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עמוד בית
Thu, 25.07.24

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March 2019
Ana Rita Nogueira MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Howard Amital MD MHA
December 2018
Daphna Katz-Talmor B Med Sc, Shaye Kivity MD, Miri Blank PhD, Itai Katz B Med Sc, Ori Perry BS, Alexander Volkov MD, Iris Barshack MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
Kassem Sharif MD, Louis Coplan MD, Benjamin Lichtbroun MD and Howard Amital MD MHA
October 2018
Adi Guy MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Alec Krosser MD, Boris Gilburd PhD, Eleanor Zeruya MD, Ora Shovman MD, Abdulla Watad MD and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Patients with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), encounter significantly higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system maintains hemodynamic stability through blood pressure regulation. When dysregulated, this system has been implicated in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular events.

Objectives: To investigate the levels of renin and aldosterone in RA and AS patients.

Methods: Three groups were recruited: patients with RA, patients with AS, and healthy controls. Subjects were excluded if they had a diagnosis of hypertension, hyperaldosteronism, or renal artery stenosis, or were taking drugs that might have affected renin levels. Renin and aldosterone levels were measured using commercially available kits. Data were analyzed using univariate analyses and multivariate regression analyses.

Results: Fifty-one subjects were enrolled in the study: 15 with RA, 4 with AS, and 32 healthy controls. At the univariate analysis, the three groups differed in age (P = 0.005), renin levels (P = 0.013), and aldosterone-to-renin ratio (P = 0.019). At the post-hoc tests, both AS and RA patients differed from controls for renin levels and the aldosterone-to-renin ratio. At the multivariate regression analysis, AS patients had lower renin values than controls (beta standardized regression coefficient -0.323, P = 0.022).

Conclusion: Patients with RA tended to have lower levels of plasma renin compared to healthy subjects. This finding indicates that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system might not be directly involved in the process that results in increased cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis.

June 2018
Adi Guy MD, Corey Saperia, Mohammed S. Yassin MD and Howard Amital MD MHA
April 2018
Mahmoud Abu–Shakra MD, Devy Zisman MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Howard Amital MD, Yair Levy MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Yair Molad MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Itzhak Roser MD, Nina Avshovich MD, Daphna Paran MD, Tatiana Reitblat MD, Reuven Mader MD, Hillel Savin MD, Joshua Friedman MD, Nicky Lieberman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Chronic fatigue is common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), affecting quality of life. Osteoporosis is a prevalent co-morbidity in RA patients.

Objectives: To assess the effect of long-term treatment with tocilizumab on fatigue and bone mineral density (BMD) in RA patients with inadequate response to synthetic or biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. 

Methods: In this multicenter, open-label, non-controlled, single-arm study, patients ≥ 18 years of age received intravenous tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue score from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96. BMD was assessed before and 96 weeks after treatment. 

Results: The study comprised 145 patients (mean age 53.4 ± 13.4 years, 83.4% women). Of these, 88 (60.7%) completed the 2 year treatment period. The mean FACIT-Fatigue score improved consistently starting from week 4 and showed a statistically significant increase of 5.0 ± 9.7, 6.8 ± 10.5, 7.3 ± 10.9, and 7.3 ± 10.4 from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96, respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean BMD of femoral neck and total spine remained stable. Disease activity, acute phase reactants, and composite efficacy measures decreased during the study, while hemoglobin levels increased. Adverse events and serious adverse events were as expected for the known and previously described data.

Conclusions: Tocilizumab therapy for 2 years significantly and clinically decreased fatigue. BMD remained stable and no new safety issue was reported. 

 

July 2017
Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Abdulla Watad MD, Mohammad Adawi MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Gali Aljadeff BSc and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
Amir Dagan, Naim Mahroum, Gad Segal, Shmuel Tiosano, Abdulla Watad, Doron Comaneshter, Arnon D. Cohen and Howard Amital

Background: Patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) suffer from inflammatory diseases often treated by large amounts of corticosteroids. Whether this inflammatory burden also carries an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity, and especially ischemic heart disease, is not clearly established.

Objectives: To clarify the linkage between GCA and ischemic heart disease. 

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we assessed the association between GCA and ischemic heart disease, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, among GCA patients and matched controls using the database of the largest healthcare provider in Israel.

Results: The study group was comprised of 5659 GCA patients and 28,261 age and gender matched controls. The proportion of ischemic heart disease was higher in the GCA group (27.5% vs. 12.5% among controls, odds ratio 2.65). Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking were also found to have higher concurrency in GCA. After stratifying for those cardiovascular co-morbidities using logistic regression, GCA remained independently associated with ischemic heart disease with an odds ratio of 1.247 (1.146–1.357 P < 0.001).

Conclusions: GCA is associated with both cardiovascular risk factors and ischemic heart disease. Healthcare professionals should not overlook this aspect of the disease when managing GCA patients. 

 

Abdulla Watad MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD MPH, Kassem Sharif MD, Ora Shovman MD, Boris Gilburd MD, Howard Amital MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR

Background: Anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) antibody disease, or Goodpasture’s disease, is the clinical manifestation of the production of anti-GBM antibodies, which causes rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis with or without pulmonary hemorrhage. Anti-GBM antibody detection is mandatory for the diagnosis of Goodpasture’s disease either from the serum or kidney biopsy. Renal biopsy is necessary for disease confirmation; however, in cases in which renal biopsy is not possible or is delayed, serum detection of anti-GBM antibody is the only way for diagnosis.

Objectives: To assess the predictive value of positive anti-GBM antibodies in a clinical setting. 

Methods: Data from anti-GBM antibody tests performed at one medical center between 2006 and 2016 were systematically and retrospectively retrieved. We recruited 1914 patients for the study. Continuous variables were computed as mean ± standard deviation, while categorical variables were recorded as percentages where appropriate. Sensitivity and specificity of anti-GBM titers were calculated. Kaplan–Meyer analysis was performed, stratifying survival according to the anti-GBM antibody titers.

Results: Of the 1914 anti-GBM test results detected, 42 were positive, 23 were borderline, 142 were excluded, and 1707 results were negative. Male-to-female ratio was 1:1.2. Sensitivity of anti-GBM test was 41.2% while specificity was 85.4%. Concerning the Kaplan–Meyer analysis, overall survival was 1163.36 ± 180.32 days (median 1058 days). 

Conclusions: Our study highlights the lack of sensitivity of serological testing of anti-GBM titers. Comparing survival curves, the survival correlated with anti-GBM titer only in a borderline way. Because highly sensitive bioassays are not routinely used in clinics, renal biopsy is still pivotal for Goodpasture’s disease diagnosis.

 

June 2017
Abdulla Watad MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD, Noam Grysman MS, Hussein Mahagna MD and Howard Amital MD MHA

Taxanes are often used in the treatment of many types of cancers. Side effects of docetaxel are not as well documented as paclitaxel, but both can cause pulmonary injury. We present a dramatic case of a patient being treated for prostatic adenocarcinoma with docetaxel who presented with interstitial pneumonitis and responded dramatically to the early treatment with corticosteroids. This case is important as it reveals the side effects of docetaxel administration without administration of other chemotherapeutic agents, and it illustrates the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of docetaxel-induced interstitial pneumonitis. Further research into the mechanism of the side effects of docetaxel is warranted.

January 2017
Zev Sthoeger MD, Margalit Lorber MD, Yuval Tal MD, Elias Toubi MD, Howard Amital MD, Shaye Kivity MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Ilan Asher MD, Daniel Elbirt MD and Nancy Agmon Levin MD

Background: Anti-BLyS treatment with the human belimumab monoclonal antibody was shown to be a safe and effective therapeutic modality in lupus patients with active disease (i.e., without significant neurological/renal involvement) despite standard treatment.

Objectives: To evaluate the “real-life” safety and efficacy of belimumab added to standard therapy in patents with active lupus in five Israeli medical centers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective open-labeled study of 36 lupus patients who received belimumab monthly for at least 1 year in addition to standard treatment. Laboratory tests (C3/C4, anti dsDNA autoantibodies, chemistry, urinalysis and complete blood count) were done every 3–4 months. Adverse events were obtained from patients’ medical records. Efficacy assessment by the treating physicians was defined as excellent, good/partial, or no response.

Results: The study group comprised 36 lupus patients (8 males, 28 females) with a mean age of 41.6 } 12.2 years. Belimumab was given for a mean period of 2.3 } 1.7 years (range 1–7). None of the patients discontinued belimumab due to adverse events. Four patients (11.1%) had an infection related to belimumab. Only 5 patients (13.9%) stopped taking belimumab due to lack of efficacy. The response was excellent in 25 patients (69.5%) and good/partial in the other 6 (16.6%). Concomitantly, serological response (reduction of C3/C4 and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies) was also observed. Moreover, following belimumab treatment, there was a significant reduction in the usage of corticosteroids (from 100% to 27.7%) and immunosuppressive agents (from 83.3% to 8.3%).

Conclusions: Belimumab, in addition to standard therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for active lupus patients.

September 2016
Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Gali Aljadeff BA, Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD, Hedi Orbach MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaCR
Hussein Mahagna MD, Shana G. Neumann MD, Ginette Schiby MD, Victor Belsky MD and Howard Amital MD MHA
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