Younger patients (age 65 or younger) were more likely to want to participate in decision-making. For each scenario, at least 85% of patients noted they would like to be consulted about the decision “no matter what” or if time allowed. Importantly, patients expressed these preferences in response to written scenarios that did not provide detailed information about the risks and benefits. Further, patients did not receive explanations of the logistical hurdles of trying to obtain patient input for each decision.
Bottom line: The great majority of patients in this study wished to participate in decision making for hypothetical medical treatments, especially if time allowed. At least 24% always wanted to be consulted, even about mundane therapies like potassium supplementation.
Citation: Upadhyay S, Beck A, Rishi A, Amoateng-Adjepong Y, Manthous CA. Patients’ predilections regarding informed consent for hospital treatments. J Hosp Med. 2008; 3(1):6-11.
What are the Clinical Characteristics, Treatments, and Three-month Outcomes of Patients With Upper-extremity DVT
Background: Anticoagulation is the treatment of choice for upper-extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT). However, no large studies have characterized the nature, management, and prognosis of upper-extremity DVT.
Study design: Prospective registry of consecutive patients (RIETE registry).
Setting: International multicenter study (124 centers in Spain, France, Italy, Israel, and Argentina).
Synopsis: Among the 11,564 registry patients with acute DVT, 512 (4.4%) were noted to have upper-extremity DVT. Cancer was more common and immobility was less common with upper-extremity DVT. Initially, most patients (91%) were treated with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). For long-term therapy, 75% of patients with cancer received LMWH, and 76% of patients without cancer were given oral vitamin K antagonists. At diagnosis, only 9% of patients with upper-extremity DVT had clinically apparent pulmonary embolism (PE) versus 29% of those with lower-extremity DVT. During the three-month follow-up, the incidence of PE, fatal PE, recurrent DVT, and bleeding was similar for upper- and lower-extremity DVT. Mortality was higher in patients with upper-extremity DVT, which in multivariable analyses, was explained by the higher prevalence of cancer in that group.
Bottom line: Because the incidence of recurrent DVT/PE, fatal PE, or major bleeding is similar between upper and lower extremity DVT, therapy should not differ.
Citation: Muñoz FJ, Mismetti P, Poggio R, et al. Clinical outcome of patients with upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis. Chest 2008;133(1):143-148.
Background: Oral prednisolone has near 100% bioavailability following oral administration. Although current guidelines suggest using oral steroids in the treatment of COPD exacerbation, the optimal route of administration has not been studied rigorously.
Study design: Non-inferiority, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Single hospital in the Netherlands.
Synopsis: Patients were randomized to receive either a five-day course of IV or oral prednisolone 60 mg, followed by an oral prednisolone taper. All received nebulized ipratropium and albuterol four times daily, as well as oral amoxicillin/clavulanate (or doxycycline if allergic). The primary outcome was treatment failure, which included death, ICU admission, hospital readmission for COPD, or treatment intensification during 90-day follow-up.
Non-inferiority was defined as a treatment failure rate for oral steroids not more than 15% worse than the treatment failure rate for IV steroids. The study design called for 256 patients to provide adequate (80%) power for the primary analysis. However, only 210 were enrolled due to slow recruitment, and 17 withdrew consent or did not meet study entry criteria.
The intention-to-treat analysis showed no significant difference between oral and IV steroids in the treatment failure rate (56.3% vs. 61.7%, respectively). Results of the per-protocol analysis were similar. However, insufficient power and poor patient accounting raise questions about the validity of the results.