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September 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:98–101 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.038

Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) service is associated with inpatient-bed cost savings

Chun Shing Kwok, Joanna J Whittaker, Caroline Malbon, Barbara White, Jonathan Snape, Vikki Lloyd, Farah Yazdani, Timothy Kemp, Simon Duckett

Abstract

In a cardiology department, there are some patients that require long-term antibiotics, such as those with infective endocarditis or infected prosthetic devices. We describe our experience with intravenous antibiotic therapy for patients with cardiology diagnoses who require a period of antibiotics in our outpatient service during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 15 patients were selected to have outpatient antibiotic therapy (age range 36 to 97 years, 60% male). A total of nine patients had infective endocarditis, four patients had infected valve prosthesis or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) endocarditis, one patient had infected pericardial effusion while another had infected pericarditis. For these 15 patients there was a total of 333 hospital bed-days, on average 22 days per patient. These patients also had a total of 312 days of outpatient antibiotic therapy, which was an average of 21 days per patient. The total cost, if patients were admitted for those days, assuming a night cost £400, was £124,800, which was on average £8,320 per patient. Three patients were readmitted within 30 days. One had ongoing endocarditis that was managed medically and another had pulmonary embolism. The last patient had a side effect related to daptomycin use. In conclusion, outpatient antibiotic therapy in selected patients with native or prosthetic infective endocarditis appears to be safe for a selected group of patients with associated cost savings.

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September 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:109–11 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.039

Heparin-free distal radial artery approach to cardiac catheterisation and the small radial recurrent artery

Pitt O Lim, Ziyad Elghamry

Abstract

Radial artery access has transformed cardiac catheterisation, allowing it to be performed in a daycase setting, saving both hospital beds, and nursing care costs. However, there are two common and seemingly diametrically opposite complications. These are radial artery occlusion and forearm haematoma; the former could be reduced by heparin, but at the expense of precipitating the latter. These complications increase proportionally to the size of radial artery sheath used. Interestingly, by cannulating the radial artery more distally beyond its bifurcation in the hand, the distal radial approach appears to be the ‘one stone, two birds’ or the synchronous Chinese idiom, ‘yīshí’èrniǎo’s’ solution, reducing both complications at the same time. Extending this further and downsizing to a 4Fr catheter system, heparin use could be spared altogether, without complications, and haemostasis achieved with short manual pressure at the puncture site. Hence, further cost savings by foregoing commercial compression bands, and abolishing access site care for nurses. We illustrate the above strategy in a patient with challenging radial anatomy, made simple and easy.

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September 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:117–8 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.040

Severe orthostatic hypotension and weight loss associated with cancer therapy

Peter Sever

Abstract

Two cases of orthostatic hypotension associated with weight loss following cancer treatment are described. Conventional treatments for orthostatic hypotension proved ineffective. A hypothesis of association with skeletal muscle wasting is discussed.

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July 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:102–4 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.031

The ePortfolio in UK cardiology training: time for a new digital platform?

Ahmed Elamin, Mohammed Obeidat, Gershan Davis

Abstract

The UK cardiology specialist training programme utilises the National Health Service (NHS) e-Portfolio to ensure adequate progression is being made during a trainees’ career. The NHS e-portfolio has been used for 15 years, but many questions remain regarding its perceived learning value and usefulness for trainees and trainers. This qualitative study in the recent pre-COVID era explored the perceived benefits of the NHS e-Portfolio with cardiology trainees and trainers in two UK training deaneries. Questionnaires were sent to 66 trainees and to 50 trainers. 50% of trainees felt that their development had benefited from use of the ePortfolio. 61% of trainees found it an effective educational tool, and 25% of trainees and 39% of trainers found the ePortfolio useful for highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. 75% of trainees viewed workplace based assessments as a means to passing the ARCP. The results show that the NHS ePortfolio and workplace based assessments were perceived negatively by some trainees and trainers alike, with many feeling that significant improvements need to be made. In light of the progress and acceptance of digital technology and communication in the current COVID-19 era, it is likely to be the time for the development of a new optimal digital training platform for cardiology trainees and trainers. The specialist societies could help develop a more speciality specific learning and development tool.

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July 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:105–8 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.032

Real-world experience of selexipag titration in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Sarah Cullivan, Anandan Natarajan, Niamh Boyle, Ciara McCormack, Sean Gaine, Brian McCullagh

Abstract

Selexipag is an oral selective prostacyclin-receptor agonist that was approved for use in patients with World Health Organisation (WHO) functional class II–III pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Treatment with individualised doses of selexipag resulted in significant reductions in the composite end point of death or a complication related to PAH in the phase III GRIPHON (Prostacyclin [PGI2] Receptor Agonist In Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) study. In order to better understand the real-world approach to selexipag titration and to establish the individualised maintenance regimens used in our centre, we performed this retrospective study of the first 20 patients prescribed selexipag. Baseline characteristics differed from the GRIPHON study, with more combination therapy and comorbidities at drug initiation. Maintenance doses were stratified as low-dose in 10% (n=2), medium-dose in 70% (n=14) and high-dose in 20% (n=4). This study highlights that selexipag can be safely initiated, titrated and transitioned in an outpatient setting to achieve an individualised dosing regimen.

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