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Abstract

Background: Air pollution is a severe problem in Poland, with Kraków area being among the regions with the worse air quality. Viral croup or pseudocroup is a common childhood disease that may manifest with severe upper respiratory tract obstruction. Our aim was to evaluate the associations between incidence and severity of viral croup symptoms among children living in Kraków area, Poland, and air pollution. Methods: Th e retrospective cross-sectional study included Kraków area residents <18 years of age admitted to the Emergency Department of St. Louis Children Hospital in Kraków, Poland over 2-year period. Daily mean concentrations of air pollutants: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitric oxides (NOx), carbon oxide (CO), sulfur dioxide, ozone, and benzene were retrieved from public database of measurements performed at three local stations. Numbers of cases of viral croup per week were correlated with weekly mean concentrations of air pollutants. Mean air temperature was treated as a cofactor. Results: During the studied period, mean concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, and NOx exceeded the allowable levels (yearly means) specifi ed by Polish law regulations. Signifi cant positive correlations of moderate strength were observed between weekly mean concentrations of most air pollutants, especially PM10, PM2.5, CO and benzene, and numbers of cases of viral croup recorded per week, confi rmed in the analysis restricted to non-holiday period and to winter months only. Th e correlations between NOx, CO, benzene and croup prevalence were independent of temperature in non-holiday period. Conclusions: Our results support adverse impact of air pollution on children’s respiratory health.
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Abstract

Background: In early phase of acute pancreatitis (AP), systemic inflammatory response syndrome may lead to organ failure. The severe form of AP is associated with high mortality that may be prevented by timely diagnosis and treatment of the predicted severe cases. Serum interleukin 6 (IL-6) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) have been proposed as accurate early markers of severe AP. The aim of the study was to assess whether widely available blood count indexes: neutrophil to lymphocyte (NLR), lymphocyte to monocyte (LMR) and platelet to lymphocyte ratios correlate with IL-6 and uPAR and may be utilized to predict organ complications at the early phase of AP. Methods: The study included 95 adult patients with AP treated at the Surgical Ward Complex of Health Care Centers in Wadowice, Poland. Organ failure was diagnosed according to modified Marshall scoring system, as recommended by 2012 Atlanta classification. Blood samples for laboratory tests were collected on days 1, 2 and 3 following the onset of AP symptoms. Results: Patients with organ failure presented significantly lower LMR on day 1 and signifi cantly higher NLR on days 2 and 3. Strong positive correlations between NLR and IL-6 and moderate correlations between NLR and uPAR were observed throughout the study. Day 2 and 3 NLR values significantly predicted organ failure at the early phase of AP. Conclusions: Taking into account the wide availability of NLR, it may be considered as a surrogate of more expensive tests to help the early assessment of organ failure complicating AP.
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Abstract

B a c k g r o u n d: Parechovirus and enterovirus belong to a family of Picornaviridae, nonenveloped, small-sized RNA viruses, responsible for multiple human diseases. Recent introduction of molecular tests enabled the identifi cation of parechovirus and enterovirus infections. Our aim was a retrospective analysis of signs and symptoms associated with confirmed parechovirus or enterovirus infections among children treated in the Department of Neonatology, St. Louis Regional Children’s Hospital in Kraków, Poland. M e t h o d s: Based on laboratory records, we identified all cases of parecho- or enterovirus infections confirmed by identification of viral RNA in nasal swab or cerebrospinal fluid samples. Hospital records and laboratory tests results of selected patients were then analyzed, and selected data were summarized, with emphasis on clinical and laboratory findings at admission. R e s u l t s: We identified 11 cases of parechovirus and three of enterovirus infections. All cases were neonates admitted to hospital with fever and irritability. Except for leukopenia in 50% of patients, no significant abnormalities were noted in blood counts and serum biochemistry, including low C-reactive protein and procalcitonin. In nine cases, cerebrospinal fluid was collected, the fluid protein concentrations and cell counts were moderately increased. Final diagnosis was meningitis in 12 children, and other viral infections in two. C o n c l u s i o n s: Viral infection, including parecho- and enteroviruses, should be considered in the etiology of fever and meningitis in neonates. The available molecular tests allow for detection of viral genetic material even in a scant biological specimen collected from neonates.
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