Evidence

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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.

Alert

Routine measurement of grip strength can help assess frailty in hospital

Training clinical staff to routinely measure grip strength can help identify frail older hospital inpatients. This could help tailor their care. This NIHR-funded study was conducted across five acute medical wards in one hospital in England over a nine-month period. Nursing staff were trained to measure grip strength of people aged over 80 years. They ...

Alert

Two antiplatelet drugs may prevent further strokes but increase major bleeds

People experiencing a minor stroke or a transient ischaemic attack have a lower risk of further stroke within 90 days if given clopidogrel and aspirin, rather than aspirin alone. However, taking both drugs doubles the risk of bleeding over the same period. Current UK guidelines recommend using clopidogrel alone. In this major international trial of ...

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Ethanol locks in catheters for dialysis may prevent sepsis

In patients with tunnelled central venous catheters used for dialysis, ethanol locks may reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections when compared with other locks, mainly saline. There was no increase in the risk of catheter blockage with ethanol locks in this study. Long-term catheters carry a risk of bloodstream infection. ‘Locks’ are the small amount of fluid ...

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Women rate quality and safety of birth experience as important

Most healthy women would like a natural birth if possible, but acknowledge the unpredictability and risks of childbirth. They also appreciate the supportive care environment where healthcare providers are competent, kind and respectful to them, their partners and their baby. In a large review of studies with over 1,800 women’s views on what matters in ...

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High-flow oxygen therapy may have a role in treating infants with more severe bronchiolitis

A randomised controlled trial of 1,472 infants with bronchiolitis found that more children improved when started on high-flow oxygen therapy than with standard oxygen therapy. Those who failed to improve on standard therapy were switched to high flow oxygen. Most then improved - overall, similar numbers were transferred to intensive care. There was also no ...

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General hospital care for children with learning disabilities has scope for improvement

Less than half of NHS staff surveyed said they were routinely informed that a child has learning disabilities through a dedicated flagging system on admission. Many general hospital staff lack confidence and organisational support in providing care for children and young people with learning disabilities. In an NIHR national hospital staff-awareness survey, staff were uncertain ...

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Fewer wound hernias occur if mesh is used to reinforce abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery

Mesh reinforcement may result in patients developing fewer hernias at the incision site after aortic aneurysm surgery. This type of hernia is a common complication of midline (vertical) incisions and can cause pain and restrict everyday activities. Although using mesh was linked with fewer incisional hernias, this systematic review could not determine with any certainty ...

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Reminders help GPs to find and manage inherited cholesterol disorders

GPs and practice nurses assess more adults with inherited raised cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolaemia) when prompted by reminders. More patients have repeat cholesterol tests and assessments for heart disease, in line with NICE guidelines. This NIHR-funded study used electronic health records from six GP practices to identify patients with total cholesterol greater than 7.5mmol/l. Reminder messages ...

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People take prescribed statins more reliably after discussing their advantages and disadvantages

Patients want to know more about how statins work, the reasons for prescribing them and their possible side effects. Statins lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of recurrent stroke or heart attack. They also help prevent cardiovascular disease developing in people at high risk. At a population, level statins reduce the overall incidence of cardiovascular ...

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Inducing labour at or after 41 weeks reduces risks to infants

Inducing labour after the due date slightly lowers the risk of stillbirth or infant death soon after birth compared with watchful waiting. But the overall risk is very low. Induced deliveries may reduce admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit. Pregnant women having induced labour are less likely to have a caesarean section than those ...

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