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1.  Paramedics beliefs and attitudes towards pre-hospital thrombolysis 
Myocardial infarction is the third leading cause of death in the developing countries. Thrombolysis as a reperfusion therapy is shown to have a great role in decreasing mortality. The efficacy of thrombolytic therapy lies in its ability to reduce the duration of occlusion by early administration. Many of the studies have supported pre-hospital thrombolysis (PHT) therapy and proven that it is beneficial in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.
Questionnaires adopted from studies of Humphrey et al., were distributed to paramedics in Saudi Red Crescent Authority and Emergency Medical Services Departments at King Abdulaziz Medical City, King Fahad Medical City, Prince Sultan Medical Military City and Security Forces Hospital in Riyadh. A total of 7 questions were about the knowledge of risk and benefit of PHT and 12 questions were about the beliefs and attitudes of paramedics toward PHT in AMI patients.
The response rate was 87%. Nearly 72% were believed to be capable of performing PHT, 87% are confident about recording 12-lead electrocardiogram in pre-hospital settings and 77% are confident in the interpretation. 94% believe that PHT will have a significant impact on pain to needle time. 77% consider PHT to be safe for use by paramedics. 66% preferred on-line medical direction or telemedicine linked with the supervision of a physician. Regarding the knowledge part, majority gave a correct answer, but the major concern was that 43% of the paramedics overestimated direct relation of bleeding to thrombolysis therapy.
Majority of paramedics in Riyadh support the principle of PHT in patients with AMI via online medical direction. They believe that they are confident in their ability to administer PHT despite the concern of authorities on their level of training, the related risks and medico-legal issues. Nevertheless, since the total duration of PHT course for paramedics is just 2 days, we consider that the procedure should be performed under expert supervision until they achieve expertise.
PMCID: PMC3931206  PMID: 24600571
Acute myocardial infarction; attitudes; beliefs; paramedics; pre-hospital thrombolysis; questionnaire
2.  Clinical characteristics of patients with atrial fibrillation at a tertiary care hospital in the central region of Saudi Arabia 
To report on the clinical presentation, etiology, and laboratory features of acute and chronic atrial fibrillation (AF) in a tertiary hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods:
We retrospectively studied records of 720 patients with AF seen in outpatients and inpatients departments at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, during the period of 1 January 2002 to 31 August 2008.
Documented acute and chronic AF was present in 157 (21.8%) and 563 (78.1%) patients, respectively. Palpitations, dizziness and syncope were the most frequent symptoms in acute AF, while dyspnea and palpitations were the most common symptoms in the chronic type. Acute respiratory problems and acute myocardial infarction were significantly more common in acute AF, while congestive heart failure and acute respiratory problems (chest infection, bronchial asthma, and pulmonary embolism) were significantly more common in chronic AF. The most common causes of both types of AF were diabetes mellitus (DM) in 68.8%, hypertension (HTN) in 59.3%, chronic lung diseases (bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and interstitial lung disease) in 31.8%, valvular heart disease in 23.6%, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) in 23.1%. In 9 (1.3%) patients, no cause was detected. The echocardiographic findings of left ventricular hypertrophy, valve lesions, and depressed left ventricular function were significantly more common in chronic AF (P<0.01).
Nowadays, DM, HTN, and IHD are becoming the most common predisposing factors for AF in the central region of Saudi Arabia and require prevention and control
PMCID: PMC3159233  PMID: 21897916
Atrial fibrillation; clinical characteristics; central region; Saudi Arabia
3.  Prevalence and associated factors of polypharmacy among adult Saudi medical outpatients at a tertiary care center 
The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of polypharmacy (PP) and the associated factors in medical outpatients.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional, observational, descriptive study was carried out in adult medical outpatients attending internal medicine clinics at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 1 March 2009 to 31 December 2009. PP was defined as the concomitant use of ≥5 medications daily. The number of medications being currently taken by patient was recorded. Effect of patients’ age, gender, educational level, number of prescribers, disease load and disease type on PP was assessed by multivariate analysis using Statistical Package for Social Sciences Incorporated (SPSS Inc) Version 18.
Out of 766 patients included in the study, 683 (89%) had PP. The mean number of prescribed medications, oral pills and doses was 8.8, 9.6 and 12.1, respectively. Factors significantly associated with PP included age (≥61 years), disease load and the number of prescribers. Gender had no impact on PP while education beyond primary education significantly decreased PP. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia alone and as a cluster increased PP.
We found an extremely high level of PP in medical outpatients at our tertiary care center. The impact of PP on medication compliance and control of underlying diseases in Saudi Arabia is unknown and needs to be studied at different levels of care.
PMCID: PMC3957169  PMID: 24672273
Medical; medications; outpatients; polypharmacy
4.  Students' and teachers' perceptions of clinical assessment program: A qualitative study in a PBL curriculum 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:263.
"Examinations drive students' learning." This statement refers to what is assumed to be one of the strongest relationships in education. We explored in this research how and why students differ in their approaches to learning, how assessment affects deep learning, and which barriers stand in the way of good assessment and learning in the clinical years of a Problem Based Learning (PBL) graduate entry medical curriculum.
Method: We conducted a qualitative, phenomenological study using semi-structured group interviews with students and semi-structured individual interviews with teachers and students. The transcripts were analyzed, and themes were identified.
Setting: The research was conducted at the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from November 2007 to March 2008.
Results: A total of 28 students participated in 7 focus group interviews. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 12 teachers and 12 students. The analysis yielded four themes: summative assessment, formative assessment, continuous assessment of clinical attachments, and learning objectives.
The results of this study confirm that assessment affects students' perceptions of learning and how they learn. These effects are not uniformly positive. According to the students, the predominantly summative assessment program offers little inducement to engage in deep learning. They express a clear preference for formative assessment, which may foster a deeper approach to learning. Efforts to achieve more clinically relevant assessment with adequate balance between the various types of assessment are required. Research is needed to decide this balance.
PMCID: PMC2804577  PMID: 20030842
5.  User acceptance of a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) in a Saudi Arabian hospital radiology department 
Compared with the increasingly widespread use of picture archiving and communication systems (PACSs), knowledge concerning users’ acceptance of such systems is limited. Knowledge of acceptance is needed given the large (and growing) financial investment associated with the implementation of PACSs, and because the level of user acceptance influences the degree to which the benefits of the systems for healthcare can be realized.
A Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used to assess the level of acceptance of the host PACS by staff in the radiology department at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A questionnaire survey of 89 PACS users was employed to obtain data regarding user characteristics, perceived usefulness (PU) (6 items), perceived ease of use (PEU) (4 items), a change construct (4 items), and a behavior (acceptance) construct (9 items). Respondents graded each item in each construct using five-point likert scales.
Surveyed users reported high levels of PU (4.33/5), PEU (4.15/5), change (4.26/5), and acceptance (3.86/5). The three constructs of PU, PEU, and change explained 41 % of the variation in PACS user acceptance. PU was the most important predictor, explaining 38 % of the variation on its own. The most important single item in the explanatory constructs was that users found PACS to have improved the quality of their work in providing better patient care. Technologists had lower acceptance ratings than did clinicians/radiologists, but no influence on acceptance level was found due to gender, age, or length of experience using the PACS. Although not directly measured, there appeared to be no cultural influence on either the level of acceptance or its determinants.
User acceptance must be considered when an organization implements a PACS, in order to enhance its successful adoption. Health organizations should adopt a PACS that offers all required functions and which is likely to generate high PU on the part of its users, rather than a system that is easy to use. Training/familiarization programs should aim at establishing high levels of PU in all users, particularly technologists. Health organizations are advised to measure all the factors that influence the acceptance of a PACS by their staff, in order to optimize the productivity of the system and realize the potential benefits to the greatest extent possible.
PMCID: PMC3423046  PMID: 22640490
6.  Maternal Serum Lipids in Women with Pre-eclampsia 
Evidence of increased oxidative stress due to endothelial dysfunction in pre-eclampsia has been well-established. Increase in the oxidative stress is associated with abnormal lipid profile.
The aim of the study is to compare serum lipids in pre-eclamptic women and healthy pregnant women.
Subjects and Methods:
In this case-control study, blood samples were collected from 40 pregnant females diagnosed as pre-eclampsia and 80 normal pregnant females at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between February 2009 and January 2010. We evaluated serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride in women with pre-eclampsia and those of women with normal pregnancies. Data was analyzed using SPSS for Windows (version 17.0, SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA). The data is presented descriptively and test for significance was done using the student t-test for continous data.
Women with pre-eclampsia exhibited higher serum triglyceride levels compared with normal pregnant women (P < 0.01). Other measured serum lipids did not differ significantly in the two groups.
We recommend that any pregnant female with higher serum triglyceride concentrations may be further investigated for pre-eclampsia. Further large scale multicenter studies are required to establish the use of measuring serum triglyceride levels to screen the pregnant females for pre-eclampsia.
PMCID: PMC4160696  PMID: 25221720
Lipids; Pre-eclampsia; Triglycerides
7.  Unconventional therapy use among asthma patients in a tertiary care center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2008;3(2):48-51.
Unconventional therapy (UT) is a therapeutic practice of alternative and complementary medicine that is not currently considered an integral part of modern medical practice. The aim of this article is to investigate the experience of Saudi patients with UT modalities in the treatment of asthma.
We carried out a cross-sectional study of asthma patients referred to King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the year 2004. Information was collected using a pre-designed questionnaire administered through interviews.
Two hundred consecutive patients with a mean age of 52.3 years (±18.7) were included in this study. Sixty-nine (34.5%) of those patients used some form of UT in the previous year. There was a tendency to use UT among the older age group (P = 0.029) and among those with longer duration of disease (P = 0.009). However, there was no significant correlation observed between the use of UT and gender, FEV1, or disease control. The most commonly used form of UT was recitation of Holy Quran (9%), honey (24.5%), herbs (23.5%), cautery (12%), and blackseed (10%). There was no significant correlation between disease control and the use of modalities.
Unconventional therapy is frequently practiced by asthma patients in Saudi Arabia, who commonly believe that UT will lead to improvement. The lack of evidence necessitates the fostering of a national project to address the practice of UT.
PMCID: PMC2700461  PMID: 19561905
Asthma; Saudi Arabia; uncontrolled asthma; unconventional therapy
8.  Breast cancer in women younger than 30 years: prevalence rate and imaging findings in a symptomatic population 
To identify the prevalence rate of primary breast cancer in women younger than 30 years of age in a symptomatic population in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To analyze the imaging pattern and possible risk factors in cases with cancer. Breast cancer in this age group is generally rare and not clearly understood.
At King Abdulaziz Medical City for National Guard, Riyadh, a retrospective 5-year (January 2006 to December 2010) data was collected from the Medical Imaging departmental records on breast imaging. Patients younger than 30 years of age were identified including those with breast cancer. The clinical presentation, risk factors, imaging findings and final outcomes were analyzed in a descriptive way. The total number of patients diagnosed with primary breast cancer was recorded.
Seventeen out of a total of 4873 patients younger than 30 years examined had primary breast cancer constituting a rate of 3.5 per 1000 symptomatic patients. The age range was 17 to 29 with mean of 27. The total number of patients with primary breast cancer diagnosed during that period was 413 making a percentage of 4.1% (17 out of 413) in those younger than 30 years. First presentation with a palpable mass and imaging findings of unequivocal category 5 of Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) occurred in all. Eight patients had stage I and II while nine had stage III and IV cancers. Only 2 of the 17 had first-degree family history. The youngest was 17 years old.
A prevalence rate of 3.5 per 1000 primary cancer occurred in the symptomatic population studied and 4 in every 100 primary cancer diagnosed in the unit occurred in women younger than 30 years. First presentation, low family trait and typical imaging features of malignancy was found in all cases.
PMCID: PMC4314149  PMID: 25667697
Breast cancer; prevalence; imaging; Arab women younger than 30 years
9.  Improving the care of sepsis: Between system redesign and professional responsibility: A roundtable discussion in the world sepsis day, September 25, 2013, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):134-137.
This paper summarizes the roundtable discussion in September 25, 2013, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as part of the World Sepsis Day held in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh. The objectives of the roundtable discussion were to (1) review the chasm between the current management of sepsis and best practice, (2) discuss system redesign and role of the microsystem in sepsis management, (3) emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of the care of sepsis and that improvement of the care of sepsis is the responsibility of all, (4) discuss the bundle concept in sepsis management, and (5) reflect on the individual responsibility of the health care team toward sepsis with a focus on accountability and the moral agent.
PMCID: PMC4073568  PMID: 24987470
Accountability; moral responsibility; sepsis bundle; World Sepsis Day
10.  Tertiary care availability and adolescent pregnancy characteristics in Saudi Arabia 
In this study, we aimed to assess the rate of adolescent delivery in a Saudi tertiary health care center and to investigate the association between maternal age and fetal, neonatal, and maternal complications where a professional tertiary medical care service is provided.
A cross-sectional study was performed between 2005 and 2010 at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All primigravid Saudi women ≥24 weeks gestation, carrying a singleton pregnancy, aged <35 years, and with no chronic medical problems were eligible. Women were divided into three groups based on their age, ie, group 1 (G1) <16 years, group 2 (G2) ≥16 up to 19 years, and group 3 (G3) ≥19 up to 35 years. Data were collected from maternal and neonatal medical records. We calculated the association between the different age groups and maternal characteristics, as well as events and complications during the antenatal period, labor, and delivery.
The rates of adolescent delivery were 20.0 and 16.3 per 1,000 births in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Compared with G1 and G2 women, G3 women tended to have a higher body mass index, a longer first and second stage of labor, more blood loss at delivery, and a longer hospital stay. Compared with G1 and G2 women, respectively, G3 women had a 42% and a 67% increased risk of cesarean section, and had a 52% increased risk of instrumental delivery. G3 women were more likely to develop gestational diabetes or anemia, G2 women had a three-fold increased risk of premature delivery (odds ratio 2.81), and G3 neonates had a 50% increased overall risk of neonatal complications (odds ratio 0.51).
The adolescent birth rate appears to be low in central Saudi Arabia compared with other parts of the world. Excluding preterm delivery, adolescent delivery cared for in a tertiary health care center is not associated with a significantly increased medical risk to the mother, fetus, or neonate. The psychosocial effect of adolescent pregnancy and delivery needs to be assessed.
PMCID: PMC3979779  PMID: 24729733
adolescent pregnancy; maternal mortality; maternal morbidity; neonatal mortality; neonatal morbidity
11.  Presentation, Diagnosis and Outcome of Predominantly Hepatic Wilson's Disease in Adult Saudi Patients: A Single Centre Experience 
To evaluate the clinical manifestations, diagnostic features, disease course and response to treatment among Saudi adults with predominantly hepatic Wilson's disease. A retrospective cohort study of 40 adult patients diagnosed with predominantly hepatic Wilson's disease between 1994 and 2008 at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh was carried out.
Patients and Methods:
The diagnosis was based on varying combinations of clinical and laboratory evidence of liver disease, presence of Kayser Fleisher rings, low serum ceruloplasmin levels, elevated 24 hour urinary copper excretion and histopathological findings on liver biopsy.
The most frequent clinical presentation was decompensated chronic liver disease in 19 (47.5%), followed by chronic hepatitis in 15 (37.5%) and fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) in 5 (12.5%) patients. Eight (20%) patients with end-stage liver disease had liver transplantation, while 24 (60%) patients followed up on medical treatment for a variable period of 1-12 years showed clinical and laboratory improvement. One patient was lost early in follow up. Eight (20%) patients died during the study period, 5 with FHF, and 2 with advanced hepatic and neurological disease and one seven years after liver transplantation. Mortality rate was 100% in FHF without liver transplantation.
A predominantly hepatic Wilson's disease has varied clinical presentations with decompensated chronic liver disease being the most common among adult patients. Majority of the patients show stabilization of the disease on medical treatment. FHF in Wilson's disease has a grave prognosis without liver transplantation, the later remains a definitive treatment option for decompensated cirrhotics and patients with FHF.
PMCID: PMC3500023  PMID: 23006462
Adult; Hepatic Wilson's disease; diagnosis; outcome; presentation
12.  Prospective study of incidence and predictors of peripheral intravenous catheter-induced complications 
Although intravenous therapy is one of the most commonly performed procedures in hospitalized patients, it remains susceptible to infectious and noninfectious complications. Previous studies investigated peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) complications mainly in pediatrics, but apparently none were investigated among Saudi adult populations. The aim of this study was to assess the pattern and complications of PIVCs at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
An observational prospective cohort study investigated PIVCs pattern and complications among adults with PIVCs, admitted to various wards at KAMC. PIVCs-related clinical outcomes (pain, phlebitis, leaking, and others) were recorded in 12-hour intervals, using the Visual Inspection Phlebitis scale. Density incidence (DI) and cumulative incidence (CI) of complications and their relative risks (RRs) were calculated. Regression analyses were applied and significance limits were set at P<0.05.
During the study period, 359 adults were included, mounting to 842 PIVCs and 2,505 catheter days. The majority of patients, 276 (76.9%), had medical, chief admission complaints, whereas 83 (23.1%) were trauma/surgical and infectious cases. Complicated catheters were found in 141 (39.3%) patients, with 273 complications (32.4/100 catheters), in 190 complicated catheters (CI =22.56/100 catheters and DI =75.84/1,000 catheter days). Phlebitis ranked first among complications, 148 (CI =17.6%), followed by pain 64 (CI =7.6%), leaking 33 (CI =3.9%), dislodgement 20 (CI =2.4%), and extravasations and occlusion 4 (CI =0.5% each). Phlebitis was predicted with female sex (P<0.001), insertion in fore/upper arm (P=0.024), and infusion of medication (P=0.02). Removal time for PIVCs insertion was not a significant predictor of phlebitis (RR =1.46, P=0.08).
Incidence of complications in this study was significantly higher than rates in previous studies. Better insertion techniques may be sought to lower the incidences of PIVC complications, thus extending their onset beyond day 3. Changing catheters is recommended when clinically indicated rather than routinely post-72 hours.
PMCID: PMC4266329  PMID: 25525365
catheter-induced complications; peripheral venous catheter; phlebitis; thrombo-phlebitis; incidence; prospective study
13.  Impact of a diabetic foot care education program on lower limb amputation rate 
Diabetic foot complications are a leading cause of lower extremity amputation. With the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the Arab world, specifically in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the rate of amputation will rise significantly. A diabetic foot care program was implemented at King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2002. The program was directed at health care staff and patients to increase their awareness about diabetic foot care and prevention of complications. The purpose of this study was to perform a primary evaluation of the program’s impact on the rate of lower extremity amputation due to diabetic foot complications.
This pilot study was the first analysis of the diabetic foot care program and examined two groups of participants for comparison, ie, a “before” group having had diabetic foot ulcers managed between 1983, when the hospital was first established, and 2002 when the program began and an “after group” having had foot ulcers managed between 2002 and 2004, in the program’s initial phase. A total of 41 charts were randomly chosen retrospectively. A data sheet containing age, gender, medical data, and the presentation, management, and outcome of diabetic foot cases was used for the analysis.
The before group contained 20 patients (17 males) and the after group contained 21 patients (16 males). There was no difference between the two groups with regard to age and comorbidities. The rate of amputation was 70% in the before group and 61.9% in the after group. There was a decrease in the percentage of toe amputation in the after group and an increase in the percentage of below-knee amputation in the before group. However, these changes were not significant.
The program, although evaluated at an early stage, has increased the awareness of both patients and health care staff about the prevention and management of diabetic foot disease, and decreased the rate of lower extremity amputation. We believe that the statistical proof of its impact will be evident in the final evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2964945  PMID: 21057577
diabetic foot; prevention; complications; lower limb amputation
14.  What is the optimal blood glucose target in critically ill patients? A nested cohort study 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2011;6(4):207-211.
There is an uncertainty about what constitutes an optimal level of blood glucose (BG) in critically ill patients. The objective of this study is to identify the optimal BG target for glycemic control in critically ill patients that is associated with survival benefit with the least hypoglycemia risk.
This is a nested cohort study within a randomized control trial conducted in a tertiary care center in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The study was carried out in a single center to assess the effect of intensive insulin therapy [IIT; target BG 4.4-6.1 mmol/L (80-110 mg/dL)] versus conventional insulin therapy [CIT; target BG 10-11.1 mmol/L (180-200 mg/dL)] in a medical/surgical ICU. All patients were divided into six groups based on the mean daily BG levels. A logistic regression model was used to determine the association of BG and ICU mortality. We compared different outcomes below and above different BG thresholds of 0.1 mmol/L (2 mg/dL) increments using multivariate analyses.
Data are presented as mean ± SD or median with interquartile ranges, unless otherwise indicated. Differences between the six groups were assessed using the χ2 test. A P-value equal or less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. The results were expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Statistical analyses were carried out using the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS, release 8, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).
Among six groups, the ICU mortality was least in patients with BG <8.7 mmol/L (<157 mg/dL) compared with patients with BG ≥8.7 mmol/L (≥157 mg/dL) [11.5% vs. 21.5%, P = 0.002]. When analyzed using 0.1 mmol increments in average BG, we found that mortality remained unchanged by increasing thresholds of BG up to 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dL) and started to rise with thresholds of BG of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and above. The risk of hypoglycemia was the highest with a BG threshold of 6.1 mmol/L (110 mg/dL) and gradually decreased with increasing BG levels to plateau with a BG level of 7.2 mmol/L (130 mg/dL) and higher.
Our study suggests that a BG level of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and below represents an optimal level in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3183637  PMID: 21977065
Critically ill; hypoglycemia; insulin; intensive care; mortality; sepsis
15.  Quality of life in patients with skin diseases in central Saudi Arabia 
Previous national and international studies of quality of life (QoL) in patients with skin diseases have revealed different levels of QoL impairment. The aims of this study were to assess QoL in patients with skin diseases in central Saudi Arabia using the newly validated Skindex-16 instrument and to determine the association between QoL in patients with skin disease, sociodemographic data, and disease characteristics.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 283 adult patients who visited the outpatient dermatology clinics of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, over 3 months. The patients were interviewed using a pretested Arabic version of the Skindex-16 to measure the effect of skin disorders on their QoL during the previous 7 days. Patient characteristics, medical history, and clinical findings were collected. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to relate the demographic and clinical characteristics to the percentage mean QoL score, and P ≤ 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
QoL was good in 69% of the respondents, with a total percent mean score of 31.80 ± 20.16. The emotional domain was the most affected (mean percentage score 44.27 ± 27.06), followed by symptoms (31.45 ± 28.40) and functioning (14.61 ± 22.75). After adjustment for potential confounders, poorer QoL was significantly associated with female gender (P = 0.03), older age (P = 0.003), rural origin (P = 0.03), positive family history of the same lesion(s) (P = 0.01), shorter duration of ≤6 months (P = 0.02), generalized spread (P ≤ 0.02), and lack of isotretinoin treatment (P = 0.02).
. The QoL results in this study were generally more optimistic than those of many previous studies. This discrepancy may be due to biases in questionnaire responses or to cultural differences in experience of skin disease and perception of disability. Significant predictors of QoL were not the same for the three domains of the Skindex scale. Further studies of specific diseases and educational programs targeting patients at higher risk for QoL impairments are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3410718  PMID: 22866015
quality of life; skin disease; Saudi Arabia
16.  Maternal and neonatal risk factors for early-onset group B streptococcal disease: a case control study 
To identify the prominent maternal and neonatal risk factors associated with early-onset group B streptococcus (EOGBS) disease in neonates and to determine their importance by comparing them with a control group.
Neonatal unit at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Cases were infants <7 days of age with invasive group B streptococcus (GBS) disease diagnosed between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. Controls were healthy infants born in the same hospital during the same period having the same birth weight and gestational age category.
Main outcome measures
Maternal risk factors for developing EOGBS disease, feto–maternal and neonatal clinical data, their morbidities, mortalities, and length of hospital stay.
A total of 99 cases and 200 controls were included. The majority of cases presented in the first 72 hours of life (62/99 [63.9%]), of which 87/99 (89.7%) had at least one clinical risk factor for the development of EOGBS disease. Mothers of neonates with EOGBS disease were more likely to have GBS bacteriuria (odds ratio [OR] 10.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24–93.42), infection in the peripartum period (OR 8.92, CI 2.87–27.68), and temperature ≥38°C (OR 7.10, CI 2.50–20.17). GBS disease was associated with premature rupture of membranes and fetal tachycardia (P<0.01 for both). Neonates with EOGBS disease were more likely to have respiratory distress disease and convulsions, require tube feeding, and have longer hospital stays compared with the controls (P<0.01 for all). Stepwise multiple logistic regression has identified three risk factors that were associated with the highest tendency for the development of EOGBS disease. These were lack of antenatal attendance (OR =0.30 and CI 0.98–0.88), rupture of membranes (OR =9.62 and CI 3.1–29.4), and antibiotic use in labor (OR =0.16 and CI 0.38–0.67).
A number of maternal risk factors were significantly associated with EOGBS disease. Taking these factors into consideration may result in preventing the occurrence of EOGBS disease, improve maternal and neonatal medical care, decrease their hospital stay, and reduce unnecessary hospital resource utilization.
PMCID: PMC3814928  PMID: 24194650
group B streptococcus; neonatal morbidity; maternal morbidity; antenatal screening
17.  Cesarean section in a high-parity community in Saudi Arabia: clinical indications and obstetric outcomes 
The study of the indications for cesarean section (CS) and its outcomes are useful for hospitals, clinicians, and researchers in determining strategies to lower the primary and repeat CS rate. The aim of this study was to identify the indications for CS and the incidence of adverse maternal/fetal outcomes in a tertiary care setting.
A retrospective cohort study of women (n = 4305) who gave birth by CS at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (June 2008 to February 2011), was performed. All of the women’s medical records were reviewed by two consulting physicians to obtain the primary indications for CS and determine the maternal characteristics, type of CS (emergency or elective), and birth weight. All adverse maternal and fetal outcomes were recorded. The point and interval estimates of the odds ratios were calculated using a logistic regression model to identify the significant predictors of adverse maternal and/or fetal outcomes.
Of a total of 22,595 deliveries from 2008 to 2011, 4,305 deliveries were CS deliveries (19.05%). Two-thirds (67%) of all CS deliveries were emergency CSs, and the remaining deliveries were elective CSs (33%). Difficult labor (35.9%), fetal distress (21.9%) and breech presentation (11.6%) were the most frequent indications of emergency CS, while previous CS (54.3%), breech presentation (20.4%) and maternal request (10.1%) ranked first for elective CS. Adverse maternal and fetal outcomes were diagnosed in 5.09% and 5.06% of deliveries, respectively, with a significantly higher incidence in the emergency (6.06% & 5.51% respectively) than in elective CS (3.10 & 4.16% respectively). Blood transfusion was the most frequent adverse maternal outcome (3.72%), followed by ICU admission (0.63%), HELLP (0.51%), and hysterectomy (0.30%), while IUGR (3.25%) was the most frequent adverse fetal outcome, followed by IUFD and the need for ICU admission (0.58% each). Adverse maternal outcomes were significantly predicted by high gravidity (OR = 2.84, 95% CI:1.26-6.39, p = 0.011) and preeclampsia (OR = 2.84, 95%CI:1.83-4.39, p < 0.001), while adverse fetal outcomes were predicted by: twinning (OR = 1.81, p = 0.002), hydramnios (OR = 6.70, p < 0.001), and preeclampsia (OR = 2.74, p < 0.001). Preterm delivery was a significant predictor for both adverse maternal and fetal outcomes (OR = 2.39, p < 0.001 & OR = 4.57, p < 0.001, respectively).
Difficult labor and previous CS were the main indications for CS in Saudi Arabia. High gravidity was a significant predictor of adverse maternal outcomes. Encouraging Saudi women to consider embarking on fewer pregnancies could act as a safeguard against mandatory CSs for subsequent births in multigravida and grand-multigravida Saudi females. Future prospective study that addresses women with repeat CSs and their association with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3941573  PMID: 24575731
Cesarean section; Indications; Maternal/fetal; Outcomes; Near miss; Saudi Arabia
18.  Vitamin D status among patients visiting a tertiary care center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a retrospective review of 3475 cases 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:159.
Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in several chronic, non-communicable diseases independent of its conventional role in bone and calcium homeostasis. In this retrospective study, we determined the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association to several cardiometabolic indices among patients visiting King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), a tertiary hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A total of 3475 charts of out-patient subjects who visited KAMC from September 2009 until December 2010 were reviewed and included. Variables of interest included measurements of vitamin D status, glycemic and renal profile, as well as trace elements (calcium and phosphorous).
The over-all prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the cohort studied was 78.1% in females and 72.4% in males. 25(OH) vitamin D was significantly associated with increasing age and weight (p-values < 0.0001 and 0.005, respectively). It was also positively associated with albumin, calcium and phosphorous (p-values < 0.0001, < 0.0001 and 0.0007, respectively) and negatively associated with alkaline phosphatase as well as circulating levels of PTH (p-values 0.0002 and 0.0007, respectively).
In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency is overwhelmingly common among patients seen at KAMC regardless of the medical condition, and it is significantly associated with increasing age, weight and markers of calcium homeostasis. Findings of the present study further stress the spotlight on vitamin D deficiency epidemic in the country and region in general.
PMCID: PMC3942273  PMID: 24524260
Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency; Saudi
19.  Quality of informed consent for invasive procedures in central Saudi Arabia 
Informed consent is considered the most important step in clinical interventions. The aims of this study were (1) to assess the quality of informed consent for invasive procedures with regard to consent process and information given about risks and alternative treatments, and (2) to determine patients’ attitude toward informed consent at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional study was conducted of 162 adult patients in different wards after undergoing surgery or invasive procedures within 1–2 days of signing the informed consent, using a previously validated interview questionnaire. Data on patients’ characteristics, type of invasive procedure, and some informed consent-related issues were collected. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify the predictors of the percentage mean score of quality of informed consent, and significance was considered at P ≤ 0.05.
The quality of informed consent was generally poor (% mean score = 50.98 ± 17.49). About two-thirds of patients were told during the informed consent process that they have to sign merely as routine, 48% thought that if they refused the treatment plan they would lose the interest of the treating physician to help them, 42% thought that by saying no they would lose the good relationship with their physician, and 42.6% were not interested in having a copy of the informed consent document. Significantly higher quality was predicted when the physicians were the ones who explained the informed consent (t = 4.15, P < 0.001) and when informed consent was explained to younger patients (t = 2.754, P = 0.007). The overall attitude of the patients toward the process of informed consent was satisfactory (% mean score = 76.31 ± 7.63).
The results suggest either that patients are not aware of their rights or that physician paternalism is practiced in Saudi Arabia. Cultural barriers should not be an argument to diminish the role of informed consent. Further studies should focus on how the value of autonomy can be appreciated in the Saudi culture.
PMCID: PMC3325015  PMID: 22505825
informed consent; quality; invasive procedure; Saudi Arabia
20.  Depression among Women with Primary Infertility attending an Infertility Clinic in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Rate, Severity, and Contributing Factors 
Infertility is a severely distressing experience for many couples. Depression is considered as one of the main psychological disorders associated with infertility and it may significantly affect the life of infertile individuals, their treatment, and follow-up.
The objective of the study was to determining the prevalence and predisposing factors of depressive disorders among the infertile compared to fertile women.
Rate of depression was explored by this cross-sectional study carried out among women attending In-Vitro Fertilization Clinic (91 infertile women) and Well Baby Clinic (94 fertile women) at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh, KSA.
Self administrated questionnaire including Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used. Mean BDI score was measured and its relation with different variables was explored, such as age, educational level, duration of infertility, pressure from family members, miscarriages and support from husband.
This study showed that 49 (53.8%) of the infertile women and 35 (37.2%) of the fertile women had depression. Mean BDI score between infertile and fertile women was significantly different (p <0.001). Infertile women were found to be more severely depressed (p =0.014). Among the infertile women, those who had pressure from family members for not getting pregnant were more depressed than those with no such pressure (P=0.001).
Depression is more common and severe in infertile women than fertile women. Pressure from family to get pregnant is a significant contributor to depression. Caregivers should routinely screen infertile women for depression during and after treatment for infertility and manage concomitantly.
PMCID: PMC3521829  PMID: 23267288
Depression; Infertility
21.  Prevalence of Self-reported Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Saudi Physicians: A Comparative Study 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death worldwide. CVD-related mortality can be substantially reduced by modifying risk factors.
In this cross-sectional study conducted in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, we estimated and compared prevalence of self-reported risk factors for CVD among physicians and a comparative group of non-physician health workers. We postulated that prevalence of CVD risk factors would be significantly lower in physicians. Participants filled in a structured self-administered questionnaire on CVD risk factors.
The study included 200 participants (100 respondents each group). Participants in the two groups were of similar age (P = 0.46) and Body Mass Index (BMI) P = 0.11. There was no statistical difference in smoking, frequency and length of physical exercise per week (P = 0.53, 0.57, 0.47 respectively). Diet habits showed daily intake of more protein, less fat and highly processed food, and similar vegetables, fruit and carbohydrate among physicians. Health status (presence of hypertension, diabetes, or dyslipidemia, or other diseases) didn’t differ between the two groups. Physicians showed a significantly higher familial cardiovascular risk, with mothers and siblings having more dyslipidemia, but there was no significant difference in parental dyslipidemia, diabetes or hypertension.
These findings indicate that high awareness of CVD and associated risk factors alone is not enough to prevent their occurrence. Programs to routinely screen these risk factors and improve the lifestyle of physicians are needed.
PMCID: PMC3612413  PMID: 23559900
Cardiovascular disease; risk factors; physicians; Saudi Arabia
22.  Vitamin D status among Adult Saudi Females visiting Primary Health Care Clinics 
Vitamin D plays an important role in diverse physiological functions in addition to its role in bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in elderly people, but there are few reports on its prevalence in young adults.
A cross-sectional study was carried out on a total of 465 young adult Saudi females aged 19 to 40 years old who were selected from primary health care centers of King Abdulaziz medical city, Riyadh, KSA. A questionnaire was used to identify socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors such as sunlight exposure and dietary intake. 25-hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D], Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone biochemical parameter were measured. The cutoff values for Vitamin D were defined as follows: deficient (<25nmol/L), insufficient (25–75 nmol/L) and normal (≥ 75 nmol/L).
Overall, hypovitaminosis D were identified in all participants, with a mean level of 18.34 ±8.2 nmol/L. Of all the participants, 79.1% exhibited severe vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH) D < 25 nmol/L), while 20.9% exhibited vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25(OH) D between 25–50 nmol/L). There was a significant inverse correlation between serum 25 (OH) D concentrations and PTH, where secondary hyperparathyroidism was evident in 61.4% of participants with deficient vitamin D compared to 39.2% of participants with insufficient vitamin D.
Despite the abundant sunlight in Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among young healthy Saudi females is 100%. This finding should be considered a public health problem. Case identification, health education and prevention should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC3616941  PMID: 23580892
Vitamin D; prevalence; women; Saudi; secondary hyperparathyroidism; sunlight; dietary supplement
23.  Effect of education and clinical assessment on the accuracy of post partum blood loss estimation 
This research aimed to assess the effect of health care provider education on the accuracy of post partum blood loss estimation.
A non-randomized observational study that was conducted at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011. Hundred and twenty three health care providers who are involved in the estimation of post partum blood loss were eligible to participate. The participants were subjected to three research phases and an educational intervention. They have assessed a total of 30 different simulated blood loss stations, with 10 stations in each of the research phases. These phases took place before and after educational sessions on how to visually estimate blood loss and how to best utilize patient data in clinical scenarios. We have assessed the differences between the estimated blood loss and the actual measure. P-values were calculated to assess the differences between the three research phases estimations.
The participants significantly under-estimated post partum blood loss. The accuracy was improved after training (p-value < 0.0001) and after analysing each patient’s clinical information (p-value = 0.042). The overall results were not affected by the participants’ clinical backgrounds or their years of experience. Under-estimation was more prominent in cases where more than average-excessive blood losses were simulated while over-estimations or accurate estimations were more prominent in less than average blood loss incidents.
Simple education programmes can improve traditional findings related to under-estimation of blood loss. More sophisticated clinical education programmes may provide additional improvements.
PMCID: PMC3994970  PMID: 24646156
Post partum blood loss; Visual estimation; Maternal mortality; Maternal morbidity; Education
24.  Drug-resistant ventilator associated pneumonia in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):104-111.
There is a wide geographic and temporal variability of bacterial resistance among microbial causes of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The contribution of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens to the VAP etiology in Saudi Arabia was never studied. We sought to examine the extent of multiple-drug resistance among common microbial causes of VAP.
We conducted a retrospective susceptibility study in the adult intensive care unit (ICU) of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Susceptibility results of isolates from patients diagnosed with VAP between October 2004 and June 2009 were examined. The US National Healthcare Safety Network definition of MDR was adopted.
A total of 248 isolates including 9 different pathogens were included. Acinetobacter spp. was highly (60-89%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including carbapenems (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 86% and 69%, respectively). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was moderately (13-31%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including antipseudomonal penicillins (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 13% and 10%, respectively). With an exception of ampicillin (fully resistant), Klebsiella spp. had low (0-13%) resistance to other tested antimicrobials with no detected MDR. Staphylococcus aureus was fully susceptible to vancomycin with 42% resistance to oxacillin. There were significant increasing trends of MDR Acinetobacter spp. however not P. aeruginosa during the study. Resistant pathogens were associated with worse profile of ICU patients but not patients’ outcomes.
Acinetobacter in the current study was an increasingly resistant VAP-associated pathogen more than seen in many parts of the world. The current finding may impact local choice of initial empiric antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC4005156  PMID: 24791174
Acinetobacter; antimicrobial resistance; microbiology; Saudi Arabia; ventilator-associated pneumonia
25.  Exploring factors affecting undergraduate medical students’ study strategies in the clinical years: a qualitative study 
The aim of this study is to explore the effects of clinical supervision, and assessment characteristics on the study strategies used by undergraduate medical students during their clinical rotations. We conducted a qualitative phenomenological study at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the period from November 2007 to December 2008. We conducted semi-structured focus groups interviews with students and conducted individual interviews with teachers and students to explore students’ and clinical teachers’ perceptions and interpretations of factors influencing students’ study strategies. Data collection was continued until saturation was reached. We used Atlas-ti Computer Software (Version 5.2) to analyse the data, apply the obtained themes to the whole dataset and rearrange the data according to the themes and sub-themes. Analysis of data from interviews with twenty-eight students and thirteen clinical supervisors yielded three major themes relating to factors affecting students’ study strategies: “clinical supervisors and supervision”, “stress and anxiety” and “assessment”. The three themes we identified played a role in students’ adoption of different study strategies in the “community of clinical practice”. It appeared that teachers played a key role, particularly as assessors, clinical supervisors and as a source of stress to students.
PMCID: PMC3226698  PMID: 21207243
Study strategy; Assessment; Clinical supervisor; Clinical attachment; Anxiety

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