Fractures associated with bone fragility in older adults signal the potential for secondary fracture. Fragility fractures often precipitate further decline in health and loss of mobility, with high associated costs for patients, families, society and the healthcare system. Promptly initiating a coordinated, comprehensive pharmacological bone health and falls prevention program post-fracture may improve osteoporosis treatment compliance; and reduce rates of falls and secondary fractures, and associated morbidity, mortality and costs.
This pragmatic, controlled trial at 11 hospital sites in eight regions in Quebec, Canada, will recruit community-dwelling patients over age 50 who have sustained a fragility fracture to an intervention coordinated program or to standard care, according to the site. Site study coordinators will identify and recruit 1,596 participants for each study arm. Coordinators at intervention sites will facilitate continuity of care for bone health, and arrange fall prevention programs including physical exercise. The intervention teams include medical bone specialists, primary care physicians, pharmacists, nurses, rehabilitation clinicians, and community program organizers.
The primary outcome of this study is the incidence of secondary fragility fractures within an 18-month follow-up period. Secondary outcomes include initiation and compliance with bone health medication; time to first fall and number of clinically significant falls; fall-related hospitalization and mortality; physical activity; quality of life; fragility fracture-related costs; admission to a long term care facility; participants’ perceptions of care integration, expectations and satisfaction with the program; and participants’ compliance with the fall prevention program. Finally, professionals at intervention sites will participate in focus groups to identify barriers and facilitating factors for the integrated fragility fracture prevention program.
This integrated program will facilitate knowledge translation and dissemination via the following: involvement of various collaborators during the development and set-up of the integrated program; distribution of pamphlets about osteoporosis and fall prevention strategies to primary care physicians in the intervention group and patients in the control group; participation in evaluation activities; and eventual dissemination of study results.
Clinical Trial.Gov NCT01745068
Study ID number
CIHR grant # 267395
Fragility fracture; Osteoporosis; Fall prevention; Integrated program; Interorganizational collaboration; Canada; Controlled trial; Evaluation
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) may be discontinued because of apparent harm, benefit, or futility. Other RCTs are discontinued early because of insufficient recruitment. Trial discontinuation has ethical implications, because participants consent on the premise of contributing to new medical knowledge, Research Ethics Committees (RECs) spend considerable effort reviewing study protocols, and limited resources for conducting research are wasted. Currently, little is known regarding the frequency and characteristics of discontinued RCTs.
Our aims are, first, to determine the prevalence of RCT discontinuation for specific reasons; second, to determine whether the risk of RCT discontinuation for specific reasons differs between investigator- and industry-initiated RCTs; third, to identify risk factors for RCT discontinuation due to insufficient recruitment; fourth, to determine at what stage RCTs are discontinued; and fifth, to examine the publication history of discontinued RCTs.
We are currently assembling a multicenter cohort of RCTs based on protocols approved between 2000 and 2002/3 by 6 RECs in Switzerland, Germany, and Canada. We are extracting data on RCT characteristics and planned recruitment for all included protocols. Completion and publication status is determined using information from correspondence between investigators and RECs, publications identified through literature searches, or by contacting the investigators. We will use multivariable regression models to identify risk factors for trial discontinuation due to insufficient recruitment. We aim to include over 1000 RCTs of which an anticipated 150 will have been discontinued due to insufficient recruitment.
Our study will provide insights into the prevalence and characteristics of RCTs that were discontinued. Effective recruitment strategies and the anticipation of problems are key issues in the planning and evaluation of trials by investigators, Clinical Trial Units, RECs and funding agencies. Identification and modification of barriers to successful study completion at an early stage could help to reduce the risk of trial discontinuation, save limited resources, and enable RCTs to better meet their ethical requirements.
Randomized controlled trial; Trial discontinuation; Slow recruitment; Ethics committees; Trial protocols
Mental disorders, common in primary care, are often associated with physical complaints. While exposure to psychosocial stressors and development or presence of principal mental disorders (i.e. depression, anxiety and somatoform disorders defined as multisomatoforme disorders) is commonly correlated, temporal association remains unproven. The study explores the onset of such disorders after exposure to psychosocial stressors in a cohort of primary care patients with at least one physical symptom.
The cohort study SODA (SOmatization, Depression and Anxiety) was conducted by 21 private-practice GPs and three fellow physicians in a Swiss academic primary care centre. GPs included patients via randomized daily identifiers. Depression, anxiety or somatoform disorders were identified by the full Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), a validated procedure to identify mental disorders based on DSM-IV criteria. The PHQ was also used to investigate exposure to psychosocial stressors (before the index consultation and during follow up) and the onset of principal mental disorders after one year of follow up.
From November 2004 to July 2005, 1020 patients were screened for inclusion. 627 were eligible and 482 completed the PHQ one year later and were included in the analysis (77%). At one year, prevalence of principal mental disorders was 30/153 (19.6% CI95% 13.6; 26.8) for those initially exposed to a major psychosocial stressor and 26/329 (7.9% CI95% 5.2; 11.4) for those not. Stronger association exists between psychosocial stressors and depression (RR = 2.4) or anxiety (RR = 3.5) than multisomatoforme disorders (RR = 1.8). Patients who are “bothered a lot” (subjective distress) by a stressor are therefore 2.5 times (CI95% 1.5; 4.0) more likely to experience a mental disorder at one year. A history of psychiatric comorbidities or psychological treatment was not a confounding factor for developing a principal mental disorder after exposure to psychosocial stressors.
This primary care study shows that patients with physical complaints exposed to psychosocial stressors had a higher risk for developing mental disorders one year later. This temporal association opens the field for further research in preventive care for mental diseases in primary care patients.
Primary health care; Longitudinal studies; Mental disorder; Psychosocial deprivation; Stress
Chest pain is a common complaint in primary care, with coronary heart disease (CHD) being the most concerning of many potential causes. Systematic reviews on the sensitivity and specificity of symptoms and signs summarize the evidence about which of them are most useful in making a diagnosis. Previous meta-analyses are dominated by studies of patients referred to specialists. Moreover, as the analysis is typically based on study-level data, the statistical analyses in these reviews are limited while meta-analyses based on individual patient data can provide additional information. Our patient-level meta-analysis has three unique aims. First, we strive to determine the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for myocardial ischemia in primary care. Second, we investigate associations between study- or patient-level characteristics and measures of diagnostic accuracy. Third, we aim to validate existing clinical prediction rules for diagnosing myocardial ischemia in primary care. This article describes the methods of our study and six prospective studies of primary care patients with chest pain. Later articles will describe the main results.
We will conduct a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for diagnosing coronary heart disease in primary care. We will perform bivariate analyses to determine the sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios of individual symptoms and signs and multivariate analyses to explore the diagnostic value of an optimal combination of all symptoms and signs based on all data of all studies. We will validate existing clinical prediction rules from each of the included studies by calculating measures of diagnostic accuracy separately by study.
Our study will face several methodological challenges. First, the number of studies will be limited. Second, the investigators of original studies defined some outcomes and predictors differently. Third, the studies did not collect the same standard clinical data set. Fourth, missing data, varying from partly missing to fully missing, will have to be dealt with.
Despite these limitations, we aim to summarize the available evidence regarding the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs for diagnosing CHD in patients presenting with chest pain in primary care.
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (University of York): CRD42011001170
MeSH; Chest pain; Myocardial ischemia; Medical history taking; Sensitivity and specificity; Primary health care
Chest wall syndrome (CWS), the main cause of chest pain in primary care practice,
is most often an exclusion diagnosis. We developed and evaluated a clinical
prediction rule for CWS.
Data from a multicenter clinical cohort of consecutive primary care patients with
chest pain were used (59 general practitioners, 672 patients). A final diagnosis
was determined after 12 months of follow-up. We used the literature and bivariate
analyses to identify candidate predictors, and multivariate logistic regression
was used to develop a clinical prediction rule for CWS. We used data from a German
cohort (n = 1212) for external validation.
From bivariate analyses, we identified six variables characterizing CWS: thoracic
pain (neither retrosternal nor oppressive), stabbing, well localized pain, no
history of coronary heart disease, absence of general practitioner’s
concern, and pain reproducible by palpation. This last variable accounted for 2
points in the clinical prediction rule, the others for 1 point each; the total
score ranged from 0 to 7 points. The area under the receiver operating
characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.76-0.83) in the
derivation cohort (specificity: 89%; sensitivity: 45%; cut-off set at 6 points).
Among all patients presenting CWS (n = 284), 71% (n = 201)
had a pain reproducible by palpation and 45% (n = 127) were correctly
diagnosed. For a subset (n = 43) of these correctly classified CWS
patients, 65 additional investigations (30 electrocardiograms, 16 thoracic
radiographies, 10 laboratory tests, eight specialist referrals, one thoracic
computed tomography) had been performed to achieve diagnosis. False positives
(n = 41) included three patients with stable angina (1.8% of all
positives). External validation revealed the ROC curve to be 0.76 (95% confidence
interval 0.73-0.79) with a sensitivity of 22% and a specificity of 93%.
This CWS score offers a useful complement to the usual CWS exclusion diagnosing
process. Indeed, for the 127 patients presenting CWS and correctly classified by
our clinical prediction rule, 65 additional tests and exams could have been
avoided. However, the reproduction of chest pain by palpation, the most important
characteristic to diagnose CWS, is not pathognomonic.
Chest pain; Primary care; Thoracic wall; Musculoskeletal system; Decision support techniques; Diagnosis
Chronic disease management has been implemented for some time in several countries to tackle the increasing burden of chronic diseases. While Switzerland faces the same challenge, such initiatives have only emerged recently in this country. The aim of this study is to assess their feasibility, in terms of barriers, facilitators and incentives to participation.
To meet our aim, we used qualitative methods involving the collection of opinions of various healthcare stakeholders, by means of 5 focus groups and 33 individual interviews. All the data were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was then performed and five levels were determined to categorize the data: political, financial, organisational/ structural, professionals and patients.
Our results show that, at each level, stakeholders share common opinions towards the feasibility of chronic disease management in Switzerland. They mainly mention barriers linked to the federalist political organization as well as to financing such programs. They also envision difficulties to motivate both patients and healthcare professionals to participate. Nevertheless, their favourable attitudes towards chronic disease management as well as the fact that they are convinced that Switzerland possesses all the resources (financial, structural and human) to develop such programs constitute important facilitators. The implementation of quality and financial incentives could also foster the participation of the actors.
Even if healthcare stakeholders do not have the same role and interest regarding chronic diseases, they express similar opinions on the development of chronic disease management in Switzerland. Their overall positive attitude shows that it could be further implemented if political, financial and organisational barriers are overcome and if incentives are found to face the scepticism and non-motivation of some stakeholders.
Chronic disease; Disease management; Attitude; Patients; Health personnel; Qualitative research
Major depression, although frequent in primary care, is commonly hidden behind multiple physical complaints that are often the first and only reason for patient consultation. Major depression can be screened by two validated questions that are easier to use in primary care than the full Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) criteria. A third question, called the 'help' question, improves the specificity without apparently decreasing the sensitivity of this screening procedure. We validated the abbreviated screening procedure for major depression with and without the 'help' question in primary care patients managed for a physical complaint.
This diagnostic accuracy study used data from the SODA (for 'SOmatisation Depression Anxiety') cohort study conducted by 24 general practitioners (GPs) in western Switzerland that included patients over 18 years of age with at least a single physical complaint at index consultation. Major depression was identified with the full Patient Health Questionnaire. GPs were asked to screen patients for major depression with the three screening questions 1 year after inclusion.
Of 937 patients with at least a single physical complaint, 751 were eligible 1 year after index consultation. Major depression was diagnosed in 69/724 (9.5%) patients. The sensitivity and specificity of the two-question method alone were 91.3% (95% CI 81.4 to 96.4) and 65.0% (95% CI 61.2 to 68.6), respectively. Adding the 'help' question decreased the sensitivity (59.4%; 95% CI 47.0 to 70.9) but improved the specificity (88.2%; 95% CI 85.4 to 90.5) of the three-question method.
The use of two screening questions for major depression was associated with high sensitivity and low specificity in primary care patients presenting a physical complaint. Adding the 'help' question improved the specificity but clearly decreased the sensitivity; when using the 'help' question, four out of ten patients with depression will be missed, compared to only one out of ten with the two-question method. Therefore, the 'help' question is not useful as a screening question, but may help discussing management strategies.
Co-morbidity information derived from administrative data needs to be validated to allow its regular use. We assessed evolution in the accuracy of coding for Charlson and Elixhauser co-morbidities at three time points over a 5-year period, following the introduction of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), coding of hospital discharges.
Cross-sectional time trend evaluation study of coding accuracy using hospital chart data of 3'499 randomly selected patients who were discharged in 1999, 2001 and 2003, from two teaching and one non-teaching hospital in Switzerland. We measured sensitivity, positive predictive and Kappa values for agreement between administrative data coded with ICD-10 and chart data as the 'reference standard' for recording 36 co-morbidities.
For the 17 the Charlson co-morbidities, the sensitivity - median (min-max) - was 36.5% (17.4-64.1) in 1999, 42.5% (22.2-64.6) in 2001 and 42.8% (8.4-75.6) in 2003. For the 29 Elixhauser co-morbidities, the sensitivity was 34.2% (1.9-64.1) in 1999, 38.6% (10.5-66.5) in 2001 and 41.6% (5.1-76.5) in 2003. Between 1999 and 2003, sensitivity estimates increased for 30 co-morbidities and decreased for 6 co-morbidities. The increase in sensitivities was statistically significant for six conditions and the decrease significant for one. Kappa values were increased for 29 co-morbidities and decreased for seven.
Accuracy of administrative data in recording clinical conditions improved slightly between 1999 and 2003. These findings are of relevance to all jurisdictions introducing new coding systems, because they demonstrate a phenomenon of improved administrative data accuracy that may relate to a coding 'learning curve' with the new coding system.
ICD-10; Agreement; Administrative Data; Co-morbidity
To explore the needs and expectations of diabetic patients and healthcare professionals in the canton of Vaud.
Development and implementation of a diabetes cantonal program.
We conducted one focus group (FG) with diabetic patients and one with healthcare professionals (general practitioners, diabetologists, pharmacists, home healthcare managers, podologists) in each of the four health regions of the canton (n=8 FG). FGs were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim, and content analysis performed.
Results and conclusion
Perceived quality of diabetes care varies, depending on participants and regions considered. Participants describe a lack of collaboration and communication between professionals, problems linked to self-management education, and a lack of information on diabetes for the general population.
They propose to improve the quality of care by strengthening existing structures, by developing centralization of care and information, and by reinforcing teamwork and self-management education. They also suggest implementing information and prevention campaigns for the general population.
Diabetics and healthcare professionals express the need to develop a cantonal program at a local level and adapted to patients’ needs. For patients, such a program would represent an opportunity to have access to comprehensive care. For healthcare professionals, it would favor the development of teamwork and of local networks.
Participants point out similar problems and solutions, even if not similarly expressed. These results should help the development and implementation of a program adapted to the patients’ and professionals’ needs.
diabetes; chronic disease management; qualitative methods; Switzerland
Evidence regarding the effectiveness of oral vitamin B12 in patients with serum vitamin B12 levels between 125-200 pM/l is lacking. We compared the effectiveness of one-month oral vitamin B12 supplementation in patients with a subtle vitamin B12 deficiency to that of a placebo.
This multicentre (13 general practices, two nursing homes, and one primary care center in western Switzerland), parallel, randomised, controlled, closed-label, observer-blind trial included 50 patients with serum vitamin B12 levels between 125-200 pM/l who were randomized to receive either oral vitamin B12 (1000 μg daily, N = 26) or placebo (N = 24) for four weeks. The institution's pharmacist used simple randomisation to generate a table and allocate treatments. The primary outcome was the change in serum methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels after one month of treatment. Secondary outcomes were changes in total homocysteine and serum vitamin B12 levels. Blood samples were centralised for analysis and adherence to treatment was verified by an electronic device (MEMS; Aardex Europe, Switzerland). Trial registration: ISRCTN 22063938.
Baseline characteristics and adherence to treatment were similar in both groups. After one month, one patient in the placebo group was lost to follow-up. Data were evaluated by intention-to-treat analysis. One month of vitamin B12 treatment (N = 26) lowered serum MMA levels by 0.13 μmol/l (95%CI 0.06-0.19) more than the change observed in the placebo group (N = 23). The number of patients needed to treat to detect a metabolic response in MMA after one month was 2.6 (95% CI 1.7-6.4). A significant change was observed for the B12 serum level, but not for the homocysteine level, hematocrit, or mean corpuscular volume. After three months without active treatment (at four months), significant differences in MMA levels were no longer detected.
Oral vitamin B12 treatment normalised the metabolic markers of vitamin B12 deficiency. However, a one-month daily treatment with1000 μg oral vitamin B12 was not sufficient to normalise the deficiency markers for four months, and treatment had no effect on haematological signs of B12 deficiency.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated to a higher stroke risk. Anemia is a common consequence of CKD, and is also a possible risk factor for cerebrovascular diseases. The purpose of this study was to examine if anemia and CKD are independent risk factors for mortality after stroke.
This historic cohort study was based on a stroke registry and included patients treated for a first clinical stroke in the stroke unit of one academic hospital over a three-year period. Mortality predictors comprised demographic characteristics, CKD, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), anemia and other stroke risk factors. GFR was estimated by means of the simplified Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Renal function was assessed according to the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI)-CKD classification in five groups. A value of hemoglobin < 120 g/L in women and < 130 g/L in men on admission defined anemia. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox models were used to describe and analyze one-year survival.
Among 890 adult stroke patients, the mean (Standard Deviation) calculated GFR was 64.3 (17.8) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 17% had anemia. Eighty-two (10%) patients died during the first year after discharge. Among those, 50 (61%) had K/DOQI CKD stages 3 to 5 and 32 (39%) stages 1 or 2 (p < 0.001). Anemia was associated with an increased risk of death one year after discharge (p < 0.001). After adjustment for other factors, a higher hemoglobin level was independently associated with decreased mortality one year after discharge [hazard ratio (95% CI) 0.98 (0.97-1.00)].
Both CKD and anemia are frequent among stroke patients and are potential risk factors for decreased one-year survival. The inclusion of patients with a first-ever clinical stroke only and the determination of anemia based on one single measure, on admission, constitute limitations to the external validity. We should investigate if an early detection and management of both CKD and anemia could improve survival in stroke patients.
Teaching of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become widespread in medical education. Teaching the teachers (TTT) courses address the increased teaching demand and the need to improve effectiveness of EBM teaching. We conducted a systematic review of assessment tools for EBM TTT courses. To summarise and appraise existing assessment methods for teaching the teachers courses in EBM by a systematic review.
We searched PubMed, BioMed, EmBase, Cochrane and Eric databases without language restrictions and included articles that assessed its participants. Study selection and data extraction were conducted independently by two reviewers.
Of 1230 potentially relevant studies, five papers met the selection criteria. There were no specific assessment tools for evaluating effectiveness of EBM TTT courses. Some of the material available might be useful in initiating the development of such an assessment tool.
There is a need for the development of educationally sound assessment tools for teaching the teachers courses in EBM, without which it would be impossible to ascertain if such courses have the desired effect.
Mental disorders in primary care patients are frequently associated with physical complaints that can mask the disorder. There is insufficient knowledge concerning the role of anxiety, depression, and somatoform disorders in patients presenting with physical symptoms. Our primary objective was to determine the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorders among primary care patients with a physical complaint. We also investigated the relationship between cumulated psychosocial stressors and mental disorders.
We conducted a multicentre cross-sectional study in twenty-one private practices and in one academic primary care centre in Western Switzerland. Randomly selected patients presenting with a spontaneous physical complaint were asked to complete the self-administered Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) between November 2004 and July 2005. The validated French version of the PHQ allowed the diagnosis of mental disorders (DSM-IV criteria) and the analyses of exposure to psychosocial stressors.
There were 917 patients exhibiting at least one physical symptom included. The rate of depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorders was 20.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 17.4% to 22.7%), 15.5% (95% CI = 13.2% to 18.0%), and 15.1% (95% CI = 12.8% to 17.5%), respectively. Psychosocial stressors were significantly associated with mental disorders. Patients with an accumulation of psychosocial stressors were more likely to present anxiety, depression, or somatoform disorders, with an increase of 2.2 fold (95% CI = 2.0 to 2.5) for each additional stressor.
The investigation of mental disorders and psychosocial stressors among patients with physical complaints is relevant in primary care. Psychosocial stressors should be explored as potential epidemiological causes of mental disorders.
The intuitive early diagnostic guess could play an important role in reaching a final diagnosis. However, no study to date has attempted to quantify the importance of general practitioners' (GPs) ability to correctly appraise the origin of chest pain within the first minutes of an encounter.
The validation study was nested in a multicentre cohort study with a one year follow-up and included 626 successive patients who presented with chest pain and were attended by 58 GPs in Western Switzerland. The early diagnostic guess was assessed prior to a patient's history being taken by a GP and was then compared to a diagnosis of chest pain observed over the next year.
Using summary measures clustered at the GP's level, the early diagnostic guess was confirmed by further investigation in 51.0% (CI 95%; 49.4% to 52.5%) of patients presenting with chest pain. The early diagnostic guess was more accurate in patients with a life threatening illness (65.4%; CI 95% 64.5% to 66.3%) and in patients who did not feel anxious (62.9%; CI 95% 62.5% to 63.3%). The predictive abilities of an early diagnostic guess were consistent among GPs.
The GPs early diagnostic guess was correct in one out of two patients presenting with chest pain. The probability of a correct guess was higher in patients with a life-threatening illness and in patients not feeling anxious about their pain.
Chest pain raises concern for the possibility of coronary heart disease. Scoring methods have been developed to identify coronary heart disease in emergency settings, but not in primary care.
Data were collected from a multicenter Swiss clinical cohort study including 672 consecutive patients with chest pain, who had visited one of 59 family practitioners' offices. Using delayed diagnosis we derived a prediction rule to rule out coronary heart disease by means of a logistic regression model. Known cardiovascular risk factors, pain characteristics, and physical signs associated with coronary heart disease were explored to develop a clinical score. Patients diagnosed with angina or acute myocardial infarction within the year following their initial visit comprised the coronary heart disease group.
The coronary heart disease score was derived from eight variables: age, gender, duration of chest pain from 1 to 60 minutes, substernal chest pain location, pain increasing with exertion, absence of tenderness point at palpation, cardiovascular risks factors, and personal history of cardiovascular disease. Area under the receiver operating characteristics curve was of 0.95 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.92; 0.97. From this score, 413 patients were considered as low risk for values of percentile 5 of the coronary heart disease patients. Internal validity was confirmed by bootstrapping. External validation using data from a German cohort (Marburg, n = 774) revealed a receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.75 (95% confidence interval, 0.72; 0.81) with a sensitivity of 85.6% and a specificity of 47.2%.
This score, based only on history and physical examination, is a complementary tool for ruling out coronary heart disease in primary care patients complaining of chest pain.
To determine the efficacy of biomedical risk assessment (eg, exhaled carbon monoxide (CO), or genetic susceptibility to lung cancer) as an aid for smoking cessation.
Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group Specialized Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline (1966–2004) and EMBASE (1980–2004).
Randomised controlled smoking cessation interventions using biomedical tests with at least 6 months follow‐up.
Two reviewers independently screened all search results (titles and abstracts) for possible inclusion. Each reviewer then extracted data from the selected studies, and assessed their methodological quality based on the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement criteria.
Of 4049 retrieved references, eight trials were retained for data extraction and analysis. Three trials isolated the effect of exhaled CO on smoking cessation rates resulting in the following ORs and 95% CIs: 0.73 (0.38 to 1.39), 0.93 (0.62 to 1.41) and 1.18 (0.84 to 1.64). Measurement of exhaled CO and spirometry were used together in three trials, resulting in the following ORs (95% CI): 0.60 (0.25 to 1.46), 2.45 (0.73 to 8.25) and 3.50 (0.88 to 13.92). Spirometry results alone were used in one other trial with an OR (95% CI) of 1.21 (0.60 to 2.42). Ultrasonography of carotid and femoral arteries performed on light smokers gave an OR (95% CI) of 3.15 (1.06 to 9.31).
Scarcity and limited quality of the current evidence does not support the hypothesis that biomedical risk assessment increases smoking cessation as compared with the standard treatment.
To describe chronic disease management programs active in Switzerland in 2007, using an exploratory survey.
We searched the internet (Swiss official websites and Swiss web-pages, using Google), a medical electronic database (Medline), reference lists of pertinent articles, and contacted key informants. Programs met our operational definition of chronic disease management if their interventions targeted a chronic disease, included a multidisciplinary team (≥2 healthcare professionals), lasted at least six months, and had already been implemented and were active in December 2007. We developed an extraction grid and collected data pertaining to eight domains (patient population, intervention recipient, intervention content, delivery personnel, method of communication, intensity and complexity, environment, clinical outcomes).
We identified seven programs fulfilling our operational definition of chronic disease management. Programs targeted patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, obesity, psychosis and breast cancer. Interventions were multifaceted; all included education and half considered planned follow-ups. The recipients of the interventions were patients, and healthcare professionals involved were physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and case managers of various backgrounds.
In Switzerland, a country with universal healthcare insurance coverage and little incentive to develop new healthcare strategies, chronic disease management programs are scarce. For future developments, appropriate evaluations of existing programs, involvement of all healthcare stakeholders, strong leadership and political will are, at least, desirable.
chronic disease management; Switzerland; exploratory study
Disease management programmes may enhance the quality of care provided to patients suffering chronic diseases.
To systematically assess the effectiveness of COPD disease management programmes.
Computerised search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library (CENTRAL), for studies evaluating interventions meeting our operational definition of disease management: >2 different intervention components; >2 healthcare professionals actively involved in patients' care; patient education; intervention lasting >12 months. Two reviewers evaluated 12,749 titles, fully reviewed 124 articles, identified and extracted data from 13 articles selected by using inclusion and exclusion criteria. Main clinical outcomes were: all-cause mortality, lung function, exercise capacity, health-related quality-of-life, symptoms, COPD exacerbations and healthcare utilisation. Meta-analysis of all-cause mortality could appropriately be performed (random effects model).
Studies included consisted of 9 randomised controlled trials, 1 controlled trial, and 3 uncontrolled before-after trials. Results suggest that disease management programmes decrease risk of hospitalisation and modestly improve health-related quality-of-life and exercise capacity outcomes. All-cause mortality did not differ between groups (OR 0.84, 95%CI 0.54–1.40).
COPD disease management programmes seem to improve patient outcomes and health system utilisation outcomes. Future studies should explore the programmes' specific elements or characteristics that bring the greatest benefit.
COPD; disease management programmes; Switzerland
Medical care for asylum seekers is a complex and critical issue worldwide. It is influenced by social, political, and economic pressures, as well as premigration conditions, the process of migration, and postmigration conditions in the host country. Increasing needs and healthcare costs have led public health authorities to put nurse practitioners in charge of the management of a gatekeeping system for asylum seekers. The quality of this system has never been evaluated. We assessed the competencies of nurses and physicians in identifying the medical needs of asylum seekers and providing them with appropriate treatment that reflects good clinical practice.
This cross-sectional descriptive study evaluated the appropriateness of care provided to asylum seekers by trained nurse practitioners in nursing healthcare centers and by physicians in private practices, an academic medical outpatient clinic, and the emergency unit of the university hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. From 1687 asylum seeking patients who had consulted each setting between June and December 2003, 450 were randomly selected to participate. A panel of experts reviewed their medical records and assessed the appropriateness of medical care received according to three parameters: 1) use of appropriate procedures to identify medical needs (medical history, clinical examination, complementary investigations, and referral), 2) provision of access to treatment meeting medical needs, and 3) absence of unnecessary medical procedures.
In the nurse practitioner group, the procedures used to identify medical needs were less often appropriate (79% of reports vs. 92.4% of reports; p < 0.001). Nevertheless, access to treatment was judged satisfactory and was similar (p = 0.264) between nurse practitioners and physicians (99% and 97.6% of patients, respectively, received adequate care). Excessive care was observed in only 2 physician reports (0.8%) and 3 nurse reports (1.5%) (p = 0.481).
Although the nursing gatekeeping system provides appropriate treatment to asylum seekers, it might be improved with further training in recording medical history and performing targeted clinical examination.
The epidemiology of chest pain differs strongly between outpatient and emergency settings. In general practice, the most frequent cause is the chest wall pain. However, there is a lack of information about the characteristics of this syndrome. The aims of the study are to describe the clinical aspects of chest wall syndrome (CWS).
Prospective, observational, cohort study of patients attending 58 private practices over a five-week period from March to May 2001 with undifferentiated chest pain. During a one-year follow-up, questionnaires including detailed history and physical exam, were filled out at initial consultation, 3 and 12 months. The outcomes were: clinical characteristics associated with the CWS diagnosis and clinical evolution of the syndrome.
Among 24 620 consultations, we observed 672 cases of chest pain and 300 (44.6%) patients had a diagnosis of chest wall syndrome. It affected all ages with a sex ratio of 1:1. History and sensibility to palpation were the keys for diagnosis. Pain was generally moderate, well localised, continuous or intermittent over a number of hours to days or weeks, and amplified by position or movement. The pain however, may be acute. Eighty-eight patients were affected at several painful sites, and 210 patients at a single site, most frequently in the midline or a left-sided site. Pain was a cause of anxiety and cardiac concern, especially when acute. CWS coexisted with coronary disease in 19 and neoplasm in 6. Outcome at one year was favourable even though CWS recurred in half of patients.
CWS is common and benign, but leads to anxiety and recurred frequently. Because the majority of chest wall pain is left-sided, the possibility of coexistence with coronary disease needs careful consideration.
Mass-media campaigns have been known to modify the outcome of low back pain (LBP). We assessed the impact on outcome of standardized written information on LBP given to patients with acute LBP.
Design: A 3-month pragmatic, multicenter controlled trial with geographic stratification. Setting: Primary care practice in France. Participants: 2752 patients with acute LBP. Intervention: An advice book on LBP (the “back book”). Main outcome measures: The main outcome measure was persistence of LBP three months after baseline evaluation.
2337 (85%) patients were assessed at follow-up and 12.4% of participants reported persistent LBP. The absolute risk reduction of reporting persistent back pain in the intervention group was 3.6% lower than in the control group (10.5% vs. 14.1%; 95% confidence interval [−6.3% ; −1.0%]; p value adjusted for cluster effect = 0.01). Patients in the intervention group were more satisfied than those in the control group with the information they received about physical activities, when to consult their physician, and how to prevent a new episode of LBP. However, the number of patients who had taken sick leave was similar, as was the mean sick-leave duration, in both arms, and, among patients with persistent pain at follow-up, the intervention and control groups did not differ in disability or fear-avoidance beliefs.
The level of improvement of an information booklet is modest, but the cost and complexity of the intervention is minimal. Therefore, the implications and generalizability of this intervention are substantial.
While there is interest in measuring the satisfaction of patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals, it might be important to determine whether surveys of psychiatric patients should employ generic or psychiatry-specific instruments. The aim of this study was to compare two psychiatric-specific and one generic questionnaires assessing patients' satisfaction after a hospitalisation in a psychiatric hospital.
We randomised adult patients discharged from two Swiss psychiatric university hospitals between April and September 2004, to receive one of three instruments: the Saphora-Psy questionnaire, the Perceptions of Care survey questionnaire or the Picker Institute questionnaire for acute care hospitals. In addition to the comparison of response rates, completion time, mean number of missing items and mean ceiling effect, we targeted our comparison on patients and asked them to answer ten evaluation questions about the questionnaire they had just completed.
728 out of 1550 eligible patients (47%) participated in the study. Across questionnaires, response rates were similar (Saphora-Psy: 48.5%, Perceptions of Care: 49.9%, Picker: 43.4%; P = 0.08), average completion time was lowest for the Perceptions of Care questionnaire (minutes: Saphora-Psy: 17.7, Perceptions of Care: 13.7, Picker: 17.5; P = 0.005), the Saphora-Psy questionnaire had the largest mean proportion of missing responses (Saphora-Psy: 7.1%, Perceptions of Care: 2.8%, Picker: 4.0%; P < 0.001) and the Perceptions of Care questionnaire showed the highest ceiling effect (Saphora-Psy: 17.1%, Perceptions of Care: 41.9%, Picker: 36.3%; P < 0.001). There were no differences in the patients' evaluation of the questionnaires.
Despite differences in the intended target population, content, lay-out and length of questionnaires, none appeared to be obviously better based on our comparison. All three presented advantages and drawbacks and could be used for the satisfaction evaluation of psychiatric inpatients. However, if comparison across medical services or hospitals is desired, using a generic questionnaire might be advantageous.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been linked to higher heart failure (HF) risk. Anemia is a common consequence of CKD, and recent evidence suggests that anemia is a risk factor for HF. The purpose of this study was to examine among patients with HF, the association between CKD, anemia and inhospital mortality and early readmission.
We performed a retrospective cohort study in two Swiss university hospitals. Subjects were selected based the presence of ICD-10 HF codes in 1999. We recorded demographic characteristics and risk factors for HF. CKD was defined as a serum creatinine ≥ 124 956;mol/L for women and ≥ 133 μmol/L for men. The main outcome measures were inhospital mortality and thirty-day readmissions.
Among 955 eligible patients hospitalized with heart failure, 23.0% had CKD. Twenty percent and 6.1% of individuals with and without CKD, respectively, died at the hospital (p < 0.0001). Overall, after adjustment for other patient factors, creatinine and hemoglobin were associated with an increased risk of death at the hospital, and hemoglobin was related to early readmission.
Both CKD and anemia are frequent among older patients with heart failure and are predictors of adverse outcomes, independent of other known risk factors for heart failure.