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1.  Use of computers in clinical electrocardiography: an evaluation. 
The use of computers in clinical electrocardiography is increasing rapidly; however, the role of computers with respect to the electrocardiographer has not been established. At present all electrocardiograms (ECGs) processed by computer are also interpreted by electrocardiographers; hense effort is duplicated. In an investigation of whether conditions can be defined under which the electrocardiographer can use the computer more profitably by eliminating some of the duplication, ECGs recorded in a university teaching hospital were processed by a computer program and subsequently reviewed by 1 of 10 electrocardiographers. For ECGs interpreted as showing normal sinus rhythm the rate of agreement between computer and human reviewer was 99%. For those showing a normal ECG pattern (contour) the rate of direct agreement was only 88%. However, the rate of occurrence of clinically significant differences was only 1.64%; hence the rate of essential agreement for this classification was 98.36%. Other classifications with good agreement were myocardial infarction, sinus bradycardia and sinus tachycardia. Therefore, in circumstances comparable to those of this investigation it is feasible for electrocardiographers to use computers to reduce greatly their workload without compromising the quality of the service provided.
PMCID: PMC1880160  PMID: 334353
2.  Trends in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to document changes in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 in an effort to observe, at the population level, the consequences of the availability of new antihypertensive medications. METHODS: The study population comprised a random sample of Halifax County residents, aged 25-64 years, who responded to the 1985 and 1995 surveys of the Halifax County MONICA Project and residents who responded to the Nova Scotia Health Survey conducted in 1995. Data from the two 1995 surveys were pooled. Information on hypertension awareness and use of medication were obtained through questionnaires, and blood pressure was measured according to a standard protocol, using phase I and V of Korotkoff sounds as respective markers for systolic and diastolic pressures. Uncontrolled hypertension was defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater. Changes in the prevalence of hypertension, prescribing trends and medication costs were examined, and the association between the type of antihypertensive treatment and characteristics of the respondents with self-reported hypertension was investigated by multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Of the 917 people interviewed in 1985 and the 1338 in 1995, 274 (29.9%) and 356 (26.6%), respectively, reported a history of hypertension. When age was controlled for, the proportion of respondents reporting hypertension did not differ between survey years or between men and women. The proportion of treated respondents who had uncontrolled hypertension increased between 1985 and 1995, from 32.6% to 57.4% among men and from 38.0% to 42.6% among women. An increase was seen in the use of calcium-channel blockers (from 2.1% to 19.7%) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (from 5.2% to 25.4%); the proportion of patients receiving combination therapy or diuretics decreased (from 39.6% to 15.6% and from 31.3% to 17.2% respectively). These changes were associated with an increase in the average daily cost of medication from $0.48 to $0.85 per patient. INTERPRETATION: The shift to new antihypertensive drugs was not associated with improved blood pressure control, but it was associated with an increase in average medication costs per patient. Uncontrolled hypertension remains a public health problem.
PMCID: PMC1230618  PMID: 10513276
3.  Clinical, radiological, and therapeutic features of pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma: report of three patients and review of the literature. 
Two out of three patients with pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma were initially misdiagnosed and correctly interpreted only at tumour recurrence, with progression to malignancy in one. The third patient presented with a remarkably long history of epilepsy. Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma is a low grade astrocytoma that is still confused with other tumours. Because pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma can become malignant even after many years of benign behaviour, a long term follow up is necessary.
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PMCID: PMC1073958  PMID: 8648341
4.  Surgical treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy: clinical, radiological, and histopathological findings in 178 patients. 
The surgical treatment of pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy is increasing rapidly. The correlation of preoperative MRI, histopathological findings, and postoperative seizure control is reported for 178 patients with chronic medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy who were operated on between November 1987 and January 1993. Histopathologically there were distinct structural abnormalities in 97.2% of the surgical specimens. Signal abnormalities on MRI were present in 98.7% of patients with neoplastic lesions (n = 79), 76.6% of patients with non-neoplastic focal lesions (n = 55), and 69.2% of patients with Ammon's horn sclerosis (n = 39). Overall, structural abnormalities were detected by MRI in 82.7% of all patients. The mean postoperative follow up period was three years. Some 92% of the patients benefited from surgery: 103 patients (61.7%) were seizure free, 26 (15.5%) had no more than two seizures a year, and 24 (14.4%) showed a reduction of seizure frequency of at least 75%. Fourteen patients (8.4%) had a < 75% reduction of seizure frequency. The percentage of patients who were completely free of seizures after operation was 68.5% for patients with neoplastic lesions, 66.7% for Ammon's horn sclerosis, and 54.0% for patients with non-neoplastic focal lesions. By contrast, none of the patients in whom histopathological findings were normal became seizure free postoperatively. The data show that the presence of focal lesions or Ammon's horn sclerosis as determined by histopathological examination is associated with improved postoperative seizure control compared with patients without specific pathological findings. Brain MRI was very sensitive in detecting neoplasms; however, its sensitivity and specificity were limited with respect to non-neoplastic focal lesions and Ammon's horn sclerosis. Improvement of imaging techniques may provide a more precise definition of structural lesions in these cases and facilitate limited surgical resections of the epileptogenic area rather than standardised anatomical resections.
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PMCID: PMC1073541  PMID: 7608662
5.  Gangliogliomas: clinical, radiological, and histopathological findings in 51 patients. 
Clinical, radiological, and histopathological features of 51 surgically treated gangliogliomas were evaluated retrospectively. The most common presenting symptoms were epileptic seizures (47 patients (92%)). Focal neurological deficits occurred in 8% of the patients. The duration of symptoms at the time of operation ranged from three months to 45 years, mean 11 years. The temporal lobe was affected in 43 patients (84%), the frontal lobe in five patients (10%), and the occipital lobe in one patient (2%). Two of the tumours (4%) were localised infratentorially. On MRI, solid tumour parts usually showed a pronounced signal increase on proton density images and a less pronounced signal increase on T2 weighted images, whereas solid components were mainly isointense on T1 weighted images. Contrast enhancement was noted in 16 of 36 patients (44%). Cystic tumour parts were found in 23 of 40 patients (57%), all characterised by signal increase on T2 weighted images and decreased T1 signals. Signal deviation of cystic tumour parts on proton density images was variable. Computed tomography was performed in 17 patients and showed hypodense lesions in 10 (59%), and calcifications in seven (41%) cases. Surgery included complete tumour removal in 44 patients (86%) and partial resection in seven (14%). In six patients (12%) there were transient postoperative complications. One patient (2%) died postoperatively due to pulmonary embolism. Histopathological examination of the surgical specimens showed low grade gangliogliomas in 49 cases (96%) and anaplastic gangliogliomas in two (4%). Control MRI of 31 patients with a mean follow up period of 16 months was uneventful in all but one case of an anaplastic ganglioglioma. In all patients in whom the ganglioglioma was associated with medically intractable seizures the operation resulted in complete relief of seizures or a noticeable improvement of the epilepsy.
Images
PMCID: PMC1073232  PMID: 7798980
6.  A large regional hospital's experience with treatment of end-stage renal disease. 
During the first 10 years of the treatment program for end-stage renal disease at the Saint John (New Brunswick) Regional Hospital 164 adults were treated by hemodialysis (with or without renal transplantation, performed outside of the province) or peritoneal dialysis. The primary causes of renal disease were not significantly different in men and women except for glomerulonephritis, which was twice as common in men as in women. Life-table analysis showed that the younger transplant recipients had the highest survival rate, but that the prognosis was almost as good among the much older patients who received continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Probably because they tended to be younger and their renal disease was caused by less threatening conditions, men survived longer than women. The survival rates were significantly related to the primary cause of the renal disease; patients with diabetes or systemic disease had the worst prognosis. Overall, these results compare well with those obtained in major university centres.
PMCID: PMC1875155  PMID: 6349764
7.  Blood pressure profile in two adult male populations. 
Causal blood pressure measurements were recorded in two groups of men aged 40 to 64 years; of the 7024 men in metropolitan Saint John, NB, and the 4044 men in seven suburbs of Quebec who were asked, 5840 (83.1%) and 3097 (76.6%) respectively agreed to participate. Of the Saint John group 9.0% were taking antihypertensive drugs, as compared with only 3.3% of the Quebec group (p less than 0.0001). Among the treated subjects 33% in Saint John and 53% in Quebec still had a diastolic pressure greater than 95 mm Hg (p less than 0.01). Among the participants not taking antihypertensive drugs the systolic blood pressure increased with age, but the diastolic blood pressure increased only slightly up to 55 years of age and then decreased. On average the subjects in Saint John who were not being treated had a systolic pressure 6.2 mm Hg lower and a diastolic blood pressure 3.6 mm Hg lower than their Quebec counterparts (p less than 0.0001). This difference was observed in all the age groups and was not the result of the treatment of a greater proportion of the Saint John cohort. Despite the higher blood pressures and the smaller number receiving adequate treatment in the Quebec group, the rate of death due to coronary artery disease was 10% lower than that in the Saint John group. A bias in the data from Quebec may have influenced the magnitude of the differences between the two samples, but if present it should have underestimated the blood pressures in the Quebec group and therefore not have changed the outcome.
PMCID: PMC1268202  PMID: 3409139
8.  Blood pressure: distribution in students of junior and senior high schools in Saint John, NB. 
Blood pressures were recorded for 8950 students (82.4% of the total student population) of the junior high and high schools of Saint John, NB. Among the boys the mean systolic pressure rose from 104 mm Hg at age 12 to 117 mm Hg at age 18; among the girls the rise was from 105 to 110 mm Hg. The mean diastolic pressure also rose, from 61 to 67 mm Hg, in both sexes. These data are similar to those found in epidemiologic studies in Montreal and Bogalusa, Louisiana. However, the mean systolic values are lower by 10 mm Hg than those in an Edmonton study and the norms published by a United States task force. Recording methods could explain some of the observed differences, but population differences may also contribute. The discrepancies suggest that the current standards for children and adolescents need to be reassessed.
PMCID: PMC1346500  PMID: 3965059

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