• Primary Renal Carcinoid - A Case Report

      O’Sullivan, M; Gargan, ML; Flynn, R; Crowther, S; Torreggiani, W (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-01)
      Carcinoid tumours in the abdomen are uncommon, but typically occur in the gastrointestinal tract. Primary renal carcinoid is an extremely rare tumour, poorly described in the literature. We describe an unusual case where an atypical renal mass on imaging led to a preoperative diagnosis of renal carcinoid on imaging guiding biopsy.
    • Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Crohn’s Disease: A Case Series

      Kirthi, S; Hellen, R; O’Connor, R; Connolly, M; Tobin, AM; McNamara, D (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-09)
      Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is characterized by chronic recurrent abscesses, nodules and draining sinus tracts with scar formation. Cutaneous Crohn’s Disease (CD) may also present similarly. We wished to identify and describe an Irish cohort with combined HS and CD, with a view to a better recognition of clinical manifestations and understanding of the pathophysiology underlying these two overlapping conditions. Cases were identified using the HIPE Code at Tallaght Hospital from 1990-2014 and retrospective review was performed. Seven patients with both HS and CD were identified, 5(71%) female. The median age of diagnosis with both conditions was 37 years. In all cases, CD had preceded the diagnosis of HS. All patients smoked. Six had an increased BMI and 43% had additional autoimmune conditions. All patients required treatment with a TNF-alpha inhibitor for HS with 5 of 6 subjects having reduced frequency of flare ups and clinically less active HS on follow up
    • Pelvic and acetabular trauma care in Ireland: the past, present and future

      Queally, JM; O’Daly, B; Leonard, M; McElwain, JP (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-08)
      Pelvic injuries involve injury to the osseo-ligamentous ring structure of the pelvis or the acetabulum of either hip joint. They are typically caused by high-energy trauma and may be associated with significant morbidity or mortality at the time of injury due to excessive haemorrhage and associated abdominal, chest or head injuries with mortality rates of 8.6% to 19.1% reported for closed injuries and rates of up to 50% reported for open injuries1. Despite the severity of these injuries and the potential for poor long term outcomes, these injuries were managed with non-surgical treatment until the middle of the 20th century. Treatment typically involved prolonged bed rest, traction or compression devices, pelvic slings and spica casts with poor outcomes due to persistent pelvic deformity in pelvic injures and early osteoarthritis in acetabular fractures2,3. In the 1930’s, with the advent of radiography, significant progress was made in terms of understanding injury patterns, subsequent displacement and the significance of pelvic instability and deformity post injury. Along with the improved definitive management of pelvic injuries, similar progress was made with the immediate management of life-threatening haemodynamic instability and resuscitation with a significant improvement in mortality rate achieved over the past 50 years3,4. In contemporary trauma care, to ensure optimal outcomes, pelvic trauma is now considered a subspecialty practised in tertiary centres by fellowship trained specialists. Herein we describe the evolution of pelvic trauma care in Ireland over the past 30 years in an overall context of improved international paradigms of care and discuss potential future developments
    • Older Motorcyclists in Ireland

      Fitzpatrick, D; O’Neill, D (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-06)
      Older motorcyclists are under-recognised as vulnerable road users. Using Irish data from the Central Statistics Office, the Road Safety Authority and the Healthcare Pricing Office, we explored the trend of ageing riders and factors in older motorcyclist collisions and injuries. In 2005, 17 motorcyclists ≥55 were injured compared to 31 in 2012. Motorcyclists aged between 30 and 49 years and ≥50 have longer lengths of stay compared to riders <30. The percentage of motorcycles with an engine capacity of ≥750cc increased from 39.6% in 2007 to 46.7% in 2015. Older motorcyclists are less likely to be fatally injured in single vehicle collisions. Older motorcyclists are generally safer than younger riders but the proportion of older motorcyclist injury is rising. Irish road safety strategies and trauma services need to incorporate these findings into planning and development of preventive and treatment approaches
    • Investigation and diagnostic formulation in patients admitted with transient loss of consciousness

      Briggs, R; Coughlan, T; Doherty, J; Collins, DR; O’Neill, D; Kennelly, SP (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-05)
      Several commonly completed tests have low diagnostic yield in the setting of transient loss of consciousness (T-LOC). We estimated the use and cost of inappropriate investigations in patients admitted with T-LOC and assessed if these patients were given a definitive diagnosis for their presentation. We identified 80 consecutive patients admitted with T-LOC to a university teaching hospital. Eighty-eight percent (70/80) had a computerized topography (CT) brain scan and 49% (34/70) of these scans were inappropriate based on standard guidelines. Almost half (17/80) of electroencephalograms (EEG) and 82% (9/11) of carotid doppler ultrasound performed were not based on clinical evidence of seizure or stroke respectively. Forty-four percent (35/80) of patients had no formal diagnosis documented for their presentation. Inappropriate investigation in T-LOC is very prevalent in the acute hospital, increasing cost of patient care. In addition, there is poor diagnostic formulation for T-LOC making recurrent events more likely in the absence of definitive diagnoses
    • Life After the Event: A Review of Basic Life Support Training for Parents Following Apparent Life-Threatening Events and Their Experience and Practices Following Discharge

      Macken WL; Clarke N; Nadeem M; Coghlan D (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-05)
      Apparent Life-Threatening Events (ALTEs) are a common presentation to paediatric hospitals and represent a significant cause of parental anxiety. Basic Life Support (BLS) training is recommended for all caregivers following ALTEs. This study aimed to assess the rate of caregiver BLS training and reviewed parents experience following discharge. Parents were interviewed by phone following discharge. Over the study period 25 children attended the Emergency Department with ALTE, 17/25 (68%) were trained and 13/17 (76%) were contactable for interview. All parents found training decreased their anxiety level and were interested in attending for re-training. BLS resuscitation was subsequently required by 2/13 (15%) of children. Non-medical grade monitors were in use by 10/13 (77%) of caregivers following discharge. Caregivers are eager to engage in BLS training and it effectively reduces their caregiver anxiety. We recommend an increase in instructor staff and use of group re-training post discharge
    • Barriers to dental attendance in older patients

      Shanahan, D; O’Neill, D (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-04)
      Health professionals in Ireland are increasingly concerned about the quality of oral health in older patients. The aim of this study is to identify the obstacles that face this age-group when accessing dental care, so that we are in a better position to address them. A questionnaire was completed by 105 patients attending a geriatric outpatient clinic. Over 50 percent of respondents had not attended a dentist in over 36 months, for the reasons that 'I have no problem or need for treatment’ (62%) and ‘I have no teeth, and therefore I have no need to go’ (54%). While it is common to assume that no teeth means no need to see a dentist, research shows that regular dental visits are vital for ensuring the early screening of oral cancer and other mucosal pathologies, and the optimisation of existing rosthesis/restorations. The chief recommendation of this paper is thus to provide better education and access to older people on the importance of visiting the dentist.
    • Emergency Aeromedical Services in Ireland – A Single-Centre Study in 2014

      Sheridan, G.A.; Cooper, D.; Gibbons, J.P.; Breathnach, O.; Quinlan, J.F. (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-03)
      This retrospective analysis includes patients requiring Emergency Aeromedical Services (EAS) in 2014. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the HEMS service in a single centre and to accurately assess whether certain internationally validated criteria can predict admission rates better than the currently used criteria. Using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) trauma-related dispatch criteria, each case was retrospectively evaluated. Results showed the mean total criteria met were 2.73 (σ=0.88) and 1.45 (σ=0.82) in admitted and discharged patients respectively. The total criteria met had a significant predictive value on admission rates (p<0.05). Increased admission rates were shown in patients with a high Mechanism of Injury (MOI) (p<0.05). False positive rates of HEMS transfer were higher when applying the current criteria compared to the ACS criteria. ACS total criteria can predict admission in HEMS patients with a higher specificity than currently used guidelines.
    • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Uptake in a Respiratory Outpatients Clinic

      Rossiter, A; O’Morain, NR; Varghese, C; Lane, S (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-02)
      Influenza is an acute viral respiratory illness that continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality in Ireland. Despite well-established national and international guidelines1 and increased public awareness campaigns, vaccine uptake rates are well below target worldwide2. We performed an audit of influenza vaccine uptake at a Respiratory outpatient clinic in a tertiary referral centre. 54% (n=41) of patients received the annual vaccine, well below the target of 75% set by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
    • CT Colonography in the Detection of Colorectal Cancer in Ireland; Economical Considerations and the Potential for Centralisation of Service Provision

      Torreggiani, WC; Power, J; Feeney, J (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-10)
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in Ireland (excluding non melanomatous skin cancer)1.There were roughly 950 women and 1,330 men diagnosed with colorectal cancer annually in Ireland during 2007-20091. By 2020, with our aging population it is estimated that there will be an increase in colorectal cancer of 79 per cent in men and 56 per cent in women1. Colorectal cancer screening by faecal occult blood testing has been shown to reduce CRC mortality. In Europe, colonoscopy is mainly used to investigate faecal occult blood test positive or symptomatic patients, or as a preventive strategy in those with increased CRC risk2
    • Audit of GP Referrals for Tonsillectomy to the ENT Clinic Using Present HIQA Guidelines

      Irish Medical Journal, 2016-10
      Recurrent sore throat for possible tonsillectomy is the commonest clinical entity referred to the ENT outpatient department. The numbers involved represent a large clinical burden on the service. Not all of these patients require surgical intervention. Patients who fit the criteria for tonsillectomy are faced with two stage obstacles; the long waiting time until assessed by the Otolaryngologist at OPD and the time spent on long operative waiting lists. The aim of this study was to analyze the percentage of referred patients with sore throats requiring tonsillectomy versus those not needing surgery, using the present HIQA guidelines for this operation.
    • An Approach to Optimise Therapeutic Vancomycin Dosage in a Haemodialysis Population

      Gunning, H; Taylor, G; Smyth, H; Mellotte, G; Fennell, J; Murphy, P; Lavin, P; Wall, C (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-10)
      Haemodialysis patients are at risk of gram-positive bacteraemia and commonly require intravenous vancomycin. Intravenously administered vancomycin is primarily excreted by the kidney and exhibits complex pharmacokinetics in haemodialysis patients; achieving therapeutic levels can be challenging. An audit in our unit showed current practises of vancomycin administration resulted in a high proportion of sub-therapeutic levels. A new protocol was developed with fixed weight-based loading and subsequent dosing guided by pre-dialysis levels, target levels were 10-20mg/L. Its effectiveness was prospectively evaluated between 24th September 2012, and 8th February 2013. During this period 25 patients commenced vancomycin, 15 were included. In total, 112 vancomycin levels were taken, 94 (84%) were therapeutic, this was a significant improvement compared to previous practise (odds ratio 5.4, CI 3.1-9.4, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, our study shows this protocol can consistently and reliably achieve therapeutic vancomycin levels
    • An Unusual Case Of Urinary Bladder Arteriovenous Malformation

      Gnanappiragasam, D; Gnanappiragasam, S; Mcdermott, T.E.D (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-07)
      A 45-year-old male presented with haematuria and urinary frequency. Computed Tomography (CT) urogram revealed gross thickening of the left bladder wall. Histology showed large vessels cuffed by eosinophonilic material suggestive of urinary bladder arteriovenous malformation (AVM). No further intervention was carried out as symptoms resolve after the resection. Follow up rigid cystoscopy and CT at 3 months showed resolution of all visible pathology and no evidence of recurrence.
    • The Efficacy of Bronchial Thermoplasty for Severe Persistent Asthma– the First National Experience

      Watchorn, DC; Egan, JJ; Lane, SJ (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-05)
      There is an unmet need for new therapies in severe persistent asthma. Bronchial thermoplasty is a bronchoscopic procedure which employs radiofrequency energy to reduce airway smooth muscle and has been demonstrated to improve symptomatic control in severe persistent asthma in other populations. Seven patients have completed bronchial thermoplasty at a tertiary referral centre in Ireland. Asthma Control Test scores and data on hospitalisations, exacerbations, maintenance corticosteroid requirements, rescue bronchodilator use and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) were compared one year before and one year post treatment. Significant improvements were demonstrated in mean Asthma Control Test scores, from 8.9 to 14.7 (p = 0.036). Trends towards improvement were seen in mean hospitalisations (respective values for total in 12 month period 5.0, 0.9; p = 0.059) and PEFR (181.4 l/min, 280 l/min respectively; p = 0.059). These data support the use of bronchial thermoplasty in severe persistent asthma in the Irish population.
    • Cow’s milk allergy: a cohort of patients from a university hospital

      Reynolds, A; O’Driscoll, J; Quinn, S; Coghlan, D (2016-03)
      Our aim was to establish the feeding history, presentation, management and rate of resolution for an Irish cohort of children with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) attending a hospital-based outpatient service. This was a cohort study consisting of two parts: a retrospective chart review and a follow-up questionnaire. Fifty-one infants (male: 61%, n=31) were enrolled. Twenty-one (41%) had IgE-mediated allergy. Twenty-nine (57%) had non-IgE mediated allergy. Twenty-two (49%) had tried ≥3 different formulas prior to diagnosis. Of the children who had reached two years, the overall rate of tolerance was 53% (IgE: 35%, non-IgE: 67%). Mild cases of CMPA can be managed in the community. Potential severe complications include faltering growth and anaphylaxis. CMPA should be managed using a multi-disciplinary approach. Increased awareness of CMPA may speed diagnosis and decrease the use of inappropriate formulas.
    • Beware of the devastating pulmonary aspergillosis syndromes In certain environments

      Kooblall, M; Moloney, E; Lane, SJ (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-02)
      Nowadays with more stem cell transplants and immunosuppressive therapies there has been a rise in pulmonary aspergillosis syndromes. The following illustrates such a case. A 49 year old man had a past history of ankylosing spondylitis with a bilateral hip replacement. He was also on surveillance for a superficial bladder tumour since 2007. His chest x-ray in 2008 was normal. In 2010 his CXR showed patchy opacification in the right apex. CT thorax confirm fibrotic changes.
    • The tip of the iceberg: never ignore a chronic cough

      Kooblall, M; Lane, SJ; Moloney, E (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-01)
      A chronic cough is defined as a cough lasting longer than 8 weeks. Around 10% of referrals to respiratory outpatient have a chronic cough as the presenting complaint. Coughing is classically described as a protective reflex response to mechanical and chemical airway stimulation and therefore a chronic cough must be adequately investigated. The following case illustrates this.
    • Examining the end-user experience of the National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS)

      Smith, J; Kok, HK; Torreggiani, WC (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-01)
      The National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS) is used to store and retrieve medical imaging studies in Ireland. The purpose of this audit was to obtain feedback from its end-users in relation to key NIMIS functionality and to understand their perception of its existing interface while identifying potential improvements. The results showed that, while the majority of respondents are satisfied with NIMIS, they identified a number of areas of concern. These included difficulty in identifying the appropriate code for a study, 88 (34%); dissatisfaction with ordering and viewing scans, 82 (32%); and a need for improved communication between end-users and local Radiology departments, with 104 (40%) unsure when to contact the department and 137 (53%) dissatisfied with the feedback they received in relation to requests. Respondents indicated that addressing these issues would improve the NIMIS end-user experience while allowing it to continue to meet current and future clinical needs.
    • The value of the combined assessment of COPD in accurate characterization of stable COPD

      Sahadevan, A; Cusack, R; O’Kelly, B; Amoran, O; Lane, SJ (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-01)
      There is evidence showing a tendency to upgrade COPD severity previously staged with spirometric-based GOLD (GOLD 1234) when using the new GOLD combined disease assessment (GOLD ABCD). 1,2 The aim of our study was to compare the GOLD 1234 classification in a population of stable COPD patients with the GOLD ABCD classification to determine whether stable COPD was upgraded when using this new classification. After an observational study of a stable COPD cohort (n=112), 61 patients (54.5%) had an increase in their COPD severity when moving from the old GOLD 1234 classification to the current GOLD ABCD assessment (p<0.01). 42 patients (37.5%) had no change in severity of COPD. 9 patients COPD were assessed to be better on using GOLD ABCD. This study highlights previously missed high-risk patients when reviewing stable COPD. Continued incorporation of GOLD ABCD will translate into better evidence-based management.
    • Screening for chlamydia is acceptable and feasible during cervical screening in general practice.

      Hassan, SJ; Dunphy, E; Navin, E; Marron, L; Fitzsimmons, C; Loy, A; O’Shea, B (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-01)
      The incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) & Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) are rising in Ireland. 1 Both are often undiagnosed and may cause infertility amongst other complications. 2 CT/NG screening is not routinely offered during cervical cancer screening. This study aimed to ascertain the feasibility and acceptability of screening for CT/NG at time of smear and to measure the diagnostic yield. Screening was offered to women aged 25-40 years attending four participating general practices as part of Cervical Check. 3 A retrospective review of the three months preceding the study period, indicated that out of 138 smears, CT/NG testing was performed in 10 (7%) of cases. 236 (93%) patients consented to screening for CT/NG. The detection rate for Chlamydia was 6 (2.4%), with no positive results for NG. Feedback from patients was positive. Interestingly, 42 (18%) of participants who completed the questionnaire believed STI screening was already part of the routine smear.