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1.  The Saudi clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis of the first deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremity 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):3-15.
The diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) may be challenging due to the inaccuracy of clinical assessment and diversity of diagnostic tests. On one hand, missed diagnosis may result in life-threatening conditions. On the other hand, unnecessary treatment may lead to serious complications. As a result of an initiative of the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), an expert panel led by the Saudi Association for Venous Thrombo-Embolism (SAVTE; a subsidiary of the Saudi Thoracic Society) with the methodological support of the McMaster University Working Group, produced this clinical practice guideline to assist healthcare providers in evidence-based clinical decision-making for the diagnosis of a suspected first DVT of the lower extremity. Twenty-four questions were identified and corresponding recommendations were made following the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. These recommendations included assessing the clinical probability of DVT using Wells criteria before requesting any test and undergoing a sequential diagnostic evaluation, mainly using highly sensitive D-dimer by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and compression ultrasound. Although venography is the reference standard test for the diagnosis of DVT, its use was not recommended.
PMCID: PMC4286842  PMID: 25593601
Clinical practice guideline; deep venous thrombosis; diagnosis; Saudi Arabia; venous thromboembolism
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC4005164  PMID: 24791168
Chronic bronchitis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
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.
PMCID: PMC3912684  PMID: 24551010
Chronic lung diseases; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary rehabilitation; quality of life
5.  Knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines pre- and post-didactic lectures during a venous thromboembolism awareness day at a tertiary-care hospital 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2013;8(3):165-169.
Didactic lectures are frequently used to improve compliance with practice guidelines. This study assessed the knowledge of health-care providers (HCPs) at a tertiary-care hospital of its evidence-based thromboprophylaxis guidelines and the impact of didactic lectures on their knowledge.
The hospital launched a multifaceted approach to improve thromboprophylaxis practices, which included posters, a pocket-size guidelines summary and didactic lectures during the annual thromboprophylaxis awareness days. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to HCPs before and after lectures on thromboprophylaxis guidelines (June 2010). The questionnaire, formulated and validated by two physicians, two nurses and a clinical pharmacist, covered various subjects such as risk stratification, anticoagulant dosing and the choice of anticoagulants in specific clinical situations.
Seventy-two and 63 HCPs submitted the pre- and post-test, respectively (62% physicians, 28% nurses, from different clinical disciplines). The mean scores were 7.8 ± 2.1 (median = 8.0, range = 2-12, maximum possible score = 15) for the pre-test and 8.4 ± 1.8 for the post-test, P = 0.053. There was no significant difference in the pre-test scores of nurses and physicians (7.9 ± 1.7 and 8.2 ± 2.4, respectively, P = 0.67). For the 35 HCPs who completed the pre- and post-tests, their scores were 7.7 ± 1.7 and 8.8 ± 1.6, respectively, P = 0.003. Knowledge of appropriate anticoagulant administration in specific clinical situations was frequently inadequate, with approximately two-thirds of participants failing to adjust low-molecular-weight heparin doses in patients with renal failure.
Education via didactic lectures resulted in a modest improvement of HCPs′ knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines. This supports the need for a multifaceted approach to improve the awareness and implementation of thromboprophylaxis guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3731859  PMID: 23922612
Clinical practice guidelines; continuing medical education; health knowledge; practice guidelines; questionnaires; venous thromboembolism
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC3506098  PMID: 23189095
Asthma; asthma control test; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
7.  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.
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).
A cross-sectional study was conducted among high school students (grades 10–12) in Riyadh, KSA, between April 24, 2010, and June 16, 2010.
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).
Several predictors of cigarette smoking among high school students were identified.
PMCID: PMC3425042  PMID: 22924068
Adolescents; cigarettes; Saudi Arabia; tobacco
8.  Integration of evidence based medicine into the clinical years of a medical curriculum 
Teaching Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) helps medical students to develop their decision making skills based on current best evidence, especially when it is taught in a clinical context. Few medical schools integrate Evidence Based Medicine into undergraduate curriculum, and those who do so, do it at the academic years only as a standalone (classroom) teaching but not at the clinical years. The College of Medicine at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences was established in January 2004. The college adopted a four-year Problem Based Learning web-based curriculum. The objective of this paper is to present our experience in the integration of the EBM in the clinical phase of the medical curriculum. We teach EBM in 3 steps: first step is teaching EBM concepts and principles, second is teaching the appraisal and search skills, and the last step is teaching it in clinical rotations. Teaching EBM at clinical years consists of 4 student-centered tutorials. In conclusion, EBM may be taught in a systematic, patient centered approach at clinical rounds. This paper could serve as a model of Evidence Based Medicine integration into the clinical phase of a medical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC3410178  PMID: 22870419
Clinical years; evidence based medicine; medical curriculum; medical education
9.  Utilization and responsiveness of the asthma control test (ACT) at the initiation of therapy for patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial 
The aim of this study was to assess the responsiveness of the asthma control test (ACT) to detect changes at the initiation of therapy and its utilization in the initiation of asthma treatment.
This study was designed as a randomized clinical trial conducted in a primary care setting. The subjects were asthma patients who had not received controller therapy for at least two months. The patients were randomized into two groups: The Saudi Initiative for Asthma (SINA) group and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) group. Treatment in the SINA group was initiated at step1 when the ACT scores ≥ 20, step 2 when the score between16-19, and step 3 when the score < 16 began at step 3. The GINA group patients were started on step 2 when they had persistent asthma symptoms or step 3 when they had severely uncontrolled disease.
Forty-five patients were analyzed in each group. The improvement in ACT score after treatment initiation was significantly higher when the SINA approach was used (2.9 in the SINA group compared to 1.7 in the GINA group (p = 0.04)). The improvement in FEV1 was 5.8% in the SINA group compared to 3.4% in the GINA group (p = 0.46). The number of patients who achieved asthma control at the follow-up visit and required no treatment adjustment was 33 (73.3%) in the SINA group and 27 (60%) in the GINA group (p = 0.0125).
The ACT was responsive to change at the initiation of asthma treatment and was useful for the initiation of asthma treatment.
Trial Registration number
PMCID: PMC3359228  PMID: 22449144
Asthma; Asthma control test; Guidelines; Global initiative for asthma; Saudi initiative for asthma; Control
10.  Self-assessment and students’ study strategies in a community of clinical practice: A qualitative study 
Medical Education Online  2012;17:10.3402/meo.v17i0.11204.
Self-assessment is recognized as a necessary skill for lifelong learning. It is widely reported to offer numerous advantages to the learner. The research evaluated the impact of students’ and supervisors’ self-assessment and feedback training on students’ perceptions and practices of self-assessment. Moreover, it evaluated the effect of self-assessment process on students’ study strategies within a community of clinical practice.
We conducted a qualitative phenomenological study from May 2008 to December 2009. We held 37 semi-structured individual interviews with three different cohorts of undergraduate medical students until we reached data saturation. The cohorts were exposed to different contexts while experiencing their clinical years’ assessment program. In the interviews, students’ perceptions and interpretations of ‘self-assessment practice’ and ‘supervisor-provided feedback’ within different contexts and the resulting study strategies were explored.
The analysis of interview data with the three cohorts of students yielded three major themes: strategic practice of self-assessment, self-assessment and study strategies, and feedback and study strategies. It appears that self-assessment is not appropriate within a summative context, and its implementation requires cultural preparation. Despite education and orientation on the two major components of the self-assessment process, feedback was more effective in enhancing deeper study strategies.
This research suggests that the theoretical advantages linked to the self-assessment process are a result of its feedback component rather than the practice of self-assessment isolated from feedback. Further research exploring the effects of different contextual and personal factors on students’ self-assessment is needed.
PMCID: PMC3282582  PMID: 22355241
self-assessment; study strategy; feedback; summative assessment; clinical attachment
11.  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3131756  PMID: 21760845
Cigarette smoking; prevalence; Saudi Arabia
12.  Students' perceptions of the impact of assessment on approaches to learning: a comparison between two medical schools with similar Curricula 
Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate students? perceptions of assessment and the resulting learning styles.
Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 students and 8 clinical supervisors from Sydney Medical School and 12 students and 13 clinical supervisors from King Saud bin Abdulaziz University. Both institutions have similar curricula but a different assessment approach. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Interview transcripts were stored and analyzed using ATLAS.ti.
Three themes emerged from analyses of the interviews: the function of assessment, learning outcomes and, finally, authentic assessment in the clinical environment. A model is presented to show the relationship between contextual and different personal factors and students’ perceptions of the impact of assessment on learning styles.
Cultural differences and emotions can affect students’ perceptions of assessment and learning styles. A combination of formative and summative assessment based on learning objectives is required. This combination should take into consideration students’ cultural background, values and the implemented education system. This balance should be sufficient to motivate students in order to maintain their focus and attention, and reduce the potential negative impacts of a hidden curriculum. The experience of authentic assessment was a powerful motivator for students’ approaches to learning.
PMCID: PMC4205515
Assessment methods; learning approaches; cultural differences
13.  The reliability of an arabic version of the self-administered standardized chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRQ-SAS) 
To produce a conceptually equivalent Arabic version to the original Self-Administered Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire with standardized dyspnea domain (CRQ-SAS) and to assess its reliability.
The study was carried out in two stages: stage I which was the translation of the CRQ-SAS questionnaire from the English to the Arabic language, and stage II which represented the test-retest reliability for patients receiving usual care for COPD who were not yet admitted to the pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Forty five patients with stable COPD were enrolled in this study. Strong test-retest reliability was found for the four domains of the CRQ-SAS, with the intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.97 for each of the domains. The association between most parameters and the four domains of CRQ-SAS were not found to be statistically significant, as measured by Pearson correlation. The number of exacerbations was negatively correlated with the dyspnea domain (correlation = -0.36, p-value = 0.02). The disease duration was negatively correlated with the domain fatigue (correlation = -0.35, p-value = 0.02). The correlation between FEV1/FVC ratio and emotion domain was -0.30 (p-value = 0.05). The mastery domain was negatively correlated with FEV1/FVC ratio with a correlation of -0.27 with borderline statistical significance (p-value = 0.07).
The Arabic translation of the CRQ-SAS was found to be reliable to assess the quality of life among patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3103486  PMID: 21526998
Quality of Life; Pulmonary rehabilitation; COPD; Saudi Arabia
14.  Exploring factors affecting undergraduate medical students’ study strategies in the clinical years: a qualitative study 
The aim of this study is to explore the effects of clinical supervision, and assessment characteristics on the study strategies used by undergraduate medical students during their clinical rotations. We conducted a qualitative phenomenological study at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the period from November 2007 to December 2008. We conducted semi-structured focus groups interviews with students and conducted individual interviews with teachers and students to explore students’ and clinical teachers’ perceptions and interpretations of factors influencing students’ study strategies. Data collection was continued until saturation was reached. We used Atlas-ti Computer Software (Version 5.2) to analyse the data, apply the obtained themes to the whole dataset and rearrange the data according to the themes and sub-themes. Analysis of data from interviews with twenty-eight students and thirteen clinical supervisors yielded three major themes relating to factors affecting students’ study strategies: “clinical supervisors and supervision”, “stress and anxiety” and “assessment”. The three themes we identified played a role in students’ adoption of different study strategies in the “community of clinical practice”. It appeared that teachers played a key role, particularly as assessors, clinical supervisors and as a source of stress to students.
PMCID: PMC3226698  PMID: 21207243
Study strategy; Assessment; Clinical supervisor; Clinical attachment; Anxiety
15.  Tobacco consummation: Is it still a dilemma? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2010;5(4):193-194.
PMCID: PMC2954372  PMID: 20981178
16.  Students' and teachers' perceptions of clinical assessment program: A qualitative study in a PBL curriculum 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:263.
"Examinations drive students' learning." This statement refers to what is assumed to be one of the strongest relationships in education. We explored in this research how and why students differ in their approaches to learning, how assessment affects deep learning, and which barriers stand in the way of good assessment and learning in the clinical years of a Problem Based Learning (PBL) graduate entry medical curriculum.
Method: We conducted a qualitative, phenomenological study using semi-structured group interviews with students and semi-structured individual interviews with teachers and students. The transcripts were analyzed, and themes were identified.
Setting: The research was conducted at the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from November 2007 to March 2008.
Results: A total of 28 students participated in 7 focus group interviews. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 12 teachers and 12 students. The analysis yielded four themes: summative assessment, formative assessment, continuous assessment of clinical attachments, and learning objectives.
The results of this study confirm that assessment affects students' perceptions of learning and how they learn. These effects are not uniformly positive. According to the students, the predominantly summative assessment program offers little inducement to engage in deep learning. They express a clear preference for formative assessment, which may foster a deeper approach to learning. Efforts to achieve more clinically relevant assessment with adequate balance between the various types of assessment are required. Research is needed to decide this balance.
PMCID: PMC2804577  PMID: 20030842
17.  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.
PMCID: PMC2801049  PMID: 19881170
Asthma; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
18.  Annals of Thoracic Medicine … a three-year journey 
PMCID: PMC2700476  PMID: 19561912
19.  Unconventional therapy use among asthma patients in a tertiary care center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2008;3(2):48-51.
Unconventional therapy (UT) is a therapeutic practice of alternative and complementary medicine that is not currently considered an integral part of modern medical practice. The aim of this article is to investigate the experience of Saudi patients with UT modalities in the treatment of asthma.
We carried out a cross-sectional study of asthma patients referred to King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the year 2004. Information was collected using a pre-designed questionnaire administered through interviews.
Two hundred consecutive patients with a mean age of 52.3 years (±18.7) were included in this study. Sixty-nine (34.5%) of those patients used some form of UT in the previous year. There was a tendency to use UT among the older age group (P = 0.029) and among those with longer duration of disease (P = 0.009). However, there was no significant correlation observed between the use of UT and gender, FEV1, or disease control. The most commonly used form of UT was recitation of Holy Quran (9%), honey (24.5%), herbs (23.5%), cautery (12%), and blackseed (10%). There was no significant correlation between disease control and the use of modalities.
Unconventional therapy is frequently practiced by asthma patients in Saudi Arabia, who commonly believe that UT will lead to improvement. The lack of evidence necessitates the fostering of a national project to address the practice of UT.
PMCID: PMC2700461  PMID: 19561905
Asthma; Saudi Arabia; uncontrolled asthma; unconventional therapy
20.  Blocking leukotrienes optimize asthma control: The BLOC survey 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2007;2(3):99-102.
The aim of this study was to evaluate asthma control after the introduction of a leukotriene modifier (Montelukast), in addition to the current controller asthma therapies, in patients with inadequately controlled mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. Asthma control and patient perception were assessed prior to, and 4 weeks after, the introduction of Montelukast, and the pre-introduction and post-introduction results were compared.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional, observational study collected information on 1,490 eligible adult asthmatic patients in Saudi Arabia. The eligibility criteria included patients aged 15 years or more with symptomatic mild-to-moderate persistent asthma despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroids with or without long-acting beta agonist; also, the patient should attend the initial visit and follow-up visits after at least 4 weeks.
Of the 1,490 eligible patients, 79.5% received inhaled corticosteroids alone, and the remaining 20.5% received combination of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilator. Despite the treatment with daily controller medications, asthma symptoms persisted in more than two-thirds of the study population. Upon adding Montelukast, more than 80% of patients reported improvement in symptoms, which was consistent in all patients irrespective of corticosteroid type or dose (stratum) or the addition of long-acting β2-agonist. At the follow-up visit, 92.2% of patients reported that they felt better on Montelukast.
Leukotriene modifier Montelukast has significant additive benefits in the management of patients who suffer from mild-to-moderate asthma and who are inadequately controlled on inhaled corticosteroids therapy with or without long-acting bronchodilator.
PMCID: PMC2732093  PMID: 19727354
Asthma; inflammation

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