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NIHR Signal Repeat thyroid function tests for healthy older people are not needed
Older adults with normal thyroid function or subclinical thyroid dysfunction show notable long-term stability of their thyroid hormone levels. This suggests that it is safe for GPs not to routinely retest older adults unless they have risk factors or develop clinical symptoms of overt thyroid dysfunction. Over five years, about 0.2% older adults with normal thyroid function will develop overt hypothyroidism and about 3.5% will develop subclinical hypothyroidism. Amongst those with subclinical h...
NIHR Signal The best dose of aspirin for cardiovascular protection may depend on body weight
Low dose aspirin only appears to be effective at preventing stroke or heart attack for people weighing less than 70kg, while higher doses are better for people who weigh over 70kg. Researchers analysed data from 13 trials of aspirin for primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular events, totalling over 115,000 participants. They found that 75 to 100mg aspirin only benefitted people who weighed less than 70kg, while only those who weighed 70kg or more benefited from doses of 325mg or above...
NIHR Signal Complications following hip or knee surgery are more likely for people with long-term illness, but benefits are still worthwhile
People with long-term illness are just as likely to benefit from knee or hip surgery as those without. However, they are more likely to have complications following surgery and to be readmitted within three months. This study reviewed data from 70 studies to determine the chance of short-term harms and long-term benefits linked to 11 different co-existing health conditions (such as diabetes and cancer) following hip and knee replacement. Short-term outcomes included surgical complications, infe...
NIHR Signal Ways of integrating care that better coordinate services may benefit patients
New integrated care models can increase patient satisfaction, perceived quality of care and improve access to services. It is less clear whether there may be effects on hospital admissions, appointments or healthcare costs. Strong leadership and patient engagement are among factors influencing successful implementation. The NHS is undergoing reconfiguration to better coordinate services around patients. This NIHR-funded review looked at the international literature to understand how new care mo...
NIHR Signal People with COPD exacerbations prefer early discharge then treatment at home
People with flare-ups of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) prefer to be managed at home rather than in hospital. Hospital stay was on average four days shorter when people were discharged early to the hospital at home scheme, and there was no noticeable increase in readmissions in this group. This NIHR-funded trial aimed to establish the costs and outcomes of hospital at home compared with staying in hospital for treatment. The findings support current guidance that hospital at home...
NIHR Signal Stool test is useful before GPs refer for possible inflammatory bowel disease
A stool test by GPs has been shown to support referral decisions for young adults, not suspected of cancer, to investigate possible inflammatory bowel disease (IBD - which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis). This study supports current NICE guidelines that the calprotectin stool test can usefully inform patient referral pathways and reduce unnecessary invasive tests such as colonoscopy. High levels of faecal calprotectin are associated with gut inflammation, as occurs in IBD...
NIHR Signal New airway device as good as tracheal tube insertion for out-of-hospital resuscitation
A supraglottic airway device works as well as a tracheal tube for paramedics resuscitating patients in cardiac arrest and is simpler to use. People who have stopped breathing need to get air into their lungs urgently. Usually, a tube is placed through the vocal cords into their trachea to secure a reliable airway, but correct placement needs skill and practice and can interrupt chest compressions during resuscitation. More recently, paramedics have used a supraglottic airway device, placed in t...
NIHR Signal Partial knee replacements may save costs compared with total knee replacements
Partial knee replacements, when performed by experienced surgeons, can save costs and improve quality of life compared with total knee replacements. Partial replacements for selected patients improve quality of life and savebetween £600 and £2,000 over the patient’s lifetime, depending on age and gender. Knee replacements are commonly performed for people with ongoing pain and poor function. If the damage is limited to one side of the knee, it may be suitable to replace just t...
NIHR Signal Delirium is common among adults receiving palliative care and could be better recognised
Between a quarter and two-thirds of adults admitted to specialist palliative care units experience delirium, or acute confusion. The findings come from a mixed methods project which included a systematic review of the number of people living with delirium. Estimates are mostly applicable to older adults with advanced cancer. The project also included interviews with nurses in Australian palliative care units to look at delirium assessment and use of screening tools. The findings highlighted th...
NIHR Signal Joint infection after hip replacement is linked to some risk factors that could be modified
Ten years of National Joint Registry data show that many factors may increase the risk of joint infection following hip replacement. Less than 1 in 1,000 people on average needed revision surgery for infection per year. Several modifiable patient factors increased risk, such as obesity and diabetes. Using ceramic components, and approaching surgery from the back rather than the side of the hip, may slightly reduce infection risk. This NIHR-funded study analysed registry data for 623,253 hip re...
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