Lege Artis Medicinae

[The Remedy for Physicians – About Béla Buda]

AUGUST 20, 2013

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2013;23(07-08)

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Lege Artis Medicinae

[Second game, 37th move and Fourth game 78th move]

VOKÓ Zoltán

[What has Go to do with making clinical decisions? One of the greatest intellectual challenges of bedside medicine is making decisions under uncertainty. Besides the psychological traps of traditionally intuitive and heuristic medical decision making, lack of information, scarce resources and characteristics of doctor-patient relationship contribute equally to this uncertainty. Formal, mathematical model based analysis of decisions used widely in developing clinical guidelines and in health technology assessment provides a good tool in theoretical terms to avoid pitfalls of intuitive decision making. Nevertheless it can be hardly used in individual situations and most physicians dislike it as well. This method, however, has its own limitations, especially while tailoring individual decisions, under inclusion of potential lack of input data used for calculations, or its large imprecision, and the low capability of the current mathematical models to represent the full complexity and variability of processes in complex systems. Nevertheless, clinical decision support systems can be helpful in the individual decision making of physicians if they are well integrated in the health information systems, and do not break down the physicians’ autonomy of making decisions. Classical decision support systems are knowledge based and rely on system of rules and problem specific algorithms. They are utilized widely from health administration to image processing. The current information revolution created the so-called artificial intelligence by machine learning methods, i.e. machines can learn indeed. This new generation of artificial intelligence is not based on particular system of rules but on neuronal networks teaching themselves by huge databases and general learning algorithms. This type of artificial intelligence outperforms humans already in certain fields like chess, Go, or aerial combat. Its development is full of challenges and threats, while it presents a technological breakthrough, which cannot be stopped and will transform our world. Its development and application has already started also in the healthcare. Health professionals must participate in this development to steer it into the right direction. Lee Sedol, 18-times Go world champion retired three years after his historical defeat from AlphaGo artificial intelligence, be­cause “Even if I become the No. 1, there is an entity that cannot be defeated”. It is our great luck that we do not need to compete or defeat it, we must ensure instead that it would be safe and trustworthy, and in collaboration with humans this entity would make healthcare more effective and efficient. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The importance of patient reported outcome measures in Pompe disease]

MOLNÁR Mária Judit, MOLNÁR Viktor, LÁSZLÓ Izabella, SZEGEDI Márta, VÁRHEGYI Vera, GROSZ Zoltán

[In recent decades it has become increasingly important to involve patients in their diagnostic and treatment process to improve treatment outcomes and optimize compliance. By their involvement, patients can become active participants in therapeutic developments and their observations can be utilized in determining the unmet needs and priorities in clinical research. This is especially true in rare diseases such as Pompe disease. Pompe disease is a genetically determined lysosomal storage disease featuring severe limb-girdle and axial muscle weakness accompanied with respiratory insufficiency, in which enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) now has been available for 15 years. In our present study, patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) for individuals affected with Pompe disease were developed which included questionnaires assessing general quality of life (EuroQoL, EQ-5D, SF36), daily activities and motor performance (Fatigue Severity Score, R-PAct-Scale, Rotterdam and Bartel disability scale). Data were collected for three subsequent years. The PROM questionnaires were a good complement to the physician-recorded condition assessment, and on certain aspects only PROMs provided information (e.g. fatigue in excess of patients’ objective muscle weakness; deteriorating social activities despite stagnant physical abilities; significant individual differences in certain domains). The psychological effects of disease burden were also reflected in PROMs. In addition to medical examination and certain endpoints monitored by physicians, patient perspectives need to be taken into account when assessing the effectiveness of new, innovative treatments. With involvement of patients, information can be obtained that might remain uncovered during regular medical visits, although it is essential in determining the directions and priorities of clinical research. For all orphan medicines we emphasize to include patients in a compulsory manner to obtain general and disease-specific multidimensional outcome measures and use them as a quality indicator to monitor treatment effectiveness.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Advanced Parkinson’s disease characteristics in clinical practice: Results from the OBSERVE-PD study and sub-analysis of the Hungarian data]

TAKÁTS Annamária, ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, VÉCSEI László, KLIVÉNYI Péter, DÉZSI Lívia, ZÁDORI Dénes, VALIKOVICS Attila, VARANNAI Lajos, ONUK Koray, KINCZEL Beatrix, KOVÁCS Norbert

[The majority of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease are treated at specialized movement disorder centers. Currently, there is no clear consensus on how to define the stages of Parkinson’s disease; the proportion of Parkinson’s patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, the referral process, and the clinical features used to characterize advanced Parkinson’s disease are not well delineated. The primary objective of this observational study was to evaluate the proportion of Parkinson’s patients identified as advanced patients according to physician’s judgment in all participating movement disorder centers across the study. Here we evaluate the Hungarian subset of the participating patients. The study was conducted in a cross-sectional, non-interventional, multi-country, multi-center format in 18 countries. Data were collected during a single patient visit. Current Parkinson’s disease status was assessed with Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) parts II, III, IV, and V (modified Hoehn and Yahr staging). Non-motor symptoms were assessed using the PD Non-motor Symptoms Scale (NMSS); quality of life was assessed with the PD 8-item Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (PDQ-8). Parkinson’s disease was classified as advanced versus non-advanced based on physician assessment and on questions developed by the Delphi method. Overall, 2627 patients with Parkinson’s disease from 126 sites were documented. In Hungary, 100 patients with Parkinson’s disease were documented in four movement disorder centers, and, according to the physician assessment, 50% of these patients had advanced Parkinson’s disease. Their mean scores showed significantly higher impairment in those with, versus without advanced Parkinson’s disease: UPDRS II (14.1 vs. 9.2), UPDRS IV Q32 (1.1 vs. 0.0) and Q39 (1.1 vs. 0.5), UPDRS V (2.8 vs. 2.0) and PDQ-8 (29.1 vs. 18.9). Physicians in Hungarian movement disorder centers assessed that half of the Parkinson’s patients had advanced disease, with worse motor and non-motor symptom severity and worse QoL than those without advanced Parkinson’s disease. Despite being classified as eligible for invasive/device-aided treatment, that treatment had not been initiated in 25% of these patients.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Hypertension, COPD and COVID-19. Focus on antihypertensive therapy]

FARSANG Csaba

[Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a very common comorbidity of hypertension and it is often unrecognised by physicians. The factors involved in the pathomechanism of both diseases should be realised when choosing treatment. Among factors, hypoxia, increased tone of sympathetic nervous system and activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system should primarily be considered. Vascular wall damage and endothelial dysfunction has an important role in both conditions. The goals of treatment are elimination of risk factors, optimizing the blood pressure, the consequential prevention of cardio-cerebrovascular, renal and pulmonary damage; finally prolonging the patients’ life and improving their quality of life as well. Both hypertension and COPD significantly worsen the condition of COVID-19 patients since they increase the severity of the disease and the rate of in-patients’ and their mortality. In the treatment of hypertension among COPD and COVID-19 patients there must be emphasized the medication inhibiting of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, such as angiotensin-converting en­zyme inhibitors or angiotensin-II AT1 re­cep­tor antagonists. Special attention concerned the beneficial effect of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist spironolactone. Other antihypertensive drugs (calcium channel blockers, thiazide-like diu­retics, high selectivity β1 receptor antagonists) may supplement the treatment if necessary. Long-acting β2 receptor agonists, muscarinic receptor antagonists and inhalation corticosteroids may be administered in double or triple combination also in hypertension and COPD as well. It is important to note, that statin therapy and also vitamin D3 improve the condition of COVID-19 patients.]

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[Lipid lowering therapy during COVID-19 pandemic]

MÁRK László

[The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to all healthcare systems of the world as created a new situations above the large number of people infected, solutions of which were lacking any previous patterns. Former experiences were specifically needed among physicians who practised usually with therapies supported by evidence based clinical experiences thus they were working along the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine. The new observations and recommendations for treating infected patients increased gradually, however they were not always well-founded by the general urgency. In this situation, physicians faced often problems of the patient’s former medications since they had to focus on the therapy of the prevalent life-threatening condition. In such cases, therapy as lipid lowering, which is inherently inimically and lightly taken, may be omitted even more often. Basic drugs of lipid lowering are statins. They are used to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular events, but they have also been described as having beneficial effect on the new viral infection. In this effect, the statins beyond the well-known anti-inflammatory impact and increasing the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 further mechanisms can take part as well. These may include among others the promoted breakdown of lipid rafts, which directly inhibits the entry of coronavirus into the cell through the S protein by decreasing the level of cholesterol required for this proceeding. In a group of more than 1200 statin treated and SARS-COV-2 infected patients the overall mortality rate by the 28th day was 48% lower than among the non-statin-users. According to a meta-analysis of nearly nine thousand COVID-19-infected statin users, they had 30% lower mortality rate or serious complications. Up to date observational studies suggest that statin therapy and the administration of other lipid lowering drugs should be continued or initiated according to the guidelines also during the COVID-19 infection.]