 (95 percent confidence interval, 7.24 to 11.96), 7.20 (95 percent confidence interval, 5.10 to 10.16), and 6.99 (95 percent confidence interval, 5.38 to 9.09), as compared with persons with no affected parents or siblings. The risk of schizophrenia was associated with the degree of urbanization of the place of birth (relative risk for the capital vs. rural areas, 2.40; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.13 to 2.70). The risk was also significantly associated with the season of birth; it was highest for births in February and March and lowest for births in August and September. The population attributable risk was 5.5 percent for a history of schizophrenia in a parent or sibling, 34.6 percent for urban place of birth, and 10.5 percent for the season of birth. CONCLUSIONS: Although a history of schizophrenia in a parent or sibling is associated with the highest relative risk of having the disease, the place and season of birth account for many more cases on a population basis. (+info)
Biomarkers for exposure to ambient air pollution--comparison of carcinogen-DNA adduct levels with other exposure markers and markers for oxidative stress.
Human exposure to genotoxic compounds present in ambient air has been studied using selected biomarkers in nonsmoking Danish bus drivers and postal workers. A large interindividual variation in biomarker levels was observed. Significantly higher levels of bulky carcinogen-DNA adducts (75.42 adducts/10(8) nucleotides) and of 2-amino-apidic semialdehyde (AAS) in plasma proteins (56.7 pmol/mg protein) were observed in bus drivers working in the central part of Copenhagen, Denmark. In contrast, significantly higher levels of AAS in hemoglobin (55.8 pmol/mg protein), malondialdehyde in plasma (0. 96 nmol/ml plasma), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-albumin adduct (3.38 fmol/ microg albumin) were observed in the suburban group. The biomarker levels in postal workers were similar to the levels in suburban bus drivers. In the combined group of bus drivers and postal workers, negative correlations were observed between bulky carcinogen-DNA adduct and PAH-albumin levels (p = 0.005), and between DNA adduct and [gamma]-glutamyl semialdehyde (GGS) in hemoglobin (p = 0.11). Highly significant correlations were found between PAH-albumin adducts and AAS in plasma (p = 0.001) and GGS in hemoglobin (p = 0.001). Significant correlations were also observed between urinary 8-oxo-7, 8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine and AAS in plasma (p = 0.001) and PAH-albumin adducts (p = 0.002). The influence of the glutatione S-transferase (GST) M1 deletion on the correlation between the biomarkers was studied in the combined group. A significant negative correlation was only observed between bulky carcinogen-DNA adducts and PAH-albumin adducts (p = 0.02) and between DNA adduct and urinary mutagenic activity (p = 0.02) in the GSTM1 null group, but not in the workers who were homozygotes or heterozygotes for GSTM1. Our results indicate that some of the selected biomarkers can be used to distinguish between high and low exposure to environmental genotoxins. (+info)
Do morphology and stage explain the inferior lung cancer survival in Denmark?
Danish lung cancer patients diagnosed during 1983-1987 experienced 5-yr relative survival rates 2-7% inferior to patients in the other Nordic countries, despite the similarity of cancer registration and healthcare systems in the Nordic countries. Is the inferior relative survival in Denmark due to differences in morphology or stage of lung cancers? The present study compared in detail the survival of 92,719 patients diagnosed with lung cancer during 1978-1992 in Denmark, Finland, and Norway. In particular, differences in morphology and extent of disease were studied. A poor survival rate for small cell anaplastic lung carcinoma compared with all other morphologies was confirmed. However, this could not explain the relative survival differences observed between countries. Extent of disease was the most important predictor of survival. Part of the observed survival differences could be explained by a less favourable stage distribution in Denmark, combined with a slightly lower relative survival rate for those with metastatic disease. Differences in treatment are unlikely to explain the findings, although delays in diagnosing and treating patients in Denmark compared with neighbouring countries could partially explain the lower patient survival in Denmark. In conclusion, the main factor in the lower survival rate in Denmark is unfavourable stage distribution. (+info)
Recurrence in affective disorder: analyses with frailty models.
The risk of recurrence in affective disorder is influenced by the number of prior episodes and by a person's tendency toward recurrence. Newly developed frailty models were used to estimate the effect of the number of episodes on the rate of recurrence, taking into account individual frailty toward recurrence. The study base was the Danish psychiatric case register of all hospital admissions for primary affective disorder in Denmark during 1971-1993. A total of 20,350 first-admission patients were discharged with a diagnosis of major affective disorder. For women with unipolar disorder and for all kinds of patients with bipolar disorder, the rate of recurrence was affected by the number of prior episodes even when the effect was adjusted for individual frailty toward recurrence. No effect of episodes but a large effect of the frailty parameter was found for unipolar men. The authors concluded that the risk of recurrence seems to increase with the number of episodes of bipolar affective disorder in general and for women with unipolar disorder. (+info)