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1.  Additional Support for Simple Imputation of Missing Quality of Life Data in Nursing Research 
ISRN Nursing  2011;2011:752320.
Background. Missing data are a significant problem in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) research. We evaluated two imputation approaches: missing data estimation (MDE) and assignment of mean score (AMS). Methods. HRQOL data were collected using the Medical Outcomes Trust SF-12. Missing data were estimated using both approaches, summary statistics were produced for both, and results were compared using intraclass correlations (ICC). Results. Missing data were imputed for 21 participants. Mean values were similar, with ICC >.99 within both the Physical Component Summary and the Mental Component Summary when comparing the two methodologies. When imputed data were added into the full study sample, mean scores were identical regardless of methodology. Conclusion. Results support the use of a practical and simple imputation strategy of replacing missing values with the mean of the sample in cross-sectional studies when less than half of the required items of the SF-12 components are missing.
PMCID: PMC3236396  PMID: 22191054
2.  Pain in Canadian Veterans: Analysis of data from the Survey on Transition to Civilian Life 
In the United States, extensive research has been conducted investigating chronic pain among Veterans; however, such research has not been conducted among Canadians who served in the military. Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate the prevalence of chronic pain among Canadian Veterans, and to determine correlates of chronic pain in this population. Data for this study were obtained from the Survey on Transition to Civilian Life; 3154 Veterans released from service between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2007 responded to the survey.
Little is known about the prevalence of chronic pain among Veterans outside the United States.
To describe the prevalence of chronic pain and associated sociodemographic, health behaviour, employment/income, disability, and physical and mental health factors in Canadian Veterans.
The 2010 Survey on Transition to Civilian Life included a nationally representative sample of 3154 Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force Veterans released from service between 1998 and 2007. Data from a telephone survey of Veterans were linked with Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada administrative databases. Pain was defined as constant/reoccurring pain (chronic pain) and as moderate/severe pain interference with activities.
Forty-one percent of the population experienced constant chronic pain and 23% experienced intermittent chronic pain. Twenty-five percent reported pain interference. Needing help with tasks of daily living, back problems, arthritis, gastrointestinal conditions and age ≥30 years were independently associated with chronic pain. Needing help with tasks of daily living, back problems, arthritis, mental health conditions, age ≥30 years, gastrointestinal conditions, low social support and noncommissioned member rank were associated with pain interference.
These findings provide evidence for agencies and those supporting the well-being of Veterans, and inform longitudinal studies to better understand the determinants and life course effects of chronic pain in military Veterans.
PMCID: PMC4391444  PMID: 25602711
Associated factors; Chronic pain; Military; Prevalence; Veterans
3.  Assessment of potential biomarkers of subclinical vitamin K deficiency in patients with end-stage kidney disease 
A significant proportion of hemodialysis patients have functional, but modifiable, vitamin K deficiency.
To determine the correlates of poor vitamin K status in hemodialysis patients.
Cross-sectional study.
Hemodialysis units at Kingston General Hospital and its satellite centres, Ontario, Canada.
Patients undergoing outpatient hemodialysis for end-stage kidney disease.
Serum concentrations of phylloquinone, undercarboxylated prothrombin, also known as protein induced by vitamin K absence or antagonism – factor II (PIVKA-II), and the percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%ucOC).
Vitamin K status was determined in fasting blood samples of hemodialysis patients. Bivariate relationships were examined using parametric and non-parametric statistics as appropriate. Multivariable linear regression models were applied to identify predictors of vitamin K status.
Among 44 HD patients, criteria for subclinical vitamin K deficiency were met in 13.6% (phylloquinone < 0.4 nmol/L), 51% (%ucOC > 20%) and 90.9% (PIVKA-II > 2.0 nmol/L) of subjects. Phylloquinone levels were positively associated with total cholesterol, triglyceride levels and non-smoking status. Higher %ucOC was associated with increased calcium-phosphate product. Increased PIVKA-II levels were observed with advancing age, reduced dialysis adequacy, lower HDL and a history of coronary artery disease. There were no associations found among the individual biomarkers of vitamin K status. In a multi-variable model, triglycerides were the only significant predictor of phylloquinone levels, while increasing phosphate and decreasing PTH were independent predictors of %ucOC. PIVKA-II levels increased by 0.54 nmol/L for every 10-year increase in age.
Observational study; small sample size.
A significant proportion of HD patients met criteria for subclinical vitamin K deficiency. Of the biomarkers measured, PIVKA-II may be superior given its independence of renal function or dyslipidemia, both of which may confound the other vitamin K biomarkers. Studies in patients with ESKD linking biomarkers of vitamin K status to important patient outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, nutritional status and mortality, are required in order to determine the optimal biomarker for evaluating vitamin K status in this particular population.
PMCID: PMC4349792  PMID: 25780608
Chronic kidney disease; Hemodialysis; Phylloquinone; PIVKA; Osteocalcin; Vitamin K
4.  Relationship between the number of positive fecal occult blood tests and the diagnostic yield of colonoscopy 
In 2007, Ontario launched a colon cancer screening program for average-risk individuals based on biennial fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) on three fecal samples, followed by colonoscopy for individuals who tested positive.
To determine whether >1 positive screening FOBT was predictive of finding advanced neoplasia at colonoscopy.
A retrospective chart review of outpatient colonoscopic procedures performed at Hotel Dieu Hospital (Kingston, Ontario) in the first two years of the colon cancer screening program was conducted, focusing on endoscopic and pathological findings.
Of 5556 individuals undergoing colonoscopy, 346 were referred for positive FOBT. Overall, 41 (11.8%) patients with a positive FOBT had colon cancer. In 16 (4.6%) cases, the number of positive FOBTs was not reported. For the 330 individuals in whom the number of positive tests was specified, 198, 71 and 61 cases had one, two and three positive results, respectively. Cancer was found at colonoscopy in 11 (5.6%), 11 (15.5%) and 18 (29.5%) of individuals with one, two and three positive FOBT results, respectively (OR 3.0 [95% CI 1.2 to 7.3] and 6.5 [95% CI 2.8 to 15.0] for two or three positive FOBTs compared with one; P=0.015 and P<0.001, respectively). High-risk adenomas (>1 cm in diameter, villous component and/or high-grade dysplasia) were found in 41 (20.8%), 29 (42.0%) and 25 (41.0%) individuals with one, two and three positive FOBTs, respectively (OR 2.8 [95% CI 1.5 to 5.0] and 2.4 [95% CI 1.3 to 4.5] for two or three positive FOBTs compared with one; P=0.001 and P=0.006, respectively).
The diagnostic yield of colonoscopy varied directly with the number of positive FOBTs. This information may be useful in assigning scheduling priority for patients with positive FOBTs.
PMCID: PMC3731119  PMID: 23472244
Cancer screening; Colon cancer; Colonoscopy; Fecal occult blood test; High-risk adenoma
5.  Outcomes: wedge resection versus lobectomy for non–small cell lung cancer at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario 1998–2009 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2013;56(6):E165-E170.
Sublobar resection for non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains controversial owing to concern about local recurrence and long-term survival outcomes. We sought to determine the efficacy of wedge resection as an oncological procedure.
We analyzed the outcomes of all patients with NSCLC undergoing surgical resection at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario between 1998 and 2009. The standard of care for patients with adequate cardiopulmonary reserve was lobectomy. Wedge resection was performed for patients with inadequate reserve to tolerate lobectomy. Predictors of recurrence and survival were assessed. Appropriate statistical analyses involved the χ2 test, an independent samples t test and Kaplan–Meier estimates of survival. Outcomes were stratified for tumour size and American Joint Committee on Cancer seventh edition TNM stage for non–small cell lung cancer.
A total of 423 patients underwent surgical resection during our study period: wedge resection in 71 patients and lobectomy in 352. The mean age of patients was 64 years. Mean follow-up for cancer survivors was 39 months. There was no significant difference between wedge resection and lobectomy for rate of tumour recurrence, mortality or disease-free survival in patients with stage IA tumours less than 2 cm in diameter.
Wedge resection with lymph node sampling is an adequate oncological procedure for non–small cell lung cancer in properly selected patients, specifically, those with stage IA tumours less than 2 cm in diameter.
PMCID: PMC3859792  PMID: 24284157
6.  Leg ulcer nursing care in the community: a prospective cohort study of the symptom of pain 
BMC Nursing  2013;12:3.
Chronic wounds are managed almost entirely by community nurses. Almost all individuals with leg ulcers report acute pain usually related to dressing change. Little is known about pain after healing. The purpose of this study was to explore the course of pain from baseline to time of healing of leg ulcers (venous or mixed etiology). In order to understand this phenomenon and develop implications for nursing practice, objectives included: 1) Measure incidence and prevalence of pain at baseline and healing; 2) Describe characteristics associated with leg ulcer pain at baseline; 3) Identify predictors of leg ulcer pain at healing.
Data were from one randomized controlled trial (2004-2008) of 424 individuals with leg ulcers in the community receiving evidence-informed nursing management. The primary outcome was pain at the time of healing. Predictive factors included demographic, circumstance of living, clinical and ulcer characteristics. Multivariable logistic regression identified the subset of predictors of pain at healing. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) are reported.
Eighty-two percent of participants reported pain at baseline and 32% at healing. Five percent with no pain at baseline reported pain at healing. Thirty-seven percent reported moderate to severe pain at baseline and 11% at healing. Twenty percent of all those who healed reported pain interfered with work moderately to extremely at time of healing. Being female (OR=1.64, 95% CI 1.00, 2.68, p=0.05), use of short-stretch vs. four-layer bandages (OR=1.73, 95% CI 1.06, 2.82, p=0.03), lower SF-12 PCS (OR=0.97, 95% CI 0.94, 0.99, p=0.02) and MCS (OR=0.98, 95% CI 0.95-1.00, p=0.04) scores, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (OR=2.28, 95% CI 1.06, 4.88, p=0.03), and tender pain (OR=2.17, 95% CI 1.29, 3.66, p=<0.01) were associated with pain at time of healing.
Pain is an issue on admission for chronic wounds and at healing, yet 58% with moderate to severe pain on admission were not taking pain medication(s). Future studies should examine the role of pain at healing and at subsequent ulcer recurrence. Mobility and other factors that may contribute to pain at time of healing should also be assessed. Community nurses are encouraged to consider pain when planning care on admission and also after wound healing, when most patients are discharged from care.
Trial registration, NCT00202267
PMCID: PMC3598712  PMID: 23388350
Pain; Health-related quality of life; Chronic conditions; Leg ulcers; Community care nursing; Longitudinal study, Canada
7.  Associations of epicardial fat with coronary calcification, insulin resistance, inflammation, and fibroblast growth factor-23 in stage 3-5 chronic kidney disease 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:26.
Epicardial fat, quantified in a single multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) slice, is a reliable estimate of total epicardial fat volume (EFV). We sought to determine risk factors for EFV detected in a single-slice MSCT measurement (ssEFV) in pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Our primary objective was to determine the association between ssEFV and coronary artery calcification (CAC).
94 pre-dialysis stage 3–5 CKD patients underwent MSCT to measure ssEFV and CAC. ssEFV was quantified at the level of the left main coronary artery. Measures of inflammation, traditional and kidney-related cardiovascular disease risk factors were collected.
Mean age: 63.7 ± 14 years, 56% male, 39% had diabetes, and mean eGFR: 25.1 ± 11.9 mL/min/1.73 m2. Mean ssEFV was 5.03 ± 2.4 cm3. By univariate analysis, body mass index (BMI) (r = 0.53; P = <0.0001), abdominal obesity (r = 0.51; P < 0.0001), high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (r = − 0.39; P = <0.0001), insulin resistance (log homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (log HOMA-IR)) (r = 0.38, P = 0.001), log interleukin-6 (IL-6) (r = 0.34; P = 0.001), and log urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (UACR) (r = 0.30, P = 0.004) demonstrated the strongest associations with ssEFV. Log coronary artery calcification (log CAC score) (r = 0.28, P = 0.006), and log fibroblast growth factor-23 (log FGF-23) (r = 0.23, P = 0.03) were also correlated with ssEFV. By linear regression, log CAC score (beta =0.40; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01-0.80; P = 0.045), increasing levels of IL-6 (beta = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.38 – 1.61; P = 0.002), abdominal obesity (beta = 1.86; 95% CI, 0.94 - 2.8; P < 0.0001), lower HDL cholesterol (beta = −2.30; 95% CI, – 3.68 to −0.83; P = 0.002) and albuminuria (log UACR, beta = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.2 to 1.4; P = 0.01) were risk factors for increased ssEFV.
In stage 3–5 CKD, coronary calcification and IL-6 and were predictors of ssEFV. Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanism by which epicardial fat may contribute to the pathogenesis of coronary disease, particularly in the CKD population.
PMCID: PMC3571879  PMID: 23351146
Epicardial fat; Chronic kidney disease; Coronary artery calcification; Metabolic syndrome; Interleukin-6
8.  Challenging the 10-year rule: The accuracy of patient life expectancy predictions by physicians in relation to prostate cancer management 
We assess physicians’ ability to accurately predict life expectancies. In prostate cancer this prediction is especially important as it affects screening decisions. No previous studies have examined accuracy in the context of real cases and concrete end points.
Seven clinical scenarios were summarized from charts of deceased patients. We recruited 100 medical professionals to review these scenarios and estimate each patient’s life expectancy. Responses were analyzed with respect to the patients’ actual survival end points, then stratified based on the demographic information provided.
Respondent factors, such as sex, level of training, location of work or specialty, made no significant difference on prediction accuracy. Furthermore, respondents were typically pessimistic in their estimations with a negative linear trend between estimated life expectancy and actual survival. Overall, respondents were within 1 year of actual life expectancy only 15.9% of the time; on average, respondents were 67.4% inaccurate in relation to actual survival. If framed in terms of correctly identifying which patients would live more than or less than 10 years (dichotomous accuracy), physicians were correct 68.3% of the time.
Physicians do poorly at predicting life expectancy and tend to underestimate how long patients have left to live. This overall inaccuracy raises the question of whether physicians should refine screening and treatment criteria, find a better proxy or dispose of the criteria altogether.
PMCID: PMC3478337  PMID: 23093629
9.  IL-27-Induced Gene Expression Is Downregulated in HIV-Infected Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45706.
To characterize the effect of HIV infection on IL-27-induced gene expression.
During HIV infection, cytokine expression and function become deregulated. IL-27 is an important modulator of inflammatory responses. Interestingly, IL-27 can inhibit HIV replication in T cells and monocytes, implicating IL-27 as a potential adjunct to anti-viral treatment. Our previous work demonstrated that circulating HIV may suppress IL-27 expression, therefore, this study, in continuation of our previous work, aimed to understand how HIV affects expression levels of the IL-27 receptor and downstream functions of IL-27.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from whole blood of HIV negative and HIV positive (viremic) individuals to assess IL-27-induced gene expression by flow cytometry and ELISA. PBMC were also processed for monocyte enrichment to assess IL-27 receptor expression by flow cytometry and real-time PCR.
Expression of the IL-27 receptor subunit, gp130, was upregulated in response to IL-27 in HIV negative individuals, however, in HIV positive individuals, this IL-27 response was diminished. Furthermore, we observed downregulation of IL-27-induced IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-10 expression in HIV positive subjects.
In HIV infection, IL-27-induced gene expression was impaired, indicating HIV-mediated dysregulation of IL-27 functions occurs during HIV infection. This study provides evidence for new viral pathogenic mechanisms contributing to the widespread impairment of immune responses observed in HIV pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3458084  PMID: 23049843
10.  Patient Perceptions of Natural Orifice Translumenal Surgery 
Minimally Invasive Surgery  2012;2012:317249.
Natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) is on the forefront of surgical technique, but existing research has produced mixed results regarding factors associated with interest in the procedure. Our objective was to ascertain patient opinions at a Canadian centre regarding scarless surgery. A survey comprising demographic data (gender, age, body mass index [BMI]), interest in NOTES, impact of increased risk, as well as importance of further research and shorter recovery time was administered to volunteer patients at outpatient general surgery clinics. Nonparametric tests were utilized to examine difference in response by age, sex, BMI, and preexisting scars. Of the 335 participants (57% female, mean age of 54.5 ± 15.9 years, mean BMI of 28.7 ± 6.9), the majority (83%) showed some interest, but this dropped to 38% when additional risk was factored in. Generally, women, those under 50 years of age and those of healthy weight, were more interested than male, older, and/or heavier patients. Most felt that research into NOTES and reduced length of inpatient stay were important (80% and 95%, respectively). Further investigation into objective NOTES outcomes are needed to provide patients adequate data to make an informed choice regarding surgical route.
PMCID: PMC3317047  PMID: 22482048
11.  The Canadian Bandaging Trial: Evidence-informed leg ulcer care and the effectiveness of two compression technologies 
BMC Nursing  2011;10:20.
Objective: To determine the relative effectiveness of evidence-informed practice using two high compression systems: four-layer (4LB) and short-stretch bandaging (SSB) in community care of venous leg ulcers. Design and Setting: Pragmatic, multi-centre, parallel-group, open-label, randomized controlled trial conducted in 10 centres. Cognitively intact adults (≥18 years) referred for community care (home or clinic) with a venous ulceration measuring ≥0.7cm and present for ≥1 week, with an ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) ≥0.8, without medication-controlled Diabetes Mellitus or a previous failure to improve with either system, were eligible to participate.
Consenting individuals were randomly allocated (computer-generated blocked randomization schedule) to receive either 4LB or SSB following an evidence-informed protocol. Primary endpoint: time-to- healing of the reference ulcer. Secondary outcomes: recurrence rates, health-related quality of life (HRQL), pain, and expenditures.
424 individuals were randomized (4LB n = 215; SSB n = 209) and followed until their reference ulcer was healed (or maximum 30 months). An intent-to-treat analysis was conducted on all participants. Median time to ulcer healing in the 4LB group was 62 days [95% confidence interval (CI) 51 to 73], compared with 77 days (95% CI 63 to 91) in the SSB group. The unadjusted Kaplan-Meier curves revealed the difference in the distribution of cumulative healing times was not significantly different between group (log rank χ2 = 0.001, P = 0.98) nor ulcers recurrence (4LB, 10.1%; SSB, 13.3%; p = 0.345). Multivariable Cox Proportional Hazard Modeling also showed no significant between-bandage differences in healing time after controlling for significant covariates (p = 0.77). At 3-months post-baseline there were no differences in pain (no pain: 4LB, 22.7%; SSB, 26.7%; p = 0.335), or HRQL (SF-12 Mental Component Score: 4LB, 55.1; SSB, 55.8; p = 0.615; SF-12 Physical Component Score: 4LB, 39.0; SSB, 39.6; p = 0.675). The most common adverse events experienced by both groups included infection, skin breakdown and ulcer deterioration.
The Canadian Bandaging Trial revealed that in the practice context of trained RNs using an evidence-informed protocol, the choice of bandage system (4LB and SSB) does not materially affect healing times, recurrence rates, HRQL, or pain. From a community practice perspective, this is positive news for patient-centred care allowing individual/family and practitioner choice in selecting compression technologies based on circumstances and context.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00202267
PMCID: PMC3214126  PMID: 21995267
12.  Relation between fractures and mortality: results from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study 
Fractures have largely been assessed by their impact on quality of life or health care costs. We conducted this study to evaluate the relation between fractures and mortality.
A total of 7753 randomly selected people (2187 men and 5566 women) aged 50 years and older from across Canada participated in a 5-year observational cohort study. Incident fractures were identified on the basis of validated self-report and were classified by type (vertebral, pelvic, forearm or wrist, rib, hip and “other”). We subdivided fracture groups by the year in which the fracture occurred during follow-up; those occurring in the fourth and fifth years were grouped together. We examined the relation between the time of the incident fracture and death.
Compared with participants who had no fracture during follow-up, those who had a vertebral fracture in the second year were at increased risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1–6.6); also at risk were those who had a hip fracture during the first year (adjusted HR 3.2, 95% CI 1.4–7.4). Among women, the risk of death was increased for those with a vertebral fracture during the first year (adjusted HR 3.7, 95% CI 1.1–12.8) or the second year of follow-up (adjusted HR 3.2, 95% CI 1.2–8.1). The risk of death was also increased among women with hip fracture during the first year of follow-up (adjusted HR 3.0, 95% CI 1.0–8.7).
Vertebral and hip fractures are associated with an increased risk of death. Interventions that reduce the incidence of these fractures need to be implemented to improve survival.
PMCID: PMC2734204  PMID: 19654194
13.  Wait time for endoscopic evaluation at a Canadian tertiary care centre: Comparison with Canadian Association of Gastroenterology targets 
In recent years, there has been considerable concern regarding wait times for Canadian health care, which led the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) to develop specific wait time targets.
To quantify wait times for endoscopic procedures at a tertiary care centre and correlate these with clinical presentation, impact on quality of life (QOL) and final diagnosis; and to determine how well the CAG wait time targets are being met.
Patients completed a 12-item questionnaire regarding wait times and their impact on QOL. A blind review was performed of the endoscopic results, with a specific focus on correlating wait time with a final diagnosis of serious and treatable diseases.
The average total wait time for the 417 participants in the present study was 229 days; 78.6% did not meet CAG wait time targets. The wait time for screening colonoscopy was longer, and the proportion of patients meeting wait time targets was significantly smaller, than for patients referred with iron deficiency anemia or a positive fecal occult blood test result. The 41 patients deemed to have a high-impact diagnosis established by endoscopy had a median wait time of 115 days, and only 23.5% met wait time targets. Overall, 38.4% of patients believed that their wait was too long, 13.9% missed school or work in the preceding month because of gastrointestinal symptoms and 23% reported being very worried about having a serious disease.
The majority of patients waiting for endoscopy did not meet CAG wait time targets, with the screening colonoscopy group faring the worst. Many of these patients await a definitive diagnosis of serious diseases that negatively impact QOL.
PMCID: PMC2661267  PMID: 18629391
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology wait time targets; Endoscopic procedures
14.  Postoperative bedrest improves the alignment of thoracolumbar burst fractures treated with the AO spinal fixator 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2009;52(3):215-220.
A loss of reduction due to inadequate support of the anterior column when using short-segment instrumentation to treat burst fracture and novel methods for support of the anterior column through a posterior approach to augment posterior instrumentation have been reported in the literature. We hypothesized that if anterior column support is an important adjunct to posterior short-segment instrumentation, then avoidance of axial load until sufficient anterior column healing occurs, allowing load-sharing with the implant, would improve spinal alignment at follow-up.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study in which consecutive patients who had instrumentation and fusion with the AO spinal fixator were immediately ambulated after surgery or had 4 weeks of bedrest. We measured kyphosis and wedge angles preoperatively, immediately postoperatively and at the time of final follow-up. We used radiologic measures to assess instrumentation and bone failure.
We found significant differences in the mean loss of wedge and kyphosis angle correction between patients immediately ambulated and those who had 4 weeks of bedrest (0.71º v. − 4.73º for wedge and 1.81º v. − 6.55º for kyphosis, respectively). There was significant correlation between instrumentation and bone failure in both the immediate ambulation and bedrest groups.
Bedrest improves the maintenance of intraoperative sagittal alignment correction, which is in agreement with the theory that inadequate support of the anterior spinal column is the mechanism for loss of reduction when using short-segment instrumentation to treat burst fractures. Therefore, addressing the anterior column directly through anterior surgery or by employing novel techniques in posterior surgery is recommended if one of the goals of treatment is to maintain the sagittal correction achieved at the time of surgery. Trying to achieve this goal by addressing posterior implant design or bone quality alone will not be successful because instrumentation and bone failure occur together.
PMCID: PMC2689743  PMID: 19503666
15.  Effects of smoke exposure and other lifestyle factors on pain response to electrical stimulation in women 
A relationship between smoking and development of pain syndromes has been suggested in the literature. The present study examined associations between smoke exposure and other related variables, and pain response to suprathreshold electrical stimulation.
Subjects were prospectively recruited from a population referred to an electrodiagnostic clinic. Information about age, smoke exposure, caffeine and alcohol consumption was obtained, as well as documented objective signs of stress through physical assessment. One investigator applied two standardized 0.1 ms electrical stimulations (50 mA followed by 100 mA) to asymptomatic extremities at the beginning of each electrodiagnostic session, using consistent technique. Subjects used a visual analogue scale to indicate the level of pain felt after each stimulation.
Two hundred fifteen women were included. Current smokers and those currently exposed to second-hand smoke had significantly higher pain ratings (P=0.003 for 50 mA, P=0.005 for 100 mA) than those not currently exposed to smoke. Time since exposure was negatively associated with pain ratings. Those with objective signs of stress reported higher levels of pain, which was significant for the 100 mA stimulation (P=0.046). Linear regression modelling indicated that current smoke exposure and alcohol use were associated with higher pain ratings at both 50 mA and 100 mA, while stress was associated with higher pain ratings and older age was associated with lower pain ratings at 100 mA only.
Exposure to cigarette smoke is significantly related to higher reported levels of pain experienced in response to electrical stimulation in this study population. Exposure to smoke can add 10 points to the 100-point visual analogue scale compared with subjects without exposure, with alcohol use adding another eight points. Reported pain decreases as length of time since previous exposure to smoke increases.
PMCID: PMC2671312  PMID: 18592060
Electrical stimulation; Pain response; Smoke exposure; Women
16.  Measurement of surgical wait times in a universal health care system 
Reported increases in surgical wait times for cancer have intensified the focus on this quality of health care indicator and have created a very public, concerted effort by providers to decrease wait times for cancer surgery in Ontario. Delays in access to health care are multifactorial and their measurement from existing administrative databases can lack pertinent detail. The purpose of our study was to use a real-time surgery-booking software program to examine surgical wait times at a single centre.
The real-time wait list management system Axcess.Rx has been used exclusively by the department of urology at the Kingston General Hospital to book all nonemergency surgery for 4 years. We reviewed the length of time from the decision to perform surgery to the actual date of surgery for patients in our group urological practice. Variables thought to be potentially important in predicting wait time were also collected, including the surgeon’s assessment of urgency, the type of procedure (i.e., diagnostic, minor cancer, major cancer, minor benign, major benign), age and sex of the patient, inpatient versus outpatient status and year of surgery. Analysis was planned a priori to determine factors that affected wait time by using multivariate analysis to analyze variables that were significant in univariate analysis.
There were 960 operations for cancer and 1654 for benign conditions performed during the evaluation period. The overall mean wait time was 36 days for cancer and 47 days for benign conditions, respectively. The mean wait time for cancer surgery reached a nadir in 2004 at 29.9 days and subsequently increased every year, reaching 56 days in 2007. In comparison, benign surgery reached a nadir wait time of 33.7 days in 2004 and in 2007 reached 74 days at our institution. Multivariate analysis revealed that the year of surgery was still a significant predictor of wait time. Urgency score, type of procedure and inpatient versus outpatient status were also predictive of wait time.
The application of a prospectively collected data set is an effective and important tool to measure and subsequently examine surgical wait times. This tool has been essential to the accurate assessment of the effect of resource allocation on wait times for priority and nonpriority surgical programs within a discipline. Such tools are necessary to more fully assess and follow wait times at an institution or across a region.
PMCID: PMC2593602  PMID: 19066677
17.  Impact of a provincial asthma guidelines continuing medical education project: The Ontario Asthma Plan of Action’s Provider Education in Asthma Care Project 
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funded the Ontario Lung Association to develop and implement a continuing medical education program to promote implementation of the Canadian asthma guidelines in primary care.
To determine baseline knowledge, preferred learning format, satisfaction with the program and reported impact on practice patterns.
A 3 h workshop was developed that combined didactic presentations and small group case discussions. Outcome measures included a workshop evaluation, baseline assessment of asthma management knowledge and three-month postreflective evaluations.
One hundred thirty-seven workshops were delivered to 2783 primary care providers (1313 physicians, 1470 allied health) between September 2002 and March 2005. Of the 2133 participants, 1007 physicians and 1126 allied health professionals submitted workshop evaluations. Most (98%) of the attendees indicated they would recommend the workshop to a colleague. The majority preferred the combination of didactic lecture plus interactive case discussions. A subset of physicians provided consent to use these data for research (n=298 pediatric and 288 adult needs assessments; n=349 postreflective evaluations). Important needs identified included appropriate medication for chronic asthma and development of written action plans. On the postreflective evaluations, 88.7% remained very satisfied, 95.5% reported increased confidence, 91.9% reported an influence on practice and 67.2% reported using a written action plan.
This continuing medical education program addresses identified needs of primary care providers. Participants reported improvements in asthma care, including prescribing practices, use of spirometry and written action plans. Similar programs should be considered as part of multifaceted asthma guidelines dissemination and implementation initiatives in other provinces and nationally.
PMCID: PMC2676382  PMID: 17372639
Asthma; Continuing medical education; Guidelines
18.  Changes in body mass index in Canadians over a five-year period: Results of a prospective, population-based study 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:150.
The initiation of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study in 1996, and subsequent follow-up of the cohort 5 years later, provided longitudinal body mass index (BMI) data for a random sample of Canadians.
Height and weight were measured at baseline and 5 years and used to calculate BMI and assign one of six weight categories. Multiple imputation was used to adjust for missing weight at year 5. Data were stratified by age and gender. The proportion of participants moving between categories was generated, and multivariable linear regression was used to identify factors associated with weight change.
Baseline data were available for 8548 participants, year 5 data for 6721, and year 5 weight was imputed for 1827 (17.6%). Mean BMI for every age and gender group exceeded healthy weight guidelines. Most remained within their BMI classification over 5 years, but when change occurred, BMI category was more likely to increase than decrease. Several sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical characteristics were associated with change.
Mean baseline BMI tended to be higher than recommended. Moreover, on average, men under age 45 and women under age 55 were gaining approximately 0.45 kilograms (one pound) per year, which leveled off with increased age and reversed in the oldest age groups. These findings underscore the need for public health efforts aimed at combating obesity.
PMCID: PMC1947966  PMID: 17620129
19.  Cardioprotective medication use in hemodialysis patients 
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in patients with renal failure, accounting for more than 50% of deaths in end-stage renal disease. Risk factor modification with the use of cardioprotective medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), beta-adrenergic antagonists (beta-blockers), acetylsalisylic acid (ASA) and 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) has been shown to reduce mortality in the general population.
To determine the extent of use of these medications in a hemodialysis population.
This was a cross-sectional study of a cohort of 185 prevalent hemodialysis patients. The inclusion criterion was dialysis dependence and there were no exclusion criteria. Data collection was by chart review. Contraindications to individual medication classes were not obtained.
There were 185 patients enrolled, the mean age was 63.42±15.1 years and 126 (68.1%) were male. Sixty-six (35.7%) patients had diabetes and 89 (48.1%) patients had established coronary artery disease (CAD). Forty-six (24.9%) patients were on ACEIs or angiotensin II receptor blockers, 59 (31.9%) were on beta-blockers, 70 (37.8%) were on ASA and 84 (45.4%) were on statins. Although these medications were used in fewer than 60% of patients, those with CAD were more likely to be prescribed an ACEI or an angiotensin II receptor blocker (P=0.026), a beta-blocker (P<0.001), ASA (P<0.001) or a statin (P=0.001) than those without CAD. There were no differences in the use of these medications between diabetic and nondiabetic patients.
Many hemodialysis patients are not prescribed cardioprotective medications. Given the high cardiovascular mortality in this high-risk population, more attention to reducing cardiovascular risk is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2560515  PMID: 16835669
Cardiorenal protection; Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes; Hemodialysis
20.  Pain, health-related quality of life and health care utilization after inpatient surgery: A pilot study 
Little is known about pain-related outcomes in surgical inpatients after discharge from the hospital. An ongoing risk and outcomes monitoring system would provide valuable feedback to improve the quality of patient care.
The purpose of the present pilot study was to describe postoperative pain, medication use, health care utilization and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) immediately and four weeks after surgery; merge clinically captured data with Web-based follow-up data; and examine patients’ willingness to complete Web-based health questionnaires.
One hundred two consecutive surgical inpatients were approached for participation. Perioperative data were abstracted from the acute pain management service clinical database and linked to follow-up data captured four weeks postoperatively.
Follow-up questionnaires were completed by 88 participants. Clinical assessment data were successfully linked to Web-based follow-up data. Average pain intensity (3.7) four weeks following discharge fell just short of the acute pain management service active pain score of 3.9. At four weeks, all 88 participants reported significantly impaired HRQOL, 36 were still taking pain medications and 15 had visited an emergency room. Two-thirds of the participants had access to the Internet at home and approximately one-half were willing to complete on-line health questionnaires.
The study indicates that it is feasible to link clinical and research data, and shows a significant burden of pain and reduced HRQOL in the weeks following discharge. This approach to converting clinically captured data into meaningful information about surgical outcomes is valuable in the development of an ongoing risk and outcomes monitoring system.
PMCID: PMC2585033  PMID: 16511613
Canada; Computerized health data; Health care utilization; Health-related quality of life; Postoperative pain; Prospective study
21.  Determinants of a healthy lifestyle and use of preventive screening in Canada 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:275.
This study explores the associations between individual characteristics such as income and education with health behaviours and utilization of preventive screening.
Data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS) 1998–9 were used. Independent variables were income, education, age, sex, marital status, body mass index, urban/rural residence and access to a regular physician. Dependent variables included smoking, excessive alcohol use, physical activity, blood pressure checks, mammography in past year and Pap smear in past 3 years. Logistic regression models were developed for each dependent variable.
13,756 persons 20 years of age and older completed the health portion of the NPHS. In general, higher levels of income were associated with healthier behaviours, as were higher levels of education, although there were exceptions to both. The results for age and gender also varied depending on the outcome. The presence of a regular medical doctor was associated with increased rates of all preventive screening and reduced rates of smoking.
These results expand upon previous data suggesting that socioeconomic disparities in healthy behaviours and health promotion continue to exist despite equal access to medical screening within the Canadian healthcare context. Knowledge, resources and the presence of a regular medical doctor are important factors associated with identified differences.
PMCID: PMC1636639  PMID: 17090313
22.  Breastfeeding and sexuality immediately post partum 
Canadian Family Physician  2005;51(10):1367.
To examine the relationship between breastfeeding and resumption of vaginal intercourse; to determine the association between these behaviours and age, parity, marital status, mode of delivery, and contraceptive use; and to identify factors associated with resumption of intercourse among Canadian women in the early postpartum period.
Prospective survey.
Eleven obstetricians’ offices in three Ontario communities between August and December 2002.
Women attending their first postpartum visit.
Resumption of vaginal intercourse.
Of 316 respondents, 181 (57.3%) were currently breastfeeding, and 167 (52.8%) had not yet resumed vaginal intercourse. Mean age of the mothers was 28.7 ± 5.3 years; mean age of their babies was 6.5 ± 1.1 weeks. This was a first child for 50.3% and a second child for 32.6%. Most women (72.8%) were married; another 19.3% were in common-law relationships. Married women were more likely to breastfeed (P = .001), as were those with higher parity (P = .008). Multivariable logistic regression identified five variables significantly associated with resumption of intercourse by 6 weeks post partum. The two most statistically significant variables were breastfeeding (exclusively or supplementing with bottle) and baby’s age in weeks (P <.001 for both). Mode of delivery (vaginal delivery with no tearing, compared with cesarean section or vaginal delivery with tearing) was also a highly significant predictor (P = .003), as was higher parity (P = .003). Older maternal age was weakly associated with resumption of intercourse (P = .049). The 167 women who had not resumed intercourse were asked to indicate their main reasons: 161 responded, citing a total of 215 reasons (54 cited more than one reason). The most common reasons were lack of interest (18.6%), being too tired (16.8%), being afraid of intercourse being painful (16.8%), physician told them not to (15.6%), and thinking they should wait 6 weeks (14.4%).
Breastfeeding women who delay resumption of intercourse during the postpartum period might benefit from open discussion of breastfeeding, sexuality, and contraception immediately post partum.
PMCID: PMC1479788  PMID: 16926969
23.  Hysterectomy at a Canadian tertiary care facility: results of a one year retrospective review 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4:10.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the indications for and approach to hysterectomy at Kingston General Hospital (KGH), a teaching hospital affiliated with Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario. In particular, in light of current literature and government standards suggesting the superiority of vaginal versus abdominal approaches and a high number of concurrent oophorectomies, the aim was to examine the circumstances in which concurrent oophorectomies were performed and to compare abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy outcomes.
A retrospective chart audit of 372 consecutive hysterectomies performed in 2001 was completed. Data regarding patient characteristics, process of care and outcomes were collected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and linear and logistic regression.
Average age was 48.5 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 28.6, the mean length of stay (LOS) was 5.2 days using an abdominal approach and 3.0 days using a vaginal approach without laparoscopy. 14% of hysterectomies were performed vaginally, 5.9% were laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomies and the rest were abdominal hysterectomies. The most common indication was dysfunctional or abnormal uterine bleeding (37%). The average age of those that had an oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) was 50.8 years versus 44.3 years for those that did not (p < .05). Factors associated with LOS included surgical approach, age and the number of concurrent procedures.
A significant reduction in LOS was found using the vaginal approach. Both the patient and the health care system may benefit from the tendency towards an increased use of vaginal hysterectomies. The audit process demonstrated the usefulness of an on-going review mechanism to examine trends associated with common surgical procedures.
PMCID: PMC535934  PMID: 15560842
24.  Canadian normative data for the SF-36 health survey 
The Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form (SF-36) is a widely used measure of health-related quality of life. Normative data are the key to determining whether a group or an individual scores above or below the average for their country, age or sex. Published norms for the SF-36 exist for other countries but have not been previously published for Canada.
The Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study is a prospective cohort study involving 9423 randomly selected Canadian men and women aged 25 years or more living in the community. The sample was drawn within a 50-km radius of 9 Canadian cities, and the information collected included the SF-36 as a measure of health-related quality of life. This provided a unique opportunity to develop age- and sex-adjusted normative data for the Canadian population.
Canadian men scored substantially higher than women on all 8 domains and the 2 summary component scales of the SF-36. Canadians scored higher than their US counterparts on all SF-36 domains and both summary component scales and scored higher than their UK counterparts on 4 domains, although many of the differences are not large.
The differences in the SF-36 scores between age groups, sexes and countries confirm that these Canadian norms are necessary for comparative purposes. The data will be useful for assessing the health status of the general population and of patient populations, and the effect of interventions on health-related quality of life.
PMCID: PMC80287  PMID: 10951722

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