Publications by authors named "Arjun Kundra"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Does Point-of-Care Ultrasound Change the Needle Insertion Location During Routine Bedside Paracentesis?

J Gen Intern Med 2021 Aug 3. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Department of Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.

Background: Paracentesis is a bedside procedure to obtain ascitic fluid from the peritoneum. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) improves the safety of some medical procedures. However, the evidence supporting its utility in paracentesis is limited.

Objective: We aimed to assess if POCUS would yield a user-preferred site for needle insertion compared to conventional landmarking, defined as a ≥ 5 cm change in location.

Design: This was a prospective non-randomized trial comparing a POCUS-guided site to the conventional anatomic site in the same patient.

Participants: Adult patients at Kingston Health Sciences Centre undergoing paracentesis were included.

Interventions: Physicians landmarked using conventional technique and compared this to a POCUS-guided site. The paracentesis was performed at whatever site was deemed optimal, if safe to do so.

Main Measures: Data collected included the distance from the two sites, depth of fluid pockets, and anatomic considerations.

Key Results: Forty-five procedures were performed among 30 patients and by 24 physicians, who were primarily in their PGY 1 and 2 years of training (33% and 31% respectively). Patients' ascites was mostly due to cirrhosis (84%) predominantly due to alcohol (47%) and NAFLD (34%). Users preferred the POCUS-guided site which resulted in a change in needle insertion ≥ 5 cm from the conventional anatomic site in 69% of cases. The average depth of fluid was greater at the POCUS site vs. the anatomic site (5.4±2.8 cm vs. 3.0±2.5 cm, p < 0.005). POCUS deflected the needle insertion site superiorly and laterally to the anatomic site. The POCUS site was chosen (1) to avoid adjacent organs, (2) to optimize the fluid pocket, and (3) due to abdominal wall considerations, such as pannus. Six cases landmarked anatomically were aborted when POCUS revealed inadequate ascites.

Conclusions: POCUS changes the needle insertion site from the conventional anatomic site for most procedures, due to optimizing the fluid pocket and safety concerns, and helped avoid cases where an unsafe volume of ascites was present.
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August 2021

Nonesterified Fatty Acids and Depression in Cancer Patients and Caregivers.

Curr Dev Nutr 2020 Nov 13;4(11):nzaa156. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Canada.

Background: Nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) are known to have inflammatory effects. The inflammatory hypothesis of depression suggests that omega-3 (ω-3) and omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids might be negatively and positively correlated with depression, respectively.

Objective: An exploratory study was conducted to determine the association between dietary free fatty acids and depressive symptoms in cancer patients and caregivers.

Methods: Associations between depression and the NEFA pool were investigated in 56 cancer patients and 23 caregivers using a combination of nonparametric tests and regularized regression. Plasma NEFAs were measured using thin layer and gas chromatography with flame ionization detection. Depression was characterized both as a continuous severity score using the GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (GRID Ham-D), and as a categorical diagnosis of major depression by structured clinical interview.

Results: Initial hypotheses regarding the relation between depression and omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids were not well supported. However, elaidic acid, a -unsaturated fatty acid found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, was found to be negatively correlated with continuous depression scores in cancer patients. No significant associations were found in caregivers.

Conclusions: An unexpected negative association between elaidic acid and depression was identified, supporting recent literature on the role of G protein-coupled receptors in depression. Further research is needed to confirm this result and to evaluate the potential role of G protein agonists as therapeutic agents for depression in cancer patients.
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November 2020

A pilot study examining Toronto-area family physician perspectives on thyroid neoplasm evaluation.

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2019 May 30;48(1):24. Epub 2019 May 30.

Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: The incidence of thyroid cancer (TC) is known to be very high in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada. We performed a pilot survey study examining Toronto-area family physician (FP) perspectives on thyroid neoplasm evaluation (i.e. thyroid nodules [TNs] or thyroid cancer [TC]) in this region, to explore for potential factors leading to overdiagnosis.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional mail-out written survey of a random sample of 300 FPs in active practice in the Greater Toronto Area (Markham and Brampton).

Results: The overall response rate was 22.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 18.0, 27.4% (67/300); the effective response rate was 19.9, 95% CI 15.7, 24.9% (58/291), after excluding 6 FPs that reported TN evaluation was outside their scope of practice and three FPs with an invalid mailing address. There were no missing responses to questions. The demographic characteristics were as follows: 58.6% (34/58) from Markham, 55.2% (32/58) were female, 58.6% (34/58) were in practice > 10 years, and 32.8% (19/58) affiliated with a University. All FPs reported easy access to thyroid ultrasound (TUS). About half of FPs were concerned about overdiagnosis of TC and most did not believe that there was any TC survival advantage with routine screening TUS. Although appropriate indications for TUS were endorsed by most respondents (e.g. palpable TN, incidental TN on other imaging), inappropriate recommendations were observed in a third of FPs (19/57) who recommended TUS for abnormal thyroid blood tests about half of FPs (30/56) who endorsed biopsy of sub-centimeter nodules. About half of FPs (31/58) reported that their patients sometimes request medically unnecessary TUS.

Conclusion: There are likely multiple complex factors leading to potential overdiagnosis of TC in primary care, including some physicians' knowledge gaps about appropriate indications for TN investigations as well as patients' requests and expectations.
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May 2019

Age-related cytokine effects on cancer-related fatigue and quality of life in acute myeloid leukemia.

J Geriatr Oncol 2020 04 10;11(3):402-409. Epub 2019 May 10.

Department of Psychiatry, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.

Objectives: We determined whether cytokines are a potential target to improve cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and quality of life (QOL) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Methods: 219 patients age 18+ undergoing intensive chemotherapy for AML were assessed at up to 4 time points (pre-treatment, 1 month, 6 months, 12 months). CRF and QOL were assessed with validated patient-reported outcome measures with minimum clinically important differences (MCID) of 4 and 10 points, respectively. A panel of 31 plasma cytokines was measured. CRF and QOL were regressed against scaled cytokine values, adjusting for age, gender, time, remission status, and hemoglobin in linear models.

Results: 498 cytokine samples were available. For CRF, the model R was 25.3%, with cytokines explaining 6.9% of the variance. For QOL, corresponding values were 27.9% and 7.4%, respectively. A shift from the 30th to 70th centile distribution of all cytokines was associated with an improvement in CRF by 5.2 points and a 10.2-point improvement in QOL. A shift from 5th to 95th centile in TNF-α but no other single cytokine was associated with a change of >MCID in CRF, but there was no similar association with QOL. Cytokines had greater explanatory power for CRF in older versus younger adults and the most influential cytokines differed by age, particularly TNF-α.

Conclusion: Cytokines explain a relatively small amount of CRF and QOL scores in patients with AML and effects differ by age group. For cytokine-targeted therapies to improve either outcome, multiple cytokines may need to be substantially altered and therapeutic targets may vary with age.
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April 2020