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      Differences in Estimates of Post-Herpetic Neuralgia Between Medical Chart Review and Self-Report

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          Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a common herpes zoster (HZ) complication, where pain persists 90 days after the initial HZ diagnosis. Evaluating PHN risk is essential for determining the burden on patients and health-care systems, but research shows variable estimates. The extent to which these differences are related to the assessment method has not been examined. The purpose of this study is to compare the proportion of PHN among HZ patients measured by medical chart review and self-report surveys.


          PHN risk was assessed among a sample of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members with HZ. Chart reviews identified lingering pain 90–180 days post-HZ diagnosis and the Zoster Brief Pain Inventory was administered 90 days post-HZ diagnosis by telephone. Frequencies of PHN identified with each approach were cross-tabulated and stratified by sex, age group, and zoster vaccine live vaccination status.


          Chart review and self-report were largely concordant (n=875, 89.20%); however, chart review yielded lower PHN risk overall and for the stratified subgroups. PHN from self-report was substantially higher (6.30–8.33%) among patients who were male, ≥70 years, or unvaccinated. Among those who typically seek care more often (female, younger, vaccinated), the discrepancy between each method was notably lower (1.60–2.92%).


          Our findings suggest that chart review underestimates cases among those less likely to seek health care, including males, the elderly, and unvaccinated individuals. The agreement between the methods indicates that each can provide a reasonable approximation of PHN, but analyses should carefully control for health-care utilization.

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          Traveling towards disease: transportation barriers to health care access.

          Transportation barriers are often cited as barriers to healthcare access. Transportation barriers lead to rescheduled or missed appointments, delayed care, and missed or delayed medication use. These consequences may lead to poorer management of chronic illness and thus poorer health outcomes. However, the significance of these barriers is uncertain based on existing literature due to wide variability in both study populations and transportation barrier measures. The authors sought to synthesize the literature on the prevalence of transportation barriers to health care access. A systematic literature search of peer-reviewed studies on transportation barriers to healthcare access was performed. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) study addressed access barriers for ongoing primary care or chronic disease care; (2) study included assessment of transportation barriers; and (3) study was completed in the United States. In total, 61 studies were reviewed. Overall, the evidence supports that transportation barriers are an important barrier to healthcare access, particularly for those with lower incomes or the under/uninsured. Additional research needs to (1) clarify which aspects of transportation limit health care access (2) measure the impact of transportation barriers on clinically meaningful outcomes and (3) measure the impact of transportation barrier interventions and transportation policy changes.
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            The impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on quality-of-life

            Background The potentially serious nature of herpes zoster (HZ) and the long-term complication post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) are often underestimated. One in four people will contract herpes zoster in their lifetime, with this risk rising markedly after the age of 50 years, and affecting one in two in elderly individuals. Pain is the predominant symptom in all phases of HZ disease, being reported by up to 90% of patients. In the acute phase, pain is usually moderate or severe, with patients ranking HZ pain as more intense than post-surgical or labour pains. Up to 20% of patients with HZ develop PHN, which is moderate-to-severe chronic pain persisting for months or years after the acute phase. We review the available data on the effect of HZ and PHN on patients' quality-of-life. Discussion Findings show that HZ, and particularly PHN, have a major impact on patients' lives across all four health domains - physical, psychological, functional and social. There is a clear correlation between increasing severity of pain and greater interference with daily activities. Non-pain complications such as HZ ophthalmicus can increase the risk of permanent physical impairment. Some elderly individuals may experience a permanent loss of independence after an acute episode of HZ. Current challenges in the management of HZ and PHN are highlighted, including the difficulty in administering antiviral agents before pain becomes established and the limited efficacy of pain treatments in many patients. We discuss the clinical rationale for the HZ vaccine and evidence demonstrating that the vaccine reduces the burden of the disease. The Shingles Prevention Study, conducted among >38,000 people aged ≥60 years old, showed that the HZ vaccine significantly reduces the burden of illness and the incidence of both HZ and PHN. In the entire study population, zoster vaccination reduced the severity of interference of HZ and PHN with activities of daily living by two-thirds, as measured by two questionnaires specific to HZ. Summary A vaccination scheme may positively impact the incidence and course of HZ disease, thereby improving patients' quality-of-life.
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              Gender differences in utilization of preventive care services in the United States.

              The utilization of preventive care services in the United States remains low, despite health-care costs being as high as $2.3 trillion. While gender disparities have been known to exist for utilization of overall health-care services, the same issue has not been probed for preventive care utilization. A retrospective, cross-sectional study using the 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Preventive care services common to both genders were included (blood pressure checkup, cholesterol checkup, sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy, flu shot, and dental checkup). Guideline adherence was determined using clinically accepted guidelines such as Joint National Committee 7 and the American Cancer Society. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the population, and chi-square analysis was used to determine the within group differences between the two genders. A multivariate logistic regression was built to determine the likelihood of guideline adherence based on gender while adjusting for known demographic confounders such as age, race, and ethnicity. There were 33,066 MEPS respondents for 2008. Of these, 4,291 to 30,629 met the inclusion criteria depending on the specific preventive care service being analyzed. Men were found to have significantly lower odds of using blood pressure check (odds ratio [OR] 0.35, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.32-0.38), cholesterol check (OR 0.64, CI 0.60-0.69), dental check (OR 0.71, CI 0.68-0.75), and flu shots (OR 0.71, CI 0.67-0.76). While men had lower utilization for sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy, the difference was nonsignificant. Preventive care utilization was found to be higher in women than in men. The gender disparity issue needs to be explored in greater detail to understand these differences.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                13 July 2020
                : 13
                : 1757-1762
                [1 ]Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Department of Research and Evaluation , Pasadena, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hung Fu Tseng Tel +1 626 564-3451Fax +1 626 564-3409 Email hung-fu.x.tseng@kp.org
                © 2020 Tanenbaum et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Tables: 3, References: 23, Pages: 6
                Funded by: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health
                Award ID: 5R01AI089930
                This study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (grant number: 5R01AI089930).
                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                post-herpetic neuralgia, pain, herpes zoster


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