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Technology and Health Care is intended to serve as a forum for the presentation of original articles and technical notes, observing rigorous scientific standards. Furthermore, upon invitation, reviews, tutorials, discussion papers and minisymposia are featured.
The following types of contributions and areas are considered:
1. Original articles:
Technology development in medicine: New concepts, procedures and devices associated with the use of technology in medical research and clinical practice are presented to a readership with a widespread background in engineering and/or medicine.
Significance of medical technology and informatics for healthcare: The appropriateness, efficacy and usefulness deriving from the application of engineering methods, devices and informatics in medicine and with respect to public health are discussed.
2. Technical notes:
Short communications on novel technical developments with relevance for clinical medicine.
3. Reviews and tutorials (upon invitation only):
Tutorial and educational articles for persons with a primarily medical background on principles of engineering with particular significance for biomedical applications and vice versa are presented.
4. Minisymposia (upon invitation only):
Under the leadership of a Special Editor, controversial issues relating to healthcare are highlighted and discussed by various authors.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Patients with lumbar degenerative disk disease (DDD) often require an interbody fusion. Several spacer systems have been developed to achieve an adequate fusion. The newly developed flexible interbody spacer system (Luna® , Benvenue Medical Inc.) expands to the disk space and is adjustable to the patient's anatomy. OBJECTIVE: Prospective monocentric evaluation of interbody fusions performed with the new system in patients with DDD to assess the device's efficacy and safety. METHODS: The study includes patients with DDD of one or two contiguous lumbar levels. All patients were treated with the new flexible…cage system. To evaluate the clinical outcome, examinations were conducted preoperatively, 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months postoperatively. At each study visit possible implant loosening was assessed by plain radiography and any adverse events were documented. Furthermore, back pain was evaluated using the visual analogue scale (VAS), functional impairment using the Oswestry-Disability-Index (ODI) and quality of life using the SF36. RESULTS: A total of 30 patients (age: 52.8 ± 11 years, gender: 53% male) were included. None of the patients showed signs of implant loosening and the total number of adverse events was low (3%). The VAS improved significantly from 81.2 ± 9.5 mm at baseline to 28 ± 26.2 mm after 12-months (p ≤ 0.0001). The ODI also improved significantly from 57.9 ± 9.6% at baseline to 20 ± 15.6% after 12-months (p ≤ 0.0001). The physical component score (PCS) of the SF36 improved significantly ongoing from 29.2 ± 9.3 at baseline to 56.1 ± 14.9 after 12-months (p = 0.0079) and the mental component score (MCS) improved significantly from 49.2 ± 20.7 at baseline to 62.8 ± 18.9 after 12 months (p = 0.013). CONCLUSIONS: Minimal-invasive lumbar interbody fusion with the new flexible system is a safe and effective treatment method for patients with DDD. Complication rates are low and treatment leads to an improvement of pain, functional impairment and quality of life.
Keywords: Degenerative disk disease, flexible interbody fusion
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Periprosthetic Joint Infection (PJI) poses a great challenge to patients, surgeons and health care systems. Comorbid diseases and patient-related risk factors are poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate patient-related risk factors for PJI after primary and after revision Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA). METHODS: In the present study, data was collected from 566 patients who underwent primary or revision THA between July 2011 and June 2012 in an established arthroplasty center (Endocert certified endoprosthesis center, EPZmax). The effects of demographic data and comorbid diseases on revision operations within…18 months following THA were analyzed using descriptive and explorative statistics. RESULTS: It was shown, that alcohol abuse, depression, preoperative ESBL (Extended Spectrum ß-Lactamase bacteria) infection, elevated preoperative serum-CRP (C-reactive protein), extended operation-time, extended length of hospital-stay, intraoperative complications, perioperative urinary tract infections and postoperative antibiotic therapy are significantly related to PJI in primary THA. CONCLUSIONS: Comorbid diseases seem to influence outcome after THA. They are important for predicting revision operations and implant survival. In severe high-risk cases, they can lead to perform the operation under precaution or to avoid performing the operation entirely. This should reduce PJI occurrences in future.
Keywords: Risk factors, periprosthetic joint infection, PJI, Total Hip Arthroplasty
Abstract: Treatment of fractures associated with fibrous dysplasia is difficult because of poor bone quality. In a brief report we present a case in which a hip prosthesis is connected with the distal part of a broken cannulated intramedullary femur nail. Postoperatively, the patient was mobilized with full weight bearing. Radiographs proved the correct position of the implant and a favorable clinical function could be achieved.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Smoking is a risk factor in the process of bone healing after lumbar spondylodesis, often associated with complications that occur intraoperatively or during follow-up periods. OBJECTIVE: To assess if smokers yield worse results concerning lumbar interbody fusion than non-smokers in a clinical comparative setting. METHODS: Spondylodesis outcomes in 50 patients, 34 non-smokers (mean 58 years; (range 29-81) and 16 smokers (mean 47 years; range 29-75) were compared preoperatively and one year after spondylodesis surgery using Oswestry-Disability-Index (ODI), visual analogue scale (VAS) and radiological outcome analysis of fusion-success. RESULTS: Smokers…showed a comparable ODI-improvement (p = 0.9343) and pain reduction to non-smokers (p = 0.5451). The intake of opioids was only reduced in non-smokers one year after surgery. Fusion success was significantly better in non-smokers (p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that smoking adversely effects spinal fusion. Particularly re-operations caused by pseudarthrosis occur at a higher rate in smokers than in non-smokers.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Myeloma patients often suffer from painful vertebral fractures (VCF) which impair their quality of life. Common methods for augmentation of the vertebrae are vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty and radiofrequency-targeted vertebral augmentation (RF-TVA). OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates the long-term effectiveness and safety of RF-TVA in the treatment of myeloma associated VCF. METHODS: Eighty-seven myeloma patients (mean age: 64.7 ± 9.5 years) with VCF were treated with RF-TVA. Patient data were assessed preoperatively and in five postoperative examinations up to 12 months. Pain was measured with the visual analogue scale (VAS) and the…impairment was evaluated with the Oswestry-Disability-Index (ODI) at each examination. In addition, the mid vertebral height, kyphosis angle, and additional fractures were evaluated by x-rays. Furthermore, cement leakage was documented. RESULTS: The VAS values were significantly improved in comparison to the preoperative values (p≤ 0.001), but slightly fluctuating during the follow-up period. The ODI was also significantly improved (p≤ 0.001), but it showed a worsening from the 12 months evaluation to the 24 months evaluation. The kyphosis angle and the vertebral height were significantly improved after surgery (p = 0.03, p ≤ 0.001), but worsened steadily to the last follow up examination. Cement leakage was asymptomatic and occurred in 18% of the patients. In 10% of the patients additional fractures were detected in the 24 months evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study show that RF-TVA is a safe treatment for myeloma associated vertebral compression fractures, which achieves an acceptable improvement of patient's pain and quality of life.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Urinary incontinence is a common problem among the elderly and patients with neurologic disability. The conventional urinary incontinence aids, such as urine-absorbing diapers, pads, and indwelling catheters, frequently cause hygienic problems. OBJECTIVE: To study the safety and efficacy of a new automatic urine disposal system that can suction and store the urine in a separate container for future disposal. METHODS: An electromechanical urine disposal system that can collect and transport the urine and cleanse and air-dry the external genitalia was developed. The hygienic effects of using this system were studied in 8…participants after 3 months of use. RESULTS: The caregivers of all 8 patients reported improved hygiene of their patients. None of the patients suffered from decubitus ulcers, and skin erythema was absent in 4 patients, while markedly decreased in the other 4 patients when compared with the use of urine-absorbing diapers. Four patients experienced minor urine leakage that was manageable with concurrent use of either diapers or bed pads. CONCLUSIONS: The use of an electromechanical urine disposal system relieves the caregiver from night care, as the urine is automatically collected and stored for disposal the next day. The system improves the hygiene of the patient, as the urine is immediately suctioned and the external genitalia is cleansed and dried after urination.
Keywords: Urinary incontinence, automatic urine disposal, skin erythema, continence aids
Abstract: BACKGROUND: At the emergency triage center, assessment of the present of the danger signs and measurement of vital signs are measured according to the guidelines. The respiration rate is still posing a challenge to the doctor as it is impractical to use conventional devices. Attaching measurement devices to the patient will induce artificial measurements (self-awareness stress effects) besides being time-consuming. Currently, the medical officers visually count the number of times the chest movement in a minute, sometimes poses cultural challenges especially for female patients. OBJECTIVE: The main objective of this paper is to develop a robust…algorithm to extract respiration rate using the contactless displacement sensor. METHODS: In this study, chest movements were used as an indicative of inspiration and expiration to measure respiratory rate using the contactless displacement sensor. The contactless optical signals were recorded from 32 healthy subjects in four different controlled breathing conditions: rest, coughing, talking and hand movement to obtain the motion artifacts that the patients may have in the emergency department. The Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) algorithm was used to derive continuous RR signal from the contactless optical signal. RESULTS: The analysis showed that there is a good correlation (0.9702) with RMSE of 0.33 breaths per minutes between the contact respiration rate and contactless respiration rate using empirical mode decomposition method. CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that the empirical mode decomposition method can extract the respiration rate of the contactless optical signal from chest movement.
Abstract: Recent statistics released by Alzheimer's Disease International has highlighted how prevalent dementia will become in the next couple of years. Along with the increased incidence of individuals being diagnosed with dementia, there has also been an increment in the number of informal carers for people living with dementia. A recent report highlighted that in Australia, there are an estimated of 200,000 informal carers as of 2011. Caring for people who are living with dementia is not an easy task. Previous studies have highlighted that as much as 65% of caregivers do experience symptoms suggestive of depressive symptoms in the process…of care. With the rapid advances in technology, it is of no surprise that information technology and its related innovations have been used in dementia care. A review of the existing literature shows that much of these innovations are focused on the care of patients affiliated with dementia. However, clearly interventions focusing on the needs of the dementia cohort of patient are limited. There are currently more emerging studies demonstrating the efficacy of web-based interventional toolkits for carers who are caring for individuals with dementia. Whilst there are previous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of smartphone interventions for dementia patients, there remains a paucity of smartphone based interventions for caregivers who are living with people with dementia. This technical note describes the conceptualization of an evidence based smartphone intervention for patients living with dementia, as well as for carers of these patients.
Keywords: Smartphone, mobile phone, applications, dementia, caregiving, caregivers burden
Abstract: To evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using endoscopic low-temperature plasma radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for treatment of laryngeal plexiform neurofibromatosis-1 (NF-1). An infant diagnosed as laryngeal plexiform NF-1 based on a detailed medical history, as well as physical, laboratory, and pathological examinations, was treated under general anesthesia with low-temperature plasma RFA in combination with a self-retaining laryngoscope and high definition camera system. The laryngeal plexiform NF-1 tumor was successfully excised using endoscopic low-temperature plasma RFA without complications. Following surgery, the infant displayed an uneventful recovery and no disease recurrence during a 2-year follow-up period. low-temperature plasma RFA is a…feasible and effective method for treating laryngeal plexiform NF-1, and has advantages of producing minimal bleeding, providing complete removal of the tumor, and causing only slight degrees of trauma and postoperative tissue reaction.