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עמוד בית
Tue, 27.02.24

Search results


August 2023
Netta Shoenfeld BA, Nancy Agmon-Levin MD, David R. Serfaty MD, Revital Mann MD, Bat-Sheva Porat Katz MD, Rael D. Strous MD MHA

Background: While several studies have noted smell impairment in schizophrenia, it is unclear whether this impairment extends to acute psychosis and whether it is associated with more severe illness as expressed in extended hospitalization.

Objectives: To evaluate the olfactory function of patients in an acute psychotic state and correlate it with clinical symptomatology and length of hospitalization.

Methods: Olfactory function was assessed in 20 patients with schizophrenia in their first week of hospital admission for acute psychosis compared with matched controls. Olfaction was evaluated via three stages: threshold, discrimination, and identification of different odors utilizing the Sniffin' Sticks test battery.

Results: Schizophrenia patients scored significantly lower on total smell score, discrimination, and identification abilities. A significant association was observed between hospitalization duration and total smell score and smell discrimination. No significant associations between smell and clinical symptomatology were observed.

Conclusions: Study observations confirm impaired sense of smell in schizophrenia patients and suggest that smell impairment may be a potential marker of more serious illness as expressed in longer hospital stay.

October 2022
Ofira Zloto, M.D., Oded Sagiv, M.D., Ayelet Priel, M.D., Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, M.D., Amir Tirosh, M.D. , Nancy Agmon-Levin, M.D., Shiran Madgar, M.D., Tal Serlin, M.D., Halit Winter, M.D. Ruth Huna-Baron, M.D., Tamara Wygnanski-Jaffe, M.D., Guy Ben Simon, M.D.

Background: Little is known about the success of multidisciplinary thyroid eye disease (TED) clinic.

Objectives: To present the characteristics, treatments, and outcomes of patients treated in a multidisciplinary TED clinic.

Methods: A medical record review of all patients who attended a TED clinic was performed. Data included demographics, medical history, laboratory tests, visual function tests, ocular examinations, clinical activity score (CAS), and assessment of quality-of-life (QOL).

Results: Clinic visits included 132 patients seen during 385 appointments at a TED clinic (mean 12 appointments per patient). Management of TED included medical treatments for 48 patients (36.3%) and surgical treatment for 56 (42.4%). There was a positive significant correlation between the CAS and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) activity at the first visit and at the last follow-up visit (P < 0.01 and P < 0.02, respectively). However, no correlation was found between the CAS and the thyroid-stimulating hormone levels or between the free triiodothyronine (fT3) and fT4 levels at the first or last visit. There was a significant negative correlation between the CAS and color vision (-0.347, P < 0.01, Pearson correlation) at the first visit, but not between the CAS and visual acuity and visual field at either the first or last visit. Changes in the QOL and the CAS scores were significantly negatively correlated (-0.240, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Treatment and management decisions for TED should be based on multiple parameters including clinical examinations by ophthalmologists and endocrinologists, laboratory tests, and CAS and QOL scores.

March 2022
Inbar Nardi-Agmon MD MPH, Alona Zer MD, Yuri Peysakhovich MD, Ili Margalit MD, Ran Kornowski MD, Nir Peled MD PhD, and Zaza Iakobishvili MD PhD

Background: No specific clinical or histological factors are recognized to be associated with the development of pericardial effusion in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) other than a metastatic disease.

Objectives: To assess whether specific clinical and histological features are associated with development of pericardial effusion in patients with NSCLC.

Methods: A consecutive cohort of patients with NSCLC who presented with symptomatic pericardial effusion 2014–2017 was compared to a control group of patients with advanced NSCLC without pericardial effusion.

Results: The 27 patients in the effusion group were generally younger, more often female, and with a higher percentage of never-smokers, compared to the 54 patients of the control group. Epidermal growth factor receptor/anaplastic lymphoma kinase (EGFR/ALK) mutation tumors were found in 48% of patients in the effusion group vs. 25% in the control group. In the multivariate analysis, the unadjusted odds ratio (OR) for the development of pericardial effusion in patients with somatic mutations was significantly higher compared to wild type tumors (OR 2.65, 95% confidence interval 1.00–7.00). However, a suspected association between pericardial effusion and mutation status was found to be confounded by age. While a high rate of recurrence was observed when pericardiocentesis was initially performed (9/17, 53%), no recurrence was documented when pericardial window procedure was performed (total of 17 patients).

Conclusions: Patients with EGFR/ALK mutations may be at higher risk for the development of pericardial effusion; therefore, attending physicians need to be aware and have a high index of clinical suspicion

February 2022
Erez Marcusohn MD, Maria Postnikov MD, Ofer Kobo MD, Yaron Hellman MD, Diab Mutlak MD, Danny Epstein MD, Yoram Agmon MD, Lior Gepstein MD PHD, and Robert Zukermann MD

Background: The diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFIB) related cardiomyopathy relies on ruling out other causes for heart failure and on recovery of left ventricular (LV) function following return to sinus rhythm (SR). The pathophysiology underlying this pathology is multifactorial and not as completely known as the factors associated with functional recovery following the restoration of SR.

Objectives: To identify clinical and echocardiographic factors associated with LV systolic function improvement following electrical cardioversion (CV) or after catheter ablation in patients with reduced ejection fraction (EF) related to AFIB and normal LV function at baseline.

Methods: The study included patients with preserved EF at baseline while in SR whose LVEF had reduced while in AFIB and improved LVEF following CV. We compared patients who had improved LVEF to normal baseline to those who did not.

Results: Eighty-six patients with AFIB had evidence of reduced LV systolic function and improved EF following return to SR. Fifty-five (64%) returned their EF to baseline. Patients with a history of ischemic heart disease (IHD), worse LV function, and larger LV size during AFIB were less likely to return to normal LV function. Multivariant analysis revealed that younger patients with slower ventricular response, a history of IHD, larger LV size, and more significant deterioration of LVEF during AFIB were less likely to recover their EF to baseline values.

Conclusions: Patients with worse LV function and larger left ventricle during AFIB are less likely to return their baseline LV function following the restoration of sinus rhythm.

August 2019
Michael J. Segel MD, Alexander Kogan MD, Sergey Preissman MD, Nancy Agmon-Levin MD, Aaron Lubetsky MD MSc, Paul Fefer MD, Hans-Joachim Schaefers MD and Ehud Raanani MD

Background: Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare, distinct pulmonary vascular disease, which is caused by chronic obstruction of major pulmonary arteries. CTEPH can be cured by pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA). PEA for CTEPH is a challenging procedure, and patient selection and the perioperative management are complex, requiring significant experience.

Objectives: To describe the establishment of a national CTEPH–PEA center in Israel and present results of surgery.

Methods: In this study, we reviewed the outcomes of PEA in a national referral, multi-disciplinary center for CTEPH–PEA. The center was established by collaborating with a high-volume center in Europe. A multidisciplinary team from our hospital (pulmonary hypertension specialist, cardiac surgeon, cardiac anesthesiologist and cardiac surgery intensivist was trained under the guidance of an experienced team from the European center.

Results: A total of 38 PEA procedures were performed between 2008 and 2018. We included 28 cases in this analysis for which long-term follow-up data were available. There were two hospital deaths (7%). At follow-up, median New York Heart Association (NYHA) class improved from III to I (P < 0.0001), median systolic pulmonary pressure decreased from 64 mmHg to 26 mmHg (P < 0.0001), and significant improvements were seen in right ventricular function and exercise capacity.

Conclusions: A national center for performance of a rare and complex surgical procedure can be successfully established by collaboration with a high-volume center and by training a dedicated multidisciplinary team.

December 2017
Sandra Benizri, Nancy Agmon-Levin, Noam D. Kitrey, Dan Carter, Elinor Goshen and Yehonathan Sharabi

A 47 year old man presented with a combination of dry mouth and lightheadedness while standing. His medical background was unremarkable except for cigarette smoking and hyperlipidemia. Sjögren’s syndrome was ruled out, and he was referred for evaluation of orthostatic hypotension, which by then included syncopal episodes and injuries. Additional symptoms included dry eyes, constipation, reduced sweating, and erectile dysfunction. After excluding medications and structural cardiac abnormalities as causes of orthostatic hypotension, a clinical autonomic evaluation was performed. The pattern of beat-to-beat blood pressure associated with performance of the Valsalva maneuver, and a low plasma norepinephrine level that did not increase in response to standing, established that the orthostatic hypotension was neurogenic. Treatment with an alpha-adrenoceptor agonist and fludrocortisone yielded partial improvement. After systemic diseases involving autonomic failure were excluded, cardiac sympathetic neuroimaging was performed by 123I-metaliodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scanning. The normal uptake seen in the heart indicated intact post ganglionic sympathetic innervation. There were no signs of central neurodegeneration or peripheral neuropathy. Because of symptoms and signs of both parasympathetic and sympathetic failure without denervation, an autonomic ganglionopathy was considered. A high titer of antibody to the neuronal nicotinic receptor, which mediates ganglionic neurotransmission, was obtained. The diagnosis of autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG) was made, and the management strategy shifted to first lowering the antibody burden by plasma exchanges and then instituting chronic anti-autoimmune treatment with rituximab and a low dose of cortiosteroid. The patient showed remarkable improvement.

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.

October 2015
Fruma Tzur MSc, Michal Chowers MD, Nancy Agmon-Levin MD, Yoseph A. Mekori MD and Alon Y. Hershko MD PhD

Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic sequel in people infected with HIV, especially following the advent of HAART. This may be a particular concern in immigrants due to lifestyle changes. 

Objectives: To characterize the prevalence of DM in HIV-infected Ethiopians in Israel, and to define the risk factors.

Methods: We retrospectively screened the records of 173 HIV-infected Ethiopians and 69 HIV-infected non-Ethiopian HIV patients currently registered at the HIV Clinic of Meir Medical Center. Data were also retrieved from 1323 non-HIV Ethiopians treated in the hospital between 2007 and 2012. The presence of DM was determined by family physician diagnosis as recorded in the hospital database or by the presence of one or more of the following: fasting glucose > 127 mg/dl, hA1C > 6.5% (> 48 mmol/mol), or blood glucose > 200 mg/dl. Population data and risk factors for DM were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analyses. 

Results: Among HIV-infected Ethiopian subjects, the prevalence of DM was 31% (54/173) compared to 4% (3/69) in HIV-infected non-Ethiopians and 8% (102/1323) in non-HIV-infected Ethiopians (P < 0.0001). The relatively increased prevalence of DM was age independent, but most noticeable in those under the median age (< 42 years). Body mass index (BMI) was a predictor for DM (OR 1.263, CI 1.104–1.444, P = 0.001), although its values did not vary between the two ethnic groups. 

Conclusions: HIV-infected Ethiopians are more likely to develop DM at low BMI values compared to non-Ethiopians. This observation questions the relevance of accepted BMI values in this population and suggests that preventive measures against DM be routinely taken in these subjects. 

 

October 2014
Lucija Tomljenovic PhD, Maria-Teresa Arango MSc and Nancy Agmon-Levin MD
Serena Colafrancesco MD, Roberta Priori MD PhD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Elisa Astorri MD PhD, Carlo Perricone MD, Miri Blank PhD, Nancy Agmon-Levin MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Guido Valesini MD
August 2014
Menachem Rottem MD, Ramit Segal MD, Shmuel Kivity MD, Laliv Shamshines MD, Yael Graif MD, Meir Shalit MD, Aharon Kessel MD, Josef Panasoff MD, Shai Cohen MD, Elias Toubi MD and Nancy Agmon-Levin MD

Background: Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a common, debilitating disease that is frequently resistant to standard therapy. Omalizumab, anti-immunoglobulin-E humanized monoclonal antibody, was recently shown to be effective in treating resistant CSU.

Objectives: To investigated the treatment of CSU with omalizumab in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis of patients with refractory CSU treated with omalizuamb in Israel during 2012–2013. Complete improvement was defined as resolution of symptoms with no need for other medications, or satisfactory when patients’ condition improved but required regular or intermittent doses of antihistamines.

Results: Forty-three patients received omalizumab off-label for refractory CSU. Their mean age was 45 ± 12 years and CSU duration was 4.3 ± 4 years. In this cohort, 98% were unsuccessfully treated with high dose H(1)-antihistamines, 88% with systemic glucocorticoids and 30% with cyclosporine and/or other immune-modulators. Fourteen patients received only one injection of omalizumab, while the other 29 received on average of 4.3 ± 3.2 injections; 30 patients received 150 mg/month and 13 received 300 mg/month. Following omalizumab therapy, disease remitted within weeks in 86% of patients, of whom half achieved complete remission. The latter was associated with usage of high dose omalizumab, 300 mg/month vs. 150 mg/month (P = 0.02) and repeated therapy (i.e., multiple injections vs. a single injection) (P = 0.0005).

Conclusions: Omalizumab is an effective and safe treatment for refractory CSU with rapid onset of action for inducing and maintaining remission. Treating CSU patients mandates an individual approach, because while low dose omalizumab will suffice for some patients others might need higher doses and prolonged therapy. 

March 2011
P. Brown, D.S. Seidman, Y. Shapira and N. Agmon-Levin
February 2011
R. Da Costa, M. Szyper-Kravitz, Z. Szekanecz, T. Csépány, K. Dankó, Y. Shapira, G. Zandman-Goddard, H. Orbach, N. Agmon-Levin and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) and although it is a well-established autoimmune disease its ethiopathogenesis has yet to be fully elucidated. The disease may present in several clinical forms that are closely associated with disease morbidity. In recent years various environmental and hormonal factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity.

Objectives: To evaluate ferritin and prolactin levels in MS patients and their correlation with clinical manifestations of the disease.

Methods: Serum samples from 150 multiple sclerosis patients were evaluated for demographic characteristics, clinical parameters as well as prolactin and ferritin levels utilizing the Liaison chemiluminescent immunoassays (DiaSorin, Italy). Sera from 100 matched healthy donors were used as controls.

Results: Hyperprolactinemia was documented in 10 of 150 MS patients (6.7%) and hyperferritinemia in 12 (8%), both of which were significantly more common in this group compared with healthy controls (P ≤ 0.01 and P = 0.02 respectively). Among female MS patients, elevated prolactin levels were related to the secondary progressive type of disease (P = 0.05), whereas hyperferritinemia was associated with male gender (P = 0.03) and with the relapsing progressive type of the disease (P = 0.02). An inverse association was found between hyperferritinemia and the relapsing-remitting type of MS in male patients (P = 0.05)

Conclusions: Our results suggest a plausible association between these biomarkers and certain clinical types and gender among MS patients. Further studies combining clinical data, CNS imaging and these markers are warranted.
 

December 2010
Y. Oren, Y. Shapira, N. Agmon-Levin, S. Kivity, Y. Zafrir, A. Altman, A. Lerner and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Hypovitaminosis D has been shown to be extremely common in various regions around the world, mostly at high latitudes. Israel is characterized by certain features – cultural (e.g., ethnic isolates) and geographic (e.g., sunny climate) – that have been identified for their possible association with vitamin D status.

Objectives: To conduct an ecological study on a representative sample of the population of Israel, testing vitamin D status across age groups, genders, ethnic groups, and seasons.

Methods: We obtained serum samples from 195 healthy Israeli volunteers representing a broad demographic spectrum. Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D were measured with the commercial kit Liaison 25(OH)D Assay (DiaSorin, Italy).

Results: The mean vitamin D level for the entire cohort was surprisingly low (22.9 ± 10.1 ng/ml), with 149 subjects (78%) suffering from vitamin D insufficiency (< 30 ng/ml). Vitamin D status was better in infants than in older age groups. Differences by gender were significant only in the infant age group (i.e., vitamin D status was worse among females) and were not prominent across older ages. Israelis of Ashkenazi origin had higher vitamin D mean levels than those of Sephardic origin, who, in turn, had higher vitamin D levels than Arab subjects (31.4 ± 12, 24.1 ± 10, and 17.6 ± 9 ng/ml respectively). With regard to season, there were no differences between the samples collected in winter and the samples collected in summer.

Conclusions: The results suggest that hypovitaminosis D is common across all ages, genders and seasons in Israel, a country characterized by a sunny Mediterranean climate. Specific ethnic groups may be at especially high risk.

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