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1.  Helicobacter pylori in First Nations and recent immigrant populations in Canada 
Despite the decreasing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among most of the Canadian population, it remains high among Aboriginals and recent immigrants. Given the health risks and complications associated with H pylori infection, measures aimed at eradicating H pylori are especially useful, particularly in vulnerable groups, and even more so if they lead to a reduction in the conditions that predispose individuals to gastric cancer. Following a brief discussion on the pathogenic role of H pylori, the prevalence and epidemiology of H pylori infection, and the associated health consequences, this article reviews a conference held by the Canadian Helicobacter Study Group in October 2010, which gathered a panel of experts in several fields to address the health risks of H pylori infection in at-risk populations and the potential benefits of adopting an eradication strategy.
The diminishing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among most segments of the Canadian population has led to changes in the etiologies and patterns of associated upper gastrointestinal diseases, including fewer peptic ulcers and their complications. Canadian Aboriginals and recent immigrants are among populations in which the prevalence of H pylori infection remains high and, therefore, the health risks imposed by H pylori remain a significant concern. Population-based strategies for H pylori eradication in groups with a low prevalence of infection are unlikely to be cost effective, but such measures are attractive in groups in which the prevalence rates of infection remain substantial. In addition to a lower prevalence of peptic ulcers and dyspepsia, the public health value of eradication may be particularly important if this leads to a reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer in high prevalence groups. Therefore The Canadian Helicobacter Study Group held a conference that brought together experts in the field to address these issues, the results of which are reviewed in the present article. Canadians with the highest prevalence of H pylori infection are an appropriate focus for considering the health advantages of eradicating persistent infection. In Canadian communities with a high prevalence of both H pylori and gastric cancer, there remains an opportunity to test the hypothesis that H pylori infection is a treatable risk factor for malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3275412  PMID: 22312609
Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Immigrants; Native Canadians
2.  A survey of sedation practices for colonoscopy in Canada 
There are limited data regarding the use of sedation for colonoscopy and concomitant monitoring practices in different countries.
A survey was mailed to 445 clinician members of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and 80 members of the Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons in May and June 2009.
Sixty-five per cent of Canadian Association of Gastroenterology members and 69% of Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons members responded with the full survey. Most endoscopists reported using sedation for more than 90% of colonoscopies. The most common sedation regimen was a combination of midazolam and fentanyl. Propofol, either alone or with another drug, was used in 12% of cases. A higher proportion (94%) of adult gastroenterologists who routinely used propofol were highly satisfied compared with those using other sedative agents (45%; P<0.001). Fifty per cent of adult gastroenterologists and 29% of surgeons who were not currently using propofol expressed interest in starting to use it for routine colonoscopies. Only a single nurse was present in the endoscopy room during colonoscopy performed by two-thirds of the endoscopists.
Results of the present survey suggest that gastroenterologists in Canada use sedation for colonoscopy in more than 90% of their patients. There was higher satisfaction among gastroenterologists who used propofol routinely for all colonoscopies. Most endoscopy rooms were staffed by a single nurse, which may limit further increases in the use of propofol. Further studies are needed to determine optimal staffing of endoscopy units with and without the use of propofol. Sedation practices of general surgery endoscopists need to be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3115005  PMID: 21647459
Canada; Colonoscopy; Endoscopy room staffing; Propofol; Sedation
3.  Helicobacter pylori and immigrant health 
PMCID: PMC3255187  PMID: 22232338
4.  Significant correlations between optic nerve head microcirculation and visual field defects and nerve fiber layer loss in glaucoma patients with myopic glaucomatous disk 
Eyes with glaucoma are characterized by optic neuropathy with visual field defects in the areas corresponding to the optic disk damage. The exact cause for the glaucomatous optic neuropathy has not been determined. Myopia has been shown to be a risk factor for glaucoma. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a significant correlation existed between the microcirculation of the optic disk and the visual field defects and the retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFLT) in glaucoma patients with myopic optic disks.
Sixty eyes of 60 patients with myopic disks were studied; 36 eyes with glaucoma (men:women = 19:17) and 24 eyes with no ocular diseases (men:women = 14:10). The mean deviation (MD) determined by the Humphrey field analyzer, and the peripapillary RNFLT determined by the Stratus-OCT were compared between the two groups. The ocular circulation was determined by laser speckle flowgraphy (LSFG), and the mean blur rate (MBR) was compared between the two groups. The correlations between the RNFLT and MBR of the corresponding areas of the optic disk and between MD and MBR of the optic disk in the glaucoma group were determined by simple regression analyses.
The average MBR for the entire optic disk was significantly lower in the glaucoma group than that in the control group. The differences of the MBR for the tissue in the superior, inferior, and temporal quadrants of the optic disk between the two groups were significant. The MBR for the entire optic disk was significantly correlated with the MD (r = 0.58, P = 0.0002) and the average RNFLT (r = 0.53, P = 0.0008). The tissue MBR of the optic disk was significantly correlated with the RNFLT in the superior, inferior, and temporal quadrants.
Our study suggests that there is a causal relationship between the thinner RNFLT that led to the MD and reduction in the microcirculation in the optic nerve head.
PMCID: PMC3245193  PMID: 22205831
glaucoma; visual field defects; optic disk; optic neuropathy; myopia; microcirculation; optic nerve head; retinal nerve fiber layer
5.  Association between optic nerve blood flow and objective examinations in glaucoma patients with generalized enlargement disc type 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlations between microcirculation in the optic disc, average peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness cupping parameters, and visual field defects in glaucoma patients with the generalized enlargement disc type.
A total of 38 eyes from 38 glaucoma patients with the generalized enlargement disc type were included. The microcirculation of the optic nerve head was examined with laser speckle flow graphy, and the mean blur rate in all areas, in vessel area, and in tissue area were calculated using the laser speckle flow graphy analyzer software. Average peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness was measured using Stratus optical coherence tomography, and cupping parameters were accessed using the Heidelberg retina tomograph. The mean deviation in the Humphrey field analyzer (30-2 SITA standard) was analyzed. The correlation between these parameters was evaluated using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient.
The correlation coefficient of mean blur rate in all optic disc area to the average peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, vertical C/D, and mean deviation were r = 0.7546 (P < 0.0001), r = −0.6208 (P < 0.0001), and r = 0.6010 (P = 0.0001), respectively. The mean blur rate in tissue area of the optic disc showed r = 0.7305 (P < 0.0001), r = −0.6438 (P < 0.0001), and r = 0.6338 (P < 0.0001).
We found that the mean blur rate in the optic disc was significantly correlated with the average peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, vertical C/D, and mean deviation in patients with the generalized enlargement disc type of glaucoma. In particular, the mean blur rate in tissue area was more highly correlated than the vessel area with other results of examination in glaucoma patients with the generalized enlargement disc type.
PMCID: PMC3218163  PMID: 22125400
ocular blood flow; optic disc type; laser speckle flowgraphy; function; structure
6.  Reproducibility of retinal circulation measurements obtained using laser speckle flowgraphy-NAVI in patients with glaucoma 
Laser speckle flowgraphy (LSFG) enables noninvasive quantification of the retinal circulation in glaucoma patients. In this study, we tested the intrasession reproducibility of LSFG-NAVI, a modified LSFG technique.
Sixty-five eyes from 33 subjects (male (M):female (F) = 17:16) with a mean age of 49.4 ± 11.2 years were examined in this study. Two parameters indicating reproducibility – the coefficient of variation (COV) and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) – were analyzed three times on the same day that mean blur rate (MBR) was measured using LSFG-NAVI. The sites analyzed were the retinal artery and vein, the optic disk, and the choroid. Following classification according to the Glaucoma Hemifield Test (GHT; SITA-Standard 30-2 program), the COV and ICC were examined in patients with (GHT+; 38 eyes, M:F = 20:18, average age 48.9 ± 12.8 years) and without (GHT−; 27 eyes, M:F = 13:14, average age 50.1 ± 8.7 years) abnormal glaucomatous visual fields.
For all subjects, the intrasession reproducibility of MBR in the optic disk (COV: 3.4 ± 2.0; ICC: 0.95) and choroid (COV: 4.7 ± 3.4; ICC: 0.98) was excellent. The reproducibility for the retinal vein (COV: 8.4 ± 5.6, ICC: 0.90) and retinal artery (COV: 10.9 ± 9.9, ICC: 0.9) was moderate. MBRs in the optic disk had good reproducibility in both the GHT+ group (COV: 3.8 ± 2.0; ICC: 0.97) and the GHT− group (COV: 2.9 ± 2.1; ICC: 0.95). Local assessment of the optic disk in normal or glaucoma patients showed that the COVs of the quadrant optic disk areas were best in the temporal area of MBR (3.4%, 4.2%, respectively).
LSFG-NAVI showed favorable reproducibility in evaluation of retinal circulation of glaucoma patients, particularly in the optic disk and choroid.
PMCID: PMC3162298  PMID: 21887100
ocular circulation; reproducibility; optic nerve; retina
7.  A one-year economic evaluation of six alternative strategies for the management of uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms in Canadian primary care 
The cost-effectiveness of initial strategies in managing Canadian patients with uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms remains controversial.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of six management approaches to uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms in the Canadian setting.
The present study analyzed data from four randomized trials assessing homogeneous and complementary populations of Canadian patients with uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms with comparable outcomes. Symptom-free months, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and direct costs in Canadian dollars of two management approaches based on the Canadian Dyspepsia Working Group (CanDys) Clinical Management Tool, and four additional strategies (two empirical antisecretory agents, and two prompt endoscopy) were examined and compared. Prevalence data, probabilities, utilities and costs were included in a Markov model, while sensitivity analysis used Monte Carlo simulations. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were determined.
Empirical omeprazole cost $226 per QALY ($49 per symptom-free month) per patient. CanDys omeprazole and endoscopy approaches were more effective than empirical omeprazole, but more costly. Alternatives using H2-receptor antagonists were less effective than those using a proton pump inhibitor. No significant differences were found for most incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. As willingness to pay (WTP) thresholds rose from $226 to $24,000 per QALY, empirical antisecretory approaches were less likely to be the most cost-effective choice, with CanDys omeprazole progressively becoming a more likely option. For WTP values ranging from $24,000 to $70,000 per QALY, the most clinically relevant range, CanDys omeprazole was the most cost-effective strategy (32% to 46% of the time), with prompt endoscopy-proton pump inhibitor favoured at higher WTP values.
Although no strategy was the indisputable cost-effective option, CanDys omeprazole may be the strategy of choice over a clinically relevant range of WTP assumptions in the initial management of Canadian patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia.
PMCID: PMC2947002  PMID: 20711528
Antisecretory therapy; Cost-effectiveness; Dyspepsia; Economic modelling; Endoscopy; Helicobacter pylori
8.  Managing uninvestigated dyspepsia in primary care 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;336(7645):623-624.
Test and treat for Helicobacter pylori is still as good as proton pump inhibitors first
PMCID: PMC2270980  PMID: 18310261
9.  Propofol use for sedation during endoscopy in adults: A Canadian Association of Gastroenterology position statement 
Over the past decade, multiple clinical reports have demonstrated that the use of propofol sedation for gastrointestinal endoscopy by gastroenterologists and trained endoscopy nurses is safe and effective in appropriately selected patients. Proposed benefits of propofol sedation include rapid onset of action, improved patient comfort and rapid clearance, as well as prompt recovery and discharge from the endoscopy unit. As a result of medical evidence, a number of international professional societies have endorsed the use of propofol in gastrointestinal endoscopy. In Canada, no formal guidelines currently exist. In the present article, the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology presents a position statement, incorporating updated information on the use of propofol sedation for endoscopy in adult patients.
PMCID: PMC2660799  PMID: 18478130
Conscious sedation; Endoscopy; Gastrointestinal endoscopy; General anesthesia; Propofol; Sedation
10.  Commonly used preparations for colonoscopy: Efficacy, tolerability and safety – A Canadian Association of Gastroenterology position paper 
The increased demand for colonoscopy, coupled with the introduction of new bowel cleansing preparations and recent caution advisories in Canada, has prompted a review of bowel preparations by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.
The present review was conducted by the Clinical Affairs group of committees including the endoscopy, hepatobiliary/transplant, liaison, pediatrics, practice affairs and regional representation committees, along with the assistance of Canadian experts in the field. An effort was made to systematically assess randomized prospective trials evaluating commonly used bowel cleansing preparations in Canada.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-; sodium phosphate (NaP)-; magnesium citrate (Mg-citrate)-; and sodium picosulphate, citric acid and magnesium oxide (PSMC)-containing preparations were reviewed. Regimens of PEG 2 L with bisacodyl (10 mg to 20 mg) or Mg-citrate (296 mL) are as effective as standard PEG 4 L regimens, but are better tolerated. NaP preparations appear more effective and better tolerated than standard PEG solutions. PSMC has good efficacy and tolerability but head-to-head trials with NaP solutions remain few, and conclusions equivocal. Adequate hydration during preparation and up to the time of colonoscopy is critical in minimizing side effects and improving bowel cleansing in patients receiving NaP and PSMC preparations. All preparations may cause adverse events, including rare, serious outcomes. NaP should not be used in patients with cardiac or renal dysfunction (PEG solution is preferable in these patients), bowel obstruction or ascites, and caution should be exercised when used in patients with pre-existing electrolyte disturbances, those taking medications that may affect electrolyte levels and elderly or debilitated patients. Health Canada’s recommended NaP dosing for most patients is two 45 mL doses 24 h apart. However, both safety and efficacy data on this dosing schedule are lacking. Many members of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology expert panel administer both doses within 24 h, as studied in clinical trials, after careful one-on-one discussion of risks and benefits in carefully selected patients. Safety data on PSMC and combination preparations in North America are limited and clinicians are encouraged to keep abreast of developments in this area.
All four preparations reviewed provided effective bowel cleansing for colonoscopy in the majority of patients, with varying tolerability. Adequate hydration is essential in patients receiving the preparations.
PMCID: PMC2660825  PMID: 17111052
Colon preparation; Colonoscopy; Polyethylene glycol; Sodium phosphate
11.  The impact of illness in patients with moderate to severe gastro-esophageal reflux disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2005;5:23.
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disease. It impairs health related quality of life (HRQL). However, the impact on utility scores and work productivity in patients with moderate to severe GERD is not well known.
We analyzed data from 217 patients with moderate to severe GERD (mean age 50, SD 13.7) across 17 Canadian centers. Patients completed three utility instruments – the standard gamble (SG), the feeling thermometer (FT), and the Health Utilities Index 3 (HUI 3) – and several HRQL instruments, including Quality of Life in Reflux and Dyspepsia (QOLRAD) and the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36 (SF-36). All patients received a proton pump inhibitor, esomeprazole 40 mg daily, for four to six weeks.
The mean scores on a scale from 0 (dead) to 1 (full health) obtained for the FT, SG, and HUI 3 were 0.67 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.70), 0.76 (95% CI, 0.75 to 0.80), and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.77 to 0.82) respectively. The mean scores on the SF-36 were lower than the previously reported Canadian and US general population mean scores and work productivity was impaired.
GERD has significant impact on utility scores, HRQL, and work productivity in patients with moderate to severe disease. Furthermore, the FT and HUI 3 provide more valid measurements of HRQL in GERD than the SG. After treatment with esomeprazole, patients showed improved HRQL.
PMCID: PMC1183201  PMID: 16004616
12.  The influence of demographic factors and health-related quality of life on treatment satisfaction in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease treated with esomeprazole 
The correlation between treatment satisfaction and demographic characteristics, symptoms, or health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is unknown. The objective of this study was to assess correlates of treatment satisfaction in patients with GERD receiving a proton pump inhibitor, esomeprazole.
Adult GERD patients (n = 217) completed demography, symptom, HRQL, and treatment satisfaction questionnaires at baseline and/or after treatment with esomeprazole 40 mg once daily for 4 weeks. We used multiple linear regressions with treatment satisfaction as the dependent variable and demographic characteristics, baseline symptoms, baseline HRQL, and change scores in HRQL as independent variables.
Among the demographic variables only Caucasian ethnicity was positively associated with treatment satisfaction. Greater vitality assessed by the Quality of Life in Reflux and Dyspepsia (QOLRAD) and worse heartburn assessed by a four-symptom scale at baseline, were associated with greater treatment satisfaction. The greater the improvement on the QOLRAD vitality (change score), the more likely the patient is to be satisfied with the treatment.
Ethnicity, baseline vitality, baseline heartburn severity, and change in QOLRAD vitality correlate with treatment satisfaction in patients with GERD.
PMCID: PMC545938  PMID: 15649314
Demography; esomeprazole; Feeling Thermometer; GERD; QOLRAD; treatment satisfaction
13.  Treating Helicobacter pylori infection in primary care patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia: the Canadian adult dyspepsia empiric treatment—Helicobacter pylori positive (CADET-Hp) randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;324(7344):1012.
To determine whether a “test for Helicobacter pylori and treat” strategy improves symptoms in patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia in primary care.
Randomised placebo controlled trial.
36 family practices in Canada.
294 patients positive for H pylori (13C- urea breath test) with symptoms of dyspepsia of at least moderate severity in the preceding month.
Participants were randomised to twice daily treatment for 7 days with omeprazole 20 mg, metronidazole 500 mg, and clarithromycin 250 mg or omeprazole 20 mg, placebo metronidazole, and placebo clarithromycin. Patients were then managed by their family physicians according to their usual care.
Main outcome measures
Treatment success defined as no symptoms or minimal symptoms of dyspepsia at the end of one year. Societal healthcare costs collected prospectively for a secondary evaluation of actual mean costs.
In the intention to treat population (n=294), eradication treatment was significantly more effective than placebo in achieving treatment success (50% v 36%; P=0.02; absolute risk reduction=14%; number needed to treat=7, 95% confidence interval 4 to 63). Eradication treatment cured H pylori infection in 80% of evaluable patients. Treatment success at one year was greater in patients negative for H pylori than in those positive for H pylori (54% v 39%; P=0.02). Eradication treatment reduced mean annual cost by $C53 (−86 to 180) per patient.
A “test for H pylori with 13C-urea breath test and eradicate” strategy shows significant symptomatic benefit at 12 months in the management of primary care patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia.
What is already known on this topicDyspepsia is a common problem in primary health care, although controversy exists about its definitionStudies of H pylori eradication in patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia have shown reduced need for endoscopy and thus significant cost savings compared with a strategy of prompt endoscopyThe “test for H pylori and treat” strategy has been recommended for uninvestigated dyspepsia, but there have been no randomised controlled trials showing improvement in symptomsWhat this study addsWhen given eradication treatment in primary care, H pylori positive patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia show improvement in overall dyspepsia symptoms at 12 monthsThis supports the “test for H pylori and treat” strategy
PMCID: PMC102778  PMID: 11976244

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