eLetters

320 e-Letters

  • Rapid Response: Critical appraisal of the article - acute transient psychotic disorder precipitated by Brexit vote

    RE: Acute transient psychotic disorder precipitated by Brexit vote (1)

    Authors: Dr Sally Maryosh and Dr Madhavan Seshadri

    Author information

    Primary Author: Dr Sally Maryosh, Foundation Year 2 Trainee in Psychiatry, Herefordshire Mental Health and Learning Disability Services, Stonebow Unit, Hereford.

    Additional Author: Dr Madhavan Seshadri, Consultant Psychiatrist, Herefordshire Mental Health and Learning Disability Services, Stonebow Unit, Hereford.

    Dear Editorial Team,

    We read this article with great interest as Brexit has clearly created significant stress and impact on everyone’s life in the U.K. This article has also been widely quoted in major Newspapers including The Sun, The Guardian and The Independent creating an interesting debate by portraying a picture that Brexit could cause psychosis. Hence, we wanted to critically appraise this article using Sir Austin Bradford Hill’s Criteria (2).

    In 1965, Sir Austin Bradford Hill proposed a set of 9 criteria to provide evidence of a causal relationship between a presumed cause and an observed effect (2). Using his criteria we are able to examine epidemiological studies and factors to understand better how environmental factors relate to health and the advancement of disease.

    The development of psychotic disorders is multifactorial, the article itself identifies “that additional work and family related stresses may have contributed” to this patient’s ATPD (1). The...

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  • "Likely cause', How A Respiratory Therapist sees it.

    After a diagnoses of Lipid Pneumonia, there were no samples tested of the eliquid the patient inhaled. Glycerol, or glycerin is an alcohol and cannot cause lipid pneumonia. Although there 'likely' were other ingredients in her cartridge besides VG, without testing there is no way to make a definitive assumption as to the nature of the exogenous inhalant. We do not know the exact etiology without knowing where the EC cartridge was procured from, in what manner it was ingested, how it was processed, or exactly what was in it. With the patient's extensive pulmonary history, we do not know what, if any, other medical issues may have contributed to the final diagnosis. Do we know if the eliquid was accidentally aspirated, if there was a presence of Vitamin E, acetic acid, or even vegetable oil, which is not the same as vegetable glycerin.
    In response to this article, I would advise amending these findings to include that "without testing, we cannot conclude a single variable that caused this patient's lipoid pneumonia. More importantly, glycerol is an alcohol therefore could not cause a lipoid pneumonia. Although EC was determined to be the causation of this type of pneumonia, we do not know the exact contents of the liquid. To be noted, the patient did also show bilateral ground-glass opacities that may have contributed to her respiratory failure."

    ...

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  • Changes in the Last Five Years

    I read this article with interest and, as a final year medical student, I am writing to add my thoughts to this growing area of discussion and describe how, in my experience, the situation has changed since 2014, when I started medical school and this article was published.
    The authors of this article noted that talking openly about challenges people with mental health issues face could relieve negative effects of stigma and help change general attitudes. I believe we have made progress towards this over the past five years. During the first part of university, mental health awareness campaigns came from student unions, not the MedSoc or clinical school, and there was little specific emphasis on medical student welfare. Now, my clinical school consistently encourages its students to speak out if they are struggling and signposts professionals and services we can access if needed. Additionally, students and doctors are talking publicly about their struggles, such as the rise of blogs including the Depressed Medical Student, and research by the British Medical Association (BMA).
    The article does not explore how the institutionalised pressure of medicine contributes to or exacerbates mental health problems. A BMA report showed that 90% survey respondents attributed their condition to the working or studying environment (“BMA - Supporting the mental health of doctors and medical students,” n.d.). In my pre-clinical years at medical school, we were pushed for academ...

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  • The importance of adequate allergological studies in order to confirm the penicillin sensitization through seminal fluid

    The publication of a clinical case in the BMJ Case Report on March 8 [1], entitled "Anaphylaxis probably induced by transfer of amoxicillin via oral sex", has resulted in interest in social networks, local and national press, radio, and television, reporting with big headlines of such allergic reaction, but without contrasting the work assessing the scientific content and experimental support.

    The article reports the case of a woman with a history of allergy to penicillin in childhood who, after having sexual intercourse (vaginal and oral) with her partner, who was being treated for otitis media with amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and ibuprofen, presents dyspnea, vomiting, and urticaria. The patient had not ingested any unusual food. She was diagnosed with anaphylaxis probably induced by amoxicillin/clavulanic acid transfer in the seminal fluid of the couple through oral sex. This diagnosis was based solely on a skin reaction suffered in her childhood after taking amoxicillin (no description of how that diagnosis was made) and a probability algorithm [2]. No allergological investigation was conducted at the time of the reaction.

    Previous studies have shown that seminal fluid can serve as a route of transmission of ingested allergens, such as nut proteins [3], and drugs such as vinblastine [4], and penicillin [5]. The latter study was the only one in which intradermal tests with penicillin, with a positive result, and intra-epidermal tests with semen, w...

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  • Thinking outside the box is important, but carries some risk

    We read with interest the article by Bhandare and Ruchi (1). They diagnosed severe organic mercury (Hg) poisoning in a 69 year old man with known hypertension and diabetes who presented with a transient altered mental status. The diagnosis was based on a history of increased fish consumption and a blood Hg level of 35 ng/mL. Methylmercury (MeHg) is the form present in seafood, but there are multiple chemical forms of Hg and each has different health consequences. Everyone who consumes seafood is exposed to MeHg, but it is the dosage that is critical. The US EPA determined the MeHg reference dose (defined as “…a daily oral exposure …that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime”) to be 5.8 ng/mL in blood. That value was based on dividing the lowest observed adverse effect level of 58 ng/mL (a value reported from a large, controversial epidemiological study) by a safety factor of 10. Blood MeHg exposures of 35 ng/mL and higher are common, with no evidence of clinical symptoms. For example, residents of the Seychelles islands consume large amounts of marine fish, have documented blood MeHg exposures at or above 35 ng/mL, and are asymptomatic. A recent Seychelles study of 1,266 mothers reported that they ate fish with meals 8.5 ± 4.5 times per week while pregnant and had a mean blood Hg level of 18.2 ng/mL (2). The maximum blood Hg level in that study was 84.2 ng/mL and no mother reported clinical manifestations. The mean...

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  • Interesting Queries

    Dear Editors

    While I have not doubt there are incidents involving vascular migration of Implanon NXT, the presentation of this case study raises some interesting questions verging to concerns about the details:

    1. As stated by the authors, the device measures 4 cm long and 2 mm diameters. The suggested radioopaque foreign body shown in Figure 1 and 2 appears to be disproportionately long. These images suggest the skeletal frame involving torso of the woman is no wider than 25-30 cm (bone-wise) which meant this is an extra-ordinarily small woman.

    2. CT Chest reported ‘hyperdense image with 40 mm, compatible with Implanon in the anterior basal segment of the lower left lobe in intravascular topography'. Interestingly the authors stated that "Implanon was removed by video assisted thoracoscopic surgery without pulmonary resection. Surgical procedure and postoperative course had no complications. " As reader may be aware, video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) primarily involved the insertion of thoracoscopes into pleural cavities via small incision on the chest. It would have been helpful to know if the implanon device had been found in the pulmonary vasculature, lung tissue or actually in the pleural space itself. As reflected in the article's own reference (1) on an example of VATS retrieval, it is no simple matter.

    The lack of such details in the article raises more questions than answers

    Reference
    1. Th...

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  • Karl Otto Geier, MD, MSc, Acupuncturist.

    Dear authors. The location of the needle was interscapular, but it does not mention the exact site since the interscapular would be the spine. Anyway, I think pneumothorax must have been arrived from puncturing a pleural bubble. More, was "bounce" maneuver stimulation performed with the needle? This maneuver entails numerous punctures of the bubble, facilitating the pneumothorax.

  • Replay to “Prescribing lessons from an ocular chemical injury: Vitaros inadvertently dispensed instead of VitA-POS”

    Dear Editor,
    We read with interest the report in the present Journal of Edington M. et al [1] titled “Prescribing lessons from an ocular chemical injury: Vitaros inadvertently dispensed instead of VitA-POS”.
    Erectile disfunction drugs play a role increasing levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) with subsequent effects on nitric-oxide release. This condition can lead to acute angle-closure glaucoma (AACG) in case of anatomical predisposition. AACG is an ophthalmic emergency, it can lead to irreversible blindness if not identified and treated immediately and precipitating factors include certain drugs as nitrates, bronchodilators, cough mixtures, cold and flu medication, antidepressants, antihistamines and anticonvulsants [2]. Furthermore, a precedent case of AACG following sildenafil citrated therapy is also described [3].
    We would like underline that this situation could lead to more serious effects, that only the mild chemical ocular injury, in presence of ophthalmic structural diseases.

    References:
    1. Edington M, Connolly J, Lockington D. Prescribing lessons from an ocular chemical injury: Vitaros inadvertently dispensed instead of VitA-POS. BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Dec 3;11(1). doi: 10.1136/bcr-2018-227468.
    2. Murray D. Emergency management: angle-closure glaucoma. Community Eye Health. 2018;31(103):64.
    3. Ramasamy B, Rowe F, Nayak H, Peckar C, Noonan C. Acute angle-closure glaucoma following sildenafil citrate-aided sexua...

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  • Influenza-induced rhabdomyolysis

    Influenza-induced rhabdomyolysis by Martin Brunnstrom et al 1 has called my attention because they refer to the patient's story "A man aged 29 years with a past medical history of cerebral palsy, seizures and chronic constipation".
    The authors refer to "Other causes for rhabdomyolysis were investigated and excluded" and "A muscle biopsy ruling out an underlying metabolic myopathy or polymyositis to identify a risk factor for rhabdomyolysis was not obtained."
    My comments are related to cerebral palsy and seizures.
    Can these manifestations be warning signs of an underlying metabolic or mitochondrial disease?
    Then the rhabdomyolysis could be a manifestation, for example of a mitochondrial disease exacerbated by an infection.
    Cerebral palsy (CP) is defined by its nonprogressive features. Characterization of CP is traditionally based on the predominant quality of motor impairment (spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic-hypotonic or mixed, assessed on standard neurologic examination 2
    A number of neurodegenerative, including metabolic and genetic disorders may present with similar symptoms and signs. 3
    The presence of dyskinesia or spastic quadriplegic in clinical examination, in addition to abnormal findings in neuroimaging such as syrinx malformation, cerebellar hypoplasia, white matter paucity, and abnormal signal in basal ganglia may warrant further investigation for a disorder other than CP. As inborn errors...

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  • Importance of long term thyroid function monitoring in central congenital hypothyroidism secondary to maternal thyrotoxicosis

    We wish to share our clinical experience and support the importance of long term monitoring of thyroid function in patients with central congenital hypothyroidism caused by maternal thyrotoxicosis. This is a case series of three infants with prolonged hypothyroxinaemia unrelated to the initial management of neonatal Graves’ disease (NGD). In contrast to the minimal antenatal care reported in the case report. mothers of all infants in our case series had antenatal diagnosis of Graves’ disease with appropriate management and close follow up for signs of fetal hyperthyroidism. All infants were diagnosed with NGD within two weeks of birth with two infants being commenced on antithyroid medication for 2-4 weeks as they were symptomatic with NGD.

    With resolution of NGD, thyroid function tests were monitored with subsequent hypothyroxinaemia noted between 4-8 weeks of age. Having confirmed persistent hypothyroxinaemia, all infants were commenced on thyroxine (4-10mcg/kg/day) with regular follow up of their thyroid function tests.

    The development of hypothyroxinaemia after initial treatment of NGD is uncommon however has been described previously (1). In most cases, NGD remits by 3-12 weeks once maternal antibodies are cleared (2, 3). Early transient hypothyroxinaemia in infants of poorly controlled maternal Graves’ is well reported due to high circulating antibodies particularly in the third trimester (1, 4). Postulated mechanisms include suppression of the pituita...

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