Microbiological diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is mainly performed through nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and antigen test. Although NAAT is the standard diagnostic test, its use is limited by insufficient laboratory resources and long turnaround time. Point-of-care NAAT tests have been introduced to address these shortcomings, but their varied sensitivity and resource constraints remain a concern. Antigen tests require fewer resources but have low sensitivity. Nevertheless, low-sensitivity tests may be useful depending on the situation. In contrast, in some clinical phases of COVID-19, high-sensitivity tests may provide false-negative results. Therefore, the right testing strategy is needed for an accurate diagnosis. In this review, the characteristics and clinical applications of microbiological tests available in Japan (NAAT, antigen test, and antibody test) are discussed. The clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 is slightly complicated, and cases in which the infection spreads from asymptomatic infected individuals are many; hence, laboratory diagnosis is essential to prevent further transmission.
Coronavirus disease 2019 is an infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Many symptomatic patients have influenza-like symptoms such as fever, respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, and nasal discharge), headache, and malaise. In some cases, oxygen is required within a week of onset, and in more severe cases, the patient is admitted to the intensive care unit after around 10 days of onset. In the COVIREGI-JP registry of hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019, patients with renal dysfunction, liver disease, obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes tended to be more severely ill after hospitalization than patients without comorbidities. It has also become clear that symptoms can persist even after the acute phase has passed.
Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is noninvasive and can be used at the bedside for real-time evaluation to identify ventilation distribution of infected lungs. This review briefly describes the basic principle of EIT and summarizes the latest findings on its potential contribution to lung protective strategies in coronavirus disease 2019 patients. Additionally, experimental approaches for detecting the distribution of pulmonary blood flow in coronavirus disease 2019 patients are presented. The findings underscore the role of EIT in determining lung protective strategies for coronavirus disease 2019-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Since severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is transmitted through close contact and droplets, people, especially those at risk of infection, must follow preventive measures in the community and healthcare settings. Healthcare personnel (HCP) must appropriately select and use personal protective equipment (PPE) with sensible donning and doffing and disposal practices. A narrative review of the existing literature was conducted, in which articles from Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science were collected. The primary findings of the retained articles were reviewed according to official recommendations on PPE use. The World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) recommend standard precautions for contact transmission, respiratory transmission, and droplet precautions among HCPs caring for patients with COVID-19. Indeed, healthcare workers working in high-risk areas, as well as the public, when social distancing cannot be assured, must wear PPE such as face mask and protective eyewear to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Due to the increased use of PPE, the potentially infectious waste stream has been rapidly increasing, requiring safe and adequate solid waste management. The proper use of PPE and management of waste generated from COVID-19 care centers can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. These measures should be implemented to counter the rapid spread and any long-term impacts of the current pandemic.
Onco-cardiology recently emerged as a novel discipline to provide effective cardioprotective care against cancer therapeutics-related cardiac adverse events (CAEs) and support the continuity of optimal cancer treatment. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized cancer therapy and dramatically improved outcomes in patients with advanced or refractory cancers. However, ICIs intrinsically stimulate systemic immune responses and can potentially induce a spectrum of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), which can affect any organs of the body. The manifestation of cardiac irAEs includes myocarditis, arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities, and pericardial diseases. Takotsubo-like cardiomyopathy is also included as a manifestation of ICI-related CAEs, but the pathophysiological relevance is unclear. Although the incidence is rare, ICI-related CAEs are life-threatening and potentially fatal. Elucidating pathophysiology and establishing management measures of ICI-related CAEs are one of the most urgent challenges in the field of onco-cardiology.
The therapeutic landscape of pharmacotherapy for prostate cancer has dramatically evolved, and multiple therapeutic options have become available for prostate cancer patients. Therefore, useful biomarkers to identify suitable candidates for treatment are required to maximize the efficacy of pharmacotherapy. Genetic polymorphisms such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and tandem repeats have been shown to influence the therapeutic effects of pharmacotherapy for prostate cancer patients. For example, genetic polymorphisms in the genes involved in androgen receptor signaling are reported to be associated with the therapeutic outcome of androgen-deprivation therapy as well as androgen receptor-pathway inhibitors. In addition, SNPs in genes involved in drug metabolism and efflux pumps are associated with therapeutic effects of taxane chemotherapy. Thus, genetic polymorphisms such as SNPs are promising biomarkers to realize personalized medicine. Here, we overview the current findings on the influence of genetic polymorphisms on the outcome of pharmacotherapy for prostate cancer and discuss current issues as well as future visions in this field.
The Initiative on Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (IRUD) has established a unified all-Japan diagnostic and research scheme for rare and undiagnosed diseases covering the entire geographic areas and specialty/subspecialty fields. The fundamental IRUD scheme consists of six components: coordinating center (IRUD-CC), clinical center (IRUD-CL), clinical specialty subgroup (IRUD-CSS), analysis center (IRUD-AC), data center (IRUD-DC), and resource center (IRUD-RC). IRUD has registered many pedigrees with undiagnosed diseases, established their diagnoses with high diagnostic rate, identified novel causative genes and new disease entities, and promoted extensive data sharing and international collaboration. IRUD plays an important role in the national medical support network for rare and intractable diseases together with academic societies and national centers. Promotion of IRUD would be essential in elucidating causes and ultimately providing cures for rare and undiagnosed diseases.
Evaluation of the hemodynamic function of the cardiovascular system via measurement of the mechanical properties of the large arteries may provide a substantial improvement over present techniques. Practitioners are familiar with the problem of low reproducibility of conventional sphygmomanometry, which exhibits reasonable accuracy but low precision owing to its marked variability over time and in different circumstances (e.g., the white coat effect). Arterial wall stiffness is a consequence of atherosclerosis developing over time; thus, it has little short-term variability and is thus preferable to be used as a prognostic marker. In particular, arterial stiffness can be evaluated at the carotid artery using noninvasive approaches based on wearable sensor technologies for pulse wave analysis. These enable the assessment of central pressures and pulse waveform parameters that are expected to replace peripheral blood pressure measurement using the inflatable cuff. In this study, we discuss this simple and inexpensive technique, which has been shown to be reliable with the clinical and epidemiological evidence for its use as a biomarker of cardiovascular risk.
Introduction: Anesthesiologists are in short supply across the world, resulting in perpetually long working hours. To reduce the burden on anesthesiologists, tasks that can be performed by non-physicians must be shifted to other medical staff. In hospitals, clinical engineers can work as anesthesia assistants and perform some of the duties of anesthesiologists. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of task shift performed by clinical engineer anesthesia assistants (CEAAs).
Methods: This was a 1-month prospective observational study that included 33 anesthesiologists (11 fellows and 22 certified anesthesiologists) and 11 CEAAs. The total activity and anesthesia times were extracted from the attendance record as indices of the anesthesiologists' work status. The CEAAs recorded the duration of work performed on behalf of the anesthesiologists as task shift time. The task shift rate was evaluated as follows: task shift time/ (task shift time + total activity time) and task shift time/ (task shift time) + (total anesthesia time).
Results: The study period consisted of 19 weekdays. The average daily activity time of the anesthesiologists was 10.1 h, and the average anesthesia time was 8.5 h. The CEAAs performed a total of 546.8 h of task shift. The defined task shift rate was 20.1% when the total activity time was the denominator and 23.1% when the anesthesia time was the denominator.
Conclusions: CEAAs might be effective in reducing the working hours of anesthesiologists through task shift. Their taking over a portion of the anesthesiologists' duties may allow the anesthesiologists to work more efficiently.
Introduction: Pemafibrate is a potent selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) modulator that may be safer than conventional PPARα agonists in the treatment of dyslipidemia. This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of low-dose pemafibrate (0.1 mg/day) therapy for hypertriglyceridemia in 31 patients with type 2 diabetes and high triglyceride (TG) levels at the Manda Memorial Hospital.
Methods: TG, remnant lipoprotein cholesterol (RLP-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein (Apo) AI, Apo AII, Apo B, Apo CII, Apo CIII, and Apo E levels were evaluated. Liver, kidney, and muscle toxicity tests were also performed. Pemafibrate (0.1 mg) was administered once daily.
Results: This treatment significantly decreased TG, RLP-C, Apo CII, Apo CIII, and Apo E levels while significantly increasing HDL-C, Apo AI, and Apo AII levels. No significant changes were observed in LDL-C and Apo B levels. There were no significant liver-, kidney-, or muscle-related adverse events.
Conclusions: The results of this study show that low-dose pemafibrate administration improves the lipid profile in Japanese patients with hypertriglyceridemia and type 2 diabetes.
Introduction: Common bile duct stones (CBDS) are a common disease that can cause biliary complications, including cholangitis, obstructive jaundice, and biliary pancreatitis. Regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms, endoscopic removal of CBDS is generally recommended, but endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a high-risk procedure with complications, such as post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP). As few reports have addressed the risk of PEP by focusing on asymptomatic CBDS, the purpose of this study is to examine the incidence of PEP for asymptomatic CBDS.
Methods: This retrospective study included data from 302 patients with naive papilla who underwent therapeutic ERCP for CBDS between January 2012 and December 2019 at our hospital. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to investigate independent risk factors for PEP.
Results: Of the 302 patients, 32 were asymptomatic, and the remaining 270 were symptomatic. Five asymptomatic patients (15.6%) suffered from mild PEP, whereas 10 (3.7%) symptomatic patients suffered from PEP (9 were mild, and 1 was severe). Univariate analysis identified deep cannulation time more than 10 min, endoscopic papillary balloon dilation (EPBD), and asymptomatic CBDS as risk factors for PEP, whereas multivariate analysis revealed deep cannulation time more than 10 min (odds ratio (OR), 6.67; p < 0.001), EPBD (HR, 5.70; p < 0.001), and asymptomatic CBDS (HR, 5.49; p < 0.001) as independent risk factors for PEP.
Conclusions: A wait-and-see approach may be an option for the management of asymptomatic CBDS. EPBD may be avoided, especially in case of asymptomatic or if difficult for bile duct cannulation.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on various aspects of the world. Each academic society has published a guide and/or guidelines on how to cope with COVID-19 separately. As the one and only nationwide association of academic societies that represent medical science in Japan, JMSF has decided to publish the expert opinion to help patients and care providers find specifically what they want.
This expert opinion is a summary of recommendations by many academic societies and will be updated when necessary. Patients that each academic society targets differ even though they suffer from the same COVID-19, and recommendations can be different in a context-dependent manner. Readers are supposed to be flexible and adjustable when they use this expert opinion.