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עמוד בית
Wed, 29.05.24

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February 2021
Amir Mari MD, Tawfik Khoury MD, Mahamid Baker MD, Helal Said Ahmad MD, Fadi Abu Baker MD, and Mahmud Mahamid MD

Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is emerging as an important public health condition. The effect of Ramadan fasting on several metabolic conditions has been previously assessed.

Objectives: To assess the impact of Ramadan fasting on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) severity scores.

Methods: A retrospective, case control study was conducted in Nazareth Hospital between 2017 and 2019. We included NAFLD patients who had been diagnosed by abdominal ultrasonography. The study population was divided in two matched groups: NASH subjects who fasted all of Ramadan and NAFLD/NASH subjects who did not fast (control). Metabolic/NASH severity scores, homeostatic model assessment of β-cell function and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), NAFLD Fibrosis Score (NFS), BARD scores, and fibrosis-4 (FIB4) scores were assessed in both groups before and after the Ramadan month.

Results: The study included 155 NASH subjects, 74 who fasted and 81 who did not. Among the fasting group, body mass index decreased from 36.7 ± 7.1 to 34.5 ± 6.8 after fasting (P < 0.003), NFS declined from 0.45 ± 0.25 to 0.23 ± 0.21 (P < 0.005), BARD scores declined from 2.3 ± 0.98 to 1.6 ± 1.01 (P < 0.005), and FIB4 scores declined from 1.93 ± 0.76 to 1.34 ± 0.871 (P < 0.005). C-reactive protein decreased from 14.2 ± 7.1 to 7.18 ± 6.45 (P < 0.005). Moreover, HOMA-IR improved from 2.92 ± 1.22 to 2.15 ± 1.13 (P < 0.005).

Conclusions: Ramadan fasting improved on inflammatory markers, insulin sensitivity, and noninvasive measures for NASH severity assessment.

November 2020
Amir Mari MD, Tawfik Khoury MD, Mahmud Mahamid MD, Shorbaji Akram MD, Yael Kopelman MD, and Fadi Abu Baker MD

Background: While the routine performance of terminal ileum (TI) intubation during colonoscopy procedures is perceived to have a low yield, its utility during colonoscopies performed for specific indications have not been well studied.

Objectives: To assess the diagnostic yield of an indication-based ileoscopy in real-life practice.

Methods: The authors reviewed endoscopic reports of patients who underwent colonoscopies over an 8-year period (2011–2018) and had routine ileoscopy during these procedures. Demographic data, indications for colonoscopy, and endoscopic findings were documented. Diagnostic yield and odds ratio for TI findings were calculated.

Results: Over 30,000 colonoscopy reports performed during the study period were reviewed. Ilesocopy was performed in 1800 patients, 216 patients had findings in the TI (ileitis or ulcers). TI findings were more prevalent in younger ages (38.3 ± 17.6 vs. 43.6 ± 20, P < 0.05). The greatest yield of ileoscopy was evident when performed for the evaluation of chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea (14.4% vs. 9.3%, odds ratio [OR] 1.62, P < 0.05). Positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT) (OR 0.1, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.02–0.5, P = 0.005) and constipation (OR 0.44, 95%CI 0.2–0.9, P = 0.04) were negatively associated with TI findings.

Conclusions: Ileoscopy may have the greatest utility in evaluating suspected inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, but may not add value to the evaluation of constipation and positive FOBT

May 2020
Amir Mari MD, Mahmud Mahamid MD, Helal Said Ahmad MD, Ahmad Lubany MD, Sami Abu El Hija MD, Nadeem Shorbaji MD, Anas Kadah MD, George Daud MD, Fadi Abu Baker MD, Wisam Sbeit MD and Tawfik Khoury MD

Background: Bariatric surgery has become the most common and effective therapeutic option for obesity. However, it is associated with morbidity and complications. Identification of predictors for surgical complications is an unmet need.

Objectives: To determine a simple non-invasive parameter that predicts early postoperative complications following bariatric surgery.

Methods: In this retrospective study of all patients who underwent elective bariatric surgery at Nazareth Hospital EMMS during a 4-year period (2015–2018). We collected clinical and laboratory parameters and determined predictors of complications.

Results: A total of 345 patients underwent bariatric surgery during the study period. Of the patients, 51 experienced early post-bariatric surgery complications as compared to 294 patients who had no complications. Univariate analysis revealed that neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) (odds ratio [OR] 1.912, P < 0.0001) and platelet to lymphocyte ratio (OR 1.015, P < 0.0001) were associated with post-bariatric surgery complications. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, only NLR remained a significant predictor (OR 1.751, 95% confidence interval 1.264–2.425, P = 0.0008) with a receiver operating characteristic curve for NLR of 0.8404.

Conclusions: We found that the NLR predicts post bariatric surgery early complications. Further prospective studies are needed to validate our findings.

February 2020
Tawfik Khoury MD, Anas Kadah MD, Amir Mari MD, Wisam Sbeit MD, Ariel Drori MD and Mahmud Mahamid MD

Background: Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) may be associated with other autoimmune diseases. Autoantibodies are common in AIH suggesting their potential role in the pathogenesis of the disease. Among these autoantibodies, thyroid autoantibodies have been reported in patients with chronic hepatitis, with greater prevalence in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction among patients with AIH.

Methods: In this case-control, retrospective study, we examined patients diagnosed with AIH according to both the original and revised international AIH group scoring systems. Patients with other hepatic pathologies were excluded AIH was evaluated as an independent risk factor for thyroid disease by a logistic regression model. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted using hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism as the dependent variables.

Results: Our cohort comprised 163 patients diagnosed with AIH and 1104 healthy age- and gender-matched controls. Hypothyroidism was more prevalent among those with AIH compared to controls (17.7% vs. 5%, respectively, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.68–2.48, P <  0.001). Hyperthyroidism was more prevalent in AIH patients compared to controls (odds ratio 3.2% and 1.2%, respectively, 95%CI 1.68–2.47, P <  0.001). Using a multivariate logistic analysis, we found an independent association between AIH and hypothyroidism but not with hyperthyroidism.

Conclusions: Thyroid dysfunction is more prevalent in patients with AIH. Whether thyroid dysfunction is the cause or a risk factor for AIH, or vice versa, is still unclear. Screening for thyroid dysfunction is warranted after AIH is diagnosed.

Helal Said Ahmad MD, Mahmud Mahamid MD, Qusai Jawabreh RN, Tawfik Khoury MD and Amir Mari MD
September 2019
Amir Mari MD, Anas Kadah MD, Mahmud Mahamid MD, Wisam Sbeit MD and Tawfik Khoury MD

Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a rare disease that has been classified into two subtypes. Type 1 is believed to be mediated by immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) and type 2 is related to granulocytic epithelial lesions, but the pathogenetic mechanisms in both are still unknown. The patho-mechanism of AIP type 1 is suggested to be secondary to autoimmunity or allergy due to the increased serum IgG4 and immunoglobulin E levels, abundant infiltration of IgG4, plasmacytes and lymphocytes in the pancreas, and fibrosis. Both types of AIP respond to steroid treatment. The relapse rate after remission is high and reaches 30–50% within 6–12 months in AIP type 1; however, in AIP type 2 relapse is rare. The maintenance therapy and therapeutic strategy for relapsing patients with type 1 is managed with low dose steroids, however there are no consensus guidelines. In this review we discuss the current understanding of AIP, highlighting the emerging potential role of eotaxin in pathogenesis, classification, and management of the disease

May 2019
Mahmud Mahamid MD, Amir Mari MD, Tawfik Khoury MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Majeed Ghantous MD, Omar Abu-Elhija MD and Abdulla Watad MD

Background: The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori varies geographically by age, race, and socioeconomic status (SES). However, the impact of ethnicity on endoscopic outcomes in infected individuals is not well known.

Objectives: To assess the impact of ethnicity among Israelis with biopsy-proven H. pylori infection.

Methods: A retrospective study, including patients who underwent gastroscopy and were diagnosed histologically with H. pylori infection, was conducted. Information on demographics, SES, medications, and co-morbidities were extracted from medical records. Univariate (Student's t-test, chi-square test) and multivariate (multinomial and logistic) regression analysis were conducted to examine the predictors of the clinical outcome.

Results: The study included 100 Israeli Jews and 100 Israeli Arabs diagnosed with biopsy-proven H. pylori infection. At univariate analysis, the number of households was higher among Arabs (P < 0.001), whose family income and parental education were lower than among Jews (P < 0.001 for both variables). The response to amoxicillin and clarithromycin differed between the two groups, being higher among Jews (P < 0.001).In clinical outcomes (gastritis severity, gastric and duodenal ulcer, intestinal metaplasia, atrophic gastritis, and MALT), no statistically significant differences could be detected between Jews and Arabs. Concerning intestinal metaplasia, lack of consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs resulted a statistically significant protective factor (odds ratio 0.128, 95% confidence interval 0.024–0.685, P = 0.016).

Conclusions: Although in the literature ethnicity seems to be a risk factor for H. pylori colonization, no statistical significance was detected in various endoscopic and histological findings related to H. Pylori infection between Israeli Arabs and Jews.

May 2018
Ido Laish MD, Amir Mari MD, Batya Mannasse MSc, Ruth Hadary MD, Fred Meir Konikoff PhD, Aliza Amiel PhD and Yona Kitay-Cohen MD

Background: Shortened telomeres were found in patients with cirrhosis, probably reflecting chronic liver injury, continuous regeneration, and destruction of hepatic nodules.

Objectives: To test whether telomere shortening is a general marker of cirrhosis, independent of disease etiology.

Methods: We evaluated telomere length in patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (largely a late sequela of steatohepatitis) compared to patients with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B and C (HBV/HCV). We also evaluated telomere aggregates, a sensitive parameter of telomere dysfunction and genetic instability. We analyzed peripheral lymphocytes from 25 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, 15 patients with cirrhosis due to chronic viral hepatitis, and 20 age-matched controls. Telomere length was analyzed using quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Aggregate size was divided into three fusion groups of 2–5, 6–10, and 11–15 telomeres, relative to the size of a single telomere.

Results: Shorter telomere length was found in patients with cirrhosis from all three etiologies (mean 121.3 ± 24.1) compared to controls (mean 63.5 ± 23.5). In contrast, there was significantly more fusion of > 5 telomeres only in the HBV/HCV cirrhosis group compared to healthy controls (P = 0.023), but not in the cryptogenic cirrhosis group.

Conclusions: While shortened telomeres in peripheral lymphocytes are a general marker of liver cirrhosis, telomere aggregates may signify a more sensitive genetic instability parameter for the diverse, etiology-based malignant potential of cirrhosis. This finding is in agreement with the well-known higher tendency toward developing hepatocellular carcinoma with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis relative to steatohepatitis.

May 2017
Abdel-Rauf Zeina MD, Saif Abu-Mouch MD and Amir Mari MD
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