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1.  Incident somatic comorbidity after psychosis: results from a retrospective cohort study based on Flemish general practice data 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:132.
Psychotic conditions and especially schizophrenia, have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Many studies are performed in specialized settings with a strong focus on schizophrenia. Somatic comorbidity after psychosis is studied, using a general practice comorbidity registration network.
Hazard ratios are presented resulting from frailty models to assess the risk of subsequent somatic disease after a diagnosis of psychosis compared to people without psychosis matched on practice, age and gender. Diseases studied are cancer, physical trauma, diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal disorders, joint disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, general infections, metabolic disorders other than diabetes, hearing and vision problems, anemia, cardiovascular disease, alcohol abuse, lung disorders, mouth and teeth problems, sexually transmitted diseases.
Significant higher risks after a diagnosis of psychosis were found for the emergence of diabetes, physical trauma, gastrointestinal disorders, alcohol abuse, chronic lung disease and teeth and mouth problems. With regard to diabetes, by including the type of antipsychotic medication it is clear that the significant overall effect was largely due to the use of atypical antipsychotic medication. No significant higher risk was seen for cancer, joint conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, general infections, other metabolic conditions, hearing/vision problems, anaemia, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, in case no atypical antipsychotic medication was used.
Significantly higher morbidity rates for some somatic conditions in patients with psychosis are apparent. People with a diagnosis of psychosis benefit from regular assessments for the emergence of somatic disorders and risk factors, including diabetes in case of atypical antipsychotic medication.
PMCID: PMC3248871  PMID: 22126584
2.  Incidence and outcome of first syncope in primary care: A retrospective cohort study 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:102.
Assessment of risk for serious cardiovascular outcome after syncope is difficult.
To determine the incidence of first syncope in primary care. To investigate the relation between syncope and serious cardiovascular (CV) outcome and serious injury.
Retrospective cohort study using data from the Intego general practice-based registration network, collecting data from 55 general practices (90 GP's). All patients with a first syncope from 1994 to 2008 were included; five participants without syncope were matched for age and gender for every patient with syncope. The main outcome measures were incidence of first syncope by age and gender and one year risk of serious CV outcome or injury after syncope.
2785 patients with syncope and 13909 matched patients without syncope were included. The overall incidence of a first syncope was 1.91 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 1.83-1.98). The incidence was higher in females (2.42 (95% CI 2.32-2.55) per 1000 person-years) compared to males (1.4 (95% CI 1.32-1.49) per 1000 person-years) and follows a biphasic pattern according to age: a first peak at the age of 15-24 years is followed by a sharp rise above the age of 45. One year serious outcome after syncope was recorded in 12.3% of patients. Increasing age (HR 1.04 (1.03-1.04)), CV comorbidity (HR 3.48 (95% CI 2.48-4.90) and CV risk factors (HR 1.65 (95% CI 1.24-2.18) are associated with serious outcome. Cox regression, adjusting for age, gender, CV comorbidity and risk factors, showed that syncope was an independent risk factor for serious CV outcome or injury (HR 3.99 (95% CI 3.44-4.63)). The other independent risk factors were CV comorbidity (HR 1.81 (95% CI 1.51-2.17)) and age (HR 1.03 (95% CI 1.03-1.04)).
Incidence rate of first syncope in primary care was 1.91 per 1000 person-years. One year risk of serious outcome after syncope was 12.3%. Increasing age, CV comorbidity and risk factors are associated with serious outcome. Compared to a control group, syncope on itself is an independent risk factor for serious outcome (adjusted for age, gender, CV comorbidity and risk factors).
PMCID: PMC3191330  PMID: 21951825
Syncope; risk assessment; primary health care
3.  Computerized general practice based networks yield comparable performance with sentinel data in monitoring epidemiological time-course of influenza-like illness and acute respiratory illness 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:24.
Computerized morbidity registration networks might serve as early warning systems in a time where natural epidemics such as the H1N1 flu can easily spread from one region to another.
In this contribution we examine whether general practice based broad-spectrum computerized morbidity registration networks have the potential to act as a valid surveillance instrument of frequently occurring diseases. We compare general practice based computerized data assessing the frequency of influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory infections (ARI) with data from a well established case-specific sentinel network, the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS). The overall frequency and trends of weekly ILI and ARI data are compared using both networks.
Detection of influenza-like illness and acute respiratory illness occurs equally fast in EISS and the computerized network. The overall frequency data for ARI are the same for both networks, the overall trends are similar, but the increases and decreases in frequency do not occur in exactly the same weeks. For ILI, the overall rate was slightly higher for the computerized network population, especially before the increase of ILI, the overall trend was almost identical and the increases and decreases occur in the same weeks for both networks.
Computerized morbidity registration networks are a valid tool for monitoring frequent occurring respiratory diseases and the detection of sudden outbreaks.
PMCID: PMC2856540  PMID: 20307266
4.  Trends in total cholesterol screening and in prescribing lipid-lowering drugs in general practice in the period 1994–2003 
BMC Family Practice  2008;9:39.
General Practitioners (GPs) play a central role in controlling an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, i.e. cholesterol levels in serum. In the past few decades different studies have been published on the effect of treating hyperlipidemia with statins. Guidelines for treatment have been adopted. We investigated the consequences on the practice of GPs screening cholesterol levels and on the timing of starting statin prescription.
For this descriptive study, data from the Intego database were used, composed with data from the electronic medical records (EMR) of 47 general practices in Flanders. GPs had not received special instructions for testing specific patients. For each patient the mean cholesterol level per year was calculated. A patient belonged to the group with lipid-lowering drugs if there was at least one prescription of the drug in a year in his EMR. Mixed model linear regression models were used to quantify the effect of covariates on total cholesterol values.
In the period 1994–2003 total cholesterol was tested in 47,254 out of 139,148 different patients. Twelve percent of those tested took lipid-lowering medication. The proportion of patients with at least one cholesterol test a year, increased over a period of ten years in all age groups, but primarily for those over the age of 65.
The mean cholesterol level decreased in the treated as well as in the non-treated group. Of the patients with a cardiovascular antecedent who were on lipid-lowering drugs in 2003, 56% had a cholesterol level ≤ 199 mg/dl, 31% between 200–239 and 13% over 240 mg/dl.
The indications for testing and treating cholesterol levels broadened considerably in the period examined. In 2003 cholesterol was tested in many more patients and patients were already treated at lower cholesterol values than in previous years. Comparisons of cholesterol levels over different years should therefore be interpreted with caution as they are a reflection of changes in medical care, and not necessarily of efficacy of treatment.
PMCID: PMC2447840  PMID: 18590552
5.  Serious infections in children: an incidence study in family practice 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:23.
Information on the incidence of serious infections in children in general practice is scarce. However, estimates on the incidence of disease are important for several reasons, for example to assess the burden of disease or as a basis of diagnostic research. We therefore estimated the incidence of serious infections in general practice in Belgium.
Intego is a morbidity registration network, in which 51 general practitioners continuously register all diagnoses and additional data in their electronic medical records. Serious infections were defined as pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis, pyelonephritis and osteomyelitis. Incidences are calculated for the period of 1998 to 2002, per 1000 patients in the yearly contact group, which is the group of patients that consulted their GP at least once that year, and in the practice population, which is the estimated true population of that practice.
The incidence of all infectious diseases peaks in children between 0 and 4 years, with 1731 infections per 1000 children per year in the yearly contact group. Incidence drops with increasing age: 972 infections per 1000 children per year in children between 5 and 9 years old, and 732 in children between 10 and 14 years old. The same decline in incidence is observed in the subgroup of serious infections: 21 infections per 1000 children per year in children between 0 and 4 years, 12 in children between 5 and 9 years and 5 in children between 10 and 14 years. The results for the estimated practice population are respectively 17, 9 and 4 serious infections per 1000 children per year.
In contrast to the total incidence of acute infections, serious infections are rare, around 1% per year. Children younger than 4 years old have the highest risk for serious infections, and incidences of some infections are different for boys and girls.
PMCID: PMC1435901  PMID: 16569232

Results 1-5 (5)