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Validation of the Slovenian version of multiple sclerosis quality of life (MSQOL-54) instrument

Abstract

Purpose

To cross-culturally adapt and validate Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 (MSQOL-54) instrument.

Methods

The study which enrolled 134 Slovenian multiple sclerosis (MS) patients was conducted from March to December 2013. The internal consistency of the MSQOL-54 instrument was evaluated by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (α), and its dimensionality assessed by the principal component analysis (PCA).

Results

The whole instrument had high internal consistency (α=0.88), as well as the majority of its twelve subscales (α=0.83-0.94). The results of the PCA showed two components with eigenvalue greater than 1, explaining 59.4% of the cumulative variance. Further results indicated good construct validity of the instrument with the physical health-related-quality-of-life subscales loading highly on the physical component, and mental health-related-quality-of-life subscales loading highly on the mental component.

Conclusion

The Slovenian version of the MSQOL-54 instrument proved to be an internally consistent and accurate tool, well accepted by the Slovenian MS patients. The adequate psychometric properties warrant the scientifically sound version of the MSQOL-54 instrument, which is from now on at disposal to all health professionals dealing with MS patients in Slovenia.

Open access
Clinical profile and management of patients with incident and recurrent acute myocardial infarction in Albania - a call for more focus on prevention strategies

Abstract

Background

The clinical profile of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients reflects the burden of risk factors in the general population. Differences between incident (first) and recurrent (repeated) events and their impact on treatment are poorly described. We studied potential differences in the clinical profile and in-hospital treatment between patients hospitalised with an incident and recurrent AMI.

Methods

A total of 324 patients admitted in the Coronary Care Unit of ‘Mother Teresa’ hospital, Tirana, Albania (2013-2014), were included in the study. Information on AMI type, complications and risk factors was obtained from patient’s medical file.

Logistic regression analyses were used to explore differences between the incident and recurrent AMIs regarding clinical profile and in-hospital treatment.

Results

Of all patients, 50 (15.4%) had a prior AMI. Compared to incident cases, recurrent cases were older (P=0.01), more often women (P=0.01), less educated (P=0.01), and smoked less (P=0.03). Recurrent cases experienced more often heart failure (HF) (OR=2.48; 95% CI: 1.31–4.70), impaired left ventricular ejection fraction (OR=1.97; 95% CI:1.05–3.71), and multivessel disease (OR=6.32; 95% CI: 1.43–28.03) than incident cases. In-hospital use of beta-blockers was less frequent among recurrent compared to incident cases (OR=0.45; 95% CI: 0.24–0.85), while no statistically significant differences between groups were observed regarding angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker, statin, aspirin or invasive procedures.

Conclusion

A more severe clinical expression of the disease and underutilisation of treatment among recurrent AMIs are likely to explain their poorer prognosis compared to incident AMIs.

Open access
Key factors determining indoor air PM10 concentrations in naturally ventilated primary schools in Belgrade, Serbia

Abstract

Introduction

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is rated as a serious public health issue. Knowing children are accounted as more vulnerable to environmental health hazards, data are needed on air quality in schools.

Methods

A project was conducted from 2007 until 2009 (SEARCH, School Environment and Respiratory Health of Children), aiming to verify links between IAQ and children’s respiratory health. Study was conducted in ten primary schools on 735 children, in 44 classrooms. Children were randomly selected. Research tools and indicators used for children’s exposure to school environment were indoor and outdoor pollutants, two standardized questionnaires for school and classroom characteristics. In both classroom air and ambient air in front of them we measured, during a 5-day exposure period for continuous 24h measuring: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, indoor air temperature, relative humidity, and PM10 during classes.

Results

PM10 concentrations were significantly most frequent in an interval of ≥80.1μg/m3, that is, in the interval above 50μg/m3. Mean PM10 value was 82.24±42.43 μg/m3, ranging from 32.00μg/m3 to of 197.00μg/m3.

Conclusion

The increase of outdoor PM10 concentration significantly affects the increase of indoor PM10. A statistically significant difference exists for average IAQ PM10 concentrations vs. indicators of indoor thermal comfort zone (p<0.0001); they are lower in the classrooms with indicators within the comfort zone. Moreover, dominant factors for the increase of PM10 are: high occupancy rate in the classroom (<2m2 of space per child), high relative humidity (>75%), and indoor temperature beyond 23°C, as well as bad ventilation habits (keeping windows shut most of the time).

Open access
E-healthcare for diabetes mellitus type 2 patients – a randomised controlled trial in Slovenia

Abstract

Background

Telemonitoring and web-based interventions are increasingly used in primary-care practices in many countries for more effective management of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). A new approach in treating patients with diabetes mellitus in family practices, based on ICT use and nurse practitioners, has been introduced and evaluated in this study.

Method

Fifteen Slovene family practices enrolled 120 DM patients treated only with a diet regime and/or tablets into the study. 58 of them were included into the interventional group, and the other 62 DM patients into the control group, within one-year-long interventional, randomised controlled trial. Patients in the control group had conventional care for DM according to Slovenian professional guidelines, while the patients in the interventional group were using also the eDiabetes application. Patients were randomised through a balanced randomisation process.

Results

Significant reductions of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) values were found after 6 and 12 months among patients using this eDiabetes application (p<0.05). Among these patients, a significant correlation was also found between self-monitored blood pressure and the final HbA1c values. Diabetic patients’ involvement in web-based intervention had only transient impact on their functional health status.

Conclusion

This eDiabetes application was confirmed to be an innovative approach for better self-management of DM type 2 patients not using insulin. Both a significant reduction of HbA1c values and a significant correlation between the average self-measured blood pressure and the final HbA1c values in the interventional group were found. Nurse practitioners – as diabetes care coordinators – could contribute to better adherence in diabetes e-care.

Open access
Knowledge about blood-borne pathogens and the prevalence of needle stick injuries among medical students in Serbia

Abstract

Introduction

Medical students are mainly exposed to needle stick and sharp object injuries in the course of their clinical activities during studying. They are at high risk due to their undeveloped skills, restricted clinical experience, lack of knowledge and risk perception. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of needle stick injuries of the fourth and final year medical students, and to estimate their knowledge about blood-borne pathogens disease transmission and standard precautions.

Methods

This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Faculty of Medicine, in February 2014. The students were invited to self-administer a questionnaire of 26 closed questions prepared for this study.

Results

The questionnaire was filled in and returned by 637 students. The prevalence of needle sticks and sharp object injuries was 29.5%. Needle stick injuries were the most common type of accidents, more frequent among the fourth compared to the sixth year students (p=0.002). The majority of accidents occurred in patient rooms (53%) and the emergency department (15%). 54% of participants reported an accident to the responsible person. Students without accidents had a significantly better perception of risk (3.79 vs. 3.35; p<0.05). Out of the total participating students, only 16.6% (106/637) received all three doses of Hepatitis B vaccination, while 16.2% were partially vaccinated.

Conclusions

There is a need for additional theoretical and practical education of our students on blood exposure via accidents, raising the awareness of the necessity of hepatitis B vaccination, and introducing the unique/comprehensive procedure for accident reporting for students and healthcare workers in the entire country.

Open access
Nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae and serotypes indentified among nursing home residents in comparison to the elderly and patients younger than 65 years living in domestic environment

Abstract

Introduction

In Slovenia, there is little data available on pneumococcal vaccination rates and no data on asymptomatic NPCR and serotypes in the population of nursing home residents in comparison to the elderly living in domestic environment, therefore the goal was to gain these data.

Methods

A cross sectional epidemiological study was performed. Nasopharyngeal swabs from 151 nursing home residents, 150 elderly living in domestic environment, and 38 adults less than 65 years old were collected twice (in two consecutive years). The swabs were analysed for pneumococcal identification and serotyping. Patient data were collected from medical files and medical history.

Results

No statistically significant differences in NPCR were seen between compared groups in two consecutive years. An average NPCR in two consecutive years in nursing home residents was 1.45%, in the elderly living in domestic environment 0.85%, and in adults less than 65 years old 7.05%. Serotypes identified among nursing home residents were 6B and 9N, among the group of elderly living in domestic environment, 6A and among adults less than 65 years old, 35F, 18C and 3. Pneumococcal vaccination rates were low (3.3% in nursing home residents, 6% in the elderly from domestic environment and 0% in the group of adults less than 65 years old).

Conclusions

Our data suggests that NPCR and the proportion of people vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine among the elderly are low. We identified different serotypes in all groups, only one person was a chronic carrier (serotype 35F).

Open access
Overdiagnosis: An unrecognised and growing worldwide problem in healthcare

Abstract

Overdiagnosis is the diagnosis of deviations, abnormalities, risk factors, and pathologies that in themselves would never cause symptoms (this applies only to risk factors and pathology), would never lead to morbidity, and would never be the cause of death. Therefore, treating an overdiagnosed condition (deviation, abnormality, risk factor, pathology) cannot, by definition, improve the patient’s prognosis, and can therefore only be harmful.

Overdiagnosis is an extremely harmful and big problem all over the world, and the problem is increasing. This is especially the case in high-income countries, where more sensitive tests, more testing, more screening and earlier diagnosis is in focus, and more of the same will be implemented in the future. Moreover, disease definitions have been and are still being widened, plus thresholds for treating, e.g. risk factors, have been and are still being lowered. Finally, disease mongering is growing, because it is cheaper and faster to invent new “diseases” than new pharmaceutical drugs.

From the definition of overdiagnosis it can be reasoned that a patient who has been correctly diagnosed and a person who has been overdiagnosed can have the same kind of pathologies. Therefore, at the level of the individual person or patient it can never be verified whether he or she has in fact been correctly diagnosed or overdiagnosed. Therefore, the complexity, dilemmas and pitfalls in understanding what overdiagnosis really is so succinctly captured by this quote from the Danish philosopher S⊘ren Kirkegaard (1813-55): ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’.

Open access
The role of attitudes to, and the frequency of, domestic violence encounters in the healthcare professionals’ handling of domestic violence cases

Abstract

Background

Domestic violence is recognized as a public health problem with a high prevalence in the general population. Healthcare professionals play an important role in the recognition and treatment of domestic violence. Hence, conducting research on factors that facilitate or inhibit appropriate actions by healthcare professionals is of the upmost importance. The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between healthcare professionals’ attitudes toward the acceptability of domestic violence and their responses when dealing with victims of domestic violence.

Methods

The sample consisted of 322 healthcare professionals (physicians, dentists, nursing staff and other healthcare workers; 85.2% female), who completed a questionnaire, assessing their attitudes towards domestic violence, experience, behaviour and perceived barriers in recognizing and treating domestic violence in the health care sector. The study was cross-sectional and used availability sampling.

Results

The results showed no significant differences in domestic violence acceptability attitudes when comparing groups of healthcare professionals who reported low or high frequency of domestic violence cases encounters. Furthermore, we found that domestic violence acceptability attitudes were negatively associated with action taking when the frequency of encounters with domestic violence cases was high and medium. However, the attitudes were not associated with action taking when the frequency of encounters with domestic violence cases was low.

Conclusions

The results highlight the important role of attitudes in action taking of healthcare professionals when it comes to domestic violence. This indicates the need for educational interventions that specifically target healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards domestic violence.

Open access
Smoking behaviors in Kosova: Results of steps survey

Abstract

Introduction

Tobacco use continues to be the leading global cause of preventable death. Most of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, and this trend is expected to widen further over the next several decades. The overall objective of the study is to describe and analyse the smoking behaviours of adults in Kosova.

Methods

According to the STEPs methodology, 6,400 respondents, aged 15 - 64 years, are selected randomly within each sex and 10-year age-group. Out of 6,400 participants, 6,117 were selected, which is approximately 95.6%.

Results

The prevalence of smoking was higher among males (37.4%) compared with females (19.7%). In all age groups, the prevalence of smoking was higher among males compared with females. Regarding the age group of 15 - 24 years, the prevalence of smoking was 16.0%, but in the age group of 25 - 34 years, it nearly doubled to the rate of 31.9%. We have a smaller increase in the age group of 35 - 44 years, and after the age of 45, it falls gradually.

Conclusions

The prevalence of smoking in Kosova is high compared with other countries in Eastern Europe. In future decades, Kosova will face a high probability of an increased burden of smoking-related diseases.

Open access
Survival of node-negative breast cancer patients treated at the university medical centre Maribor in the period 2000–2009

Abstract

Introduction

Breast cancer is increasingly diagnosed in the early stages without regional nodal involvement. The aim of the present study was to determine the 5-year overall (OS) and breast cancer specific survival (BCSS) for patients with node-negative breast cancer treated at the University Medical Centre Maribor, and compare it with survival at the national level.

Methods

Medical records were searched for information on patients with lymph node-negative invasive breast cancer who received primary treatment at the University Medical Centre Maribor in the period 2000–2009. Information on all Slovenian node-negative breast cancer patients diagnosed in the same period was obtained from the Cancer Registry of Republic of Slovenia. Time trends in survival were assessed by comparing the periods 2000–2004 and 2005–2009.

Results

The 5-year OS and BCSS of patients treated in Maribor in the period 2000–2009 were 92.3% (95% CI, 90.5%– 94.1%) and 96.4% (95% CI, 95.2%–97.6%), respectively, and did not differ from the corresponding OS and BCSS for Slovenian patients. Although the improvement in OS for patients from Maribor diagnosed in the period 2005–2009 compared to 2000–2004 did not reach statistical significance (HR 0.73; 95% CI, 0.51–1.05; p=0.086), BCSS significantly improved over the same time periods (HR 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30–0.94; p=0.028).

Conclusions

Survival of node-negative breast cancer patients treated at the University Medical Centre Maribor is comparable to survival of corresponding patients at the national level. The rising number of long-term breast cancer survivors places additional importance on survivorship care.

Open access