Effects of Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Can Drift Into Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“#smoke” by Seniju is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ryan Diver MSPH
Director, Data Analysis
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Secondhand smoke is known to have adverse effects on the lung and vascular systems in both children and adults. But it is unknown whether childhood exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with mortality in adulthood.

To explore the issue, we examined associations of childhood and adult secondhand smoke exposure with death from all causes, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among 70,900 never-smoking men and women from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Study participants, primarily ages 50 to 74 at the beginning of the study, answered questions about their secondhand smoke exposure during childhood and as adults and were followed for 22 years.

Those who reported having lived with a daily smoker throughout their childhood had 31% higher mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to those who did not live with a smoker. Although the study counted only deaths, the increase in fatal COPD implies that living with a smoker during childhood could also increase risk of non-fatal COPD. In addition, secondhand smoke exposure (10 or more hours/week) as an adult was associated with a 9% higher risk of all-cause mortality, a 27% higher risk of death from ischemic heart disease, a 23% higher risk of death from stroke, and a 42% higher risk of death from COPD.

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Some Pulmonary Embolism Patients Can Be Treated at Home

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joseph Bledsoe MD, FACEP Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Stanford Medicine Director of Research Department of Emergency Medicine Intermountain Medical Center Murray, UT 84157

Dr. Bledsoe

Joseph Bledsoe MD, FACEP
Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Stanford Medicine
Director of Research
Department of Emergency Medicine
Intermountain Medical Center
Murray, UT 84157

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Patients with blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) (PE) are routinely admitted to the hospital for blood thinning medications in the United States. However, evidence from other countries has shown that with appropriate risk stratification patients may be safe for outpatient treatment for their PE.

Our study is the largest prospective management study in the US to evaluate home treatment of patients with acute pulmonary embolism. We enrolled 200 patients and after risk stratification with the PE severity index score, leg ultrasounds and echocardiograms performed in the emergency department, patients were treated with blood thinning medications at home with routine outpatient follow up.

During the 90 day follow up period we found only one patient suffered a bleeding event after a traumatic injury, without any cases of recurrent symptomatic blood clots or death.  Continue reading

Daily Chest X-Rays Still Overused in Mechanically Ventilated Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

Dr. Gershengorn

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Beginning in December, 2011, professional guidelines have recommended against the practice of daily chest radiography (CXRs) for mechanically ventilated patients.  However, we hypothesized that this practice was still commonplace in the US and varied from hospital to hospital.

To address this question, we performed a retrospective cohort study of >500,000 mechanically ventilated adults across 416 US hospitals. We found that 63% of these patients received daily CXRs and that, while use has been decreasing, this decrease is small (a 3% relative reduction in the odds of daily CXR receipt per discharge quarter starting in 2012).

Moreover, the hospital at which a patient received care greatly impacted the likelihood of daily CXR receipt.

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COPD: Vaporized Cannabis Did Not Reduce Breathlessness or Improve Exercise Capacity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Cannabis sativa” by Manuel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

cannabis

Sara Abdallah, PhD Student, first author and
Dennis Jensen, PhD Associate Professor,
Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education
Associate Dean – Infrastructure, Faculty of Education
Director, McGill Research Center for Physical Activity and Health
Canada Research Chair in Clinical Exercise & Respiratory Physiology
Associate Member, Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program
Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffer from severe breathlessness at rest and on minimal exertion despite receiving optimal drug therapy for their underlying disease (e.g., bronchodilators). In these patients, breathlessness significantly diminishes exercise capacity and quality of life. Thus, research focused on identifying adjunct therapies for management of breathlessness in patients with advanced COPD is clinically relevant.

A series of studies conducted in the 1970’s found that smoked cannabis caused bronchodilation (i.e., improved airway function) in healthy individuals and in patients with asthma. More recently, it has been demonstrated that delta-9 (∆9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the major cannabinoid constituent of cannabis) inhibits cholinergic contractions in isolated human bronchi and that a positive association exists between measure of lung function (e.g., forced expiratory volume in 1-sec) and cannabis use in patients with COPD. These studies lead us to hypothesize that inhalation of vaporized cannabis may alleviate exertional breathlessness and improve exercise tolerance in patients with advanced COPD by improving airway function at rest and during exercise. Continue reading

Specific Microbial Signatures Differentiate Chronic Coughs in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Mikhail Kazachkov MD Director of Pediatric Pulmonology Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Kazachkov

Dr. Mikhail Kazachkov MD
Director of Pediatric Pulmonology
Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital
NYU Langone Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How common is the problem of chronic cough in children?  Is it more common in children with allergies, asthma or reflux?

Response: Chronic cough is one of the leading causes of pediatric referrals to subspecialty physicians.  Its prevalence in the general pediatric population may approach 3% (Galassi et al, Epidemiol. Prev. 2005;29,Suppl.:9–13).

It is important to recognize that the main causes of chronic cough in children are completely different for those in adults.  Specifically, gastroesophageal reflux and postnasal drip are not considered to be important causes of cough in children.  Cough variant asthma, although is a common cause of cough in adults, does not seem to be frequently diagnosed and a cause of chronic cough in children.

The main cause of chronic wet cough in children is protracted bacterial bronchitis (Chang et al, Chest. 2017 Apr;151:884-890).  It is important to recognize that neurologically impaired children have completely different pathogenesis of chronic cough, which is mostly related to aspiration into the lower airway and development of aspiration-related lung disease.

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Cystic Fibrosis: Antioxidant-Enriched MVI May Decrease Respiratory Illnesses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott D Sagel MD PhD Professor of Pediatrics University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, Colorado

Dr. Sagel

Scott D Sagel MD PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, Colorado

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Inflammation is an important feature of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease and contributes to lung damage and lung function decline in CF. We need safe and effective anti-inflammatory treatments in CF. Anti-oxidant therapy has been an area of promise, but with mixed results in CF.

This clinical trial, conducted at 15 CF centers affiliated with the cystic fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Development Network, enrolled 73 patients who were 10 years and older (average age 22 years), with pancreatic insufficiency, which causes malabsorption of antioxidants. Subjects were randomized to either a multivitamin containing multiple antioxidants including carotenoids such as beta(β)-carotene, tocopherols (vitamin E), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and selenium or to a control multivitamin without antioxidant enrichment. The antioxidants used in the study were delivered in a capsule specifically designed for individuals with difficulties absorbing fats and proteins, including those with cystic fibrosis.

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Two Studies Evaluate Monoclonal Antibody Tralokinumab For Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D. Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Vice Chancellor, Clinical & Translational Science Director, Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Child Health Institute of New Jersey Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ  08901

Dr. Panettieri

Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Vice Chancellor, Clinical & Translational Science
Director, Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Child Health Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ  08901

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Severe asthma is characterized by Type 2 inflammation manifested by increases in IL-13, IL-4 and Il-5 levels in the airways that promotes airway hyperresponsiveness and in part irreversible airway obstruction.  These clinical manifestations profoundly increase asthma morbidity and mortality.

To address an unmet therapeutic need, Tralokinumab was developed as a monoclonal antibody targeting soluble IL-13 with the goal of improving lung function and patient reported outcomes while decreasing annual exacerbation rates.  Stratus 1 and 2 represent two identical randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 clinical trials in severe asthma.  These international trials enrolled approximately 2000 subjects with severe asthma and examined whether Tralokinumab decreased annualized exacerbation rates (AER) as compared with placebo (primary outcome).

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Nintedanib (OFEV®) May Offer Survival Advantage for IPF Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christopher J. Ryerson, M.D. Assistant Professor Centre for Heart Lung Innovation University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Ryerson

Christopher J. Ryerson, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Centre for Heart Lung Innovation
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A new Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) mortality analysis presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2018 annual conference suggests that treatment with nintedanib may be associated with reduced risk of death in patients with the rare lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Pooled data from the two Phase II INPULSIS trials and the Phase II TOMORROW study compared the number of deaths observed versus the number predicted based on GAP stage over one year. GAP stage is used to predict IPF prognosis and is based on gender, age and lung function (as measured by forced vital capacity [FVC] decline predicted and DLco % predicted). Higher stages of GAP are associated with an increased risk of death.

Across the population in the analysis (n=1,228), there were fewer deaths observed in each treatment group than predicted based on GAP stage at baseline (nintedanib: 42 vs. 89.9; placebo: 41 vs. 64.2). In the treated group, the number of observed deaths was 46.7% of the number predicted based on GAP stage, while in the placebo group the number of observed deaths was 63.9% of the number predicted. Based on these observations, the analysis suggests that nintedanib may be associated with a 26.8% relative reduction in the risk of death compared with placebo over one year.  Continue reading

Does Nail Polish Really Affect Pulse Oxygen Reading?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr James Purcell
University College Cork and
South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital
Cork, Ireland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Nail varnish and acrylic nails are common accessories and as such are commonly encountered by an array of healthcare professionals in various scenarios when SpO2 readings may be part of patient care.. Colloquially there was a wide variety of approaches and beliefs as to whether or not these treatments impacted on SpO2 readings. This is due to the fact that the Digital Pulse oximetry relies on the passing of a wavelength of light through a pulsatile nailbed to a sensor on the opposite side of the finger tip in order to read SpO2 levels. Any potential interference to this process by polish of certain hues, or acrylic was therefor believed to impact on the resultant readings

As such it was decided to analyse the actual level of knowledge and variety of approaches to the issue by means of a multisite study involving Consultants, NCHDs, and nursing staff in areas where this issue may arise. A second, experimental part of the study was set up using healthy volunteers and venous congestion and hypoxia modelling. Nail varnish of differing hues and acrylic nails were applied and results of SpO2 readout in healthy and pathological models with and without nail treatments applies were analysed.

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Antifibrotic Drug Stabilized Lung Function For Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pierre Laurin, CEO Prometic

Pierre Laurin

Pierre Laurin, CEO
Prometic Life Sciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis?

Response: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, devastating, and ultimately fatal disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function. It is a specific type of interstitial lung disease in which the small air sacs of the lung, the “alveoli,” gradually become replaced by fibrotic (scar) tissue and is the cause of worsening dyspnea (shortness of breath). The 5-year mortality rate for patients with IPF is estimated to range from 50% to 70%.

Small molecule candidate PBI-4050’s anti-fibrotic activity has been observed in various fibrosis models in different organs: lung, kidney, heart, liver, and pancreas. PBI-4050 has been shown to improve forced vital capacity (FVC) in an open-label Phase 2 study in IPF.

The main objective of this exploratory study was to determine whether treatment with PBI-4050 alters the level of key biomarkers in patients with IPF. Subjects with a confirmed diagnosis of IPF received daily oral doses of 800 mg PBI-4050 with or without nintedanib or pirfenidone for 12 weeks. The biomarkers chosen for measurement can be divided into two main groups: cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases associated with fibrosis and inflammation.

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SUNSET Trial Supports Bronchodilators as Foundation of COPD Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kenneth R. Chapman, MD MSc FRCPC FACP FCCP, FERS Director, Asthma & Airway Centre, University Health Network, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, GSK-CIHR Research Chair in Respiratory Health Care Delivery, Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Chapman

Kenneth R. Chapman, MD MSc FRCPC FACP
FCCP, FERS
Director, Asthma & Airway Centre, University Health Network,
Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto,
GSK-CIHR Research Chair in Respiratory Health Care Delivery,
Toronto, Ontario

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Guidelines regard inhaled bronchodilators as foundational pharmacotherapy in COPD while inhaled corticosteroids are to be used sparingly.  Inhaled corticosteroids are used to reduce exacerbation tendency but come with the added risk of pneumonia, osteoporosis and other corticosteroid related adverse effects.  Although only a minority of COPD patients are exacerbation prone, many patients with COPD are treated unnecessarily with inhaled corticosteroids alongside long-acting anticholinergic and beta2 agonist bronchodilators – so-called “triple therapy”.  In patients who have minimal exacerbation histories, inhaled corticosteroid withdrawal is suggested to reduce side-effects.

Although studies have suggested this is a reasonable strategy, study limitations have been noted.  The best known inhaled corticosteroid withdrawal study, the WISDOM trial, recruited only 39% of patients using triple therapy regularly before inhaled corticosteroid withdrawal; the remainder were placed on triple therapy solely for the purposes of the withdrawal study.

In the SUNSET trial, long term triple therapy patients with no more than one exacerbation in the preceding year were randomized to continue triple therapy or to de-escalate to a second generation dual bronchodilator therapy – indacaterol/glycopyrronium 110/50 once daily.  This one step de-escalation better mirrored clinical practice than the gradual tapering approach of the WISDOM trial.  There was no increase in exacerbations after de-escalation and although average FEV1 decreased by 26 ml in the group that de-escalated, the decrease is so small as to be immeasureable in individuals.  In a post-hoc analysis, a subset of patients with persistently elevated blood eosinophil counts (greater than 300 cells per uL) were the ones most likely to have exacerbations in follow-up or to have changes in FEV1.  Continue reading

Early Study Demonstrates Airways Can Be Transplanted from Aortic Templates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emmanuel Martinod MD PhD
Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Seine-Saint-Denis, Hôpital Avicenne, Chirurgie Thoracique et Vasculaire, Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, UFR Santé, Médecine et Biologie Humaine, Bobigny,
Université Paris Descartes, Fondation Alain Carpentier, Laboratoire de Recherche Bio-chirurgicale, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou
Paris, France 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this exciting new technology and study? What are the main findings? 

Response: What is the background for this exciting new technology and study? What are the main findings?

Response:  The background is 10 years of research at laboratory followed by 10 years of academic clinical research.

We demonstrated the feasability of airway bioengeenring using stented aortic matrices for complex tracheal or bronchial reconstruction.  Continue reading

Solar Powered Oxygen Could Fill Critical Gap in Underserved Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Hawkes MD PhD Adjunct Professor Assistant Professor  Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine School of Public Health University of Alberta

Dr. Hawkes

Michael Hawkes MD PhD
Adjunct Professor
Assistant Professor
Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine
School of Public Health
University of Alberta

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality in children globally.
  • Oxygen is an essential therapy for children with hypoxemic pneumonia, but is not available in many resource-limited and rural areas.
  • Our innovation, solar powered oxygen delivery, harnesses freely available sun and air to delivery oxygen to patients independent of grid electricity.
  • We performed a randomized controlled trial of solar powered oxygen delivery, compared to standard oxygen delivery using compressed oxygen cylinders in children with hypoxemia hospitalized at two centres in Uganda.
  • Solar powered oxygen was non-inferior to cylinder oxygen with respect to clinical outcomes, and offers advantages in terms of reliability, simplicity, and cost.

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X-Linked Genetic Signatures Linked To Respiratory Disorders in Males

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gustavo Nino, M.D. Children’s National Health System pulmonologist Study senior author

Dr. Nino Barrera

Gustavo Nino, M.D.
Children’s National Health System pulmonologist
Study senior autho

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The epidemiology of respiratory disorders is largely influenced by the individual’s sex resulting in overall higher risk for males than females, particularly during early life. Hormonal, anatomical and behavioral differences are postulated to play a role, but these sex-based respiratory differences are already present at birth, suggesting a strong genetic component. However, the genetic differences in the airways of males and females during early life have been remarkably understudied and are largely unknown.

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FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to Nintedanib for Scleroderma with Lung Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Thomas Leonard, Ph.D. Executive director, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Specialty Care Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Thomas Leonard

Dr. Thomas Leonard, Ph.D.
Executive director, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Specialty Care
Boehringer Ingelheim

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? Would you briefly explain what is meant by systemic sclerosis? What are the disease symptoms and manifestations?

Response: The FDA recently granted Fast Track designation to nintedanib for the treatment of systemic sclerosis with interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) – paving the way for Boehringer Ingelheim to take an important step in advancing this potential therapy for those affected by this disease. The designation was based on Boehringer Ingelheim’s Investigational New Drug application (IND) and the anticipated efficacy and safety data from SENSCIS™ (Safety and Efficacy of Nintedanib in Systemic SClerosIS), a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled global Phase III trial which is fully enrolled and includes more than 520 patients from 32 countries.

The FDA’s Fast Track designation facilitates the development of new therapies that treat serious conditions and fulfill an unmet medical need in an effort to get treatments to those in need sooner, like those living with systemic sclerosis.

Systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma, is a rare disease characterized by thickening and scarring of connective tissue of multiple organs in the body, typically affecting women between ages 25 and 55. Most people with the disease will develop some degree of lung scarring, or interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is the leading cause of death among people with systemic sclerosis.

Nintedanib, currently marketed as Ofev®, is approved for treatment of a rare lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, and has been shown to slow disease progression as measured by annual rate of decline in lung function. Because SSc-ILD and IPF share similarities in how the underlying lung scarring, or fibrosis, forms in people with the disease, Boehringer Ingelheim is evaluating the impact of nintedanib on SSc-ILD.

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Quadrupling Inhaled Steroids May Abort Some Asthma Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Asthma Inhaler” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Timothy Harrison, MBBS, BSc, FRCP, MD, MSc
Professor and Honorary Consultant
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
University of Nottingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Self management plans are recommend for patients with asthma but previous studies have shown that doubling the dose of inhaled steroids when asthma starts deteriorating is ineffective at preventing the development of an exacerbation.

This study shows that quadrupling the dose is effective and in a real-life setting can reduce severe exacerbations by about 20%

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Global Initiative Highlights Inspirational Stories of People Living With Scleroderma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donald Zoz, MD Senior Associate Director Clinical Development & Medical Affairs IPF/ILD Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Zoz

Donald Zoz, MD
Senior Associate Director
Clinical Development & Medical Affairs IPF/ILD
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this platform? Would you briefly explain what is meant by scleroderma? How does it affect a person’s skin and ability to function? Whom does this disease primarily affect? 

Response: “More Than Scleroderma™: The Inside Story” is Boehringer Ingelheim’s new global initiative highlighting real-life, inspirational stories of people living with the rare disease scleroderma. The new effort, created with support from the Scleroderma Foundation in the U.S., aims to raise awareness of the disease, dispel misperceptions and provide important resources to support and guide those on their journey with scleroderma. The initiative’s website http://www.morethanscleroderma.com/us/ features a powerful and inspiring collection of diverse photographs and video profiles of 10 people across the U.S. living with scleroderma and sharing their ‘inside story.’ Each tells their unique and moving experience with scleroderma through diagnosis to learning to live with the disease and manage it.

Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a rare disease characterized by thickening and scarring of the skin, lungs and other organs. Scleroderma affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. and typically affects women in the prime of their lives, between the ages of 25 and 55 taking a marked toll just as they are building their careers and bearing the responsibility of caring for their family. Nearly all people with scleroderma (more than 90%) will develop some skin symptoms including skin thickening, tightened skin around the joints, small red spots on the face and hands and hard lumps on pressure points and joints. Most people with the disease will also develop some degree of lung scarring, or interstitial lung disease (ILD). When the disease’s signature thickening and scarring develops in vital organs, such as the lungs, there are potentially debilitating and life-threatening consequences.  Continue reading

Study Finds Pulmonary Embolus Rarely the Cause of Syncope

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Giorgio Costantino MD

Dipartimento di Medicina Interna
Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Ca’ Granda
Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
Università degli Studi di Milano
Milan, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Syncope is a common symptom that occurs in one in four people during their lifetime. Pulmonary embolism (PE) has long been recognized as an important and serious cause of syncope. PE has always been estimated a rare cause of syncope, present in less than 1.5% of patients. A recent study (PESIT), aiming at evaluating PE prevalence using a standardized algorithm in hospitalized patients after a first syncope episode, found a prevalence of PE as high as 17% in hospitalized patients. This means that patients with a first episode of syncope should be investigated with a standard diagnostic algorithm to exclude PE.

However, many patients might go through useless and potentially harmful tests, such as computed tomography pulmonary angiogram.

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Teaching Deep Breathing Before Abdominal Surgery Reduced Post-Op Pneumonia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ianthe Boden

Titled Cardiorespiratory APAM, PhD Candidate, MSc, BAppSc
Manager Abdominal Surgery Research Group
Clinical Lead – Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy Department
Allied Health Services
Tasmanian Health Services – North |
Launceston General Hospital
Launceston TA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Major upper abdominal surgery involves opening up the abdomen – mainly to remove cancer or damaged bowel, liver, stomach, pancreas, or kidney.  It is, by far, the most common major surgical procedure performed in developed countries with millions of procedures performed per annum. Unfortunately a respiratory complication following these operations occurs relatively frequently with between 1 in 10 to almost a half of all patients getting some type of respiratory complication after surgery. Respiratory complications included problems such as pneumonia, lung collapse, respiratory failure, and an acute asthma attack. These complications, especially pneumonia and respiratory failure, are strongly associated with significant morbidity, mortality, increased antibiotic usage and longer hospital stay.

These breathing problems occur quite quickly after surgery, becoming evident usually within the first two to three days after surgery. In an effort to ameliorate these complications in developed countries it is common for physiotherapists/respiratory therapists to see a patient for the first time on the day after surgery and start patients doing breathing exercises. However as respiratory dysfunction starts occurring immediately following surgery it is debated that these breathing exercises are being provided too late. Initiating prophylactic treatment more than 24 hours after the end of surgery may not be as effective as starting prophylaxis immediately. Unfortunately, immediately after surgery patients are either very sleepy, in pain, feeling sick, or delirious. It may not be possible to effectively teach patients at this point on the importance of breathing exercises and get good performance.

One method to overcome this would be to meet patients before the operation to educate them about their risk of a postoperative chest infection and to motivate and train them to perform breathing exercises to do immediately on waking from surgery. Previous trials have indicated that this may help prevent postoperative respiratory complications, although evidence is inconclusive and weak.

We set out to robustly and conclusively see if respiratory complications could be prevented after major upper abdominal surgery if patients were taught breathing exercises to do as soon as they woke up after the operation. We ran this trial in two countries (Australia and New Zealand) and three different types of hospitals.  All patients were met by a physiotherapist at our hospitals’ scheduled pre-admission clinic appointment and either provided with an information booklet (control) or provided with an additional 30 minute education and training session with the physiotherapist. At this preoperative session the patient was educated about respiratory complications, their risk, and how to prevent them with breathing exercises. These exercises were then taught and practiced for just three repetitions. Patients were instructed to do these breathing exercises for 20 repetitions as soon as they woke from surgery and then 20 times every hour after surgery until they were up and out of bed frequently.

Following surgery each patient had a standardised rehabilitation program and no respiratory therapy of any type was provided to the patients after surgery.

For the first two weeks after surgery patients were assessed daily for a respiratory complication by research assistants unaware of what treatment the patient had received before surgery.

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UK Study Finds Pulmonary Rehab for COPD Underutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Jennifer K Quint MSc PhD FHEA FRCP Clinical Senior Lecturer Respiratory Epidemiology Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London

Dr. Quint

Dr Jennifer K Quint MSc PhD FHEA FRCP
Clinical Senior Lecturer Respiratory Epidemiology
Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health
National Heart and Lung Institute
Imperial College
London 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were commissioned by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK to undertake a piece of work to show the value of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing exacerbations in COPD patients so that they could create a web based tool that would show cost savings if GPs actually referred people for pulmonary rehabilitation.

Previous systematic reviews have found that pulmonary rehab can reduce hospital admissions but those groups are often small and not very generalizable so we decided to look at what happens in a primary care COPD population. Our main finding is that people who are eligible for referral are not being referred  – less than 10% eligible were actually referred.

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SVC As Marker of Respiratory Decline in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jinsy Andrews, MD, MS Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials Columbia University The Neurological Institute New York, NY 10032 

Dr. Andrews

Jinsy Andrews, MD, MS
Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials
Columbia University
The Neurological Institute
New York, NY 10032 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The importance of respiratory function in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has long been recognized. Despite ALS being a clinical diagnosis with variable presentation and variable rates of disease progression, all patients experience respiratory symptoms and inevitably die typically from respiratory failure. At present there is no validated biomarker of disease progression or clinical staging system. Direct measure of respiratory function in ALS is important and can be measured using vital capacity. Although the forced maneuver (FVC) has been widely used in patients with ALS, it can underestimate the actual lung capacity by causing fatigue or inducing bronchospasm in patients with ALS. More recently, the slow maneuver (SVC) has been used since it can be obtained from patients with advancing disease which can potentially minimize missing data and may reduce any underestimation of actual lung capacity due to a forceful effort. However, the prognostic value of the decline in SVC is unclear in patients with ALS.

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Borderline Pulmonary Hypertension Patients Often Progress To Overt Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Evan L. Brittain, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Dr. Brittain

Dr. Evan L. Brittain, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The purpose of this study was to determine whether pulmonary pressure values below the diagnostic threshold for pulmonary hypertension (25mmHg) are associated with an increased risk of mortality. We studied over 4,000 consecutive individuals referred for right heart catheterization, the “gold-standard” procedure for measuring pulmonary pressure. We found that borderline levels of mean pulmonary pressure (19-24mmHg) were common, representing 18% of all patients referred for this procedure. Borderline mean pulmonary pressure values were also associated with 31% increase in mortality after accounting for many other clinical factors. Finally, we found that most of the patients with borderline pulmonary hypertension who underwent repeat catheterization often progressed to overt pulmonary hypertension.

This study suggests that patients with borderline pulmonary hypertension should be considered an at-risk group.

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IPF: Combination of Nintedanib and Pirfenidone May Have Added Benefit With Manageable Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Carlo Vancheri Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Catania, Italy and Director of the Regional Referral Centre for Rare Lung Diseases and the Laboratory of Experimental Respiratory Medicine.

Prof. Vancheri

Professor Carlo Vancheri
Professor of Respiratory Medicine,
University of Catania, Italy and Director of the Regional Referral Centre for Rare Lung Diseases and the Laboratory of Experimental Respiratory Medicine.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The aim of Boehringer Ingelheim’s INJOURNEY trial was to investigate the safety profile of Ofev (nintedanib) in combination with pirfenidone in treating patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Nintedanib and pirfenidone, the only two FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of IPF, are able to slow down the progression of the disease, reducing the forced vital capacity (FVC) decline of about 50%, but this is not a cure. The target for the future is to have even more effective treatments. In the meanwhile, it is necessary to optimize the use of the available drugs. The medical treatment of other pulmonary diseases such as COPD, asthma or pulmonary hypertension is already based on different combinations of drugs.

This 12-week, open-label, randomized study was designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of nintedanib with add-on pirfenidone, compared with nintedanib alone in patients with IPF. Change in FVC, the established efficacy endpoint in IPF trials, was evaluated as an exploratory endpoint.

The primary endpoint of the INJOURNEY trial was the percentage of patients with on-treatment gastrointestinal adverse events from baseline to week 12 of randomized treatment, and the results showed that the combination of nintedanib and add-on pirfenidone resulted in a manageable safety and tolerability profile, similar to the profile of each drug individually in the majority of patients. Results also indicated there may be a slower decline in FVC in patients treated with pirfenidone along with nintedanib compared with nintedanib alone, suggesting a potential benefit of the combination. However, further research will be necessary to fully evaluate the efficacy of the combination.

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Pneumococcal Vaccine Rates Still Too Low Among Adults With Work-Related Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katelynn Dodd MPH Respiratory Health Division National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morgantown WV 26505

Katelynn Dodd

Katelynn Dodd MPH
Respiratory Health Division
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Morgantown WV 26505

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Adults with asthma are at increased risk for pneumococcal infection. Adults with asthma who get pneumococcal pneumonia are at risk for additional complications including asthma exacerbation and invasive pneumococcal disease. Our results indicated that adults with work-related asthma were more likely to have received a pneumococcal vaccine than adults with non-work-related asthma—54 percent compared to 35 percent respectively; however, pneumococcal vaccination coverage among all adults with asthma, work-related or not, who have ever been employed in this study falls short of achieving the coverage public health experts recommend. Among adults with work-related asthma, pneumococcal vaccine coverage was lowest among Hispanics (36 percent), those without health insurance (39 percent), and adults aged 18 to 44 years (42 percent).

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Large Trial Evaluates Inhaled Nitric oxide on Survival Without Pulmonary Dysplasia in Preterm Infants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shabih U. Hasan, MD, DCH, FRCPC Professor and Staff Neonatologist, Alberta Health Services Department of Pediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary

Dr. Hasan

Shabih U. Hasan, MD, DCH, FRCPC
Professor and Staff Neonatologist, Alberta Health Services
Department of Pediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Approximately 8% of all infants are born prematurely (preterm birth <37 weeks postmenstrual age). Preterm infants have many challenges including establishment of adequate pulmonary gas exchange. Due to not yet fully developed lungs, preterm infants require respiratory support consisting of respirators and other forms of non-invasive ventilation modalities and supplemental oxygen.  Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is the commonest morbidity among very low birth weight infants as 40% of survivors at postmenstrual age <30 weeks develop BPD. This is a serious condition as it can lead to short- and long-term pulmonary complications, increased hospital visits and neurodevelopmental impairment. BPD is defined where preterm infants require respiratory support and/or supplemental oxygen at 36 weeks postmenstrual age.

A number of therapeutic and non-therapeutic modalities have been used to prevent BPD including inhaled nitric oxide (iNO).  In 2006, the NO CLD trial demonstrated that iNO prevented BPD (Relative benefit 1.81; CI 1.27-2.59, P = 0.006) if used according to the NO CLD Protocol (Ballard et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 355:343-353, 2006). Our study (NEWNO; Newborns treated with Nitric Oxide) was designed to replicate the NO CLD study.
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