Journal Chest: April news briefs

ASTHMA EPISODES DECREASE WITH REDUCED ETS EXPOSURE

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure is associated with poor asthma outcomes in children. However, a new study shows that reducing exposure to ETS may improve asthma outcomes. University of Alabama researchers followed 240 children with asthma who were either receiving usual care or supervised asthma therapy. No smoking cessation counseling or ETS exposure education was provided to caregivers; however, children were given 20 minutes of asthma education that incorporated discussion on the avoidance of asthma triggers, including ETS. Asthma morbidity and ETS exposure were collected from caregivers via telephone interviews at baseline and at 1-year follow-up. Among children whose ETS exposure decreased from baseline, fewer hospitalizations and ED visits were reported. Additionally, these children were 48 percent less likely to experience an episode of poor asthma control. These findings emphasize the importance of ETS exposure reduction as a mechanism to improve asthma control and morbidity. This study is published in the April issue of the journal CHEST.

FOOT SURGERY PATIENTS RUN LOW RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS

Although recent surgery is a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots, a new study suggests that patients who undergo podiatric surgery may have a relatively low risk for thrombolytic events. In a 5-year retrospective analysis, researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research reviewed the charts of 7,264 patients who underwent podiatric surgical procedures. Of the 16,804 total procedures recorded, overall incidence of post-procedure venous thromboembolism (VTE) was 0.30 percent. The incidence of VTE increased slightly with the presence of risk factors, including prior VTE, use of hormone replacement therapy, and obesity. Researchers conclude that the low overall risk of VTE in podiatric surgery suggests routine prophylaxis is not warranted. This study is published in the April issue of the journal CHEST.

RARE LUNG DISEASE PREVALENT IN TENNESSEE APPALACHIA

New research confirms that blastomycosis, an uncommon lung disease caused by a fungus, continues to be a problem in the Appalachian area of northeastern Tennessee. The disease, characterized by flu-like symptoms, is most often reported in people with exposures to wooded sites (e.g., farmers, forestry workers, hunters, and campers). In a retrospective study, researchers from East Tennessee State University found that blastomycosis was still prevalent in the northeastern Tennessee area (n=67), increasing slightly from the research team’s previous findings from 1980 to 1995 (n=55). Researchers speculate that, as the region continues to experience a population growth, additional cases of the disease are to be expected. This study is published in the April issue of the journal CHEST.

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