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February 2023
Aviv Barzilai MD MSc, Hila Greenbaum MD MPH, Monica Huszar MD, Sergei Ikher MD, Avner Shemer MD, Sharon Baum MD

Background: Diagnosis of onychomycosis is based on potassium hydroxide (KOH), direct smear, culture, and polymerase chain reaction. Nail clippings are rarely used as a diagnostic tool.

Objectives: To evaluate nail clippings for the diagnosis of onychomycosis and to compare it to KOH smears.

Methods: Nail clipping specimens of 39 patients were collected: 34 with onychomycosis proved by positive culture and 5 from normal nails. The specimens were submitted to histological processing and then stained with periodic acid–Schiff (PAS) and Grocott-Gomori's methenamine silver (GMS) stains. For each nail, KOH smear was also performed. Two pathologists who had no information on the KOH smear and the culture results evaluated the nail clipping histology for the presence of fungal element. Their assessment was compared to the KOH smear and culture results.

Results: Of the 34 specimens that had positive culture, 25 were dermatophytes, 5 were molds, and 4 were candida. Clipping specimens were positive in 30 cases (88%): 23/25 dermatophyte, 4/5 molds, and 3/4 candida. Pathologists were able to classify the pathogens into dermatophytes and non-dermatophytes based on the morphology. PAS stain results were the same as GMS in evaluation of the nail specimen. KOH smear was positive in 29 nails (85%): 20/25 dermatophytes, all 5 molds, and 4 candida. In all five nails where the culture was negative, both clipping and KOH smear did not show fungal elements.

Conclusion: Nail clippings can serve as a rapid, inexpensive, and reliable method for evaluation of onychomycosis, comparable to KOH smear, with the advantage of pathogen group identification.

December 2022
Felix Pavlotsky MD, Arik Alkhazov BMED Sc, Aviv Barzilai MD, Alon Scope MD

Background: The adherence to a narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) treatment plan is derived, in large part, from the patient’s skin tolerance to the phototherapy dose. At present, the initial and first-month incremental phototherapy doses are determined prior to treatment initiation based on the patient's Fitzpatrick skin phototyping.

Objectives: To identify variables that predict adherence to NB-UVB first-month treatment dosage plan.

Methods: Charts of 1000 consecutive patients receiving NB-UVB at a hospital-based phototherapy unit were retrospectively analyzed. We included patients receiving NB-UVB for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, and mycosis fungoides. The first-month NB-UVB treatment plan was determined based on the patient's Fitzpatrick phototype. Adherence to treatment was defined as receiving at least 80% of the planned first-month cumulative dose. We compared adherent vs. non-adherent patient groups for age, sex, Fitzpatrick phototype, presence of freckles, nevus count category, and type of dermatological disease.

Results: The study included 817 eligible patients, mean age 40 (2–95) years; 54% men; 32% had Fitzpatrick phototype I-II. Distribution by diagnosis was atopic dermatitis (29%), psoriasis (27%), vitiligo (23%), and mycosis fungoides (21%). Adherence to NB-UVB treatment plan was observed in 71% of patients. Adherence decreased with age, with 7% decrease per year (P = 0.03) and was higher among mycosis fungoides patients (77.3%) compared to all other diagnoses (69.8%; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Adherence to NB-UVB treatment may be related to age and diagnosis. Fitzpatrick phototype-based first-month treatment plans should be modified accordingly.

September 2019
Hana Feuerman MD, Igor Snast MD, Iris Amitay-Laish MD, Osnat Bairey MD, Aviv Barzilai MD, Maora Feinmesser MD, Daniel Mimouni MD, Einat Even-Sapir MD and Emmilia Hodak MD

Background: Whole-body integrated positron emission tomography / contrast-enhanced computed tomography (PET/CT) scan is increasingly used in cutaneous lymphomas. However, the value of PET/CT in the detection of cutaneous lesions in primary cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (PCBCL) has barely been investigated.

Objectives: To investigate the diagnostic accuracy of PET/CT in tracking cutaneous involvement in PCBCL.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on 35 consecutive patients diagnosed with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma according to the World Health Organization classification who were evaluated with PET/CT as the initial staging procedure before treatment.

Results: Thirty-five patients met the study criteria. In two patients extracutaneous disease was detected by PET/CT and CT and confirmed by biopsy. Of the 33 patients with PCBCL, 26 (79%) had small cell PCBCL (18 marginal-zone, 8 follicle-center lymphoma) and 7 (21%) had large cell PCBCL (3 follicle-center, 3 leg-type, 1 indeterminate). PET/CT detected skin lesions in 3 of 26 patients (12%) with small-cell PCBCL as compared to 6 of 7 patients with large-cell PCBLC (86%), a 7.4-fold detection risk (95% confidence interval, 2.4–22, P = 0.004). The PET-positive subgroup was characterized by larger lesion size (P < 0.001) and a higher Ki-67 proliferation index (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The sensitivity of PET/CT for detecting cutaneous involvement of lymphomas is low for small-cell PCBCL but high for large-cell types, and thus may facilitate therapeutic strategies.

March 2018
Michal Solomon MD, Aviv Barzilai MD, Hila Elphasy MD, Henri Trau MD and Sharon Baum MD

Background: Erysipelas, an acute infection of the dermal and subcutaneous tissue, is normally treated with antibiotics. Previous data indicated that treatment with prednisone in combination with antibiotics results in significant acceleration of the healing phase.

Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of corticosteroids combined with antibiotics for the treatment of erysipelas.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on hospitalized patients diagnosed with erysipelas between 2004 and 2011 at the Department of Dermatology at Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Data included epidemiology, medical background, and course of the disease as documented at admission and during hospitalization. 

Results: Data were collected on 173 patients (66% males) who were divided into two groups: a control group treated with antibiotics only (97 patients) and a study group treated with antibiotics and prednisone (76 patients). The study group presented with a more severe form of erysipelas (bullous) and those patients were hospitalized for a longer period (8.5 vs. 7 days). Nevertheless, the study group exhibited a 71% clinical improvement shortly after being treated with prednisone, without significant side effects. Short-term follow-up revealed more edema in the study group; however, long-term follow-up revealed a higher incidence of erythema and recurrence of erysipelas in the control group. The return to full function was faster in the study group than in the control group. 

Conclusions: Combining prednisone with antibiotics for the treatment of erysipelas should be considered, especially in severe cases. In addition, a prospective double-blind study should be conducted to verify these conclusions.

April 2014
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