Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 30 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1210

Thoracic epidural analgesia speeds up recovery of bowel function after conventional abdominal surgery and should in theory have the same effect after laparoscopic bowel operations. A small trial in British Journal of Surgery (1999;86:1292-5) failed to show any advantage, although with a sample size of only 20 and no power calculation the researchers could have missed a moderate effect.

Snoring is bad enough for civilians but in soldiers it can be a risk to national security (Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1999;145:137-9). A review of treatment in members of the armed forces warns that snoring soldiers who sleep badly and feel drowsy during the day are a danger to themselves and a nuisance to others and may be a risk to important field surveillance work. Servicemen who don't respond to weight loss and other conservative measures should be referred for surgery, the review concludes.

Rate responsive pacemakers fitted with motion sensors can respond inappropriately to the vibrations of an aircraft, although the newer accelerometer motion sensors don't seem to do this when tested in single engine, fixed wing planes (Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 1999;70:892-6). Two pacemakers (not people) taken up in a light aircraft performed well throughout the test flights, except for a 15% increase in pacing rate during severe turbulence. Minerva's heart rate also …

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