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1.  The effect of adding gender item to Berlin Questionnaire in determining obstructive sleep apnea in sleep clinics 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):25-28.
We aimed to validate the Turkish version of Berlin Questionnaire (BQ) and developped a BQ-gender (BQ-G) form by adding gender component. We aimed to compare the two forms in defining patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in sleep clinics.
Four hundred and eighty five consecutive patients, refered to our sleep clinic for snoring, witnessed apnea and/or excessive daytime sleepiness were enrolled to the study. All patients underwent in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG). Patients with sleep efficiency less than 40% and total sleep time less than 4 hours, chronic anxiolitic/sedative drug usage, respiratory tract infection within past two weeks were excluded from the study. All the patients fulfilled BQ. The test and retest for BQ were applied in 15-day interval in 30 patients.
Totally 433 patients were enrolled to the study (285 male, 148 female). The mean age of the patients was 47,5 ± 10.5 (21-79). 180 patients (41.6%) had apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≤ 15, while 253 patients (58,4%) had AHI > 15. The κ value was 48–94 and the the truth value was 69-94% for the test-retest procedure. Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV), positive predictive value (PPV), and area under the curve AUC were 84.2%, 31.7%, 48.7%, 63.4%, and 0.579 in order for BQ and 79.9 %, 51.7%, 63.2% , 69.6%, and 0.652 for BQ-G.
The results showed that BQ-G is relatively better than BQ in determining moderate to severe OSA in sleep clinics where most of the patients are sleep apneic but both of the tests were found to have insufficient validities in defining moderate to severe OSA in sleep clinics.
PMCID: PMC4286840  PMID: 25593603
Breathing sleep disorder; Berlin questionnaire; gender; sleep apnea
2.  The effect of sand storms on acute asthma in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):29-33.
Major sand storms are frequent in the Middle East. This study aims to investigate the role of air particulate matter (PM) level in acute asthma in children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
An aerosol spectrometer was used to evaluate PM < 10μm in diameter (PM10) and PM < 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) concentrations in the air every 30 minutes throughout February and March 2012 in Riyadh. Data on children 2-12 years of age presenting to the emergency department of a major children's hospital with acute asthma during the same period were collected including their acute asthma severity score.
The median with interquartile range (IQR) levels of PM10 and PM2.5 were 454 μg/m3 (309,864) and 108 μg/m3 (72,192) respectively. There was no correlation between the average daily PM10 levels and the average number of children presenting with acute asthma per day (r = -0.14, P = 0.45), their daily asthma score (r = 0.014, P = 0.94), or admission rate ( r= -0.08, P = 0.65). This was also true for average daily PM2.5 levels. In addition, there was no difference in these variables between days with PM10 >1000 μg/m3, representing major sand storms, plus the following 5 days and other days with PM10< 1000 μg/m3.
Sand storms, even major ones, had no significant impact on acute asthma exacerbations in children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The very high levels of PM, however, deserve further studying especially of their long-term effects.
PMCID: PMC4286841  PMID: 25593604
Status asthmaticus; sand storms; environmental health; air particulate matter; Saudi Arabia
3.  Impact of multimedia information on bronchoscopy procedure: is it really helpful? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):34-37.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of written informed consent and comprehensive multimedia information on the anxiety level of patients, consumption of sedatives, difficulties during bronchoscopy, complications and duration of procedure.
150 patients undergoing bronchoscopy were included to this study. They were randomized into two groups Multimedia information group (MIG, n = 75) and written-informed consent group (WICG, n = 75)). Signed written informed consent was obtained from all patients. Patients in MIG group watched comprehensive multimedia presentation. State anxiety scores of all patients were evaluated with State and Trait anxiety inventory (STAI-S).
STAI-S score of patients in MIG (40.31 ± 8.08) was lower than patients in WICG (44.29 ± 9.62) (P = 0.007). Satisfaction level was higher in MIG (P = 0.001). Statistically higher difficulties during passage through vocal cords and interventions during bronchoscopy were present in WICG group (P = 0.013 and P = 0.043, respectively). Total midazolam dose during bronchoscopy, and duration of bronchoscopy were statistically lower in MIG patients (P < 0.001 and P = 0.045, respectively). Difficulties during waiting period, passage through nasal/oral route, applications of local anesthesia and complication frequency were similar in both groups.
Besides reducing the state anxiety, multimedia information can reduce the dose of sedation, shorten the processing duration and reduce the difficulties during bronchoscopy.
PMCID: PMC4286843  PMID: 25593605
Bronchoscopy; ethics; multimedia information; sedation
4.  Pirfenidone treatment in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: A Saudi experience 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):38-43.
Recent trials involving pirfenidone suggest a beneficial effect in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
To report on the efficacy and safety of pirfenidone in the treatment of patients with IPF, at a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia.
The study included 58 patients with IPF who were evaluated from March 2012 to March 2013. During the study period, 33 patients received pirfenidone, and the remaining patients (n = 25) served as a control group. Baseline clinical characteristics, physiological parameters and the results of a 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) were compared between the groups. Furthermore, we compared changes in forced vital capacity (FVC), diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLco), six-minute walk distance (6MWD) and SF-36 for both groups during follow-up. The last follow-up period ended in January 2014.
There were no significant differences in baseline clinical characteristics between the groups. Furthermore, we found no differences in FVC, DLco and SF-36 during follow-up (median, 12 months). However, patients receiving pirfenidone treatment were less likely to experience reductions in 6MWD compared with the control group (13% vs. 52%, respectively; P = 0.001). Although adverse events were more frequently reported by the pirfenidone group compared with the control group (85 vs. 56%, respectively; P = 0.015), these patients did not require discontinuation of treatment.
Pirfenidone treatment preserves functional capacity, as reflected by the 6MWD. Adverse events associated with pirfenidone treatment were generally well tolerated by the patients.
PMCID: PMC4286844  PMID: 25593606
36-item short form health survey; acetylcysteine; anti-reflux therapy; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; pirfenidone; six-minute walk distance
5.  Sonographic evaluation of intravascular volume status: Can internal jugular or femoral vein collapsibility be used in the absence of IVC visualization? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):44-49.
Inferior vena cava collapsibility index (IVC-CI) has been shown to correlate with both clinical and invasive assessment of intravascular volume status, but has important limitations such as the requirement for advanced sonographic skills, the degree of difficulty in obtaining those skills, and often challenging visualization of the IVC in the postoperative patient. The current study aims to explore the potential for using femoral (FV) or internal jugular (IJV) vein collapsibility as alternative sonographic options in the absence of adequate IVC visualization.
A prospective, observational study comparing IVC-CI and Fem- and/or IJV-CI was performed in two intensive care units (ICU) between January 2012 and April 2014. Concurrent M-mode measurements of IVC-CI and FV- and/or IJV-CI were collected during each sonographic session. Measurements of IVC were obtained using standard technique. IJV-CI and FV-CI were measured using high-frequency, linear array ultrasound probe placed in the corresponding anatomic areas. Paired data were analyzed using coefficient of correlation/determination and Bland-Altman determination of measurement bias.
We performed paired ultrasound examination of IVC-IJV (n = 39) and IVC-FV (n = 22), in 40 patients (mean age 54.1; 40% women). Both FV-CI and IJV-CI scans took less time to complete than IVC-CI scans (both, P < 0.02). Correlations between IVC-CI/FV-CI (R2 = 0.41) and IVC-CI/IJV-CI (R2 = 0.38) were weak. There was a mean -3.5% measurement bias between IVC-CI and IJV-CI, with trend toward overestimation for IJV-CI with increasing collapsibility. In contrast, FV-CI underestimated collapsibility by approximately 3.8% across the measured collapsibility range.
Despite small measurement biases, correlations between IVC-CI and FV-/IJV-CI are weak. These results indicate that IJ-CI and FV-CI should not be used as a primary intravascular volume assessment tool for clinical decision support in the ICU. The authors propose that IJV-CI and FV-CI be reserved for clinical scenarios where sonographic acquisition of both IVC-CI or subclavian collapsibility are not feasible, especially when trended over time. Sonographers should be aware that IJV-CI tends to overestimate collapsibility when compared to IVC-CI, and FV-CI tends to underestimates collapsibility relative to IVC-CI.
PMCID: PMC4286845  PMID: 25593607
Femoral vein; hemodynamic resuscitation; intensive care unit; internal jugular vein; inferior vena cava; intravascular volume status assessment; portable ultrasound; point-of-care testing; venous collapsibility index
6.  Conventional transbronchial needle aspiration: From acquisition to precision 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):50-54.
Conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (C-TBNA) is a minimally invasive, safe, and cost-effective technique in evaluating mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Previously we reported that the skills for C-TBNA can be acquired from the books. We studied the learning curve for C-TBNA for a single bronchoscopist at a tertiary-care center where ultrasound technology remains difficult to acquire .
We prospectively collected results of the first 99 consecutively performed C-TBNA between December 2009 and 2013. Patients were divided into 3 groups: (I): First 33, (II): Next 33 and (III): Last 33. Results were categorized as malignant, non-malignant or non-diagnostic. Diagnostic yield (DY), sensitivity (SEN), specificity (SPE), positive and negative predictive values (PPV, NPV), and accuracy (ACC) were calculated to learn the learning curve for C-TBNA.
Total 99 patients (M:F = 62:37), mean age 58.2 ± 11.5 years, mean LN diameter 26.9 ± 9.8 mm underwent C-TBNA. Sixty-nine patients had lymph nodes (LNs) >20 mm in diameter. Final diagnoses were established by C-TBNA in 44 (yield 44.4%), mediastinoscopy 47, transthoracic needle aspiration 5, endobronchial biopsy 2 and peripheral LN biopsy 1. C-TBNA was exclusively diagnostic in 35.4%. Group I: DY: 42.4%, 64.7% in malignancies, 19% in benign conditions (P = 0.008). SEN, SPE, PPV, NPV, ACC = 70%, 100%, 100%, 66.6%, 78.7%, respectively. Group II: DY: 54.5% (36.4% exclusive), 88.2% in malignancies and 19% benign conditions (P = 0.000). SEN, SPE, PPV, NPV, ACC=72%, 100%, 100%, 53.3%, 78.7%, respectively. Group III: DY: 36.3% (27% exclusive), 100% in malignancies and 16% in benign conditions. SEN, SPE, PPV, NPV, ACC = 92.3%, 100%, 100%, 95.2%, 97%, respectively. No difference was found in relation to LN size or location and TBNA yield.
C-TBNA can be easily learned and the proficiency can be attained with <66 procedures. In selected patients, its exclusivity could exceed 35%.
PMCID: PMC4286846  PMID: 25593608
C-TBNA; EBUS-TBNA; flexible bronchoscopy; learning curve
7.  Status of respiratory care profession in Saudi Arabia: A national survey 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):55-60.
Respiratory care (RC) is an allied health profession that involves assessing and treating patients who have pulmonary diseases. Research indicates that respiratory therapists’ (RT's) involvement in caring for patients with respiratory disorders improves important outcome measures. In Kingdome of Saudi Arabia (KSA), RC has been practiced by RTs for more than 30 years.
We sought to investigate the status of the RC workforce in Saudi Arabia in terms of demographic distribution, number, education, and RC service coverage.
We used a specially designed survey to collect data. A list of 411 working hospitals in KSA was obtained. All hospitals were contacted to inquire if RC is practiced by RTs. Data were collected from hospitals that employ RTs.
Only 88 hospitals, 21.4% of total hospitals in the country, have RTs. Out of the 244 Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals, only 31 hospitals (12.7%) employ RTs. There are 1,477 active RTs in KSA. Twenty-five percent of them, or 371, are Saudis. The majority of the RT workforce (60%) work for non-MOH government hospitals, and almost half the total RTs work in Riyadh province. About 60% of RTs work in critical care settings. RC coverage of critical care was 44.5% of ideal. The overall RT-to-ICU bed ratio was 1:11. The ratio was 1:9 for non-MOH government hospitals, and 1:20 for MOH hospitals.
We report the first insightful data on RC workforce in KSA. These data should be used by educational institutions and health policy makers to plan better RC coverage in the country.
PMCID: PMC4286847  PMID: 25593609
Respiratory care; respiratory therapy; Saudi Arabia
8.  Progression-free survival, post-progression survival, and tumor response as surrogate markers for overall survival in patients with extensive small cell lung cancer 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):61-66.
The effects of first-line chemotherapy on overall survival (OS) might be confounded by subsequent therapies in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). We examined whether progression-free survival (PFS), post-progression survival (PPS), and tumor response could be valid surrogate endpoints for OS after first-line chemotherapies for patients with extensive SCLC using individual-level data.
Between September 2002 and November 2012, we analyzed 49 cases of patients with extensive SCLC who were treated with cisplatin and irinotecan as first-line chemotherapy. The relationships of PFS, PPS, and tumor response with OS were analyzed at the individual level.
Spearman rank correlation analysis and linear regression analysis showed that PPS was strongly correlated with OS (r = 0.97, p < 0.05, R2= 0.94), PFS was moderately correlated with OS (r = 0.58, p < 0.05, R2= 0.24), and tumor shrinkage was weakly correlated with OS (r = 0.37, p < 0.05, R2= 0.13). The best response to second-line treatment, and the number of regimens employed after progression beyond first-line chemotherapy were both significantly associated with PPS ( p ≤ 0.05).
PPS is a potential surrogate for OS in patients with extensive SCLC. Our findings also suggest that subsequent treatment after disease progression following first-line chemotherapy may greatly influence OS.
PMCID: PMC4286848  PMID: 25593610
Extensive small cell lung cancer; overall survival; post-progression survival; progression-free survival; tumor response
9.  Pressure-controlled versus volume-controlled ventilation during one-lung ventilation in elderly patients with poor pulmonary function 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):203-208.
The aim was to investigate the effects of two different ventilatory strategies: Pressure-controlled ventilation (PCV) versus volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) in elderly patients with poor pulmonary function during one-lung ventilation (OLV).
The patients were enrolled into the study having poor pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s <1.5 L) and undergoing radical resection of pulmonary carcinoma requiring at least 2 h of OLV. Patients were respectively allocated to VCV group and PCV group. The intraoperative data, arterial, and mixed venous blood gases were obtained at baseline, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 min after OLV and end of surgery. The postoperative data had been recorded and arterial gas measurements were performed at 6, 12 and 24 h after surgery in Intensive Care Unit.
Comparison of the VCV group and PCV group, PaO2 and P(A-a)O2 were higher and dead space to tidal volume was lower in the PCV group (P < 0.05) after the point of OLV +60, Ppeak was higher in the VCV group (P < 0.05). There were significant advantages in PCV groups with regard to the PaO2 of three points in postoperation, the duration of postoperative ventilation duration, intensive care duration of stay and the days stay in hospital after surgery.
The use of PCV compared with VCV during OLV in elderly patients with poor pulmonary function has significant advantages of intraoperative and postoperative oxygenation and it might be a factor, which can beneficial to postoperative recovery.
PMCID: PMC4166066  PMID: 25276238
Aged; one-lung ventilation; pressure-controlled ventilation; pulmonary function; volume-controlled ventilation
10.  Pulmonary arterial hypertension in Saudi Arabia: Patients' clinical and physiological characteristics and hemodynamic parameters. A single center experience 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):209-215.
The main objective of this study is to describe patients' clinical characteristics and physiological and hemodynamic parameters at the time of diagnosis in a pulmonary hypertension center in Saudi Arabia.
This study reports the results from a single pulmonary hypertension specialized center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, namely Prince Sultan Medical Military City/Cardiac Center (PSMMC & CC). Both newly diagnosed (incidence) and referred (prevalence) cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension are included. All characteristics, including clinical, physiological, and hemodynamic parameters at the time of diagnosis are described.
A total of 107 patients were identified as having pulmonary arterial hypertension as diagnosed by right heart catheterization. The mean age at diagnosis was 36 (± 9) years, and there was a female preponderance of 62.6%. The mean duration between symptom onset and diagnosis was 27.8 (± 9.0) months. At the time of enrollment, 56.1% of patients were in functional class III and 16.8% were in functional class IV. Fifty five patients (51.4%) were diagnosed as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, 29 patients (27.1%) as congenital heart disease associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension, 16 patients (15.0%) as connective tissue diseases associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension, 4 patients (3.7%) as heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension, and 3 patients (2.8%) as portopulmonary hypertension.
This data highlights the current situation of pulmonary arterial hypertension in Saudi Arabia. Our patients are much younger than patients described in other international registries but still detected as late in the course of the disease. A majority of patients displays severe functional and hemodynamic compromise.
PMCID: PMC4166067  PMID: 25276239
Hemodynamics; pulmonary arterial hypertension; registry; Saudi Arabia; Saudi association for pulmonary hypertension; six minute walk test
11.  Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: A clinical review of 24 patients: Are we right in frequent serologic monitoring? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):216-220.
Allergic Broncho Pulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) is a rare disease characterized by an allergic inflammatory response to the colonization by aspergillus or other fungi in the airways. The aim was to study the clinical, radiological, and serological characteristics of patients of ABPA.
A prospective observational study of patients with breathlessness, chronic cough, blood eosinophilia, and infiltrates on chest X-ray were evaluated with serologic and allergic skin fungal tests using 15 common fungal antigens. Total of 24 patients were diagnosed as ABPA.
Total 24 patients, 15 males (62%), 9 females (38%). Age range: 14-70 years, mean 49.13, standard deviation (SD) 14.12. Central bronchiectasis — sixteen patients, bronchocoele — one patient, consolidation — five patients, collapse with mucous plugging with areas of consolidation — three patients, one patient had bronchiectasis, consolidation with hemorrhagic pleural effusion. Fifty-eight percent of patients had received anti-tuberculosis medications prior to diagnosis. Serum total IgE varied from 340 to 18100 IU/mL. Two patients had IgE levels below 1,000 IU/mL. The mean decrease in Serum total IgE levels at the end of 1 month was 26.1% (range: 0.7-71.9%) and at the end of 2 months was 58.9% (range: 11.11-93.26%) (P value of 0.004). Two patients had skin sensitivity to fungal antigens other than aspergillus species.
ABPA is a disease with varied clinical, radiological, and serological patterns. Serum IgE monitoring may be done at the end of 2 and 6 months. Further studies are required to simplify the diagnosis and treatment algorithms in resource-limited countries.
PMCID: PMC4166068  PMID: 25276240
Allergic; aspergillosis; bronchopulmonary; radiological; serological
12.  Association of compliance of ventilator bundle with incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia and ventilator utilization among critical patients over 4 years 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):221-226.
Several studies showed that the implementation of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) ventilator bundle alone or with other preventive measures are associated with reducing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) rates. However, the association with ventilator utilization was rarely examined and the findings were conflicting. The objectives were to validate the bundle association with VAP rate in a traditionally high VAP environment and to examine its association with ventilator utilization.
The study was conducted at the adult medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Saudi Arabia, between 2010 and 2013. VAP data were collected by a prospective targeted surveillance as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) methodology while bundle data were collected by a cross-sectional design as per IHI methodology.
Ventilator bundle compliance significantly increased from 90% in 2010 to 97% in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). On the other hand, VAP rate decreased from 3.6 (per 1000 ventilator days) in 2010 to 1.0 in 2013 (P for trend = 0.054) and ventilator utilization ratio decreased from 0.73 in 2010 to 0.59 in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). There were negative significant correlations between the trends of ventilator bundle compliance and VAP rate (cross-correlation coefficients −0.63 to 0.07) and ventilator utilization (cross-correlation coefficients −0.18 to −0.63).
More than 70% improvement of VAP rates and approximately 20% improvement of ventilator utilization were observed during IHI ventilator bundle implementation among adult critical patients in a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia. Replicating the current finding in multicenter randomized trials is required before establishing any causal link.
PMCID: PMC4166069  PMID: 25276241
Bundle; health-care-associated infection; Institute for Healthcare Improvement; quality improvement; ventilator-associated pneumonia; ventilator utilization
13.  18F-FDG PET/CT rarely provides additional information other than primary tumor detection in patients with pulmonary carcinoid tumors 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):227-231.
The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/Computed Tomography (CT) in detection and staging of pulmonary carcinoid tumors.
A total of 22 patients with pulmonary carcinoid tumors (14 typical, 8 atypical) were reviewed in this retrospective study. PET/CT images of all patients were evaluated for primary tumor as well as metastatic regional lymph nodes, bone and other distant metastases. PET/CT positivity of primary tumors was determined by visual interpretation. Tumor size, SUVmax and Hounsfield Unit (HU) values of the tumors were used to test for differences between tumor groups (typical carcinoids and atypical carcinoids).
SUVmax of carcinoids ranged from 1.24 to 11.1 (mean, 5.0; median, 2.67). The mean largest diameter of primary tumors was 2.7 ± 1.3 cm, ranging from 1 to 5.5 cm. The overall sensitivity of FDG PET/CT for detection of pulmonary carcinoid tumors was 81.8%. Tumor size, SUVmax and Hounsfield Unit (HU) values of the atypical carcinoids were higher than those for typical carcinoids. However, the results were not statistically meaningful (P > 0.05). The sensitivity and specificity of FDG PET/CT in the detection of mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes metastases were 25% and 83% respectively. One patient had bone metastasis.
Although FDG PET/CT can be a useful tool for the detection of pulmonary carcinoid tumors and distant metastasis, it cannot discriminate typical carcinoids from atypical ones and absence of an FDG avid lesion cannot exclude pulmonary carcinoid tumors. Moreover, PET/CT is not a reliable tool in the staging of mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes especially for those patients with typical carcinoids.
PMCID: PMC4166070  PMID: 25276242
FDG PET/CT; pulmonary carcinoid tumor; synchronous pulmonary carcinoids
14.  Value of neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio in the differential diagnosis of sarcoidosis and tuberculosis 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):232-235.
The differential diagnosis of sarcoidosis creates a challange due to tuberculosis also having lung and lymph node involvement. Because both diseases show granulomatous inflammation, it may not be possible to distinguish tuberculosis and sarcoidosis in pathological specimens. As a result of the complexity in the differential diagnosis of sarcoidosis and tuberculosis, new markers for differentiation are being investigated.
The aim of our study is to investigate the value of neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) as a possible marker in differentiating sarcoidosis and tuberculosis.
In our study, 51 acid-fast bacilli (AFB) positive and/or culture-positive patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, ​​40 patients with biopsy-proven sarcoidosis and a control group consisting of 43 patients were included. In our study, information was collected retrospectively based on hospital records.
Leukocyte and neutrophil counts, NLR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly higher, and albumin was significantly lower in the tuberculosis group compared with sarcoidosis (for all parameters P < 0.001). The most appropriate cut-off value of NLR to distinguish tuberculosis from sarcoidosis was determined as 2.55. For this cut-off value of NLR there was 79% sensitivity, 69% specificity, 73% positive predictive value (PPV), 75% negative predictive value (NPV), and area under the curve (AUC) was 0.788. For differentiation of sarcoidosis from tuberculosis, accuracy of the NLR test according to this cut-off value was found as 76%.
NLR as a little known marker in respiratory medicine was found to be supportive in differentiation of tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. More studies on this issue is needed.
PMCID: PMC4166071  PMID: 25276243
Granulomatous inflammation; neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio; sarcoidosis; tuberculosis
15.  Prevalence of sleep-related accidents among drivers in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):236-241.
The prevalence of sleepy driving and sleep-related accidents (SRA) varies widely, and no data exist regarding the prevalence of sleepy driving in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the prevalence and predictors of sleepy driving, near-misses, and SRA among drivers in Saudi Arabia.
A questionnaire was developed to assess sleep and driving in detail based on previously published data regarding sleepy driving. The questionnaire included 50 questions addressing socio-demographics, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), driving items, and the Berlin Questionnaire. In total, 1,219 male drivers in public places were interviewed face-to-face.
The included drivers had a mean age of 32.4 ± 11.7 years and displayed a mean ESS score of 7.2 ± 3.8. Among these drivers, 33.1% reported at least one near-miss accident caused by sleepiness. Among those who had actual accidents, 11.6% were attributed to sleepiness. In the past six months, drivers reported the following: 25.2% reported falling asleep at least once during, driving and 20.8% had to stop driving at least once because of severe sleepiness. Young age, feeling very sleepy during driving, and having at least one near-miss accident caused by sleepiness in the past six months were the only predictors of accidents.
Sleepy driving is prevalent among male drivers in Saudi Arabia. Near-miss accidents caused by sleepiness are an important risk factor for car accidents and should be considered as a strong warning signal of future accidents.
PMCID: PMC4166072  PMID: 25276244
Accidents; drowsiness; near-miss accidents; sleepiness; sleepy driving
16.  Pulmonary rehabilitation improves only some domains of health-related quality of life measured by the Short Form-36 questionnaire 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):144-148.
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has inconsistent effects on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with chronic lung diseases. We evaluated the effect of PR on HRQL outcomes using the 36-item short form of the medical outcomes (SF-36).
We retrospectively reviewed the files of all patients who completed PR in 2010, 2011, and first half of 2012. We collected information on demographics, symptoms, pulmonary function tests, 6-minute walk tests (6-MWT), and responses on the SF-36 survey, including the physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS).
The study included 19 women and 22 men. The mean age was 69.8 ± 8.5 years. The diagnoses included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; n = 31), asthma (n = 3), interstitial lung disease (n = 5), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA; n = 2). The mean forced expiratory volume-one second (FEV1) was 1.16 ± 0.52 L (against 60.5 ± 15.9% of predicted value). There was a significant improvement in 6-MWT (P < 0.0001). The PCS improved post-PR from 33.8 to 34.5 (P = 0.02); the MCS did not change.
These patients had low SF-36 scores compared to the general population; changes in scores after PR were low. These patients may need frequent HRQL assessment during rehabilitation, and PR programs should consider program modification in patients with small changes in mental health.
PMCID: PMC4073570  PMID: 24987472
Health-related quality of life; pulmonary rehabilitation; Short Form-36; SF-36
17.  Computer tomography-guided core biopsies in a county hospital in Sweden: Complication rate and diagnostic yield 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):149-153.
Core biopsies are valuable in obtaining sufficient tissue to ensure diagnosis of diseases in the thorax.
To evaluate the complication rate and the diagnostic yield in computer tomography (CT)-guided core biopsies performed in a county hospital in Sweden.
Medical journals, spirometry results, pathology reports and CT scans were reviewed in 463 consecutive cases, where a transthoracic core biopsy was performed between January 2005 and December 2010. Of these 380 (82%) were lung lesions, 48 (10%) were mediastinal lesions and 35 (8%) were pleural lesions.
All patients underwent a chest X-ray 4 hours post-biopsy and pneumothorax was seen in 156/463 (34%) patients: 137 after lung biopsy and 17 after mediastinal biopsy. Chest tube insertion was required for 27 (17%) of these patients (6% of all core biopsies). Small intraparenchymal hemorrhages and hemoptysis were observed with subjective difficulty in one case. The diagnostic yield for the 463 patients was 212 (46%) cases of lung cancer, 188 (41%) benign lesions and 39 (8%) pulmonary metastases.
A transthoracic core biopsy ensures diagnosis with a low complication rate and is suitable as an outpatient procedure. An increased risk for pneumothorax was observed when the biopsied lesion was small or when emphysema was in the path of the biopsy needle. Reduced lung function pre-biopsy or emphysema in the path of the biopsy needle increased the need for chest tube treatment of pneumothorax. A CT-guided core biopsy is safe and applicable in a county hospital.
PMCID: PMC4073571  PMID: 24987473
Core biopsies; emphysema; FEV1; hemorrhage; pneumothorax
18.  Will any future increase in cigarette price reduce smoking in Saudi Arabia? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):154-157.
In Saudi Arabia, no studies have been conducted on the correlation between any possible cigarette's price increase and its effects on cigarette consumption.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Saudi Arabia and to predict the effect of price increase on cigarette consumption.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in April and May 2013.
We developed an Arabic questionnaire with information on demographic and socioeconomic factors, smoking history, and personal opinion on the effect of price increase on cigarette consumption. The questionnaire was distributed in public places such as malls and posted on famous Saudi athlete media's twitter accounts.
Among the 2057 included responses, 802 (39%) were current smokers. The smokers’ population constituted of 746 (92%) males, of which 546 (68%) had a monthly income equal or greater to 800 US dollars, and 446 (55%) were aged between 21 and 30 years. Multivariate analyses of the risk factors for smoking showed that male gender and older age were associated with greater risk. Despite the current low prices of 2.67 US dollars, 454 smokers (56%) thought that cigarette prices are expensive. When asked about the price of cigarettes that will lead to smoking cessation, 443 smokers (55%) expected that a price of 8.27 US dollars and more per pack will make them quit.
Increasing the price of popular cigarettes pack from 2.67 US dollars to 8.27 US dollars is expected to lead to smoking cessation in a large number of smokers in the Saudi population.
PMCID: PMC4073572  PMID: 24987474
Cessation; cigarette; price increase; Saudi Arabia; smokers; smoking; tobacco
19.  Properties of novel composite meshes in chest wall reconstruction: A comparative animal study 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):158-161.
Novel composite meshes routinely used in laparoscopic hernia repair reportedly lead to fewer and less dense visceral adhesions and may provide a viable alternative in thoracic surgery as well.
A total of 15 adult domestic pigs underwent full thickness chest wall resection and reconstruction with Parietene (polypropylene composite; PTE, n = 5), Parietex (polyester composite; PTX, n = 5) or Bard (purely polypropylene, n = 5) mesh. After an observation period of 90 days all animals were sacrificed, intrathoracic adhesions classified via thoracoscopy (VATS), meshes explanted and peak peal strength required for lung/mesh separation recorded.
Adhesions assessed through VATS-exploration were strongest in the PTX-Group while PTE and BM showed comparable results. Tensiometric analyses of peak peal strength confirmed lower values in BM than for PTE and PTX. Both composite materials showed good overall bioincorporation with post-surgical perigraft-fibrosis being strongest in BM.
We consider composite grafts a suitable alternative for chest wall reconstruction. They are characterized by good overall biointegration and limited perigraft-fibrosis, thus potentially facilitating redo-procedures, even though a hydrophilic coating per se does not appear to prevent intrathoracic adhesion formation.
PMCID: PMC4073573  PMID: 24987475
Composite grafts; chest wall resection; chest wall reconstruction
20.  Interleukin-6 and procalcitonin as biomarkers in mortality prediction of hospitalized patients with community acquired pneumonia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):162-167.
Community acquired pneumonia (CAP) may present as life-threatening infection with uncertain progression and outcome of treatment. Primary aim of the trial was determination of the cut-off value of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and procalcitonin (PCT) above which, 30-day mortality in hospitalized patients with CAP, could be predicted with high sensitivity and specificity. We investigated correlation between serum levels of IL-6 and PCT at admission and available scoring systems of CAP (pneumonia severity index-PSI, modified early warning score-MEWS and (Confusion, Urea nitrogen, respiratory rate, Blood pressure, ≥65 years of age-CURB65).
This was prospective, non-randomized trial which included 101 patients with diagnosed CAP. PSI, MEWS and CURB65 were assessed on first day of hospitalization. IL-6 and PCT were also sampled on the first day of hospitalization.
Based on ROC curve analysis (AUC ± SE = 0.934 ± 0.035; 95%CI(0.864-1.0); P = 0.000) hospitalized CAP patients with elevated IL-6 level have 93.4% higher risk level for lethal outcome. Cut-off value of 20.2 pg/ml IL-6 shows sensitivity of 84% and specificity of 87% in mortality prediction. ROC curve analysis confirmed significant role of procalcitonin as a mortality predictor in CAP patients (AUC ± SE = 0.667 ± 0.062; 95%CI(0.546-0.789); P = 0.012). Patients with elevated PCT level have 66.7% higher risk level for lethal outcome. As a predictor of mortality at the cut-off value of 2.56 ng/ml PCT shows sensitivity of 76% and specificity of 61.8%.
Both IL-6 and PCI are significant for prediction of 30-day mortality in hospitalized patients with CAP. Serum levels of IL6 correlate with major CAP scoring systems.
PMCID: PMC4073574  PMID: 24987476
Community acquired pneumonia; interleukin-6; mortality; procalcitonin; risk assessment
21.  Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Saudi Arabia: Demographic, clinical, and survival data from two tertiary care hospitals 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):168-172.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is rare and can be challenging to diagnose. Limited data is available from the Middle Eastern region, especially Saudi Arabia.
This was a retrospective study that looked at all the patients diagnosed with IPF between 2007 and 2012 at two tertiary care hospitals in Saudi Arabia. We collected the demographical, clinical, laboratory and radiological data from the patients’ medical records. Medications administered and 1 year survival was also assessed.
Between 2007and 2012, 134 IPF patients were identified. Their baseline characteristics (Mean ± SD) included: age 64 ± 13 years, body mass index 29 ± 8 kg/m2, FEV1 56 ± 15 percent of predicted, FVC 53 ± 13 percent of predicted, FEV1/FVC 0.81 ± 0.09, total lung capacity 75 ± 13 percent of predicted, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide 57 ± 15 percent of predicted, on home oxygen at presentation 71 (53%), mean ejection fraction 0.50 ± 0.07, mean pulmonary artery systolic pressure (via echocardiogram) 40 + 22 mmHg, presentation mean SpO292 ± 7%, presentation 6-min walk distance 338 ± 64 m and lowest SpO2 during 6-min walk test 88 ± 5%. Patients were predominantly female (56%), and 42% of patients had diabetes and were active smokers. The IPF patients’ frequency of hospital admission (n = 99) was 2.4 ± 1.7 per year and duration of hospital stay (n = 99) was 17.4 ± 23.8 days. Overall 1 year survival in all IPF patients was good, 93% (124) patients remained alive after 1 year.
In Saudi Arabia, IPF patients tended to be slightly older and the disease progression was somewhat slower than reported IPF cohorts in other populations. They had frequent hospital admissions and a long hospital length of stay. The influence of genetics and co-morbid diseases on the incidence and outcome of IPF should be explored further.
PMCID: PMC4073575  PMID: 24987477
Characteristics; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; survival; Saudi Arabia
22.  Patterns of tobacco consumption in food facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):173-178.
This study aimed at assessing prevailing patterns and risk factors of tobacco consumption among clients, food handlers and employers of food facilities, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional approach to a representative sample of food facilities in Riyadh was used. A sample of 3000 participants included clients (75%); food handlers/hospitality workers (20 %) and employers (5 %). Participants were reached at restaurants, food courts or cafes. A modified version of the WHO-CDC-Global Youth Tobacco Survey questionnaire was used for data collection.
The prevalence of tobacco use at food facilities was found to be 40.3 %, of which 74% were customers, 18.8% were food handlers and 7.2% were managers. The consumption of tobacco was higher at restaurants (39.9%), but lowest at food courts of shopping malls. Water pipe (55.3%) was the main consumption type, followed by cigarettes (42.6%) and chewing tobacco (2.1%). Multivariate analysis showed that gender (male), marital status (single), and type of food facility (Estaraha and café/coffee shop) were independent risk factors associated with tobacco use at food facilities.
Tobacco use is very common in food facilities in Riyadh as reflected by results of our study, especially among single males Saudis. We should build on success encountered in banning smoking in airports, airplanes, shopping malls, market places, educational institutions and healthcare facilities, extending the ban to include food facilities as well. This is important for the health of non-smokers as well as smokers themselves.
PMCID: PMC4073576  PMID: 24987478
Food facilities; Riyadh; Saudi Arabia; tobacco use
23.  Drug-resistant ventilator associated pneumonia in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):104-111.
There is a wide geographic and temporal variability of bacterial resistance among microbial causes of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The contribution of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens to the VAP etiology in Saudi Arabia was never studied. We sought to examine the extent of multiple-drug resistance among common microbial causes of VAP.
We conducted a retrospective susceptibility study in the adult intensive care unit (ICU) of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Susceptibility results of isolates from patients diagnosed with VAP between October 2004 and June 2009 were examined. The US National Healthcare Safety Network definition of MDR was adopted.
A total of 248 isolates including 9 different pathogens were included. Acinetobacter spp. was highly (60-89%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including carbapenems (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 86% and 69%, respectively). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was moderately (13-31%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including antipseudomonal penicillins (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 13% and 10%, respectively). With an exception of ampicillin (fully resistant), Klebsiella spp. had low (0-13%) resistance to other tested antimicrobials with no detected MDR. Staphylococcus aureus was fully susceptible to vancomycin with 42% resistance to oxacillin. There were significant increasing trends of MDR Acinetobacter spp. however not P. aeruginosa during the study. Resistant pathogens were associated with worse profile of ICU patients but not patients’ outcomes.
Acinetobacter in the current study was an increasingly resistant VAP-associated pathogen more than seen in many parts of the world. The current finding may impact local choice of initial empiric antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC4005156  PMID: 24791174
Acinetobacter; antimicrobial resistance; microbiology; Saudi Arabia; ventilator-associated pneumonia
24.  Positive end-expiratory pressure attenuates positional effect after thoracotomy 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):112-119.
Thoracotomy is a common procedure. However, thoracotomy leads to lung atelectasis and deteriorates pulmonary gas exchange in operated side. Therefore, different positions with operated side lowermost or uppermost may lead to different gas exchange after thoracotomy. Besides, PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure) influence lung atelectasis and should influence gas exchange.
The purpose of this study was to determine the physiological changes in different positions after thoracotomy. In addition, we also studied the influence of PEEP to positional effects after thoracotomy.
There were eight pigs in each group. Group I received left thoracotomy with zero end-expiratory pressure (ZEEP), and group II with PEEP; group III received right thoracotomy with ZEEP and group IV with PEEP. We changed positions to supine, LLD (left lateral decubitus) and RLD (right lateral decubitus) in random order after thoracotomy.
PaO2 was decreased after thoracotomy and higher in RLD after left thoracotomy and in LLD after right thoracotomy. PaO2 in groups II and IV was higher than in groups I and III if with the same position. In group I and III, PaCO2 was increased after thoracotomy and was higher in LLD after left thoracotomy and in RLD after right thoracotomy. In groups II and IV, there were no PaCO2 changes in different positions after thoracotomy. Lung compliance (Crs) was decreased after thoracotomy in groups I and III and highest in RLD after left thoracotomy and in LLD after right thoracotomy. In groups II and IV, there were no changes in Crs regardless of the different positions.
There were significant changes with regards to pulmonary gas exchange, hemodynamics and Crs after thoracotomy. The best position was non-operated lung lowermost Applying PEEP attenuates the positional effects.
PMCID: PMC4005157  PMID: 24791175
Positive end-expiratory pressure; position; pulmonary gas exchange; thoracotomy
25.  IL-4 receptor alpha single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs1805010 and rs1801275 are associated with increased risk of asthma in a Saudi Arabian population 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):81-86.
The IL-4 receptor alpha subunit (IL-4Rα), when associated with the common gamma chain receptor, or the IL-13Rα1 subunit, transduces signals to STAT6 in response to IL-4 and IL-13 stimulations. This results in a number of cell-specific responses including Th2 differentiation, lymphocyte proliferation and IgE production. Given the prominent role of IL-4Rα in allergic disorders, several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been found associated with asthma and other atopic disorders, including rs1805010 (I75V) and rs1801275 (Q576R) SNPs; however, lack of significant association have also been reported for some ethnic groups. The objective of this study was to determine whether IL-4Rα rs1805010 and rs1801275 polymorphisms are associated with asthma in patients from Saudi Arabia.
One hundred and ninety severe asthmatic patients (11-70 years old) and 194 healthy subjects of equivalent age range were recruited for blood donation. DNA was purified and genotyping for rs1801275 and rs1805010 polymorphisms in the IL-4Rα gene was performed by PCR amplification, followed by cycle sequencing of the purified PCR fragments using BigDye chain terminator and capillary electrophoresis.
Pearson's Chi-square tests showed that the minor alleles, G, for both rs1805010 and rs1801275 SNPs, were significantly more frequent in asthmatics than in the healthy group (Yates’ P < 0.05); conversely, the major alleles, A, were significantly more frequent in healthy than in asthmatics (P < 0.05). Concerning association analysis, odds for A/G-G/G genotypes were significantly higher to be associated with asthma predisposition (rs1801275: OR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.39-3.22; P < 0.001*; rs1805010: OR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.01-2.53; P < 0.05*; dominant model). Analysis of gender-genotype interactions, with genders nested within A/G-G/G, indicated higher odds for females than males of significant association with asthma (rs1801275: OR = 5.19, 95% CI = 2.09-12.94*; rs1805010: OR = 3.73, 95% CI = 2.06-6.74*). Rs1805010 and rs1801275 were in linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 0.27; P < 0.0004*), with G-G haplotype being more frequent in asthmatics than in healthy subjects (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.59-3.71*).
The risk alleles, G, of IL-4Rα rs1805010 and rs1801275 SNPs and corresponding A/G-G/G genotypes were significantly associated with asthma predisposition in asthmatics from Saudi Arabia.
PMCID: PMC4005166  PMID: 24791170
Asthma; allergy; association; genotype; IL-4 receptor alpha; susceptibility; STAT6

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