February 2004, Volume 34 Number 2 , p 35 - 35 [FREE]




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    Some experts propose expanding screening of all newborns for more genetic metabolic disorders. Through new technology called tandem mass spectrometry, many genetic disorders can be detected from one blood sample. Research into the merits of this approach has revealed both advantages and drawbacks. On one hand, expanded screening helps health care providers identify conditions early, allowing children to get proper treatment and avoid serious complications, such as mental retardation. On the other hand, some tests have a high rate of false positives, which can disrupt families needlessly. In some cases, positive results may also lead to unnecessary treatment for a condition that would never cause a health problem.

    Researchers studied these groups:

    * 50 children who'd been diagnosed using expanded newborn testing

    * 33 who'd been diagnosed clinically

    * 94 screened children who had false-positive results

    * ...


The length of time that a patient spends on mechanical ventilation doesn't seem to affect the chances of successfully weaning him or the length of weaning time, according to surprising results of a new study. Researchers had expected to find a correlation between longer periods on a ventilator and weaning difficulty because of the atrophy of respiratory muscles during mechanical ventilation.


Researchers analyzed the length of time 155 patients who were considered weanable spent on prolonged ventilator support and the outcomes of weaning them. Length of time on ventilation didn't significantly differ between patients who were successfully weaned and those who weren't, nor did the length of time affect how long weaning took.


Based on these findings, researchers say that health care providers shouldn't consider the length of time a patient has been on mechanical ventilation when making decisions about weaning. They presented their findings at the annual assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians in Orlando, Fla., last fall.