Screening for congenital heart malformation in child health centres.
BACKGROUND: Although screening for congenital heart malformations is part of the child health care programme in several countries, there are very few published evaluations of these activities. This report is concerned with the evaluation of this screening at the Dutch Child Health Centres (CHC). METHODS: All consecutive patients, aged between 32 days and 4 years, presented at the Sophia Children's Hospital Rotterdam throughout a period of 2 years, with a congenital heart malformation were included in this study. Paediatric cardiologists established whether or not these patients were diagnosed after haemodynamic complications had already developed (diagnosed 'too late'). Parents and CHC-physicians were interviewed in order to establish the screening and detection history. Test properties were established for all patients with a congenital heart malformation (n = 290), intended effects of screening were established in patients with clinically significant malformations (n = 82). RESULTS: The sensitivity of the actual screening programme was 0.57 (95% CI : 0.51-0.62), the specificity 0.985 (95% CI : 0.981-0.990) and the predictive value of a positive test result 0.13 (95% CI: 0.10-0.19). Sensitivity in a subpopulation of patients adequately screened was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.74-0.96). Adequately screened patients were less likely to be diagnosed 'too late' than inadequately screened patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.04-1.05). The actual risk of being diagnosed 'too late' in the study-population (48%) was only slightly less than the estimated risk for patients not exposed to CHC-screening (58%, 95% CI: 43%-72%). Adequately screened patients however were at considerably less risk (17%, 95% CI: 4%-48%). CONCLUSION: Screening for congenital heart malformations in CHC contributes to the timely detection of these disorders. The actual yield, however, is far from optimal, and the screening programme should be improved. (+info)
Socioeconomic inequalities in health in the working population: the contribution of working conditions.
BACKGROUND: The aim was to study the impact of different categories of working conditions on the association between occupational class and self-reported health in the working population. METHODS: Data were collected through a postal survey conducted in 1991 among inhabitants of 18 municipalities in the southeastern Netherlands. Data concerned 4521 working men and 2411 working women and included current occupational class (seven classes), working conditions (physical working conditions, job control, job demands, social support at work), perceived general health (very good or good versus less than good) and demographic confounders. Data were analysed with logistic regression techniques. RESULTS: For both men and women we observed a higher odds ratio for a less than good perceived general health in the lower occupational classes (adjusted for confounders). The odds of a less than good perceived general health was larger among people reporting more hazardous physical working conditions, lower job control, lower social support at work and among those in the highest category of job demands. Results were similar for men and women. Men and women in the lower occupational classes reported more hazardous physical working conditions and lower job control as compared to those in higher occupational classes. High job demands were more often reported in the higher occupational classes, while social support at work was not clearly related to occupational class. When physical working conditions and job control were added simultaneously to a model with occupational class and confounders, the odds ratios for occupational classes were reduced substantially. For men, the per cent change in the odds ratios for the occupational classes ranged between 35% and 83%, and for women between 35% and 46%. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial part of the association between occupational class and a less than good perceived general health in the working population could be attributed to a differential distribution of hazardous physical working conditions and a low job control across occupational classes. This suggests that interventions aimed at improving these working conditions might result in a reduction of socioeconomic inequalities in health in the working population. (+info)
Double-blind intervention trial on modulation of ozone effects on pulmonary function by antioxidant supplements.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the acute effects of ozone on lung function could be modulated by antioxidant vitamin supplementation in a placebo-controlled study. Lung function was measured in Dutch bicyclists (n = 38) before and after each training session on a number of occasions (n = 380) during the summer of 1996. The vitamin group (n = 20) received 100 mg of vitamin E and 500 mg of vitamin C daily for 15 weeks. The average ozone concentration during exercise was 77 microg/m3 (range, 14-186 microg/m3). After exclusion of subjects with insufficient compliance from the analysis, a difference in ozone exposure of 100 microg/m3 decreased forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) 95 ml (95% confidence interval (CI) -265 to -53) in the placebo group and 1 ml (95% CI -94 to 132) in the vitamin group; for forced vital capacity, the change was -125 ml (95% CI -384 to -36) in the placebo group and -42 ml (95% CI -130 to 35) in the vitamin group. The differences in ozone effect on lung function between the groups were statistically significant. The results suggest that supplementation with the antioxidant vitamins C and E confers partial protection against the acute effects of ozone on FEV1 and forced vital capacity in cyclists. (+info)
Assessment of complement deficiency in patients with meningococcal disease in The Netherlands.
The frequency of complement deficiency in 176 of 7,732 patients with meningococcal disease in the Netherlands from 1959 through 1992 was assessed. Complement deficiency was found in six patients (3%): 3 (7%) of the patients with Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C disease, 1 (2%) of the patients with N. meningitidis serogroup A disease, and 2 (33%) of the patients with infections due to uncommon serogroups and nongroupable strains of N. meningitidis. Of 91 additional patients with meningococcal infections due to uncommon serogroups, 33% also had complement deficiency. Thirty-four of the 36 complement-deficient patients with meningococcal disease who were from 33 families were 5 years of age or older. Twenty-six additional complement-deficient relatives were found. Screening individuals with meningococcal disease due to uncommon serogroups who were 5 years of age or older identified 30 of the 33 complement-deficient families. Only 27% of the complement-deficient relatives had had meningococcal disease. This risk was lower for relatives with properdin deficiency (18%) than for those deficient in the late component of complement (38%). Therefore, pedigree studies are warranted for identifying those complement-deficient persons who require vaccination for meningococcal disease. (+info)
An expert system for the evaluation of historical asbestos exposure as diagnostic criterion in asbestos-related diseases.
Compensation schemes for asbestos-related diseases have developed different strategies for attributing a specific disease to occupational exposure to asbestos in the past. In the absence of quantitative exposure information that allows a valid estimate of an individual's historical exposure, general guidelines are required to retrospectively evaluate asbestos exposure. A risk matrix has been developed that contains qualitative information on the proportion of workers exposed and the level of exposure in particular industries over time. Based on this risk matrix, stepwise decision trees were formulated for decisions regarding the decisive role of historical asbestos exposure in case ascertainment of asbestosis and mesothelioma. Application of decision schemes will serve to speed up the process of verifying compensation claims and also contribute to a uniform decision-making process in legal procedures. (+info)
Risk-adjusted capitation based on the Diagnostic Cost Group Model: an empirical evaluation with health survey information.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the predictive accuracy of the Diagnostic Cost Group (DCG) model using health survey information. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Longitudinal data collected for a sample of members of a Dutch sickness fund. In the Netherlands the sickness funds provide compulsory health insurance coverage for the 60 percent of the population in the lowest income brackets. STUDY DESIGN: A demographic model and DCG capitation models are estimated by means of ordinary least squares, with an individual's annual healthcare expenditures in 1994 as the dependent variable. For subgroups based on health survey information, costs predicted by the models are compared with actual costs. Using stepwise regression procedures a subset of relevant survey variables that could improve the predictive accuracy of the three-year DCG model was identified. Capitation models were extended with these variables. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: For the empirical analysis, panel data of sickness fund members were used that contained demographic information, annual healthcare expenditures, and diagnostic information from hospitalizations for each member. In 1993, a mailed health survey was conducted among a random sample of 15,000 persons in the panel data set, with a 70 percent response rate. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The predictive accuracy of the demographic model improves when it is extended with diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations (DCGs). A subset of survey variables further improves the predictive accuracy of the DCG capitation models. The predictable profits and losses based on survey information for the DCG models are smaller than for the demographic model. Most persons with predictable losses based on health survey information were not hospitalized in the preceding year. CONCLUSIONS: The use of diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations is a promising option for improving the demographic capitation payment formula. This study suggests that diagnostic information from outpatient utilization is complementary to DCGs in predicting future costs. (+info)
Immunosurveillance and the evaluation of national immunization programmes: a population-based approach.
Mass vaccination can change the epidemiological dynamics of infectious diseases. It may result in a limited persistence of natural and vaccine-induced immunity and a higher mean age of infection, which may lead to a greater risk of complications. The epidemiological situation should be monitored and immunosurveillance based on the assessment of specific antibodies against vaccine-preventable diseases in human serum is one of the tools. In order to estimate the immunity of the Dutch population reliably, a large-scale, population-based, collection of serum samples was established (8359 sera in a nation-wide sampling and 1589 sera from municipalities with low vaccine coverage). In contrast to collecting residual sera from laboratories, this approach gains extensive information by means of a questionnaire regarding the determinants of the immune status and the risk factors for the transmission of infectious diseases in general. The population-based approach gives a better guarantee that the data are representative than collecting sera from laboratories does. (+info)
A model-based evaluation of the national immunization programme against rubella infection and congenital rubella syndrome in The Netherlands.
In order to improve the prevention of cases of congenital rubella syndrome in The Netherlands, in 1987 the selective vaccination strategy against rubella infection in girls was replaced by mass vaccination. This decision was supported by mathematical model analyses carried out by Van Druten and De Boo. In order to compare the predicted impact of the rubella vaccination programme with the current available data in more detail, a similar model was built. Although the model predicts elimination of the rubella virus, data show that virus circulation is still present at a higher level than expected by the model. Simulation studies indicate that import of infection and a lower vaccine effectiveness, related to possible asymptomatic reinfection of vaccinated people, could be sources contributing to the present virus circulation. Even though the number of infections is much higher than the number of reported cases of disease, limited serosurveillance data and case notification data show that females of childbearing age are well protected by immunization. (+info)