News briefs from the Journal CHEST, November 2004

November 08, 2004

DENTAL PLAQUE ASSOCIATED WITH RESPIRATORY INFECTION IN ELDERLY

Dental plaques (DPs) may often house respiratory pathogens responsible for hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), according to a new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Of 49 critically ill nursing home residents who required intensive care treatment, researchers found that 28 subjects (57%) had aerobic pathogens in their DPs, including Staphylococcus aureus and enteric Gram-negative bacilli, pathogens commonly found in elderly patients with severe pneumonia, and 14 patients (29%) developed HAP. Institutionalized elders comprise a population that frequently has DPs due to lack of oral hygiene, a decline of daily activities, and, possibly, prior treatment with antibiotics. Further research is needed to determine if daily oral hygiene would reduce the incidence of HAP in this population. The study appears in the November issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

GERD SYMPTOMS OFTEN MISLEADING FOR ASTHMATICS

One third of adults with asthma have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but many do not experience the typical symptoms of heartburn and/or regurgitation, a new study shows. Researchers from Tampere University Hospital in Finland looked at 90 asthmatic patients and identified 32 patients (36%) with GERD, of which 8 patients (25%) did not experience classic reflux symptoms. The study further showed that asthmatics who experience GERD symptoms may not actually have the condition, as only 24 patients (51%) of the 47 who presented with classic reflux symptoms were found to have abnormal acidic reflux. The study appears in the November issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

EMERGENCY CARE WORKERS MOTIVATE ASTHMA PATIENTS TO BECOME EDUCATED

Emergency department (ED) professionals can help reduce asthma-related morbidity by motivating asthma patients to attend an asthma education program, according to a study from the Laval University Cardiology and Pneumology Institute, Laval Hospital, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Canada. Researchers implemented automatic asthma education center (AEC) referrals for asthma patients presenting to the ED for asthma at nine acute care centers. In the first four months of the program, 1,104 asthma patients were referred to an AEC, compared to 110 patients in the same period a year earlier. Of those referred, 488 patients (68.9%) made appointments at an AEC, and 72.8% of those patients attended their sessions. Training sessions on asthma were also attended by ED physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, which raised their scores on an asthma evaluation questionnaire from 16 to 70% after the session. The study indicates that such asthma-education referral programs are well accepted by ED staff. The study appears in the November issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
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American College of Chest Physicians

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