Recent Submissions

  • Physiotherapist-led exercise versus usual care (waiting-list) control for patients awaiting rotator cuff repair surgery: A pilot randomised controlled trial (POWER)

    Tunnicliffe, Helen (2023-10-30)
    Background: Once a decision to undergo rotator cuff repair surgery is made, patients are placed on the waiting list. It can take weeks or months to receive surgery. There has been a call to move from waiting lists to 'preparation' lists to better prepare patients for surgery and to ensure it remains an appropriate treatment option for them. Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, as measured by recruitment rates, treatment fidelity and follow-up rates, of a future multi-centre randomised controlled trial to compare the clinical and cost-effectiveness of undertaking a physiotherapist-led exercise programme while waiting for surgery versus usual care (waiting-list control). Design: Two-arm, multi-centre pilot randomised controlled trial with feasibility objectives in six NHS hospitals in England. Method: Adults (n = 76) awaiting rotator cuff repair surgery were recruited and randomly allocated to a programme of physiotherapist-led exercise (n = 38) or usual care control (n = 38). Results: Of 302 eligible patients, 76 (25%) were randomised. Of 38 participants randomised to physiotherapist-led exercise, 28 (74%) received the exercise programme as intended. 51/76 (67%) Shoulder Pain and Disability Index questionnaires were returned at 6-months. Of 76 participants, 32 had not received surgery after 6-months (42%). Of those 32, 20 were allocated to physiotherapist-led exercise; 12 to usual care control. Conclusions: A future multi-centre randomised controlled trial is feasible but would require planning for variable recruitment rates between sites, measures to improve treatment fidelity and opportunity for surgical exit, and optimisation of follow-up. A fully powered, randomised controlled trial is now needed to robustly inform clinical decision-making.
  • Acute blood biomarker profiles predict cognitive deficits 6 and 12 months after COVID-19 hospitalization

    Harris, Victoria; Houchen-Wolloff, Linzy (31/08/2023)
    Post-COVID cognitive deficits, including 'brain fog', are clinically complex, with both objective and subjective components. They are common and debilitating, and can affect the ability to work, yet their biological underpinnings remain unknown. In this prospective cohort study of 1,837 adults hospitalized with COVID-19, we identified two distinct biomarker profiles measured during the acute admission, which predict cognitive outcomes 6 and 12 months after COVID-19. A first profile links elevated fibrinogen relative to C-reactive protein with both objective and subjective cognitive deficits. A second profile links elevated D-dimer relative to C-reactive protein with subjective cognitive deficits and occupational impact. This second profile was mediated by fatigue and shortness of breath. Neither profile was significantly mediated by depression or anxiety. Results were robust across secondary analyses. They were replicated, and their specificity to COVID-19 tested, in a large-scale electronic health records dataset. These findings provide insights into the heterogeneous biology of post-COVID cognitive deficits.
  • Perceived barriers and facilitators of day-case surgery for major foot and ankle procedures? A cross-sectional survey of United Kingdom surgeons

    Houchen-Wolloff, Linzy; Crane, Natalie; Mangwani, Jitendra
    Background: Advances in minimally invasive surgery and improved post-operative pain management make it possible to consider performing even major foot/ankle operations as day-case. This could have significant benefits for patients and the health service. However there are theoretical concerns about post-operative complications and patient satisfaction due to pain. Aim: To scope the current practice of foot and ankle surgeons on day-case surgery for major foot and ankle procedures in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods: An online survey (19 questions) was sent to UK foot and ankle surgeons via the British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society membership list in August 2021. Major foot and ankle procedures were defined as surgery that is usually performed as an inpatient in majority of centres and day-case as same day discharge, with day surgery as the intended treatment pathway. Results: 132 people responded to the survey invitation with 80% working in Acute NHS Trusts. Currently 45% of respondents perform less than 100 day-case surgeries per year for these procedures. 78% felt that there was scope to perform more procedures as day-case at their centre. Post-operative pain (34%) and patient satisfaction (10%) was not highly measured within their centres. Lack of adequate physiotherapy input pre/post-operatively (23%) and lack of out of hours support (21%) were the top perceived barriers to performing more major foot and ankle procedures as day-case. Conclusion: There is consensus among UK surgeons to do more major foot/ankle procedures as day-case. Out of hours support and physiotherapy input pre/ post-op were perceived as the main barriers. Despite theoretical concerns about post-operative pain and satisfaction this was only measured by a third of those surveyed. There is a need for nationally agreed protocols to optimise the delivery of and measurement of outcomes in this type of surgery. At a local level, the provision of physiotherapy and out of hours support should be explored at sites where this is a perceived barrier.
  • Effects of sleep disturbance on dyspnoea and impaired lung function following hospital admission due to COVID-19 in the UK: a prospective multicentre cohort study

    Harris, Victoria; Evans, Rachael; Houchen-Wolloff, Linzy (2023-04-15)
    Background: Sleep disturbance is common following hospital admission both for COVID-19 and other causes. The clinical associations of this for recovery after hospital admission are poorly understood despite sleep disturbance contributing to morbidity in other scenarios. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and nature of sleep disturbance after discharge following hospital admission for COVID-19 and to assess whether this was associated with dyspnoea. Methods: CircCOVID was a prospective multicentre cohort substudy designed to investigate the effects of circadian disruption and sleep disturbance on recovery after COVID-19 in a cohort of participants aged 18 years or older, admitted to hospital for COVID-19 in the UK, and discharged between March, 2020, and October, 2021. Participants were recruited from the Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID). Follow-up data were collected at two timepoints: an early time point 2-7 months after hospital discharge and a later time point 10-14 months after hospital discharge. Sleep quality was assessed subjectively using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire and a numerical rating scale. Sleep quality was also assessed with an accelerometer worn on the wrist (actigraphy) for 14 days. Participants were also clinically phenotyped, including assessment of symptoms (ie, anxiety [Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale questionnaire], muscle function [SARC-F questionnaire], dyspnoea [Dyspnoea-12 questionnaire] and measurement of lung function), at the early timepoint after discharge. Actigraphy results were also compared to a matched UK Biobank cohort (non-hospitalised individuals and recently hospitalised individuals). Multivariable linear regression was used to define associations of sleep disturbance with the primary outcome of breathlessness and the other clinical symptoms. PHOSP-COVID is registered on the ISRCTN Registry (ISRCTN10980107). Findings: 2320 of 2468 participants in the PHOSP-COVID study attended an early timepoint research visit a median of 5 months (IQR 4-6) following discharge from 83 hospitals in the UK. Data for sleep quality were assessed by subjective measures (the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire and the numerical rating scale) for 638 participants at the early time point. Sleep quality was also assessed using device-based measures (actigraphy) a median of 7 months (IQR 5-8 months) after discharge from hospital for 729 participants. After discharge from hospital, the majority (396 [62%] of 638) of participants who had been admitted to hospital for COVID-19 reported poor sleep quality in response to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire. A comparable proportion (338 [53%] of 638) of participants felt their sleep quality had deteriorated following discharge after COVID-19 admission, as assessed by the numerical rating scale. Device-based measurements were compared to an age-matched, sex-matched, BMI-matched, and time from discharge-matched UK Biobank cohort who had recently been admitted to hospital. Compared to the recently hospitalised matched UK Biobank cohort, participants in our study slept on average 65 min (95% CI 59 to 71) longer, had a lower sleep regularity index (-19%; 95% CI -20 to -16), and a lower sleep efficiency (3·83 percentage points; 95% CI 3·40 to 4·26). Similar results were obtained when comparisons were made with the non-hospitalised UK Biobank cohort. Overall sleep quality (unadjusted effect estimate 3·94; 95% CI 2·78 to 5·10), deterioration in sleep quality following hospital admission (3·00; 1·82 to 4·28), and sleep regularity (4·38; 2·10 to 6·65) were associated with higher dyspnoea scores. Poor sleep quality, deterioration in sleep quality, and sleep regularity were also associated with impaired lung function, as assessed by forced vital capacity. Depending on the sleep metric, anxiety mediated 18-39% of the effect of sleep disturbance on dyspnoea, while muscle weakness mediated 27-41% of this effect. Interpretation: Sleep disturbance following hospital admission for COVID-19 is associated with dyspnoea, anxiety, and muscle weakness. Due to the association with multiple symptoms, targeting sleep disturbance might be beneficial in treating the post-COVID-19 condition. Funding: UK Research and Innovation, National Institute for Health Research, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
  • Adapted cardiac rehabilitation for people with sub-acute, mild-to-moderate stroke: a mixed methods feasibility study

    Robinson, Thompson; Drewry, S; Singh, Sally (2021-11-29)
    Objective: To determine the recruitment strategy, acceptability, adherence, outcome measures, and adverse events for a definitive study that will explore adapted cardiac rehabilitation (CR) for people post-stroke with mild-to-moderate severity stroke in the sub-acute stage of recovery. Design: Mixed methods feasibility study. Setting: Acute hospital setting, neurology outpatients and community hospitals. Participants: 32 participants with stroke (mean age: 64.4 years) of median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score 2 (range: 0 to 6) within six months of stroke. Intervention: All participants attended six weeks, adapted CR within one to six months after a stroke. A combined class with people post cardiac event. Main outcome measures: Incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT), blood pressure, heart rate, weight, body mass index, quality of life, fatigue, anxiety and depression, tone, falls, stroke attitude and knowledge, physical activity (accelerometry) and functional ability. Qualitative: Interviews with participants, non-participants and people post-cardiac event. Focus groups with Stroke and CR teams. Results: 32 participants were recruited. The programme was acceptable to people with mild stroke (NIHSS<3) and people post cardiac events; 80% of classes attended, a mean of 9.6 classes, with six drop-outs. The ISWT was an acceptable outcome measure (for NIHSS<3) and most measures showed positive changes. There was one adverse event. Conclusion: A definitive study to determine the effect of six weeks of adapted CR on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRf) in people who have had a mild severity stroke (NIHSS<3) in the sub-acute phase of recovery, is feasible. Teams need specialist education and support. A more specialist service may be needed for people with a stroke severity defined by NIHSS>2. Clinical trial registration number: ISRCTN14861846.
  • Health care worker knowledge and attitudes towards uniform laundering during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Hall, Andrew P (2021-12-28)
    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns towards domestic laundering of healthcare worker (HCW) uniforms; this is common practice in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and United States. Previous research suggested 4-32% of nurses did not adhere to laundry policies, which could be an infection control risk. This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of UK healthcare workers towards domestic laundering of uniforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Online and paper questionnaires were distributed to HCWs and nursing students who regularly wear uniforms. Differences in knowledge between HCWs were analyzed by Chi-squared tests and attitudes were examined using exploratory factor analysis. Results: About 86% of participants (n = 1099 of 1277) laundered their uniforms domestically. Respondents were confident in laundering their uniforms appropriately (71%), however 17% failed to launder at the recommended temperature (60°C). Most participants (68%) would prefer their employer launder their uniforms, with mixed negative emotions towards domestic laundering. Limited provision of uniforms and changing and/or storage facilities were a barrier to following guidelines. Conclusion: Most HCWs domestically launder their uniforms, despite a preference for professional laundering. One-fifth of HCWs deviated from the UK National Health Service uniform guidelines; onsite changing facilities were the most significant barrier towards adherence.
  • Study pre-protocol for "BronchStart - The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the timing, age and severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) emergency presentations; a multi-centre prospective observational cohort study"

    Roland, Damian (2022-01-21)
    Background: Bronchiolitis (most frequently caused by respiratory syncytial virus; RSV) is a common winter disease predominantly affecting children under one year of age. It is a common reason for presentations to an emergency department (ED) and frequently results in hospital admission, contributing to paediatric units approaching or exceeding capacity each winter. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the circulation of RSV was dramatically reduced in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Evidence from the Southern Hemisphere and other European countries suggests that as social distancing restrictions for SARS-CoV-2 are relaxed, RSV infection returns, causing delayed or even summer epidemics, with different age distributions. Study question: The ability to track, anticipate and respond to a surge in RSV cases is critical for planning acute care delivery. There is an urgent need to understand the onset of RSV spread at the earliest opportunity. This will influence service planning, to inform clinicians whether the population at risk is a wider age range than normal, and whether there are changes in disease severity. This information is also needed to inform decision on the timing of passive immunisation of children at higher risk of hospitalisation, intensive care admission or death with RSV infection, which is a public health priority. Methods and likely impact: This multi-centre prospective observational cohort study will use a well-established research network (Paediatric Emergency Research in the UK and Ireland, PERUKI) to report in real time cases of RSV infection in children aged under two years, through the collection of essential, but non-identifying patient information. Forty-five centres will gather initial data on age, index of multiple deprivation quintile, clinical features on presentation, and co-morbidities. Each case will be followed up at seven days to identify treatment, viral diagnosis and outcome. Information be released on a weekly basis and used to support clinical decision making.
  • Novel interventions for recalcitrant patella tendinopathy: Results may favour autologous blood injection (ABI) over radial-extra-corporeal shockwave therapy (r-ESWT) - A prospective cohort study

    Wheeler, Patrick (2022-01-26)
    Background: Patella tendinopathy is a common condition in a number of sports and can have a significant impact on activity and quality of life. Whilst rehabilitation leads to improvements in the majority of cases, a number of adjunct treatments are available for resistant cases with limited evidence supporting the use of one treatment over another.Hypothesis/Purpose: To compare the outcomes for patients with chronic patella tendinopathy, following either radial-Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (r-ESWT) or Autologous Blood Injection (ABI). Study design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: 28 consecutive patients with chronic patella tendinopathy, treated with radial-ESWT (n = 14) or ABI (n = 14), with minimum three-month follow-up. Mean age 34.2 years, mean duration of symptoms 32.8 months. Patients received either three sessions of radial-Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (one session per week for 3 weeks), or two ultrasound-guided Autologous Blood Injections (2 injections performed 2-4 weeks apart). All patients received standardised after-care, including continuation of a structured home exercise programme of flexibility and progressive loading (eccentric strengthening) exercises. Main Outcome Measures were Victoria Institute of Sport - Patella questionnaire (VISA-P), plus 0-10 Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for self-reported levels of "average pain". Results: There were statistically significant improvements in self-reported measures of pain/function following either procedure at 6-weeks and at 3-months, but only in the ABI group at 6-months. At 3-months: VISA-P was improved from 32.4% ± 11.7%-60.0% ± 20.7% (p < 0.01) in the ABI group, and from 34.2% ± 14.6%-48.9% ± 17.8% (p < 0.001) in the r-ESWT group. Conclusions: Patients with chronic patella tendinopathy improved at 6-weeks and 3-months following either ABI or r-ESWT procedure, with significant benefits at 6-months seen only in the ABI group. Between group analysis demonstrated improved outcomes favouring ABI compared to r-ESWT at the 6-month timepoint using VISA-P, and at all time-points using VAS as outcome measures. The small sample sizes in this pragmatic study are however noted, which limit interpretation, and larger more robust studies are required to investigate this further. This pragmatic prospective cohort study demonstrates improvements following either r-ESWT or ABI procedures, with results potentially favouring ABI over r-ESWT for patients with chronic patella tendinopathy.
  • Inflammation and physical dysfunction: responses to moderate intensity exercise in chronic kidney disease

    Watson, Emma L; Wilkinson, Thomas; Graham-Brown, Matthew; Major, Rupert; Ashford, Robert; Smith, Alice (2021)
    Background: People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience skeletal muscle wasting, reduced levels of physical function and performance, and chronic systemic inflammation. While it is known that a relationship exists between inflammation and muscle wasting, the association between inflammation and physical function or performance in CKD has not been well studied. Exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, but little is known regarding the effect of moderate intensity exercise. This study aimed to (i) compare systemic and intramuscular inflammation between CKD stage G3b-5 and non-CKD controls; (ii) establish whether a relationship exists between physical performance, exercise capacity and inflammation in CKD; (iii) determine changes in systemic and intramuscular inflammation following 12 weeks of exercise; and (iv) investigate whether improving inflammatory status via training contributes to improvements in physical performance and muscle mass. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of previously collected data. CKD patients stages G3b-5 (n = 84, n = 43 males) and non-CKD controls (n = 26, n = 17 males) underwent tests of physical performance, exercise capacity, muscle strength and muscle size. In addition, a subgroup of CKD participants underwent 12 weeks of exercise training, randomized to aerobic (AE, n = 21) or combined (CE, n = 20) training. Plasma and intramuscular inflammation and myostatin were measured at rest and following exercise. Results: Tumour necrosis factor-α was negatively associated with lower $^{^{^{.}}}{\rm V}$O2Peak (P = 0.01), Rectus femoris-cross sectional area (P = 0.002) and incremental shuttle walk test performance (P < 0.001). Interleukin-6 was negatively associated with sit-to-stand 60 performances (P = 0.006) and hand grip strength (P = 0.001). Unaccustomed exercise created an intramuscular inflammatory response that was attenuated following 12 weeks of training. Exercise training did not reduce systemic inflammation, but AE training did significantly reduce mature myostatin levels (P = 0.02). Changes in inflammation were not associated with changes in physical performance. Conclusions: Systemic inflammation may contribute to reduced physical function in CKD. Twelve weeks of exercise training was unable to reduce the level of chronic systemic inflammation in these patients, but did reduce plasma myostatin concentrations. Further research is required to further investigate this.