Research by staff affiliated to Tallaght University Hospital (formerly Adelaide Meath Hospital, Tallaght)

Recent Submissions

  • Gender specific considerations in septorhinoplasty, a retrospective observational study and review of the literature.

    Gillanders, S L; Walsh, M; Anderson, S; Abdulrahman, S (2022-05-18)
    Introduction: In our service experience, we found we had a high proportion of male patients undergoing septorhinoplasty. This encouraged us to research gender specific differences in anatomy, surgical techniques, expectations and outcomes. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patients who have had rhinoplasty surgery under a single otolaryngology consultant with a special interest in rhinoplasty. Patient information and results of the 10-Item Standardized Cosmesis and Health Nasal Outcomes Survey for Functional and Cosmetic Rhinoplasty pre and post-surgery were collected. Results: There was no statistically significant difference in the mean pre-operative symptom (29.31 vs 32.29 p = 0.559), change in symptom (23.25 vs 24.14 p = 0.827) or satisfaction scores (8.69 vs 7.29 p = 0.089) between male and female patients. A discussion on gender specific anatomical features and deformities is presented. Conclusion: All patients reported improved symptoms and high levels of satisfaction. Careful patient counselling and patient-specific surgical planning help to achieve optimal outcomes.
  • Outcome reporting bias in nephrology randomized clinical trials: Examining outcomes represented by graphical illustrations.

    Ward, Frank; Shiely, Frances (2022-05-25)
    Background Outcome reporting bias (ORB) is widely reported in the medical literature, but the contribution from published graphical illustrations is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of ORB in contemporary nephrology clinical trials relating to the choice of outcomes reported through graphical illustrations. Methods An observational study was conducted using nephrology clinical trials searched from five high-impact medical journals from 2015 to 2020. Eligible trials reported a phase 2, 3 or 4 trial, contained at least one published outcome graphical illustration and were registered on a clinical trial registry. The primary outcome was the occurrence of ORB based on the choice of graphical illustrations in published trial manuscripts, deemed to be present if a graphical illustration displayed a secondary or unregistered outcome ahead of a trial's primary outcome, or if any unregistered trial outcome was presented as a graphical illustration. Results In 75 eligible clinical trials, the primary outcome for ORB was present in 60% of the trials (n = 45). Occurrence of the primary outcome did not differ significantly based on trial sample size, funding model, trial phase, individual medical journal or publication year. An unregistered trial outcome was graphically illustrated in 93% (n = 42) of those clinical trials with ORB present. Conclusion Outcome reporting bias based on the choice of graphical illustration is common, driven primarily by graphical illustration of unregistered trial outcomes. More appropriate choice of outcomes for graphical illustrations by authors, coupled with both increased enforcement of CONSORT guidelines by medical journals and specific guidelines for graphical illustrations choice, are desirable to address these findings.
  • IAEM Clinical Guideline: Management of patients with tension pneumothorax in the emergency department [v1.0]

    McCabe, Aileen; Gray, James; Moloney, Edward; Lane, Stephen; Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) (Tallaght University Hospital, 2019-01)
    Undiagnosed tension pneumothorax is a readily treatable cause of cardiac arrest. Tension pneumothorax is a clinical diagnosis and should not require a chest X-ray to diagnose. This is a respiratory emergency and mandates prompt decompression. Air is drawn into the pleural space with each inspiration and there is no escape of air during expiration. Pressure builds up in the intrapleural space such that the mediastinum is pushed over into the contralateral hemithorax along with compression of the great veins. The patient will progress to obstructive shock and further deteriorate to a cardiorespiratory arrest (PEA arrest typically) if not emergently treated by needle thoracocentesis.
  • Maxillary Odontogenic Keratocyst.

    Walsh, Michael; Hussein, Mansoor A; Carter, Marguerite; Abdulrahman, Shawkat (2022-04-11)
    Case report: The Odontogenic Keratocyst (OKC) is one of the most aggressive odontogenic cysts. OKCs of the maxilla are particularly rare with less than 1% of cases reported in the literature. A 29-year-old female patient presented with pain and loose upper molars. Imaging confirmed an ectopic tooth at the osteomeatal complex and a maxillary OKC. These were endoscopically surgically removed and two teeth were encountered at the maxillary antrum. Histopathology confirmed the diagnosis of OKC of the maxilla. Surveillance with CT imaging and clinical assessment at 6 months shows no evidence of recurrence.
  • Outcomes in Antiplatelet-Associated Intracerebral Hemorrhage in the TICH-2 Randomized Controlled Trial.

    Law, Zhe Kang; Desborough, Michael; Roberts, Ian; Al-Shahi Salman, Rustam; England, Timothy J; Werring, David J; Robinson, Thompson; Krishnan, Kailash; Dineen, Robert; Laska, Ann Charlotte; et al. (2021-02-15)
    Abstract Background Antiplatelet therapy increases the risk of hematoma expansion in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) while the effect on functional outcome is uncertain. Methods and Results This is an exploratory analysis of the TICH‐2 (Tranexamic Acid in Intracerebral Hemorrhage‐2) double‐blind, randomized, placebo‐controlled trial, which studied the efficacy of tranexamic acid in patients with spontaneous ICH within 8 hours of onset. Multivariable logistic regression and ordinal regression were performed to explore the relationship between pre‐ICH antiplatelet therapy, and 24‐hour hematoma expansion and day 90 modified Rankin Scale score, as well as the effect of tranexamic acid. Of 2325 patients, 611 (26.3%) had pre‐ICH antiplatelet therapy. They were older (mean age, 75.7 versus 66.5 years), more likely to have ischemic heart disease (25.4% versus 2.7%), ischemic stroke (36.2% versus 6.3%), intraventricular hemorrhage (40.2% versus 27.5%), and larger baseline hematoma volume (mean, 28.1 versus 22.6 mL) than the no‐antiplatelet group. Pre‐ICH antiplatelet therapy was associated with a significantly increased risk of hematoma expansion (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.28; 95% CI, 1.01–1.63), a shift toward unfavorable outcome in modified Rankin Scale (adjusted common OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.32–1.91) and a higher risk of death at day 90 (adjusted OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.25–2.11). Tranexamic acid reduced the risk of hematoma expansion in the overall patients with ICH (adjusted OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.62–0.93) and antiplatelet subgroup (adjusted OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.41–0.91) with no significant interaction between pre‐ICH antiplatelet therapy and tranexamic acid (P interaction=0.248). Conclusions Antiplatelet therapy is independently associated with hematoma expansion and unfavorable functional outcome. Tranexamic acid reduced hematoma expansion regardless of prior antiplatelet therapy use.
  • Contemporary Management of Isolated Ostial Side Branch Disease: An Evidence-based Approach to Medina 001 Bifurcations.

    Suleiman, Suleiman; Coughlan, J J; Touma, George; Szirt, Richard (2021-04-05)
    The optimal management of bifurcation lesions has received significant interest in recent years and remains a matter of debate among the interventional cardiology community. Bifurcation lesions are encountered in approximately 21% of percutaneous coronary intervention procedures and are associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiac events. The Medina classification has been developed in an attempt to standardise the terminology when describing bifurcation lesions. The focus of this article is on the management of the Medina 0,0,1 lesion ('Medina 001'), an uncommon lesion encountered in <5% of all bifurcations. Technical considerations, management options and interventional techniques relating to the Medina 001 lesion are discussed. In addition, current published data supporting the various proposed interventional treatment strategies are examined in an attempt to delineate an evidence-based approach to this uncommon lesion.
  • Association of plasma mitochondrial DNA with COPD severity and progression in the SPIROMICS cohort.

    Zhang, William Z; Hoffman, Katherine L; Schiffer, Kristen T; Oromendia, Clara; Rice, Michelle C; Barjaktarevic, Igor; Peters, Stephen P; Putcha, Nirupama; Bowler, Russell P; Wells, J Michael; et al. (2021-04-26)
    Background: There is a lack of mechanism-driven, clinically relevant biomarkers in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Mitochondrial dysfunction, a proposed disease mechanism in COPD, is associated with the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), but plasma cell-free mtDNA has not been previously examined prospectively for associations with clinical COPD measures. Methods: P-mtDNA, defined as copy number of mitochondrially-encoded NADH dehydrogenase-1 (MT-ND1) gene, was measured by real-time quantitative PCR in 700 plasma samples from participants enrolled in the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD Study (SPIROMICS) cohort. Associations between p-mtDNA and clinical disease parameters were examined, adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, and for informative loss to follow-up. Results: P-mtDNA levels were higher in participants with mild or moderate COPD, compared to smokers without airflow obstruction, and to participants with severe COPD. Baseline increased p-mtDNA levels were associated with better CAT scores in female smokers without airflow obstruction and female participants with mild or moderate COPD on 1-year follow-up, but worse 6MWD in females with severe COPD. Higher p-mtDNA levels were associated with better 6MWD in male participants with severe COPD. These associations were no longer significant after adjusting for informative loss to follow-up. Conclusion: In this study, p-mtDNA levels associated with baseline COPD status but not future changes in clinical COPD measures after accounting for informative loss to follow-up. To better characterize mitochondrial dysfunction as a potential COPD endotype, these results should be confirmed and validated in future studies.
  • Nutritional immunity: the impact of metals on lung immune cells and the airway microbiome during chronic respiratory disease.

    Healy, Claire; Munoz-Wolf, Natalia; Strydom, Janné; Faherty, Lynne; Williams, Niamh C; Kenny, Sarah; Donnelly, Seamas C; Cloonan, Suzanne M (2021-04-29)
    Nutritional immunity is the sequestration of bioavailable trace metals such as iron, zinc and copper by the host to limit pathogenicity by invading microorganisms. As one of the most conserved activities of the innate immune system, limiting the availability of free trace metals by cells of the immune system serves not only to conceal these vital nutrients from invading bacteria but also operates to tightly regulate host immune cell responses and function. In the setting of chronic lung disease, the regulation of trace metals by the host is often disrupted, leading to the altered availability of these nutrients to commensal and invading opportunistic pathogenic microbes. Similarly, alterations in the uptake, secretion, turnover and redox activity of these vitally important metals has significant repercussions for immune cell function including the response to and resolution of infection. This review will discuss the intricate role of nutritional immunity in host immune cells of the lung and how changes in this fundamental process as a result of chronic lung disease may alter the airway microbiome, disease progression and the response to infection.
  • Colon capsule endoscopy is a viable alternative to colonoscopy for the investigation of intermediate- and low-risk patients with gastrointestinal symptoms: results of a pilot study.

    Ismail, Mohd Syafiq; Semenov, Serhiy; Sihag, Sandeep; Manoharan, Thilagaraj; Douglas, Atiyekeogbebe Rita; Reill, Phyllis; Kelly, Michael; Boran, Gerard; O'connor, Anthony; Breslin, Niall; et al. (2021-05-27)
    Background and study aims  Colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) is a recommended viable alternative to colonoscopy for colonic visualisation in a variety of clinical settings with proven efficacy in polyp detection, surveillance, screening and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) assessment. CCE efficacy in an unselected average risk symptomatic cohort has yet to be established. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of CCE imaging assessment in average risk symptomatic patients as an alternative to colonoscopy with and without additional biomarker assessment. Patients and methods  This was a prospective, single-center comparison study of colonoscopy, CCE and biomarker assessment. Results  Of 77 invited subjects, 66 underwent both a CCE and colonoscopy. A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and fecal calprotectin (FC) were available in 56 and 59 subjects. In all 64 % (n = 42) had any positive finding with 16 (24 %) found to have significant disease (high-risk adenomas, IBD) on colonoscopy. The CCE completion rate was 76 %, five (8 %) had an inadequate preparation, the CCE polyp detection rate was high at 35 %. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of CCE for significant disease were 81 %, 98 %, 93 % and 94 % respectively. In addition, three (5 %) significant small bowel diagnoses were made on CCE. FC and FIT were frequently elevated in patients with both colitis (5/7, 71 %) and high-risk adenomas (4/7 57 %). While both had a low positive predictive value for clinically significant disease, FIT 32 % and FC 26 %. Conclusions  CCE is a safe and effective alternative to colonoscopy in symptomatic average risk patients with or without the addition of biomarker screening.
  • Altered inflammasome activation in neonatal encephalopathy persists in childhood.

    Kelly, L A; O'Dea, M I; Zareen, Z; Melo, A M; McKenna, E; Strickland, T; McEneaney, V; Donoghue, V; Boylan, G; Sweetman, D; et al. (2021-05-02)
    Neonatal encephalopathy (NE) is characterized by altered neurological function in term infants and inflammation plays an important pathophysiological role. Inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1ra and IL-18 are activated by the nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain (NOD)-, leucine-rich repeat domain (LRR)- and NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome; furthermore, we aimed to examine the role of the inflammasome multiprotein complex involved in proinflammatory responses from the newborn period to childhood in NE. Cytokine concentrations were measured by multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in neonates and children with NE in the absence or presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin. We then investigated expression of the NLRP3 inflammasome genes, NLRP3, IL-1β and ASC by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Serum samples from 40 NE patients at days 1 and 3 of the first week of life and in 37 patients at age 4-7 years were analysed. An increase in serum IL-1ra and IL-18 in neonates with NE on days 1 and 3 was observed compared to neonatal controls. IL-1ra in NE was decreased to normal levels at school age, whereas serum IL-18 in NE was even higher at school age compared to school age controls and NE in the first week of life. Percentage of LPS response was higher in newborns compared to school-age NE. NLRP3 and IL-1β gene expression were up-regulated in the presence of LPS in NE neonates and NLRP3 gene expression remained up-regulated at school age in NE patients compared to controls. Increased inflammasome activation in the first day of life in NE persists in childhood, and may increase the window for therapeutic intervention.
  • Can saline injection protect phrenic nerve? - A randomised controlled study.

    Srinivasan, Karthikeyan Kallidaikurchi; Ryan, John; Snyman, Lindi; O'Brien, Ciara; Shortt, Conor (2021-06-22)
    Significantly less patients in the saline group developed diaphragmatic paresis when compared to conventional group (44% vs. 94%, Chi-squared = 10.01, P = 0.002). There was no difference in post-operative pain, subjective sensation of dyspnoea or patient satisfaction between the groups.
  • Mode I and II Wear in Ceramic on Ceramic Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Case Report.

    Mohan, Kunal; McGoldrick, Niall P; O'Driscoll, Conor; Quinlan, John F (2021-03)
    Introduction: Elective total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a common procedure and has been associated with favorable outcomes in both elderly and younger patients. A variety of implant and articular components exist so to allow surgeons to make a patient-specific choice with the intent of maximizing both patient outcomes and implant survival.The utilization of ceramic bearing surfaces during THA has become increasingly prevalent, with their tribological profile conveying favorable wear and osteolysis-resistant properties. Typically, ceramic articulating components are most susceptible to failure through brittle fracture or complications such as squeaking. Case report: This case describes a 68-year-old Caucasian male who underwent revision of ceramic on ceramic THA due to pain, with intraoperative analysis revealing evidence of gross Mode I acetabular ceramic component wear with a resultant Mode II wear articulation between the ceramic femoral head and acetabular liner. Conclusion: Wear between ceramic implants in THA is infrequently reported, and as such awareness of this uncommon phenomena as well as its potential causative factors is important when considering either primary or revision THA involving ceramic bearing components.
  • Self-reported surgeon health behaviours: A multicentre, cross-sectional exploration into the modifiable factors that impact surgical performance with the association of surgeons in training.

    Whelehan, Dale F; Connelly, Tara M; Burke, Joshua R; Doherty, Eva M; Ridgway, Paul F (2021-04-27)
    Introduction: Surgeons regularly educate patients on health promoting behaviours including diet, sleep and exercise. No study thus far has explored surgeons' personal compliance with these health behaviours and their relationship with surgical performance. The primary outcomes of this study were self-reported health, health related behaviours, wellbeing, fatigue and surgical performance. Methods: A survey of validated themes on health related behaviours, workplace variables and performance was distributed to surgical trainees and consultants in the UK and Ireland through the Association for Surgeons in Training (ASiT). Non-parametric analysis was used to determine inferential associations. Results: Ninety five surgeons (51.5% female, 39.9% registrars) completed the survey. 94% and 74% reported 'good' or better overall health and mental wellbeing respectively. The majority (54.7%) reported inconsistent sleep patterns. Less than a quarter engage in regular exercise. Sixty two and 64.2% reported being regularly fatigued and bothered by feelings of anxiety and/or depression respectively. Poor self-reported health and wellbeing were associated with poorer reported off-call performance (p < .01). Higher levels of fatigue negatively impacted self-reported surgical and non-surgical task proficiency (p < .01). Discussion and conclusion: Surgeons reported high levels of overall health. However, healthy behaviours around sleep, diet and exercise were not consistently reported. Fewer reported good mental health and emotional well-being. Self-reported health behaviours including sleep and physical activity were associated with surgical performance. Strategies to improve modifiable lifestyle factors which will optimise physical health, mental wellbeing and levels of fatigue may optimise surgical performance.
  • Burnout, Work Satisfaction, and Well-being Among Non-consultant Psychiatrists in Ireland.

    McLoughlin, Caoimhe; Casey, Sarah; Feeney, Anna; Weir, David; Abdalla, Ahad Ali; Barrett, Elizabeth (2021-01-09)
    Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the areas of psychological well-being, satisfaction at work, and burnout among non-consultant psychiatrists in Ireland, and to assess for potential contributory factors. Methods: The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland distributed the survey online to 100 non-consultant psychiatry doctors working in Ireland. The survey contained questions relating to demographic and work-related variables, the Abbreviated-Maslach Burnout Inventory (a-MBI), Basic Needs Satisfaction at Work (BNSW) scale, and WHO-5 Well-being Index. Descriptive statistics were used by the authors to summarize the data and univariate associations were explored between baseline data and subscales. Results: Sixty-nine percent of our sample completed the survey. Thirty-six percent of the sample met the criteria for burnout, with lack of supervision the only variable significantly associated with this. Lack of regular supervision was associated with lower scores across all work satisfaction domains of the BNSW scale. The WHO-5 Well-being Index identified that 30% of respondents scored low in personal well-being, indicating that this proportion screened positive for depression, based on international diagnostic criteria. Lack of regular supervision was found to be significantly associated with low psychological well-being. Conclusion: This study indicates that lack of supervision is significantly associated with burnout, lower satisfaction at work, and poorer psychological well-being. Close evaluation of these areas is important to identify vulnerable individuals and areas of training which can be improved upon, which may lead to relevant measures being implemented for the benefit of psychiatrists, patients, and the wider society.
  • Gait speed, cognition and falls in people living with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease: data from NILVAD.

    Dyer, Adam H; Lawlor, Brian; Kennelly, Sean P (2020-03-30)
    Background: Previous evidence suggests that slower gait speed is longitudinally associated with cognitive impairment, dementia and falls in older adults. Despite this, the longitudinal relationship between gait speed, cognition and falls in those with a diagnosis of dementia remains poorly explored. We sought to assess this longitudinal relationship in a cohort of older adults with mild to-moderate Alzheimer Disease (AD). Methods: Analysis of data from NILVAD, an 18-month randomised-controlled trial of Nilvadipine in mild to moderate AD. We examined: (i) the cross-sectional (baseline) association between slow gait speed and cognitive function, (ii) the relationship between baseline slow gait speed and cognitive function at 18 months (Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale, Cognitive Subsection: ADAS-Cog), (iii) the relationship between baseline cognitive function and incident slow gait speed at 18 months and finally (iv) the relationship of baseline slow gait speed and incident falls over the study period. Results: Overall, one-tenth (10.03%, N = 37/369) of participants with mild-to-moderate AD met criteria for slow gait speed at baseline and a further 14.09% (N = 52/369) developed incident slow gait speed at 18 months. At baseline, there was a significant association between poorer cognition and slow gait speed (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01-1.09, p = 0.025). Whilst there was no association between baseline slow gait speed and change in ADAS-Cog score at 18 months, a greater cognitive severity at baseline predicted incident slow gait speed over 18 months (OR 1.04, 1.01-1.08, p = 0.011). Further, slow gait speed at baseline was associated with a significant risk of incident falls over the study period, which persisted after covariate adjustment (IRR 3.48, 2.05-5.92, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Poorer baseline cognition was associated with both baseline and incident slow gait speed. Slow gait speed was associated with a significantly increased risk of falls over the study period. Our study adds further evidence to the complex relationship between gait and cognition in this vulnerable group and highlights increased falls risk in older adults with AD and slow gait speed.
  • Determinants of healthcare seeking for childhood illnesses among caregivers of under-five children in urban slums in Malawi: a population-based cross-sectional study.

    Lungu, Edgar Arnold; Darker, Catherine; Biesma, Regien (2020-01-17)
    Background: There is considerable evidence that health systems, in so far as they ensure access to healthcare, promote population health even independent of other determinants. Access to child health services remains integral to improving child health outcomes. Cognisant that improvements in child health have been unevenly distributed, it is imperative that health services and research focus on the disadvantaged groups. Children residing in urban slums are known to face a health disadvantage that is masked by the common view of an urban health advantage. Granted increasing urbanisation rates and proliferation of urban slums resulting from urban poverty, the health of under-five children in slums remains a public health imperative in Malawi. We explored determinants of healthcare-seeking from a biomedical health provider for childhood symptoms of fever, cough with fast breathing and diarrhoea in three urban slums of Lilongwe, Malawi. Methods: This was a population-based cross-sectional study involving 543 caregivers of under-five children. Data on childhood morbidity and healthcare seeking in three months period were collected using face-to-face interviews guided by a validated questionnaire. Data were entered in CS-Pro 5.0 and analysed in SPSS version 20 using descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses. Results: 61% of caregivers sought healthcare albeit 53% of them sought healthcare late. Public health facilities constituted the most frequently used health providers. Healthcare was more likely to be sought: for younger than older under-five children (AOR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.30-0.99); when illness was perceived to be severe (AOR = 2.40; 95% CI: 1.34-4.30); when the presenting symptom was fever (AOR = 1.77; 95% CI: 1.10-2.86). Home management of childhood illness was negatively associated with care-seeking (AOR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.36-0.81) and timely care-seeking (AOR = 0.44; 95% CI: 0.2-0.74). Caregivers with good knowledge of child danger signs were less likely to seek care timely (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.33-0.99). Conclusions: Even in the context of geographical proximity to healthcare services, caregivers in urban slums may not seek healthcare or when they do so the majority may not undertake timely healthcare care seeking. Factors related to the child, the type of illness, and the caregiver are central to the healthcare decision making dynamics. Improving access to under-five child health services therefore requires considering multiple factors.
  • An Update on Health-Related Quality of Life and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

    Mac Mahon, J; Kirthi, S; Byrne, N; O'Grady, C; Tobin, A M (2020-02-10)
    Hidradenitis suppurativa is a common inflammatory skin condition which causes recurrent abscesses, sinuses and scarring in the axillae, groin and inframammary areas. As well as causing significant physical distress due to pain and discharge, the condition impacts psychological well-being with markedly impaired quality of life. Patients suffer pain, embarrassment and psychological distress with impairment of their work and intimate relationships marking it as one of the most distressing dermatological conditions. Numerous studies have documented markers of psychological distress encompassing the physical effects such as pain and itch, affects on mood and impaired function.
  • Lower gastrointestinal symptoms and symptoms-based triaging systems are poor predictors of clinical significant disease on colonoscopy.

    Ismail, Mohd Syafiq; Aoko, Olufemi; Sihag, Sandeep; Connolly, Eimear; Omorogbe, Joseph; Semenov, Serhiy; O'Morain, Neil; O'Connor, Anthony; Breslin, Niall; Ryan, Barbara; et al. (2020-03-31)
    Introduction: Lower gastrointestinal symptoms (LGS) are a common cause of referral to the gastroenterology service. International guidelines are available to prioritise referrals. Some studies have reported that symptoms alone are a poor marker of clinically significant disease (CSD) but symptoms remain the main way to prioritise referrals in routine clinical practice. Aims/background: To correlate LGS with colonoscopy findings in an unselected patient cohort and to investigate whether using National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines improve risk stratification. Method: Colonoscopy data over a 2-year period were obtained from our endoscopy database. Only patients with assessment of symptoms as their primary indication for colonoscopy were included. Patient records were retrospectively reviewed. Exclusion criteria: known inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), familial cancer syndromes, polyp and colorectal cancer (CRC) surveillance, and prior colonoscopy within 5 years. Demographics, symptoms and colonoscopy findings were recorded and analysed. Results: 1116 cases were reviewed; 493 (44%) males, age 54.3 years (16-91). CSD occurred in only 162 (14.5%); CRC 19 (1.7%), high-risk adenoma 40 (3.6%), inflammation 97 (8.7%) (IBD 65 (5.8%), microscopic colitis 9 (0.8%) and indeterminate-inflammation 23 (2%)), angiodysplasia 6 (0.5%). Diarrhoea gave the highest diagnostic yield for CSD of 5.3% (OR 3.15, 95% CI 2.2 to 4.7, p<0.001), followed by PR bleeding, 2.9% (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.9, p=0.003). Weight loss gave the lowest diagnostic yield of 0.4%; (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.28 to 2.24, p=0.65). 592 (53%) and 517 (46%) fitted the NICE guidelines for CRC and IBD, respectively. Using NICE positivity improved detection but overall yield remained low 3% vs 0.4% (OR 7.71, 95% CI 1.77 to 33.56, p=0.0064) for CRC, and 9% vs 2.8% (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.99 to 6.17, p<0.0001) for IBD. Conclusions: The overall prevalence of CSD in our unselected symptomatic patients is low (14.5%). A holistic approach including combining symptoms and demographics with novel tools including stool biomarkers and minimally invasive colonoscopy alternatives should be applied to avoid unnecessary colonoscopy.
  • COVID-19 highlights the need for universal adoption of standards of medical care for physicians in nursing homes in Europe.

    O'Neill, Desmond; Briggs, Robert; Holmerová, Iva; Samuelsson, Olafur; Gordon, Adam L; Martin, Finbarr C (2020-06-17)
    The nursing home sector has seen a disproportionately high number of deaths as part of the COVID-19 pandemic. This reflects, in part, the frailty and vulnerability of older people living in care homes but has also, in part, been a consequence of the failure to include care homes in the systematic planning of a response to COVID, as well as a measure of neglect of standards and quality improvement in the sector. In response, the EUGMS published a set of medical standards of care developed in consultation with experts across its member national societies in 2015. The standards consisted of seven core principles of medical care for physicians working in nursing homes as a first step in developing a programme of clinical, academic and policy engagement in improving medical care for older people who are living and frequently also dying as residents in nursing homes. The gravity of the concerns arising for nursing home care from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as emerging insights on care improvement in nursing homes indicate that an update of these medical standards is timely. This was performed by the writing group from the original 2015 guidelines and is intended as an interim measure pending a more formal review incorporating a systematic review of emerging literature and a Delphi process.

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