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1.  Using computerised decision support to improve compliance of cancer multidisciplinary meetings with evidence-based guidance 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000439.
The cancer multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting (MDM) is regarded as the best platform to reduce unwarranted variation in cancer care through evidence-compliant management. However, MDMs are often overburdened with many different agendas and hence struggle to achieve their full potential. The authors developed an interactive clinical decision support system called MATE (Multidisciplinary meeting Assistant and Treatment sElector) to facilitate explicit evidence-based decision making in the breast MDMs.
Audit study and a questionnaire survey.
Breast multidisciplinary unit in a large secondary care teaching hospital.
All members of the breast MDT at the Royal Free Hospital, London, were consulted during the process of MATE development and implementation. The emphasis was on acknowledging the clinical needs and practical constraints of the MDT and fitting the system around the team's workflow rather than the other way around. Delegates, who attended MATE workshop at the England Cancer Networks' Development Programme conference in March 2010, participated in the questionnaire survey.
Outcome measures
The measures included evidence-compliant care, measured by adherence to clinical practice guidelines, and promoting research, measured by the patient identification rate for ongoing clinical trials.
MATE identified 61% more patients who were potentially eligible for recruitment into clinical trials than the MDT, and MATE recommendations demonstrated better concordance with clinical practice guideline than MDT recommendations (97% of MATE vs 93.2% of MDT; N=984). MATE is in routine use in breast MDMs at the Royal Free Hospital, London, and wider evaluations are being considered.
Sophisticated decision support systems can enhance the conduct of MDMs in a way that is acceptable to and valued by the clinical team. Further rigorous evaluations are required to examine cost-effectiveness and measure the impact on patient outcomes. The decision support technology used in MATE is generic and if found useful can be applied across medicine.
Article summary
Article focus
How to improve the conduct of a cancer MDT and standardise decision making in accordance with best evidence.
Development and implementation of a novel clinical decision support (CDS) platform for breast cancer MDT.
This study evaluates (1) the concordance between the CDS suggestions and MDT recommendations and (2) the identification rate of potentially eligible patients for recruiting into the ongoing research trials, by the MDT and the CDS. A separate questionnaire survey was conducted at the national workshop at the Cancer Networks' Development Programme to get an estimate of acceptability of such MDT decision support systems by the cancer networks.
Key messages
An advanced CDS platform could significantly improve the conduct of cancer MDMs.
Further robust evaluations are necessary.
Strengths and limitations of this study
We share our experience of developing an advanced decision support system and implementing it in a complex clinical environment of cancer MDT, which was subsequently adopted as a breast MDMs management tool.
The results reported here, however encouraging, are at this point indicative of the potential benefits but not yet conclusive. They should be treated with caution until further rigorous evaluations confirm the effectiveness and generalisability of the CDS system.
PMCID: PMC3383983  PMID: 22734113
2.  Strategies to improve the efficiency and utility of multidisciplinary team meetings in urology cancer care: a survey study 
The prevalence of multidisciplinary teams (MDT) for the delivery of cancer care is increasing globally. Evidence exists of benefits to patients and healthcare professionals. However, MDT working is time and resource intensive. This study aims to explore members’ views on existing practices of urology MDT working, and to identify potential interventions for improving the efficiency and productivity of the MDT meeting.
Members of urology MDTs across the UK were purposively recruited to participate in an online survey. Survey items included questions about the utility and efficiency of MDT meetings, and strategies for improving the efficiency of MDT meetings: treating cases by protocol, prioritising cases, and splitting the MDT into subspeciality meetings.
173 MDT members participated (Oncologists n = 77, Cancer Nurses n = 54, Urologists n = 30, other specialities n = 12). 68% of respondents reported that attending the MDT meeting improves efficiency in care through improved clinical decisions, planning investigations, helping when discussing plans with patients, speciality referrals, documentation/patient records. Participants agreed that some cases including low risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and localised, low-grade prostate cancer could be managed by pre-agreed pathways, without full MDT review. There was a consensus that cases at the MDT meeting could be prioritised by complexity, tumour type, or the availability of MDT members. Splitting the MDT meeting was unpopular: potential disadvantages included loss of efficiency, loss of team approach, unavailability of members and increased administrative work.
Key urology MDT members find the MDT meeting useful. Improvements in efficiency and effectiveness may be possible by prioritising cases or managing some low-risk cases according to previously agreed protocols. Further research is needed to test the effectiveness of such strategies on MDT meetings, cancer care pathways and patient outcomes in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4162937  PMID: 25196248
Urology; Multidisciplinary; Team; Decision-making; Efficacy; Efficiency
3.  “No decision about me without me” in the context of cancer multidisciplinary team meetings: a qualitative interview study 
Cancer care is commonly managed by multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) who meet to discuss and agree treatment for individual patients. Patients do not attend MDT meetings but recommendations for treatments made in the meetings directly influence the decision-making process between patients and their responsible clinician. No research to-date has considered patient perspectives (or understanding) regarding MDTs or MDT meetings, though research has shown that failure to consider patient-based information can lead to recommendations that are inappropriate or unacceptable, and can consequently delay treatment.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with current cancer patients from one cancer centre who had either upper gastrointestinal or gynaecological cancer (n = 9) and with MDT members (n = 12) from the teams managing their care. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically using Framework approach. Key themes were identified and commonalities and discrepancies within and between individual transcripts and within and between patient and team member samples were identified and examined using the constant comparative method.
Patients had limited opportunities to input to or influence the decision-making process in MDT meetings. Key explanatory factors included that patients were given limited and inconsistent information about MDTs and MDT meetings, and that MDT members had variable definitions of patient-centredness in the context of MDTs and MDT meetings. Patients that had knowledge of medicine (through current/previous employment themselves or that of a close family member) appeared to have greater understanding and access to the MDT. Reassurance emerged as a ‘benefit’ of informing patients about MDTs and MDT meetings.
There is a need to ensure MDT processes are both efficient and patient-centred. The operationalization of “No decision about me without me” in the context of MDT models of care – where patients are not present when recommendations for treatment are discussed - requires further consideration. Methods for ensuring that patients are actively integrated into the MDT processes are required to ensure patients have an informed choice regarding engagement, and to ensure recommendations are based on the best available patient-based and clinical evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0488-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4210563  PMID: 25339192
Cancer; Multi-disciplinary team; Clinical decision-making; Patient-centredness; Qualitative; Interviews
4.  Reducing Referral-to-Treatment Waiting Times in Cancer Patients Using a Multidisciplinary Database 
Modern delivery of cancer care through patient-centred multidisciplinary teams (MDT) has improved survival. This approach, however, requires effective on-going co-ordination between multiple specialties and resources and can present formidable organisational challenges. The aim of this study was to improve the efficiency of the MDT process for head and neck cancer.
A systems analysis of the MDT process was undertaken to identify bottlenecks delaying treatment planning. The MDT process was then audited. A revised process was developed and an Intranet-based data management solution was designed and implemented. The MDT process was re-evaluated to complete the audit cycle.
We designed and implemented a trust-wide menu-driven database with interfaces for registering and tracking patients, and automated worklists for pathology and radiology. We audited our MDT for 11 and 10 weeks before and following the introduction of the database, with 226 and 187 patients being discussed during each period. The database significantly improved cross-specialtity co-ordination, leading to a highly significant reduction in the number of patients whose treatment planning was delayed due to unavailability of adjunctive investigations (P < 0.001). This improved the overall efficiency of the MDT by 60%.
The NHS Cancer Plan aspires to reduce the referral-to-treatment time to 1 month. We have shown that a simple, trust-wide database reduces treatment planning delays in a sizeable proportion of head and neck cancer patients with minimal resource implications. This approach could easily be applied in other MDT meetings.
PMCID: PMC1964554  PMID: 17346401
Referral-to-treatment; Waiting times; Cancer patients; Multidisciplinary teams
5.  The Endotracheal Tube Air Leak Test Does Not Predict Extubation Outcome in Critically Ill Pediatric Patients 
Endotracheal tube air leak pressures (ALT) are used to predict post-extubation upper airway compromise such as stridor, upper airway obstruction, or risk of reintubation. To determine if the absence of an endotracheal tube air leak (ALT ≥ 30 cm H2O) measured during the course of mechanical ventilation predicts extubation failure in infants and children.
Prospective, blinded cohort.
Multidisciplinary pediatric intensive care unit of a university hospital.
Patients age ≤ 18 years and intubated ≥ 24 hours
The pressure required to produce an audible endotracheal tube air leak was measured within 12 hours of intubation and extubation. Unless prescribed by the medical care team, patients did not receive neuromuscular blocking agents during ALT measurements.
Measurements and Main Results:
The need for reintubation (i.e., extubation failure) was recorded during the 24 hour post-extubation period. Seventy-four patients were enrolled resulting in 59 observed extubation trials. The extubation failure rate was 15.3% (9/59). Seven patients were treated for post-extubation stridor. Extubation failure was associated with a longer median length of ventilation, 177 vs. 78 hours, p=0.03. Extubation success was associated with the use of post-extubation non-invasive ventilation (p = 0.04).
The air leak was absent for the duration of mechanical ventilation (i.e., ≥ 30 cm H2O at intubation and extubation) in ten patients. Absence of the air leak did not predict extubation failure (negative predictive value, NPV 27%, 95% CI 6% to 60%). The ALT was ≥ 30 cm H2O prior to extubation in 47% (28/59) of patients yet 23 patients extubated successfully (NPV 18%).
An endotracheal tube air leak pressure ≥ 30 cm H2O measured in the non-paralyzed patient prior to extubation or for the duration of mechanical ventilation was common and did not predict an increased risk for extubation failure. Pediatric patients who are clinically identified as candidates for an extubation trial but do not have an endotracheal tube air leak may successfully tolerate removal of the endotracheal tube.
PMCID: PMC2782931  PMID: 18679147
air leak test; cuff leak test; predictor variables; extubation; mechanical ventilation; endotracheal tube leak; respiratory failure; pediatric; neonate; stridor; non-invasive ventilation
6.  Noninvasive ventilation immediately after extubation improves weaning outcome after acute respiratory failure: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2013;17(2):R39.
Noninvasive ventilation (NIV), as a weaning-facilitating strategy in predominantly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mechanically ventilated patients, is associated with reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia, total duration of mechanical ventilation, length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay, and mortality. However, this benefit after planned extubation in patients with acute respiratory failure of various etiologies remains to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of NIV applied immediately after planned extubation in contrast to oxygen mask (OM) in patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF).
A randomized, prospective, controlled, unblinded clinical study in a single center of a 24-bed adult general ICU in a university hospital was carried out in a 12-month period. Included patients met extubation criteria with at least 72 hours of mechanical ventilation due to acute respiratory failure, after following the ICU weaning protocol. Patients were randomized immediately before elective extubation, being randomly allocated to one of the study groups: NIV or OM. We compared both groups regarding gas exchange 15 minutes, 2 hours, and 24 hours after extubation, reintubation rate after 48 hours, duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU length of stay, and hospital mortality.
Forty patients were randomized to receive NIV (20 patients) or OM (20 patients) after the following extubation criteria were met: pressure support (PSV) of 7 cm H2O, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5 cm H2O, oxygen inspiratory fraction (FiO2) ≤ 40%, arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≥ 90%, and ratio of respiratory rate and tidal volume in liters (f/TV) < 105. Comparing the 20 patients (NIV) with the 18 patients (OM) that finished the study 48 hours after extubation, the rate of reintubation in NIV group was 5% and 39% in OM group (P = 0.016). Relative risk for reintubation was 0.13 (CI = 0.017 to 0.946). Absolute risk reduction for reintubation showed a decrease of 33.9%, and analysis of the number needed to treat was three. No difference was found in the length of ICU stay (P = 0.681). Hospital mortality was zero in NIV group and 22.2% in OM group (P = 0.041).
In this study population, NIV prevented 48 hours reintubation if applied immediately after elective extubation in patients with more than 3 days of ARF when compared with the OM group.
Trial Registration number
ISRCTN: 41524441.
PMCID: PMC3672522  PMID: 23497557
7.  Determinants of treatment plan implementation in multidisciplinary team meetings for patients with chronic diseases: a mixed-methods study 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2014;23(10):867-876.
Multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings are assumed to produce better decisions and are extensively used to manage chronic disease in the National Health Service (NHS). However, evidence for their effectiveness is mixed. Our objective was to investigate determinants of MDT effectiveness by examining factors influencing the implementation of MDT treatment plans. This is a proxy measure of effectiveness, because it lies on the pathway to improvements in health, and reflects team decision making which has taken account of clinical and non-clinical information. Additionally, this measure can be compared across MDTs for different conditions.
We undertook a prospective mixed-methods study of 12 MDTs in London and North Thames. Data were collected by observation of 370 MDT meetings, interviews with 53 MDT members, and from 2654 patient medical records. We examined the influence of patient-related factors (disease, age, sex, deprivation, whether their preferences and other clinical/health behaviours were mentioned) and MDT features (as measured using the ‘Team Climate Inventory’ and skill mix) on the implementation of MDT treatment plans.
The adjusted odds (or likelihood) of implementation was reduced by 25% for each additional professional group represented at the MDT meeting. Implementation was more likely in MDTs with clear goals and processes and a good ‘Team Climate’ (adjusted OR 1.96; 95% CI 1.15 to 3.31 for a unit increase in Team Climate Inventory (TCI) score). Implementation varied by disease category, with the lowest adjusted odds of implementation in mental health teams. Implementation was also lower for patients living in more deprived areas (adjusted odds of implementation for patients in the most compared with least deprived areas was 0.60, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.91).
Greater multidisciplinarity is not necessarily associated with more effective decision making. Explicit goals and procedures are also crucial. Decision implementation should be routinely monitored to ensure the equitable provision of care.
PMCID: PMC4173750  PMID: 24915539
Chronic Disease Management; Decision Making; Health Services Research; Teams; Teamwork
8.  Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at:
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website:
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website:
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to examine the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) in the following patient populations: patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) due to acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); weaning of COPD patients from invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV); and prevention of or treatment of recurrent respiratory failure in COPD patients after extubation from IMV.
Clinical Need and Target Population
Acute Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure
Respiratory failure occurs when the respiratory system cannot oxygenate the blood and/or remove carbon dioxide from the blood. It can be either acute or chronic and is classified as either hypoxemic (type I) or hypercapnic (type II) respiratory failure. Acute hypercapnic respiratory failure frequently occurs in COPD patients experiencing acute exacerbations of COPD, so this is the focus of this evidence-based analysis. Hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs due to a decrease in the drive to breathe, typically due to increased work to breathe in COPD patients.
There are several treatment options for ARF. Usual medical care (UMC) attempts to facilitate adequate oxygenation and treat the cause of the exacerbation, and typically consists of supplemental oxygen, and a variety of medications such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics. The failure rate of UMC is high and has been estimated to occur in 10% to 50% of cases.
The alternative is mechanical ventilation, either invasive or noninvasive. Invasive mechanical ventilation involves sedating the patient, creating an artificial airway through endotracheal intubation, and attaching the patient to a ventilator. While this provides airway protection and direct access to drain sputum, it can lead to substantial morbidity, including tracheal injuries and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).
While both positive and negative pressure noninvasive ventilation exists, noninvasive negative pressure ventilation such as the iron lung is no longer in use in Ontario. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation provides ventilatory support through a facial or nasal mask and reduces inspiratory work. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation can often be used intermittently for short periods of time to treat respiratory failure, which allows patients to continue to eat, drink, talk, and participate in their own treatment decisions. In addition, patients do not require sedation, airway defence mechanisms and swallowing functions are maintained, trauma to the trachea and larynx are avoided, and the risk for VAP is reduced. Common complications are damage to facial and nasal skin, higher incidence of gastric distension with aspiration risk, sleeping disorders, and conjunctivitis. In addition, NPPV does not allow direct access to the airway to drain secretions and requires patients to cooperate, and due to potential discomfort, compliance and tolerance may be low.
In addition to treating ARF, NPPV can be used to wean patients from IMV through the gradual removal of ventilation support until the patient can breathe spontaneously. Five to 30% of patients have difficultly weaning. Tapering levels of ventilatory support to wean patients from IMV can be achieved using IMV or NPPV. The use of NPPV helps to reduce the risk of VAP by shortening the time the patient is intubated.
Following extubation from IMV, ARF may recur, leading to extubation failure and the need for reintubation, which has been associated with increased risk of nosocomial pneumonia and mortality. To avoid these complications, NPPV has been proposed to help prevent ARF recurrence and/or to treat respiratory failure when it recurs, thereby preventing the need for reintubation.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of NPPV for the treatment of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure due to acute exacerbations of COPD compared with
usual medical care, and
invasive mechanical ventilation?
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of NPPV compared with IMV in COPD patients after IMV for the following purposes:
weaning COPD patients from IMV,
preventing ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV, and
treating ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV?
Research Methods
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on December 3, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Wiley Cochrane, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2004 until December 3, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Since there were numerous studies that examined the effectiveness of NPPV for the treatment of ARF due to exacerbations of COPD published before 2004, pre-2004 trials which met the inclusion/exclusion criteria for this evidence-based review were identified by hand-searching reference lists of included studies and systematic reviews.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies performed with patients with a mix of conditions if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
patient population: (Question 1) patients with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure due to an exacerbation of COPD; (Question 2a) COPD patients being weaned from IMV; (Questions 2b and 2c) COPD patients who have been extubated from IMV.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
studies examining noninvasive negative pressure ventilation
studies comparing modes of ventilation
studies comparing patient-ventilation interfaces
studies examining outcomes not listed below, such as physiologic effects including heart rate, arterial blood gases, and blood pressure
Outcomes of Interest
intubation rates
length of stay (intensive care unit [ICU] and hospital)
health-related quality of life
duration of mechanical ventilation
weaning failure
NPPV tolerance and compliance
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1, otherwise, the results were summarized descriptively. Dichotomous data were pooled into relative risks using random effects models and continuous data were pooled using weighted mean differences with a random effects model. Analyses using data from RCTs were done using intention-to-treat protocols; P values < 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for severity of respiratory failure, location of treatment (ICU or hospital ward), and mode of ventilation with additional subgroups as needed based on the literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
NPPV for the Treatment of ARF due to Acute Exacerbations of COPD
NPPV Plus Usual Medical Care Versus Usual Medical Care Alone for First Line Treatment
A total of 1,000 participants were included in 11 RCTs1; the sample size ranged from 23 to 342. The mean age of the participants ranged from approximately 60 to 72 years of age. Based on either the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), 4 of the studies included people with severe COPD, and there was inadequate information to classify the remaining 7 studies by COPD severity. The severity of the respiratory failure was classified into 4 categories using the study population mean pH level as follows: mild (pH ≥ 7.35), moderate (7.30 ≤ pH < 7.35), severe (7.25 ≤ pH < 7.30), and very severe (pH < 7.25). Based on these categories, 3 studies included patients with a mild respiratory failure, 3 with moderate respiratory failure, 4 with severe respiratory failure, and 1 with very severe respiratory failure.
The studies were conducted either in the ICU (3 of 11 studies) or general or respiratory wards (8 of 11 studies) in hospitals, with patients in the NPPV group receiving bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) ventilatory support, except in 2 studies, which used pressure support ventilation and volume cycled ventilation, respectively. Patients received ventilation through nasal, facial, or oronasal masks. All studies specified a protocol or schedule for NPPV delivery, but this varied substantially across the studies. For example, some studies restricted the amount of ventilation per day (e.g., 6 hours per day) and the number of days it was offered (e.g., maximum of 3 days); whereas, other studies provided patients with ventilation for as long as they could tolerate it and recommended it for much longer periods of time (e.g., 7 to 10 days). These differences are an important source of clinical heterogeneity between the studies. In addition to NPPV, all patients in the NPPV group also received UMC. Usual medical care varied between the studies, but common medications included supplemental oxygen, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, antibiotics, diuretics, and respiratory stimulators.
The individual quality of the studies ranged. Common methodological issues included lack of blinding and allocation concealment, and small sample sizes.
Need for Endotracheal Intubation
Eleven studies reported the need for endotracheal intubation as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in the need for endotracheal intubation in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC alone group (relative risk [RR], 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28−0.50). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the mild, severe, and very severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Inhospital Mortality
Nine studies reported inhospital mortality as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in inhospital mortality in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC group (RR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.35−0.81). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the moderate and severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Hospital Length of Stay
Eleven studies reported hospital length of stay (LOS) as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant decrease in the mean length of stay for the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC alone group (weighted mean difference [WMD], −2.68 days; 95% CI, −4.41 to −0.94 days). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the mild, severe, and very severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Five studies reported complications. Common complications in the NPPV plus UMC group included pneumonia, gastrointestinal disorders or bleeds, skin abrasions, eye irritation, gastric insufflation, and sepsis. Similar complications were observed in the UMC group including pneumonia, sepsis, gastrointestinal disorders or bleeds, pneumothorax, and complicated endotracheal intubations. Many of the more serious complications in both groups occurred in those patients who required endotracheal intubation. Three of the studies compared complications in the NPPV plus UMC and UMC groups. While the data could not be pooled, overall, the NPPV plus UMC group experienced fewer complications than the UMC group.
GRADE: low
Eight studies reported patient tolerance or compliance with NPPV as an outcome. NPPV intolerance ranged from 5% to 29%. NPPV tolerance was generally higher for patients with more severe respiratory failure. Compliance with the NPPV protocol was reported by 2 studies, which showed compliance decreases over time, even over short periods such as 3 days.
NPPV Versus IMV for the Treatment of Patients Who Failed Usual Medical Care
A total of 205 participants were included in 2 studies; the sample sizes of these studies were 49 and 156. The mean age of the patients was 71 to 73 years of age in 1 study, and the median age was 54 to 58 years of age in the second study. Based on either the GOLD COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted FEV1, patients in 1 study had very severe COPD. The COPD severity could not be classified in the second study. Both studies had study populations with a mean pH less than 7.23, which was classified as very severe respiratory failure in this analysis. One study enrolled patients with ARF due to acute exacerbations of COPD who had failed medical therapy. The patient population was not clearly defined in the second study, and it was not clear whether they had to have failed medical therapy before entry into the study.
Both studies were conducted in the ICU. Patients in the NPPV group received BiPAP ventilatory support through nasal or full facial masks. Patients in the IMV group received pressure support ventilation.
Common methodological issues included small sample size, lack of blinding, and unclear methods of randomization and allocation concealment. Due to the uncertainty about whether both studies included the same patient population and substantial differences in the direction and significance of the results, the results of the studies were not pooled.
Both studies reported ICU mortality. Neither study showed a significant difference in ICU mortality between the NPPV and IMV groups, but 1 study showed a higher mortality rate in the NPPV group (21.7% vs. 11.5%) while the other study showed a lower mortality rate in the NPPV group (5.1% vs. 6.4%). One study reported 1-year mortality and showed a nonsignificant reduction in mortality in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (26.1% vs. 46.1%).
GRADE: low to very low
Intensive Care Unit Length of Stay
Both studies reported LOS in the ICU. The results were inconsistent. One study showed a statistically significant shorter LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (5 ± 1.35 days vs. 9.29 ± 3 days; P < 0.001); whereas, the other study showed a nonsignificantly longer LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (22 ± 19 days vs. 21 ± 20 days; P = 0.86).
GRADE: very low
Duration of Mechanical Ventilation
Both studies reported the duration of mechanical ventilation (including both invasive and noninvasive ventilation). The results were inconsistent. One study showed a statistically significant shorter duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (3.92 ± 1.08 days vs. 7.17 ± 2.22 days; P < 0.001); whereas, the other study showed a nonsignificantly longer duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (16 ± 19 days vs. 15 ± 21 days; P = 0.86). GRADE: very low
Both studies reported ventilator-associated pneumonia and tracheotomies. Both showed a reduction in ventilator-associated pneumonia in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were only significant in 1 study (13% vs. 34.6%, P = 0.07; and 6.4% vs. 37.2%, P < 0.001, respectively). Similarly, both studies showed a reduction in tracheotomies in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were only significant in 1 study (13% vs. 23.1%, P = 0.29; and 6.4% vs. 34.6%; P < 0.001).
GRADE: very low
Other Outcomes
One of the studies followed patients for 12 months. At the end of follow-up, patients in the NPPV group had a significantly lower rate of needing de novo oxygen supplementation at home. In addition, the IMV group experienced significant increases in functional limitations due to COPD, while no increase was seen in the NPPV group. Finally, no significant differences were observed for hospital readmissions, ICU readmissions, and patients with an open tracheotomy, between the NPPV and IMV groups.
NPPV for Weaning COPD Patients From IMV
A total of 80 participants were included in the 2 RCTs; the sample sizes of the studies were 30 and 50 patients. The mean age of the participants ranged from 58 to 69 years of age. Based on either the GOLD COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted FEV1, both studies included patients with very severe COPD. Both studies also included patients with very severe respiratory failure (mean pH of the study populations was less than 7.23). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients receiving IMV were enrolled in the study if they failed a T-piece weaning trial (spontaneous breathing test), so they could not be directly extubated from IMV.
Both studies were conducted in the ICU. Patients in the NPPV group received weaning using either BiPAP or pressure support ventilation NPPV through a face mask, and patients in the IMV weaning group received pressure support ventilation. In both cases, weaning was achieved by tapering the ventilation level.
The individual quality of the studies ranged. Common methodological problems included unclear randomization methods and allocation concealment, lack of blinding, and small sample size.
Both studies reported mortality as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in ICU mortality in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (RR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.23−0.97; P = 0.04).
GRADE: moderate
Intensive Care Unit Length of Stay
Both studies reported ICU LOS as an outcome. The pooled results showed a nonsignificant reduction in ICU LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (WMD, −5.21 days; 95% CI, −11.60 to 1.18 days).
GRADE: low
Duration of Mechanical Ventilation
Both studies reported duration of mechanical ventilation (including both invasive and noninvasive ventilation) as an outcome. The pooled results showed a nonsignificant reduction in duration of mechanical ventilation (WMD, −3.55 days; 95% CI, −8.55 to 1.44 days).
GRADE: low
Nosocomial Pneumonia
Both studies reported nosocominal pneumonia as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in nosocomial pneumonia in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (RR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.03−0.71; P = 0.02).
GRADE: moderate
Weaning Failure
One study reported a significant reduction in weaning failure in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were not reported in the publication. In this study, 1 of 25 patients in the NPPV group and 2 of 25 patients in the IMV group could not be weaned after 60 days in the ICU.
NPPV After Extubation of COPD Patients From IMV
The literature was reviewed to identify studies examining the effectiveness of NPPV compared with UMC in preventing recurrence of ARF after extubation from IMV or treating acute ARF which has recurred after extubation from IMV. No studies that included only COPD patients or reported results for COPD patients separately were identified for the prevention of ARF postextubation.
One study was identified for the treatment of ARF in COPD patients that recurred within 48 hours of extubation from IMV. This study included 221 patients, of whom 23 had COPD. A post hoc subgroup analysis was conducted examining the rate of reintubation in the COPD patients only. A nonsignificant reduction in the rate of reintubation was observed in the NPPV group compared with the UMC group (7 of 14 patients vs. 6 of 9 patients, P = 0.67). GRADE: low
NPPV Plus UMC Versus UMC Alone for First Line Treatment of ARF due to Acute Exacerbations of COPD
Moderate quality of evidence showed that compared with UMC, NPPV plus UMC significantly reduced the need for endotracheal intubation, inhospital mortality, and the mean length of hospital stay.
Low quality of evidence showed a lower rate of complications in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC group.
NPPV Versus IMV for the Treatment of ARF in Patients Who Have Failed UMC
Due to inconsistent and low to very low quality of evidence, there was insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on the comparison of NPPV versus IMV for patients who failed UMC.
NPPV for Weaning COPD Patients From IMV
Moderate quality of evidence showed that weaning COPD patients from IMV using NPPV results in significant reductions in mortality, nosocomial pneumonia, and weaning failure compared with weaning with IMV.
Low quality of evidence showed a nonsignificant reduction in the mean LOS and mean duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group.
NPPV for the Treatment of ARF in COPD Patients After Extubation From IMV
Low quality of evidence showed a nonsignificant reduction in the rate of reintubation in the NPPV group compared with the UMC group; however, there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of NPPV for the treatment of ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV
PMCID: PMC3384377  PMID: 23074436
9.  Are multidisciplinary teams in secondary care cost-effective? A systematic review of the literature 
To investigate the cost effectiveness of management of patients within the context of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting in cancer and non-cancer teams in secondary care.
Systematic review.
Data sources
EMBASE, MEDLINE, NHS EED, CINAHL, EconLit, Cochrane Library, and NHS HMIC.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cohort, case–control, before and after and cross-sectional study designs including an economic evaluation of management decisions made in any disease in secondary care within the context of an MDT meeting.
Data extraction
Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria (CHEC-list). MDTs were defined by evidence of two characteristics: decision making requiring a minimum of two disciplines; and regular meetings to discuss diagnosis, treatment and/or patient management, occurring at a physical location or by teleconferencing. Studies that reported on the costs of administering, preparing for, and attending MDT meetings and/or the subsequent direct medical costs of care, non-medical costs, or indirect costs, and any health outcomes that were relevant to the disease being investigated were included and classified as cancer or non-cancer MDTs.
Fifteen studies (11 RCTs in non-cancer care, 2 cohort studies in cancer and non-cancer care, and 2 before and after studies in cancer and non cancer care) were identified, all with a high risk of bias. Twelve papers reported the frequency of meetings which varied from daily to three monthly and all reported the number of disciplines included (mean 5, range 2 to 9). The results from all studies showed mixed effects; a high degree of heterogeneity prevented a meta-analysis of findings; and none of the studies reported how the potential savings of MDT working may offset the costs of administering, preparing for, and attending MDT meetings.
Current evidence is insufficient to determine whether MDT working is cost-effective or not in secondary care. Further studies aimed at understanding the key aspects of MDT working that lead to cost-effective cancer and non-cancer care are required.
PMCID: PMC3623820  PMID: 23557141
Multidisciplinary teams; Cost-effective; Secondary care
10.  Current practices and barriers impairing physicians’ and nurses’ adherence to analgo-sedation recommendations in the intensive care unit - a national survey 
Critical Care  2014;18(6):655.
Appropriate management of analgo-sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU) is associated with improved patient outcomes. Our objectives were: a) to describe utilization of analgo-sedation regimens and strategies (assessment using scales, protocolized analgo-sedation and daily sedation interruption (DSI)) and b) to describe and compare perceptions challenging utilization of these strategies, amongst physicians and nurses.
In the 101 adult ICUs in Belgium, we surveyed all physicians and a sample of seven nurses per ICU. A multidisciplinary team designed a survey tool based on a previous qualitative study and a literature review. The latter was available in paper (for nurses essentially) and web based (for physicians). Topics addressed included: practices, perceptions regarding recommended strategies and demographics. Pre-testing involved respondents’ debriefings and test re-test reliability. Four reminders were sent.
Response rate was 60% (898/1,491 participants) representing 94% (95/101) of all hospitals. Protocols were available to 31% of respondents. Validated scales to monitor pain in patients unable to self-report and to monitor sedation were available to 11% and 75% of respondents, respectively. Frequency of use of sedation scales varied (never to hourly). More physicians than nurses agreed with statements reporting benefits of sedation scales, including: increased autonomy for nurses (82% versus 68%, P <0.001), enhancement of their role (84% versus 66%, P <0.001), aid in monitoring administration of sedatives (83% versus 68%, P <0.001), and cost control (54% versus 29%, P <0.001). DSI was used in less than 25% of patients for 75% of respondents. More nurses than physicians indicated DSI is contra-indicated in hemodynamic instability (66% versus 53%, P <0.001) and complicated weaning from mechanical ventilation (47% versus 29%, P <0.001). Conversely, more physicians than nurses indicated contra-indications including: seizures (56% versus 40%, P <0.001) and refractory intracranial hypertension (90% versus 83%, P <0.001). More nurses than physicians agreed with statements reporting DSI impairs patient comfort (60% versus 37%, P <0.001) and increases complications such as self-extubation (82% versus 69%, P <0.001).
Current analgo-sedation practices leave room for improvement. Physicians and nurses meet different challenges in using appropriate analgo-sedation strategies. Implementational interventions must be tailored according to profession.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13054-014-0655-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4324789  PMID: 25475212
11.  Using peer observers to assess the quality of cancer multidisciplinary team meetings: a qualitative proof of concept study 
Multidisciplinary team (MDT) working is well established as the foundation for providing cancer services in the UK and elsewhere. A core activity is the weekly meeting (or case conference/tumor boards) where the treatment recommendations for individual patients are agreed. Evidence suggests that the quality of team working varies across cancer teams, and this may impact negatively on the decision-making process, and ultimately patient care. Feedback on performance by expert observers may improve performance, but can be resource-intensive to implement. This proof of concept study sought to: develop a structured observational assessment tool for use by peers (managers or clinicians from the local workforce) and explore its usability; assess the feasibility of the principle of observational assessment by peers; and explore the views of MDT members and observers about the utility of feedback from observational assessment.
For tool development, the content was informed by national clinical consensus recommendations for best practice in cancer MDTs and developed in collaboration with an expert steering group. It consisted of ten subdomains of team working observable in MDT meetings that were rated on a 10-point scale (very poor to very good). For observational assessment, a total of 19 peer observers used the tool (assessing performance in 20 cancer teams from four hospitals). For evaluation, telephone interviews with 64 team members and all peer observers were analyzed thematically.
The tool was easy to use and areas for refinement were identified. Peer observers were identified and most indicated that undertaking observation was feasible. MDT members generally reported that observational assessment and feedback was useful, with the potential to facilitate improvements in team working.
This study suggests that observation and feedback by peers may provide a feasible and acceptable approach to enhance MDT performance. Further tool refinement and validation is required.
PMCID: PMC4134023  PMID: 25143743
cancer; multidisciplinary team; team working; observational assessment
12.  Effects of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation in preventing respiratory failure after extubation: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2012;16(2):R48.
Weaning protocols that include noninvasive ventilation (NIV) decrease re-intubation rates and ICU length of stay. However, impaired airway clearance is associated with NIV failure. Mechanical insufflation-exsufflation (MI-E) has been proven to be very effective in patients receiving NIV. We aimed to assess the efficacy of MI-E as part of an extubation protocol.
Patients with mechanical ventilation (MV) for more than 48 hours with specific inclusion criteria, who successfully tolerated a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT), were randomly allocated before extubation, either for (A) a conventional extubation protocol (control group), or (B) the MI-E extubation protocol (study group). During the postextubation period (48 hours), group A patients received standard medical treatment (SMT), including NIV in case of specific indications, whereas group B received the same postextubation approach plus three daily sessions of mechanical in-exsufflation (MI-E). Reintubation rates, ICU length of stay, and NIV failure rates were analyzed.
Seventy-five patients (26 women) with a mean age of 61.8 ± 17.3 years were randomized to a control group (n = 40; mean SAPS II, 47.8 ± 17.7) and to a study group (n = 35; mean SAPS II, 45.0 ± 15.0). MV time before enrollment was 9.4 ± 4.8 and 10.5 ± 4.1 days for the control and the study group, respectively. In the 48 hours after extubation, 20 control patients (50%) and 14 study patients (40%) used NIV. Study group patients had a significant lower reintubation rate than did controls; six patients (17%) versus 19 patients (48%), P < 0.05; respectively, and a significantly lower time under MV; 17.8 ± 6.4 versus 11.7 ± 3.5 days; P < 0.05; respectively. Considering only the subgroup of patients that used NIV, the reintubation rates related to NIV failure were significantly lower in the study group when compared with controls; two patients (6%) versus 13 (33%); P < 0.05, respectively. Mean ICU length of stay after extubation was significantly lower in the study group when compared with controls (3.1 ± 2.5 versus 9.8 ± 6.7 days; P < 0.05). No differences were found in the total ICU length of stay.
Inclusion of MI-E may reduce reintubation rates with consequent reduction in postextubation ICU length of stay. This technique seems to be efficient in improving the efficacy of NIV in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3681374  PMID: 22420538
13.  The outcome of extubation failure in a community hospital intensive care unit: a cohort study 
Critical Care  2004;8(5):R322-R327.
Extubation failure has been associated with poor intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital outcomes in tertiary care medical centers. Given the large proportion of critical care delivered in the community setting, our purpose was to determine the impact of extubation failure on patient outcomes in a community hospital ICU.
A retrospective cohort study was performed using data gathered in a 16-bed medical/surgical ICU in a community hospital. During 30 months, all patients with acute respiratory failure admitted to the ICU were included in the source population if they were mechanically ventilated by endotracheal tube for more than 12 hours. Extubation failure was defined as reinstitution of mechanical ventilation within 72 hours (n = 60), and the control cohort included patients who were successfully extubated at 72 hours (n = 93).
The primary outcome was total ICU length of stay after the initial extubation. Secondary outcomes were total hospital length of stay after the initial extubation, ICU mortality, hospital mortality, and total hospital cost. Patient groups were similar in terms of age, sex, and severity of illness, as assessed using admission Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (P > 0.05). Both ICU (1.0 versus 10 days; P < 0.01) and hospital length of stay (6.0 versus 17 days; P < 0.01) after initial extubation were significantly longer in reintubated patients. ICU mortality was significantly higher in patients who failed extubation (odds ratio = 12.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5–101; P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference in hospital mortality (odds ratio = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.8–5.4; P < 0.15). Total hospital costs (estimated from direct and indirect charges) were significantly increased by a mean of US$33,926 (95% CI = US$22,573–45,280; P < 0.01).
Extubation failure in a community hospital is univariately associated with prolonged inpatient care and significantly increased cost. Corroborating data from tertiary care centers, these adverse outcomes highlight the importance of accurate predictors of extubation outcome.
PMCID: PMC1065021  PMID: 15469575
community hospital; extubation failure; intensive care unit outcome; mechanical ventilation
14.  Use of a formal consensus development technique to produce recommendations for improving the effectiveness of adult mental health multidisciplinary team meetings 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:143.
Multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings are the core mechanism for delivering mental health care but it is unclear which models improve care quality. The aim of the study was to agree recommendations for improving the effectiveness of adult mental health MDT meetings, based on national guidance, research evidence and experiential insights from mental health and other medical specialties.
We established an expert panel of 16 health care professionals, policy-makers and patient representatives. Five panellists had experience in a range of adult mental health services, five in heart failure services and six in cancer services. Panellists privately rated 68 potential recommendations on a scale of one to nine, and re-rated them after panel discussion using the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method to determine consensus.
We obtained agreement (median ≥ 7) and low variation in extent of agreement (Mean Absolute Deviation from Median of ≤1.11) for 21 recommendations. These included the explicit agreement and auditing of MDT meeting objectives, and the documentation and monitoring of treatment plan implementation.
Formal consensus development methods that involved learning across specialities led to feasible recommendations for improved MDT meeting effectiveness in a wide range of settings. Our findings may be used by adult mental health teams to reflect on their practice and facilitate improvement. In some other contexts, the recommendations will require modification. For example, in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, context-specific issues such as the role of carers should be taken into account. A limitation of the comparative approach adopted was that only five members of the panel of 16 experts were mental health specialists.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0534-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4489364  PMID: 26138754
Multidisciplinary team; Recommendations; Chronic diseases; Consensus development method; Adult mental health
15.  Management of pregnant and postnatal women with pre-existing diabetes or cardiac disease using multi-disciplinary team models of care: a systematic review 
More women with an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcome due to pre-existing medical conditions are becoming pregnant. Although clinical care provided through multi-disciplinary team (MDT) working is recommended, little is known about the structure or working practices of different MDT models, their impact on maternal and infant outcomes or healthcare resources. The objectives of this review were to consider relevant international evidence to determine the most appropriate MDT models of care to manage complex medical conditions during and after pregnancy, with a specific focus on pre-existing diabetes or cardiac disease in high income country settings.
Quantitative and qualitative evidence of MDT models of care for the management of pregnant/postnatal women with pre-existing diabetes and cardiac disease was considered. A search of the literature published between January 2002 - January 2014 was undertaken. Methodological quality was assessed using checklists developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute. Given limited primary and secondary research evidence, guidelines and opinion papers were included. Two independent reviewers conducted critical appraisal of included papers.
Nineteen papers were included from UK, Canada, USA, the Netherlands and Singapore. No studies were found which had compared MDT models for pregnant/postnatal women with pre-existing diabetes or cardiac disease. Two small retrospective studies reported better outcomes for women with cardiac disease if an MDT approach was used, although evidence to support this was limited. Due to study heterogeneity it was not possible to meta-analyse data. No evidence was identified of MDT management in the postnatal period or impacts of MDT working on healthcare resources.
Despite widespread promotion of MDT models of care for pregnant and postnatal women with pre-existing diabetes or cardiac disease, there is a dearth of primary evidence to inform structure or working practices or beneficial impact on maternal and infant outcomes or healthcare resources. Primary research into if or how MDT models of care improve outcomes for women with complex pregnancies is urgently needed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-014-0428-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4296678  PMID: 25528045
Multidisciplinary team; Pregnancy; Diabetes; Cardiac disease; Maternity; Antenatal; Postnatal; Complex pregnancies
16.  Extubation failure in intensive care unit: Predictors and management 
Extubation failure-need for reintubation within 72 h of extubation, is common in intensive care unit (ICU). It can cause increased morbidity, higher costs, higher ICU and hospital length of stay (LOS) and mortality. Patients with advanced age, high severity of illness at ICU admission and extubation, preexisting chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disorders are at increased risk of extubation failure. Unresolved illness, development and progression of organ failure during the time from extubation to reintubation and reintubation itself have been proposed as reasons for increased morbidity and mortality. Parameters used to predict extubation failure can be categorized into parameters assessing respiratory mechanics, airway patency and protection and cardiovascular reserve. Adequate cough strength, minimal secretions and alertness are necessary for successful extubation. Evidence suggests that early institution of non-invasive ventilation and prophylactic administration of methylprednisolone may prevent reintubation in some patients. The intensivist needs to identify patients at high risk of extubation failure and be prepared to reinstitute ventilation early to prevent adverse outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2760915  PMID: 19826583
Extubation; failure of; predictors of; reintubation; weaning
17.  Benefits of multidisciplinary teamwork in the management of breast cancer 
The widespread introduction of multidisciplinary team (MDT)-work for breast cancer management has in part evolved due to the increasing complexity of diagnostic and treatment decision-making. An MDT approach aims to bring together the range of specialists required to discuss and agree treatment recommendations and ongoing management for individual patients. MDTs are resource-intensive yet we lack strong (randomized controlled trial) evidence of their effectiveness. Clinical consensus is generally favorable on the benefits of effective specialist MDT-work. Many studies have shown the benefits of receiving treatment from a specialist center, and evidence continues to accrue from comparative studies of clinical benefits of an MDT approach, including improved survival. Patients’ views of the MDT model of decision-making (and in particular its impact on involvement in decisions about their care) have been under-researched. Barriers to effective teamwork and poor decision-making include excessive caseload, low attendance at meetings, lack of leadership, poor communication, role ambiguity, and failure to consider patients’ holistic needs. Breast cancer nurses have a key role in relation to assessing holistic needs, and their specialist contribution has also been associated with improved patient experience and quality of life. This paper examines the evidence for the benefits of MDT-work, in particular for breast cancer. Evidence is considered within a context of growing cancer incidence at a time of increased financial restraint, and it may now be important to reevaluate the structure and models of MDT-work to ensure that MDTs are an efficient use of resources.
PMCID: PMC3929250  PMID: 24648761
interdisciplinary teams; interprofessional interactions; multidisciplinary collaboration; teams; teamwork
18.  Evaluation of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation after extubation from moderate positive end-expiratory pressure level in patients undergoing cardiovascular surgery: a prospective observational study 
It remains to be clarified if the application of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) is effective after extubation in patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure who require the sufficient level of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP). This study was aimed at examining the effect and the safety of NPPV application following extubation in patients requiring moderate PEEP level for sufficient oxygenation after cardiovascular surgery.
With institutional ethic committee approval, the patients ventilated invasively for over 48 h after cardiovascular surgery were enrolled in this study. The patients who failed the first spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) at 5 cmH2O of PEEP, but passed the second SBT at 8 cmH2O of PEEP, received NPPV immediately after extubation following our weaning protocol. Respiratory parameters (partial pressure of arterial oxygen tension to inspiratory oxygen fraction ratio: P/F ratio, respiratory ratio, and partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide: PaCO2) 2 h after extubation were evaluated with those just before extubation as the primary outcome. The rate of re-intubation, the frequency of respiratory failure and intolerance of NPPV, the duration of NPPV, and the length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay were also recorded.
While 51 postcardiovascular surgery patients were screened, 6 patients who met the criteria received NPPV after extubation. P/F ratio was increased significantly after extubation compared with that before extubation (325 ± 85 versus 245 ± 55 mmHg, p < 0.05). The other respiratory parameters did not change significantly. Re-intubation, respiratory failure, and intolerance of NPPV never occurred. The duration of NPPV and the length of ICU stay were 2.7 ± 0.7 (SD) and 7.5 (6 to 10) (interquartile range) days, respectively.
While further investigation should be warranted, NPPV could be applied effectively and safely after extubation in patients requiring the moderate PEEP level after cardiovascular surgery.
PMCID: PMC4267591  PMID: 25520822
Weaning; Invasive mechanical ventilation; Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation; Moderate PEEP level; Cardiovascular surgery
19.  Wean Earlier and Automatically with New technology (the WEAN study): a protocol of a multicentre, pilot randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2009;10:81.
Weaning is the process during which mechanical ventilation is withdrawn and the work of breathing is transferred from the ventilator back to the patient. Prolonged weaning is associated with development of ventilator-related complications and longer stays in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Computerized or Automated Weaning is a novel weaning strategy that continuously measures and adapts ventilator support (by frequently measuring and averaging three breathing parameters) and automatically conducts Spontaneous Breathing Trials to ascertain whether patients can resume autonomous breathing. Automated Weaning holds promise as a strategy to reduce the time spent on the ventilator, decrease ICU length of stay, and improve clinically important outcomes.
A pilot weaning randomized controlled trial (RCT) is underway in the ICUs of 8 Canadian hospitals. We will randomize 90 critically ill adults requiring invasive ventilation for at least 24 hours and identified at an early stage of the weaning process to either Automated Weaning (SmartCare™) or Protocolized Weaning. The results of a National Weaning Survey informed the design of the Protocolized Weaning arm. Both weaning protocols are operationalized in Pressure Support mode, include opportunities for Spontaneous Breathing Trials, and share a common sedation protocol, oxygen titration parameters, and extubation and reintubation criteria. The primary outcome of the WEAN study is to evaluate compliance with the proposed weaning and sedation protocols. A key secondary outcome of the pilot RCT is to evaluate clinician acceptance of the weaning and sedation protocols. Prior to initiating the WEAN Study, we conducted a run-in phase, involving two patients per centre (randomizing the first participant to either weaning strategy and assigning the second patient to the alternate strategy) to ensure that participating centres could implement the weaning and sedation protocols and complete the detailed case report forms.
Mechanical ventilation studies are difficult to implement; requiring protocols to be operationalized continuously and entailing detailed daily data collection. As the first multicentre weaning RCT in Canada, the WEAN Study seeks to determine the feasibility of conducting a large scale future weaning trial and to establish a collaborative network of ICU clinicians dedicated to advancing the science of weaning.
Trial Registration Number
PMCID: PMC2749823  PMID: 19732444
20.  Introducing structured caregiver training in stroke care: findings from the TRACS process evaluation study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(4):e004473.
To evaluate the process of implementation of the modified London Stroke Carers Training Course (LSCTC) in the Training Caregivers After Stroke (TRACS) cluster randomised trial and contribute to the interpretation of the TRACS trial results. The LSCTC was a structured competency-based training programme designed to help develop the knowledge and skills (eg, patient handling or transfer skills) essential for the day-to-day management of disabled survivors of stroke. The LSCTC comprised 14 components, 6 were mandatory (and delivered to all) and 8 non-mandatory, to be delivered based on individual assessment of caregiver need.
Process evaluation using non-participant observation, documentary analysis and semistructured interviews.
Patients with stroke (n=38), caregivers (n=38), stroke unit staff (n=53).
10 of the 36 stroke units participating in the TRACS trial in four English regions (Yorkshire, North West, South East and South West, Peninsula).
Preparatory cascade training on delivery of the LSCTC did not reach all staff and did not lead to multidisciplinary team (MDT) wide understanding of, engagement with or commitment to the LSCTC. Although senior therapists in most intervention units observed developed ownership of the LSCTC, MDT working led to separation rather than integration of delivery of LSCTC elements. Organisational features of stroke units and professionals’ patient-focused practices limited the involvement of caregivers. Caregivers were often invited to observe therapy or care being provided by professionals but had few opportunities to make sense of, or to develop knowledge and stroke-specific skills provided by the LSCTC. Where provided, caregiver training came very late in the inpatient stay. Assessment and development of caregiver competence was not commonly observed.
Contextual factors including service improvement pressures and staff perceptions of the necessity for and work required in caregiver training impacted negatively on implementation of the caregiver training intervention. Structured caregiver training programmes such as the LSCTC are unlikely to be practical in settings with short inpatient stays. Stroke units where early supported discharge is in place potentially offer a more effective vehicle for introducing competency based caregiver training.
LINKED TRACS Cluster randomised controlled trial number
PMCID: PMC4010820  PMID: 24736035
Qualitative Research; Rehabilitation
21.  Multidisciplinary decisions in breast cancer: does the patient receive what the team has recommended? 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(12):2442-2447.
A multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach to breast cancer management is the gold standard. The aim is to evaluate MDT decision making in a modern breast unit.
All referrals to the breast MDT where breast cancer was diagnosed from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2011 were included. Multidisciplinary team decisions were compared with subsequent patient management and classified as concordant or discordant.
Over the study period, there were 3230 MDT decisions relating to 705 patients. Overall, 91.5% (2956 out of 3230) of decisions were concordant, 4.5% (146 out of 3230), were discordant and 4% (128 out of 3230) had no MDT decision. Of 146 discordant decisions, 26 (17.8%) were considered ‘unjustifiable' as there was no additional information available after the MDT to account for the change in management. The remaining 120 discordant MDT decisions were considered ‘justifiable', as management was altered due to patient choice (n=61), additional information available after MDT (n=54) or MDT error (n=5).
The vast majority of MDT decisions are implemented. Management alteration was most often due to patient choice or additional information available after the MDT. A minority of management alterations were ‘unjustifiable' and the authors recommend that any patient whose treatment is subsequently changed should have MDT rediscussion prior to treatment.
PMCID: PMC3694248  PMID: 23736032
multidisciplinary team; breast cancer; cancer management
22.  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Weaning of Difficult-to-Wean Patients from Mechanical Ventilation: Randomized Prospective Study 
Croatian medical journal  2007;48(1):51-58.
To compare T-tube and pressure support ventilation (PSV) as two methods of mechanical ventilation weaning of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after failed extubation.
A prospective randomized trial carried out at the multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU) over 2 years included 136 patients with COPD who required mechanical ventilation longer than 24 hours. The patients who could be weaned from mechanical ventilation were randomized to either a T-tube or PSV 2-hour spontaneous breathing trial. The patients in whom 2-hour trial was successful were extubated and excluded from further research. Patients in whom 2-hour trial failed had mechanical ventilation reinstated and underwent the same weaning procedure after 24 hours in case they fulfilled the weaning criteria. The weaning outcome was assessed according to the following parameters: extubation success, mechanical ventilation duration, time spent in ICU, reintubation rate, and mortality rate.
Two-hour trial failed in 31 patients in T-tube and 32 patients in PSV group, of whom 17 and 23, respectively, were successfully extubated (P<0.001, χ2test). Mechanical ventilation lasted significantly longer in T-tube than in PSV group (187 hours vs 163 hours, respectively, P<0.001, Mann-Whitney test). Also, patients in T-tube group spent significantly more time in ICU than patients in PVS group (241 hours [interquartile range 211-268] vs 210 hours [211-268], respectively, P<0.001, Mann-Whitney test). Reintubation was required in 8 and 6 patients in T-tube and PVS group, respectively, and death occurred in 4 and 2 patients, respectively, during ICU stay.
Patients with COPD who failed the 2-hour spontaneous breathing trial had more favorable outcome when PVS rather than T-tube method was used for weaning from mechanical ventilation.
Clinical Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00355732
PMCID: PMC2080492  PMID: 17309139
23.  Multidisciplinary management of hepatocellular carcinoma: a model for therapy 
A multidisciplinary model is a useful approach in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to coordinate, individualize, and optimize care. The HCC Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) at Temple University Hospital was established in 2008 and comprises hepatologists, interventional radiologists, transplant surgeons, oncologists, residents, midlevel providers, and support staff. Patients may be enrolled by referral from (1) oncologists at Temple, (2) the hepatitis screening clinic recently established at Temple and staffed by hepatology residents, or (3) community practices. MDT conferences are held weekly, during which cases are discussed (based on medical history, interpretation of images, and laboratory analyses) and treatment plans are formulated. The Temple treatment algorithm follows current standards of care, guided by tumor volume and morphology, but the novel multidisciplinary interaction challenges members to tailor therapy to achieve the best possible outcomes. Patients with a solitary lesion ≤ 2 cm may receive no treatment until eligible for transplantation or locoregional therapy or resection, with imaging every 3 to 6 months to monitor tumor progression. In patients with tumors > 2 cm and ≤ 5 cm, microwave ablation therapy is used if lesions are discrete and accessible. Conventional transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or drug-eluting bead TACE (DEB-TACE) or yttrium-90 microspheres are utilized in multifocal disease. Patients with lesions > 5 cm are candidates for TACE for downstaging the tumor. Sorafenib is typically reserved for unresectable lesions between 2 cm and 5 cm. Frequently, we administer sorafenib continuously and in combination with DEB-TACE. In our experience, sorafenib does not produce effects on the tumor vasculature or blood flow that would impair the efficacy of DEB-TACE. The literature documents improved outcomes in HCC and other cancers associated with the introduction of multidisciplinary care. The role and organization of the MDT is influenced by team culture, expertise, and process, as well as institutional and larger environmental contexts.
PMCID: PMC3656893  PMID: 23690690
HCC; coordinated care; interdisciplinary; transplant
24.  What is a virtual multidisciplinary team (vMDT)? 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(12):2433-2441.
Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs), also known as tumour boards or multidisciplinary case conferences, are an integral component of contemporary cancer care. There are logistical problems with setting up and maintaining participation in these meetings. An ill-defined concept, the virtual MDT (vMDT), has arisen in response to these difficulties. We have, in order to provide clarity and to generate discussion, attempted to define the concept of the vMDT, outline its advantages and disadvantages, and consider some of the practical aspects involved in setting up a virtual MDT.
This is an unstructured review of published evidence and personal experience relating to virtual teams in general, and to MDTs in particular.
We have devised a simple taxonomy for MDTs, discussed some of the practicalities involved in setting up a vMDT, and described some of the potential advantages and disadvantages associated with vMDTs.
The vMDT may be useful for discussions concerning rare or unusual tumours, or for helping guide the assessment and management of patients with uncommon complications related to treatment. However, the vMDT is a niche concept and is currently unlikely to replace the more traditional face-to-face MDT in the management of common tumours at specific sites.
PMCID: PMC3694234  PMID: 23756866
multidisciplinary teams; virtual teams; tumour board; multidisciplinary case conference; information technology; telemedicine
25.  Reducing Unplanned Extubations in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: A Systematic Approach 
Objective. To prospectively determine the rate of unplanned extubations and contributing factors and determine whether a targeted intervention program would be successful in decreasing the rate of unplanned extubations. Design. Prospective, observational study. Setting. A 10-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Patients. All intubated pediatric patients during two time periods: September 1, 2000–March 31, 2001 and November 1, 2001–April 30, 2002. Interventions. After determining the rate and causes of unplanned extubation, a program was developed consisting of education and a formalized endotracheal tube taping policy. Data were then collected after implementation of the program. Measurements and Main Results. Prior to the implementation of the program, there were 10 (14.7%) unplanned extubations for a rate of 6.4 unplanned extubations per 100 ventilated days. Of the ten unplanned extubations, reintubation was required in 2 (20%). Inadequate sedation, poor taping, and improper position of the endotracheal tube were the items most frequently cited as causing an unplanned extubation. Following the program, there were two (3.4%) unplanned extubations for 1.0 unplanned extubations per 100 ventilated days. Neither patient required reintubation. There were no significant differences (P > .05) in age, weight, endotracheal tube size, or duration of intubation in the two time periods. However, there was a significant decrease in both the number (P = .03) and the rate (P = .04) of unplanned extubations after the implementation of the quality improvement program. Conclusions. The rate of unplanned extubation in a PICU can be decreased with a quality improvement program that targets the institution's specific needs.
PMCID: PMC2804049  PMID: 20069114

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