The usefulness of the Electronic Patient Visit Assessment (ePVA)Â© as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions in head and neck cancer
Background/UNASSIGNED:Patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) experience painful, debilitating symptoms and functional limitations that can interrupt cancer treatment, and decrease their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The Electronic Patient Visit Assessment (ePVA) for head and neck is a web-based mHealth patient-reported measure that asks questions about 21 categories of symptoms and functional limitations common to HNC. This article presents the development and usefulness of the ePVA as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for patient-reported symptoms and functional limitations in HNC. Methods/UNASSIGNED:Between January 2018 and August 2019, 75 participants were enrolled in a clinical usefulness study of the ePVA. Upon signing informed consent, participants completed the ePVA and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) general (C30) questionnaire v3.0 (scores range from 0 to 100 with 100 representing best HRQoL). Clinical usefulness of the ePVA was defined as demonstration of reliability, convergent validity with HRQoL, and acceptability of the ePVA (i.e., >70% of eligible participants complete the ePVA at two or more visits and >70% of ePVA reports are read by providers). Formal focus group discussions with the interdisciplinary team that cared for patients with HNC guided the development of the ePVA as a clinical support tool. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used throughout the study. Descriptive statistics consisting of means and frequencies, Pearson correlation coefficient, and Student's t-tests were calculated using SAS 9.4 and STATA. Results/UNASSIGNED:The participants were primarily male (71%), White (76%), diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancers (53%), and undergoing treatment for HNC (69%). Data analyses supported the reliability (alpha =0.85), convergent validity with HRQoL scores, and acceptability of the ePVA. Participants with the highest number of symptoms and functional limitations reported significantly worse HRQoL (sum of symptoms: r=-0.50, P<0.0001; sum of function limitations: r=-0.56, P<0.0001). Ninety-two percent of participants (59 of 64) who had follow-up visits within the 6-month study period completed the ePVA at two or more visits and providers read 89% (169 of 189) of automated ePVA reports. The use of the ePVA as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for symptoms and functional limitations reported by patients is described in a clinical exemplar. Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:This research indicates that the ePVA may be a useful mHealth tool as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for patient-reported symptoms and functional limitations in HNC. The study findings support future translational research to enhance the usefulness of the ePVA in real world settings for early interventions that decrease symptom burden and improve the QoL of patients with HNC.
The development, usability, and reliability of the Electronic Patient Visit Assessment (ePVA) for head and neck cancer
Background/UNASSIGNED:Annually, over 65,000 persons are diagnosed with head and neck cancer in the United States. During treatment, up to 50% of patients become severely symptomatic with pain, fatigue, mouth sores, and inability to eat. Long term complications are lymphedema, fibrosis, dysphagia, and musculoskeletal impairment. Patients' ability to perform daily activities and to interact socially may be impaired, resulting in poor quality of life. A pragmatic, clinically useful assessment is needed to ensure early detection and intervention for patients to report symptoms and functional limitations over time. We developed the Electronic Patient Visit Assessment (ePVA) that enables patients to report 42 symptoms related to head and neck cancer and 17 limitations of functional status. This manuscript reports (I) the development of the ePVA, (II) the content validity of the ePVA, and (III) the usability and reliability of the ePVA. Methods/UNASSIGNED:Usability was evaluated using the "Think Aloud" technique to guide the iterative process to refine the ePVA based on participants' evaluations. After signing the informed consent, 30 participants with head and neck cancer completed the ePVA using digital tablet devices while thinking aloud about ease of use. All patient conversations were recorded and professionally transcribed. Reliability of the ePVA symptom and functional limitation measures was estimated using the Kuder-Richardson test. Convergent validity of the ePVA was evaluated using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 global QoL/health scale. Transcribed qualitative data were analyzed using directed content analysis approach. Quantitative analyses consisted of descriptive statistics and correlation analyses. Results/UNASSIGNED:Among participants, 90% strongly agreed or agreed that the ePVA system was easy to use and 80% were very satisfied. Only minor usability problems were reported due to formatting and software "bugs". Reporting of usability problems decreased in frequency over the study period and no usability problems were reported by the last 3 participants who completed the ePVA. Based on participants' suggestions during the iterative process, refinement of the ePVA included increased touch sensitivity of the touch screen technology and customized error messages to improve ease of use. The ePVA also recorded patient reported symptoms (mouth symptoms: 93%, fibrosis: 60%, fatigue: 60%). The ePVA demonstrated acceptable reliability (alpha =0.82-0.85) and convergent validity (ePVA total number of reported symptoms and function limitations was negatively correlated with EORTC QLQ-C30 global QOL/health scale: r=-0.55038, P<0.01). Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:The ePVA was rigorously developed, accepted by patients with satisfaction, and demonstrated acceptable reliability and convergent validity. Future research will use data generated by the ePVA to determine the impact of symptom trajectories on functional status, treatment interruptions and terminations, and health resource use in head and neck cancer.
Tracheal replacement revisited: Use of a vascularized tracheal transplant in a porcine model
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVE:To determine if a long segment of trachea can be transplanted as a vascularized organ and to determine if a tracheal transplant is a potential surgical option for a long-segment circumferential tracheal defect. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:Animal model. METHODS:Four (two donors and two recipients) adult domestic Yorkshire swine were used. Two sets of transplants were performed from a donor to recipient pig. The transplant was placed heterotopically (not in continuity with the airway), and the recipient animals were monitored for 14 days to ensure the transplants were well vascularized. Immunosuppressive therapies included methylprednisolone, cyclosporine, and azathioprine. Gross as well as histological examination of multiple tissues types including mucosa, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels were performed postsacrifice on day 14. RESULTS:Recipient animal weights ranged from 40 to 42 kilograms. Both recipient pigs survived the full 14 days of study and exhibited normal activity and appetite. Ischemia time of transplanted grafts ranged from 63 to 72 minutes. Transplanted tracheas included a minimum of 15 cartilaginous rings and measured greater than 10 cm in length. Both grafts maintained a robust blood supply throughout the duration of study. CONCLUSIONS:The entire visceral compartment can be reliably transplanted, either as a single component (trachea) or as a chimeric flap with multiple components (trachea, esophagus, larynx, and pharynx). Further studies in the swine model should be considered to study the effects of transplanting the trachea orthotopically into the native airway. Further studies are needed into the reliability of this technique of transplantation in humans. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE/METHODS:NA Laryngoscope, 128:S1-S9, 2018.