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September 2012 Archives

SnapHealth Helps Uninsured Patients

Physicians and hospitals overcharge uninsured self-pay patients 2.5 what they charge insurance companies, and until now there has been nothing that individual consumers can do to avoid this overbilling. There simply was no place for an individual to go where she can search for a doctor, shop for the specific medical service needed, compare physician training and prices, schedule an appointment and save money. A new company SnapHealth located in Houston, Texas is trying to change all of that.

Neonatal Sepsis Occurs With Normal CBC

Babies can develop Early Onset Sepsis (EOS) immediately after birth, yet Complete Blood Cell Count test results (CBC) can remain normal. Although certain abnormalities in CBC  were very specific for EOS, many babies had EOS with bacteremia and a normal CBC. A normal CBC cannot rule out EOS and clinical suspicion must be relied upon in order to start antibiotic treatment early and prevent serious injuries to the baby. Unfortunately, only 2,164 (1%) out of 166,092 babies with clinically suspected EOS actually had bacteria in the bloodstream, urine or cerebrospinal fluid. This study shows that doctors cannot rely on the CBC to diagnose babies with EOS, because a normal blood count does not rule it out. This means that a large number of babies still need to be treated empirically with antibiotics when there is suspicion of sepsis, even though most of them will not have bacteremia. A normal blood test is not a reason to withhold antibiotics if there are worrisome clinical signs.

Lacunar Stroke - Dual Therapy Not Helpful

Treatment of recent lacunar stroke with aspirin alone compared with aspirin and Plavix shows that aspirin is as effective as using both together. More importantly, aspirin alone caused fewer major hemorrhages and death. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine investigate treatment of patients who suffered acute lacunar strokes. These brain infarcts result from occlusion of one of the arteries that penetrate into the deep brain structures and can result in typical symptoms as well as ataxia (incoordinated muscular movements), dysarthria (difficulty saying words) and clumsiness of the hand especially when writing.

Central Line Infections Are Preventable

Central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) can be significantly reduced by using  basic infection prevention methods, as reported by Reuters Health Information service and in Critical Care Medicine. Central lines are used commonly to monitor and treat patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Approximately 120,000 CLABSIs occur each year in ICUs resulting in 31,000 deaths. Five (5) preventive measures reduced these infections by over 80%:

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