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BACKGROUND - Pediatric stroke alerts or "code strokes" allow for rapid evaluation, imaging, and treatment of children presenting with stroke-like symptoms. In a previous study of emergency department-initiated pediatric stroke alerts, 24% of children had confirmed strokes. The purpose of this study was to characterize in-hospital pediatric stroke alerts.
METHODS - Demographic and clinical information was obtained from a quality improvement database and medical records for children (zero to 20 years) at a single institution for whom a stroke alert was activated after hospital admission between April 2011 and December 2016. Stroke alert activation criteria included a new focal neurological defect occurring within 48 hours. A neurologist evaluated the patient within 15 minutes and rapid magnetic resonance imaging was available.
RESULTS - Medical personnel activated in-hospital stroke alerts for 56 children (median age 6.5 years, interquartile range 1 to 13, 52% male). Stroke was the final diagnosis of 25 (45%), 72% ischemic, and 28% hemorrhagic strokes. Other diagnoses included neurological urgencies: seizure (21%), posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (7%), transient ischemic attack (5%), and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (4%). Of the stroke diagnoses, 68% were stroke alerts called in the pediatric intensive care unit or pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. Rapid neuroimaging was completed in 91%; magnetic resonance imaging brain was the first image in 55%.
CONCLUSIONS - Of in-hospital pediatric stroke alerts, 45% were stroke while 38% were other neurological conditions requiring urgent evaluation. In-hospital stroke alerts were commonly activated for children with complicated medical histories. Rapid neurological evaluation facilitated care. No child underwent thrombolysis or thrombectomy.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
BACKGROUND - Penicillin allergy is commonly reported in the pediatric emergency department. We previously performed 3-tier penicillin allergy testing on children with low-risk symptoms, and 100% tolerated a penicillin challenge without an allergic reaction. We hypothesized that no serious allergic reactions would occur after re-exposure to penicillin and that prescription practices would change after testing.
METHODS - We performed a follow-up case series of 100 children whose test results were negative for penicillin allergy. Research staff administered a brief follow-up phone survey to the parent and primary care provider of each patient tested. We combined the survey data and summarized baseline patient characteristics and questionnaire responses. We then completed a 3-tier economic analysis from the prescription information gathered from surveys in which cost savings, cost avoidance, and potential cost savings were calculated.
RESULTS - A total of 46 prescriptions in 36 patients were reported by the primary care provider and/or parents within the year after patients were tested for penicillin allergy. Twenty-six (58%) of the prescriptions filled were penicillin derivatives. One (4%) child developed a rash 24 hours after starting the medication; no child developed a serious adverse reaction after being given a penicillin challenge. We found that the cost savings of delabeling patients as penicillin allergic was $1368.13, the cost avoidance was $1812.00, and the total potential cost savings for the pediatric emergency department population was $192 223.00.
CONCLUSIONS - Children with low-risk penicillin allergy symptoms whose test results were negative for penicillin allergy tolerated a penicillin challenge without a severe allergic reaction developing. Delabeling children changed prescription behavior and led to actual health care savings.
Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
BACKGROUND - Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the trachea is a rare pediatric malignancy that presents unique challenges in diagnosis, operative management, and surveillance.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We present a 17-year-old girl with primary tracheal mucoepidermoid carcinoma presenting in acute respiratory distress due to near-total occlusion of the tracheal airway. An algorithmic approach to preoperative planning was developed to evaluate and remove the tumor endoscopically without compromising oxygenation. After initial palliative resection, endobronchial ultrasound was uniquely applied to evaluate depth of tumor invasion, and subsequent tracheal resection with primary anastomosis was performed as curative treatment.
CONCLUSION - Removal of distal tracheal masses can be performed safely with the implementation of an algorithmic approach to tumor visualization and resection. Endobronchial ultrasound can be used to evaluate the extent of tumor invasion and plan for definitive resection.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
INTRODUCTION - Hospital readmissions within 30 days are a healthcare quality problem associated with increased costs and poor health outcomes. Identifying interventions to improve patients' successful transition from inpatient to outpatient care is a continued challenge.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS - This is a single-centre pragmatic randomised and controlled clinical trial examining the effectiveness of a discharge follow-up phone call to reduce 30-day inpatient readmissions. Our primary endpoint is inpatient readmission within 30 days of hospital discharge censored for death analysed with an intention-to-treat approach. Secondary endpoints included observation status readmission within 30 days, time to readmission, all-cause emergency department revisits within 30 days, patient satisfaction (measured as mean Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores) and 30-day mortality. Exploratory endpoints include the need for assistance with discharge plan implementation among those randomised to the intervention arm and reached by the study nurse, and the number of call attempts to achieve successful intervention delivery. Consistent with the Learning Healthcare System model for clinical research, timeliness is a critical quality for studies to most effectively inform hospital clinical practice. We are challenged to apply pragmatic design elements in order to maintain a high-quality practicable study providing timely results. This type of prospective pragmatic trial empowers the advancement of hospital-wide evidence-based practice directly affecting patients.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION - Study results will inform the structure, objective and function of future iterations of the hospital's discharge follow-up phone call programme and be submitted for publication in the literature.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER - NCT03050918; Pre-results.
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.
Importance - Low health literacy is known to adversely affect health outcomes in patients with chronic medical conditions. To our knowledge, the association of health literacy with postoperative outcomes has not been studied in-depth in a surgical patient population.
Objective - To evaluate the association of health literacy with postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery.
Design, Setting, and Participants - From November 2010 to December 2013, 1239 patients who were undergoing elective gastric, colorectal, hepatic, and pancreatic resections for both benign and malignant disease at a single academic institution were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, education, insurance status, procedure type, American Society of Anesthesiologists status, Charlson comorbidity index, and postoperative outcomes, including length of stay, emergency department visits, and hospital readmissions, were reviewed from electronic medical records. Health literacy levels were assessed using the Brief Health Literacy Screen, a validated tool that was administered by nursing staff members on hospital admission. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the association of health literacy levels on postoperative outcomes, controlling for patient demographics and clinical characteristics.
Main Outcomes and Measures - The association of health literacy with postoperative 30-day emergency department visits, 90-day hospital readmissions, and index hospitalization length of stay.
Results - Of the 1239 patients who participated in this study, 624 (50.4%) were women, 1083 (87.4%) where white, 96 (7.7%) were black, and 60 (4.8%) were of other race/ethnicity. The mean (SD) Brief Health Literacy Screen score was 12.9 (SD, 2.75; range, 3-15) and the median educational attainment was 13.0 years. Patients with lower health literacy levels had a longer length of stay in unadjusted (95% CI, 0.95-0.99; P = .004) and adjusted (95% CI, 0.03-0.26; P = .02) analyses. However, lower health literacy was not significantly associated with increased rates of 30-day emergency department visits or 90-day hospital readmissions.
Conclusions and Relevance - Lower health literacy levels are independently associated with longer index hospitalization lengths of stay for patients who are undergoing major abdominal surgery. The role of health literacy needs to be further evaluated within surgical practices to improve health care outcomes and use.
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is common in the emergency department (ED), but the relationship between antihypertensive medication adherence and BP in the ED is unclear. This cross-sectional study tested the hypothesis that higher antihypertensive adherence is associated with lower systolic BP (SBP) in the ED among adults with hypertension who sought ED care at an academic hospital from July 2012 to April 2013. Biochemical assessment of antihypertensive adherence was performed using a mass spectrometry blood assay, and the primary outcome was average ED SBP. Analyses were stratified by number of prescribed antihypertensives (<3, ≥3) and adjusted for age, sex, race, insurance, literacy, numeracy, education, body mass index, and comorbidities. Among 85 patients prescribed ≥3 antihypertensives, mean SBP for adherent patients was 134.4 mm Hg (±26.1 mm Hg), and in adjusted analysis was -20.8 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, -34.2 to -7.4 mm Hg; =0.003) different from nonadherent patients. Among 176 patients prescribed <3 antihypertensives, mean SBP was 135.5 mm Hg (±20.6 mm Hg) for adherent patients, with no difference by adherence in adjusted analysis (+2.9 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval, -4.7 to 10.5 mm Hg; =0.45). Antihypertensive nonadherence identified by biochemical assessment was common and associated with higher SBP in the ED among patients who had a primary care provider and health insurance and who were prescribed ≥3 antihypertensives. Biochemical assessment of antihypertensives could help distinguish medication nonadherence from other contributors to elevated BP and identify target populations for intervention.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Readmission to the hospital within 30 days is a measure of quality care; however, only few modifiable risk factors for 30-day readmission in adults with sickle cell disease are known.
METHODS - We performed a retrospective review of the medical records of adults with sickle cell disease at a tertiary care center, to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for 30-day readmission due to vasoocclusive pain episodes. A total of 88 patients ≥18 years of age were followed for 3.5 years between 2010 and 2013, for 158 first admissions for vasoocclusive pain episodes. Of these, those subsequently readmitted (cases) or not readmitted (controls) within 30 days of their index admissions were identified. Seven risk factors were included in a multivariable model to predict readmission: age, sex, hemoglobin phenotype, median oxygen saturation level, listing of primary care provider, type of health insurance, and number of hospitalized vasoocclusive pain episodes in the prior year.
RESULTS - Mean age at admission was 31.7 (18-59) years; median time to readmission was 11 days (interquartile range 20 days). Absence of a primary care provider listed in the electronic medical record (odds ratio 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.91; P = .030) and the number of vasoocclusive pain episodes requiring hospitalization in the prior year were significant risk factors for 30-day readmission (odds ratio 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.44; P <.001).
CONCLUSION - Improved discharge planning and ensuring access to a primary care provider may decrease the 30-day readmission rate in adults with sickle cell disease.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The incidence of hypertensive emergency in US emergency departments (ED) is not well established.
METHODS AND RESULTS - This study is a descriptive epidemiological analysis of nationally representative ED visit-level data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for 2006-2013. Nationwide Emergency Department Sample is a publicly available database maintained by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. An ED visit was considered to be a hypertensive emergency if it met all the following criteria: diagnosis of acute hypertension, at least 1 diagnosis indicating acute target organ damage, and qualifying disposition (admission to the hospital, death, or transfer to another facility). The incidence of adult ED visits for acute hypertension increased monotonically in the period from 2006 through 2013, from 170 340 (1820 per million adult ED visits overall) to 496 894 (4610 per million). Hypertensive emergency was rare overall, accounting for 63 406 visits (677 per million adult ED visits overall) in 2006 to 176 769 visits (1670 per million) in 2013. Among adult ED visits that had any diagnosis of hypertension, hypertensive emergency accounted for 3309 per million in 2006 and 6178 per million in 2013.
CONCLUSIONS - The estimated number of visits for hypertensive emergency and the rate per million adult ED visits has more than doubled from 2006 to 2013. However, hypertensive emergencies are rare overall, occurring in about 2 in 1000 adult ED visits overall, and 6 in 1000 adult ED visits carrying any diagnosis of hypertension in 2013. This figure is far lower than what has been sometimes cited in previous literature.
© 2016 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.