Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of an active strategy to implement the validated Canadian C-Spine Rule into multiple emergency departments.
Design Matched pair cluster randomised trial.
Setting University and community emergency departments in Canada.
Participants 11 824 alert and stable adults presenting with blunt trauma to the head or neck at one of 12 hospitals.
Interventions Six hospitals were randomly allocated to the intervention and six to the control. At the intervention sites, active strategies were used to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule, including education, policy, and real time reminders on radiology requisitions. No specific intervention was introduced to alter the behaviour of doctors requesting cervical spine imaging at the control sites.
Main outcome measure Diagnostic imaging rate of the cervical spine during two 12 month before and after periods.
Results Patients were balanced between control and intervention sites. From the before to the after periods, the intervention group showed a relative reduction in cervical spine imaging of 12.8% (95% confidence interval 9% to 16%; 61.7% v 53.3%; P=0.01) and the control group a relative increase of 12.5% (7% to 18%; 52.8% v 58.9%; P=0.03). These changes were significant when both groups were compared (P<0.001). No fractures were missed and no adverse outcomes occurred.
Conclusions Implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule led to a significant decrease in imaging without injuries being missed or patient morbidity. Final imaging rates were much lower at intervention sites than at most US hospitals. Widespread implementation of this rule could lead to reduced healthcare costs and more efficient patient flow in busy emergency departments worldwide.
Trial registration Clinical trials NCT00290875.
The Canadian CT Head Rule was prospectively derived and validated to assist clinicians with diagnostic decision-making regarding the use of computed tomography (CT) in adult patients with minor head injury. A recent intervention trial failed to demonstrate a decrease in the rate of head CTs following implementation of the rule in Canadian emergency departments. Yet, the same intervention, which included a one-hour educational session and reminders at the point of requisition, was successful in reducing cervical spine imaging rates in the same emergency departments. The reason for the varied effect of the intervention across these two behaviours is unclear. There is an increasing appreciation for the use of theory to conduct process evaluations to better understand how strategies are linked with outcomes in implementation trials. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) has been used to explore health professional behaviour and to design behaviour change interventions but, to date, has not been used to guide a theory-based process evaluation. In this proof of concept study, we explored whether the TDF could be used to guide a retrospective process evaluation to better understand emergency physicians’ responses to the interventions employed in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial.
A semi-structured interview guide, based on the 12 domains from the TDF, was used to conduct telephone interviews with project leads and physician participants from the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial. Two reviewers independently coded the anonymised interview transcripts using the TDF as a coding framework. Relevant domains were identified by: the presence of conflicting beliefs within a domain; the frequency of beliefs; and the likely strength of the impact of a belief on the behaviour.
Eight physicians from four of the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial participated in the interviews. Barriers likely to assist with understanding physicians’ responses to the intervention in the trial were identified in six of the theoretical domains: beliefs about consequences; beliefs about capabilities; behavioural regulation; memory, attention and decision processes; environmental context and resources; and social influences. Despite knowledge that the Canadian CT Head Rule was highly sensitive and reliable for identifying clinically important brain injuries and strong beliefs about the benefits for using the rule, a number of barriers were identified that may have prevented physicians from consistently applying the rule.
This proof of concept study demonstrates the use of the TDF as a guiding framework to design a retrospective theory-based process evaluation. There is a need for further development and testing of methods for using the TDF to guide theory-based process evaluations running alongside behaviour change intervention trials.
Background: The Canadian CT head rule has been developed to identify which adults with minor head injuries require computed tomography (CT). This is hoped will reduce the number of CT scans performed for minor head injury in North America. It was unclear whether applying the rule would reduce or even increase the number of CT scans requested in UK emergency departments.
Methods: A retrospective evaluation was conducted of all adults who presented after minor head injuries to Addenbrooke's emergency department. Clinical information about patients with head injuries is collected on standardised forms. A dataset was constructed to predict how many patients would require head CT scans if the Canadian CT rule was applied.
Results: 1489 adults presented after minor head injury over a seven month period. Seventy four of these had CT scans for head injury, applying the Canadian CT head rule would have resulted in 132 CT scans being requested. This is significantly more (p>0.001). This would have resulted in a 68% increase in costs.
Interpretation: The Canadian CT head rule would result in an increase in the number of CT scans requested for minor head injuries. This increased cost must be considered against the 488 skull radiographs that were requested during the study period.
International research has demonstrated disparities in the Emergency Department care of patients of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds. The management of minor head injuries requires a careful clinical assessment to determine the requirement of a CT scan of the head. The aim of this study was to determine if there was any disparity, based on race, in the management of minor head injury.
This was a retrospective, structured, medical record review of patients presenting to The Townsville Hospital Emergency Department, between September 2004 and April 2007, with minor head injury. The main outcome measure was whether or not patients received a CT head scan when clinically indicated. The Canadian CT Head Rule was considered the standard for clinical indication for a CT head scan. Secondary outcome measures included triage category, waiting time, level of care provider, disposition and serum ethanol.
A total of 270 patients (73 indigenous and 196 non-indigenous) were enrolled. There was no statistically significant difference in ordering CT head scans when clinically indicated between indigenous and non-indigenous patients. However, a trend indicating that indigenous patients were less likely to receive a CT head scan when clinically indicated (OR 0.35; 95% CI = 0.07 to 1.77) was noted. Indigenous patients had a mean waiting time of 44.6 min (SD 49.6) compared to non-indigenous with 31.1 min (SD 36.4; p = 0.02).
This study concluded that there was no statistically significant disparity based upon race in the management of minor head injuries with regard to decision to perform a CT head scan. There is some evidence that indigenous patients waited longer to be seen. A multi-centre prospective study is necessary to confirm these findings.
Racial disparity; Head injury; Emergency department
Objective: : In 2002 a new protocol was introduced based on the Canadian CT rules. Before this the Royal College of Surgeons "Galasko" report guidelines had been followed. This study evaluates the effects of the protocol and discusses the impact of the implementation of the NICE head injury guidelines—also based on the Canadian CT rules.
Methods: A "before and after" study was undertaken, using data from accident and emergency cards and hospital notes of adult patients with head injuries presenting to the emergency department over seven months in 2001 and nine months in 2002. The two groups were compared to see how rates of computed tomography (CT), admission for observation, discharge, and skull radiography had changed after introduction of the protocol.
Results: : Head CT rates in patients with minor head injuries (MHI) increased significantly from 47 of 330 (14%) to 58 of 267 (20%) (p<0.05). There were also significantly increased rates of admission for observation, from 111 (34%) to 119 (45%). Skull radiography rates fell considerably from 33% of all patients with head injuries in 2001 to 1.6% in 2002, without any adverse effect.
Conclusions: This study shows that it is possible to replace the current practice in the UK of risk stratification of adult MHI based on skull radiography, with slightly modified versions of the Canadian CT rule/NICE guidelines. This will result in a large reduction in skull radiography and will be associated with modest increases in CT and admissions rates. If introduction of the NICE guideline is to be realistic, the study suggests that it will not be cost neutral.
that patients admitted to hospital with a head injury benefit from a
routinely offered early intervention service.
PATIENTS AND METHODS—A
mixed rural and urban Health District of 560 000 people with two
accident and emergency departments provided the setting. Existing
routine services for most patients with head injury are minimal. All
patients aged 16-65 years admitted to hospital after a head injury of
any severity, with or without other injuries entered the trial.
Prospective randomisation, with a block randomisation procedure was
used to allocate all eligible patients to either: a group offered an
additional service by a specialist team; or a group receiving existing
standard services. Patients were assessed at follow up six months after
injury. The primary outcome measure was the Rivermead head injury
follow up questionnaire, a validated and reliable measure of social
disability. The Rivermead post-concussion symptoms questionnaire was
used to estimate severity of post-concussion symptoms. Each patient in
the trial group was contacted 7-10 days after injury, and offered
assessment and interventions as needed. These initially focused on the
provision of information, support, and advice. Forty six per cent of
patients in the trial group also received further outpatient
intervention or additional support by telephone.
were registered: 184 were randomised into the trial group, 130 into the
control group. For prognostic data, the groups were comparable at
randomisation, and remained comparable when assessed at six months. 132 trial and 86 control patients were followed up at six months after
injury. Patients' post-traumatic amnesia ranged from mild (n=79,
40%), and moderate (n=62, 32%), to severe (n=38, 19%) and very
severe (n=17, 9%). The trial group patients had significantly less
social disability (p=0.01) and significantly less severe
post-concussion symptoms (p=0.02) at follow up at six months after
injury than the control group patients.
interventions offered by a specialist service significantly reduced
social morbidity and severity of post-concussion symptoms in trial
group patients at six months after head injury. Recommendations about
how specialist services should be targeted are made both in the light
of these results and those from a previous randomised controlled trial.
There is controversy about which children with minor head injury need to undergo computed tomography (CT). We aimed to develop a highly sensitive clinical decision rule for the use of CT in children with minor head injury.
For this multicentre cohort study, we enrolled consecutive children with blunt head trauma presenting with a score of 13–15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale and loss of consciousness, amnesia, disorientation, persistent vomiting or irritability. For each child, staff in the emergency department completed a standardized assessment form before any CT. The main outcomes were need for neurologic intervention and presence of brain injury as determined by CT. We developed a decision rule by using recursive partitioning to combine variables that were both reliable and strongly associated with the outcome measures and thus to find the best combinations of predictor variables that were highly sensitive for detecting the outcome measures with maximal specificity.
Among the 3866 patients enrolled (mean age 9.2 years), 95 (2.5%) had a score of 13 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, 282 (7.3%) had a score of 14, and 3489 (90.2%) had a score of 15. CT revealed that 159 (4.1%) had a brain injury, and 24 (0.6%) underwent neurologic intervention. We derived a decision rule for CT of the head consisting of four high-risk factors (failure to reach score of 15 on the Glasgow coma scale within two hours, suspicion of open skull fracture, worsening headache and irritability) and three additional medium-risk factors (large, boggy hematoma of the scalp; signs of basal skull fracture; dangerous mechanism of injury). The high-risk factors were 100.0% sensitive (95% CI 86.2%–100.0%) for predicting the need for neurologic intervention and would require that 30.2% of patients undergo CT. The medium-risk factors resulted in 98.1% sensitivity (95% CI 94.6%–99.4%) for the prediction of brain injury by CT and would require that 52.0% of patients undergo CT.
The decision rule developed in this study identifies children at two levels of risk. Once the decision rule has been prospectively validated, it has the potential to standardize and improve the use of CT for children with minor head injury.
Physicians in Canadian emergency departments (EDs) annually treat 185,000 alert and stable trauma victims who are at risk for cervical spine (C-spine) injury. However, only 0.9% of these patients have suffered a cervical spine fracture. Current use of radiography is not efficient. The Canadian C-Spine Rule is designed to allow physicians to be more selective and accurate in ordering C-spine radiography, and to rapidly clear the C-spine without the need for radiography in many patients. The goal of this phase III study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an active strategy to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule into physician practice. Specific objectives are to: 1) determine clinical impact, 2) determine sustainability, 3) evaluate performance, and 4) conduct an economic evaluation.
We propose a matched-pair cluster design study that compares outcomes during three consecutive 12-months "before," "after," and "decay" periods at six pairs of "intervention" and "control" sites. These 12 hospital ED sites will be stratified as "teaching" or "community" hospitals, matched according to baseline C-spine radiography ordering rates, and then allocated within each pair to either intervention or control groups. During the "after" period at the intervention sites, simple and inexpensive strategies will be employed to actively implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule. The following outcomes will be assessed: 1) measures of clinical impact, 2) performance of the Canadian C-Spine Rule, and 3) economic measures. During the 12-month "decay" period, implementation strategies will continue, allowing us to evaluate the sustainability of the effect. We estimate a sample size of 4,800 patients in each period in order to have adequate power to evaluate the main outcomes.
Phase I successfully derived the Canadian C-Spine Rule and phase II confirmed the accuracy and safety of the rule, hence, the potential for physicians to improve care. What remains unknown is the actual change in clinical behaviors that can be affected by implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule, and whether implementation can be achieved with simple and inexpensive measures. We believe that the Canadian C-Spine Rule has the potential to significantly reduce health care costs and improve the efficiency of patient flow in busy Canadian EDs.
The Canadian C-Spine Rule for imaging of the cervical spine was developed for use by physicians. We believe that nurses in the emergency department could use this rule to clinically clear the cervical spine. We prospectively evaluated the accuracy, reliability and acceptability of the Canadian C-Spine Rule when used by nurses.
We conducted this three-year prospective cohort study in six Canadian emergency departments. The study involved adult trauma patients who were alert and whose condition was stable. We provided two hours of training to 191 triage nurses. The nurses then assessed patients using the Canadian C-Spine Rule, including determination of neck tenderness and range of motion, reapplied immobilization and completed a data form.
Of the 3633 study patients, 42 (1.2%) had clinically important injuries of the cervical spine. The kappa value for interobserver assessments of 498 patients with the Canadian C-Spine Rule was 0.78. We calculated sensitivity of 100.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 91.0%–100.0%) and specificity of 43.4% (95% CI 42.0%–45.0%) for the Canadian C-Spine Rule as interpreted by the investigators. The nurses classified patients with a sensitivity of 90.2% (95% CI 76.0%–95.0%) and a specificity of 43.9% (95% CI 42.0%–46.0%). Early in the study, nurses failed to identify four cases of injury, despite the presence of clear high-risk factors. None of these patients suffered sequelae, and after retraining there were no further missed cases. We estimated that for 40.7% of patients, the cervical spine could be cleared clinically by nurses. Nurses reported discomfort in applying the Canadian C-Spine Rule in only 4.8% of cases.
Use of the Canadian C-Spine Rule by nurses was accurate, reliable and clinically acceptable. Widespread implementation by nurses throughout Canada and elsewhere would diminish patient discomfort and improve patient flow in overcrowded emergency departments.
OBJECTIVE--To assess the feasibility and impact of introducing the Ottawa ankle rules to a large number of physicians in a wide variety of hospital and community settings over a prolonged period of time. DESIGN--Multicentre before and after controlled clinical trial. SETTING--Emergency departments of eight teaching and community hospitals in Canadian communities (population 10,000 to 3,000,000). SUBJECTS--All 12,777 adults (6288 control, 6489 intervention) seen with acute ankle injuries during two 12 month periods before and after the intervention. INTERVENTION--More than 200 physicians of varying experience were taught to order radiography according to the Ottawa ankle rules. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Referral for ankle and foot radiography. RESULTS--There were significant reductions in use of ankle radiography at all eight hospitals and within a priori subgroups: for all hospitals combined 82.8% control v 60.9% intervention(P < 0.001); for community hospitals 86.7% v 61.7%; (P < 0.001); for teaching hospitals 77.9% v 59.9%; (P < 0.001); for emergency physicians 82.1% v 61.6%; (P < 0.001); for family physicians 84.3% v 60.1%; (P < 0.001); and for housestaff 82.3% v 60.1%; (P < 0.001). Compared with patients without fracture who had radiography during the intervention period those who had no radiography spent less time in the emergency department (54.0 v 86.9 minutes; P < 0.001) and had lower medical charges ($70.20 v $161.60; P < 0.001). There was no difference in the rate of fractures diagnosed after discharge from the emergency department (0.5 v 0.4%). CONCLUSIONS--Introduction of the Ottawa ankle rules proved to be feasible in a large variety of hospital and community settings. Use of the rules over a prolonged period of time by many physicians of varying experience led to a decrease in ankle radiography, waiting times, and costs without an increased rate of missed fractures. The multiphase methodological approach used to develop and implement these rules may be applied to other clinical problems.
The use of imaging modalities is crucial in the diagnostic field of critical medicine. However, the ethical and economic use of these techniques has become a major concern especially in resource-poor settings. The Canadian computed tomography Head Rule (CCHR) is being increasingly used all over the world to evaluate the necessity of a Computer-assisted Tomography (CT) scan in patients with suspected head injury.
The aim of the current study is to evaluate the efficacy of CCHR to predict the occurrence of head injury, as evidenced radiologically by a CT Head, at a government tertiary care clinical setting in south India.
Setting and Design:
The design was that of a hospital-based cross-sectional survey conducted at the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala, India).
Materials and Methods:
The study subjects were patients with suspected head injury evaluated at the Surgical Casualty Department of the study setting. Fifty consecutive patients with suspected head injury were enrolled in the study.
The Chi-square test was used to assess the statistical significance of association between the outcome variable and the exposure characteristics. The diagnostic ability of the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and CCHR were expressed in terms of sensitivity and specificity by considering CT diagnosed Head injury as the gold standard diagnostic tool.
Clinical manifestations as measured by a GCS score < 13 failed to significantly predict a head injury in the CT scan. However, the same became statistically significant when the CCHR was added to the GCS score as a predictor (P value < 0.001). The sensitivity of the tool in predicting a head injury rose from 23.3 to 96.7%.
The current study suggested that the CCHR could act as an excellent decision rule to indicate the need of a CT scan. The need of a decision rule was warranted in the context of the growth of newer diagnostic imaging facilities in India.
Canadian CT head rule; canadian computed tomography Head Rule; computer-assisted tomography scan; canadian CT head rule in India; head injury
Objective: Head/orofacial (H/O) injuries are common in Australian rules football. Mouthguards are widely promoted to prevent these injuries, in spite of the lack of formal evidence for their effectiveness.
Design: The Australian football injury prevention project was a cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of mouthguards for preventing H/O injuries in these players.
Setting and subjects: Twenty three teams (301 players) were recruited from the largest community football league in Australia.
Intervention: Teams were randomly allocated to either the MG: custom made mouthguard or C: control (usual mouthguard behaviours) study arm.
Main outcome measures: All injuries, participation in training and games, and mouthguard use were monitored over the 2001 playing season. Injury rates were calculated as the number of injuries per 1000 person hours of playing time. Adjusted incidence rate ratios were obtained from Poisson regression models.
Results: Players in both study arms wore mouthguards, though it is unlikely that many controls wore custom made ones. Wearing rates were higher during games than training. The overall rate of H/O injury was 2.7 injuries per 1000 exposure hours. The rate of H/O injury was higher during games than training. The adjusted H/O injury incidence rate ratio was 0.56 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.97) for MG versus C during games and training, combined.
Conclusions: There was a significant protective effect of custom made mouthguards, relative to usual mouthguard use, during games. However, the control players still wore mouthguards throughout the majority of games and this could have diluted the effect.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the Medical Disability Society's 1988 recommendation that "every patient attending hospital after a head injury should be registered and offered an outpatient follow up appointment" by determining whether offering a routine follow up service to patients presenting to hospital with a head injury of any severity affects outcome six months later. DESIGN: A randomised controlled trial design with masked assessment of outcome. SETTING: A mixed rural and urban health district with a population of about 560000. PATIENTS: 1156 consecutive patients resident in Oxfordshire aged between 16 and 65 years presenting over 13 months to accident and emergency departments or admitted to hospital and diagnosed as having a head injury of any severity, including those with other injuries. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were registered and randomised to one of two groups. Both groups continued to receive the standard service offered by the hospitals. The early follow up group were approached at 7-10 days after injury and offered additional information, advice, support, and further intervention as needed. All randomised patients were approached for follow up assessment six months after injury by independent clinicians blind to their group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Validated questionnaires were used to elicit ratings of post-concussion symptoms (the Rivermead postconcussion symptoms questionnaire), and changes in work, relationships, leisure, social, and domestic activities (the Rivermead head injury follow up questionnaire). RESULTS: The two groups were comparable at randomisation. Data was obtained at six months on 226 of 577 "control" patients and 252 of 579 "trial" patients (59% were lost to follow up). There were no significant differences overall between the trial and control groups at follow up, but subgroup analysis of the patients with moderate or severe head injuries (posttraumatic amnesia > or = one hour, or admitted to hospital), showed that those in the early intervention group had significantly fewer difficulties with everyday activities (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: The results from the 41% of patients followed up do not support the recommendation of offering a routine follow up to all patients with head injury, but they do suggest that routine follow up is most likely to be beneficial to patients with moderate or severe head injuries. Some of those with less severe injuries do continue to experience difficulties and need access to services. A further trial is under way to test these conclusions.
Objective To investigate the association between helmet legislation and admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries among young people and adults in Canada.
Design Interrupted time series analysis using data from the National Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set.
Setting Canadian provinces and territories; between 1994 and 2003, six of 10 provinces implemented helmet legislation.
Participants All admissions (n=66 716) to acute care hospitals in Canada owing to cycling related injury between 1994 and 2008.
Main outcome measure Rate of admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries before and after the implementation of provincial helmet legislation.
Results Between 1994 and 2008, 66 716 hospital admissions were for cycling related injuries in Canada. Between 1994 and 2003, the rate of head injuries among young people decreased by 54.0% (95% confidence interval 48.2% to 59.8%) in provinces with helmet legislation compared with 33.1% (23.3% to 42.9%) in provinces and territories without legislation. Among adults, the rate of head injuries decreased by 26.0% (16.0% to 36.3%) in provinces with legislation but remained constant in provinces and territories without legislation. After taking baseline trends into consideration, however, we were unable to detect an independent effect of legislation on the rate of hospital admissions for cycling related head injuries.
Conclusions Reductions in the rates of admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries were greater in provinces with helmet legislation, but injury rates were already decreasing before the implementation of legislation and the rate of decline was not appreciably altered on introduction of legislation. While helmets reduce the risk of head injuries and we encourage their use, in the Canadian context of existing safety campaigns, improvements to the cycling infrastructure, and the passive uptake of helmets, the incremental contribution of provincial helmet legislation to reduce hospital admissions for head injuries seems to have been minimal.
Persistent postconcussive symptoms (PCSs) is the persistence of somatic, cognitive, physical, psychological and/or behavioural changes lasting more than 1 month following concussion. Persistent concussion impacts the quality of life through impaired cognition, memory and attention affecting school performance, mood and social engagement. No large epidemiological studies have determined the true prevalence of persistent concussion symptoms. Validated, easy-to-use prognosticators do not exist for clinicians to identify children at highest risk. The goal of Predicting and Preventing Postconcussive Problems in Pediatrics study is to derive a clinical prediction rule for the development of persistent postconcussion symptoms in children and adolescents presenting to emergency department following acute head injury.
Methods and analysis
This study is a prospective, multicentre cohort study across nine academic Canadian paediatric emergency departments. We will recruit the largest prospective epidemiological cohort of children with concussion. Eligible children will be followed using Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory, a validated tool in children as young as 5 years. Patients will follow-up at 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks postinjury. The main outcome will be the presence/absence of PCSs defined as three or more persistent concussion symptoms 1 month following the injury. 1792 patients provide adequate power to derive a clinical decision rule using multivariate analyses to find predictor variables sensitive for detecting cases of persistent postconcussion symptoms.
Ethics and dissemination
Results of this large prospective study will enable clinicians to identify children at highest risk, optimise treatment and provide families with realistic and appropriate anticipatory guidance. Ethics has been obtained through the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Ethics Board. Results will be disseminated at international conferences and in four manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals.
This study is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov through the US National Institute of Health/National Library of Medicine (NCT01873287; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01873287).
Accident & Emergency Medicine; Epidemiology; Sports Medicine; Paediatrics
Objective: To assess the long term effect of a home safety visit on the rate of home injury.
Design: Telephone survey conducted 36 months after participation in a randomized controlled trial of a home safety intervention. A structured interview assessed participant knowledge, beliefs, or practices around injury prevention and the number of injuries requiring medical attention.
Setting: Five pediatric teaching hospitals in four Canadian urban centres.
Participants: Children less than 8 years of age presenting to an emergency department with a targeted home injury (fall, scald, burn, poisoning or ingestion, choking, or head injury while riding a bicycle), a non-targeted injury, or a medical illness.
Results: We contacted 774 (66%) of the 1172 original participants. A higher proportion of participants in the intervention group (63%) reported that home visits changed their knowledge, beliefs, or practices around the prevention of home injuries compared with those in the non-intervention group (43%; p<0.001). Over the 36 month follow up period the rate of injury visits to the doctor was significantly less for the intervention group (rate ratio = 0.74; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.87), consistent with the original (12 month) study results (rate ratio = 0.69; 95% CI 0.54 to 0.88). However, the effectiveness of the intervention appears to be diminishing with time (rate ratio for the 12–36 month study interval = 0.80; 95% CI 0.64 to 1.00).
Conclusions: A home safety visit was able to demonstrate sustained, but modest, effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving home safety and reducing injury. This study reinforces the need of home safety programs to focus on passive intervention and a simple well defined message.
A quarter of all patients presenting to emergency departments are children. Although there are several large, well‐conducted studies on adults enabling accurate selection of patients with head injury at high risk for computed tomography scanning, no such study has derived a rule for children.
To conduct a prospective multicentre diagnostic cohort study to provide a rule for selection of high‐risk children with head injury for computed tomography scanning.
All children presenting to the emergency departments of 10 hospitals in the northwest of England with any severity of head injury were recruited. A tailor‐made proforma was used to collect data on around 40 clinical variables for each child. These variables were defined from a literature review, and a pilot study was conducted before the children's head injury algorithm for the prediction of important clinical events (CHALICE) study. All children who had a clinically significant head injury (death, need for neurosurgical intervention or abnormality on a computed tomography scan) were identified. Recursive partitioning was used to create a highly sensitive rule for the prediction of significant intracranial pathology.
22 772 children were recruited over 2½ years. 65% of these were boys and 56% were <5 years old. 281 children showed an abnormality on the computed tomography scan, 137 had a neurosurgical operation and 15 died. The CHALICE rule was derived with a sensitivity of 98% (95% confidence interval (CI) 96% to 100%) and a specificity of 87% (95% CI 86% to 87%) for the prediction of clinically significant head injury, and requires a computed tomography scan rate of 14%.
A highly sensitive clinical decision rule is derived for the identification of children who should undergo computed tomography scanning after head injury. This rule has the potential to improve and standardise the care of children presenting with head injuries. Validation of this rule in new cohorts of patients should now be undertaken.
Head injuries are expensive and demanding in terms of resources. In the UK, most are cared for outside neurosurgical centres. In the absence of specialist rehabilitation services, patients with on-going disability add to those admitted for observation and treatment on acute surgical wards. We audited the workload pattern and financial implications related to head injuries on a general surgical unit in a central London teaching hospital. Data collected prospectively at the time of admission and derived from departmental computerized information systems included clinical outcome, hospital stay and its relationship to severity of injury and other factors. Ward, departmental (accident and emergency (A & E), intensive therapy unit (ITU), radiology, and theatre) and neurosurgical referral costs were derived. Long-term social and rehabilitation costs were not calculated. Over a 6 month period 899 patients with head injuries were treated in the A & E department, of whom 156 were admitted. Of the admitted patients 68% were classified as minor; 22% as moderate; and 10% as severe head injuries. Fifty-one per cent of adult admissions were intoxicated by alcohol. Prolonged hospital stay was related to age, severity of head injury, mechanism of injury, associated injuries and preexisting neuropsychiatric conditions (including alcoholism). Six patients died. The direct cost of these head injuries patients was estimated at 173,500 pounds, during which time they occupied 7.6% of our unit's adult inpatient capacity. Twenty-four hour observation of 76 patients with minor head injuries contributed 9700 pounds (5.6%) to this figure. Associated extracranial injuries cost a further 46,500 pounds.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Objectives: To assess the effect of a change in skull x ray policy on the rate of admission, use of computed tomography (CT), radiation dose per head injury, and detection of intracranial injuries; and to compare the characteristics of patients with normal and abnormal head CT.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: UK paediatric teaching hospital emergency department.
Patients: 1535 patients aged between 1 and 14 years with a head injury presenting to the emergency department between 1 August 1998 and 31 July 1999 (control period), and 1867 presenting between 1 August 2002 and 31 July 2003 (first year of new skull x ray policy).
Intervention: Hospital notes and computer systems were analysed and data were collected on all patients presenting with a head injury.
Results: The abolition of skull x rays in children aged over 1 year prevented about 400 normal skull x rays being undertaken in period 2. The percentage of children undergoing CT rose from 1.0% to 2.1% with no change in the positive CT pick up rate (25.6% v 25.0%). There was no significant change in admission rate (10.9% v 10.1%), and a slight decrease in the radiation dose per head injury (0.042 mSv compared to 0.045 mSv).
Conclusions: Skull x rays can be abandoned in children aged 1 to 14 without a significant increase in admission rate, radiation dose per head injury, or missed intracranial injury. The mechanism and history of the injury and a reduced Glasgow coma scale are probably the most important indicators of significant head injury in children.
To identify factors associated with timely initiation of antibiotic therapy for patients hospitalized with pneumonia.
Secondary analysis of a cluster-randomized, controlled trial.
32 emergency departments (ED) in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Patients with a clinical and radiographic diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia.
From January to December 2001, EDs were randomly allocated to guideline implementation strategies of low (n=8), moderate (n=12), and high intensity (n=12) to improve the initial site of treatment and the performance of evidence-based processes of care. Our primary outcome was antibiotic initiation within 4 hours of presentation, which at that time was the recommended process of care for inpatients.
Of the 2076 inpatients enrolled, 1632 (78.6%) received antibiotic therapy within 4 hours of presentation. Antibiotic timeliness ranged from 55.6% to 100% (p<0.001) by emergency department and from 77.0% to 79.7% (p=0.2) across the three guideline implementation arms. In multivariable analysis, heart rate ≥ 125 per minute (OR=1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.3), respiratory rate ≥30 per minute (OR=2.3, 95% CI 1.6-3.4), and aspiration pneumonia (OR=3.7, 95% CI 1.1-12.7) were positively associated with timely initiation of antibiotic therapy, while a hematocrit <30% (OR=0.6, 95% CI 0.4-1.0) was negatively associated with this outcome.
Timely initiation of antibiotic therapy is associated primarily with patient-related factors that reflect severity of illness at presentation. Although this study demonstrates an opportunity to improve performance on this quality measure in nearly one quarter of inpatients with pneumonia, we failed to identify any modifiable patient, provider, or hosptial level factors to target in such quality improvement efforts.
pneumonia; quality of care; process of care
On March 18, 2009, actress Natasha Richardson died after a head injury. It is possible that the rate of patients presenting with mild head injury and receiving computed tomographies (CTs) may have been influenced by the Richardson event. We hypothesized that there was a statistically significant increase in the rate of census-adjusted head CTs performed for mild trauma after March 16, 2009, compared to prior to this date.
We included all with a non-contrast head CT performed from the emergency department (ED) between March 1 and April 15, 2009, for minor trauma. The primary outcome was the census-adjusted rate of head CTs per time (# of head CTs/census). We compared the census adjusted rate for the 2 weeks prior to 2 weeks after the accident. To document media dissemination we searched Lexis-Nexis for news stories mentioning “Richardson.”
In the 2 weeks prior to March 16, 2009, the census-adjusted rate was 0.81% (95% CI 0.54–1.16) and there were no stories. The first media reports appeared on March 16, 2009, (n = 19) and quickly doubled (n = 40, n = 43) over the subsequent 2 days. The rate of CTs nearly doubled during the 2 weeks post accident 1.46% (1.10–1.91%). This absolute increase in rate percentage was statistically significant. (0.65%; 0.17 to 1.14%).
The percentage of all ED patients seen with mild trauma tested with head CT almost doubled when comparing the pre-Richardson accident vs. post time periods. There was an increase in media reports of the accident that occurred rapidly after the event and peaked on day 3.
Background: Recent clinical trials indicate that treatment with lipid modifying therapy improves outcomes in patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The results of these trials, however, have not been widely implemented in clinical practice.
Objectives: To develop and test an intervention designed to increase the rate of prescription of lipid modifying therapy and to determine the relative effectiveness of three different prompts (progress notes, patient letters, or computer chart reminders).
Methods: The study was conducted in 11 US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. The effect of the intervention on the proportion of eligible patients receiving lipid modifying therapy was compared between five intervention sites and six matched control sites using a controlled before and after study design. Additionally, 92 providers within the intervention clinics were randomized to receive one of the three prompts. Data were analyzed using logistic regression modeling which incorporated terms to account for the clustered nature of the data.
Results: At the intervention sites the prescription rate increased from 8.3% during the pre-intervention period to 39.1% during the intervention (OR = 6.5, 95% CI 5.2 to 8.2, p<0.0001) but remained unchanged at the control sites. The interaction between group (control v intervention) and time period was highly significant (p<0.0001). The adjusted odds of receiving a prescription during the intervention period was 3.1 times higher at the intervention sites than at the control sites (95% CI 2.1 to 4.7). Overall, there was no significant difference in prescription rates among the three prompt groups. However, there was a significant interaction between prompt group and site, indicating that the efficacy of the prompts differed by site.
Conclusion: An intervention for primary care providers consisting of an educational workshop, opinion leader influence, and prompts substantially increased the prescription rate of lipid modifying therapy.
Background: Biochemical markers released after head injury may reflect the degree of brain damage, which is related to subsequent disability. If the serum level of a marker were found to be related to outcome, then earlier identification and intervention would be possible.
Objective: To investigate the potential of the serum marker S-100B protein to predict the outcome after head injury.
Methods: Blood samples for S-100B concentrations were taken from 148 adults within six hours of a head injury (initial Glasgow coma score 4–15). Patients were recruited from the emergency departments of four hospitals in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom. Outcome was assessed in 119 patients (80%) at one month using the extended Glasgow outcome scale (GOSE).
Results: A significant inverse correlation between serum S-100B level and GOSE was found (Spearman's ρ = -0.349, p < 0.0001). A serum S-100B concentration of > 0.32 µg/l predicted severe disability (GOSE < 5) at one month with a sensitivity of 93% (95% confidence interval 68% to 100%), a specificity of 72% (54% to 79%), and a negative predictive value of 99% (93% to 100%).
Conclusion: Serum S-100B concentration can be used in the emergency department to identify patients with head injury who are most likely to have a poor outcome at one month.
In the UK, about 2% of the population attend the accident and emergency (A&E) department every year after a head injury. A majority of the patients have minor head injury and are discharged. Studies reveal that patients who reattend the A&E after a minor head injury represent a high‐risk group.
Concussion injuries are common and not all require treatment at the time of presentation. However, some may worsen after initial presentation and develop signs of serious head injury. A case of minor head injury as a result of head butt during a game of rugby, not associated with alteration in conscious state or focal neurological signs, and subsequent development of frontal lobe abscess a month later is reported. It is important that patients fit to be discharged at the time of consultation are discharged in the care of a responsible adult with clear head injury instruction sheets and are advised to return should their symptoms change. A high index of suspicion should be maintained and an early imaging technique, such as CT scan should be considered in patients reattending the A&E with persistent symptoms even after minor head injury.
Objective. Only limited data exists in terms of the incidence of intracranial bleeding (ICB) in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Methods. We retrospectively identified 3088 patients (mean age 41 range (7–99) years) presenting with isolated MTBI and GCS 14-15 at our Emergency Department who had undergone cranial CT (CCT) between 2002 and 2011. Indication for CCT was according to the “Canadian CT head rules.” Patients with ICB were either submitted for neurosurgical treatment or kept under surveillance for at least 24 hours. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to correlate the incidence of ICB with age, gender, or intake of coumarins, platelet aggregation inhibitors, or heparins. Results. 149 patients (4.8%) had ICB on CCT. No patient with ICB died or deteriorated neurologically. The incidence of ICB increased with age and intake of anticoagulants without clinically relevant correlation (R = 0.11; P < 0.001; R = −0.06; P < 0.001). Conclusion. Our data show an incidence of 4.8% for ICB after MTBI. However, neurological deterioration after MTBI seems to be rare, and the need for neurosurgical intervention is only required in selected cases. The general need for CCT in patients after MTBI is therefore questionable, and clinical surveillance may be sufficient when CCT is not available.