Thoracic sarcoidosis is a common disease, with well-described and recognizable radiographic features. Nevertheless, most physicians are not familiar with the rare atypical often-confusing manifestations of thoracic sarcoid. Although these findings have been previously reviewed, but more recent advances in imaging and laboratory science, need to be incorporated. We present a review of literature and illustrate the review with unpublished data, intended to provide a more recent single comprehensive reference to assist with the diagnosis when atypical radiographic findings of thoracic sarcoidosis are encountered. Thoracic involvement accounts for most of morbidity and mortality associated with sarcoidosis. An accurate timely identification is required to minimize morbidity and mortality. It is essential to recognize atypical imaging findings and relate these to clinical manifestations and histology.
Atypical; cardiology; chest; radiology; sarcoidosis
Performing dual point 18F-FDG PET scans of solitary pulmonary nodules at an initial SUV (max) <2.5 is a useful technique. However, prolonging second image acquisition from 120 to 180 min does not appear to improve accuracy. Dual time 18F-FDG PET is not useful in differentiating benign and malignant pulmonary nodules with an initial mean SUV ≤2.5 in parts of the world where granulomatous disease is prevalent. Prolonged imaging on PET scanners is expensive particularly where availability if these scanners is limited. Further prospective research is required to define the potential benefits of dual time point 18F-FDG PET imaging, before recommending routine use of the technique.
Solitary pulmonary nodules; dual-point scan18F-FDG PET scans
Subepithelial fibrosis is one of the most critical structural changes affecting bronchial airway function during asthma. Eosinophils have been shown to contribute to the production of pro-fibrotic cytokines, TGF-β and IL-11, however, the mechanism regulating this process is not fully understood.
In this report, we investigated whether cytokines associated with inflammation during asthma may induce eosinophils to produce pro-fibrotic cytokines.
Eosinophils were isolated from peripheral blood of 10 asthmatics and 10 normal control subjects. Eosinophils were stimulated with Th1, Th2 and Th17 cytokines and the production of TGF-β and IL-11 was determined using real time PCR and ELISA assays.
The basal expression levels of eosinophil derived TGF-β and IL-11 cytokines were comparable between asthmatic and healthy individuals. Stimulating eosinophils with Th1 and Th2 cytokines did not induce expression of pro-fibrotic cytokines. However, stimulating eosinophils with Th17 cytokines resulted in the enhancement of TGF-β and IL-11 expression in asthmatic but not healthy individuals. This effect of IL-17 on eosinophils was dependent on p38 MAPK activation as inhibiting the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, but not other kinases, inhibited IL-17 induced pro-fibrotic cytokine release.
Th17 cytokines might contribute to airway fibrosis during asthma by enhancing production of eosinophil derived pro-fibrotic cytokines. Preventing the release of pro-fibrotic cytokines by blocking the effect of Th17 cytokines on eosinophils may prove to be beneficial in controlling fibrosis for disorders with IL-17 driven inflammation such as allergic and autoimmune diseases.
Asthma; Eosinophils; Th17 cytokines; Pro-fibrotic cytokines; TGF-β; IL-11
Uncontrolled asthma remains a frequent cause of emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admissions. Improper asthma inhaler device use is most likely one of the major causes associated with uncontrolled asthma and frequent ED visits.
To evaluate the inhaler technique among asthmatic patients seen in ED, and to investigate the characteristics of these patients and factors associated with improper use of inhaler devices and its relationship with asthma control and ED visits.
A cross-sectional study of all the patients who visited the ED with bronchial asthma attacks over a 9-month period was undertaken at two major academic hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Information was collected about demographic data and asthma management and we assessed the inhaler techniques for each patient using an inhaler technique checklist.
A total of 450 asthma patients were included in the study. Of these, 176(39.1%) were males with a mean age of 42.3 ±16.7 years and the mean duration of asthma was 155.9 ± 127.1 weeks. The improper use of asthma inhaler devices was observed in 203(45%) of the patients and was associated with irregular clinic follow-ups (p = 0.0001), lack of asthma education (p = 0.0009), uncontrolled asthma ACT (score ≤ 15) (p = 0.001), three or more ED visits (p = 0.0497), and duration of asthma of less than 52 weeks (p = 0.005). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that a lack of education about asthma disease (OR =1.65; 95% CI: 1.07, 2.54) or a lack of regular follow-up (OR =1.73; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.76) was more likely to lead to the improper use of an asthma inhaler device.
Improper asthma inhaler device use is associated with poor asthma control and more frequent ED visits. We also identified many avoidable risk factors leading to the improper use of inhaler devices among asthma patients visiting the ED.
Asthma control; Inhaled corticosteroid; Emergency department; Inhaler devices; Asthma education
The professional content of sleep medicine has grown significantly over the past few decades, warranting the recognition of sleep medicine as an independent specialty. Because the practice of sleep medicine has expanded in Saudi Arabia over the past few years, a national regulation system to license and ascertain the competence of sleep medicine physicians and technologists has become essential. Recently, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties formed the National Committee for the Accreditation of Sleep Medicine Practice and developed national accreditation criteria. This paper presents the newly approved Saudi accreditation criteria for sleep medicine physicians and technologists.
Accreditation; licensing; sleep medicine; sleep technology; technicians; technologists
Acute asthma attacks remain a frequent cause of emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admission. Many factors encourage patients to seek asthma treatment at the emergency department. These factors may be related to the patient himself or to a health system that hinders asthma control. The aim of this study was to identify the main factors that lead to the frequent admission of asthmatic patients to the ED.
A cross-sectional survey of all the patients who visited the emergency room with bronchial asthma attacks over a 9-month period was undertaken at two major academic hospitals. The following data were collected: demographic data, asthma control in the preceding month, where and by whom the patients were treated, whether the patient received education about asthma or its medication and the patients’ reasons for visiting the ED.
Four hundred fifty (N = 450) patients were recruited, 39.1% of whom were males with a mean age of 42.3 ± 16.7. The mean duration of asthma was 155.90 ± 127.13 weeks. Approximately half of the patients did not receive any information about bronchial asthma as a disease, and 40.7% did not receive any education regarding how to use asthma medication. Asthma was not controlled or partially controlled in the majority (97.7%) of the patients preceding the admission to ED. The majority of the patients visited the ED to receive a bronchodilator by nebuliser (86.7%) and to obtain oxygen (75.1%). Moreover, 20.9% of the patients believed that the ED managed them faster than the clinic, and 21.1% claimed that their symptoms were severe enough that they could not wait for a clinic visit. No education about asthma and uncontrolled asthma are the major factors leading to frequent ED visits (three or more visits/year), p-value = 0.0145 and p-value = 0.0003, respectively. Asthma control also exhibited a significant relationship with inhaled corticosteroid ICS use (p-value =0.0401) and education about asthma (p-value =0.0117).
This study demonstrates that many avoidable risk factors lead to uncontrolled asthma and frequent ED visits.
Asthma; Control; Inhaled cortisone; Emergency department
Placements of central venous lines (CVC), percutaneous intrathoracic drains (ITDs), and nasogastric tubes (NGTs) are some of the most common interventional procedures performed on patients that are unconscious and in almost all intensive care/high dependency patients in one form or the other. These are standard procedures within the remit of physicians, and other trained health professionals. Procedural complications may occur in 7%–15% of patients depending upon the intervention and experience of the operator.
Most complications are minor, but other serious complications may add significantly to morbidity and even mortality of already compromised patients. Imaging findings are the key to the detection of misplaced lines, and tubes and their prompt recognition are vital to avoid harm to the patient. It is, therefore, pertinent that healthcare professionals who perform these procedures are familiar with imaging complications of these procedures. Here, we present the imaging characteristics of procedural complications.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lung airways that is associated with airway remodeling and hyperresponsiveness. Its is well documented that the smooth muscle mass in asthmatic airways is increased due to hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the ASM cells. Moreover, eosinophils have been proposed in different studies to play a major role in airway remodeling. Here, we hypothesized that eosinophils modulate the airways through enhancing ASM cell proliferation. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of eosinophils on ASM cell proliferation using eosinophils isolated from asthmatic and normal control subjects.
Eosinophils were isolated from peripheral blood of 6 mild asthmatics and 6 normal control subjects. ASM cells were incubated with eosinophils or eosinophil membranes and ASM proliferation was estimated using thymidine incorporation. The mRNA expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) in ASM cells was measured using quantitative real-time PCR. The effect of eosinophil-derived proliferative cytokines on ASM cells was determined using neutralizing antibodies. The role of eosinophil derived Cysteinyl Leukotrienes in enhancing ASM was also investigated.
Co-culture with eosinophils significantly increased ASM cell proliferation. However, there was no significant difference in ASM proliferation following incubation with eosinophils from asthmatic versus normal control subjects. Co-culture with eosinophil membranes had no effect on ASM proliferation. Moreover, there was no significant change in the mRNA expression of ECM proteins in ASM cells following co-culture with eosinophils when compared with medium alone. Interestingly, blocking the activity of cysteinyl Leukotries using antagonists inhibited eosinophil-derived ASM proliferation.
Eosinophils enhances the proliferation of ASM cells. This role of eosinophil does not seem to depend on ASM derived ECM proteins nor on Eosinophil derived TGF-β or TNF-α. Eosinophil seems to induce ASM proliferation via the secretion of Cysteinyl Leukotrienes.
The solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) is frequently seen on chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT). The finding of a SPN usually provokes a flurry of clinical and imaging activity as an SPN in at-risk population is an alert signal of possible lung cancer. The frequency of malignant nodules in a given population is variable and depends on the endemicity of granulomatous disease. The percentage of malignant nodules also rises when dealing with at-risk population. The problem is compounded by the fact that with the present generation of CT scanners, 1–2 mm nodules are discovered in approximately half of the smokers aged 50 years or older scanned. A variety of management approaches are applied in the work-up of SPN often requiring evaluation over a long period of time to establish a benign or malignant diagnosis. Comparison with previous imaging studies and morphologic evaluation of the size, margins, and internal characteristics are usually the first step in the evaluation of these nodules. It is often necessary to use additional imaging techniques and occasionally invasive procedures such a percutaneous needle lung or a surgical biopsy. Until recently, the guidelines for follow-up of indeterminate noncalcified nodules detected on nonscreening CT was a minimum of 2 years. However, during the past few years due to further refinements in CT technology and better understanding of tumor behavior, it has prompted a revision of the guidelines of the follow-up of small indeterminate nodules. These guidelines have been endorsed by the Fleischner Society.
Benign lung nodules; CT; lung cancer; PET/CT; pulmonary nodules
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Home intravenous (IV) antibiotic programs are becoming increasingly popular worldwide because of their efficacy and safety. However, in Saudi Arabia these programs have not yet become an integrated part of the health care system. We present our experience with a home IV antibiotic program, as one of the major health care providers in Saudi Arabia.
DESIGN AND SETTING:
Retrospective chart review of patients enrolled in the King Abdulaziz Medical City Home Health Care IV Antibiotic Program from 1 May 2005 (the start of the program) until 30 December 2007.
In addition to demographic characteristics, we collected data on the site of infection, the clinical diagnosis, the isolated microorganisms, and the type of antibiotics given. Outcome measures evaluated included the relapse rate, failure rate, the safety of the program, and readmission rates.
Of the 155 patients enrolled, 152 patients completed the program. Those who completed the program had a mean (SD) age of 52.8 (23.9) years. The mean (SD) duration of the IV antibiotic treatment was 20.6 (17) days. Three patients refused to complete the intended duration of therapy. Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines were utilized in 130 patients (86%). One-hundred and thirty-one patients completed the intended duration of therapy, although the therapy was changed from the initial plan for 21 (13.8%) patients. Readmission to the hospital during therapy was required for 13 patients (8.5%). Osteomyelitis was the most frequently encountered diagnosis (65 patients, 42.8%), followed by urinary tract infection (36 patients, 23.7%).
The home health care-based IV antibiotic program was an effective and safe alternative for in-patient management of patients with non-life-threatening infections, and was associated with a very low complication rate. Home IV antibiotic programs should be used more frequently as part of the health care system in Saudi Arabia.
To review the pathogenesis of pulmonary vascular complications of liver disease, we discuss their clinical implications, and therapeutic considerations, with emphasis on potential reversibility of the hepatopulmonary syndrome after liver transplantation. In this review, we also discuss the role of imaging in pulmonary vascular complications associated with liver disease.
Hepatopulmonary syndrome; portopulmonary hypertension; pulmonary arteriovenous shunts; Yttrium-90 microsphere embolization hepatocellular carcinoma
Nocardiosis is an uncommon bacterial infection that is caused by aerobic actinomycetes of the genus Nocardia. This pathogen has emerged as an important cause of mortality and morbidity among both immunocompetent and (more commonly) immunocompromised hosts. The prevalence of nocardiosis is unknown in Saudi Arabia. Only sporadic cases of cutaneous nocardiosis have been reported. In this study, we performed a 10-year retrospective review of all cases of nocardiosis identified at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh. Clinical presentation, risk factors, site of disease involvement, radiological features, and outcomes of 30 patients with pulmonary and disseminated nocardiosis are presented.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective chart review of all cases of nocardiosis over the last ten years.
Thirty cases of nocardiosis were identified. The disease was more common in males. Fever and cough was the most common presentation. Most of the patients had an underlying pulmonary disease. Consolidation was the most prevalent radiological feature. Pleural effusion was common. Unfortunately, none of the isolates were sub-speciated. Cure was possible in 40% of the cases. Ten percent of patients died, while follow-up on the rest of the patients was lost.
Nocardiosis is not uncommon in Saudi Arabia. Cases are not restricted to the classical immunocompromised host. A database is urgently needed to better evaluate the prevalence of the illness among the Saudi population.
Aerobic actinomycetes; Nocardia; Nocardiosis
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) can be detected with immune based tests such as the tuberculin skin test (TST) or interferon gamma release assays (IGRA). Therapy for those with positive tests can reduce the subsequent risk of re-activation and development of active TB. Current standard therapy is isoniazid (INH) which reduce the risk of active TB by as much as 90 per cent if taken daily for 9 months. However, this lengthy duration of therapy discourages patients, and the risk of serious adverse events such as hepatotoxicity, discourages both patients and providers. As a result completion of INH therapy is less than 50 per cent in many programmes. However, programmes that offer close follow up with supportive staff who emphasize patient education, have reported much better results. The problems with INH have stimulated development and evaluation of several shorter regimens. One alternative was two months daily rifampin and pyrazinamide; this regimen has been largely abandoned due to unacceptably high rates of hepatotoxicity and poor tolerability. The combination of INH and rifampin, taken for 3 or 4 months, has efficacy equivalent to 6 months INH albeit with somewhat increased hepatotoxicity. Four months rifampin has efficacy at least equivalent to 6 months INH but there are inadequate trial data on efficacy. The safety of this regimen has been demonstrated repeatedly. Most recently, a regimen of 3 months INH rifapentine taken once weekly under direct observation has been evaluated in a large scale trial. Results have not yet been published, but if this regimen is as effective as INH, this may be a very good alternative. However, close monitoring and surveillance is strongly suggested for the first few years after its introduction. Evidence from several randomized trials has shown that the benefits of LTBI therapy is only in individuals who are tuberculin skin test (TST) positive even among those with HIV infection. Hence, LTBI therapy should be given only to those with positive tests for LTBI. We conclude that LTBI therapy is considerably underutilized in many settings, particularly in low and middle income countries.
Latent tuberculosis; tuberculosis; tuberculosis infection; tuberculosis prevention; tuberculosis treatment
Advances in our understanding of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have led to improved care and incremental increases in survival. However, the pulmonary manifestations of HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Respiratory complaints are not infrequent in patients who are HIV positive. The great majority of lung complications of HIV/AIDS are of infectious etiology but neoplasm, interstitial pneumonias, Kaposi sarcoma and lymphomas add significantly to patient morbidity and mortality. Imaging plays a vital role in the diagnosis and management of lung of complications associated with HIV. Accurate diagnosis is based on an understanding of the pathogenesis of the processes involved and their imaging findings. Imaging also plays an important role in selection of the most appropriate site for tissue sampling, staging of disease and follow-ups. We present images of lung manifestations of HIV/AIDS, describing the salient features and the differential diagnosis.
HIV/AIDS; imaging lung; mediastinal manifestations
Studies have shown that insomnia is a common sleep disorder among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This study aimed to assess the prevalence of insomnia in Saudi patients with ESRD who are on maintenance dialysis.
This was an observational cross-sectional study carried out over a period of five months in two hemodialysis centers in Saudi Arabia. To assess the prevalence of insomnia, we used the ICSD-2 definition. We also examined the association between insomnia and other sleep disorders, the underlying causes of renal failure, dialysis duration, dialysis shift, and other demographic data.
Out of 227 enrolled patients, insomnia was reported by 60.8%. The mean patient age was 55.7 ± 17.2 years; 53.7% were male and 46.3% were female. Insomnia was significantly associated with female gender, afternoon hemodialysis, Restless Legs Syndrome, high risk for obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome and excessive daytime sleepiness (P-values: 0.05, 0.01, < 0.0001, < 0.0001, and < 0.0001, respectively). No significant association was found between insomnia and other variables, including BMI, smoking habits, underlying etiology of renal failure, dialysis duration, association with hemoglobin, ferritin, and phosphorus or dialysis adequacy as measured by the Kt/V index.
Insomnia is common in dialysis patients and was significantly associated with other sleep disorders. Greater attention needs to be given to the care of dialysis patients with regard to the diagnosis and management of insomnia and associated sleep disorders.
Hughes-Stovin syndrome is a very rare disease with fewer than 30 cases reported in the literature. The disease is thought to be a variant of Behcet's disease and is defined by the presence of pulmonary artery aneurysm in association with peripheral venous thrombosis.
A previously healthy 23-year-old Saudi woman presented with massive hemoptysis a day prior to her admission to our hospital. She had a six-month history of recurrent fever, cough, dyspnea, and recurrent oral ulceration. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan of her chest and pulmonary angiogram demonstrated a single right-lower lobe pulmonary artery aneurysm. She underwent thoracotomy and right lower lobe resection. Her postoperative course was complicated by deep vein thrombosis. She also developed headache and papilledema, while a magnetic resonance imaging of her brain suggested vasculitis. Based on these clinical presentations, she was diagnosed and treated with Hughes-Stovin syndrome.
The majority of cases of Hughes-Stovin syndrome are reported among men, with only two cases occurring in women. A case of Hughes-Stovin syndrome occurring in a woman is presented in this report. She was treated successfully with multimodality treatment that includes surgery, steroids and cytotoxic agents.
The aim of this review is to present a pictorial essay emphasizing the various patterns of calcification in pulmonary nodules (PN) to aid diagnosis and to discuss the differential diagnosis and the pathogenesis where it is known. The imaging evaluation of PN is based on clinical history, size, distribution and the gross appearance of the nodule as well as feasibility of obtaining a tissue diagnosis. Imaging is instrumental in the management of PN and one should strive not only to identify small malignant tumors with high survival rates but to spare patients with benign PN from undergoing unnecessary surgery. The review emphasizes how to achieve these goals. One of the most reliable imaging features of a benign lesion is a benign pattern of calcification and periodic follow-up with computed tomography showing no growth for 2 years. Calcification in PN is generally considered as a pointer toward a possible benign disease. However, as we show here, calcification in PN as a criterion to determine benign nature is fallacious and can be misleading. The differential considerations of a calcified lesion include calcified granuloma, hamartoma, carcinoid, osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma and lung metastases or a primary bronchogenic carcinoma among others. We describe and illustrate different patterns of calcification as seen in PN on imaging.
Benign pulmonary nodules; malignant pulmonary nodules; calcification
Pulmonary tuberculosis is a common disease in Saudi Arabia. As most cases of tuberculosis are due to reactivation of latent infection, identification of individuals with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) who are at increased risk of progression to active disease, is a key element of tuberculosis control programs. Whereas general screening of individuals for LTBI is not cost-effective, targeted testing of individuals at high risk of disease progression is the right approach. Treatment of those patients with LTBI can diminish the risk of progression to active tuberculosis disease in the majority of treated patients. This statement is the first Saudi guideline for testing and treatment of LTBI and is a result of the cooperative efforts of four local Saudi scientific societies. This Guideline is intended to provide physicians and allied health workers in Saudi Arabia with the standard of care for testing and treatment of LTBI.
This is part II of two series review of reading chest radiographs in the critically ill. Conventional chest radiography remains the cornerstone of day to day management of the critically ill occasionally supplemented by computed tomography or ultrasound for specific indications. In this second review we discuss radiographic findings of cardiopulmonary disorders common in the intensive care patient and suggest guidelines for interpretation based not only on imaging but also on the pathophysiology and clinical grounds.
Chest x-ray; intensive care unit; cardiopulmonary disorders
Antibody responses during tuberculosis were analyzed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with a panel of 10 protein antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It was shown that serum immunoglobulin G antibodies were produced against a variety of M. tuberculosis antigens and that the vast majority of sera from tuberculosis patients contained antibodies against one or more M. tuberculosis antigens. The number and the species of serologically reactive antigens varied greatly from individual to individual. In a given serum, the level of specific antibodies also varied with the antigen irrespective of the total number of antigens recognized by that particular serum. These findings indicate that person-to-person heterogeneity of antigen recognition, rather than recognition of particular antigens, is a key attribute of the antibody response in tuberculosis.