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A Machine Learning Approach to the Interpretation of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Tests: Development and Validation
Objective. At present, there is no consensus on the best strategy for interpreting the cardiopulmonary exercise test’s (CPET) results. This study is aimed at assessing the potential of using computer-aided algorithms to evaluate CPET data for identifying chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Methods. Data from 234 CPET files from the Pulmonary Institute, at Sheba Medical Center, and the Givat-Washington College, both in Israel, were selected for this study. The selected CPET files included patients with confirmed primary CHF (), COPD (), and healthy subjects (). Of the 234 CPETs, 150 (50 in each group) tests were used for the support vector machine (SVM) learning stage, and the remaining 84 tests were used for the model validation. The performance of the SVM interpretive module was assessed by comparing its interpretation output with the conventional clinical diagnosis using distribution analysis. Results. The disease classification results show that the overall predictive power of the proposed interpretive model ranged from 96% to 100%, indicating very high predictive power. Furthermore, the sensitivity, specificity, and overall precision of the proposed interpretive module were 99%, 99%, and 99%, respectively. Conclusions. The proposed new computer-aided CPET interpretive module was found to be highly sensitive and specific in classifying patients with CHF or COPD, or healthy. Comparable modules may well be applied to additional and larger populations (pathologies and exercise limitations), thereby making this tool powerful and clinically applicable.
Clinical and Radiological Presentations of Various Pulmonary Infections in Hospitalized Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Prospective, Hospital-Based, Comparative, Case Series Study
Background. Diabetes mellitus is associated with increased rate of respiratory tract infections. The objective was to compare demographic, clinical, serum biochemical, and typical and atypical radiological profiles among hospitalized diabetics and nondiabetics with lower respiratory tract infection. Material and Methods. A prospective, hospital-based, consecutive, comparative observational study of 12-month study duration was conducted. Patients aged 13–90 years diagnosed with lower respiratory tract infection with or without diagnosed diabetes mellitus participated in the study. Demographic, clinical, serum biochemistry, and radiological profiles of diabetics () and nondiabetics () were compared. Results. Diabetics were older than nondiabetics at presentation (). Difference in mean random blood sugar (RBS) (), fasting blood sugar (FBS) (), and postprandial blood sugar (PPBS) () was significant between diabetics and nondiabetics. Nondiabetics more frequently presented with fever (), chest pain (), and hemoptysis () as compared to diabetics. Diabetics more frequently presented with extreme temperatures (hypothermia or hyperpyrexia) (), lower serum sodium levels (), and lower partial arterial pressure () than nondiabetics. The mean pneumonia patient outcomes research team (PORT) risk score was higher in diabetics () compared to nondiabetics () (). Diabetics more commonly displayed bilateral lesions with multilobe or lower lobe involvement, the most common type of lesion being exudative. Conclusion. Diabetic patients usually had severe pulmonary infection and poor prognosis as suggested by higher mean PORT risk score. They also more frequently presented with bilateral lesions with multilobe or lower lobe involvement as evidenced by radiography as compared to nondiabetic patients.
The Role of ICS/LABA Fixed-Dose Combinations in the Treatment of Asthma and COPD: Bioequivalence of a Generic Fluticasone Propionate-Salmeterol Device
Both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are inflammatory chronic respiratory conditions with high rates of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The objectives of this review are to briefly describe the pathophysiology and epidemiology of asthma and COPD, discuss guideline recommendations for uncontrolled disease, and review a new generic option for the treatment of asthma and COPD. Although mild forms of these diseases may be controlled with as-needed pharmacotherapy, uncontrolled or persistent asthma and moderate or severe COPD uncontrolled by bronchodilators with elevated eosinophilia or frequent exacerbations may require intervention with combination therapy with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting beta agonists (LABAs), according to international guidelines. Fixed-dose combinations of ICS/LABA are commonly prescribed for both conditions, with fluticasone propionate (FP) and salmeterol forming a cornerstone of many treatment plans. An oral inhalation powder containing the combination of FP and salmeterol has been available as Advair Diskus® in the United States for almost 20 years, and the first and only substitutable generic version of this product has recently been approved for use: Wixela™ Inhub™. Bioequivalence of Wixela Inhub and Advair Diskus has been established. Furthermore, the Inhub inhaler was shown to be robust and easy to use, suggesting that Wixela Inhub may provide an alternative option to Advair Diskus for patients with asthma or COPD requiring intervention with an ICS/LABA.
Trainability of Health-Related and Motor Performance Fitness in Adults with Cystic Fibrosis within a 12-Month Partially Supervised Exercise Program
Background. Regular physical activity plays an important role in the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). This study is aimed at investigating the effects of a 12-month partially supervised exercise program on attributes of health-related and motor performance fitness, lung function (ppFEV1), BMI, and habitual physical activity (HPA, steps/day) in adults with CF. Methods. Attributes of health-related and motor performance fitness were examined at the beginning (T0), after 6 (T1), and 12 months (T2) on the basis of five test items: forward bend (FB), bent knee hip extension (HE), plank leg raise (PLR), standing long jump (SLJ), and standing on one leg (OLS). Additionally, we recorded HPA by accelerometry, peak exercise performance () by an incremental cycle test, ppFEV1, and BMI. During the first six months, there was close supervision by an experienced sport therapist. Results. 26 CF patients (8 female, mean age years; ppFEV1 ) completed the exercise program. Significant improvements were recorded from T0 to T1 (FB: ; PLR, OLS: ) and from T0 to T2 (FB, PLR: and HE, OLS: ). , ppFEV1, BMI, and HPA showed no significant improvement between the single test points and over the entire study period (all ). Conclusion. Our results show trainability of adults with CF in aspects of health-related and motor performance fitness during a partially supervised exercise program. Close supervision positively influences the results. Using a simple test setup seems to be a promising tool for evaluating the effects of exercise programs in CF and could serve as an additional outcome parameter in future clinical trials. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (retrospectively registered May 8, 2018).
Effectiveness of Clinical Decision Tools in Predicting Pulmonary Embolism
Objective. The Wells criteria and revised Geneva score are two commonly used clinical decision tools (CDTs) developed to assist physicians in determining when computed tomographic angiograms (CTAs) should be performed to evaluate the high index of suspicion for pulmonary embolism (PE). Studies have shown varied accuracy in these CDTs in identifying PE, and we sought to determine their accuracy within our patient population. Methods. Patients admitted to the Emergency Department (ED) who received a CTA for suspected PE from 2019 Jun 1 to 2019 Aug 31 were identified. Two CDTSs, the Wells criteria and revised Geneva score, were calculated based on data available prior to CTA and using the common D-Dimer cutoff of >500 μg/L. We determined the association between confirmed PE and CDT values and determined the association between the D-Dimer result and PE. Results. 392 CTAs were identified with 48 (12.1%) positive PE cases. The Wells criteria and revised Geneva score were significantly associated with PE but failed to identify 12.5% and 70.4% of positive PE cases, respectively. Within our cohort, a D-Dimer cutoff of >300 μg/L was significantly associated with PE and captured 95.2% of PE cases. Conclusions. Both CDTs were significantly associated with PE but failed to identify PE in a significant number of cases, particularly the revised Geneva score. Alternative D-Dimer cutoffs may provide better accuracy in identifying PE cases.
Prevalence of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in the Middle East and North Africa: A Systematic Review
Objective. Data on the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in Middle Eastern and North African countries are scarce. We aimed to review all relevant published data in countries belonging to this region to determine the overall prevalence of LTBI in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Methods. In this systematic review PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched for observational, prospective, retrospective, cross-sectional, and cohort studies providing prevalence data of LTBI in any MENA country. Studies fulfilling the search criteria were incorporated in the review. Overall prevalence of LTBI with 95% confidence intervals (CI) was calculated using the random-effects model; heterogeneity was assessed using statistics. Gender and age group-based subgroup analyses were performed to evaluate the basis of heterogeneity. Results. The total number of overall LTBI studies identified was 956, of which 31 studies from ten countries within the MENA region were included that represented 12,439 subjects. The overall prevalence was 41.78% (95% CI 31.18% to 52.78%, ). By gender-based subgroup analysis, the prevalence of LTBI was 33.12% (95% CI 18.97% to 49.04%, ) and 32.65% (95% CI 19.79% to 47%, ) in males and females, respectively, while in the age-based subgroup analysis, the prevalence of LTBI was 0.44% (95% CI -0.05% to 0.9%), 3.37% (95% CI 2.23% to 4.74%, ), and 43.81% (95% CI 33.09% to 54.82%, ) for children, adolescents, and adults, respectively. Conclusion. This systematic review reveals a high prevalence of LTBI in the MENA region; enhanced LTBI surveillance and prompt infection prevention steps are urgently needed to prevent active tuberculosis, this would help achieve the World Health Organization End TB Strategy 2035, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 target in the MENA region.