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1.  Plasma nuclear and mitochondrial DNA levels as predictors of outcome in severe sepsis patients in the emergency room 
Background and aim
The sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers and scoring systems used for predicting fatality of severe sepsis patients remain unsatisfactory. This study aimed to determine the prognostic value of circulating plasma DNA levels in severe septic patients presenting at the Emergency Department (ED).
Methods
Sixty-seven consecutive patients with severe sepsis and 33 controls were evaluated. Plasma DNA levels were estimated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay using primers for the human β-hemoglobin and ND2 gene. The patients’ clinical and laboratory data on admission were analyzed.
Results
The median plasma nuclear and mitochondria DNA levels for severe septic patients on admission were significantly higher than those of the controls. The mean plasma nuclear DNA level on admission correlated with lactate concentration (γ = 0.36, p = 0.003) and plasma mitochondrial DNA on admission (γ = 0.708, p < 0.001). Significant prognostic factors for fatality included mechanical ventilation within the first 24 hours (p = 0.013), mean sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score on admission (p = 0.04), serum lactate (p < 0.001), and both plasma nuclear and mitochondrial DNA on admission (p < 0.001). Plasma mitochondrial DNA was an independent predictor of fatality by stepwise logistic regression such that an increase by one ng/mL in level would increase fatality rate by 0.7%.
Conclusion
Plasma DNA has potential use for predicting outcome in septic patients arriving at the emergency room. Plasma mitochondrial DNA level on admission is a more powerful predictor than lactate concentration or SOFA scores on admission.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-130
PMCID: PMC3441240  PMID: 22720733
Hospital mortality; Mitochondrial DNA; Nucleus DNA; Severe sepsis
2.  Long-term effects on carotid intima-media thickness after radiotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Background
Vascular abnormalities are the predominant histologic changes associated with radiation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This study examined if the duration after radiotherapy correlates with the progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and investigated its relationship with inflammatory markers.
Methods
One hundred and five NPC patients post-radiotherapy for more than one year and 25 healthy control subjects were examined by B-mode ultrasound for IMT measurement at the far wall of the common carotid artery (CCA). Surrogate markers including lipid profile, HbA1c, and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were assessed.
Results
The IMT of CCA was significantly increased in NPC patients and carotid plaque was detected in 38 NPC patients (38/105, 36.2%). Significant risk factors for carotid plaques included age, duration after radiotherapy, and HbA1c levels. Age, duration after radiotherapy, hs-CRP, HbA1c, and platelet count positively correlated with IMT. The cut-off value of age and duration after radiotherapy for the presence of plaque was 52.5 years and 42.5 months, respectively. In NPC subjects, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age, gender, duration after radiotherapy and platelet counts were independently associated with CCA IMT. After adjustments for age, gender and platelet counts, IMT increased in a linear manner with duration after radiotherapy.
Conclusions
Radiation-induced vasculopathy is a dynamic and progressive process due to late radiation effects. Extra-cranial color-coded duplex sonography can be part of routine follow-up in NPC patients aged ≥50 years at 40 months post-radiotherapy.
doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-261
PMCID: PMC3827874  PMID: 24196030
Atherosclerosis; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiotherapy; Risk factors
3.  The association among leukocyte apoptosis, autoantibodies and disease severity in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Background
Both apoptosis and autoantibodies are important factors associated with disease activity in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study tested the hypothesis that increased leukocyte apoptosis is associated with elevated levels of autoantibodies and the disease activity of SLE.
Methods
Leukocyte apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry, including annexin V, APO2.7, and 7-amino-actinomycin D (7-AAD) on each subtype of leukocyte in 23 patients with SLE. Leukocyte apoptosis was also evaluated in nine patients with Sjogren’s syndrome (SJS) and in 20 volunteer subjects. Titers of common autoantibodies and the disease activity index (SLEDAI-2 k) of the SLE patients were also determined.
Results
Except for annexin V and APO 2.7 of monocytes and late apoptosis (annexin V + 7-ADD) of lymphocytes, apoptosis in the total and in subsets of leukocytes were significantly higher in SLE patients than in controls (all p < 0.05, post hoc analysis). The mean percentage of late apoptosis of leukocytes (annexin V + 7-AAD) positively correlated with levels of anti-Ro52/60 (r = 0.513, p < 0.01), anti-La (r = 0.439, p = 0.04), and anti-Mi-2 (r = 0.492, p = 0.02), and inversely correlated with both C3 and C4 levels, although not statistically significant. The percentage of APO2.7 of CD19+ cells positively correlated with SLEDAI-2 K score (p = 0.01).
Conclusions
Leukocyte apoptosis is significantly higher in patients with SLE and correlates well with the levels of several autoantibodies. The APO2.7 of B-lymphocyte (CD19+) cells positively correlates with the disease activity of SLE.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-261
PMCID: PMC3853096  PMID: 24138706
Autoantibodies; Diseases severity score; Leukocyte apoptosis; Systemic lupus erythematosus
4.  The diagnostic value of ultrasonography in carpal tunnel syndrome: a comparison between diabetic and non-diabetic patients 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:65.
Background
To compare the value of ultrasonography for diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in patients with and without diabetes mellitus (DM).
Methods
Eighty non-DM and 40 DM patients with electromyography-confirmed CTS were assessed and underwent high-resolution ultrasonography of the wrists. Cross-sectional area (CSA) and flattening ratio (FR) of the median nerve were measured at the carpal tunnel outlet (D) and wrist crease (W).
Results
The 80 non-DM and 40 DM patients had 81 and 59 CTS-hands, respectively. The CSA_D and CSA_W were significantly larger in the CTS-hands and DM-CTS-hands compared to the normal control (p < 0.001). However, there is no difference of CSA_D and CSA_W between DM and non-DM CTS patients. Receiver operating characteristics [ROC] curve analysis revealed that CSA_W ≥13 mm2 was the most powerful predictor of CTS in DM (area under curve [AUC] = 0.72; sensitivity 72.9%, specificity 61.9%) and non-DM (AUC = 0.72; sensitivity 78.5%, specificity 53.2%) patients. The CSA positively correlated with the distal motor latency of the median compound motor action potential (CMAP), distal sensory latency of the median sensory nerve action potential (SNAP), and latency of the median F wave, but negatively correlated with the amplitude of the median CMAP, amplitude of the median SNAP, and sensory NCV of the median nerve. Stepwise logistic regression revealed that CSA_W (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07-1.38; p = 0.003) was independently associated with CTS in DM patients and any 1 mm2 increase in CSA_W increased the rate of CTS by 28%.
Conclusions
The CSA of the median nerve at the outlet and wrist crease are significantly larger in CTS hands in both DM and non-DM patients compared to normal hands. The CSA of the median nerve by ultrasonography may be a diagnostic tool for evaluating CTS in DM and non-DM patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-65
PMCID: PMC3697998  PMID: 23800072
Carpal tunnel syndrome; Cross-sectional area; Median nerve; Ultrasonography
5.  Bacterial brain abscess in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma following radiotherapy: microbiology, clinical features and therapeutic outcomes 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:204.
Background
This study aimed to analyze the clinical features, causative pathogens, neuro-imaging findings, and therapeutic outcomes of bacterial brain abscess in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) following radiotherapy.
Methods
NPC patients with bacterial brain abscess were evaluated. Their clinical data were collected over a 22-year period. For comparison, the clinical features, causative pathogens, neuro-imaging findings, and therapeutic outcomes between NPC and non-NPC patients were analyzed.
Results
NPC accounted for 5.7% (12/210) of the predisposing factors, with Viridans streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus as the two most common causative pathogens. Significant statistical analysis between the two groups (NPC and non-NPC patients) included chronic otitis media (COM) as the underlying disease, post-radiation necrosis by neuro-imaging, and the temporal lobe as the most common site of brain abscesses. The fatality rate in patients with and without NPC was 16.7% and 20.7%, respectively.
Conclusions
NPC patients with bacterial brain abscess frequently have COM as the underlying disease. Neuro-imaging often reveals both post-radiation necrosis and the temporal lobe as the most common site of brain abscesses, the diagnosis of which is not always a straightforward process. Radiation necrosis can mimic brain abscess on neuro-imaging and pose significant diagnostic challenges. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-204
PMCID: PMC3482557  PMID: 22943134
Bacterial brain abscess; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Therapeutic outcome
6.  Predictors and outcomes of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients with aneurysmal sub-arachnoid hemorrhage 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:12.
Background
Hydrocephalus following spontaneous aneurysmal sub-arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is often associated with unfavorable outcome. This study aimed to determine the potential risk factors and outcomes of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in aneurysmal SAH patients but without hydrocephalus upon arrival at the hospital.
Methods
One hundred and sixty-eight aneurysmal SAH patients were evaluated. Using functional scores, those without hydrocephalus upon arrival at the hospital were compared to those already with hydrocephalus on admission, those who developed it during hospitalization, and those who did not develop it throughout their hospital stay. The Glasgow Coma Score, modified Fisher SAH grade, and World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade were determined at the emergency room. Therapeutic outcomes immediately after discharge and 18 months after were assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Score.
Results
Hydrocephalus accounted for 61.9% (104/168) of all episodes, including 82 with initial hydrocephalus on admission and 22 with subsequent hydrocephalus. Both the presence of intra-ventricular hemorrhage on admission and post-operative intra-cerebral hemorrhage were independently associated with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients without hydrocephalus on admission. After a minimum 1.5 years of follow-up, the mean Glasgow outcome score was 3.33 ± 1.40 for patients with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus and 4.21 ± 1.19 for those without.
Conclusions
The presence of intra-ventricular hemorrhage, lower mean Glasgow Coma Scale score, and higher mean scores of the modified Fisher SAH and World Federation of Neurosurgical grading on admission imply risk of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients without initial hydrocephalus. These patients have worse short- and long-term outcomes and longer hospitalization.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-12-12
PMCID: PMC3467164  PMID: 22765765
Outcome; Risk factors; Hydrocephalus after spontaneous aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage
7.  The association between serum adhesion molecules and outcome in acute spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage 
Critical Care  2011;15(6):R284.
Introduction
Serum concentrations of adhesion molecules may be connected to the pathogenesis of secondary brain injury after spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). This study posits the hypothesis that levels of adhesion molecules substantially increase after ICH and are decreased thereafter, and that they can predict treatment outcomes.
Methods
Two hundred and thirty-nine blood samples were collected from 60 consecutive patients admitted within 24 hours after onset of spontaneous ICH and 60 blood samples were collected from 60 volunteers. Additional samples were obtained on Days 4, 7, 10, and 14 after onset of ICH regardless of clinical deterioration.
Results
Upon discharge, the therapeutic outcomes of the 60 spontaneous ICH cases based on the modified Rankin Disability Scale (mMRS) showed that 17 had no disability while 8.3% developed delayed cerebral infarction (DCI). Statistical analysis of adhesion molecules between patient groups with good outcome (mMRS = 0 or 1) and poor outcome (mMRS ≥2) revealed significant differences in diabetes mellitus (P=0.049), hyperlipidemia (P=0.012), mentality change (P=0.043), ICH volume and intraventricular hemorrhage on admission (P=0.036 and 0.006, respectively), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on admission (P≤0.001), neuro-surgical intervention (P=0.003), and sE-selectin and soluble intercellular cell adhesion-molecule-1 (sICAM-1) levels on admission (P=0.036 and 0.019, respectively). Multiple logistic regression analysis of these significant variables showed that GCS on admission, hyperlipidemia, and sICAM-1 (P=0.039, 0.042, and 0.022, respectively) were independently associated with outcome of acute spontaneous ICH.
Conclusion
Increased sICAM-1 and sE-selectin levels may imply poor therapeutic outcomes for the treatment of spontaneous ICH during hospitalization. These early inflammatory responses may cause whole-brain injury immediately after spontaneous ICH and offer a potential therapeutic target for such patients. The importance of these findings is that they offer a potential therapeutic target for patients with spontaneous ICH.
doi:10.1186/cc10568
PMCID: PMC3388671  PMID: 22117900

Results 1-7 (7)