The COVID-19 Registry Japan (COVIREGI-JP), a registry of patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), contains the largest national COVID-19 inpatient population. Since COVIREGI-JP invites voluntary participation by facilities, selection bias is inevitable. The current study examined the representativeness of COVIREGI-JP data in comparison to open-source national data. The number of infections and deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in COVIREGI-JP were compared to those in national data recorded during the six waves of the COVID-19 epidemic until March 6, 2022. During the period studied, patients in COVIREGI-JP represented 1% of the total COVID-19 cases according to national data; the proportion was high during the first wave (32.7%) and tended to decrease, especially after the fourth wave. The overall proportion of patients from each region varied from 0.8% to 2.5%, but case fatality rates in COVIREGI-JP tended to be higher than those in the national data, with the exception of a few waves, in several regions. The difference was smallest during the first wave. Although COVIREGI-JP consistently registered cases from all regions of the country, the proportion tended to decline after the beginning of the epidemic. Given the epidemiological persistence and the ever-changing epidemiology of COVID-19, continued case registration and data utilization in COVIREGI-JP is desirable, although selection bias in COVIREGI-JP registration of cases should be carefully interpreted.
Since December 2019, in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we observed that glycemic control in people with diabetes is easily affected by lifestyle changes. To maintain a good health condition, a patient-centered approach with mental support and close monitoring is required. For these, telemedicine and online continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), are effective systems. Therefore, based on our experience during the two-year period, we reviewed the literature for appropriate actions required for the management of diabetes to prevent COVID-19 infection and avoid unfavorable outcomes in COVID-19 cases. Once infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), there is a high risk of a poor prognosis in patients with diabetes. Glucocorticoid therapy in severe COVID-19 cases leads to further hyperglycemia. Since good glycemic control has been shown to improve outcomes, strict glycemic control using CGM is recommended. Using CGM data, insulin can be adequately titrated without causing hypoglycemia, and remote data monitoring can reduce the risk of infection for health care professionals, by reducing the frequency of patient contact. Among patients with COVID-19, some are found to have newly-diagnosed diabetes at admission. Those newly diagnosed patients present with a higher risk of poor prognosis compared to those with pre-existing diabetes. Therefore, glycemic status should be evaluated in all patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals.
It is well-known that sustained virological response (SVR) by interferon (IFN)-based therapy against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection reduced the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, whether IFN-free direct-acting antivirals reduce the risk of HCC is controversial. Therefore, this study aims to compare the incidence of HCC after the achievement of SVR between sofosbuvir combined with ledipasvir (SOF/LDV) and simeprevir with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (Sim+IFN). Japanese patients with HCV infection (genotype 1) who achieved SVR between January 2013 and December 2014 by SOF/LDV (NCT01975675, n = 320) or Sim+IFN (000015933, n = 289) therapy in two nationwide, multicenter, phase III studies were prospectively monitored for the development of HCC by ultrasonography for 5 years after the end of treatment (EOT). No HCC was detected before the treatment. HCC was detected in 9 and 7 patients in the SOF/LDV and the Sim+IFN group in 5 years, respectively. The cumulative incidences of HCC rates 1, 3, and 5 years after EOT were similar between the two groups (1.5%, 2.7%, and 3.2% for the SOF/LDV and 1.8%, 2.8%, and 3.0% for the Sim+IFN group, respectively). No HCC was developed 3.5 years after EOT. Interestingly, a retrospective careful review of imaging taken before therapy revealed hepatic nodules in 50% of HCC patients, suggesting HCC was pre-existed before therapy. In conclusion, we could not find any differences in the incidence of HCC after the HCV eradication between the two therapeutic regimens, suggesting no enhancement of HCC development by DAA.
Pancreatic juice can leak not only from the main pancreatic duct but also from unclosed ductal branches appearing on the pancreatic stump. We have developed a suture device consisting of three loops of suture attached to four small-curvature needles with the aim to maximize the area of pancreatic parenchyma to be ligated and reduce the number of punctures made on the pancreas during pancreatic closure or anastomosis. In pancreatojejunostomy, the dorsal wall of the jejunum and then the pancreatic parenchyma are sutured using the four needles. Following duct-to-mucosa anastomosis, the ventral jejunal wall is sutured, and the three threads are finally tied sequentially to complete the reconstruction following the Blumgart method. In distal pancreatectomy, the pancreatic stump is sutured from the dorsal aspect sequentially using the four needles, before or after the pancreatic transection. The three threads are then respectively tied on the ventral surface of the pancreas. This device was used in six pancreatoduodenectomies (including two minimally invasive procedures) and five distal pancreatectomies. A postoperative pancreatic fistula requiring additional drainage or repositioning of abdominal drains developed in two patients. No adverse events associated with this device were encountered. The four-needle three-loop suture device can be an alternative to conventional staplers or sutures for closure and anastomosis of the pancreatic stump.
In preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, our hospital was responsible for accepting mainly media representatives, marketing partners, and other Games staff. Given that restricting our regular capacity to treat certain groups of patients could potentially result in social losses, to avoid this we made rigorous preparations for the entire hospital to accept Games-related patients. It was rational to set up a single 24-h contact point at the Emergency Department for making the decision on whether to accept the patient or not and for coordinating the patient's medical care. With respect to language support, International Health Care Center staffs were made available as interpreters on weekdays. Multilingual support was available all day via an application run on tablet devices. During a 67-day period, the hospital accepted 31 Games-related patients (mean age 43.4 years, male: female ratio 25:6). Eighteen patients were from Europe, 4 patients each were from North America and Asia, 2 each were from Central America, South America, and Africa, and 1 was from Oceania. The most common cause of visits was COVID-19, but none were severe cases. Other causes were diverse and included moderate and severe conditions. We summarized the challenges and experiences in handling Tokyo 2020 Games-related patients at a designated hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hypercoagulability, which can be induced by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although anticoagulation therapy is expected to decrease the incidence of thrombosis and mortality in COVID-19 patients, the optimal use of anticoagulation therapy has not been established, especially using unfractionated heparin (UFH). Herein, we suggest a new anticoagulation treatment protocol for the use of UFH in Japanese COVID-19 patients. This protocol considers the safety regarding UFH usage, to lower major bleeding events, and reflects the latest evidence and the current situation regarding anticoagulation therapy in Japan.
During the pandemic, stress of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on a radiology department has caused major change in the workflow and protocol, which can inflame unnecessary anxiety among the staff. We have adapted and responded quickly however, to the volatile clinical situations owing to a close consultant in infection control. Our repeatedly revised procedures since the 2014 Ebola outbreak possess the expertise and were very useful. In-house training sessions have been held and updated accordingly. In-house networking service has now become more common in our department instead of the emergency contact network relaying the message to the person on the phone tree. Up until January 2022, we examined 10,861 chest X-rays with no in-hospital infection. We sincerely hope our chest X-ray strategies comply with infection prevention and control standards and minimize use of personal protective equipment will be embraced as a positive initiative by frontline radiologic technologists and relieve their anxiety.
The COVID-19 pandemic required our pediatric health care staff to adjust to many irregularities and solve serious issues in our routine clinical practice. In outpatient clinics, many children exhibited common cold symptoms that mimic COVID-19, thus we initially screened patients via an interview form, then later via SARS-CoV-2 antigen test. Cluster infections were entirely avoided by following systematic, everyday precautions. Patients’quality of life has been difficult to maintain during the pandemic, due to social and staffing restrictions. Other unexpected repercussions – such as an unexpected lack of seasonal virus infections, then a respiratory syncytial (RS) virus outbreak – required agile management of hospital resources. While we must continue to adapt our treatment programs in response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis, it remains essential to support the well-being of children through regular health check-ups, mental health support, educational opportunities, proper socialization, and close communication with parents and families.
There is an increasing demand for clinical research, and this demand has particularly increased during the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) pandemic. In the light of these events, fostering international cooperation has become essential. The ARO Alliance for ASEAN & East Asia (ARISE) is a Japan-led international network for clinical research in Asia that was established to encourage and facilitate multiregional clinical trials. The Department of International Trials of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM) launched ARISE in December 2021 to pursue efficacious, high-quality clinical research and ensure rapid responses to health emergencies, with the timely provision of new medicinal products to patients in Asia.
This paper reports on the current status of international technical cooperation, reflecting the views of the Bureau of International Health Cooperation of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM) during the COVID-19 pandemic. To appropriately respond to the pandemic, the need for assistance to low- and middle-income countries has increased. Since 2020, there has been a shift from on-site to online international technical cooperation to avoid human contact. While online solutions increased the number of participants in international conferences and training, business travel costs and time were reduced. However, it became necessary to consider not only effective labor-management practices to enable participation in meetings held in different time zones but also quicker ways to develop online training materials, which took a long time. In the future, a hybrid format combining offline and online international technical cooperation will become mainstream.