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עמוד בית
Wed, 12.06.24

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April 2002
Gil Siegal, MD, Jacob Braun, MD, Avraham Kuten, MD, Tzahala Tzuk-Shina, MD, Louise M. Lev, MD, Ines Misselevitch, MD and Michal Luntz, MD
March 2002
Moshe Wald, MD, Sarel Halachmi, MD, Gilad Amiel, MD, Shahar Madjar, MD, Michael Mullerad, MD, Ines Miselevitz, MD, Boaz Moskovitz, MD and Ofer Nativ, MD

Background: The bladder tumor antigen stat is a simple and fast one-step immunochromatographic assay for the detection of bladder tumor-associated antigen in urine.

Objectives: To evaluate the BTA[1] stat in non-bladder cancer patients in order to identify the categories contributing to its low specificity.

Methods: A single voided urine sample was collected from 45 patients treated in the urology clinic for conditions not related to bladder cancer. Each urine sample was examined by BTA stat test and cytology.

Results: The overall specificity of the BTA stat test was 44%, which was significantly lower than that of urine cytology, 90%. The false positive rates for BTA stat test vary among the different clinical categories, being highest in cases of urinary tract calculi (90%), and benign prostatic hypertrophy (73%). Exclusion of these categories from data analysis improved BTA stat specificity to 66%.

Conclusions: Clinical categories contributing to low BTA stat specificity can be identified, and their exclusion improves the specificity of this test.






[1] BTA = bladder tumor antigen


Alp Aydinalp, MD, Alice Wishniak, MD, Lily van den Akker-Berman, MD, Tsafrir Or and Nathan Roguin, MD

Background: Myocardial infarction-associated pericarditis is a common cause of chest pain following MI[1], its frequency depending on how it is defined.

Objectives: To investigate the incidence of acute pericarditis and pericardial effusion in the acute phase of ST-elevation MI treated with thrombolytic therapy.

Methods: The study group comprised 159 consecutive patients fulfilling the criteria for acute MI who were admitted to our department during 18 months. Infarct-associated pericarditis was defined as the finding of a pericardial friction rub, a typical pleuropericardial pain, or both. All patients underwent physical examination of the cardiovascular system four times daily for 7 days, as well as daily electrocardiogram and echo Doppler examinations.

Results: Fourteen patients (8.8%) developed a friction rub and 11 patients (6.9%) had a mild pericardial effusion. Six patients (4.0%) had both a friction rub and pericardial effusion. Two patients had a friction rub for more than 7 days. Pleuropericardial chest pain was present in 31 patients (19.5%) but only 7 of them had a friction rub.  The in-hospital mortality rate was 1.3% and no mortality was observed in the acute pericarditis group.

Conclusion: The incidence of signs associated with acute pericarditis was lower in MI patients treated with thrombolysis, compared with historical controls, when a friction rub and/or pericardial effusion was present. There was no significant reduction in the incidence of pleuropericardial chest pain.






[1] MI = myocardial infarction


January 2002
Manfred S. Green MD PhD, Tiberio Swartz MD MPH, Elana Mayshar JD, Boaz Lev MD, Alex Leventhal MD MPH, Paul E. Slater MD MPH and Joshua Shemer MD

Background: The large number of cases of West Nile fever diagnosed in Israel in 2000 once again brought into focus the confusion that frequently accompanies the use of the term “epidemic”.

Objective: To examine the different definitions of the term “epidemic” and to propose ways in which it can be used to both improve communication among professionals and provide the public with a better sense of the associated risks.

Methods: The literature wes reviewed for the various definitions of the terms “epidemic” and “outbreak”. Sources included popular and medical dictionaries, ancient documents, epidemiology texts, legal texts, and the medical literature.

Result: The term epidemic is variously defined. The broad definition given by epidemiologists - namely, more disease the is anticipated by previous experience - is less meaningful to the general public. In some ways it conflicts with the definitions found in the popular literature, which generally imply danger to the public and a very large number of victims.

Conclusions: The interpretation of the term epidemic may vary according to the context in which it is used. For risk communication, we suggest that every effort be made to add descriptive terms that characterize the epidemic.

Nirit Lev, MD, Shalom Michowiz, MD, Edna Inbar, MD, Claire I. Coire, MD, Silvio Pitlik, MD and Eldad Melamed, MD
December 2001
Mirta Grynbaum MD, Aya Biderman MD, Amalia Levy PhD MPH and Selma Petasne-Weinstock MD

Background: Domestic violence is a prevalent problem with serious consequences, including a 30% risk of death. The lifetime prevalence ranges from 21 to 34%, with 8–14% of them reporting abuse in the previous year. The incidence seen in primary care practice is about 8%. Despite this high rate, domestic violence is under-diagnosed in primary care.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of domestic violence among women visiting a primary care center, to characterize them and to evaluate a screening tool.

Methods: A brief anonymous questionnaire (in Hebrew and Russian) for self-completion was used as a screening tool. During October 1998 we distributed the questionnaires in a primary care clinic in Beer Sheva to all women aged 18–60 years whose health permitted their participation. A woman was considered at high risk for domestic violence when she gave a positive answer to at least one of the three questions related to violence. The risk factors for domestic violence were calculated by odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals.

Results: The response rate was 95.7%. We found 41 women (30.8%) at high risk for violence. Women preferred talking about this issue with their family physician. Women at highest risk were older than 40 years, had emigrated from the former Soviet Union during the last 10 years, were living alone, and were unemployed. None of the women visited the Domestic Violence Center during the study period and 2 months thereafter. Only three women tore off the address and phone number of the center that were attached to the questionnaire.

Conclusions: The anonymous questionnaire was well accepted and had a high compliance rate. Its disadvantages are that respondents must be literate and that it permits the woman to continue with her “secret-keeping” behavior. A high prevalence of domestic violence among women visiting a primary care clinic should convince family physicians to be more active in diagnosing the problem accurately among their patients, providing treatment and preventing further deterioration and possible danger. Further effort should be directed at improving the clinic staff's ability to detect domestic violence among patients, and in developing management programs in the health system to help combat domestic violence.

Zohar Nachum MD, Izhar Ben-Shlomo MD, Ehud Weiner MD, Moshe Ben-Ami MD and Eliezer Shalev MD

Background: Pregnant diabetic women are often subjected to frequent and prolonged hospitalizations to assure tight glycemic control, but in recent years attempts have been made at ambulatory control. The financial and social advantages of ambulatory management are obvious, but no report to date has prospectively compared its efficacy with that of hospitalization.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and cost of ambulatory care as compared to repeated hospitalizations for management of diabetes in pregnancy.

Methods: We conducted an 8 year prospective controlled study that included 681 diabetic women, experiencing 801 singleton pregnancies, with commencement of therapy prior to 34 gestational weeks. During 1986–1989, 394 pregnancies (60 pre-gestational diabetes mellitus and 334 gestational diabetes mellitus) were managed by hospitalization, and for the period 1990–1993, 407 pregnancies (61 PGDM and 346 GDM) were managed ambulatorily. Glycemic control, maternal complications, perinatal mortality, neonatal morbidity and hospital cost were analyzed.

Results: There was no difference in metabolic control and pregnancy outcome in women with PGDM between the hospitalized and the ambulatory groups. Patients with GDM who were managed ambulatorily had significantly lower mean capillary glucose levels, later delivery and higher gestational age at induction of labor as compared to their hospitalized counterparts. In this group there were also lower rates of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, phototherapy and intensive care unit admissions and stay. The saved hospital cost (in Israeli prices) in the ambulatory group was $6,000 and $15,000 per GDM and PGDM pregnancy, respectively.

Conclusions: Ambulatory care is as effective as hospitalization among PGDM patients and more effective among GDM patients with regard to glycemic control and neonatal morbidity. This is not only more convenient for the pregnant diabetic patient, but significantly reduces treatment costs.
 

Sophia Eilat-Tsanani MD, Mordechai Sorek MD, Nir Gay MD, Ora Chaimovitch MD, Lev Kulton MD and Hava Tabenkin MD MSc

Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women in Israel and throughout the world. Israeli women aged 50–75 years are advised to undergo a mammographic screening examination every 2 years. However, the lack of a structured referral system is reflected in the low utilization rate of mammography.

Objectives: To describe an innovative program in which family physicians in an urban clinic developed a model framework for referrals, coordinated with radiologists and surgeons, aimed at increasing compliance among women referred for mammography.

Methods: A community-based study was conducted, outside of the regular reception hours, in a neighborhood practice with a population of 527 women aged 50–75. A referral system under the supervision of family physicians was designed, and the women received appointments for mammography at specified days and hours. The results of the examination were sent to the physician who used dedicated time to continue the diagnostic and/or therapeutic process, as appropriate. At the physician’s instructions a research assistant contacted the women who did not keep their appointments and scheduled a second appointment.

Results: In 1993, the year prior to the study, when women referred themselves for mammography, the utilization rate was 9%. During the study year the utilization rate was 77%. Women born in Europe or America had higher compliance rates than women born in Asia or Africa (81% vs. 72%, respectively). Married women were more compliant than unmarried women (81% vs. 70%, respectively). No correlation was found between compliance and age, family history of cancer in general, or breast cancer in particular. Six new cases of breast cancer were detected.

Conclusions: The initiative of family physicians increased the utilization of mammography among women under their care. Family physicians allocated time outside of their regular reception hours for the program. A relatively large number of new malignancies were found, but this impression should be confirmed or negated by a large-scale study using the same methods.
 

Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH and Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH, MPA
November 2001
Aviva Fattal-Valevski, MD, Jacques Bernheim, MD, Yael Leitner, MD, Bela Redianu, RN, Haim Bassan, MD and Shaul Harel, MD

Background: Low birth weight has been shown to be strongly related to hypertension in adult life.

Objective: To determine whether blood pressure is higher in children with intruterine growth retardation than in control subjects.

Methods: Blood pressure was measured in 58 children aged 4-6 years with IUGR and in 58 age-matched controls. The control children, whose birth weight was appropriate for gestational age, were also matched for gestational age.

Results: The children with IUGR had significantly higher mean values of systolic (p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressures (p<0.05) and mean arterial pressure (p<0.05). Significant differences in blood pressure values were found between preterm IUGR (n=21) and preterm controls (p<0.05).

Conclusion: These data indicate that children with IUGR may be at higher risk of hypertension already in childhood.

Sima Halevy, MD, Hani Giryes, MD, Michael Friger, PhD, Nili Grossman, PhD, Zeev Karpas, PhD, Batia Sarov, PhD and Shaul Sukenik, MD

Background: A beneficial effect was observed in patients with psoriasis vulgaris following balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt.

Objectives: To evaluate the possible role of trace elements in the effectiveness of balneotherapy. 

Methods: Serum levels of 11 trace elements were analyzed in 23 patients with psoriasis vulgaris who participated in a double-blind controlled study of balneotherapy, with either Dead Sea bath salt (12 patients) or common salt (11 patients). Thirteen healthy volunteers served as controls.

Results: The mean pre-treatment serum levels of boron, cadmium, lithium and rubidium were significantly lower in patients compared to controls, whereas the mean pre-treatment serum level of manganese was significantly higher in patients compared to controls. Balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt resulted in a significant decrease (P = 0.0051) in the mean serum level of manganese from 0.10 ± 0.05 mmol/L to 0.05 ± 0.02 mmol/L. The mean reduction in the serum level of manganese differed significantly (P = 0.002) between responders (% Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score reduction ³ 25) and non-responders (% PASI score reduction < 25). Following balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt the mean serum level of lithium decreased in responders by 0.01 ± 0.02 mmol/L whereas its level in non-responders increased by 0.03 ± 0.03 mmol/L. (P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Manganese and lithium may play a role in the effectiveness of balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt for psoriasis.

Baruch Klin, MD, Lev Zlotkevich, MD, Tifha Horne, MD, Yigal Efrati, MD, Francis Serour, MD and Gad Lotan, MD

Background: Acute scrotal pain in children presents a major diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Epididymitis has been considered uncommon in childhood. The clinical spectrum and therapeutic policy of the acute scrotum in children is continually being reassessed.

Objectives: To determine whether there has been an increase in the incidence of epididymitis in children and to advocate a more selective surgical approach to the acute scrotum.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 65 children admitted to our department of pediatric surgery with the diagnosis of acute scrotum during a 5 year period.

Results: Of the 65 children admitted with the diagnosis of acute scrotum, epididymitis was diagnosed in 42 (64.6%). The remaining cases included torsion of the testis in 12 patients (18.5%), torsion of the appendix testis in 5 (7.7%), scrotal pain and minimal physical findings in 4 (6.1%), and scrotal hematoma and idiopathic scrotal edema in one patient each. Doppler ultrasound of the groin, color Doppler ultrasound of the testis and testicular nuclide scintigraphy (Tc-99m scan) examinations were performed on 49, 30 and 57 occasions, respectively; the Tc-99m scan was the most effective tool. All the patients with epididymitis were diagnosed before surgical intervention and were treated conservatively.

Conclusions: We observed an increasing frequency of epididymitis in children admitted with the diagnosis of acute scrotum.
 

October 2001
Maurizio Cutolo, MD, Bruno Seriolo, MD, Carmen Pizzorni, MD and Alberto Sulli, MD
September 2001
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