Objective In Japan, both medical oncologists and pulmonologists treat lung cancer patients; however, the difference in their attitude toward palliative care referral is unknown. Thus, we retrospectively investigated the difference in attitudes toward palliative care referral between medical oncologists and pulmonologists in Japan.
Methods We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients with thoracic malignancy who died at Shimane University Hospital between June 2011 and October 2015. We compared the patients' demographics and medical history according to their doctor's specialty (i.e., medical oncologist or pulmonologist).
Results We identified 182 patients, among whom 90 were treated by medical oncologists and 56 by pulmonologists at the outpatient clinic. Thirty-six patients did not undergo outpatient clinic treatment. Out of 59 patients, 22 (37.3%) referred by medical oncologists, and 7 out of 36 patients (19.4%) referred by pulmonologists, were referred to palliative care specialists in the outpatient setting (p=0.107, Fisher's exact test). The median survival time after admission to PCU was 21 (95% CI: 13-32) and 9 (95% CI: 5-15) days among the patients treated by medical oncologists and pulmonologists, respectively (p=0.128).
Conclusion Medical oncologists are more likely to refer their patients to palliative care in the outpatient setting, thus enabling patients to receive longer end of life care in the PCU. Bridging the research gap regarding differences between the physicians' attitudes toward palliative care referral may lead to patients receiving more quality palliative care.
Objective To identify factors associated with pneumomediastinum during management of connective tissue disease (CTD)-related interstitial lung disease (ILD).
Methods Patients diagnosed with pneumomediastinum after the initiation of corticosteroid therapy for their CTD-ILD were enrolled. The baseline characteristics of patients who developed pneumomediastinum after the initiation of corticosteroid therapy (n=13, all occurring within 120 days) were compared to those of patients who did not develop pneumomediastinum (n=49). A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with pneumomediastinum. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was also performed to assess the predictive performance.
Results The body mass index (BMI) [odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) 0.482 (0.272-0.853)] and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) [OR (95% CI) 1.013 (1-1.025)] levels at baseline were identified as independent factors associated with pneumomediastinum after corticosteroid initiation. The optimal cut-off points of the BMI and LDH levels for predicting pneumomediastinum development, as estimated by the Youden index, were 20.2 kg/m2 and 378 U/L, respectively. LDH showed a sensitivity of 61.5% and the highest specificity of 87.8%. Importantly, combining these markers resulted in the highest sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 71.4%.
Conclusion A low BMI and high serum LDH levels at baseline are useful predictive factors for pneumomediastinum development in CTD-ILD patients.
Objective Visceral larva migrans (VLM) caused by Ascaris suum is a major health problem in pig farming regions. The clinical characteristics of pulmonary VLM caused by A. suum, however, are unclear. We assessed the clinico-radiologic features of this disease.
Methods Medical records, including the results of chest radiography and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), were retrospectively reviewed from January 2000 through June 2019, at the University of Miyazaki Hospital and Kyoritsuiin Hospital in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan.
Results Seven patients with VLM caused by A. suum were identified. All seven patients had a unique habit of consuming raw foods, such as organic vegetables, chicken, turkey, wild boar, and venison. All but one patient, who had eosinophilic pneumonia with a fever and severe fatigue, had only mild or no respiratory symptoms. All 7 patients had remarkable eosinophilia (median, 1,960/μL) and high serum IgE levels (median, 1,346 IU/mL). Chest HRCT revealed multiple nodules and multiple nodular ground-glass opacities in 57% and 29% of the patients, respectively. The pulmonary lesions were located predominantly in subpleural areas. All seven patients were treated with albendazole, which led to improvement within two to three months. Neither eggs nor parasites were detected in the feces or sputum of any patient.
Conclusion Consumption of raw organic vegetables or raw meat is a possible route of A. suum infection. Infected patients exhibit mild respiratory symptoms, and multiple nodules with a halo in the subpleural area are a common finding on chest HRCT. Treatment with albendazole was effective in these cases.
Objective Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), remains the world's largest public health concern in 2021. A history of close contact with infectious patients is a factor that predicts a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. Meanwhile, the precise predictive value of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 has not been fully elucidated. This study aimed to clarify the predictive and discriminatory value of each clinical symptom suggestive of COVID-19.
Methods This study enrolled participants who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction using a nasopharyngeal swab between November 2020 and January 2021. All enrolled patients were evaluated for data regarding the presence and closeness of contact with infectious patients and comprehensive clinical features (i.e., fever, cough, dyspnea, fatigue, dysosmia, and dysgeusia).
Results Among the 1,744 tested participants, 144 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. In the test-positive group, self-reported cough, fatigue, dysosmia, and dysgeusia were significant predictors of COVID-19, independent from a history of close contact. In particular, the presence of dysosmia was the strongest predictor of COVID-19 in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Among the 42 patients with self-reported dysosmia, 25 (59.5%) were SARS-CoV-2 test-positive. Self-reported dysosmia was reported by 25 (17.4%) of the 144 patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and 15 (60.0%) of the 25 COVID-19 patients with dysosmia had accompanying dysgeusia.
Conclusion The presence of dysosmia was reported by 10-25% of patients with COVID-19, and is a significant predictor of COVID-19 infection, independent from a history of close contact.
Objective Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has spread globally, and it is important to utilize medical resources properly, especially in critically ill patients. We investigated the validity of chest radiography as a tool for predicting aggravation in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Methods A total of 104 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases were referred from the cruise ship "Diamond Princess" to the Self-Defense Forces Central Hospital in Japan from February 11 to 25, 2020. Fifty-nine symptomatic patients were selected. Chest radiography was performed upon hospitalization; subsequently, patients were categorized into the positive radiograph (Group A) and negative radiograph (Group B) groups. Radiographic findings were analyzed with a six-point semiquantitative score. Group A was further classified into two additional subgroups: patients who required oxygen therapy during their clinical courses (Group C) and patients who did not (Group D). Clinical records, laboratory data, and radiological findings were collected for an analysis.
Results Among 59 patients, 34 were men with a median age of 60 years old. Groups A, B, C, and D consisted of 33, 26, 12, and 21 patients, respectively. The number of patients requiring oxygen administration was significantly larger in Group A than in Group B. The consolidation score on chest radiographs was significantly higher in Group C than in Group D. When chest radiographs showed consolidation in more than two lung fields, the positive likelihood ratio of deterioration was 10.6.
Conclusions Chest radiography is a simple and easy-to-use clinic-level triage tool for predicting the severity of COVID-19 and may contribute to the allocation of medical resources.
Objectives Medical litigation resulting from diagnostic errors leads to lawsuits that are time-consuming, expensive, and psychologically burdensome. Few studies have focused on internists, who are more likely to make diagnostic errors than others, with assessments of litigation in terms of system and diagnostic errors. This study explored factors contributing to internists losing lawsuits and examined whether system or diagnostic errors were more important on the outcome.
Methods Data regarding 419 lawsuits against internists closed between 1961 and 2017 were extracted from a public Japanese database. Factors affecting litigation outcomes were identified by comparative analysis focusing on system and diagnostic errors, environmental factors, and differences in initial diagnoses.
Results Overall, 419 malpractice claims against internists were analyzed. The rate of lawsuits being decided against internists was high (50.1%). The primary cause of litigation was diagnostic errors (213, 54%), followed by system errors (188, 45%). The foremost initial diagnostic error was "no abnormality" (17.2%) followed by ischemic heart disease (9.6%) and malignant neoplasm (8.1%). Following cause-adjustment for loss, system errors were 21.37 times more likely to lead to a loss. Losses were 6.26 times higher for diagnostic error cases, 2.49 times higher for errors occurring at night, and 3.44 times higher when "malignant neoplasm" was the first diagnosis.
Conclusions This study found that system errors strongly contributed to internists' losses. Diagnostic errors, night shifts, and initial diagnoses of malignant neoplasms also significantly affected trial outcomes. Administrators must focus on both system errors and diagnostic errors to enhance the safety of patients and reduce internists' risk exposure.
Objective Geriatric screening followed by a more detailed assessment and intervention is recommended for older adults with cancer. However, little is known regarding how the geriatric screening covered by Japanese health insurance is used for hospitalized older cancer patients. We surveyed all hospitals in Japanese Association of Clinical Cancer Centers (JACCC) to explore the current use of this approach.
Methods The JACCC member hospitals specialize in cancer care from prevention, through diagnosis and treatment, to palliative care. We mailed paper questionnaires to the presidents of the hospitals in December 2019 and collected them by February 2020. The survey requested general hospital information and asked whether (and how) such geriatric screening for hospitalized older adults with cancer was conducted.
Results Twenty-six of 32 hospitals completed the survey (81%). Fourteen hospitals are cancer centers, while the remaining 12 hospitals are general hospitals which care of both cancer and non-cancer patients. Eleven hospitals (42%) performed geriatric screening and the most common use of the results was for "early discharge planning" and for "applying for long-term care insurance." Most clinicians rated the screening "somewhat" or "a little" helpful and found it most helpful for "meeting patient-post discharge needs". The most frequently reported barrier to implementation was a "lack of leadership to improve the care of older adults."
Conclusion Geriatric screening was used at less than half of the major cancer centers and hospitals in Japan. One feasible solution to this problem is to establish an interprofessional workgroup at each hospital with the shared goal of providing high-quality care for this population.
Objective It has been established that stroke occurrence is influenced by seasonality. Stroke is divided into three subtypes: cerebral hemorrhage (CH), cerebral infarction (CI), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The purpose of this paper was to analyze stroke events by subtype and month, in order to clarify the biggest factors that affect seasonal differences and thereby gain insight into stroke prevention.
Methods Initial stroke events in the Akita Stroke Registry from 1991 to 2010 (58,684 cases; male 30,549, female 28,135) were classified by subtype and the month of onset, and correlations were estimated based on 115 healthy volunteers' monthly mean resting blood pressure (BP) at home and outdoor temperature measured by the Akita Meteorological Observatory in 2001.
Results Systolic BP showed monthly variation in both morning and evening measurements. BP and outdoor temperature showed significant correlations with hemorrhagic stroke events by month (CH: r=0.87, r=-0.82; SAH: r=0.68, r=-0.82). Among the stroke subtypes, seasonal differences were the greatest in CH. Systolic BP was the most important factor for monthly and seasonal variation in stroke events. By comparing monthly BP variations with CH incidence throughout the year, we concluded that a decrease in home BP of 5 mmHg can reduce the risk of CH by 35%.
Conclusion Our findings suggest that lowering BP would be the best strategy for CH prevention. Simple daily actions may be affected by cold stress. As physicians, we must strive to help patients lower their BP throughout the year not only with medication but with lifestyle guidance, especially in winter.
A 21-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital because of massive intestinal bleeding. She started hemodialysis due to myeloperoxidase antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) at 18 years of age. Her ANCA titers remained stable; however, her C-reactive protein increased on 5 mg/day prednisolone before admission. Computed tomography angiography revealed a ruptured jejunal arterial aneurysm. Transcatheter arterial embolization, blood transfusion and the reinforcement of steroid therapy resolved her symptoms of AAV. Our case of a young patient with AAV and medium-sized arterial vasculitis is rare and emphasizes that the ANCA titer does not always rise, especially in patients with nonrenal vasculitis flare-ups.
Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare aggressive B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder that is strongly associated with immunodeficiency, most often with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and that mainly occurs in the oral cavity. Although some clinical features can lead to a diagnosis, PBL in an extraoral site is difficult to suspect clinically in a patient who is HIV negative. The small intestine as a site of PBL has also been described very rarely. We herein present a rare case of PBL of the small intestine in an 85-year-old HIV- and EBV-negative male.
The risk of carcinogenesis increases after 20 years old in patients with Fanconi anemia (FA). We herein report three rare cases of FA combined with esophageal cancer in women; all patients were diagnosed with FA in early childhood. Patients 1 and 2 were diagnosed with advanced and superficial esophageal cancer, respectively, at 21 and 30 years old, respectively. Patient 3 was diagnosed with superficial esophageal cancer, underwent curative surgery at 26 years old, and survived for over 5 years without recurrence. Therefore, establishing a protocol for the early detection of esophageal cancer in FA patients over 20 years old is important.
Eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE) is an uncommon disease characterized by eosinophilic infiltration of the gastrointestinal tract in the absence of secondary causes and presents with a variety of gastrointestinal manifestations. Important diagnostic evidence for EGE can be provided by endoscopy; however, the specific small-bowel capsule endoscopic (SBCE) findings remain unknown. We herein report the SBCE findings of three cases of EGE as well as those of the previous cases. The most common findings in patients with EGE were multiple erythema and erosions with surrounding redness on SBCE; these findings should be considered for the diagnostic evaluation for EGE.
Mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN) of the pancreas is a rare cystic tumor occurring in the pancreatic body and tail in young to middle-aged women that is pathologically characterized by an ovarian-like stroma. Chemotherapy for recurrent/advanced pancreatic MCN has been based on chemotherapy regimens for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, but the prognosis is poor. We herein report a 37-year-old woman with pancreatic mucinous cystadenocarcinoma with liver metastasis that responded dramatically to carboplatin plus paclitaxel therapy (CBDCA+PTX). CBDCA+PTX may be a treatment option for recurrent/advanced pancreatic MCN with an ovarian-like stroma.
Pazopanib, a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is associated with cardiovascular adverse events, such as hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, and thromboembolism. However, symptomatic pazopanib-related bradycardia is uncommon. We herein report a case of symptomatic bradycardia of 35 beats per minute in a patient with solitary fibrous tumor/hemangiopericytoma (SFT/HPC) treated with pazopanib for 1 month. His heart rate recovered to a normal range soon after pazopanib cessation. He restarted pazopanib at a reduced dose, which was continued without SFT/HPC progression or bradycardia recurrence. This case highlights the possibility of bradycardia induced by pazopanib and the importance of monitoring the patient's heart rate.
High-output heart failure caused by a tumor-related arteriovenous fistula in adults is a rare clinical condition. We herein report a case of high-output heart failure caused by an arteriovenous fistula associated with renal cell carcinoma and a literature review of 29 published cases to date. Renal cell carcinoma seems to be the most common underlying tumor. For the diagnosis, right heart catheterization and enhanced computed tomography (CT) are considered useful. The removal of the underlying tumor and arteriovenous fistula is the best treatment for heart failure.
There are an increasing number of reports on the safe use of rituximab (RTX), a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, in pregnant women with hematological malignancies or refractory autoimmune diseases. In 2014, the use of RTX for patients with complicated steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome (SDNS) was approved in Japan. We herein report a woman with childhood-onset complicated SDNS due to focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, who had two successful pregnancies while receiving RTX maintenance therapy. No adverse complications were observed during the pregnancies, and she delivered healthy newborns. This case suggested that RTX may be used safely in pregnant women complicated with SDNS.
A 69-year-old woman presented with mild renal dysfunction, proteinuria, and sensorineural hearing loss. A renal biopsy showed focal segmental glomerulosclerosis with thinning of the glomerular basement membrane. There was a positive family history of end-stage kidney disease and hearing loss. Although Alport syndrome was suspected from these features, a genetic test using next-generation sequencer identified a novel missense mutation in LMX1B, c.655C>G: p. (Pro219Ala). In silico analyses predicted the pathogenicity of the mutation. Thus, the present case was diagnosed as LMX1B-associated nephropathy presenting with Alport syndrome-like phenotype, expanding the disease spectrum of LMX1B nephropathy.
A 44-year-old man presented at our hospital to be evaluated for persistent fever and dyspnea. A chest computed tomography (CT) scan showed diffuse ground glass shadows and a left hilar tumor shadow. Upon further examination, he was found to have leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase and ferritin levels. He was diagnosed with both squamous cell lung carcinoma by a transbronchial lung biopsy and hemophagocytic syndrome by a bone marrow biopsy. After receiving treatment with dexamethasone and etoposide, the blood test abnormalities and performance status improved. Chemotherapy for lung cancer was initiated. He had a partial response after first-line chemotherapy and thereafter underwent left upper sleeve lobectomy.
Laryngeal and endobronchial cryptococcosis are rare conditions, and to our knowledge, there have been only 23 cases of laryngeal cryptococcosis, and 18 cases of endobronchial cryptococcosis previously reported in the English literature. We herein report an extremely rare case of cryptococcosis with simultaneous laryngeal and endobronchial involvement. This case highlights the importance of paying close attention to possible occurrence of cryptococcosis of the airway tract in patients with asthma treated with high-dose inhaled corticosteroids.
Pseudo-progression is a phenomenon induced by treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors and is characterized by an increase in tumor size or the appearance of new lesions, followed by tumor regression. However, life-threatening conditions, such as cardiac tamponade, can develop in such patients. We herein report on a 69-year-old man with lung adenocarcinoma who developed cardiac tamponade as a manifestation of pseudo-progression induced by treatment with atezolizumab combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy. After managing the cardiac tamponade, atezolizumab was successfully re-administered along with cytotoxic chemotherapy without disease progression.
Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) is a rare subtype of acute myeloid leukemia accompanied by an aggressive clinical course and dismal prognosis. We herein report a case of AMKL preceded by mediastinal germ cell tumor that relapsed early after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with myeloablative conditioning but was successfully treated using salvage cord blood transplantation (CBT) with reduced-intensity conditioning. Although several serious complications developed, sustained remission with a favorable general condition was ultimately achieved. Although an optimal therapeutic strategy remains to be established, the graft-versus-leukemia effect of CBT may be promising, even for the treatment of refractory AMKL.
Anti-leucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) antibody is associated with limbic encephalitis. We herein report a patient with anti-LGI1 encephalitis who developed severe orthostatic hypotension (OH) responsive to immunoglobulin therapy five years after developing symptoms of encephalitis. A 71-year-old man presented with amnesia caused by limbic encephalitis. The symptoms of encephalitis improved partially without any immunotherapy. Five years later, he developed severe OH, and anti-LGI1 antibody was positive. The catecholamine dynamics indicated that the central autonomic nervous system was the lesion of his OH. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy improved the OH. This case suggests that anti-LGI1 antibody can be associated with severe OH.
Dermatomyositis is a rare immune-related adverse event caused by immune checkpoint inhibitors. We herein report a 75-year-old Japanese man with small-cell lung carcinoma who developed dermatomyositis after the administration of atezolizumab. He developed rashes on day 13 and myalgia and motor weakness on day 30 of the first administration of atezolizumab. Anti-transcriptional intermediary factor 1-gamma antibody was positive, and serum interleukin-6 levels were prominently elevated in the acute phase. Symptoms were improved by corticosteroid therapy. This is the first report of dermatomyositis associated with atezolizumab. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of dermatomyositis after the administration of immune checkpoint inhibitors.
A 29-year-old man presented with a high-grade fever, headache, and urinary retention, in addition to meningeal irritation and myoclonus in his upper extremities. A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination showed pleocytosis and high adenosine deaminase (ADA) levels with no evidence of bacterial infection, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. T2-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging showed transient hyper-intensity lesions at the splenium of the corpus callosum (SCC), bilateral putamen, and pons during the course of the disease. The CSF was positive for anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) antibodies. He was diagnosed with autoimmune GFAP astrocytopathy. The present case shows that the combination of an elevated ADA level in the CSF and reversible T2-weighted hyper-intensity on the SCC supports the diagnosis of autoimmune GFAP encephalopathy.
The slow loris monkey is one of the few venomous mammals. Its venom repels predators and can cause anaphylactic shock and even death in humans. The venom protein has been evaluated and has high sequence similarity to cat allergen; however, no studies involving subjects with cat allergy and who have been exposed to slow loris venom have been reported. We herein report the first case of severe anaphylactic shock following a slow loris bite in a patient with cat allergy.
We herein report a 59-year-old woman with a 2-year history of chronic bursitis of the hand who took 50 mg/day prednisolone for several autoimmune diseases. Mycobacteroides abscessus subsp. massiliense was isolated from the abscess and blood culture. Combination therapy (imipenem/cilastatin, amikacin, and clarithromycin) was administered for a month. Two months later, M. massiliense was detected from a blood culture again, and disseminated lesions were found. Clarithromycin and sitafloxacin were administered following eight weeks of the same regimen. Six months after the diagnosis, M. massiliense was isolated from a blood culture, and she expired due to multiple organ failure.
A 60-year-old woman presented with multiple lung and bone metastases with unknown primary cancer. Chest CT images showed multiple pulmonary cysts, predominantly of the middle and lower lobes. She also had a history of pneumothorax. Four years after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, multiple hypervascular tumors eventually developed in the bilateral kidneys, suggesting the possibility of Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome. Genetic testing revealed a folliculin mutation, which confirmed the diagnosis of BHD syndrome. When we encounter cancer of unknown primary with multiple pulmonary cysts in a patient with a history of pneumothorax, thorough imaging of the kidneys and genetic testing for BHD syndrome is necessary.