Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 215-351-2656. Full content of the issue is available on the Internet at http://www.annals.org on November 21, 2000.
Health care personnel working in poorly ventilated general (not isolation) hospital rooms were at risk for sero-conversion (testing positive) for tuberculosis, a study found (Article, p. 779). These rooms had less than two air exchanges per hour. Other risk factors included the type and duration of work. Working in an isolation room did not increase the risk of sero-conversion. The workers did not develop active tuberculosis, but sero-conversion increases the likelihood of developing the disease. The researchers suggest that the study has implications for several aspects of hospital care: ventilation in general patient rooms should have at least two air exchanges per hour; all health care workers should routinely be tested for TB, and patients diagnosed with TB should immediately be placed in isolation rooms.
A program consisting of an educational videotape and brochure for patients on colon cancer screening, and a marker in the patient chart increased the rate of colon cancer screening when compared to a control program, a study found (Article, p. 761). Patients who saw the video were much more likely to ask for a colon cancer screening test and to complete the test than were a matched group of patients who saw a video on car safety. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.; appropriate screening can lead to treatment that prevents the cancer or cures early-stage cancers, yet only one-third of adult Americans have any colon cancer screening test.
(Academia and Clinic, p. 800.)