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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.04.24

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February 2023
Aviv Barzilai MD MSc, Hila Greenbaum MD MPH, Monica Huszar MD, Sergei Ikher MD, Avner Shemer MD, Sharon Baum MD

Background: Diagnosis of onychomycosis is based on potassium hydroxide (KOH), direct smear, culture, and polymerase chain reaction. Nail clippings are rarely used as a diagnostic tool.

Objectives: To evaluate nail clippings for the diagnosis of onychomycosis and to compare it to KOH smears.

Methods: Nail clipping specimens of 39 patients were collected: 34 with onychomycosis proved by positive culture and 5 from normal nails. The specimens were submitted to histological processing and then stained with periodic acid–Schiff (PAS) and Grocott-Gomori's methenamine silver (GMS) stains. For each nail, KOH smear was also performed. Two pathologists who had no information on the KOH smear and the culture results evaluated the nail clipping histology for the presence of fungal element. Their assessment was compared to the KOH smear and culture results.

Results: Of the 34 specimens that had positive culture, 25 were dermatophytes, 5 were molds, and 4 were candida. Clipping specimens were positive in 30 cases (88%): 23/25 dermatophyte, 4/5 molds, and 3/4 candida. Pathologists were able to classify the pathogens into dermatophytes and non-dermatophytes based on the morphology. PAS stain results were the same as GMS in evaluation of the nail specimen. KOH smear was positive in 29 nails (85%): 20/25 dermatophytes, all 5 molds, and 4 candida. In all five nails where the culture was negative, both clipping and KOH smear did not show fungal elements.

Conclusion: Nail clippings can serve as a rapid, inexpensive, and reliable method for evaluation of onychomycosis, comparable to KOH smear, with the advantage of pathogen group identification.

December 2022
Felix Pavlotsky MD, Arik Alkhazov BMED Sc, Aviv Barzilai MD, Alon Scope MD

Background: The adherence to a narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) treatment plan is derived, in large part, from the patient’s skin tolerance to the phototherapy dose. At present, the initial and first-month incremental phototherapy doses are determined prior to treatment initiation based on the patient's Fitzpatrick skin phototyping.

Objectives: To identify variables that predict adherence to NB-UVB first-month treatment dosage plan.

Methods: Charts of 1000 consecutive patients receiving NB-UVB at a hospital-based phototherapy unit were retrospectively analyzed. We included patients receiving NB-UVB for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, and mycosis fungoides. The first-month NB-UVB treatment plan was determined based on the patient's Fitzpatrick phototype. Adherence to treatment was defined as receiving at least 80% of the planned first-month cumulative dose. We compared adherent vs. non-adherent patient groups for age, sex, Fitzpatrick phototype, presence of freckles, nevus count category, and type of dermatological disease.

Results: The study included 817 eligible patients, mean age 40 (2–95) years; 54% men; 32% had Fitzpatrick phototype I-II. Distribution by diagnosis was atopic dermatitis (29%), psoriasis (27%), vitiligo (23%), and mycosis fungoides (21%). Adherence to NB-UVB treatment plan was observed in 71% of patients. Adherence decreased with age, with 7% decrease per year (P = 0.03) and was higher among mycosis fungoides patients (77.3%) compared to all other diagnoses (69.8%; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Adherence to NB-UVB treatment may be related to age and diagnosis. Fitzpatrick phototype-based first-month treatment plans should be modified accordingly.

June 2021
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Gianfranco Miceli MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Background: There is a lack of real-life clinical data for biosimilar etanercept, an anti-TNF blocking fusion protein. We describe the comparable efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-life clinical setting. Our data confirm that a biosimilar etanercept can be safely used as first-line treatment as well as in patients switched from a previous originator compound.

Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in a cohort of RA patients attending two Italian hospitals.

Methods: The study involved 81 consecutive adult RA patients treated for at least 6 months with originator or biosimilar etanercept and considered their clinical and laboratory data, concomitant medications, and adverse events at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

Results: Group 1 included 51 patients taking originator etanercept; group 2 included 30 taking biosimilar etanercept, including 19 who had been switched from the reference product. Despite a significant baseline difference in clinical disease activity, one-way analysis of variance showed that the two groups were clinically comparable after 6 months of treatment, and the same was true when only those receiving etanercept as first-line biological treatment were considered. Nine patients discontinued the treatment due to inefficacy or adverse events, which were never serious and were only reported in group 1.

Conclusions: The efficacy and safety profiles of originator and biosimilar etanercept are comparable in RA patients in a real-life clinical setting. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings

September 2019
Hana Feuerman MD, Igor Snast MD, Iris Amitay-Laish MD, Osnat Bairey MD, Aviv Barzilai MD, Maora Feinmesser MD, Daniel Mimouni MD, Einat Even-Sapir MD and Emmilia Hodak MD

Background: Whole-body integrated positron emission tomography / contrast-enhanced computed tomography (PET/CT) scan is increasingly used in cutaneous lymphomas. However, the value of PET/CT in the detection of cutaneous lesions in primary cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (PCBCL) has barely been investigated.

Objectives: To investigate the diagnostic accuracy of PET/CT in tracking cutaneous involvement in PCBCL.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on 35 consecutive patients diagnosed with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma according to the World Health Organization classification who were evaluated with PET/CT as the initial staging procedure before treatment.

Results: Thirty-five patients met the study criteria. In two patients extracutaneous disease was detected by PET/CT and CT and confirmed by biopsy. Of the 33 patients with PCBCL, 26 (79%) had small cell PCBCL (18 marginal-zone, 8 follicle-center lymphoma) and 7 (21%) had large cell PCBCL (3 follicle-center, 3 leg-type, 1 indeterminate). PET/CT detected skin lesions in 3 of 26 patients (12%) with small-cell PCBCL as compared to 6 of 7 patients with large-cell PCBLC (86%), a 7.4-fold detection risk (95% confidence interval, 2.4–22, P = 0.004). The PET-positive subgroup was characterized by larger lesion size (P < 0.001) and a higher Ki-67 proliferation index (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The sensitivity of PET/CT for detecting cutaneous involvement of lymphomas is low for small-cell PCBCL but high for large-cell types, and thus may facilitate therapeutic strategies.

January 2019
Itay Wiser MD PHD, Roni Averbuch Sagie MD, Liran Barzilai MD, Moti Haratz MD and Josef Haik MD MPH

Background: Burn injury pathophysiology is characterized by severe catabolic state and poor glycemic control. A tight glycemic control protocol using insulin for burn victims has yielded inconsistent mortality and morbidity outcomes.

Objectives: To compare the effect of standard and tight glycemic control protocols on mortality and hypoglycemia events in critical care burn patients.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study of burn victims admitted to the burn intensive care unit between 2005 and 2011. Patients were assigned to either a standard or a tight glycemic control protocol.

Results: Of the 38 burn patients in the study, 28 were under a tight glycemic control protocol. No differences in glucose area-under-the-curve per day levels were observed between the groups (148.3 ± 16 vs. 157.8 ± 16 mg/dl in the standard and tight glycemic control protocol groups respectively, P < 0.12). The hypoglycemic event rate was higher in the tight glycemic control protocol group (46.4% vs. 0%, P < 0.008). No difference in mortality rate was noted (67.9% vs. 50%, P < 0.31). Mortality-independent risk factors found on multivariate analysis included total body surface area (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.039, 95% confidence interval  [95%CI] 1.02–1.06, P < 0.001), white blood cell count on admission (AHR 1.048, 95%CI 1.01–1.09, P < 0.02) and surgery during hospitalization (AHR 0.348, 95%CI 0.13–0.09, P < 0.03).

Conclusions: The tight glycemic control protocol in burn patients was associated with higher rates of hypoglycemic events, and no association was found with improved survival in the acute setting of burn trauma care.

December 2018
Raviv Allon BsC, Yahav Levy MD, Idit Lavi MA, Aviv Kramer MD, Menashe Barzilai MD and Ronit Wollstein MD

Because fragility fractures have an enormous impact on the practice of medicine and global health systems, effective screening is imperative. Currently, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which has limited ability to predict fractures, is being used. We evaluated the current literature for a method that may constitute a better screening method to predict fragility fractures. A systematic review of the literature was conducted on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound to evaluate screening methods to predict fragility fractures. We found that ultrasound had sufficient data on fracture prediction to perform meta-analysis; therefore, we analyzed prospective ultrasound cohort studies. Six study populations, consisting of 29,299 individuals (87,296 person-years of observation) and including 992 fractures, were analyzed. MRI was found to be sensitive and specific for osteoporosis, but its use for screening has not been sufficiently evaluated and more research is needed on cost, accessibility, technical challenges, and sensitivity and specificity. CT could predict fracture occurrence; however, it may be problematic for screening due to cost, exposure to radiation, and availability. Ultrasound was found to predict fracture occurrence with an increased risk of 1.45 (95% confidence interval 1.21–1.73) to fracture. Ultrasound has not replaced DXA as a screening tool for osteoporosis, perhaps due to operator-dependency and difficulty in standardization of testing.

March 2018
Michal Solomon MD, Aviv Barzilai MD, Hila Elphasy MD, Henri Trau MD and Sharon Baum MD

Background: Erysipelas, an acute infection of the dermal and subcutaneous tissue, is normally treated with antibiotics. Previous data indicated that treatment with prednisone in combination with antibiotics results in significant acceleration of the healing phase.

Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of corticosteroids combined with antibiotics for the treatment of erysipelas.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on hospitalized patients diagnosed with erysipelas between 2004 and 2011 at the Department of Dermatology at Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Data included epidemiology, medical background, and course of the disease as documented at admission and during hospitalization. 

Results: Data were collected on 173 patients (66% males) who were divided into two groups: a control group treated with antibiotics only (97 patients) and a study group treated with antibiotics and prednisone (76 patients). The study group presented with a more severe form of erysipelas (bullous) and those patients were hospitalized for a longer period (8.5 vs. 7 days). Nevertheless, the study group exhibited a 71% clinical improvement shortly after being treated with prednisone, without significant side effects. Short-term follow-up revealed more edema in the study group; however, long-term follow-up revealed a higher incidence of erythema and recurrence of erysipelas in the control group. The return to full function was faster in the study group than in the control group. 

Conclusions: Combining prednisone with antibiotics for the treatment of erysipelas should be considered, especially in severe cases. In addition, a prospective double-blind study should be conducted to verify these conclusions.

February 2018
Maurizio Benucci MD, Arianna Damiani MD, Francesca Bandinelli MD, Valentina Grossi MD, Maria Infantino MD, Mariangela Manfredi MD, Francesca Li Gobbi MD, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD and Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD
August 2017
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Marco Corda MD, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD, Francesco Caso MD, PhD and Maurizio Turiel MD
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Ignazio F. Masala MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Laura Boccassini MD and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Biomarkers are important for guiding the clinical and therapeutic management of all phases of rheumatoid arthritis because they can help to predict disease development in subjects at risk, improve diagnosis by closing the serological gap, provide prognostic information that is useful for making therapeutic choices and assessing treatment responses and outcomes, and allow disease activity and progression to be monitored. Various biomarkers can be used to identify subjects susceptible to the disease and those with pre-clinical rheumatoid arthritis before the onset of symptoms such as rheumatoid factor and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies. They can be correlated with a risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and can predict more bone erosions and severe disease progression. Biomarkers such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein levels provide information about disease activity, while predictive biomarkers allow clinicians to assess the probability of a treatment response before starting a particular therapy particularly in the era of biological drugs. This move from traditional approaches to patient stratification and targeted treatment should greatly improve patient care and reduce medical costs.

July 2017
Giuseppe Barilaro MD, Ignazio Francesco Masala MD, Renato Parracchini MD, Cesare Iesu MD, Giulia Caddia MD, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD and Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been investigated as a primary/adjunctive treatment for a number of injuries and medical conditions including traumatic ischemia, necrotizing soft tissue injuries, non-healing ulcers and osteoradionecrosis, but the results are controversial. There is insufficient evidence to support or reject the use of HBOT to quicken healing or to treat the established non-union of fractures. However, in patients with fibromyalgia, HBOT reduces brain activity in the posterior cortex and increases it in the frontal, cingulate, medial temporal and cerebellar cortices, thus leading to beneficial changes in brain areas that are known to function abnormally. Moreover, the amelioration of pain induced by HBOT significantly decreases the consumption of analgesic medications. In addition, HBOT has anti-inflammatory and oxygenatory effects in patients with primary or secondary vasculitis. 

This review analyzes the efficacy and limitations of HBOT in orthopedic and rheumatologic patients.

 

April 2016
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Grillo MD, Ignazio F. Masala MD, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD and Gareth T. Jones PhD

Lung involvement is a well-recognized extra-articular manifestation of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Anecdotal reports suggest that the use of anti-TNF drugs may be related to lung disease and pulmonary fibrosis. To examine the association between anti-TNF drugs and the development of lung disease in patients with AS or  psoriatic arthritis (PsA) we conducted a systematic review. Of the 670 papers identified by means of key word and hand search, only one full-text paper was considered potentially relevant but had to be discarded as it did not meet the eligibility criteria. Although no conclusion was reached, this is the first systematic review to examine this problem which is becoming increasingly important as these drugs are widely prescribed in patients with spondyloarthritis.

Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Alberto Batticciotto MD PhD, Ignazio F. Masala MD, Rossella Talotta MD, Maurizio Benucci MD and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Long-term extension studies and observational drug registers have revealed an increased risk of serious infections in patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor agents, particularly infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab. The same may be true for the newer biological drugs rituximab, tocilizumab and abatacept, although this has yet to be confirmed by long-term observational studies. We review the risk of tuberculosis, herpes zoster and other opportunistic infections, and the recommendations for screening for tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C infections in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis, with the aim of informing patients and encouraging greater awareness among physicians.

December 2015
Delfino Legnani MD, Maurizio Rizzi MD, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD, Andrea Cristiano MD, Tiziana La Spina MD, Francesca Frassanito MD, Airoldi Andrea MD and Fabiola Atzeni MD
 

Background: Interstitial lung involvement is common and potentially limits the quality of life in patients with systemic limited sclerosis (SScl). 


Objectives: To study the lung carbon monoxide diffusion (DLCO) measured during effort in order to identify a possible subclinical impairment.


Methods: We enrolled 20 SScl patients without interstitial lung involement and 20 healthy controls. At enrolment all subjetcs underwent plethysmography, DLCO by single-breath technique and evaluation of pulmonary blood flow (Qc) with the rebreathing CO2 method. Skin involvement in the SScl patients was rated using the modified Rodman skin score (mRSS). During exercise on a cycle ergometer, DLCO, DLCO/alveolar volume (Kco) and Qc were calculated at 25% and 50% of predicted maximum workload (25% pmw and 50% pmw).


Results: At baseline two groups did not differ in age, body mass index, lung function and Qc. In the controls, DLCO, Kco and DLCO/Qc measured at 25% pmw and 50% pmw were significantly higher than in SScl patients, while Qc was not different. Based on response to effort, SScl patients were divided into two groups: responders, with an increase of DLCO25%pmw and DLCO50%pmw at least 5% and 10% respectively, and non-responders. The non-responders showed greater skin involvement and significantly reduced DLCO, Kco and DLCO/Qc values at rest than responders.


Conclusions: Moderate effort in SScl patients may reveal a latent impairment in gas diffusion through the alveolar/capillary membrane, thus confirmig that exertional DLCO can identify lung damage at an earlier stage than DLCO at rest. 


 
September 2015
Dana Ben-Ami Shor MD MHA, Guy A. Weiss MD, Ori Barzilai MD, Maya Ram MD, Juan-Manuel Anaya MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD and Yaniv Sherer MD

Background: The association between antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been suggested previously, but prior studies provided contradicting findings. 

Objectives: To characterize the expression profile of eight classic and non-classic aPL in patients diagnosed with MS.

Methods: Using the BioPlex™ 2200 immunoassay, we measured the levels of serum immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG isotypes of three classic aPL and five non-classic aPL in 98 subjects with MS and 237 healthy controls. 

Results: Three non-classic aPL were significantly more prevalent among MS patients in comparison to the control group. These antibodies included IgM and IgG against phosphatidylserine-β2GPI (PS-B2), IgG prothrombin complex (PT-PT) and IgM prothrombin (PT). The positive results according to Bonferroni correction are PS-B2 IgG and PT-PT IgG. The remaining aPL profiles did not differ significantly between the two groups.

Conclusions: An association between certain non-classic aPL and MS has been established. The specific role of these autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of the condition remains uncertain.  

 

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