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Journal Chest: January news briefs

Pharmacotherapy for restless legs syndrome (RLS) may be ineffective or complicated by side effects. However, new research shows that pneumatic compression devices, which apply air pressure to the leg at regular intervals, may be an alternative therapy for RLS. Researchers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blinded trial of 35 patients with RLS. Patients wore either a therapeutic or subtherapeutic (sham) device prior to the usual onset of RLS symptoms for a minimum of 1 hour daily. Therapeutic compression devices significantly improved all measured variables compared with shams, including the RLS severity score and Johns Hopkins restless legs severity scale score. All quality of life domains also were improved, including daytime function, sleep quality, and emotional well-being. Researchers conclude that pneumatic compression devices may be an effective nonpharmacologic therapy for RLS. This study is published in the January issue of the journal CHEST.

Chronic disease has been associated with higher rates of depression; however, new research shows that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are nearly two times as likely to suffer from depression compared with patients with diabetes. Researchers from The Netherlands compared the health characteristics of 999 patients with COPD, 978 patients with diabetes, and 2,494 healthy control subjects. Results showed that patients with COPD were diagnosed almost twice as often with depression compared with diabetic patients and control subjects. Furthermore, the mean time to a first diagnosis of depression was 7.7 years for patients with COPD, 5.9 years for patients with diabetes, and 7.3 years for control subjects. Researchers speculate that the increased risk of depression is not the result of having a chronic disease in general but specific to COPD. This study is published in the January issue of the journal CHEST.

New research finds that the survival rate for critically ill patients with HIV continues to improve. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, conducted a retrospective study of 281 adults who were HIV-infected and admitted to the ICU during a 5-year study period, with a total of 311 admissions. During the study period, respiratory failure remained the most common indication for ICU admissions (42 percent overall); however, the proportion of patients with respiratory failure decreased each year from 52 percent to 34 percent. Hospital survival rates also increased during the study period. Administration of antiretroviral therapy (ART) at admission was not associated with survival, although ART was associated with predictors that were associated with survival. This study is published in the January issue of the journal CHEST.


Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

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