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1.  TB incidence and characteristics in the remote gulf province of Papua New Guinea: a prospective study 
Background
The incidence and characteristics of tuberculosis (TB) in remote areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are largely unknown. The purpose of our study was to determine the incidence of TB in the Gulf Province of PNG and describe disease characteristics, co-morbidities and drug resistance profiles that could impact on disease outcomes and transmission.
Methods
Between March 2012 and June 2012, we prospectively collected data on 274 patients presenting to Kikori Hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of TB, and on hospital inpatients receiving TB treatment during the study period. Sputum was collected for microscopy, GeneXpert analysis, culture and genotyping of isolates.
Results
We estimate the incidence of TB in Kikori to be 1290 per 100,000 people (95% CI 1140 to 1460) in 2012. The proportion of TB patients co-infected with HIV was 1.9%. Three of 32 TB cases tested were rifampicin resistant. Typing of nine isolates demonstrated allelic diversity and most were related to Beijing strains.
Conclusions
The incidence of TB in Kikori is one of the highest in the world and it is not driven by HIV co-infection. The high incidence and the presence of rifampicin resistant warrant urgent attention to mitigate substantial morbidity in the region.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-93
PMCID: PMC3936911  PMID: 24555577
Papua New Guinea; Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium; Incidence; Drug resistance; MDR-TB; HIV; Kikori; GeneXpert
2.  N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide in a novel screening algorithm for pulmonary arterial hypertension in systemic sclerosis: a case-control study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(3):R143.
Introduction
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a major cause of mortality in systemic sclerosis. N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) has emerged as a candidate biomarker that may enable the early detection of systemic sclerosis-related pulmonary arterial hypertension (SSc-PAH). The objective of our study was to incorporate NT-proBNP into a screening algorithm for SSc-PAH that could potentially replace transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) as a more convenient and less costly "first tier" test.
Methods
NT-proBNP levels were measured in patients from four clinical groups: a group with right heart catheter (RHC)-diagnosed SSc-PAH before commencement of therapy for PAH; a group at high risk of SSc-PAH based on TTE; a group with interstitial lung disease; and systemic sclerosis (SSc) controls with no cardiopulmonary complications. NT-proBNP levels were compared by using ANOVA and correlated with other clinical variables by using simple and multiple linear regression. ROC curve analyses were performed to determine the optimal cut point for NT-proBNP and other clinical variables in prediction of PAH.
Results
NT-proBNP was highest in the PAH group compared with other groups (P < 0.0001), and higher in the risk group compared with controls (P < 0.0001). NT-proBNP was positively correlated with systolic pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) on TTE (P < 0.0001), and mean PAP (P = 0.013), pulmonary vascular resistance (P = 0.005), and mean right atrial pressure (P = 0.006) on RHC. A composite model wherein patients screened positive if NT-proBNP was ≥ 209.8 pg/ml, and/or DLCOcorr was < 70.3% with FVC/DLCOcorr ≥ 1.82, had a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 77.8% for SSc-PAH.
Conclusion
We have proposed a screening algorithm for SSc-PAH, incorporating NT-proBNP level and PFTs. This model has high sensitivity and specificity for SSc-PAH and, if positive, should lead to TTE and confirmatory testing for PAH. This screening algorithm must be validated prospectively.
doi:10.1186/ar3876
PMCID: PMC3446526  PMID: 22691291
3.  Numbers needed to treat calculated from responder rates give a better indication of efficacy in osteoarthritis trials than mean pain scores 
Introduction
Osteoarthritis trials usually report average changes in visual analogue scale (VAS) pain, and examine the difference between treatment and placebo. We investigated whether dichotomous responder analysis provides a more informative interpretation of drug efficacy.
Methods
Merck supplied the number of patients who, by 6 weeks, had achieved pain relief compared with a baseline of 0% or more, 10% or more, 20% or more, and so on at equal intervals up to 90% or more. These different levels of pain relief were used to distinguish different definitions of responders, for example at least 50% pain relief from baseline. Numbers and percentages of patients achieving each level were identified. Information was sought from a dose–response trial over 6 weeks in osteoarthritis using placebo and using etoricoxib at 5, 10, 30 and 60 mg daily.
Results
With placebo, the proportions of patients achieving at least 20%, 50% and 70% pain relief over baseline at 6 weeks were 30%, 11% and 2%. With 60 mg etoricoxib the equivalent percentages were 74%, 49% and 29%. The numbers needed to treat for 30 mg and 60 mg etoricoxib to produce at least 50% pain relief at 6 weeks compared with placebo were 4.2 (95% confidence interval 3.8 to 8.6) and 2.6 (2.0 to 3.9), respectively. Levels of pain relief of 50% and above discriminated best between different doses of etoricoxib.
Conclusion
Responder analysis seemed to be more sensitive than examination of average changes in VAS pain scores. Validation would require calculations to be performed on a set of trials using individual patient data not available in publications.
doi:10.1186/ar2394
PMCID: PMC2453757  PMID: 18384679
4.  Systematic review of the use of honey as a wound dressing 
Objective
To investigate topical honey in superficial burns and wounds though a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.
Data sources
Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, reference lists and databases were used to seek randomised controlled trials. Seven randomised trials involved superficial burns, partial thickness burns, moderate to severe burns that included full thickness injury, and infected postoperative wounds.
Review methods
Studies were randomised trials using honey, published papers, with a comparator. Main outcomes were relative benefit and number-needed-to-treat to prevent an outcome relating to wound healing time or infection rate.
Results
One study in infected postoperative wounds compared honey with antiseptics plus systemic antibiotics. The number needed to treat with honey for good wound healing compared with antiseptic was 2.9 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 9.7). Five studies in patients with partial thickness or superficial burns involved less than 40% of the body surface. Comparators were polyurethane film, amniotic membrane, potato peel and silver sulphadiazine. The number needed to treat for seven days with honey to produce one patient with a healed burn was 2.6 (2.1 to 3.4) compared with any other treatment and 2.7 (2.0 to 4.1) compared with potato and amniotic membrane. For some or all outcomes honey was superior to all these treatments. Time for healing was significantly shorter for honey than all these treatments. The quality of studies was low.
Conclusion
Confidence in a conclusion that honey is a useful treatment for superficial wounds or burns is low. There is biological plausibility.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-1-2
PMCID: PMC32305  PMID: 11405898

Results 1-4 (4)