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עמוד בית
Mon, 20.05.24

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April 2024
Raymond Farah MD, Dvir Novak MD, Rola Khamisy-Farah MD

Background: Syncope is responsible for approximately 1–3% of all emergency department (ED) visits and up to 6% of all hospital admissions in the United States. Although often of no long-term consequence, syncope can be the first presentation of a range of serious conditions such as strokes, tumors, or subarachnoid hemorrhages. Head computed tomography (CT) scanning is therefore commonly ordered in the ED for patients presenting with syncope to rule out any of these conditions, which may present without other associated physical or neurological findings on initial examination. However, the diagnostic yield of head CTs in patients presenting with syncope is unclear.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic yield of head CT in the ED in patients with syncope.

Methods: We conducted an observational analytical retrospective cross-sectional study on 360 patients diagnosed with syncope who underwent a head CT to determine the diagnostic yield of syncope to determine whether head CT is necessary for every patient presenting with syncope to the ED.

Results: The total of new CT findings was 11.4%. Percentages varied between men (12.8%) and women (9.7%), P = 0.353. There were no significant differences between sexes regarding the findings in head CT, yet the incidence increased, especially among elderly males.

Conclusions: Age had a more significant impact on diagnostic yield of syncope than head CT. The use of a head CT scan as a routine diagnosis tool in patients with syncope is unjustifiable unless there is an indication based on medical history or physical examination.

November 2022
Raymond Farah MD, Nicola Makhoul MD, Alexander Samohvalov MD, William Nseir MD

Background: An increased serum glucose level is a common finding among patients admitted to hospital with acute illness, including the intensive care unit (ICU), even without a history of previous diabetes mellitus (DM). Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is not only a diagnostic tool for DM but may also has prognostic value for diabetic and non-diabetic populations.

Objectives: To assess the relationship between HbA1c level on admission and clinical outcome among patients admitted to the ICU due to cardiopulmonary disorders with hyperglycemia.

Methods: Patients consecutively admitted to the ICU due to cardiopulmonary disorders who presented with hyperglycemia at admission were evaluated during a 6-month period. HbA1c and serum glucose levels were tested on admission and during the first 24–48 hours of hospitalization. Patients were divided according to HbA1c and compared in term of demographics. We evaluated the effect of HbA1c levels at admission on the clinical outcomes.

Results: Of patients with cardiopulmonary disorders who presented with hyperglycemia at admission to the ICU, 73 had HbA1c levels ≥ 6%, 92 had HbA1c levels < 6%: 63/165 (38.2%) known as diabetic patients. The 30-day all-cause mortality was higher in the group with high HbA1c levels; 38/73 vs. 32/98 (P = 0.02). Increased length of stay in the ICU and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score were associated with HbA1c ≥ 6% (P < 0.022 and P < 0.026), respectively

Conclusions: HbA1c ≥ 6% has an important clinical prognostic value among diabetic and non-diabetic patients with cardiopulmonary disorders and hyperglycemia.

William Nseir MD, Lior Masika MD, Adi Sharabi-Nov MD, Raymond Farah MD

Background: Statins have anti-inflammatory effects that are independent of their lipid-lowering activity.

Objectives: To examine whether prior statins therapy affects the clinical course of the first episode of acute idiopathic pericarditis (AIP) as the 1-year recurrence and length of hospitalization (LOH).

Methods: This retrospective study included 148 subjects with first episode AIP admitted between the years 2015 and 2019. Data were collected from two hospitals in Northern Israel. We divided the patients in into two groups: 117 those without statins use and 31 those with prior statins use. We compared age, sex, co-morbidities, drugs, laboratory data, 1-year recurrence, and LOH.

Results: The mean age of participants was 43.1 ± 19.4 years. Comparisons between subjects without statins and with prior statins use were made according to age (37.5 ± 16.7 years vs. 64.4 ± 12.7 years, P < 0.01), C-reactive protein (50 ± 40 vs. 48 ± 35 mg/dl, P = 0.9), LOH (5.4 ± 2.85 vs. 8.03 ± 4.92 days, P < 0.01), 1-year recurrence of pericarditis (23 vs. 6 cases, P = 0.95), respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that 1-year recurrence (odds ratio [OR] 0.8, 95% confidence interval [95%CI 0 0.6–1.1, P = 0.41), was not associated with prior statin use, while LOH (OR 2.56, 95%CI 2.08–2.75, P = 0.01) was prolonged with prior statins use in patients with first episode of AID.

Conclusions: Prior statins use in patients with the first episode of AIP did not reduce the 1-year recurrence of pericarditis and prolong the LOH.

May 2022
Raymond Farah MD, Alaa Sawaed MD, and Kasem Shalata MD
Nomy Dikman PhD, Rola Khamisy-Farah MD, Raymond Farah MD, Jumana Essa-Hadad PhD, Nataly Lipavski, and Izhar Ben Shlomo MD
October 2019
William Nseir MD, Rola Khamisy-farah MD, Amir Amara MD and Raymond Farah MD

Background: The incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) is increasing and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, there is a need to find new tools to determine the severity of the disease.

Objectives: To investigate the prognostic values of inflammatory markers such as mean platelet volume (MPV), neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in patients with CDAD.

Methods: The study comprised of 100 patients diagnosed with CDAD. The study included an additional control group of 69 patients with diarrhea who were negative for C. difficile toxin. The control group was age- and sex-matched and hospitalized at the same time period. NLR and MPV were obtained from complete blood count results. Serum CRP levels were measured by the latex particle enhanced immunoturbidimetric assay. Blood samples for all inflammatory markers were collected at time of diagnosis and prior to initiating the antibiotic therapy. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and prognostic data were collected from medical records for a period of 90 days from the initial diagnosis of CDAD.

Results: The mean age of the CDAD group was 68.6 ± 21.5 years compared to 65.6 ± 24.5 in the control group (P = 0.29). Our findings show that patients with CDAD had significantly higher NLR, MPV and serum CRP levels compared to the control group (P < 0.001)). Moreover, significantly higher levels were observed when CDAD was fatal (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Elevated NLR, MPV, and serum CRP levels may serve as biomarkers for prediction of recurrence and mortality in patients with CDAD.

June 2019
William Nseir MD, Amir Amara MD, Raymond Farah MD, Helal Said Ahmad MD, Julnar Mograbi RN and Mahmud Mahamid MD

Background: Recently, studies have found that non-alcholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with bacterial infections. Attempts to identify risk factors for recurrent urinary tract infections (rUTIs) are still underway.

Objectives: To examine a possible association between NAFLD and rUTIs among premenopausal women.

Methods: In a case-control study, 1009 hospitalized premenopausal women with a UTI during a period of 3 years were retrospectively studied. A total of 186 subjects with rUTIs and 186 controls without a history of rUTIs were included in this study. Each participant had an abdominal ultrasonogram as part of the inclusion criteria. The two groups were compared in terms of risk factors for rUTIs, such as maternal history of rUTIs, use of contraceptives, frequency of sexual intercourse, metabolic syndrome, obesity, use of probiotics, serum levels of vitamin D, and NAFLD. An rUTI was defined as three or more episodes of UTI over a period of 1 year. NAFLD was diagnosed based on abdominal ultrasonography examination.

Results: Mean age of the 372 participants was 39.7 ± 5 years. NAFLD was diagnosed in 81/186 subjects (43.5%) with rUTIs vs. 40/186 controls (21.5%), P = 0.05. Women with rUTIs were more often obese and presented with lower serum levels of vitamin D than controls. Multivariate analysis showed that NAFLD (odds ratio = 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.3–2.0, P = 0.04) were associated with rUTIs in premenopausal women.

Conclusions: NAFLD was associated with rUTI in premenopausal women, independent of metabolic syndrome. Further studies are needed to confirm this association.

June 2018
Raymond Farah, Rola Khamisy-Farah and Nicola Makhoul

Background: Accurate diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia (CAP) is crucial to its proper management and to combating antibiotic resistance. Levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) have been shown to distinguish pneumonia from other pathological conditions and can be used to control the severity of infection during admission.

Objective: To investigate an association between consecutive measurements of CRP and the severity of CAP in hospitalized patients.

Methods: A total of 500 patients with CAP were admitted to the hospital. Traditional markers of inflammation including CRP, leukocyte count, body temperature, were measured on the first, second, and fifth days of hospitalization. Correlations between these measures and the length of the hospital stay were calculated.

Results: Mean levels of CRP, body temperature, and leukocyte count were significantly lower on the second day after hospital admission and even lower on the fifth day. A positive correlation of medium strength was found between the level of CRP on the second day of hospitalization and the length of hospital stay (P < 0.001, rs = 0.447), and a negative correlation was noted between the decrease in CRP level from the first to second day and the length of hospital stay.

Conclusions: CRP levels correlated with body temperature and leukocyte count, traditional markers of inflammation. A greater decrease in CRP level between the first and second day of hospitalization was associated with shorter hospital stay and rapid improvement. These findings support the use of CRP as a marker for the severity and complication of CAP.

October 2011
R. Farah and N. Makhoul

Background: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are a major problem worldwide and are usually the main indication for mechanical ventilation (MV), especially in the intensive care unit (ICU). The rate of weaning failure is also high and prolonged MV leads to complications of intubation. The goal is to wean these patients as soon as possible.

Objective: To determine the optimal time necessary to start the weaning process.

Methods: In an attempt to determine the length of MV and stay in the ICU, we compared the length of MV, weaning, re-intubations and discharge during a 10 month period. This study included 122 patients on MV due to severe exacerbation of COPD who were not suitable for non-invasive ventilation. For each patient serial arterial blood gases were measured at admission and during hospitalization. PeCO2 (mixed expired CO2) was tested using a Datex S/5 instrument at follow-up.

Results: The study population comprised all patients who required MV; of these 122, 108 were ventilated from 6 to 140 hours (average 48 ± 42), 9 needed more than 168 hours, and 5 died due to severe ventilation-associated pneumonia. No correlation was found between pH, PCO2 and length of MV; these findings did not contribute to evaluation of the patient’s condition nor did they enable us to predict the length of treatment necessary.

Conclusion: Most of the patients (93%) ventilated for acute respiratory failure due to COPD required MV for only 6–90 hours.

April 2011
R. Farah and N, Makhoul

Background: Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization is a severe illness with high mortality, especially if the appropriate treatment is delayed. Sometimes diagnosis is difficult due to an equivocal clinical picture or chest film, or to accompanying diseases that mask or simulate pneumonia.

Objectives: To assess the usefulness of certain inflammatory markers to differentiate pulmonary edema from pneumonia throughout the hospital stay in patients admitted for pneumonia or pulmonary edema of non-infectious origin and to monitor the response to treatment.

Methods: The study group comprised 50 patients admitted for pneumonia, 50 admitted for pulmonary edema and 30 healthy individuals. Blood samples for determination of leukocyte count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), fibrinogen, C-reactive protein (CRP), albumin, sCD14 and oxidized fibrinogen were drawn upon admission, at 48 and 72 hours after admission, and at discharge from the intensive care unit.

Results: The levels of sCD14 were similar in both patient groups but higher than control levels during the first 48 hours (P < 0.03). They decreased gradually with hospital stay. The concentration of oxidized fibrinogen was similar in both patient groups and significantly lower than that of the healthy control group throughout the hospitalization period.

Conclusions: Oxidized fibrinogen and sCD14 are not reliable markers for the diagnosis of pneumonia, for its differential diagnosis from pulmonary edema, and for patient follow-up throughout hospitalization. The finding of elevated levels of oxidized fibrinogen in the group of healthy controls warrants further study to identify the factors responsible for altering fibrinogen oxidation. The other markers are more indicative.
 

March 2007
R. Farah, A. Samokhvalov, F. Zviebel and N. Makhou

Background: Hyperglycemia is common among patients admitted to intensive care units, and carries the risk for complications and prolonged ICU[1] stay. With intensive insulin control of blood glucose, morbidity and mortality can be reduced.

Objectives: To determine whether intensive or conventional insulin control of blood glucose in hyperglycemic ICU patients correlated with the prognosis.

Methods: Following admission to the ICU, hyperglycemic patients were randomly assigned to a group treated intensively with insulin targeting glucose at 110–140 mg/dl, or to a conventional insulin therapy group, where glucose, upon exceeding 200 mg/dl, was controlled at 140–200 mg/dl. Rates of morbidity and mortality, hypoglycemic episodes, and insulin dosage were compared.

Results: In the 41 patients treated intensively with insulin the glucose level was 142 ± 14 mg/dl, as compared to 174 ± 20 mg/dl in the 48 patients on conventional insulin treatment. Both groups were similar in age, acute physiology and chronic health evaluation score. Morbidity was also similar, except for increased vascular damage in the conventional treatment group and slightly shorter ICU stay in the intensive therapy group. Both groups had similar in-ICU, in-hospital, and 28 day mortalities, and similar rates of hypoglycemic episodes. The daily dosage of insulin was significantly higher with the conventional treatment (P = 0.004).

Conclusions: Intensive insulin treatment did not affect the mortality or morbidity rates in ICU patients. The increased insulin dosage of conventional insulin treatment was attributable to the group's higher prevalence of diabetes. Future studies should address this bias and determine the optimal glucose target.  

 






[1] ICU = intensive care unit


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