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)
  • 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)
  • Advancing surgical research in a sea of complexity.

    O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Department of Surgery, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. geraldc@iol.ie (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)
  • Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia: a cause of preventable morbidity and mortality.

    Brady, A P; Murphy, M M; O'Connor, T M; National HHT Centre, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. abrady@muh.ie (2012-01-31)
    Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant condition whose effects are mediated through deficient blood vessel formation and regeneration, with multisystem involvement. Patients are usually aware of resulting skin telangiectasia and epistaxis, but are also exposed to dangers posed by occult vascular malformations in other organs. About 15-35% of HHT patients have pulmonary AVMs (PAVMs), 10% have cerebral AVMs (CAVMs), 25-33% suffer significant GI blood loss from GI tract telangiectasia, and an unknown but high percentage have liver involvement. In total, 10% of affected individuals die prematurely or suffer major disability from HHT, largely because of bleeding from CAVMs and PAVMs, or paradoxical embolization through PAVMs. Screening for and early intervention to treat occult PAVMs and CAVMs can largely eliminate these risks, and should be undertaken in a specialist centre. The National HHT Center in The Mercy University Hospital in Cork is the referral centre for HHT screening in Ireland.
  • Retroperitoneal extra-adrenal paraganglioma: a rare but important diagnosis.

    Ahmad, S; Cathy, D; Sheikh, M; Sweeney, P; Department of Urology, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., drsarfrazrana@hotmail.com (2012-01-31)
    BACKGROUND: Extra-adrenal paragangliomas of the retroperitonium are infrequently diagnosed. Their malignant behaviour cannot be predicted on initial clinical and histological assessment. These tumours have higher propensity for subsequent metastasis compared with pargangliomas at other sites. AIM: We aim to describe a case report of an incidental finding of left retroperitoneal paraganglioma in a young man who presented with right flank pain. We also aim to emphasize the importance of diagnosis and the malignant potential of these tumours. METHOD: Patient's clinical notes, operative findings, imaging studies and laboratory investigations including histology results were reviewed. A literature search was done to look into the incidence, presentation, follow-up plan and treatment options for these tumours. CONCLUSION: Surgical resection is the only available curative option for extra-adrenal paragangliomas. Metastasis is observed years after surgery, hence long-term follow-up is required.
  • Tumour targeting with systemically administered bacteria.

    Morrissey, David; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital, University College Cork, , Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    Challenges for oncology practitioners and researchers include specific treatment and detection of tumours. The ideal anti-cancer therapy would selectively eradicate tumour cells, whilst minimising side effects to normal tissue. Bacteria have emerged as biological gene vectors with natural tumour specificity, capable of homing to tumours and replicating locally to high levels when systemically administered. This property enables targeting of both the primary tumour and secondary metastases. In the case of invasive pathogenic species, this targeting strategy can be used to deliver genes intracellularly for tumour cell expression, while non-invasive species transformed with plasmids suitable for bacterial expression of heterologous genes can secrete therapeutic proteins locally within the tumour environment (cell therapy approach). Many bacterial genera have been demonstrated to localise to and replicate to high levels within tumour tissue when intravenously (IV) administered in rodent models and reporter gene tagging of bacteria has permitted real-time visualisation of this phenomenon. Live imaging of tumour colonising bacteria also presents diagnostic potential for this approach. The nature of tumour selective bacterial colonisation appears to be tumour origin- and bacterial species- independent. While originally a correlation was drawn between anaerobic bacterial colonisation and the hypoxic nature of solid tumours, it is recently becoming apparent that other elements of the unique microenvironment within solid tumours, including aberrant neovasculature and local immune suppression, may be responsible. Here, we consider the pre-clinical data supporting the use of bacteria as a tumour-targeting tool, recent advances in the area, and future work required to develop it into a beneficial clinical tool.
  • Listeria monocytogenes as a vector for anti-cancer therapies.

    Tangney, Mark; Gahan, Cormac G M; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital, University College Cork, , Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    The intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes represents a promising therapeutic vector for the delivery of DNA, RNA or protein to cancer cells or to prime immune responses against tumour-specific antigens. A number of biological properties make L. monocytogenes a promising platform for development as a vector for either gene therapy or as an anti-cancer vaccine vector. L. monocytogenes is particularly efficient in mediating internalization into host cells. Once inside cells, the bacterium produces specific virulence factors which lyse the vaculolar membrane and allow escape into the cytoplasm. Once in the cytosol, L. monocytogenes is capable of actin-based motility and cell-to-cell spread without an extracellular phase. The cytoplasmic location of L. monocytogenes is significant as this potentiates entry of antigens into the MHC Class I antigen processing pathway leading to priming of specific CD8(+) T cell responses. The cytoplasmic location is also beneficial for the delivery of DNA (bactofection) by L. monocytogenes whilst cell-to-cell spread may facilitate access of the vector to cells throughout the tumour. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of L. monocytogenes for intracellular gene or protein delivery in vitro and in vivo, and this vector has also displayed safety and efficacy in clinical trial. Here, we review the features of the L. monocytogenes host-pathogen interaction that make this bacterium such an attractive candidate with which to induce appropriate therapeutic responses. We focus primarily upon work that has led to attenuation of the pathogen, demonstrated DNA, RNA or protein delivery to tumour cells as well as research that shows the efficacy of L. monocytogenes as a vector for tumour-specific vaccine delivery.
  • Urine cytology in the evaluation of urological malignancy revisited: is it still necessary?

    Falebita, Opeyemi Adegboyega; Lee, Garry; Sweeney, Paul; Department of Urology, Mercy University Hospital, Glenville Place, Cork, Ireland., opefaleb@yahoo.com (2012-01-31)
    OBJECTIVE: We aim to determine if urine cytology was still necessary as a routine part of the evaluation for the presence of urological malignancy and to evaluate its cost effectiveness. METHODS: Urine cytology reports over a 6-year period (2000-2005) were retrieved from our institution's pathology department database. Patients with urine cytology positive for malignant cells were identified. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of these patients for age, sex, flexible cystoscopy and radiological imaging results. The cost of urine cytology was retrieved from the pathology department. RESULTS: There were a total of 2,568 urine cytological examinations. Of these, 25 were positive for malignant cells. There were 19 male (76%) and 6 female (24%) patients with a mean age of 72 years (range: 49-97). In 21 patients with positive cytology, a bladder tumor was identified at flexible cystoscopy and/or imaging studies. For a positive cytology yield of 1%, EUR 210,000 was spent. CONCLUSIONS: Routine urine cytology was not cost effective and did not add to the diagnostic yield beyond cystoscopy and diagnostic imaging. It may be omitted in the initial evaluation of urological malignancy.
  • Fulminant limb and retroperitoneal necrotizing fasciitis in a 15-year-old girl with Fanconi anaemia.

    O'Regan, Kevin; O'Mahony, Edward; MacEneaney, Peter; Fitzgerald, Edward; Maher, Michael M; Department of Radiology, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland., kevin.oregan@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
    Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is an uncommon soft-tissue infection in children that carries a high mortality rate. We present a 15-year-old girl with chronic pancytopenia secondary to Fanconi anaemia who developed extensive NF of the lower limb, which unfortunately resulted in a fatal outcome. Immunodeficiency is a known risk factor for the development of this condition. The findings in this case demonstrate that patients with Fanconi anaemia may be susceptible to NF and that the clinical course may be more aggressive due to underlying immunosuppression. Prompt diagnosis of NF is vital in order to initiate appropriate treatment and to optimize patient outcome. Radiological investigation demonstrated extensive soft-tissue gas and destruction affecting the entire lower limb, abdominal wall and retroperitoneum, which led to timely definitive diagnosis and management.
  • B-type natriuretic peptide as predictor of heart failure in patients with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction, single-vessel disease, and complete revascularization: follow-up study.

    Manola, Sime; Pavlovic, Nikola; Radeljic, Vjekoslav; Delic Brkljacic, Diana; Pintaric, Hrvoje; Stambuk, Kresimir; Bulj, Nikola; Trbusic, Matias; Krcmar, Tomislav; Lukinac, Ljerka; Departmet of Cardiology, Sisters of Mercy University Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia. (2012-01-31)
    AIM: To assess the concentration of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) as a predictor of heart failure in patients with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who underwent primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with successful and complete revascularization. METHODS: Out of a total of 220 patients with acute STEMI admitted to the Sisters of Mercy University Hospital in the period January 1 to December 31, 2007, only patients with acute STEMI undergoing primary PCI who had single vessel disease and were successfully revascularized were included in the study. Selected patients had no history of myocardial infarction or heart failure and a normal or near-normal left ventricular ejection fraction (> or =50%) assessed by left ventriculography at admission. Only 58 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. Out of those, 6 patients refused to participate in the study, and another 5 could not be followed up, so a total of 47 patients were evaluated. Blood samples were taken for measurement of BNP levels at admission, 24 hours later, and 7 days later. Patients were followed up for 1 year. The primary outcome was reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) to <50% after 1 year. RESULTS: Patients who developed echocardiographic signs of reduced systolic function defined as LVEF<50% had significantly higher values of BNP (> or =80 pg/mL) at 24 hours (P=0.001) and 7 days (P=0.020) after STEMI and successful reperfusion. Patients who had BNP levels > or =80 pg/mL after 7 days were 21 times more likely to develop LVEF<50 (odds ratio, 20.8; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-195.2; P=0.008). CONCLUSION: BNP can be used as a predictor of reduced systolic function in patients with STEMI who underwent successful reperfusion and had normal ejection fraction at admission.
  • VHL genetic alteration in CCRCC does not determine de-regulation of HIF, CAIX, hnRNP A2/B1 and osteopontin.

    Nyhan, Michelle J; El Mashad, Shereen M; O'Donovan, Tracey R; Ahmad, Sarfraz; Collins, Chris; Sweeney, Paul; Rogers, Eamonn; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; McKenna, Sharon L; University College Cork and Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    BACKGROUND: von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumour suppressor gene inactivation is associated with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) development. The VHL protein (pVHL) has been proposed to regulate the expression of several proteins including Hypoxia Inducible Factor-alpha (HIF-alpha), carbonic anhydrase (CA)IX, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A2/B1 and osteopontin. pVHL has been characterized in vitro, however, clinical studies are limited. We evaluated the impact of VHL genetic alterations on the expression of several pVHL protein targets in paired normal and tumor tissue. METHODS: The VHL gene was sequenced in 23 CCRCC patients and VHL transcript levels were evaluated by real-time RT-PCR. Expression of pVHL's protein targets were determined by Western blotting in 17 paired patient samples. RESULTS: VHL genetic alterations were identified in 43.5% (10/23) of CCRCCs. HIF-1alpha, HIF-2alpha and CAIX were up-regulated in 88.2% (15/17), 100% (17/17) and 88.2% (15/17) of tumors respectively and their expression is independent of VHL status. hnRNP A2/B1 and osteopontin expression was variable in CCRCCs and had no association with VHL genetic status. CONCLUSION: As expression of these proposed pVHL targets can be achieved independently of VHL mutation (and possibly by hypoxia alone), these data suggests that other pVHL targets may be more crucial in renal carcinogenesis.

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