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1.  Can we monitor heart attack in the troponin era: evidence from a population-based cohort study 
Background
Troponins (highly sensitive biomarkers of myocardial damage) increase counts of myocardial infarction (MI) in clinical practice, but their impact on trends in admission rates for MI in National statistics is uncertain.
Methods
Cases coded as MI or other cardiac diagnoses in the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection (MI-HMDC) in Western Australia in 1998 and 2003 were classified using revised criteria for MI developed by an International panel convened by the American Heart Association (AHA criteria) using information on symptoms, ECGs and cardiac biomarkers abstracted from samples of medical notes. Age-sex standardized rates of MI-HMDC were compared with rates of MI based on AHA criteria including troponins (MI-AHA) or traditional biomarkers only (MI-AHAck).
Results
Between 1998 and 2003, rates of MI-HMDC decreased by 3.5% whereas rates of MI-AHA increased by 17%, a difference largely due to increased false-negative cases in the HMDC associated with marked increased use of troponin tests in cardiac admissions generally, and progressively lower test thresholds. In contrast, rates of MI-AHAck declined by 18%.
Conclusions
Increasing misclassification of MI-AHA by the HMDC may be due to reluctance by clinicians to diagnose MI based on relatively small increases in troponin levels. These influences are likely to continue. Monitoring MI using AHA criteria will require calibration of commercially available troponin tests and agreement on lower diagnostic thresholds for epidemiological studies. Declining rates of MI-AHAck are consistent with long-standing trends in MI in Western Australia, suggesting that neither MI-HMDC nor MI-AHA reflect the true underlying population trends in MI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-35
PMCID: PMC3224105  PMID: 21702905
AHA Medical/Scientific Statements; cardiac biomarkers; diagnosis; myocardial infarction; trends
2.  Using clinical trial data and linked administrative health data to reduce the risk of adverse events associated with the uptake of newly released drugs by older Australians: a model process 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:361.
Background
The study was undertaken to evaluate the contribution of a process which uses clinical trial data plus linked de-identified administrative health data to forecast potential risk of adverse events associated with the use of newly released drugs by older Australian patients.
Methods
The study uses publicly available data from the clinical trials of a newly released drug to ascertain which patient age groups, gender, comorbidities and co-medications were excluded in the trials. It then uses linked de-identified hospital morbidity and medications dispensing data to investigate the comorbidities and co-medications of patients who suffer from the target morbidity of the new drug and who are the likely target population for the drug. The clinical trial information and the linked morbidity and medication data are compared to assess which patient groups could potentially be at risk of an adverse event associated with use of the new drug.
Results
Applying the model in a retrospective real-world scenario identified that the majority of the sample group of Australian patients aged 65 years and over with the target morbidity of the newly released COX-2-selective NSAID rofecoxib also suffered from a major morbidity excluded in the trials of that drug, indicating a substantial potential risk of adverse events amongst those patients. This risk was borne out in post-release morbidity and mortality associated with use of that drug.
Conclusions
Clinical trial data and linked administrative health data can together support a prospective assessment of patient groups who could be at risk of an adverse event if they are prescribed a newly released drug in the context of their age, gender, comorbidities and/or co-medications. Communication of this independent risk information to prescribers has the potential to reduce adverse events in the period after the release of the new drug, which is when the risk is greatest.
Note: The terms 'adverse drug reaction' and 'adverse drug event' have come to be used interchangeably in the current literature. For consistency, the authors have chosen to use the wider term 'adverse drug event' (ADE).
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-361
PMCID: PMC3138455  PMID: 21600026
3.  Under-ascertainment of Aboriginality in records of cardiovascular disease in hospital morbidity and mortality data in Western Australia: a record linkage study 
Background
Measuring the real burden of cardiovascular disease in Australian Aboriginals is complicated by under-identification of Aboriginality in administrative health data collections. Accurate data is essential to measure Australia's progress in its efforts to intervene to improve health outcomes of Australian Aboriginals. We estimated the under-ascertainment of Aboriginal status in linked morbidity and mortality databases in patients hospitalised with cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Persons with public hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in Western Australia during 2000-2005 (and their 20-year admission history) or who subsequently died were identified from linkage data. The Aboriginal status flag in all records for a given individual was variously used to determine their ethnicity (index positive, and in all records both majority positive or ever positive) and stratified by region, age and gender. The index admission was the baseline comparator.
Results
Index cases comprised 62,692 individuals who shared a total of 778,714 hospital admissions over 20 years, of which 19,809 subsequently died. There were 3,060 (4.9%) persons identified as Aboriginal on index admission. An additional 83 (2.7%) Aboriginal cases were identified through death records, increasing to 3.7% when cases with a positive Aboriginal identifier in the majority (≥50%) of previous hospital admissions over twenty years were added and by 20.8% when those with a positive flag in any record over 20 years were incorporated. These results equated to underestimating Aboriginal status in unlinked index admission by 2.6%, 3.5% and 17.2%, respectively. Deaths classified as Aboriginal in official records would underestimate total Aboriginal deaths by 26.8% (95% Confidence Interval 24.1 to 29.6%).
Conclusions
Combining Aboriginal determinations in morbidity and official death records increases ascertainment of unlinked cardiovascular morbidity in Western Australian Aboriginals. Under-identification of Aboriginal status is high in death records.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-111
PMCID: PMC3024993  PMID: 21192809

Results 1-3 (3)