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עמוד בית
Wed, 12.06.24

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August 2004
E. Leibovitz, N. Hazanov, A. Frieman, I. Elly and D. Gavish

Background: Elevated fibrinogen levels are considered a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and might be used as a predictor of risk for the development of atherothrombotic events. Several studies have reached equivocal conclusions regarding the effect of statins on fibrinogen.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of atorvastatin on plasma fibrinogen levels in patients with severe hypercholesterolemia and no other risk factors.

Methods: Twenty-two patients with low density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels above 170 mg/dl (4.40 mmol/L) and with no other risk factors were included in the study. None of the patients had ever received hypolipidemic medication. Patients were followed for 24 weeks (6 office visits 4 weeks apart). During office visits, lipid profile, complete blood count, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein levels were measured.

Results: After 24 weeks of follow-up, total cholesterol decreased by 33% (287 ± 10 to 192 ± 8 mg/dl, P < 0.001), LDL-C[1] by 45% (198 ± 8 to 111 ± 7 mg/dl, P < 0.001) and triglycerides by 21% (189 ± 26 to 138 ± 15 mg/dl, P <0.001). Fibrinogen levels dropped by 18% (355 ± 26 to 275 ± 7 mg/dl, P = 0.01). CRP[2] levels decreased from 0.51 ± 0.15 to 0.28 ± 0.10 mg/dl, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.09). High density lipoprotein, hemoglobin, white blood cell and platelet counts did not change.

Conclusions: We found that atorvastatin reduces plasma fibrinogen in patients with hypercholesterolemia.






[1] LDL-C = low density lipoprotein-cholesterol

[2] CRP = C-reactive protein


O. Shovman, M. Severin, T. Shalev and T. Jonas-Kimchi
July 2004
M. Attia, S. Harnof, N. Knoller, I. Shacked, Z. Zibly, L. Bedrin and G. Regev-Yochay
June 2004
February 2004
A.D. Heymann, J. Azuri, E. Kokia, S.M. Monnickendam, M. Shapiro and G. Shalev

The complexity of medical problems is a well-recognized phenomenon. In the presence of economic and cultural restrictions, medical decision-making can be particularly challenging. This paper outlines a system of analysis and decision-making for solving such problems, and briefly describes a case study in which the method was used to analyze the case of antibiotic overprescribing in a large health maintenance organization. The purpose of the study was to determine if a technique for problem-solving in the field of engineering could be applied to the complex problems facing primary care. The method is designated Systematic Inventive Thinking and consists of a three-step procedure: problem reformulation, general search-strategy selection, and an application of idea-provoking techniques. The problem examined is the over-prescribing of antibiotics by general practitioners working in Maccabi Healthcare Services, an HMO[1] serving one and a half million patients in Israel. The group of healthcare professionals involved in the discussions generated 117 ideas for improving antibiotic use. Six of these ideas were then implemented in a national campaign in the winter of 2000/1 and 2001/2. During this period, a significant reduction in per-visit antibiotic purchasing was observed for influenza visits (from 79.2 per 1,000 to 58.1 per 1,000, P < .0001), but not for other categories of visits. The SIT[2] methodology is a useful technique for problem-solving and idea generation within the medical framework.






[1] HMO = health maintenance organization



[2] SIT = systemic inventive thinking


December 2003
A. Wolak, H. Gilutz, G. Amit, C. Cafri, R. Ilia and D. Zahger

Background: Reperfusion practices have changed markedly over the last few years with the introduction of primary percutaneous coronary intervention. This technique has gained growing popularity in Israel, but little published data are available regarding the delays to primary PCI[1] in real life in this country.

Objectives: To examine temporal trends in time to reperfusion achieved in a large tertiary center over 6 years.

Results: Between 1997 and 2002, 1,031 patients were admitted to our hospital with ST elevation myocardial infarction. Of these, 62% underwent thrombolysis and 38% primary PCI. The proportion of patients referred for primary PCI increased steadily, from 14% in 1997 to 68% in 2002. Door to treatment time among patients referred for thrombolysis or primary PCI was 54 ± 42 and 117 ± 77 minutes, respectively (P < 0.00001). The door to needle time in patients given thrombolysis remained virtually unchanged during the study period at around 54 minutes. In contrast, the door to balloon time has progressively and substantially decreased, from 175 ± 164 minutes in 1997 to 96 ± 52 minutes in 2002.

Conclusions: There is a steady increase in the proportion of patients referred for primary PCI than for thrombolysis. The door to needle delay in patients given thrombolysis substantially exceeds the recommended time. The door to balloon time has declined considerably but still slightly exceeds the recommended time. Given the inherent delay between initiation of lysis and arterial recanalization, it appears from our experience that PCI does not substantially delay arterial reperfusion as compared to thrombolysis. Efforts should continue to minimize delays to reperfusion therapy.






[1] PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention


November 2003
E. Soudry, C.L. Sprung, P.D. Levin, G.B. Grunfeld and S. Einav

Background:  Physicians’ decisions regarding provision of life-sustaining treatment may be influenced considerably by non-medical variables.

Objectives: To examine physicians’ attitudes towards end-of-life decisions in Israel, comparing them to those found in the United States.

Methods: A survey was conducted among members of the Israel Society of Critical Care Medicine using a questionnaire analogous to that used in a similar study in the USA.       

Results: Forty-three physicians (45%) responded, the majority of whom hold responsibility for withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments. Preservation of life was considered the most important factor by 31 respondents (72%). The quality of life as viewed by the patient was generally considered less important than the quality of life as viewed by the physician. Twenty-one respondents (49%) considered withholding treatment more acceptable than withdrawing it. The main factors for decisions to withhold or withdraw therapy were a very low probability of survival of hospitalization, an irreversible acute disorder, and prior existence of chronic disorders. An almost similar percent of physicians (93% for Israel and 94% for the U.S.) apply Do Not Resuscitate orders in their intensive care units, but much less (28% vs. 95%) actually discuss these orders with the families of their patients.

Conclusions:  Critical care physicians in Israel place similar emphasis on the value of life as do their U.S. counterparts and assign DNR[1] orders with an incidence equaling that of the U.S. They differ from their U.S. counterparts in that they confer less significance to the will of the patient, and do not consult as much with families of patients regarding DNR orders.






[1] DNR = Do Not Resuscitate


A. Halevy, A. Stepanasky, Z. Halpern, I. Wasserman, Z. Chen-Levy, S. Pytlovich, O. Marcus, A. Mor, P. Hagag, T. Horne, S. Polypodi and J. Sandbank

Background: Among the various new technologies in the field of parathyroid surgery are intraoperative quick parathormone measurements.

Objectives: To evaluate the contribution of QPTH[1] measurements during parathyroidectomy to the achievement of higher success rates. 

Methods: QPTH assay using Immulite Turbo Intact PTH[2] was measured in 32 patients undergoing parathyroidectomy: 30 for primary and 2 for secondary hyperparathyroidism.  QPTH levels were measured at time 0 minutes (before incision) and at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after excision of the hyperfunctioning gland.  Only a drop of 60% or more from the 0’ level was considered to be a positive result.

Results: The mean QPTH level at time 0’ for PHPT[3] patients was 38.12 ± 25.15 pmol/L (range 9.1–118 pmol/L).  At 10 minutes post-excision of the hyperfunctioning gland (or glands), QPTH dropped by a mean of 73.80% to 9.89 ± 18.78 pmol/L. 

Conclusions: Intraoperative QPTH level measurement is helpful in parathyroid surgery.  A drop of 60% or more from 0’ level indicates a successful procedure, and further exploration should be avoided.






[1] QPTH = quick parathormone



[2] PTH = parathormone



[3] PHPT = primary hyperparathyroidism


N. Berkman, A. Avital, E. Bardach, C. Springer, R. Breuer and S. Godfrey

Background: Leukotriene antagonist therapy in asthmatic patients alleviates symptoms and improves exercise tolerance, however the effect of these drugs on bronchial provocation tests and exhaled nitric oxide levels are less clearly established.


Objective: To determine the effect of montelukast treatment on airway hyperresponsiveness to exercise, methacholine and adenosine-5’-monophosphate and on exhaled nitric oxide levels in steroid-naive asthmatics.


Methods: Following a 2 week run-in period, 20 mild to moderate asthmatics were enrolled in an open label 6 week trial of oral montelukast-sodium therapy. Bronchial hyperreactivity (exercise, methacholine and adenosine-5’-monophosphate challenges) and exhaled nitric oxide levels were measured before and after the 6 week period.

Results: Montelukast treatment resulted in a significant improvement in exercise tolerance: median DFEV1 20.0% (range 0–50) prior to treatment vs. 15.0% (range 0–50) post-treatment (P = 0.029). A significant difference was also observed for exhaled NO[1] following therapy: median NO 16.0 ppb (range 7–41) vs. 13.0 (range 4.8–26) (P = 0.016). No change was seen in baseline lung function tests (FEV1, MEF50) or in the bronchial responsiveness (PC20) for methacholine and adenosine-5’-monophosphate.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the leukotriene antagonist, montelukast-sodium, reduces bronchial hyperreactivity in response to exercise and reduces exhaled nitric oxide levels but has little effect on bronchial responsiveness to methacholine and adenosine challenges.






[1] NO = nitric oxide


October 2003
N. Shimoni, M. Kaplan and S. Keidar

Background: Increased levels of high density lipoprotein (over 60 mg/dl) are considered to be a risk factor for ischemic heart disease. However, some patients with high HDL[1] still develop cardiovascular diseases.

Objective: To find out why patients with very high HDL still suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

Methods: We analyzed several risk factors, such as increased lipid peroxidation, hyperhomeocysteinemia and increased release of inflammatory molecules that could be related to the development of vascular disease in patients with high serum HDL levels. Patients with HDL cholesterol levels above 75 mg/dl were selected for this study and were separated into two groups based on the presence of atherosclerotic vascular disease, i.e., those with vascular disease (patients) and those without (controls).

Results: Plasma isolated from the patient group exhibited significantly increased lipid peroxidation by 21% and decreased total antioxidant status by 17%, but there were no differences regarding their serum or their paraoxonase activity. Moreover, both groups exhibited similar levels of serum C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and homocysteine, enabling us to eliminate these risk factors in the etiology of cardiovascular disease in the patient group.

Conclusion: Increased oxidative stress could be one of the factors leading to cardiovascular diseases in patients with high serum HDL levels.






[1] HDL = high density lipoprotein


Y. Shapiro, J. Shemer, A. Heymann, V. Shalev, N. Maharshak, G. Chodik, M.S. Green and E. Kokia

Background: Upper respiratory tract illnesses have been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To assess the influence of vaccination against influenza on the risk of hospitalization in internal medicine and geriatric wards, and the risk of death from all causes during the 2000–2001 influenza season.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using computerized general practitioner records on patients aged 65 years and above, members of “Maccabi Health Care Services” – the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel with 1.6 million members. The patients were divided into high and low risk groups corresponding to coexisting conditions, and were studied. Administrative and clinical data were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Of the 84,613 subjects in the cohort 42.8% were immunized. At baseline, vaccinated subjects were sicker and had higher rates of coexisting conditions than unvaccinated subjects. Vaccination against influenza was associated with a 30% reduction in hospitalization rates and 70% in mortality rates in the high risk group. The NNT (number needed to treat) measured to prevent one hospitalization was 53.2 (28.2 in the high risk group and 100.4 in the low risk group). When referring to length of hospitalization, one vaccine was needed to prevent 1 day of hospitalization among the high risk group. Analyses according to age and the presence or absence of major medical conditions at baseline revealed similar findings across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the elderly, vaccination against influenza is associated with a reduction in both the total risk of hospitalization and in the risk of death from all causes during the influenza season. These findings compel the rationale to increase compliance with recommendations for annual influenza vaccination among the elderly.

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