Recent Submissions

  • Abiraterone acetate and prednisolone with or without enzalutamide for high-risk non-metastatic prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of primary results from two randomised controlled phase 3 trials of the STAMPEDE platform protocol.

    Das, P
    BACKGROUND: Men with high-risk non-metastatic prostate cancer are treated with androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) for 3 years, often combined with radiotherapy. We analysed new data from two randomised controlled phase 3 trials done in a multiarm, multistage platform protocol to assess the efficacy of adding abiraterone and prednisolone alone or with enzalutamide to ADT in this patient population. METHODS: These open-label, phase 3 trials were done at 113 sites in the UK and Switzerland. Eligible patients (no age restrictions) had high-risk (defined as node positive or, if node negative, having at least two of the following: tumour stage T3 or T4, Gleason sum score of 8-10, and prostate-specific antigen [PSA] concentration ≥40 ng/mL) or relapsing with high-risk features (≤12 months of total ADT with an interval of ≥12 months without treatment and PSA concentration ≥4 ng/mL with a doubling time of <6 months, or a PSA concentration ≥20 ng/mL, or nodal relapse) non-metastatic prostate cancer, and a WHO performance status of 0-2. Local radiotherapy (as per local guidelines, 74 Gy in 37 fractions to the prostate and seminal vesicles or the equivalent using hypofractionated schedules) was mandated for node negative and encouraged for node positive disease. In both trials, patients were randomly assigned (1:1), by use of a computerised algorithm, to ADT alone (control group), which could include surgery and luteinising-hormone-releasing hormone agonists and antagonists, or with oral abiraterone acetate (1000 mg daily) and oral prednisolone (5 mg daily; combination-therapy group). In the second trial]
  • Redefining WILD syndrome: a primary lymphatic dysplasia with congenital multisegmental lymphoedema, cutaneous lymphovascular malformation, CD4 lymphopaenia and warts.

    Keeley, Vaughan (2021-12)
    BACKGROUND: Primary lymphoedema (PL) syndromes are increasingly recognised as presentations of complex genetic disease, with at least 20 identified causative genes. Recognition of clinical patterns is key to diagnosis, research and therapeutics. The defining criteria for one such clinical syndrome, 'WILD syndrome' (Warts, Immunodeficiency, Lymphoedema and anogenital Dysplasia), have previously depended on a single case report. METHODS AND RESULTS: We present 21 patients (including the first described case) with similar clinical and immunological phenotypes. All had PL affecting multiple segments, with systemic involvement (intestinal lymphangiectasia/pleural or pericardial effusions) in 70% (n=14/20). Most (n=20, 95%) had a distinctive cutaneous lymphovascular malformation on the upper anterior chest wall. Some (n=10, 48%) also had hyperpigmented lesions resembling epidermal naevi (but probably lymphatic in origin). Warts were common (n=17, 81%) and often refractory. In contrast to the previous case report, anogenital dysplasia was uncommon-only found in two further cases (total n=3, 14%). Low CD4 counts and CD4:CD8 ratios typified the syndrome (17 of 19, 89%), but monocyte counts were universally normal, unlike GATA2 deficiency. CONCLUSION: WILD syndrome is a previously unrecognised, underdiagnosed generalised PL syndrome. Based on this case series, we redefine WILD as 'Warts, Immunodeficiency, andLymphatic Dysplasia' and suggest specific diagnostic criteria. The essential criterion is congenital multisegmental PL in a 'mosaic' distribution. The major diagnostic features are recurrent warts, cutaneous lymphovascular malformations, systemic involvement (lymphatic dysplasia), genital swelling and CD4 lymphopaenia with normal monocyte counts. The absence of family history suggests a sporadic condition, and the random distribution of swelling
  • Pet Ownership and Multiple Sclerosis during COVID-19

    Edwards, Laura (2021)
    Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with lower quality of life, reduced social participation, and decreased self-efficacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has had documented effects on the health and wellbeing of people with and without MS. Previous research has demonstrated the positive impact pets can have for people living with long-term conditions. Objectives: To explore the rates of pet ownership and pet attachment in people living with MS and pet ownership associations with quality of life, satisfaction with social roles, and self-efficacy scores; and to explore the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on people's perceived relationships with their pets. Materials and Methods: A postal questionnaire was distributed to members of a local MS Register and a control group of people without MS. The questionnaire assessed quality of life, satisfaction with social roles, self-efficacy, the perceived roles of pets, and pet-related concerns experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: No apparent difference in attachment to pets was found between the patient and control groups. Pet ownership and level of attachment were not associated with differences in quality of life or self-efficacy scores in people living with MS. Using multiple regression analysis, pet ownership was associated with a decrease in satisfaction with participation in social roles, but with the estimated effect being small compared to having a diagnosis of MS or being unemployed. Most participants reported that pets had positive roles during the pandemic, and the most reported pet-related concern was access to veterinary treatment. Conclusion: Pet owners both with and without MS reported subjective benefits to their wellbeing from pet ownership during COVID-19, although analysis suggested that pet ownership was associated with a reduction in satisfaction with social roles. The study had several limitations and suggestions are made for future work.
  • Impact of the menstrual cycle on commercial prognostic gene signatures in oestrogen receptor-positive primary breast cancer

    Sibbering, Mark (2021)
    Purpose: Changes occur in the expression of oestrogen-regulated and proliferation-associated genes in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast tumours during the menstrual cycle. We investigated if Oncotype® DX recurrence score (RS), Prosigna® (ROR) and EndoPredict® (EP/EPclin) prognostic tests, which include some of these genes, vary according to the time in the menstrual cycle when they are measured. Methods: Pairs of test scores were derived from 30 ER-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative tumours sampled at two different points of the menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle windows were prospectively defined as either W1 (days 1-6 and 27-35; low oestrogen and low progesterone) or W2 (days 7-26; high oestrogen and high or low progesterone). Results: The invasion module score of RS was lower (- 10.9%; p = 0.098), whereas the ER (+ 16.6%; p = 0.046) and proliferation (+ 7.3%; p = 0.13) module scores were higher in W2. PGR expression was significantly increased in W2 (+ 81.4%; p = 0.0029). Despite this, mean scores were not significantly different between W1 and W2 for any of the tests and the two measurements showed high correlation (r = 0.72-0.93). However, variability between the two measurements led to tumours being assigned to different risk categories in the following proportion of cases: RS 22.7%, ROR 27.3%, EP 13.6% and EPclin 13.6%. Conclusion: There are significant changes during the menstrual cycle in the expression of some of the genes and gene module scores comprising the RS, ROR and EP/EPclin scores. These did not affect any of the prognostic scores in a systematic fashion, but there was substantial variability in paired measurements.
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs) as Incidental Findings in Gynecological Surgery.

    Phillips, A
    Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract that may be diagnosed incidentally as a part of intra-abdominal surgery for other diseases. This is a single center review to document the incidental finding of GIST at surgery for gynecological malignancies during a 10-yr period. Sixteen cases of incidental GISTs were identified in women ranging in age from 39 to 82 yr. GISTs presented as incidental secondary lesions in women undergoing surgery for other indications, typically primary debulking surgery for tubo-ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma. The GIST was located in the stomach wall in 9 cases. Other sites were cecum, omentum, and mesentery. Diagnosis of GIST was supported by immunohistochemistry in all cases and by molecular studies in 3 cases. Seventy-five percent of cases were micro-GISTs, measuring <2 cm in diameter and, where Miettinen and Lasota criteria could be applied, fitted into "no risk," "very low risk" or "low risk" prognostic groups. Seventy-five percent of women for whom survival data was available, showed disease-free survival at follow-up. The 2 women who died had concurrent high stage or high-grade gynecological malignancy at initial diagnosis.
  • The role of the Consultant Radiographer in facilitating rapid access to palliative radiotherapy.

    Fisher, S
    INTRODUCTION: The fast track pathway for palliative radiotherapy was created to facilitate rapid access to radiotherapy for symptom relief and improved quality of life. The fast track pathway has a target of 5 days from the decision to treat to starting treatment. METHODS: This study is a quantitative analysis of all patients referred and treated with palliative radiotherapy between the 1st September 2018 and 30th September 2019. The number of working days overall from referral to treatment and at each stage of the radiotherapy pathway was recorded and evaluated. The electronic referral system was amended to include the treatment priority option of 'fast track' for all patients with the selected treatment intent of 'palliative'. The data was acquired using the electronic referral system reporting tool. RESULTS: Results demonstrate a reduction in average pathway timing from 14 days to 3 days for volume planned patients, and 13 days to 2 days for virtual simulation patients referred into the fast track pathway. The routine priority palliative pathway also demonstrated a decrease in time from decision to treat to treatment, despite this not being an initial objective. CONCLUSION: Reducing pathway time from referral to treatment is achievable through the introduction of a fast track treatment priority pathway. Rapid access to treatment was facilitated through the electronic referral system fast track option, the creation of a separate fast track care path in Aria, the use of fast track alerts in Aria, and reserved planning scan and treatment appointments. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Rapid access to palliative radiotherapy facilitates alleviation of symptoms and improved quality of life. To improve the efficiency of the palliative radiotherapy service, a streamlined pathway and the commitment of the radiotherapy team is required.
  • Audit of uptake and user satisfaction of Attend Anywhere video consultations in Haematology outpatients QHB

    Iqbal, Mariyam; Khan, Irfan; Hambleton, Harry; Aldalaq, Ahmad; Ahmad, Humayun; Razzak, Aurangzeb; Beal, Donna
    Introduction: Telemedicine clinics have historically been unpopular due to a range of clinical barriers. In March 2020 WHO declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. This was a paradigm shift in the world of clinical medicine and initiated a rapid transition into virtual clinics as a strategy to minimise face to face (FtF) visits and limit viral spread. At Queen's Hospital Burton, Haematology patients are among the most vulnerable given the immunosuppressive effects of their conditions and treatments. Our outpatient work involves assessment of patients receiving chemotherapy which can be associated with fatal complications. It was felt that telephone consultations may be suboptimal for these assessments, and with the unclear duration of the pandemic, there has been an initiative to recruit more patients to video clinics. The Attend Anywhere' (AA) video consultation system was implemented in June. This drastically reduced the need for FtF visits to reduce infection risks. Objective(s): The primary objective of this audit was to evaluate the uptake of AA over time. We also used the data to assess whether particular patient groups were more likely to engage in video consultations. A concurrent survey was organised in order to assess patient satisfaction with AA. Method(s): A quantitative analysis of data from a consultant-led clinic was obtained from June to December 2020. The clinic letters were examined for patient demographics and to assess the type of consultation undertaken. A separate mixed-method survey of 29 patients was conducted as a part of our audit. Result(s): The results revealed a trend towards video consultations over telephone consultations during the period of time analysed, although the volume of patients undertaking telephone consultations remained higher overall. Despite the proportion of AA consultations being higher in the lower age groups, it remained popular in older age groups. The patient survey showed a high rate of patient satisfaction. A lot of the patients considered AA to be an excellent alternative to FtF and cited other significant benefits in saving time, reducing effort and minimising risk. Video consultations also felt more personal than over the phone and patients felt all their concerns were addressed with high standards of patient care. Conclusion(s): The audit showed that AA consultations are popular with patients in all demographics. They are felt to be safer than telephone consultations. As many appointments are still conducted via telephone, there is further work to be done to encourage more patients onto AA. A number of barriers to AA were noted. There were initially difficulties with staff accessing the software. There were a number of cases where patients either had no computer access, or struggled with the software. Improving communication and information booklets helped to overcome this. The older ages may have had higher representation if they had easier access to a computer, or if the software had been more straightforward. It is felt that a dedicated mobile application may provide a more user friendly system for patients. Whilst the added value of physical examination is missing in AA consultations, especially in new clinic patients, this has been a novel solution to challenges the pandemic has brought. It has helped to ensure continuity and safety in patient care.
  • Current preoperative physiotherapy management strategies for patients awaiting Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACLR): A worldwide survey of physiotherapy practice

    Carter, Hayley; Smith, Benjamin (2021-01)
    Background: Anterior cruciate ligament ruptures are the most common ligament injury to the knee with surgical reconstruction considered standard treatment. This study aimed to explore the current physiotherapy management strategies used during the preoperative phase of rehabilitation for patients awaiting anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Methods: An anonymous survey was disseminated online via Twitter and the 'interactive Chartered Society of Physiotherapy' message board. Practising physiotherapists who treated at least one patient prior to ACLR in the past year were invited to take part. Responses were collected over a 4-week period in March 2020. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: In total, 183 respondents replied; 122 completed the full survey. Responses were collected from 20 countries across 3 settings, NHS/public health services, private and sports. Most respondents reported prescribing exercises, advice and education to patients during prehabilitation. Up to 40% also utilised passive treatments including manual therapy, taping/bracing and electrotherapy. The frequency of recommended exercise completion and length of treatment varied. Most respondents (n = 103/84.4%) felt that many patients waiting for ACLR did not receive prehabilitation. Many physiotherapists reported that patients expressed concerns regarding their readiness for surgery (n = 61/50%) and return to preinjury levels of physical activity (n = 112/91.8%). Almost all respondents would discuss non-operative management with patients (n = 112/91.8%) if they had returned to their preinjury level of physical activity before their ACLR. Conclusion: Overall, this survey provides some insight as to how physiotherapists manage patients awaiting ACLR. Areas of uncertainty in physiotherapy practice have also been highlighted that require further high-quality research.
  • The time course of physiological adaptations to high-intensity interval training in older adults

    Herrod, Philip; Blackwell, James; Boereboom, CL; Williams, John P; Lund, Jonathan (2020-09)
    Objective: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be more effective than moderate continuous aerobic exercise for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in a limited time frame. However, the length of time required for HIIT to elicit clinically significant improvements in the CRF of older adults is currently unknown. The aim of this study was to compare changes in the CRF of older adults completing identical HIIT protocols of varying durations. Methods: Forty healthy, community-dwelling older adults completed a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) before and after 2, 4, or 6 weeks of fully supervised HIIT on a cycle ergometer, or a no-intervention control period. Results: Anaerobic threshold (AT) was increased only after 4 (+1.9 [SD 1.1] mL/kg/min) and 6 weeks (+1.9 [SD 1.8] mL/kg/min) of HIIT (both P < 0.001), with 6-week HIIT required to elicit improvements in VO2 peak (+3.0 [SD 6] mL/kg/min; P = 0.04). Exercise tolerance increased after 2 (+15 [SD 15] W), 4 (+17 [SD 11] W), and 6 weeks (+16 [SD 11] W) of HIIT (all P < 0.001), with no difference in increase between the groups. There were no changes in any parameter in the control group. Conclusion: Improvements in exercise tolerance from HIIT precede changes in CRF. Just 4 weeks of a well-tolerated, reduced-exertion HIIT protocol are required to produce significant changes in AT, with a further 2 weeks of training also eliciting improvements in VO2 peak.
  • Cellulitis in chronic oedema of the lower leg: an international cross-sectional study

    Keeley, Vaughan (2021-01)
    Background: Cellulitis and chronic oedema are common conditions with considerable morbidity. The number of studies designed to assess the epidemiology of cellulitis in chronic oedema are scarce. Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and risk factors of cellulitis in chronic leg oedema, including lymphoedema. Methods: A cross-sectional study, including 40 sites in nine countries, 2014-2017. Adults with clinically proven unilateral or bilateral chronic oedema (oedema >3 months) of the lower leg were included. The main outcome measures were frequency and risk factors for cellulitis within the last 12 months. Results: Out of 7477 patients, 15⋅78% had cellulitis within the last 12 months, with a life-time prevalence of 37⋅47%. The following risk factors for cellulitis were identified by multivariable analysis: wounds [odds ratio (OR) 2⋅37, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2⋅03-2⋅78], morbid obesity (OR 1⋅51, CI 95% 1⋅27-1⋅80), obesity (OR 1⋅21, CI 95% 1⋅03-1⋅41), midline swelling (OR 1⋅32, CI 95% 1⋅04-1⋅66), male sex (OR 1⋅32, CI 95% 1⋅15-1⋅52) and diabetes (OR 1⋅27, CI 95% 1⋅08-1⋅49). Controlled swelling was associated with a reduced risk (OR 0⋅59, CI 95% 0⋅51-0⋅67). In a subgroup analysis, the risk increased with the stage of oedema [International Society of Lymphology (ISL), stage II OR 2⋅04, CI 95% 1⋅23-3⋅38, and stage III OR 4⋅88, CI 95% 2⋅77-8⋅56]. Conclusions: Cellulitis in chronic leg oedema is a global problem. Several risk factors for cellulitis were identified, of which some are potentially preventable. Our findings suggest that oedema control, is one of these. We also identified that advanced stages of oedema, with hard/fibrotic tissue, might be an important clinical indicator to identify patients at particular risk.
  • Development and evaluation of a brief educational cartoon on trainee clinicians' awareness of risks of ionising-radiation exposure: a feasibility pre-post intervention study of a novel educational tool to promote patient safety

    Thurley, Peter; Bowker, R; Bhatti, Imran; Skelly, Robert (2020-11)
    Background: Over recent decades, CT scans have become routinely available and are used in both acute medical and outpatient environments. However, there is a small increase in the risk of adverse consequences, including an increase in the risk of both malignancy and cataracts. Clinicians are often unaware of these facts, and this represents a challenge for medical educators in England, where almost 5 million CT scans are done annually. New whiteboard methodologies permit development of innovative educational tools that are efficient and scalable in communicating simple educational messages that promote patient safety. Methods: A short educational whiteboard cartoon was developed to explore the prior observation that adolescents under the care of paediatricians had a much lower risk of receiving a CT scan than those under the care of clinicians who care for adults. This explored the risks after receiving a CT scan and strategies that can be used to avoid them. The educational cartoon was piloted on new doctors who were attending induction training at a busy teaching hospital. Results: The main output was the educational whiteboard cartoon itself. Before the new medical trainees' induction, 56% (25/45) had received no formal training in radiation awareness, and this decreased to 26% (6/23) after the exposure to the educational cartoon (p=0.02). At baseline, 60% (27/45) of respondents considered that young females were at highest risk from exposure to ionising radiation, and this increased to 87% (20/23) after exposure to the educational cartoon (p=0.06). Conclusions: This proof-of-concept feasibility study demonstrates that whiteboard cartoons provide a novel and feasible approach to efficiently promote patient safety issues, where a short succinct message is often appropriate.
  • High-intensity interval training produces a significant improvement in fitness in less than 31 days before surgery for urological cancer: a randomised control trial

    Blackwell, James; Doleman, Brett; Boereboom, CL; Atherton, P; Smith, K; Williams, John P; Phillips, Bethan; Lund, Jonathan (2020-12)
    Objectives: To assess the efficacy of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in patients awaiting resection for urological malignancy within four weeks. Subjects/patients and methods: A randomised control trial of consecutive patients aged (>65 years) scheduled for major urological surgery in a large secondary referral centre in a UK hospital. The primary outcome is change in anaerobic threshold (VO2AT) following HIIT vs. standard care. Results: Forty patients were recruited (mean age 72 years, male (39): female (1)) with 34 completing the protocol. Intention to treat analysis showed significant improvements in anaerobic threshold (VO2AT; mean difference (MD) 2.26 ml/kg/min (95% CI 1.25-3.26)) following HIIT. Blood pressure (BP) also significantly reduced in following: HIIT (SBP: -8.2 mmHg (95% CI -16.09 to -0.29) and DBP: -6.47 mmHg (95% CI -12.56 to -0.38)). No reportable adverse safety events occurred during HIIT and all participants achieved >85% predicted maximum heart rate during sessions, with protocol adherence of 84%. Conclusions: HIIT can improve CRF and cardiovascular health, representing clinically meaningful and achievable pre-operative improvements. Larger randomised trials are required to investigate the efficacy of prehabilitation HIIT upon different cancer types, post-operative complications, socio-economic impact and long-term survival.
  • Time-efficient physical activity interventions to reduce blood pressure in older adults: a randomised controlled trial.

    Herrod, Philip; Lund, Jonathan (2020-10)
    Background: Hypertension is a risk factor for both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, with an increasing incidence with advancing patient age. Exercise interventions have the potential to reduce blood pressure in older adults, however, rates of exercise uptake and adherence are low, with 'lack of time' a commonly cited reason. As such, there remains the need for time-efficient physical activity interventions to reduce blood pressure in older adults. Objective: To compare the effect of three, novel time-efficient physical activity interventions on resting blood pressure in older adults. Methods: Forty-eight, healthy, community-dwelling older adults (mean age: 71 years) were recruited to a 6-week randomised control trial. Resting blood pressure was measured before and after one of three supervised, time-efficient interventions: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a cycle ergometer; isometric handgrip training (IHG); unilateral, upper limb remote ischaemic preconditioning (RIPC) or non-intervention control. Results: Both HIIT and IHG led to a statistically significant reduction in resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 9 mmHg, with no significant change in the RIPC or control groups. There was no change in diastolic blood pressure or pulse pressure in any group. Conclusions: Supervised HIIT or IHG using the protocols described in this study can lead to statistically significant and clinically relevant reductions in resting SBP in healthy older adults in just 6 weeks.
  • The effectiveness of preoperative rehabilitation programmes on postoperative outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction: a systematic review

    Carter, Hayley; Smith, Benjamin (2020-10)
    Background: To explore the effectiveness of preoperative rehabilitation programmes (PreHab) on postoperative physical and psychological outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Method: A systematic search was conducted from inception to November 2019. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in English were included. Risk of bias was assessed using Version 2 of the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool, and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment system was used to evaluate the quality of evidence. Results: The search identified 739 potentially eligible studies, three met the inclusion criteria. All included RCTs scored 'high' risk of bias. PreHab in all three RCTs was an exercise programme, each varied in content (strength, control, balance and perturbation training), frequency (10 to 24 sessions) and length (3.1- to 6-weeks). Statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) were reported for quadriceps strength (one RCT) and single leg hop scores (two RCTs) in favour of PreHab three months after ACLR, compared to no PreHab. One RCT reported no statistically significant between-group difference for pain and function. No RCT evaluated post-operative psychological outcomes. Conclusion: Very low quality evidence suggests that PreHab that includes muscular strength, balance and perturbation training offers a small benefit to quadriceps strength and single leg hop scores three months after ACLR compared with no PreHab. There is no consensus on the optimum PreHab programme content, frequency and length. Further research is needed to develop PreHab programmes that consider psychosocial factors and the measurement of relevant post-operative outcomes such as psychological readiness and return to sport. Trial registration: PROSPERO trial registration number. CRD42020162754 .
  • Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery 2 (MARS 2): protocol for a multicentre randomised trial comparing (extended) pleurectomy decortication versus no (extended) pleurectomy decortication for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

    Keni, Manjusha (2020-09)
    INTRODUCTION: Mesothelioma remains a lethal cancer. To date, systemic therapy with pemetrexed and a platinum drug remains the only licensed standard of care. As the median survival for patients with mesothelioma is 12.1 months, surgery is an important consideration to improve survival and/or quality of life. Currently, only two surgical trials have been performed which found that neither extensive (extra-pleural pneumonectomy) or limited (partial pleurectomy) surgery improved survival (although there was some evidence of improved quality of life). Therefore, clinicians are now looking to evaluate pleurectomy decortication, the only radical treatment option left. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The MARS 2 study is a UK multicentre open parallel group randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of surgery-(extended) pleurectomy decortication-versus no surgery for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. The study will test the hypothesis that surgery and chemotherapy is superior to chemotherapy alone with respect to overall survival. Secondary outcomes include health-related quality of life, progression-free survival, measures of safety (adverse events) and resource use to 2 years. The QuinteT Recruitment Intervention is integrated into the trial to optimise recruitment. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Research ethics approval was granted by London - Camberwell St. Giles Research Ethics Committee (reference 13/LO/1481) on 7 November 2013. We will submit the results for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBERS: ISRCTN-ISRCTN44351742 and
  • Carcinoma of Unknown Primary (CUP) in a patient presenting with lower back pain: An Important Clinical Lesson

    Hind, Jamie; Sidhu, Gur Aziz; Powell, Chris; Lacon, Andrew; Ashwood, Neil (2020-09)
    Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. We report a case of a 33-year-old female, diagnosed with CUP, after presenting with gradual onset worsening lower back pain. Immunohistochemistry, blood tests, further investigations, and Multidisciplinary team meetings failed to identify the primary malignancy. This is not an uncommon pathway for patients with CUP. This report highlights how CUP can affect the quality of life of patients and how management for CUP should be focused on enhancing Quality of Life (QOL). It also addresses the difficulty of identifying which group of patients may benefit from further investigations to identify the primary and thus receive target treatment therapy.
  • A multicentre cross-sectional observational study of cancer multidisciplinary teams: Analysis of team decision making.

    Bali, Anish; Asher, Viren (2020-08)
    BACKGROUND: Multidisciplinary teams (MDT) formulate expert informed treatment recommendations for people with cancer. We set out to examine how the factors proposed by the functional perspective of group decision making (DM), that is, interaction process, internal factors (factors emanating from within the group such as group size), external circumstances (factors coming from the outside of the team), and case-complexity affect the quality of MDT decision making. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional observational study. Three cancer MDTs were recruited with 44 members overall and 30 of their weekly meetings filmed. Validated observational instruments were used to measure quality of DM, interactions, and complexity of 822 case discussions. RESULTS: The full regression model with the variables proposed by the functional perspective was significant, R2 = 0.52, F(20, 801) = 43.47, P < .001, adjusted R2 = 0.51. Positive predictors of DM quality were asking questions (P = .001), providing answers (P = .001), team size (P = .007), gender balance (P = .003), and clinical complexity (P = .001), while negative socioemotional reactions (P = .007), gender imbalance (P = .003), logistical issues (P = .001), time-workload pressures (P = .002), and time spent in the meeting (P = .001) were negative predictors. Second half of the meetings also saw significant decrease in the DM quality (P = .001), interactions (P = .001), group size (P = .003), and clinical complexity (P = .001), and an increase in negative socioemotional reactions (P = .001) and time-workload pressures (P = .001). DISCUSSION: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to attempt to assess the factors proposed by the functional perspective in cancer MDTs. One novel finding is the effect of sociocognitive factors on team DM quality, while another is the cognitive-catch 22 effect: while the case discussions are significantly simpler in the second half of the meeting, there is significantly less time left to discuss the remaining cases, further adding to the cognitive taxation in teams who are now rapidly attempting to close their time-workload gap. Implications are discussed in relation to quality and safety.
  • Patients' attitudes towards cost feedback to doctors to prevent unnecessary testing: a qualitative focus group study

    Skelly, Robert; Thurley, Peter; Sturrock, Nigel; Norwood, Mark (2020-07)
    OBJECTIVES: There is a need to improve efficiency in healthcare delivery without compromising quality of care. One approach is the development and evaluation of behavioural strategies to reduce unnecessary use of common tests. However, there is an absence of evidence on patient attitudes to the use of such approaches in the delivery of care. Our objective was to explore patient acceptability of a nudge-type intervention that aimed to modify blood test requests by hospital doctors. STUDY DESIGN: Single-centre qualitative study. METHODS: The financial costs of common blood tests were presented to hospital doctors on results reports for 1 year at a hospital. Focus group discussions were conducted with recent inpatients at the hospital using a semi-structured question schedule. Discussions were transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis to identify and prioritise common themes explaining attitudes to the intervention approach. RESULTS: Three focus groups involving 17 participants were conducted. Patients were generally apprehensive about the provision of blood test cost feedback to doctors. Attitudes were organised around themes representing beliefs about blood tests, the impact on doctors and their autonomy, and beliefs about unnecessary testing. Patients thought that blood tests were important, powerful and inexpensive, and cost information could place doctors under additional pressure. CONCLUSION: The findings identify predominantly positive beliefs about testing and negative attitudes to the use of financial costs in the decision-making of hospital doctors. Public discussion and education about the possible overuse of common tests may allow more resources to be allocated to evidence-based healthcare, by reducing the perception that such strategies to improve healthcare efficiency negatively impact on quality of care.
  • Mortality and Institutionalization After Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy in Parkinson's Disease and Related Conditions.

    Skelly, Robert; Brown, Lisa (2020-06)
    Background: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) can facilitate feeding and medication administration in dysphagic patients with Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Information on survival, institutionalization, and complications post PEG might inform feeding decisions. Method: A total of 93 patients with Parkinson's disease and related disorders were identified by review of PEG registers and by searching the administrative databases in 2 large UK university hospitals (2005-2017); 83 case notes were available for retrospective review. Care processes and outcomes were assessed. Results: The following were the diagnoses: 58 (70%) had Parkinson's disease, 10 (12%) had progressive supranuclear palsy, 5 (6%) had multiple system atrophy, 3 (4%) had dementia with Lewy bodies, and 7 (8%) had vascular parkinsonism. The median age was 78 years (interquartile range 72-82); 29 (35%) were women. Care processes included a future care plan in place prior to admission for 18 patients (22%), and PEG was placed during emergency admission in 68 patients (82%). The outcomes included median survival at 422 days; 30-day mortality rate was 6% (5 patients); and of 56 patients admitted from home, 18 (32%) were discharged to institutions (nursing or care homes). The most common complication was aspiration pneumonia for 18 (22%) of patients. Age, sex, diagnosis, admission type, comorbidities, and place of residence did not predict survival. Discharge to own home and follow-up by the home enteral feeding team were associated with longer survival. Conclusion: We recommend markers of advanced disease should prompt advanced care planning. Discussions about PEG feeding should include information about post-PEG survival, complications, and risk of institutionalization. Further research is needed on quality-of-life post PEG and ways to reduce aspiration pneumonia. All PEG patients should have nutrition team follow-up.

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