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1.  Medicines shortages in Australia—the reality 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(6):240-242.
PMCID: PMC4082247  PMID: 25031644
3.  Social implications of genomic medicine: Is medicine ready? 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(5):236-237.
PMCID: PMC4051360  PMID: 24944722
4.  Forgotten but not gone - Scrofuloderma in a migrant student from India 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2013;6(7):371-373.
A 34-year-old Indian student who immigrated to Australia five years ago presented with a four-week history of neck pain. Physical examination revealed two firm fixed cervical lymph nodes in the anterior triangle and midline region which were tender on palpation and erythematous on inspection. Cording phenomenon was found on ZN staining of FNA sample and mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb ) PCR confirmed the diagnosis with incomplete resistance to isoniazid. Patient was treated with other three first line antituberculosis medications for nine months with an excellent outcome. Prednisolone was also used as adjunctive therapy and tapered during the course of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3737763  PMID: 23940498
Scrofuloderma; Tuberculosis; Cording phenomenon
5.  Unusual complication of Mycoplasma pneumonia in a five-year-old child 
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is common agent causing community acquired pneumonia in children. However, the course of illness is usually benign and is rarely associated with pulmonary complications. We report a five-year-old child with massive pleural effusion and empyema secondary to Mycoplasma pneumonia infection. This potential yet rare source of infection should be considered in young patients where resolution of symptoms from pneumonia is delayed.
PMCID: PMC3593522  PMID: 23483100
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Pleural Effusion; Empyema
6.  Umbilical endometriosis mimicking as papilloma to general surgeons: A case report 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2012;5(5):272-274.
Cutaneous or umbilical endometriosis is a rare entity that is often overlooked because of chronic abdominal pain. We present a case of umbilical hernia that presented to the general surgeons due to chronic abdominal pain and nodule in the umbilicus, which was clinically diagnosed as umbilical papilloma.
Case presentation
A 48-year old multiparous Caucasian woman presented with painful nodule in the umbilicus for two and half years. The nodule was excised and the histopathological diagnosis was umbilicus endometriosis.
Umbilical endometriosis is a very rare disease but should be considered as a differential diagnosis in women presenting with umbilical swelling.
PMCID: PMC3395284  PMID: 22848323
Endometriosis; Umbilical endometriosis; Papilloma
7.  Laryngeal tuberculosis: A case of a non-healing laryngeal lesion 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2012;5(3):175-177.
We report a case of laryngeal tuberculosis in a 47-year-old Korean man. Laryngeal tuberculosis is rare and currently accounts for less than 1% of all cases of tuberculosis. Clinical features of laryngeal tuberculosis include hoarseness, odynophagia and dyspnoea. Macroscopically, laryngeal tuberculosis may mimic laryngeal carcinoma, chronic laryngitis or laryngeal candidiasis. The diagnosis is often delayed due to a low index of clinical suspicion and hence may pose a significant public health risk. Laryngeal tuberculosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients who present with any form of laryngeal lesion.
PMCID: PMC3422717  PMID: 22952563
Larynx; Tuberculosis; Diagnosis
9.  An unusual branching pattern of common and external carotid artery in a human cadaver: a case report 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2011;4(4):180-182.
During a routine dissection in the Department of Anatomy of the Rural Medical College, Loni, we found a rare variation in branching pattern of the common carotid artery (CCA) and external carotid artery (ECA) bilaterally. The knowledge of possible anatomical variations of CCA and ECA are especially important in the surgeries of head, neck and face; and also for the radiologist to understand and interpret carotid system imaging when undertaking cerebral angiography. This case and the clinical significance of this variation are reported in this paper.
PMCID: PMC3562896  PMID: 23393509
Common carotid artery; external carotid artery; superior thyroid artery,; linguo-facial trunk; ascending pharyngeal artery; occipital artery
10.  Catheter-directed thrombolysis for acute limb ischaemia: An audit 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(12):471-475.
Acute limb ischaemia (ALI) is commonly managed with surgical intervention but catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) is a proven treatment alternative. CDT as a treatment for ALI is not common and is dependent on local practice. All patients receiving urokinase infusions at our institution currently require a bed in the high-dependency unit (HDU). Administering the infusion requires significant nursing time and this can be accommodated in HDU where the nurse-to-patient ratio is higher than it is on general wards.
To report the outcomes of the initial admission of patients who received CDT to manage ALI, and to give a cost estimate of their care.
A retrospective audit was undertaken of all patients who received CDT with urokinase for the management of ALI over a four-year period. Success of thrombolysis was defined as a patient’s survival with no need for any surgical intervention prior to discharge. Outcome measures included the requirement for further vascular procedures in the same admission, the complication rate, and the median urokinase dose and duration. Cost estimates were based on hospital pharmacy and administration data.
Seventy-three patients (median age 66 years, range 27–93 years) were included in the audit. The median urokinase dose was 2.3 million units (range 0.9–5.0 million units) with a median duration of treatment of 26 hours (range 3–96 hours). Fifty-seven patients did not require any further intervention prior to discharge, 14 had further intervention, and two died (one from a brainstem haemorrhage and one who deteriorated despite thrombolysis).
The total cost per CDT case at our institution is currently approximately AUD $4,500 and AUD $6,700 for a patient being treated in HDU for one and two days, respectively. If patients were treated on a general ward, the cost would be approximately AUD $2,600 and AUD $3,000, respectively.
Rates of clinically acceptable clot lysis were high for patients treated with urokinase for ALI. Complication rates were comparable with published studies. Infusions can be required for prolonged periods of time and given the low complication rate, managing patients on a general ward rather than in the HDU is a feasible alternative and would reduce costs substantially.
PMCID: PMC4286578  PMID: 25646123
Acute limb ischaemia; Catheter-directed thrombolysis; Urokinase
11.  An educational intervention’s effect on healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards pharmacovigilance 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(12):478-489.
Pharmacovigilance concerns the detection, assessment, understanding, and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problems. Consumer pharmacovigilance is the involvement of consumers in adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting. Assessing healthcare professionals’ (HCPs) knowledge of and attitude towards pharmacovigilance and consumer pharmacovigilance is integral to strengthening adverse drug reaction reporting systems.
To study knowledge of and attitude towards pharmacovigilance and consumer pharmacovigilance among HCPs from KIST Medical College, Lalitpur, Nepal, and to plan an appropriate educational intervention to address deficiencies noted.
The study was conducted from February 2013 to December 2013 at KIST Medical College using a self-administered, pretested, structured questionnaire. The maximum possible scores for knowledge, attitude, and total were 100, 95, and 195, respectively. Baseline knowledge and attitude were studied. Two months after the questionnaire, an intervention that used a combination of methods about pharmacovigilance and consumer pharmacovigilance was undertaken. Knowledge and attitudes were studied immediately after the intervention. Scores before and after the intervention were compared using Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
A total of 105 HCPs participated. The median (interquartile range) knowledge, attitude, and total scores before the intervention were 56 (7), 72 (9), and 127 (16), respectively. After the intervention the scores increased significantly to 72 (8), 75 (11.5), and 146 (16.5) (p<0.001), respectively.
The intervention was effective in improving HCPs’ knowledge of and attitude towards pharmacovigilance and consumer pharmacovigilance. More studies on this topic among HCPs at other institutions and in the community are required.
PMCID: PMC4286579  PMID: 25646124
Attitude; pharmacovigilance; consumer pharmacovigilance; healthcare professionals; Nepal
12.  Team-based learning as a teaching strategy for first-year medical students 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(12):490-499.
Teaching programmes in medical education are now routinely employing active learning strategies to enhance the learning process and engage students in higher levels of learning. Team-based learning (TBL) is one active learning strategy that builds on individuals’ strengths by allowing them to collaborate and work as a team to achieve a common learning objective.
The present study aims to evaluate the impact of TBL on student performance. It also aims to assess students' attitudes towards TBL and the feasibility of its incorporation into the course curriculum.
From a class of 241 students, 128 who agreed to participate in the study underwent two sessions of TBL each consisting of Individual and Group Readiness Assurance Tests (IRATs and GRATs). The readiness assurance tests each had 13 multiple choice questions (MCQ). To analyse the impact of TBL supplementation, the median sessional MCQ scores of students who underwent TBL supplementation (group 1) were compared with those who did not undergo the session (group 2). Students' experiences with TBL and their attitudes towards incorporation of TBL into the course curriculum were analysed using a feedback questionnaire that was given to students who underwent TBL.
Students belonging to the TBL group performed significantly better than the students who did not undergo TBL (p<0.001). The median sessional MCQ score of the TBL group was seven and non-TBL group was six. The overall mean attitude score obtained from feedback questionnaires was 3.57, which indicates a positive attitude towards TBL.
The team-based learning session improved student engagement with course content. The majority of the students felt that TBL supplementation enhanced their understanding of course content and believe that it will help them perform better in their exams.
PMCID: PMC4286580  PMID: 25646125
Team-based learning; medical students; individual readiness assurance test; group readiness assurance test; active learning
13.  Satisfaction amid professional challenges: International medical graduates in rural Tasmania 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(12):500-517.
At the time of recruitment, migration, and placement, international medical graduates (IMGs) encounter professional challenges. These challenges may include a loss of status and professional identity, professional isolation in rural practice, restrictions on medical practice, and social isolation. Understanding the nature of these challenges may facilitate the recruitment, placement, and success of international medical graduates within rural Tasmania.
The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences, challenges, and barriers that IMGs encounter as they work and live in rural Tasmania.
The study used a mixed-methods design where data were collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews across the south, north, and northwest of Tasmania. IMGs were recruited through purposive snowball and convenience sampling.
A total of 105 questionnaires were returned (response rate 30.0 per cent) and 23 semi-structured interviews were conducted with IMGs across Tasmania. Questionnaire participants indicated that the majority of IMGs are satisfied in their current employment; however, interview participants indicated there were a number of barriers to practising medicine in Tasmania as well as factors that would influence ongoing employment in the state. Despite these challenges, professional support was recognised as a key contributor to professional satisfaction, particularly among IMGs who had just arrived.
The study contributes to the current knowledge and understanding of IMGs who live and work in rural areas. The study shows that there are high levels of satisfaction among IMGs with their current position; however, the research also provides insight into the complexities and factors that impact IMGs as they work and live within rural areas such as Tasmania. This study offers an understanding for policy to improve greater retention of IMGs across rural areas.
PMCID: PMC4286581  PMID: 25646126
international medical graduates; professional challenges; employment; satisfaction; rural practice
15.  Student feedback on problem-based learning processes 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(12):522-529.
Problem-based learning (PBL) sessions consist of a brainstorming phase, search phase, individual study, and reporting phase. At the Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba, PBL is a new learning modality first introduced in May 2013.
PBL processes have not been studied previously at the Xavier University School of Medicine, hence the present study was carried out to obtain information about the PBL processes and note differences, if any, among different groups of students.
The study was conducted among first- to fourth-semester undergraduate medical students during July 2014 using a previously validated PBL processes instrument developed by van den Hurk et al. Information about gender, semester, weekly hours of study, and learning resources used was obtained. Respondents’ agreement with a set of 23 statements was noted using a Likert-type scale, which was scored as 1=totally disagree with the statement, 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, and 5=totally agree with the statement. Mean scores were compared among different groups of respondents.
Fifty-one of the 58 students (87.9 per cent) participated. The weekly average study time was 29.9 hours. Lecture handouts and textbooks were commonly used information sources. The mean scores (scale 1 to 5) for learning-issue-driven searching, and extensiveness of searching were 3.49 and 3.45, respectively. The score for explanation-oriented preparation was 3.94, while those for breadth and depth of discussion were 3.75 and 3.62, respectively. Most scores were higher among second-semester students, but the difference was not significant.
The self-reported scores were comparable to those reported in previous studies done using the same PBL processes instrument in other medical schools. At Xavier University School of Medicine interactive lectures are the major teaching method and topics covered during PBL are also likely to be covered during lectures, which could influence the scores. The findings of our study providing information about how students function during PBL brainstorming and presentation sessions and how they use different learning resources would be of interest to other medical schools worldwide following a hybrid curriculum. Further studies are required.
PMCID: PMC4286583  PMID: 25646128
Medical school; presentation; problem-based learning; reporting; search; self-directed learning
16.  Congenital middle mesocolic hernia: A case report 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):432-435.
Internal hernia is herniation of a viscus, usually in the small bowel, through a normal or abnormal aperture within the peritoneal cavity. Its incidence has been reported to be one to two per cent. Internal hernias are classified based on location, and the hernial orifice can be either congenital or acquired. Paraduodenal hernias are the most common type (53 per cent). Paraduodenal hernia is often a misnomer and is referred to as a mesocolic hernia. Left and right mesocolic hernias are common, while middle and transverse types are rare. We are reporting a rare congenital middle mesocolic hernia presenting as a complete transection of the small intestine due to blunt injury to the abdomen.
PMCID: PMC4259206  PMID: 25550713
Paraduodenal; internal hernia; blunt injury abdomen
17.  Cryptogenic invasive Klebsiella pneumoniae liver abscess syndrome (CIKPLA) in Western Australia? 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):436-440.
Virulent serotypes of Klebsiella pneumoniae are recognised to cause metastatic infections at various sites. Prevalence of this invasive syndrome has been observed worldwide with predominance in Asian series. However, reports in an Australian setting have been limited. We report two cases of fulminating community-acquired invasive Klebsiella pneumoniae liver abscess syndrome occurring in two Caucasian patients, from two different, distant suburbs in Western Australia with no known clinical comorbidities prior to the hospital presentation and no history of recent travel overseas. The interval between both admissions was 18 days, where only one patient survived.
PMCID: PMC4259207  PMID: 25550714
Interventional radiology; invasive liver abscess syndrome; Klebsiella pneumoniae
18.  Dengue co-infection in a blood stream infection caused by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia: A case report 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):441-444.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (S. maltophilia) is an emerging opportunistic bacterial pathogen with resistance to several commonly used antibiotics. Owing to its multidrug resistance (MDR), management of S. maltophilia blood stream infection (BSI) is challenging and requires the selection of appropriate antibiotic therapy. The presence of thrombocytopenia and shock are independent risk factors associated with increased mortality in patients with S. maltophilia BSI. We describe an unusual case of S. maltophilia BSI in a middle-age female complicated by dengue fever. We highlight the importance of early recognition of both dengue and S. maltophilia infection in management of such cases.
PMCID: PMC4259208  PMID: 25550715
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia; Dengue fever; Blood stream infection
19.  The effectiveness of self-directed learning (SDL) for teaching physiology to first-year medical students 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):448-453.
Self-directed learning (SDL) has become popular in medical curricula and has been advocated as an effective learning strategy for medical students to develop competence in knowledge acquisition.
The primary aim was to find out if there was any benefit of supplementing self-directed learning activity with a traditional lecture on two different topics in physiology for first-year medical students.
Two batches of first-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) (Batch A and Batch B) comprising 125 students each, received an SDL session on Morphological classification of anaemia. The students belonging to Batch A received a one-hour lecture on the same topic three days prior to the SDL session. The students were given a 10 multiple choice questions (MCQ) test for a maximum of 10 marks immediately following the SDL session. The next topic, Conducting system of the heart, disorders and conduction blocks was taught to both batches in traditional lecture format. This was followed by an SDL session on the same topic for Batch A only. The students were evaluated with a MCQ test for a maximum of 10 marks.
The mean test scores on the first topic were 4.38±2.06 (n=119) and 4.17±1.71 (n=118) for Batch A and Batch B, respectively. The mean test scores on the second topic were 5.4± 1.54 (n=112) and 5.15±1.37 (n=107) for Batch A and Batch B, respectively. There was no significant difference between the groups.
For first-year medical students, SDL is an effective teaching strategy for learning physiology. However, no additional benefit is gained by supplementing SDL with a lecture to facilitate learning physiology.
PMCID: PMC4259209  PMID: 25550716
lecture; self-directed learning; physiology; medical education
20.  Young Australian adults’ reactions to viewing personalised UV photoaged photographs 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):454-461.
Despite two nationwide sun-protection awareness campaigns, young Australian adults continue to sunbathe. Since their primary motivation for tanning is appearance enhancement, it may well be that campaigns that highlight the negative effects of tanning on appearance are more effective than campaigns that emphasise the health risks associated with sun exposure.
This study aims to explore young adults’ reactions to viewing a photoaged photograph of the sun damage already visible in their facial image.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven females and three males aged 20–30 years. The interview transcripts were transcribed verbatim and were then subjected to Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).
Three themes and eight sub-themes emerged from the analysis. Collectively they revealed that participants’ fear-based reaction to their photoaged photographs triggered in them feelings of unattractiveness, which in turn motivated them to change to their existing sun-tanning behaviours.
Although media-popularised representations of suntanned skin being the desired norm were identified as a barrier to skin-protective behavioural change, personalised ultraviolet (UV) photoaged photographs, when accompanied by an explanation of the skin damage that unprotected ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure causes, were effective in changing young adults’ sun-tanning intentions. Hence, a need exists for positive non-tanning appearance-related messages to be incorporated into sun exposure education campaigns.
PMCID: PMC4259210  PMID: 25550717
photoaged photography; young adults sun-tanning intentions; unprotected UVR sun exposure; skin-protective measures
22.  Proton pump inhibitors: Are we still prescribing them without valid indications? 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(11):465-470.
Evidence from several Western studies has shown an alarmingly high and inappropriate rate of prescription of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which may be associated with increased healthcare costs and adverse outcomes. PPI prescribing patterns remain largely unknown in well-developed healthcare systems in Southeast Asia.
We aimed to determine the prevalence of inappropriate prescription of PPI among elderly patients without documentation of valid indications, in a tertiary teaching hospital in Singapore.
We carried out a retrospective clinical records review of 150 elderly patients aged ≥65 years that had been admitted to two internal medicine wards between 25 May 2011 and 28 June 2011 to determine the appropriateness of indications for PPIs prescribed at hospital discharge. PPI indications were categorised as “valid”, “likely invalid”, and “probable” based on current clinical literature. Pre-admission and discharge prescriptions were reviewed to determine continuation of pre-admission and new PPI prescriptions at discharge. Data on clinical characteristics and concurrent use of ulcerogenic medications were collected.
From a total of 150 patients, 80 (53 per cent) received prescriptions for PPIs. Of these, 65 (81.2 per cent) had no valid documented indications (i.e., the indication was classed as “likely invalid”); 10 (12.5 per cent) had valid indications; and in five cases (6.2 per cent) the indication was “probable”. The most common “likely invalid” indication was primary gastrointestinal bleeding prophylaxis (GIP) among low-dose aspirin users in 28 patients (43 per cent) of invalid PPI prescriptions.
Inappropriate prescribing of PPIs without documented valid indications was prevalent among elderly patients at our tertiary teaching hospital in Singapore, providing evidence that shows a similar trend to PPI prescribing to data from Western countries.
PMCID: PMC4259212  PMID: 25550719
Proton pump inhibitors; prescribing; elderly; valid indications
23.  A study of acute otitis externa at Wellington Hospital, 2007–2011 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(10):392-399.
Acute otitis externa (AOE) is a common inflammatory condition affecting the external ear that occasionally presents with persistent, severe pain, which may be unresponsive to first-line therapy and require assessment and treatment in the hospital setting.
To identify the microorganisms responsible for cases of otitis externa presenting to Wellington Hospital, New Zealand, over a five-year period between 2007 and 2011. We also aim to evaluate current management of this condition and to recommend future treatment options.
A five-year retrospective study, with data obtained from case notes and electronic records for all patients presenting with otitis externa to Wellington Hospital between 2007 and 2011.
Of 347 cases identified, 144 were included in the study. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) was the most common organism (46.5 per cent), while Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) was the second most common (31.9 per cent). Most patients received appropriate topical treatment. However, a significant number were treated with systemic antibiotics alone without adverse outcomes.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common microbe causing acute otitis externa in patients that require hospital level management in Wellington, New Zealand. In most cases, patients received appropriate topical therapy; however, it appears a large number received systemic antibiotic therapy without topical treatment. We recommend broad-spectrum topical antimicrobial therapy in all patients with uncomplicated AOE and culture-sensitive topical treatment with consideration of systemic antimicrobials for severe AOE requiring hospital admission.
PMCID: PMC4221774  PMID: 25379060
Acute otitis externa; microbiology; epidemiology
24.  Miliary tuberculosis with left brachial monoplegia: A case report 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(10):400-404.
Tuberculoma of the brain is a major neurological problem in developing countries accounting for 12 to 30 per cent of all intracranial masses. It often presents with focal neurological symptoms or seizures. Simultaneous occurrence of brain tuberculoma with miliary mottling in the lungs is uncommon in the immunocompetent patient. We report only the second case of monoplegia and miliary tuberculosis, wherein the patient presented with acute onset left brachial monoplegia, upper motor neuron facial palsy, and fever with an MRI of the brain showing multiple granulomas and chest x-ray showing miliary mottling. The patient’s neurological deficit started to resolve with corticosteroids and anti-tubercular treatment.
PMCID: PMC4221775  PMID: 25379061
CNS tuberculoma; Miliary tuberculosis; Monoplegia
25.  SGLT2 inhibitors: New medicines for addressing unmet needs in type 2 diabetes 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(10):405-415.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is rising in Australia. Sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are an emerging treatment for T2DM. SGLT2 inhibitors offer a novel approach to lowering hyperglycaemia by suppressing renal glucose reabsorption and increasing urinary glucose excretion. The increased urinary glucose excretion has also been associated with caloric loss and osmotic diuresis. Dapagliflozin and canagliflozin are the SGLT2 inhibitors that are approved for clinical use in the US, the European Union (EU), and Australia. Their use results in reductions in HbA1c and body weight across a broad range of patient populations ranging from drug-naive patients to those who require additional therapy due to inadequate glycaemic control on their existing treatment. In addition, reductions in blood pressure (BP), particularly systolic BP, have also been noted. SGLT2 inhibitors are generally well tolerated with low rates of adverse events. Episodes of hypoglycaemia were mostly classified as minor, with low and balanced rates of severe hypoglycaemia across studies. The proportions of patients with genital infections and urinary tract infections were higher with dapagliflozin and canagliflozin versus their comparators. However, these infections were generally mild-to-moderate in intensity, treated with standard antimicrobial therapies, and rarely led to discontinuation. No dosage adjustments for dapagliflozin and canagliflozin are recommended for normal-to-mild renal impairment. Dapagliflozin and canagliflozin are not recommended for use in patients with eGFR<60 and <45mL/min/1.73m2, respectively. Overall, SGLT2 inhibitors have shown the potential to become an important addition to the treatment armamentarium for effective management of patients with T2DM.
PMCID: PMC4221776  PMID: 25379062
Type 2 diabetes; SGLT2 inhibitors; management; renal

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