METHODS: It is timely at this juncture - as clinicians and researchers begin to grapple with the "invasion" of digital technologies - to review the strengths and weaknesses of these outcome measures.
RESULTS: This paper discusses advances (including an enhanced understanding of PD itself, and the development of clinimetrics as a field) that have led to improvements in the COMs used in PD; their strengths and limitations; and factors to consider when selecting and using a measuring instrument.
CONCLUSIONS: It is envisaged that in the future, a combination of COMs and technology-based objective measures will be utilized, with different methods having their own strengths and weaknesses. Judgement is required on the part of the clinician and researcher in terms of which instrument(s) are appropriate to use, depending on the particular clinical or research setting or question.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with ALL were treated with either the HKSGALL93 or the Malaysia-Singapore (Ma-Spore) 2003 chemotherapy protocols. The records of 197 patients who completed the intensive phase of treatment, defined as the period of treatment from induction, central nervous system (CNS)-directed therapy to reinduction from June 2000 to January 2010 were retrospectively reviewed.
RESULTS: There were a total of 587 episodes of febrile neutropaenia in 197 patients, translating to an overall rate of 2.98 episodes per patient. A causative pathogen was isolated in 22.7% of episodes. An equal proportion of Gram-positive bacteria (36.4%) and Gram-negative bacteria (36.4%) were most frequently isolated followed by viral pathogens (17.4%), fungal pathogens (8.4%) and other bacteria (1.2%). Fungal organisms accounted for a higher proportion of clinically severe episodes of febrile neutropaenia requiring admission to the high-dependency or intensive care unit (23.1%). The overall mortality rate from all episodes was 1.5%.
CONCLUSION: Febrile neutropaenia continues to be of concern in ALL patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy. The majority of episodes will not have an identifiable causative organism. Gram-positive bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria were the most common causative pathogens identified. With appropriate antimicrobial therapy and supportive management, the overall risk of mortality from febrile neutropaenia is extremely low.