The latest important research summarised

Short summaries of the latest health research presented in plain English to promote use of research by all members of society.


Inducing labour in older women having their first baby does not increase the chance of caesarean delivery

Planning to artificially start labour for older women, pregnant with their first child, in the 39th week of pregnancy does not affect the chance of having a caesarean delivery, according to a new trial funded by NIHR. Older women having a first baby have a higher risk of stillbirth and other complications than younger mothers ...


New generation anticoagulants may be safer than warfarin for people with chronic kidney disease

Newer generation anticoagulants appear to reduce the risk of bleeding compared with older anticoagulants like warfarin, when used to prevent clots in people who also have mild to moderate chronic kidney disease. This group of drugs, called direct oral anticoagulants, have been well researched in healthy people with atrial fibrillation or at risk of thromboembolism ...


Community pharmacies may be a useful place to deliver stop smoking services

This NIHR review provides evidence that ‘stop smoking’ interventions delivered at a community pharmacy, are effective and probably cost-effective for stopping smoking among adults, especially when compared to usual care without nicotine replacement. These interventions often include such things as behavioural support and nicotine replacement therapy and were most effective when both were delivered together. ...


No benefit from therapeutic cooling after a major heart attack

There is no evidence at present that therapeutic cooling after a major heart attack could prevent death or future heart attacks. Therapeutic cooling, also called therapeutic hypothermia, or targeted temperature management, involves artificially reducing the body temperature by a few degrees, here to under 35˚C. This approach is recommended in NICE guidance to help protect ...


Skin grafts may help heal diabetic foot ulcers and reduce amputations

Skin grafts and tissue replacement products can help heal diabetic foot ulcers in some cases, and may also slightly reduce the numbers of future amputations. Foot ulcers are common and can be hard to treat, but failure to heal them carries high risk for amputation and mortality. This review showed skin grafts or tissue replacement ...


Simple leg raise test may help in assessing patients’ fluid needs in intensive care

This review of 23 trials found a simple leg raise test helped predict whether patients were responsive to extra intravenous fluids in intensive care. Passive leg raising—using a hospital bed to tilt a patient’s straight legs up to a 45 degree angle—increases the amount of blood returning to their heart, similar to the effect of ...


Early oral feeding after stomach surgery is safe and reduces time spent in hospital

After upper gastrointestinal surgery, returning a patient to oral feeding on the day of the surgery, or the day after, is as safe as waiting for a few days. It also reduces the time the patient spends in hospital by about two days, potentially saving money. This systematic review and meta-analysis found no difference in ...


How often do patient safety incidents occur in primary care worldwide?

A review of research from around the world suggests that patient safety incidents in primary care are relatively frequent but most do not result in significant harm to patients. While patient safety in hospitals has been well researched, less is known in primary care. The World Health Organization funded this review. It found that diagnostic ...


Mesh repair rather than stitches reduces risk of recurrence of abdominal hernias in adults

Artificial mesh is often used to repair hernias in the abdominal wall, but evidence on how this compares with repair using stitches has been lacking. This review found evidence that mesh repair reduces risk of recurrence compared with stitches. There were some quality issues with the included trials, which mean that the impact on recurrence ...


Personal discharge plans may lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions

Personal discharge plans for medical patients are likely to result in slightly shorter hospital stays of less than a day and a lower risk of unplanned readmissions for many people, according to a systematic review published by the Cochrane Collaboration. The review looked at the effect of personal discharge plans for people leaving hospital to ...

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