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עמוד בית
Wed, 28.02.24

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November 2006
R. Hirsch and J.Y. Streifler
 Congenital heart disease is usually regarded as an esoteric field of medicine, dealt with primarily by dedicated specialists. However, over the last two decades a much broader attention has been given by the medical profession, the media and the general public, to the possible association between a minor and common congenital heart defect, namely a patent foramen ovale, and stroke. In recent months, unusual and unfortunate circumstances have made this topic one of the most fiercely debated medical issues in Israel. It is the belief of the authors of this paper that the association of PFO[1] and stroke can be better understood if the PFO is viewed as part of a broader aspect of congenital heart disease, and as such it will be presented. Paradoxical embolism is a mechanism of stroke unique to congenital heart disease. The direction and volume of shunted blood in various conditions have a central role in determining the risk of stroke, as will be explained. With this basic knowledge in mind, we shall critically assess the potential role of PFO in stroke patients, suggesting that each case be evaluated individually using the above-mentioned principles. Conditions that enhance the formation of clot or other embolic material will be discussed briefly. The review will conclude with the various treatment options and our center's own experience with this challenging topic.







[1] PFO = patent foramen ovale


July 2006
I. Arad, M. Baras, B. Bar-Oz and R. Gofin
 Background: Maternal transport, rather than neonatal transport, to tertiary care centers is generally advocated. Since a substantial number of premature deliveries still occur in hospitals with level I and level II nurseries, it is imperative to find means to improve their outcome.

Objectives: To compare the neonatal outcome (survival, intraventricular hemorrhage and bronchopulmonary dysplasia) of inborn and outborn very low birth weight infants, accounting for sociodemographic, obstetric and perinatal variables, with reference to earlier published data.

Methods: We compared 129 premature infants with birth weights of 750–1250 g delivered between 1996 and 2000 in a hospital providing neonatal intensive care to 99 premature babies delivered in a referring hospital. In the statistical analysis, variables with a statistical significant association with the outcome variables and dissimilar distribution in the two hospitals were identified and entered together with the hospital of birth as explanatory variables in a logistic regression.

Results: Accounting for the covariates, the odds ratios (outborns relative to inborns) were 0.31 (95% confidence interval = 0.11–0.86, P = 0.03) for mortality, 1.37 (95%CI[1] = 0.64–2.96, P = 0.42) for severe intraventricular hemorrhage, and 0.86 (95%CI = 0.38–1.97, P = 0.78) for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The odds ratio for survival without severe intraventricular hemorrhage was 1.10 (95%CI = 0.55–2.20, P = 0.78). Comparing the current results with earlier (1990–94) published data from the same institution showed that mortality decreased in both the outborn and inborn infants (OR[2] = 0.23, 95%CI = 0.09–0.58, P = 0.002 and 0.46; 95%CI = 0.20–1.04, P = 0.06, respectively), but no significant change in the incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage or brochopulmonary dysplasia was observed. Increased survival was observed also in these infants receiving surfactant, more so among the outborn. The latter finding could be attributed to the early, pre-transport surfactant administration, implemented only during the current study.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that very low birth weight outborn infants may share an outcome comparable with that of inborn babies, if adequate perinatal care including surfactant administration is provided prior to transportation to a tertiary center.


 





[1] CI = confidence interval

[2] OR = odds ratio


May 2006
June 2005
M. Arad, H. Lahat and D. Freimark
 Familial cardiomyopathies represent a substantial portion of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy in clinical practice. Diversity of clinical presentations and variability in penetrance lead to under-recognition of this disease entity as an inherited disorder. The mechanisms by which mutations in different genes perturb cardiac function and lead to pathologic remodeling help understand the molecular pathways in disease pathogenesis and define the potential targets for therapeutic interventions. Appreciating when DCM[1] is inherited might spare unnecessary diagnostic efforts and, instead, help give appropriate attention to the timely detection of subclinically affected family members. Establishing preventive therapy in asymptomatic family members showing early signs of cardiac dysfunction might prevent death and slow down progression to end-stage heart failure.


 





[1] DCM = dilated cardiomyopathy


November 2003
E.H. Mizrachi, S. Noy, B-A. Sela, Y. Fleissig, M. Arad and A. Adunsky

Background: A high total plasma homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, but the evidence connecting plasma tHcy level with hypertension is inconsistent.

Objective: To determine the association between plasma tHcy level and some common risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (recurrent  stroke, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and hyperlipidemia) in patients presenting with primary or recurrent acute ischemic strokes.

Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional chart analysis was conducted in a university-affiliated referral hospital. During an 18 month period we identified 113 acute ischemic stroke patients (mean age 71.2), 25 of whom had a recurrent stroke. Plasma tHcy[1] level, obtained 2–10 days after stroke onset, was determined by the high performance liquid chromatography method with fluorescence detection. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the independent relationship between each potential risk factor and tHcy level above or below the 75th percentile.

Results:  Hypertension was more frequent among patients with plasma tHcy level above than below the 75th percentile (51.7% vs. 80.8%, respectively, P = 0.012). After adjusting for demographic and clinical variables, the odds ratio for recurrent stroke and hypertension, with tHcy above or below the 75th percentile, was 3.4 (95% confidence interval 1.01–10.4, P = 0.037) and 4.02 (95% CI[2] 1.2–13.9, P = 0.028), respectively.

Conclusions: A high plasma tHcy level is associated with history of hypertension and recurrent stroke among patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke. These results were independent of other risk factors such as atrial fibrillation, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Hypertensive stroke patients with hyperhomocysteinemia should be identified as high risk patients as compared to non-hypertensive stroke patients, and may warrant more vigorous measures for secondary prevention.






[1] tHcy = total plasma homocysteine



[2] CI = confidence interval


July 2002
Raymond Kaempfer, PhD, Gila Arad, PhD, Revital Levy, BA and Dalia Hillman, BA

Background: Superantigens produced by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are among the most lethal of toxins. Toxins in this family trigger an excessive cellular immune response leading to toxic shock.

Objectives: To design an antagonist that is effective in vivo against a broad spectrum of superantigen toxins.

Methods: Short peptide antagonists were selected for their ability to inhibit superantigen-induced expression of human genes for cytokines that mediate shock. The ability of these peptides to protect mice against lethal toxin challenge was examined.

Results: Antagonist peptide protected mice against lethal challenge with staphylococcal enterotoxin B and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1, superantigens that share only 6% overall amino acid homology. Moreover, it rescued mice undergoing toxic shock. Antagonist peptides show homology to a β-strand/hinge/a-helix domain that is structurally conserved among superantigens, yet remote from known binding sites for the major histocompatibility class II molecule and T cell receptor that function in toxic T cell hyperactivation.

Conclusions: The lethal effect of superantigens can be blocked with a peptide antagonist that inhibits their action at the top of the toxicity cascade, before activation of T cells occurs. Superantigenic toxin antagonists may serve not only as countermeasures to biologic warfare but may be useful in the treatment of staphylococcal and streptococcal toxic shock, as well as in some cases of septic shock.
 

April 2002
Abraham Adunsky, MD, Rami Levi, MD, Aharon Cecic, MD, Marina Arad, MD, Shlomo Noy, MD and Vita Barell, BA

Background: The progressive increase in the number of elderly patients with hip fractures and the particular multidisciplinary needs of this population call for the investigation of other models of orthogeriatric care.

Objectives: To describe the nature and assess the feasibility of a comprehensive orthogeriatric unit attending to patients' surgical, medical and rehabilitation needs in a single setting.

Methods: This retrospective chart review describes consecutive older patients with hip fractures admitted directly from the emergency ward to an orthogeriatric ward.

Results: The mean age of the 116 patients evaluated was 82.4 years. Delay to surgery was 3.6±3.1 days and total length of stay 23.9±11.0 days. No patient was transferred to other acute medical wards of the hospital and 66.4% were able to return to their previous living place. Rates of major complications and mortality were extremely low.

Conclusion: The present model of a comprehensive orthogeriatric ward is a practical, applicable and feasible service for elderly hip fracture patients and can cover the various needs of these patients. The deployment arrangements needed to establish and operate the ward were minimal and there were only a few management and organizational problems. The cost-effectiveness and other comparative benefits of this type of service have yet to be clarified.
 

February 2001
Shaul Sukenik, MD, Ron Baradin, MD, Shlomi Codish, MD, Lily Neumann, PhD, Daniel Flusser, MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra, MD and Dan Buskila, MD

Background: Balneotherapy has been successfully used to treat various rheumatic diseases, but has only recently been evaluated for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Since no effective treatment exists for this common rheumatic disease, comple­mentary methods of treatment have been attempted.

Objectives:To assess the effectiveness of batneotherapy at the Dead Sea area in the treatment of patients suffering from both fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia were treated with various modalities of bat­neotherapy at the Dead Sea area. Clinical indices assessed were duration of morning stiffness, number of active joints, a point count of 18 fibrositic tender points, and determination of the threshold of tenderness in nine fibrositic and in four control points using a dolorimeter.

Results: The number of active joints was reduced from 18.4+10.9 to 9+8.2 (P< 0.001). The number of tender points was reduced from 12.6+2 to 7.1±5 in men (P<0.003) and from 13.1+2 to 7.5+3.7 in women (P<0.001). A significant improvement was found in dolorimetric threshold readings after the treatment period in women (P< 0.001). No correlation was observed between the reduction in the number of active joints and the reduction in the number of tender points in the same patients (r= 0.2).

Conclusions: Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area appears to produce a statistically significant substantial improvement in the number of active joints and tender points in both male and female patients with fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. Further research is needed to elucidate the distinction between the benefits of staying at the Dead Sea area without balneotherapy and the effects of balneotherapy in the study population.

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