Research by staff affiliated to Mercy University Hospital

Recent Submissions

  • Counselling in Primary Care – A General Practitioner’s Perspective

    Rafferty, M.; Bradley, C.; 1. Mercy University Hospital 2. Department of General Practice, University College Cork (Irish Medical Journal, 2019-02)
    Counselling in Primary care (CIPC) is a new service introduced by the HSE in 2013, providing short-term counselling for medical-card holders, suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems.
  • A budget impact analysis of a clinical medication review of patients in an Irish university teaching hospital

    Kearney, Alan; Walsh, Elaine. K; Kirby, Ann; Halleran, Ciaran; Byrne, Derina; Haugh, Jennifer; Sahm, Laura. J (Global & Regional Health Technology, 2018-09)
    To measure the net benefit of a pharmacist-led medication review in acute public hospitals. To identify and measure the resources used when completing a pharmacist-led medication review, an observational study was conducted in an acute urban university teaching hospital. Health Information and Quality Authority guidelines were used to value resources used in a pharmacist-led medication review. Model inputs included demographic data, probability of adverse drug events associated with the pharmacist interventions, estimates of future discharges and cost data. The cost of a pharmacist-led medication review and savings generated from avoidance of adverse drug events were estimated and projected over a 5-year period, using hospital discharge rates taken from the hospital inpatient enquiry system and the census of population. Using the per-patient cost of a medication review, the annual cost of delivering a bi-weekly medication review is projected to vary between €6 m and €6.4 m over a 5-year period from 2017 to 2021. The per-patient net benefit of a bi-weekly medication review is €45.88. Therefore, the projected annual net benefit of a bi-weekly medication review is between €29.5 m and €31.2 m over the 5-year period of 2017 to 2021. Introducing a pharmacist-led medication review for each inpatient saves in the short and longer term. The results are consistent with previous findings. Substantial savings were estimated, regardless of variation in model parameters tested in sensitivity analysis.
  • Giant Cell Arteritis Presenting as an Ischaemic Upper Limb

    Fitzgerald, Gerald; O’Connor, Mortimer B.; Phelan, Mark J.; Mercy University Hospital, Cork (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-07)
    Aim: To present an interesting case of giant cell arteritis presenting as ischaemic upper limb. Methods Data was collected from the patient’s chart and from radiology and laboratory systems in our institution. Results: The patient had a temporal artery biopsy confirming the diagnosis of temporal arteritis. This was successfully treated with high dose steroids leading to resolution of symptoms in the arm. Conclusion: Arteritis is an important consideration to consider in patients who present with limb ischaemia as it is a reversible cause which can be treated effectively.
  • An audit of empiric antibiotic choice in the inpatient management of community-acquired pneumonia

    Delaney, F; Jackson, A (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-04)
    Adherence to antimicrobial guidelines for empiric antibiotic prescribing in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) has been reported to be worryingly low. We conducted a review of empiric antibiotic prescribing for sixty consecutive adult patients admitted to the Mercy University Hospital with a diagnosis of CAP. When analysed against local antimicrobial guidelines, guideline concordant empiric antibiotics were given in only 48% of cases, lower than the average rate in comparable studies. Concordance was 100% in cases where the CURB-65 pneumonia severity assessment score, on which the guidelines are based, was documented in the medical notes. The use of excessively broad spectrum and inappropriate antibiotics is a notable problem. This study supports the theory that lack of knowledge regarding pneumonia severity assessment tools and unfamiliarity with therapeutic guidelines are key barriers to guideline adherence, which remains a significant problem despite increased focus on antimicrobial stewardship programs in Ireland
  • Management of patients with subclinical hypothyroidism in primary

    McCarthy, E; Russell, A; Kearney, PM (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-01)
    Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is defined as a raised serum thyroid stimulating hormone level with normal thyroxine. Despite a prevalence of up to 9% of the adult population there is widespread uncertainty on how to manage it. The aim of this study was to assess how older adults with SCH are managed in primary care. A retrospective case-note review was carried out on patients attending Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre. This study identified patients 65 years and over meeting the criteria for SCH in one year. The prevalence of SCH in this study was calculated as 2.9%. 22.2% of patients were treated with thyroxine. 6.1% of untreated patients progressed to clinical hypothyroidism within the study period while 18.2% spontaneously reverted to normal TSH levels.
  • Chronic kidney disease and obesity in Ireland: comparison of self-reported coronary artery disease in population study with clinic attendees.

    Lannin, U; Vaughan, C; Perry, I J; Browne, G (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-02)
    Obesity is a growing issue in Ireland. The link between obesity, CKD and CAD has not previously been described in the Irish population. The prevalence of obesity and CKD was compared across 3 groups: population based estimates with self-reported CAD, population based estimates without self-reported CAD (SLAN-07) and a random selection of cardiology outpatients with CAD. The SLAN-07 is a representative survey of 1207 randomly selected participants ≥ 45 years. Validated methods measured parameters including waist circumference, blood pressure and markers of renal function specifically glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albumin: creatinine ratio. The Cardiology clinic surveyed a random selection of 126 participants ≥ 45 years with CAD. Similar parameters were measured using the validated methods utilised in SLAN-07 study. Prevalence of obesity and renal disease was significantly higher in both CAD groups. At population level, risk factors were modelled using logistic regression to compare odds of participants with self-reported CAD with those without. Age, hypertension, obesity, elevated waist circumference, renal disease and diabetes are significantly associated with existing CAD. Obesity and CKD are more frequent in patients with CAD. Routine evaluation is essential to facilitate more intensive management of these risk factors.
  • The Intensity of QuantiFERON TB-Gold Response does not Differentiate Active from Latent Tuberculosis

    F Khan, F; Cotter, O; Kennedy, B; Clair, J; O’Connor, B; Collins, J; Curran, D; O’Connor, T (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2013-12)
    We analyzed positive QuantiFERON (QFT) assays, performed between July 2009 and April 2011 in the Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland, which included, 94 patients with latent tuberculosis (LTBI) and 35 patients with active tuberculosis. There was no difference in the intensity of response between patients with LTBI and active tuberculosis (p=0.1589). In patients with LTBI, there were no correlations between age (p=0.353), sex (p=0.476), smoking (p=0.323), contact (p=0.612), Mantoux response (p=0.055), Irish nationality (p=0.768), previous BCG vaccination (p=0.504), WCC (p=0.187), lymphocyte count (p=0.786), neutrophil count (p=0.157) and the intensity of QFT response. Similarly in patients with active TB, there were no correlations between these variables and QFT response. The intensity of QFT response does not help to differentiate active from LTBI. The intensity of QFT response is not influenced by age, sex, smoking, remoteness of contact history, Mantoux response, nationality, CXR abnormalities, BCG vaccination and peripheral lymphocyte count.
  • COPD exacerbations: a comparison of Irish data with European data from the ERS COPD audit

    Crinion, S; Cotter, O; Kennedy, B; O’Connor, B; Curran, DR; McCormack, S; McDonnell, T J; O’Connor, TM (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2013-10)
    The European Respiratory Society COPD audit was a cross-sectional, multicentre study that analysed outcomes for COPD patients admitted to hospital with an exacerbation across Europe. We present the data on patients admitted to 11 Irish hospitals that participated in the audit. Among 237 patients (123 Male), the median age was 71 years and 79 (33%) patients were current smokers. 82 (35%) patients received high-flow oxygen before admission and 43 (18%) were cared for in a dedicated respiratory ward. 54 (23%) patients required ventilatory support. Median length of stay was 7 days, 98 (41%) patients were readmitted and 211 (89%) patients were alive at the 90 day follow up point. Irish patients were more likely to receive high-flow oxygen before admission, less likely to be managed in a dedicated respiratory ward and had a higher likelihood of readmission or death within 90 days than the European average.
  • Pancreatico pleural fistula an unusual complication of chronic pancreatitis

    Ferris, H; Buckley, M (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2012-07)
  • Advancing surgical research in a sea of complexity.

    O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Department of Surgery, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
  • Opioid toxicity as a cause of spontaneous urinary bladder rupture.

    Galbraith, John G; Butler, Joseph S; McGreal, Gerard T; Department of Surgery, Mercy University Hospital Cork, Ireland., (2012-01-31)
  • MR Urography.

    O'Connor, Owen J; McLaughlin, Patrick; Maher, Michael M; Department of Radiology, University College Cork, Cork University Hospital and, Mercy University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
  • An unusual pelvic mass: bladder lymphoma.

    Alsinnawi, M; Quinlan, M; Brady, A; Khan, N; Department of Urology, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
  • Temporal structure of first-year courses and success at course exams: comparison of traditional continual and block delivery of anatomy and chemistry courses.

    Salopek, Daniela; Lovric, Jasna; Hren, Darko; Marusic, Ana; Department of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Sisters of Mercy University, Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia. (2012-01-31)
    AIM: To evaluate students' academic success at delivered in a traditional continual course, spread over the two semesters, or in alternating course blocks. METHOD: We analyzed the data on exam grades for Anatomy and Chemistry courses in the first year of the curriculum for academic year 2001/02, with the traditional continual delivery of the courses (n=253 for chemistry and n=243 for anatomy), and academic year 2003/04, with block delivery of the courses (n=255 for Chemistry and n=260 for Anatomy). Grades from the final examination were analyzed only for students who sat the exam at the first available exam term and passed the course. For the Anatomy block course, grades at 2 interim written tests and 2 parts of the final exam (practical stage exam and oral exam) in each block were analyzed for students who passed all interim tests and the final exam. RESULTS: There were no differences between two types of course delivery in the number of students passing the final examination at first attempt. There was a decrease in passing percentage for the two Anatomy block course student groups in 2003/04 (56% passing students in block 1 vs 40% in block 2, P=0.014). There was an increase in the average grades from 2001/02 to 2003/04 academic year due to an increase in Chemistry grades (F1,399=18.4, P<0.001, 2 x 2 ANOVA). There was no effect of the sequence of their delivery (F1,206=1.8, P=0.182, 2 x 2 ANOVA). There was also a significant difference in grades on interim assessments of Anatomy when it was delivered in the block format (F3,85=28.8, P<0.001, between-within subjects 2 x 4 ANOVA). CONCLUSIONS: The type of course delivery was not associated with significant differences in student academic success in Anatomy and Chemistry courses in the medical curriculum. Students can successfully pass these courses when they are delivered either in a continual, whole year format or in a condensed time format of a course block, regardless of the number and type of courses preceding the block course.
  • Gene therapy for prostate cancer.

    Tangney, Mark; Ahmad, Sarfraz; Collins, Sara A; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., (2012-01-31)
    Cancer remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Despite advances in understanding, detection, and treatment, it accounts for almost one-fourth of all deaths per year in Western countries. Prostate cancer is currently the most commonly diagnosed noncutaneous cancer in men in Europe and the United States, accounting for 15% of all cancers in men. As life expectancy of individuals increases, it is expected that there will also be an increase in the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer may be inoperable at initial presentation, unresponsive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or recur following appropriate treatment. At the time of presentation, patients may already have metastases in their tissues. Preventing tumor recurrence requires systemic therapy; however, current modalities are limited by toxicity or lack of efficacy. For patients with such metastatic cancers, the development of alternative therapies is essential. Gene therapy is a realistic prospect for the treatment of prostate and other cancers, and involves the delivery of genetic information to the patient to facilitate the production of therapeutic proteins. Therapeutics can act directly (eg, by inducing tumor cells to produce cytotoxic agents) or indirectly by upregulating the immune system to efficiently target tumor cells or by destroying the tumor's vasculature. However, technological difficulties must be addressed before an efficient and safe gene medicine is achieved (primarily by developing a means of delivering genes to the target cells or tissue safely and efficiently). A wealth of research has been carried out over the past 20 years, involving various strategies for the treatment of prostate cancer at preclinical and clinical trial levels. The therapeutic efficacy observed with many of these approaches in patients indicates that these treatment modalities will serve as an important component of urological malignancy treatment in the clinic, either in isolation or in combination with current approaches.
  • Antimicrobial usage in an intensive care unit: a prospective analysis.

    Conrick-Martin, I; Buckley, A; Cooke, J; O'Riordan, F; Cahill, J; O'Croinin, D; Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, Mercy University Hospital,, Grenville Place, Cork. (2012-01-31)
    Antimicrobial therapies in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) need to be appropriate in both their antimicrobial cover and duration. We performed a prospective observational study of admissions to our semi-closed ICU over a three-month period and recorded the indications for antimicrobial therapy, agents used, duration of use, changes in therapy and reasons for changes in therapy. A change in therapy was defined as the initiation or discontinuation of an antimicrobial agent. There were 51 patients admitted during the three-month study period and all received antimicrobial therapy. There were 135 changes in antimicrobial therapy. 89 (66%) were made by the ICU team and 32 (24%) were made by the primary team. Changes were made due to a deterioration or lack of clinical response in 41 (30%) cases, due to the completion of prescribed course in 36 (27%) cases, and in response to a sensitivity result in 25 (19%) cases. Prophylactic antibiotic courses (n=24) were of a duration greater than 24 hours in 15 (63%) instances. In conclusion, the majority of changes in antimicrobial therapy were not culture-based and the duration of surgical prophylaxis was in excess of current recommended guidelines.
  • Common variant in myocilin gene is associated with high myopia in isolated population of Korcula Island, Croatia.

    Vatavuk, Zoran; Skunca Herman, Jelena; Bencic, Goran; Andrijevic Derk, Biljana; Lacmanovic Loncar, Valentina; Petric Vickovic, Ivanka; Bucan, Kajo; Mandic, Kresimir; Mandic, Antonija; Skegro, Ivan; Pavicic Astalos, Jasna; Merc, Ivana; Martinovic, Miljenka; Kralj, Petra; Knezevic, Tamara; Barac-Juretic, Katja; Zgaga, Lina; Department of Ophthalmology, Sisters of Mercy University Hospital, Vinogradska, 29, Zagreb, Croatia. (2012-01-31)
    AIM: To study the association between genetic variants in myocilin and collagen type I alpha 1 genes and high myopia in an isolated island population. METHODS: A total of 944 examinees from the genetic epidemiology study conducted on the island of Korcula, Croatia, were included in the study. We selected 2 short nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) available in our genome-wide scan set of SNPs that were previously associated with high myopia and used them to replicate previous claims of possible association. RESULTS: Nineteen cases of high myopia, defined as the refraction of
  • Effective immunotherapy of weakly immunogenic solid tumours using a combined immunogene therapy and regulatory T-cell inactivation.

    Whelan, M C; Casey, G; MacConmara, M; Lederer, J A; Soden, D; Collins, J K; Tangney, M; O'Sullivan, G C; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C Quick Jnr, Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    Obstacles to effective immunotherapeutic anti-cancer approaches include poor immunogenicity of the tumour cells and the presence of tolerogenic mechanisms in the tumour microenvironment. We report an effective immune-based treatment of weakly immunogenic, growing solid tumours using a locally delivered immunogene therapy to promote development of immune effector responses in the tumour microenvironment and a systemic based T regulatory cell (Treg) inactivation strategy to potentiate these responses by elimination of tolerogenic or immune suppressor influences. As the JBS fibrosarcoma is weakly immunogenic and accumulates Treg in its microenvironment with progressive growth, we used this tumour model to test our combined immunotherapies. Plasmids encoding GM-CSF and B7-1 were electrically delivered into 100 mm(3) tumours; Treg inactivation was accomplished by systemic administration of anti-CD25 antibody (Ab). Using this approach, we found that complete elimination of tumours was achieved at a level of 60% by immunogene therapy, 25% for Treg inactivation and 90% for combined therapies. Moreover, we found that these responses were immune transferable, systemic, tumour specific and durable. Combined gene-based immune effector therapy and Treg inactivation represents an effective treatment for weakly antigenic solid growing tumours and that could be considered for clinical development.
  • A rare cause of fatal intracranial haemorrhage.

    Neligan, A; Mullins, G M; O'Sullivan, S S; Fitzgerald, P; Harrington, H; Department of Neurology, Mercy University Hospital, Grenville Place, Cork,, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    INTRODUCTION: We report the case of a 53-year-old farmer with a 5-day history of severe headache, photophobia and neck stiffness. Full blood count (platelets 173), coagulation screen were normal throughout. Liver function tests remained normal apart from an elevated gamma-GT (156). CT Brain was normal. CSF analysis showed a WCC of 454/mm(3) (60% lymphocytes), elevated CSF protein (1.42 g/l) and a normal CSF glucose. He was commenced on IV antibiotics and IV acyclivor and improved. On day 3 of admission, he complained of a sudden severe headache, became unresponsive (GCS 3/15). INVESTIGATIONS: CT Brain showed a massive left intraventricular haemorrhage. He died 4 days later. Subsequent serum serology for leptospirosis was positive. A repeat sample taken 4 days post-admission, showed a rising IgM indicating active leptospirosis. Detailed pathological examination confirmed intracerebral haemorrhage with normal cerebral vasculature. CONCLUSION: Leptospirosis is a rare cause of intracerebral haemorrhage even in the absence of coagulopathy.
  • Experience of the Irish National Centre for hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia 2003-2008.

    Ni Bhuachalla, C F; O' Connor, T M; Murphy, M; Colwell, N; Brady, A; Dept. of Radiology, National HHT Centre, Mercy University Hospital, Cork,, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a group of autosomal dominant disorders of vascular structure. The Irish National Centre for HHT at the Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland was founded in 2003. From 2003 to 2008, screening of 164 patients with contrast echocardiography, thoracic computerised tomography (CT) and cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has identified 88 patients with definite HHT, 72 (82%) of whom had epistaxis, 70 (80%) had telangiectasia and 81 (92%) had a first-degree relative with HHT. We sought to describe the manifestations of HHT in an Irish population and to determine differences between internationally reported data. The HHT patient database was analysed to describe demographics, clinical manifestations and interventional procedures performed in all referred patients. Contrast echocardiography and/or CT were performed in 86 patients with definite HHT, identifying 27 patients (31%) with pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (pAVMs). Nineteen patients with single or multiple pAVMs had 28 embolisation procedures performed, with 1-6 pAVMs embolised per procedure. Cerebral MRI was performed in 78 (89%) patients and 2 (2.3%) had cerebral arteriovenous malformations (cAVMs). HHT prevalence is thought to be 1 in 2500-8000, suggesting that there are many undiagnosed cases in Irish patients. Internationally published data suggest a prevalence of 15-35% for pAVMs and 10-23% for cAVMs in patients with HHT. While the prevalence of pAVMs in our group is consistent with these data, the prevalence of cAVMs is considerably lower, suggesting that Irish patients with HHT may differ genotypically and phenotypically from those in other countries.

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