Medicine (RMH) - Research Publications

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    Obesity in young sudden cardiac death: Rates, clinical features, and insights into people with body mass index >50kg/m2.
    Paratz, ED ; Ashokkumar, S ; van Heusden, A ; Smith, K ; Zentner, D ; Morgan, N ; Parsons, S ; Thompson, T ; James, P ; Connell, V ; Pflaumer, A ; Semsarian, C ; Ingles, J ; Stub, D ; Gerche, AL (Elsevier BV, 2022-09)
    Objective: To contextualize obesity rates in young sudden cardiac death (SCD) against the age-matched national population, and identify clinical and pathologic features in WHO class II and III obesity. Methods: A prospective state-wide out-of-hospital cardiac arrest registry included all SCDs in Victoria, Australia from 2019-2021. Body mass indices (BMIs) of patients 18-50 years were compared to age-referenced general population. Characteristics of SCD patients with WHO Class II obesity (BMI ≥30kg/m2) and non-obesity (BMI<30kg/m2) were compared. Clinical characteristics of people with BMI>50kg/m2 were assessed. Results: 504 patients were included. Obesity was strongly over-represented in young SCD compared to the age-matched general population (55.0% vs 28.7%, p<0.0001). Obese SCD patients more frequently had hypertension, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea (p<0.0001, p=0.009 and p=0.001 respectively), ventricular fibrillation as their arrest rhythm (p=0.008) and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) (p<0.0001). Obese patients were less likely to have toxicology positive for illicit substances (22.0% vs 32.6%, p=0.008) or history of alcohol abuse (18.8% vs 26.9%, p=0.030). Patients with BMI>50 kg/m2 represented 8.5% of young SCD. LVH (n=26, 60.5%) was their predominant cause of death and only 10 (9.3%) patients died from coronary disease. Conclusion: Over half of young Australian SCD patients are obese, with all obesity classes over-represented compared to the general population. Obese patients had more cardiac risk factors. Almost two thirds of patients with BMI>50 kg/m2 died from LVH, with fewer than 10% dying from coronary disease.
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    Impact of telehealth on health care in a multiple sclerosis outpatient clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Li, V ; Roos, I ; Monif, M ; Malpas, C ; Roberts, S ; Marriott, M ; Buzzard, K ; Nguyen, A-L ; Seery, N ; Taylor, L ; Kalincik, T ; Kilpatrick, T (Elsevier BV, 2022-07)
    BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has precipitated expansion of telemedicine in outpatient management of chronic diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). Studies conducted pre-pandemic, when telehealth was an alternative to in-person consultations, represent a different setting to current practice. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of telehealth on MS outpatient care in a tertiary metropolitan hospital in Melbourne, Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHOD: From March-December 2020, patients and clinicians in the MS outpatient clinic were surveyed regarding their attitudes towards telehealth. Scores on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) from telehealth and face-to-face appointments during the study period were compared to scores from face-to-face consultations before and after this period. Medical records were reviewed to compare management decisions made during telehealth versus face-to-face consultations. Diagnoses and treatment of MS relapses were compared to 2019. RESULTS: Telehealth was used in 73% of outpatient appointments. Patient satisfaction was generally high. Patients and clinicians preferred face-to-face consultations but were willing to use telehealth longer term. Overall, there were no significant delays in identifying patients experiencing disability worsening via telehealth, but EDSS increase was recorded in more face-to-face than telehealth appointments particularly for those with lower baseline disability. Disease-modifying therapy commencement rates were similar, but symptomatic therapy initiation and investigation requests occurred more frequently in face-to-face visits. Comparable numbers of MS relapses were diagnosed and treated with corticosteroids in 2019 and 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Patient satisfaction with telehealth was high, but both clinicians and patients preferred in-person appointments. Telehealth implementation did not lead to high rates of undetected disability worsening or undiagnosed acute relapses, but telehealth-based EDSS assessment may underestimate lower scores. Treatment inertia may affect some management decisions during telehealth consultations. Telehealth will likely play a role in outpatient settings beyond the COVID-19 pandemic with further studies on its long-term impact on clinical outcomes required.
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    In-hospital hyperglycemia but not diabetes mellitus alone is associated with increased in-hospital mortality in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies prior to COVID-19
    Barmanray, RD ; Cheuk, N ; Fourlanos, S ; Greenberg, PB ; Colman, PG ; Worth, LJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-07-01)
    The objective of this review was to quantify the association between diabetes, hyperglycemia, and outcomes in patients hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis. Two investigators independently screened records identified in the PubMed (MEDLINE), EMBASE, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases. Cohort and case-control studies quantitatively evaluating associations between diabetes and in-hospital hyperglycemia with outcomes in adults admitted to hospital with CAP were included. Quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale, effect size using random-effects models, and heterogeneity using I2 statistics. Thirty-eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Hyperglycemia was associated with in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.50) and intensive care unit (ICU) admission (crude OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.84). There was no association between diabetes status and in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.51), 30-day mortality (adjusted OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.67), or ICU admission (crude OR 1.91, 95% CI 0.74 to 4.95). Diabetes was associated with increased mortality in all studies reporting >90-day postdischarge mortality and with longer length of stay only for studies reporting crude (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.01) results. In adults hospitalized with CAP, in-hospital hyperglycemia but not diabetes alone is associated with increased in-hospital mortality and ICU admission. Diabetes status is associated with increased >90-day postdischarge mortality. Implications for management are that in-hospital hyperglycemia carries a greater risk for in-hospital morbidity and mortality than diabetes alone in patients admitted with non-COVID-19 CAP. Evaluation of strategies enabling timely and effective management of in-hospital hyperglycemia in CAP is warranted.
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    Serum phosphate and mortality in incident dialysis patients in Australia and New Zealand
    Tiong, MK ; Ullah, S ; McDonald, SP ; Tan, S-J ; Lioufas, NM ; Roberts, MA ; Toussaint, ND (WILEY, 2021-06-01)
    AIM: Hyperphosphataemia is associated with increased adverse outcomes, including mortality. Re-examining this association using up-to-date data reflecting current and real-world practices, across different global regions and in both haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients, is important. METHODS: We describe the association between serum phosphate and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in incident dialysis patients between 2008 and 2018 using the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry. Time-dependent Cox proportionate hazards models were used. Models were adjusted for available covariates and fitted for the overall cohort, and also each dialysis modality. RESULTS: 31 989 patients were followed over 97 122 person-years at risk (mean age at first dialysis 61 years, 38% female, 67% haemodialysis). We observed a U-shaped association between serum phosphate and all-cause mortality. In the fully adjusted model, categories of serum phosphate above and below 1.25-1.99 mmol/L were associated with progressively higher risk, reaching a hazard ratio of 2.13 (95% CI 1.93-2.36, p < .001) for serum phosphate ≥2.75 mmol/L, and 1.56 (95% CI 1.44-1.69, p < .001) for serum phosphate <1.00 mmol/L. Low and high levels of serum phosphate were also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, however the association with high serum phosphate was more pronounced ("J-shaped relationship"). The associations were consistent across sub-analyses of patients receiving haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis treatment. CONCLUSION: In this large contemporary dialysis cohort, both high and low levels of serum phosphate were independently associated with increased risk of mortality. Future studies are required to determine whether treatment of abnormal serum phosphate levels improves mortality.
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    Redundancy in meta-analyses publications-Time to pull the plug.
    Ofori-Asenso, R ; Liew, D (Wiley, 2021-06)
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    Evaluation of palliative treatments in unresectable pancreatic cancer
    Choi, CC-M ; Choi, J ; Houli, N ; Smith, M ; Usatoff, V ; Lipton, L ; Chan, S (WILEY, 2021-04-18)
    BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) presents as unresectable disease in 80% of patients. Limited Australian data exists regarding management and outcome of palliative management for PDAC. This study aims to: (i) identify patients with PDAC being managed with palliative intent; (ii) assess the type of palliative management being used. METHODS: A prospectively maintained pancreatic database at Western Health (2015-2017) was used to identify patient demographics; stage and multidisciplinary decision regarding resectability and operative interventions; palliative care; use of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and; management of exocrine and endocrine insufficiency. Data on chemotherapy use, number of hospital admissions, emergency department attendances and intensive care unit admissions 30 days prior to death were recorded. RESULTS: One-hundred and eleven patients had diagnosis of PDAC, 15% with locally advanced and 45% with metastatic PDAC. Among the locally advanced and metastatic PDAC, 48% received biliary stent insertions, 93% had palliative care referral, 45% received palliative chemotherapy and 10% received radiotherapy. Dietitian referral occurred in 79% and 36% were prescribed with a pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy. Diabetes mellitus was present in 52% of which 31% was new onset. Within 30 days prior to death, 11% patients received palliative chemotherapy, 32% were hospitalized and 11% visited an emergency department more than once. Sixty-five percent died in hospital. CONCLUSION: A high proportion of patients diagnosed with locally advanced and metastatic PDAC received palliative care referrals and appropriate level of end-of-life care. Further prospective studies are necessary, examining the management and impacts of pancreatic insufficiency in this group.
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    Cost-analysis of opportunistic influenza vaccination in general medical inpatients.
    Darmaputra, DC ; Zaman, FY ; Khu, YL ; Nagalingam, V ; Liew, D ; Aung, AK (Wiley, 2021-04)
    Influenza vaccination is an important preventative health measure in the elderly and those with medical comorbidities. It has been shown to reduce hospitalisations, cardiovascular and respiratory complications. A significant proportion of patients admitted to general medicine are eligible for opportunistic inpatient influenza vaccination. This study explores the cost-effectiveness of such a strategy in reducing subsequent healthcare utilisation costs.
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    Caustic ingestions over 10 years in Victoria, Australia: high rates in migrants and women.
    Rouse, S ; Buckle, A ; Hebbard, G ; Metz, A ; Sood, S (Wiley, 2022-07)
    BACKGROUND: Caustic ingestion is relatively common in developing countries and can result in life-threatening sequelae. There is limited understanding of the epidemiology and incidence in Australia. AIMS: This statewide 10-year audit aims to document the rate of caustic injury in a defined Australian pouplation. METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted over 10 years (2007-2016), including all admissions to hospitals in Victoria. This includes a population of 5.9 million people and 22 hospitals. RESULTS: Three hundred and eighty-four cases of caustic ingestion were admitted to hospital between January 2007 and December 2016. The overall incidence was 7 cases/million/year. This cohort included 217 (56.5%) females, 193 (50.2%) overseas born patients and 196 (51%) people with a history of mental illness. The countries of birth with the highest incidence of caustic ingestion were Ethiopia (11 patients; 227 cases/million/year; relative risk (RR) 31.7; P < 0.0001), Sudan (11 patients; 161 cases/million/year; RR 22.6; P < 0.0001) and India (38 patients; 27 cases/million/year; RR 3.9; P < 0.0001). All had a significantly higher incidence than the Australian-born population of only 6.5 cases/million/year (RR 0.4; P < 0.0001). Of those born in India, Sudan and Ethiopia, rates of females (72%) were considerably higher than males. The overall mortality rate in this cohort was 2.3%. CONCLUSIONS: Caustic ingestion remains a significant cause of morbidity and health expenditure in Victoria, particularly among vulnerable groups such as recent female migrants from areas in Africa and India. The high frequency of events seen in migrant populations highlights the significant need for awareness of risks in these groups for the development of possible prevention strategies that are required.
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    Reliability of the breathing pattern assessment tool for in-person or remote assessment in people with asthma.
    Bondarenko, J ; Hew, M ; Button, B ; Webb, E ; Jackson, V ; Clark, R ; Holland, AE (Wiley, 2021-09)