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1.  A population-based study on the association between acute renal failure (ARF) and the duration of polypharmacy 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:96.
Because of the rapid growth in elderly population, polypharmacy has become a serious public health issue worldwide. Although acute renal failure (ARF) is one negative consequence of polypharmacy, the association between the duration of polypharmacy and ARF remains unclear. We therefore assessed this association using a population-based database.
Data were collected from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) from 2003 through 2006. The case group included patients hospitalized for ARF during 2006, but not admitted due to trauma, surgery, burn trauma, car accident, transplantation, or infectious diseases; the control group included patients hospitalized without ARF. The cumulative number of days of polypharmacy (defined as more than 5 prescriptions per day) for 1 year prior to admission was determined, with patients further subdivided into 4 categories: less than 30 days, 31–90 days, 91–180 days, and over 181 days. The dependent variable was ARF, and the control variables were age, gender, comorbidities in patients hospitalized for ARF, stay in ICUs during ARF hospitalization and site of operation for prior admissions within one month of ARF hospitalization.
Of 20,790 patients who were admitted to hospitals for ARF in 2006, 12,314 (59.23 %) were male and more than 60 % were older than 65 years. Of patients with and without ARF, 16.14 % and 10.61 %, respectively, received polypharmacy for 91–180 days and 50.22 % and 24.12 %, respectively, for over 181 days. A statistical model indicated that, relative to patients who received polypharmacy for less than 30 days, those who received polypharmacy for 31–90, 91–180 and over 181 days had odds ratios of developing ARF of 1.33 (p<0.001), 1.65 (p<0.001) and 1.74 (p<0.001), respectively.
We observed statistically significant associations between the duration of polypharmacy and the occurrence of ARF.
PMCID: PMC3447669  PMID: 22935542
2.  Long-term medical utilization following ventilator-associated pneumonia in acute stroke and traumatic brain injury patients: a case-control study 
The economic burden of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) during the index hospitalization has been confirmed in previous studies. However, the long-term economic impact is still unclear. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of VAP on medical utilization in the long term.
This is a retrospective case-control study. Study subjects were patients experiencing their first traumatic brain injury, acute hemorrhagic stroke, or acute ischemic stroke during 2004. All subjects underwent endotracheal intubation in the emergency room (ER) on the day of admission or the day before admission, were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and were mechanically ventilated for 48 hours or more. A total of 943 patients who developed VAP were included as the case group, and each was matched with two control patients without VAP by age ( ± 2 years), gender, diagnosis, date of admission ( ± 1 month) and hospital size, resulting in a total of 2,802 patients in the study. Using robust regression and Poisson regression models we examined the effect of VAP on medical utilization including hospitalization expenses, outpatient expenses, total medical expenses, number of ER visits, number of readmissions, number of hospitalization days and number of ICU days, during the index hospitalization and during the following 2-year period.
Patients in the VAP group had higher hospitalization expenses, longer length of stay in hospital and in ICU, and a greater number of readmissions than the control group patients.
VAP has a significant impact on medical expenses and utilization, both during the index hospitalization during which VAP developed and in the longer term.
PMCID: PMC3217911  PMID: 22040214
ventilator-associated pneumonia; medical utilization; longitudinal study; ICU; traumatic brain injury; acute hemorrhagic stroke; acute ischemic stroke

Results 1-2 (2)