• Audit of compliance with HSE standards and recommended practices for healthcare records management for discharge summaries in St. Michael's Unit, Mercy University Hospital, Cork

      Vrabec, Michal; Geary, Eoin; O'Brien, Sinead; North Lee Mental Health Services, HSE Southern Area (Centre for Recovery and Social Inclusion (CRSI), 2019-06-07)
    • 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)
    • Incidence and predictors of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation in patients older than 70 years with complete atrioventricular block and dual chamber pacemaker implantation.

      Radeljic, Vjekoslav; Pavlovic, Nikola; Manola, Sime; Delic-Brkljacic, Diana; Pintaric, Hrvoje; Petrac, Dubravko; Department of Cardiology, Sisters of Mercy University Hospital Center,, Vinogradska cesta 29, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia. (2012-01-31)
      AIM: To evaluate predictors of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation in patients older than 70 years with complete atrioventricular (AV) block, normal left ventricular systolic function, and implanted dual chamber (DDD) pacemaker. METHODS: Hundred and eighty six patients with complete AV block were admitted over one year to the Sisters of Mercy University Hospital. The study recruited patients older than 70 years, with no history of atrial fibrillation, heart failure, or reduced left ventricular systolic function. All the patients were implanted with the same pacemaker. Out of 103 patients who were eligible for the study, 81 (78%) were evaluated. Among those 81 (78%) were evaluated. Eighty one (78%) patients were evaluated. Follow-up time ranged from 12 to 33 months (average +/-standard deviation 23 +/- 5 months). Primary end-point was asymptomatic atrial fibrillation occurrence recorded by the pacemaker. Atrial fibrillation occurrence was defined as atrial high rate episodes (AHRE) lasting >5 minutes. Binary logistic regression was used to identify the predictors of development of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation. Results. The 81 patients were stratified into two groups depending on the presence of AHRE lasting >5 minutes (group 1 had AHRE>5 minutes and group 2 AHRE<5 minutes). AHRE lasting >5 minutes were detected in 49 (60%) patients after 3 months and in 53 (65%) patients after 18 moths. After 3 months, only hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 17.63; P = 0.020) was identified as a predictor of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation. After 18 months, hypertension (OR, 14.0; P = 0.036), P wave duration >100 ms in 12 lead ECG (OR, 16.5; P = 0.001), and intracardial atrial electrogram signal amplitude >4 mV (OR, 4.27; P = 0.045) were identified as predictors of atrial fibrillation. CONCLUSION: In our study population, hypertension was the most robust and constant predictor of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation after 3 months, while P wave duration >100 ms in 12-lead ECG and intracardial atrial signal amplitude were predictors after 18 months.
    • 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)
    • Preclinical evaluation of gene delivery methods for the treatment of loco-regional disease in breast cancer.

      Rajendran, Simon; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; Morrissey, David; O'Donovan, Tracey; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C Quick Jnr., Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Preclinical results with various gene therapy strategies indicate significant potential for new cancer treatments. However, many therapeutics fail at clinical trial, often due to differences in tissue physiology between animal models and humans, and tumor phenotype variation. Clinical data relevant to treatment strategies may be generated prior to clinical trial through experimentation using intact patient tissue ex vivo. We developed a novel tumor slice model culture system that is universally applicable to gene delivery methods, using a realtime luminescence detection method to assess gene delivery. Methods investigated include viruses (adenovirus [Ad] and adeno-associated virus), lipofection, ultrasound (US), electroporation and naked DNA. Viability and tumor populations within the slices were well maintained for seven days, and gene delivery was qualitatively and quantitatively examinable for all vectors. Ad was the most efficient gene delivery vector with transduction efficiency >50%. US proved the optimal non-viral gene delivery method in human tumor slices. The nature of the ex vivo culture system permitted examination of specific elements. Parameters shown to diminish Ad gene delivery included blood, regions of low viability and secondary disease. US gene delivery was significantly reduced by blood and skin, while tissue hyperthermia improved gene delivery. US achieved improved efficacy for secondary disease. The ex vivo model was also suitable for examination of tissue-specific effects on vector expression, with Ad expression mediated by the CXCR4 promoter shown to provide a tumor selective advantage over the ubiquitously active cytomegalovirus promoter. In conclusion, this is the first study incorporating patient tissue models in comparing gene delivery from various vectors, providing knowledge on cell-type specificity and examining the crucial biological factors determining successful gene delivery. The results highlight the importance of in-depth preclinical assessment of novel therapeutics and may serve as a platform for further testing of current, novel gene delivery approaches.
    • Targeting of breast metastases using a viral gene vector with tumour-selective transcription.

      Rajendran, Simon; Collins, Sara; van Pijkeren, Jan P; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors have significant potential as gene delivery vectors for cancer gene therapy. However, broad AAV2 tissue tropism results in nonspecific gene expression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated use of the C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) promoter to restrict AAV expression to tumour cells, in subcutaneous MCF-7 xenograft mouse models of breast cancer and in patient samples, using bioluminescent imaging and flow cytometric analysis. RESULTS: Higher transgene expression levels were observed in subcutaneous MCF-7 tumours relative to normal tissue (muscle) using the CXCR4 promoter, unlike a ubiquitously expressing Cytomegalovirus promoter construct, with preferential AAVCXCR4 expression in epithelial tumour and CXCR4-positive cells. Transgene expression following intravenously administered AAVCXCR4 in a model of liver metastasis was detected specifically in livers of tumour bearing mice. Ex vivo analysis using patient samples also demonstrated higher AAVCXCR4 expression in tumour compared with normal liver tissue. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates for the first time, the potential for systemic administration of AAV2 vector for tumour-selective gene therapy.
    • Bacteria as vectors for gene therapy of cancer.

      Baban, Chwanrow K; Cronin, Michelle; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C. Quick Jr., Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Anti-cancer therapy faces major challenges, particularly in terms of specificity of treatment. The ideal therapy would eradicate tumor cells selectively with minimum side effects on normal tissue. Gene or cell therapies have emerged as realistic prospects for the treatment of cancer, and involve the delivery of genetic information to a tumor to facilitate the production of therapeutic proteins. However, there is still much to be done before an efficient and safe gene medicine is achieved, primarily developing the means of targeting genes to tumors safely and efficiently. An emerging family of vectors involves bacteria of various genera. It has been shown that bacteria are naturally capable of homing to tumors when systemically administered resulting in high levels of replication locally. Furthermore, invasive species can deliver heterologous genes intra-cellularly for tumor cell expression. Here, we review the use of bacteria as vehicles for gene therapy of cancer, detailing the mechanisms of action and successes at preclinical and clinical levels.
    • Stress in emergency departments: experiences of nurses and doctors.

      Healy, Sonya; Tyrrell, Mark; Mercy University Hospital, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      The effects of stressful incidents on emergency department (ED) staff can be profound. Witnessing aggression, violence or the death of patients, or participating in resuscitation, can be emotionally and physically demanding. Despite the frequency of these events, ED staff do not become immune to the stress they cause, and are often ill prepared and under supported to cope with them. This article reports on a study of nurses' and doctors' attitudes to, and experiences of, workplace stress in three EDs in Ireland, and offers some suggestions on how stress among ED staff can be reduced.
    • Increased thyroidal T4 to T3 conversion in autonomously functioning thyroid adenoma: from euthyroidism to thyrotoxicosis.

      Solter, M; Posavec, L; Solter, D; Vargek-Solter, V; Department of Endocrinology, Sisters of Mercy University Hospital Center,, University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Vinogradska , Croatia., miljenkosolter@yahoo.com (2012-01-31)
      AIM: The aim was to investigate whether the intrathyroid conversion of T4 to T3 in autonomously functioning thyroid adenoma (AFTA) tissue could influence serum T3 levels and suppression of TSH, especially in patients with borderline thyroid function. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In ten patients with AFTA, thyroidal conversion of T4 to T3 was investigated in nodular and paranodular, TSH-suppressed tissue. All patients had normal serum T4 and suppressed TSH. Serum T3 was normal in six, and borderline or slightly increased in four. AFTA and paranodular tissues were surgically removed and frozen at -70 degrees C, then homogenized in a glass homogenizer, centrifuged at 100,000xg, and particulate fraction collected as a pellet. Analysis mixture consisted of thyroid enzyme suspension in 50 mumol/L TRIS buffer with 5 mumol DTT and 200 muL 1.3 mumol T4. Incubation was performed at 37 degrees C and the generation of T3 measured after 5, 10, 20 and 40 minutes respectively. RESULTS: T3 production (pmol/mg protein) was significantly higher in AFTA than in paranodular tissues (8.8 1.2/Mean +/- SE/vs. 1.8 +/- 0.2; p<0.01), and excessively high (9.8, 14.1, 14.2 and 15.0) in four patients with borderline or slightly supranormal serum T3. A significant correlation was found between serum T3 concentrations and T3 generation (T4 conversion) in AFTA tissues. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that increased thyroidal T4 to T3 conversion in AFTA tissue could be involved in an increased delivery of T3, increased serum T3 and suppressed serum TSH, particularly in patients with the disease evolving from euthyroid to an early hyperthyroid phase.
    • Upper gastrointestinal obstruction secondary to aortoduodenal syndrome owing to a noninflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm.

      Cahill, Kevin; Roche-Nagle, Graham; MacEneaney, Peter; McGreal, Gerald; Department of Vascular Surgery, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Aortoduodenal syndrome is a rare complication of an abdominal aortic aneurysm wherein the aneurysm sac obstructs the patient's duodenum. It presents with the symptoms of an upper gastrointestinal tract obstruction and requires surgical intervention to relieve it. Previously, gastric bypass surgery was advocated, but now aortic replacement is the mainstay of treatment. We report a case of a 67-year-old woman whose aortoduodenal syndrome was successfully managed and review the literature on this topic.
    • Predictors of early arrival at the emergency department in acute ischaemic stroke.

      Curran, C; Henry, C; O'Connor, K A; Cotter, P E; Department of Geriatric Medicine, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: A requirement of an effective acute stroke service is the early arrival of patients to the hospital emergency department (ED). This will allow the possible use of thrombolytic therapy or other acute interventions within a limited time window. AIMS: We investigated the predictors of early arrival in a single hospital serving a mixed urban and rural catchment area. METHODS: A retrospective review of all case notes for 1 year was performed. RESULTS: Of 105 acute strokes, 91 were cerebral infarcts and a total of 71 cases presenting initially to the ED had timing available for analysis. 39.4% presented within 3 h, and 12.7% were potentially suitable for thrombolysis. Those living closer to the hospital were not more likely to arrive within 3 h (Z = -0.411, p = 0.68). Presenting directly to the hospital by emergency services (or private transport) was significantly associated with early arrival in a univariate comparison (p < 0.001), and in a multivariate model. CONCLUSION: The only independent predictor of early arrival to the ED is direct presentation. Improved public education of the importance of recognition of stroke symptoms and rapid contact with the emergency services will improve the early attendance following acute stroke, allowing increased use of acute stroke treatments.
    • Spontaneous intracranial hypotension.

      Fullam, L; Saidha, S; Harrington, H; MacEneaney, P; Department of Neurology, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., lfullam@gmail.com (2012-01-31)
      INTRODUCTION: Spontaneous/primary intracranial hypotension is characterised by orthostatic headache and is associated with characteristic magnetic resonance imaging findings. CASE REPORT: We present a case report of a patient with typical symptoms and classical radiological images. DISCUSSION: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is an under-recognised cause of headache and can be diagnosed by history of typical orthostatic headache and findings on MRI brain.