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1.  The Saudi Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of COPD 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):55-76.
The Saudi Thoracic Society (STS) launched the Saudi Initiative for Chronic Airway Diseases (SICAD) to develop a guideline for the diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This guideline is primarily aimed for internists and general practitioners. Though there is scanty epidemiological data related to COPD, the SICAD panel believes that COPD prevalence is increasing in Saudi Arabia due to increasing prevalence of tobacco smoking among men and women. To overcome the issue of underutilization of spirometry for diagnosing COPD, handheld spirometry is recommended to screen individuals at risk for COPD. A unique feature about this guideline is the simplified practical approach to classify COPD into three classes based on the symptoms as per COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and the risk of exacerbations and hospitalization. Those patients with low risk of exacerbation (<2 in the past year) can be classified as either Class I when they have less symptoms (CAT < 10) or Class II when they have more symptoms (CAT ≥ 10). High-risk COPD patients, as manifested with ≥2 exacerbation or hospitalization in the past year irrespective of the baseline symptoms, are classified as Class III. Class I and II patients require bronchodilators for symptom relief, while Class III patients are recommended to use medications that reduce the risks of exacerbations. The guideline recommends screening for co-morbidities and suggests a comprehensive management approach including pulmonary rehabilitation for those with a CAT score ≥10. The article also discusses the diagnosis and management of acute exacerbations in COPD.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.128843
PMCID: PMC4005164  PMID: 24791168
Chronic bronchitis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
2.  IL-4 receptor alpha single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs1805010 and rs1801275 are associated with increased risk of asthma in a Saudi Arabian population 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):81-86.
BACKGROUND:
The IL-4 receptor alpha subunit (IL-4Rα), when associated with the common gamma chain receptor, or the IL-13Rα1 subunit, transduces signals to STAT6 in response to IL-4 and IL-13 stimulations. This results in a number of cell-specific responses including Th2 differentiation, lymphocyte proliferation and IgE production. Given the prominent role of IL-4Rα in allergic disorders, several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been found associated with asthma and other atopic disorders, including rs1805010 (I75V) and rs1801275 (Q576R) SNPs; however, lack of significant association have also been reported for some ethnic groups. The objective of this study was to determine whether IL-4Rα rs1805010 and rs1801275 polymorphisms are associated with asthma in patients from Saudi Arabia.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
One hundred and ninety severe asthmatic patients (11-70 years old) and 194 healthy subjects of equivalent age range were recruited for blood donation. DNA was purified and genotyping for rs1801275 and rs1805010 polymorphisms in the IL-4Rα gene was performed by PCR amplification, followed by cycle sequencing of the purified PCR fragments using BigDye chain terminator and capillary electrophoresis.
RESULTS:
Pearson's Chi-square tests showed that the minor alleles, G, for both rs1805010 and rs1801275 SNPs, were significantly more frequent in asthmatics than in the healthy group (Yates’ P < 0.05); conversely, the major alleles, A, were significantly more frequent in healthy than in asthmatics (P < 0.05). Concerning association analysis, odds for A/G-G/G genotypes were significantly higher to be associated with asthma predisposition (rs1801275: OR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.39-3.22; P < 0.001*; rs1805010: OR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.01-2.53; P < 0.05*; dominant model). Analysis of gender-genotype interactions, with genders nested within A/G-G/G, indicated higher odds for females than males of significant association with asthma (rs1801275: OR = 5.19, 95% CI = 2.09-12.94*; rs1805010: OR = 3.73, 95% CI = 2.06-6.74*). Rs1805010 and rs1801275 were in linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 0.27; P < 0.0004*), with G-G haplotype being more frequent in asthmatics than in healthy subjects (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.59-3.71*).
CONCLUSIONS:
The risk alleles, G, of IL-4Rα rs1805010 and rs1801275 SNPs and corresponding A/G-G/G genotypes were significantly associated with asthma predisposition in asthmatics from Saudi Arabia.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.128849
PMCID: PMC4005166  PMID: 24791170
Asthma; allergy; association; genotype; IL-4 receptor alpha; susceptibility; STAT6
3.  Outcome of pulmonary embolism and clinico-radiological predictors of mortality: Experience from a university hospital in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(1):18-22.
OBJECTIVES:
The objective of this study is to determine the outcome of pulmonary embolism (PE) and the clinico-radiological predictors of mortality in a university hospital setting.
METHODS:
A Prospective observational study conducted at King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh Saudi Arabia between January 2009 and 2012. A total of 105 consecutive patients (49.9 ± 18.7 years) with PE diagnosed by computed tomography pulmonary angiography were followed until death or hospital discharge.
RESULTS:
Overall in hospital mortality rate was 8.6%, which is lower than other international reports. Two-thirds of patients developed PE during the hospitalization. The most common risk factors were surgery (35.2%), obesity (34.3%) and immobility (30.5%). The localization of the embolus was central in 32.4%, lobar in 19% and distal in 48.6%. A total of 26 patients (25%) had evidence of right ventricular strain and 14 (13.3%) were hypotensive. Multivariate analysis revealed that heart failure (Beta = −0.53, P < 0.001), palpitation (Beta = −0.24, P = 0.014) and high respiratory rate (Beta = −0.211, P < 0.036) were significant predictors of mortality.
There was no significant difference in the localization of the embolus or obstruction score between survivors and non-survivors.
CONCLUSION:
The outcome of PE is improving; however, it remains an important risk factor for mortality in hospitalized patients. Congestive heart failure, tachypnea and tachycardia at presentation were associated with higher mortality. These factors need to be considered for risk stratification and management decisions of PE patients. Radiological quantification of clot burden was not a predictor of death.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.124420
PMCID: PMC3912681  PMID: 24551013
Outcome; pulmonary embolism predictors; obstruction score
4.  Pulmonary rehabilitation: A regional perspective evidenced-based review 
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an integral component of the comprehensive management plan of patients with chronic lung diseases by addressing their functional and psychological deficits. PR is generally recommended to symptomatic patients with chronic lung diseases who develop shortness of breath on their own pace at level ground while receiving optimum therapy. From a regional perspective, this review covers the description of a PR program, its establishment and outcome assessment.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.124408
PMCID: PMC3912684  PMID: 24551010
Chronic lung diseases; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary rehabilitation; quality of life
5.  The Saudi initiative for asthma – 2012 update: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma in adults and children 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2012;7(4):175-204.
This an updated guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma, developed by the Saudi Initiative for Asthma (SINA) group, a subsidiary of the Saudi Thoracic Society. The main objective of SINA is to have updated guidelines, which are simple to understand and easy to use by non-asthma specialists, including primary care and general practice physicians. This new version includes updates of acute and chronic asthma management, with more emphasis on the use of Asthma Control Test in the management of asthma, and a new section on “difficult-to-treat asthma.” Further, the section on asthma in children was re-written to cover different aspects in this age group. The SINA panel is a group of Saudi experts with well-respected academic backgrounds and experience in the field of asthma. The guidelines are formatted based on the available evidence, local literature, and the current situation in Saudi Arabia. There was an emphasis on patient–doctor partnership in the management that also includes a self-management plan. The approach adopted by the SINA group is mainly based on disease control as it is the ultimate goal of treatment.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.102166
PMCID: PMC3506098  PMID: 23189095
Asthma; asthma control test; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
6.  Predicting tobacco use among high school students by using the global youth tobacco survey in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2012;7(3):122-129.
OBJECTIVE:
To identify the predictors that lead to cigarette smoking among high school students by utilizing the global youth tobacco survey in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
METHODS:
A cross-sectional study was conducted among high school students (grades 10–12) in Riyadh, KSA, between April 24, 2010, and June 16, 2010.
RESULTS:
The response rate of the students was 92.17%. The percentage of high school students who had previously smoked cigarettes, even just 1–2 puffs, was 43.3% overall. This behavior was more common among male students (56.4%) than females (31.3%). The prevalence of students who reported that they are currently smoking at least one cigarette in the past 30 days was 19.5% (31.3% and 8.9% for males and females, respectively). “Ever smoked” status was associated with male gender (OR = 2.88, confidence interval [CI]: 2.28–3.63), parent smoking (OR = 1.70, CI: 1.25–2.30) or other member of the household smoking (OR = 2.11, CI: 1.59–2.81) who smoked, closest friends who smoked (OR = 8.17, CI: 5.56–12.00), and lack of refusal to sell cigarettes (OR = 5.68, CI: 2.09–15.48).
CONCLUSION:
Several predictors of cigarette smoking among high school students were identified.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.98843
PMCID: PMC3425042  PMID: 22924068
Adolescents; cigarettes; Saudi Arabia; tobacco
7.  Prevalence and characteristics of cigarette smoking among 16 to 18 years old boys and girls in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2011;6(3):137-140.
OBJECTIVE:
To study the prevalence and characteristics of cigarette smoking among secondary school students (16- to 18-year-old boys and girls) in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia.
METHODS:
We applied a standard two-stage, cross-sectional study design. Secondary schools for both boys and girls in Riyadh city were randomly selected using a cluster sampling method. We used the global youth tobacco survey (GYTS) tool to achieve our objectives.
RESULTS:
Among 1272 students (606 boys and 666 girls), the prevalence of those ever smoked cigarettes was 42.8% (55.6% of boys and 31.4% of girls). The prevalence of current smoking was 19.5% (31.2% of boys and 8.9% of girls). Despite the fact that the majority of students think smoking is harmful, most do not wish to stop smoking, and they had not tried to stop in the past year. Cigarette smoking is significantly associated with the male gender, having friends who smoke, and having parents who smoke, but is not significantly associated with the type of school attended.
CONCLUSION:
Smoking prevalence among secondary schools students in Saudi Arabia is high and alarming. There is a need to implement an education program about the risks of smoking and to include parents and friends as healthy models to prevent students from beginning to smoke.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.82447
PMCID: PMC3131756  PMID: 21760845
Cigarette smoking; prevalence; Saudi Arabia
8.  Prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among smokers attending primary healthcare clinics in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2011;31(2):129-133.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Saudi Arabia is unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of COPD among smokers more than 40 years of age attending primary healthcare clinics in Saudi Arabia.
DESIGN AND SETTING:
A questionnaire was used in a cross-sectional collection of demographic data and other items related to diagnosis of COPD in patients visiting primary healthcare clinics.
METHODS:
Eligible subjects were current or ex-smokers and aged 40 years or above. Spirometry was performed according to American Thoracic Society criteria. Airflow obstruction was classified according to the 2003 update of the World Health Organization and Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria. COPD was defined as a ratio less than 0.70 of post-bronchodilator-predicted forced expiratory volume in the first second to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC <0.70).
RESULTS:
Because of incomplete data or poor performance on spirometry, of 1380 subjects eligible for the study, only 501 subjects were eligible for data analysis. Seventy-one patients had an FEV1/FVC ratio <0.70, comprising 14.2% of the study population, of which 95.8% were males. Current smokers comprised 57 (80.3%) subjects. Of the 71 subjects who fulfilled the criteria for COPD diagnosis, none were found to be in COPD stage I; 40 (56.3%) were in stage II and 31 (43.6%) were in stage III of the disease.
CONCLUSION:
Underdiagnosis of COPD in primary healthcare clinics in Saudi Arabia is common, but its extent is not different from the corresponding data available in the literature for other countries. Use of spirometry as a routine test for all patients older than 40 years of age and with a smoking history can help in early detection and proper diagnosis of COPD, which subsequently will help in implementation of preventive measures.
doi:10.4103/0256-4947.77485
PMCID: PMC3102470  PMID: 21403413
9.  Difficult-to-treat asthma, is it really difficult? 
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.74268
PMCID: PMC3023863  PMID: 21264163
10.  The Saudi Initiative for Asthma 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2009;4(4):216-232.
The Saudi Initiative for Asthma (SINA) provides up-to-date guidelines for healthcare workers managing patients with asthma. SINA was developed by a panel of Saudi experts with respectable academic backgrounds and long-standing experience in the field. SINA is founded on the latest available evidence, local literature, and knowledge of the current setting in Saudi Arabia. Emphasis is placed on understanding the epidemiology, pathophysiology, medications, and clinical presentation. SINA elaborates on the development of patient-doctor partnership, self-management, and control of precipitating factors. Approaches to asthma treatment in SINA are based on disease control by the utilization of Asthma Control Test for the initiation and adjustment of asthma treatment. This guideline is established for the treatment of asthma in both children and adults, with special attention to children 5 years and younger. It is expected that the implementation of these guidelines for treating asthma will lead to better asthma control and decrease patient utilization of the health care system.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.56001
PMCID: PMC2801049  PMID: 19881170
Asthma; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
11.  Saudi Thoracic Society annual award for achievement 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2009;4(2):39-40.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.49410
PMCID: PMC2700488
12.  Bronchial asthma in developing countries: A major social and economic burden 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2008;3(2):39-40.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.39633
PMCID: PMC2700463  PMID: 19561902

Results 1-12 (12)