Erythrocytes carry apolipoprotein B on their membrane, but the determining factors of erythrocyte-bound apolipoprotein B (ery-apoB) are unknown. We aimed to explore the determinants of ery-apoB to gain more insight into potential mechanisms.
Subjects with and without CVD were included (N = 398). Ery-apoB was measured on fresh whole blood samples using flow cytometry. Subjects with ery-apoB levels ≤0.20 a.u. were considered deficient. Carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) was determined as a measure of (subclinical) atherosclerosis.
Mean ery-apoB value was 23.2% lower in subjects with increased CIMT (0.80±0.09 mm, N = 140) compared to subjects with a normal CIMT (0.57±0.08 mm, N = 258) (P = 0.007, adjusted P<0.001). CIMT and ery-apoB were inversely correlated (Spearman’s r: –0.116, P = 0.021). A total of 55 subjects (13.6%) were considered ery-apoB deficient, which was associated with a medical history of CVD (OR: 1.86, 95% CI 1.04–3.33; adjusted OR: 1.55; 95% CI 0.85–2.82). Discontinuation of statins in 54 subjects did not influence ery-apoB values despite a 58.4% increase in serum apolipoprotein B. Subjects with blood group O had significantly higher ery-apoB values (1.56±0.94 a.u.) when compared to subjects with blood group A (0.89±1.15 a.u), blood group B (0.73±0.1.12 a.u.) or blood group AB (0.69±0.69 a.u.) (P-ANOVA = 0.002).
Absence or very low values of ery-apoB are associated with clinical and subclinical atherosclerosis. While serum apolipoprotein B is not associated with ery-apoB, the ABO blood group seems to be a significant determinant.
Background. Obesity and asthma are associated. There is a relationship between lung function impairment and the metabolic syndrome. Whether this relationship also exists in the morbidly obese patients is still unknown. Hypothesis. Low-grade systemic inflammation associated with the metabolic syndrome causes inflammation in the lungs and, hence, lung function impairment. Methods. This is cross-sectional study of morbidly obese patients undergoing preoperative screening for bariatric surgery. Metabolic syndrome was assessed according to the revised NCEP-ATP III criteria. Results. A total of 452 patients were included. Patients with the metabolic syndrome (n = 293) had significantly higher blood monocyte (mean 5.3 versus 4.9, P = 0.044) and eosinophil percentages (median 1.0 versus 0.8, P = 0.002), while the total leukocyte count did not differ between the groups. The FEV1/FVC ratio was significantly lower in patients with the metabolic syndrome (76.7% versus 78.2%, P = 0.032). Blood eosinophils were associated with FEV1/FVC ratio (adj. B −0.113, P = 0.018). Conclusion. Although the difference in FEV1/FVC ratio between the groups is relatively small, in this cross-sectional study, and its clinical relevance may be limited, these data indicate that the presence of the metabolic syndrome may influence lung function impairment, through the induction of relative eosinophilia.
Decision-making can be based on treatment preferences of the patient, the doctor, or by guidelines based on lay people's preferences. We compared valuations assigned by three groups: patients, obstetrical care professionals, and laypersons, for health states involving both mother and (unborn) child. Our aim was to compare the valuations of different groups using different valuation methods and complex obstetric health outcome vignettes that involve both maternal and neonatal outcomes.
Patients (n = 24), professionals (n = 30), and laypersons (n = 27) valued the vignettes using three valuation methods: visual analogue scale (VAS), time trade-off (TTO), and discrete choice experimentation (DCE). Each vignette covered five health attributes: maternal health ante partum, time between diagnosis and delivery, process of delivery, maternal outcome, and neonatal outcome. We used feasibility questionnaires, Generalization theory, test-retest reliability and within-group reliability to compare the valuation patterns between groups and methods. We assessed relative weights from each valuation method to test for consistency across groups.
Test-retest reliability was equal across groups, but different across methods: highest for VAS (ICC = 0.61-0.73), intermediate for TTO (ICC = 0.24-0.74) and lowest for DCE (kappa = 0.15-0.37). Within-group reliability was highest in all groups with VAS (ICC = 0.70-0.73), intermediate with DCE (kappa = 0.56-0.76) and lowest with TTO (ICC = 0.20-0.66). Effects of groups were smaller than effects of methods. Differences between groups were largest for severe health states.
Based on our results, decision making among laypersons should use TTO or DCE; patients should use VAS or TTO.
health outcome valuation; preference; vignettes; psychometrics; pregnancy; obstetrics
Objective. To investigate the contribution of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) to micturition and defecation symptoms. Method. Cross-sectional study including 64 women presenting with POP symptoms and 50 controls without POP complaints. Subjects were evaluated using POP-Quantification system, Urinary Distress Inventory, and Defecation Distress Inventory. The MOS SF-36 health survey and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale were used to measure self-perceived health status and depressive symptoms, respectively. Results. POP in terms of POP-Q had a moderate impact on the symptom observing vaginal protrusion (explained variance 0.31). It contributed modestly to obstructive voiding and overactive bladder symptoms (explained variance 0.09, resp., 0.14) but not to urinary incontinence. Constipation was more likely explained by clinical depression than by pelvic floor defects (explained variance 0.13, resp., 0.05). Conclusion. Stage of POP and specific prolapse symptoms are associated but such a strong association does not exist between POP and micturition or defecation symptoms.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA, P095 kit) compared to karyotyping.
A cost-minimization analysis alongside a nationwide prospective clinical study of 4,585 women undergoing amniocentesis on behalf of their age (≥36 years), an increased risk following first trimester prenatal screening or parental anxiety.
Diagnostic accuracy of MLPA (P095 kit) was comparable to karyotyping (1.0 95% CI 0.999–1.0). Health-related quality of life did not differ between the strategies (summary physical health: mean difference 0.31, p = 0.82; summary mental health: mean difference 1.91, p = 0.22). Short-term costs were lower for MLPA: mean difference €315.68 (bootstrap 95% CI €315.63–315.74; −44.4%). The long-term costs were slightly higher for MLPA: mean difference €76.42 (bootstrap 95% CI €71.32–81.52; +8.6%). Total costs were on average €240.13 (bootstrap 95% CI €235.02–245.23; −14.9%) lower in favor of MLPA. Cost differences were sensitive to proportion of terminated pregnancies, sample throughput, individual choice and performance of tests in one laboratory, but not to failure rate or the exclusion of polluted samples.
From an economic perspective, MLPA is the preferred prenatal diagnostic strategy in women who undergo amniocentesis on behalf of their age, following prenatal screening or parental anxiety.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00404-011-1921-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Prenatal diagnosis; Rapid aneuploidy detection; MLPA; Karyotyping; Costs; Cost-effectiveness analysis
Pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) beyond 36 weeks of gestation are at increased risk of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Optimal treatment in IUGR at term is highly debated. Results from the multicenter DIGITAT (Disproportionate Intrauterine Growth Intervention Trial At Term) trial show that induction of labor and expectant monitoring result in equal neonatal and maternal outcomes for comparable cesarean section rates. We report the maternal health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) that was measured alongside the trial at several points in time.
Both randomized and non-randomized women were asked to participate in the HR-QoL study. Women were asked to fill out written validated questionnaires, covering background characteristics, condition-specific issues and the Short Form (SF-36), European Quality of Life (EuroQoL 6D3L), Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS), and Symptom Check List (SCL-90) at baseline, 6 weeks postpartum and 6 months postpartum. We compared the difference scores of all summary measures between the two management strategies by ANOVA. A repeated measures multivariate mixed model was defined to assess the effect of the management strategies on the physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) components of the SF-36. Analysis was by intention to treat.
We analyzed data of 361 randomized and 198 non-randomized patients. There were no clinically relevant differences between the treatments at 6 weeks or 6 months postpartum on any summary measures; e.g., on the SF-36 (PCS: P = .09; MCS: P = .48). The PCS and the MCS were below norm values at inclusion. The PCS improved over time but stayed below norm values at 6 months, while the MCS did not improve.
In pregnancies complicated by IUGR beyond 36 weeks, induction of labor does not affect the long-term maternal quality of life.
Intrauterine growth retardation; Small for gestational age; Quality of life; Induction of labor; Expectant management
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common hereditary heart disease associated with increased mortality. Disclosure of DNA test results may have social implications such as low access to insurance. In the Netherlands, insurance companies are restricted in the use of genetic information of their clients by the Medical Examination Act. A cross-sectional survey was used to assess the frequency and type of problems encountered by HCM mutation carriers applying for insurance, and associations with carriers' characteristics. The response rate was 86% (228/264). A total of 66 carriers (29%) applied for insurance of whom 39 reported problems (59%) during an average follow-up of 3 years since the DNA test result. More problems were encountered by carriers with manifest disease (P<0.001) and carriers with symptoms of HCM (P=0.049). Carriers identified after predictive DNA testing less frequently experienced problems (P=0.002). Three carriers without manifest HCM reported problems (5% of applicants). Frequently reported problems were higher premium (72%), grant access to medical records (62%), and complete rejection (33%). In conclusion, HCM mutation carriers frequently encounter problems when applying for insurances, often in the case of manifest disease, but the risk assessment of insurance companies is largely justified. Still, 5% of carriers encounter potentially unjustified problems, indicating the necessity to monitor the application of the existing laws and regulations by insurance companies and to educate counselees on the implications of these laws and regulations.
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; insurance; genetic testing
Dutch’ figures on perinatal mortality and morbidity are poor compared to EU-standards. Considerable within-country differences have been reported too, with decreased perinatal health in deprived urban areas. We investigated associations between perinatal risk factors and adverse perinatal outcomes in 7,359 pregnant women participating in population-based prospective cohort study, to establish the independent role, if any, for living within a deprived urban neighbourhood. Main outcome measures included perinatal death, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), prematurity, congenital malformations, Apgar at 5 min < 7, and pre-eclampsia. Information regarding individual risk factors was obtained from questionnaires, physical examinations, ultrasounds, biological samples, and medical records. The dichotomous Dutch deprivation indicator was additionally used to test for unexplained deprived urban area effects. Pregnancies from a deprived neighbourhood had an increased risk for perinatal death (RR 1.8, 95% CI [1.1; 3.1]). IUGR, prematurity, Apgar at 5 min < 7, and pre-eclampsia also showed higher prevalences (P < 0.05). Residing within a deprived neighbourhood was associated with increased prevalence of all measured risk factors. Regression analysis showed that the observed neighbourhood related differences in perinatal outcomes could be attributed to the increased risk factor prevalence only, without a separated role for living within a deprived neighbourhood. Women from a deprived neighbourhood had significantly more ‘possibly avoidable’ risk factors. To conclude, women from a socioeconomically deprived neighbourhood are at an increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Differences regarding possibly avoidable risk factors imply that preventive strategies may prove effective.
Perinatal mortality; Prevention; Residence characteristics; Pregnancy; Risk factors
In developed countries, health care utilization among immigrant groups differs where the dominant interpretation is unjustified overutilization due to lack of acculturation. We investigated utilization of prescribed drugs in native Dutch and various groups of immigrant elderly.
Cross-sectional study using data from the survey "Social Position, Health and Well-being of Elderly Immigrants" (the Netherlands, 2003). Ethnicity-matched interviewers conducted the survey among first generation immigrants aged 55 years and older. Outcome measure is self-reported use of prescribed drugs. Utilization is explained by need, and by enabling and predisposing factors, in particular acculturation; analysis is conducted by multiple logistic regression.
The study population consisted of immigrants from Turkey (n = 307), Morocco (n = 284), Surinam (n = 308) and the Netherlands Antilles (n = 300), and a native Dutch reference group (n = 304). Prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM), COPD and musculoskeletal disorders was relatively high among immigrant elderly. Drug utilization in especially Turkish and Moroccan elderly with DM and COPD was relatively low. Drugs use for non-mental chronic diseases was explained by more chronic conditions (OR 2.64), higher age (OR 1.03), and modern attitudes on male-female roles (OR 0.74) and religiosity (OR 0.89). Ethnicity specific effects remained only among Turkish elderly (OR 0.42). Drugs use for mental health problems was explained by more chronic conditions (OR 1.43), better mental health (OR 0.95) and modern attitudes on family values (OR 0.59). Ethnicity specific effects remained only among Moroccan (OR 0.19) and Antillean elderly (OR 0.31). Explanation of underutilization of drugs among diseased with diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders are found in number of chronic diseases (OR 0.74 and OR 0.78) and regarding diabetes also in language proficiency (OR 0.66) and modern attitudes on male-female roles (OR 1.69).
Need and predisposing factors (acculturation) are the strongest determinants for drugs utilization among elderly immigrants. Significant drugs underutilization exists among migrants with diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders.
Immigrant elderly are a rapidly growing group in Dutch society; little is known about their health care use. This study assesses whether ethnic disparities in health care use exist and how they can be explained. Applying an established health care access model as explanatory factors, we tested health and socio-economic status, and in view of our research population we added an acculturation variable, elaborated into several sub-domains.
Cross-sectional study using data from the "Social Position, Health and Well-being of Elderly Immigrants" survey, conducted in 2003 in the Netherlands. The study population consisted of first generation immigrants aged 55 years and older from the four major immigrant populations in the Netherlands and a native Dutch reference group. The average response rate to the survey was 46% (1503/3284; country of origin: Turkey n = 307, Morocco n = 284, Surinam n = 308, the Netherlands Antilles n = 300, the Netherlands n = 304).
High ethnic disparities exist in health and health care utilisation. Immigrant elderly show a higher use of GP services and lower use of physical therapy and home care. Both self-reported health status (need factor) and language competence (part of acculturation) have high explanatory power for all types of health services utilisation; the additional impact of socio-economic status and education is low.
For all health services, health disparities among all four major immigrant groups in the Netherlands translate into utilisation disparities, aggravated by lack of language competence. The resulting pattern of systematic lower health services utilisation of elderly immigrants is a challenge for health care providers and policy makers.
In the past 30 years karyotyping was the gold standard for prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal aberrations in the fetus. Traditional karyotyping (TKT) has a high accuracy and reliability. However, it is labor intensive, the results take 14–21 days, the costs are high and unwanted findings such as abnormalities with unknown clinical relevance are not uncommon. These disadvantages challenged the practice of karyotyping. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) is a new molecular genetic technique in prenatal diagnosis. Previous preclinical evidence suggests equivalence of MLPA and traditional karyotyping (TKT) regarding test performance.
The proposed study is a multicentre diagnostic substitute study among pregnant women, who choose to have amniocentesis for the indication advanced maternal age and/or increased risk following prenatal screening test. In all subjects, both MLPA and karyotyping will be performed on the amniotic fluid sample. The primary outcome is diagnostic accuracy. Secondary outcomes will be maternal quality of life, women's preferences and costs. Analysis will be intention to treat and per protocol analysis. Quality of life analysis will be carried out within the study population. The study aims to include 4500 women.
The study results are expected to help decide whether MLPA can replace traditional karyotyping for 'low-risk' pregnancies in terms of diagnostic accuracy, quality of life and women's preferences. This will be the first clinical study to report on all relevant aspects of the potential replacement.
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number ISRCTN47252164
In this paper the effect of uterine artery embolization (UAE) on sexual functioning and body image is investigated in a randomized comparison to hysterectomy for symptomatic uterine fibroids. The EMbolization versus hysterectoMY (EMMY) trial is a randomized controlled study, conducted at 28 Dutch hospitals. Patients were allocated hysterectomy (n = 89) or UAE (n = 88). Two validated questionnaires (the Sexual Activity Questionnaire [SAQ] and the Body Image Scale [BIS]) were completed by all patients at baseline, 6 weeks, and 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after treatment. Repeated measurements on SAQ scores revealed no differences between the groups. There was a trend toward improved sexual function in both groups at 2 years, although this failed to reach statistical significance except for the dimensions discomfort and habit in the UAE arm. Overall quality of sexual life deteriorated in a minority of cases at all time points, with no significant differences between the groups (at 24 months: UAE, 29.3%, versus hysterectomy, 23.5%; p = 0.32). At 24 months the BIS score had improved in both groups compared to baseline, but the change was only significant in the UAE group (p = 0.009). In conclusion, at 24 months no differences in sexuality and body image were observed between the UAE and the hysterectomy group. On average, both after UAE and hysterectomy sexual functioning and body image scores improved, but significantly so only after UAE.
Uterine artery embolization; Hysterectomy; Fibroid; Leiomyoma; Sexuality; Body image
Hypertensive disorders, i.e. pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia, complicate 10 to15% of all pregnancies at term and are a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The only causal treatment is delivery. In case of preterm pregnancies conservative management is advocated if the risks for mother and child remain acceptable. In contrast, there is no consensus on how to manage mild hypertensive disease in pregnancies at term. Induction of labour might prevent maternal and neonatal complications at the expense of increased instrumental vaginal delivery rates and caesarean section rates.
Women with a pregnancy complicated by pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia at a gestational age between 36+0 and 41+0 weeks will be asked to participate in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial. Women will be randomised to either induction of labour or expectant management for spontaneous delivery. The primary outcome of this study is severe maternal morbidity, which can be complicated by maternal mortality in rare cases. Secondary outcome measures are neonatal mortality and morbidity, caesarean and vaginal instrumental delivery rates, maternal quality of life and costs. Analysis will be by intention to treat. In total, 720 pregnant women have to be randomised to show a reduction in severe maternal complications of hypertensive disease from 12 to 6%.
This trial will provide evidence as to whether or not induction of labour in women with pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia (nearly) at term is an effective treatment to prevent severe maternal complications.
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number ISRCTN08132825.
To compare quantitatively the discriminatory power of the EQ-5D, HUI2 and HUI3 in terms of absolute and relative informativity, using Shannon’s indices.
EQ-5D and HUI2/3 data completed by a sample of the general adult US population (N = 3,691) were used. Five dimensions allowed head-to-head comparison of informativity: Mobility/Ambulation; Anxiety/Depression/Emotion; Pain/Discomfort (EQ-5D; HUI2; HUI3); Self-Care (EQ-5D; HUI2); and Cognition (HUI2; HUI3). Shannon’s index and Shannon’s Evenness index were used to assess absolute and relative informativity, both by dimension and by instrument as a whole.
Absolute informativity was highest for HUI3, with the largest differences in Pain/Discomfort and Cognition. Relative informativity was highest for EQ-5D, with the largest differences in Mobility/Ambulation and Anxiety/Depression/Emotion. Absolute informativity by instrument was consistently highest for HUI3 and lowest for EQ-5D, and relative informativity was highest for EQ-5D and lowest for HUI3.
Performance in terms of absolute and relative informativity of the common dimensions of the three instruments varies over dimensions. Several dimensions are suboptimal: Pain/Discomfort (EQ-5D) seems too crude with only 3 levels, and the level descriptions of Ambulation (HUI3) and Self-Care (HUI2) could be improved. In absence of a formal measure, Shannon’s indices provide useful measures for assessing discriminatory power of utility instruments.
Health status; Methodology; Psychometrics; Population health; Health-related quality-of-life
Around 80% of intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) infants are born at term. They have an increase in perinatal mortality and morbidity including behavioral problems, minor developmental delay and spastic cerebral palsy. Management is controversial, in particular the decision whether to induce labour or await spontaneous delivery with strict fetal and maternal surveillance. We propose a randomised trial to compare effectiveness, costs and maternal quality of life for induction of labour versus expectant management in women with a suspected IUGR fetus at term.
The proposed trial is a multi-centre randomised study in pregnant women who are suspected on clinical grounds of having an IUGR child at a gestational age between 36+0 and 41+0 weeks. After informed consent women will be randomly allocated to either induction of labour or expectant management with maternal and fetal monitoring. Randomisation will be web-based. The primary outcome measure will be a composite neonatal morbidity and mortality. Secondary outcomes will be severe maternal morbidity, maternal quality of life and costs. Moreover, we aim to assess neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral outcome at two years as assessed by a postal enquiry (Child Behavioral Check List-CBCL and Ages and Stages Questionnaire-ASQ). Analysis will be by intention to treat. Quality of life analysis and a preference study will also be performed in the same study population. Health technology assessment with an economic analysis is part of this so called Digitat trial (Disproportionate Intrauterine Growth Intervention Trial At Term). The study aims to include 325 patients per arm.
This trial will provide evidence for which strategy is superior in terms of neonatal and maternal morbidity and mortality, costs and maternal quality of life aspects. This will be the first randomised trial for IUGR at term.
Dutch Trial Register and ISRCTN-Register: ISRCTN10363217.
When the primary and secondary outcomes of clinical studies yield ambiguous or conflicting recommendations, preference or valuation studies may help to overcome the decision problem. The present preference study is attached to two clinical studies (DIGTAT, ISRCT10363217; HYPITAT, ISRCT08132825) that evaluate induction of labour versus expectant management in term pregnancies with a mild risk profile. The purpose of the present study is to compare four methods of valuation/preference measurement.
Multidimensional health state descriptions ('vignettes') defined by attributes and levels are presented to different response groups: laypersons, (ex-) patients, and medical experts. Valuations/preferences are measured with the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Time Trade-Off (TTO), Willingness to Pay (WTP) and Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) techniques. These methods are compared in terms of feasibility, reliability and validity.
By comparing the four techniques, we aim to answer (1) which of the techniques is most feasible, reliable and valid for use in multidimensional decision problems; (2) which of the techniques can be recommended for use in economic evaluations, and (3) do different response groups produce systematically different valuations, and if so, how can these be used to interpret preference results and to contribute to the development of clinical guidelines.