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עמוד בית
Fri, 29.09.23

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March 2008
J. Kertes, M. Dushenat, J. Landes Vesterman, J. Lemberger, J. Bregman and N. Friedman

Background: Bisphosphonates are effective in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, yet their use is suboptimal.

Objectives: To measure bisphosphonate compliance among first-time users and identify factors associated with compliance.

Methods: We conducted a prospective follow-up of all women aged 45+ in the second largest health management organization in Israel who were prescribed bisphosphonates for the first time. The 4448 women were classified by drug dosage. Persistence and adherence measures of compliance were calculated for each woman over a 1 year period.

Results: Mean bisphosphonate persistence over a year was 216 days, with a mean medication possession ratio of 66%. Women whose medication was changed, whether from weekly to daily or daily to weekly, always had better persistence rates than those who consistently took the original dose. Persistence rates were as follows: 264 days for women who switched back and forth between daily and weekly doses, 229 days for those who switched from daily to weekly, 222 days for those who took the dosage weekly only, 191 days for those who switched to daily dosage, and 167 days for those who took the dosage daily only (P < 0.001). Switchers were also more likely to have adequate adherence rates (MPR[1] ≥ 80%): 81.3%, 76.6%, 67.5%, 61.3% and 52.2% respectively (P < 0.001). More than 20% of women stopped taking their medication within the first month. Women with higher supplemental insurance (offering significant discounts for weekly dose medications) had better persistence rates: 221 vs. 208 days (P = 0.03). Younger women and women on national pension insurance had the lowest persistence rates: 204 and 209 days respectively.

Conclusions: While weekly bisphosphonate takers had better compliance rates, persistence and adherence rates were inadequate for all groups. Changing medication to meet the needs of the patient, discounting weekly medications, and providing follow-up within the first months of prescription may promote compliance. 

[1] MPR = medication possession ratio

June 2007
M. Paul, A. Gafter-Gvili, L. Leibovici, J. Bishara, I. Levy, I. Yaniv, I. Shalit Z, Samra, S. Pitlik, H. Konigsberger and M. Weinberger

Background: The epidemiology of bacteremic febrile neutropenia differs between locations and constitutes the basis for selection of empiric antibiotic therapy for febrile neutropenia.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of bacteremia among patients with neutropenia in a single center in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a prospective data collection on all patients with neutropenia (< 500/mm3) and clinically significant bacteremia or fungemia during the period 1988–2004.

Results: Among adults (462 episodes) the most common bloodstream isolate was Esherichia coli. Gram-negative bacteria predominated throughout the study period and the ratio between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteremia increased from 1.7 to 2.3 throughout the study period. Among children (752 episodes), the ratio between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteremia reversed from 1.2 to 0.7, due to increasing prevalence of coagulase-negative staphylcoccal bacteremia. Both among adults and children, the length of hospital stay prior to bacteremia had a major impact on the pathogens causing bacteremia and their antibiotic susceptibilities. The prevalence of E. coli decreased with time in hospital, while the rates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter spp., Acinetobacter spp., Enterococcus spp. and Candida spp. increased. Resistance to broad-spectrum empiric monotherapy in our center was observed in > 40% of Gram-negative bacteria when bacteremia was acquired after 14 days in hospital.
Conclusions: Improved infection-control measures for neutropenic cancer patients in our center are needed. Empiric antibiotic treatment should be tailored to patients’ risk for multidrug-resistant organisms. Individual hospitals should monitor infection epidemiology among cancer patients to guide empiric antibiotic treatment

December 2006
R. Avisar, R. Friling, M. Snir, I. Avisar and D. Weinberger

Background: The prevalence and incidence of blindness in Israel appear to be comparable to other western countries. Comparisons are difficult because of different definitions of blindness, and the uniqueness of the Israeli registry for the blind.

Objective: To characterize the population who were registered as Blind in Israel in the years 1998–2003 and estimate the prevalence and incidence of blindness by age and causes of blindness.

Methods: A retrospective review of the annual report of the National Registry for the Blind in Israel between 1998 and 2003 identified 21,585 blind persons who received a certificate for blindness. Blind persons are identified by ophthalmologists throughout Israel and referred to the Registry of the Blind if they have a visual acuity of 3/60 or worse, or a visual field loss of < 20 degrees in their better eye. This report includes prevalence data on 21,585 persons enrolled in this review still alive and living in Israel in 2003. We estimated the prevalence rate of blindness nationwide and the incidence rate for each cause of blindness for every year.

Results: The main leading causes of blindness in Israel in 1998 were (in percent of the total number of newly registered patients): age-related macular degeneration (20.1%), glaucoma (13.8%), myopic maculopathy (12%), cataract (10.4%), diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy (10.1%), and optic atrophy (7.9%), and in 2003, 28%, 11.8%, 7.4%, 6.5%, 14.4% and 6.5% respectively.

Conclusions: The results indicate that the incidence of age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy in Israel is increasing, while that of glaucoma, myopic maculopthy, optic atrophy and cataract is decreasing.

August 2006
May 2006
O. Hochwald, E. Bamberger and I. Srugo

The Israel Ministry of Health’s epidemiology department reported a record number of 1564 new pertussis cases in 2004. This brings the incidence rate to 23 per 100,000 population, indicating a marked increase in the prevalence of pertussis, from 1–3/100,000 in 1998, 9 in 2001, to 14 in 2003. The rate of atypical pertussis presentations in vaccinated patients, the decline in pertussis immunity post-vaccination, and the decreased awareness of potential infections in the adult population make the diagnosis of pertussis difficult and contribute to the rising incidence. In this article we review the current literature in order to increase awareness of the occurrence of pertussis in children as well as adults, discuss the laboratory diagnostic methods being used, and report the currently recommended means of treating the disease.

H. Joffe, E. Bamberger, S. Nurkin, E. Kedem, Z. Kra-Oz, S. Pollack and I. Srugo

Background: The co-morbidity of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases in Israel has not been established. 

Objectives: To compare the prevalence of STDs [1]among HIV[2]-positive patients to HIV-negative patients visiting an STD clinic in northern Israel. 

Methods: Between December 2000 and December 2001, 176 HIV-positive individuals (53% males) were screened and compared to 200 HIV-seronegative individuals (76% males). Demographics, symptomatology and risk factors were obtained via questionnaire. First-void urine samples were tested for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Serum was tested for type-specific herpes simplex virus-2, hepatitis B and syphilis. 

Results: Relative to the seronegative STD patients, HIV-positive patients exhibited significantly greater risk-reducing sexual behaviors such as consistent condom use [29/86 (33.7%) vs. 16/187 (8.6%), P < 0.001], and abstinence in the previous 6 months [43/125 (34%) vs. 7/185 (3.8%), P < 0.001]. Nevertheless, STD prevalence was higher among HIV-positive than HIV-negative patients (79.5% vs. 37.5%, P < 0.001). HSV[3]-2, syphilis and HBV[4] were more common among HIV-positive than HIV-negative patients [120/175 (68.8%)] vs. 18/200 (9%), P < 0.001)], [43/161 (26.7%) vs. 0%, P < 0.001)], [13/171 (7.6%) vs. 3/200 (1.5%), P < 0.01)], respectively. In contrast, Chlamydia and gonorrhea were more commonly found in HIV-negative patients than HIV-positive patients [3/176 (1.7%) vs.13/200 (6.5%), P < 0.05] vs. [0% vs.5/200 (2.5%), P < 0.05], respectively. 

Conclusion: Despite the low risk sexual behavior of Israeli HIV patients, they had a high prevalence of chronic STDs (e.g., HSV-2, HBV and syphilis). The lower prevalence of Chlamydia and gonorrhea among HIV-immunosuppressed patients may be attributed to routine antibiotic prophylaxis against opportunistic infections. Nevertheless, as advocated by international health organizations, it appears prudent to recommend the routine screening of these asymptomatic HIV-positive patients for STD pathogens. 


[1] STD = sexually transmitted diseases

[2] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

[3] HSV = herpes simplex virus

[4] HBV = hepatitis B virus

February 2006
R. Dabby, M. Sadeh, O. Herman, E. Berger, N. Watemberg, S. Hayek, J. Jossiphov and Y. Nevo

Background: Persistent creatine kinase elevation is occasionally encountered in subjects without any clinical manifestation of a neuromuscular disorder or any condition known to be associated with increased serum CK[1] levels. It is still unresolved whether extensive investigations and specifically a muscle biopsy should be performed in clinically normal individuals with elevated CK levels.

Objective: To study the muscle pathology of patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic hyperCKemia.

Methods: The clinical and laboratory data of patients with persistent hyperCKemia and normal neurologic examination were reviewed and their muscle biopsies evaluated.

Results: The study group included 40 patients aged 7–67 years; the male to female ratio was 3:1. Nineteen patients were completely asymptomatic, 20 had mild non-specific myalgia, and 1 had muscle cramps. Electromyography was performed in 27 patients and showed myopathic changes in 7 (26%). Abnormal muscle biopsy findings (e.g., increased variation in fiber size, increased number of central nuclei and occasional degenerating fibers) were detected in 22 of the 40 patients (55%). No fat or glycogen accumulation was detected. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated abnormal dystrophin staining in 3 patients (8%), resembling the pathologic changes of Becker muscular dystrophy. No abnormal findings were detected on immunohistochemical staining for merosin, dysferlin, caveolin 3, or alpha and gamma sarcoglycans. The EMG[2] findings did not correlate with the pathologic findings.

Conclusions: Abnormal muscle biopsies were found in 55% of patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic hyperCKemia. Specific diagnosis of muscular dystrophy, however, was possible in only 8% of the patients.

[1] CK = creatine kinase

[2] EMG = electromyography

December 2005
S. Viskin, M. Berger, M. Ish-Shalom, N. Malov, M. Tamari, M. Golovner, M. Kehati, D. Zeltser A. Roth.

Background: Chlorpromazine is a dopamine-receptor antagonist antipsychotic agent. Because of its strong alpha-blocking and sedative actions, it has also been used as emergency therapy for extreme arterial hypertension. Published reports to date have included very small numbers of patients (i.e., 5–30).

Objectives: To analyze data on almost 500 patients who received intravenous chlorpromazine for the emergency treatment of uncontrolled symptomatic hypertension in the pre-hospital setting.

Methods: We reviewed data from 496 consecutive patients who received intravenous chlorpromazine as emergency therapy for uncontrolled symptomatic hypertension. Chlorpromazine was injected intravenously. The dose was 1 mg every 2–5 minutes until the systolic pressure was -<140 mmHg and the diastolic pressure -<100 mmHg with alleviation of symptoms.

Results: The mean dose of chlorpromazine administered was 4.5 +- 5 mg (range 1–50 mg). Only 33 patients (7%) required >10 mg. Chlorpromazine reduced the systolic blood pressure from 222.82 +- 26.31 to 164.93 +- 22.66 mmHg (P < 0.001) and the diastolic blood pressure from 113.5 +- 16.63 to 85.83 +- 11.61 mmHg (P < 0.001). The sinus rate decreased from 97.9 +- 23.5 to 92.2 +- 19.7 beats per minute (P < 0.001). These results were achieved within the first 37 +- 11 minutes.

Conclusions: Intravenous chlorpromazine is safe and effective when used as emergency treatment for uncontrolled symptomatic hypertension.


August 2005
S. Berger-Achituv, T. Shohat and B-Z. Garty
 Background: The rate of breast-feeding in Israel has increased over the last two decades but is still lower than rates in other developed countries that have taken an active role in promoting breast-feeding.

Objective: To determine breast-feeding patterns and the association between sociodemographic characteristics and breast-feeding in the Tel Aviv district.

Methods: The mothers of infants aged 2, 4, 6 and 12 months, attending 59 well-baby clinics in the Tel Aviv district, were interviewed by telephone. Singleton infants who weighed less than 2,000 g and multiple-gestation infants were excluded from the study. The questions covered background data, sociodemographic characteristics of the family, and breast-feeding practices. Stepwise logistic regression was used to analyze the association between breast-feeding and various sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: Altogether, 78.5% of the mothers (1,307/1,665) initiated breast-feeding. The rate of breast-feeding at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months was 55.8, 36.8, 29.9 and 11.8%, respectively. Only 35.8% of the infants at 2 months and 11.2% at 6 months were exclusively breast-fed. The mean duration of breast-feeding was 5.2 ± 0.2 months. Grand multiparas (≥5 children) had a significantly higher rate of breast-feeding than women with one to four children (P < 0.001). More likely to breast-feed for 2 weeks or longer were women married to Yeshiva students (odds ratio = 5.3), women with ≥13 years education (OR[1] = 2.1), and women on maternity leave (OR = 1.6). The predictors for breast-feeding for 6 months or longer were similar.

Conclusions: Although the rate of breast-feeding initiation in central Israel was 78.5%, only 29.9% of the mothers continue to breast-feed for 6 months. Already at a young age, an appreciable number of breast-fed infants receive infant formula. Breast-feeding promotion should focus on less educated women, homemakers, and families with one to four children.


[1] OR = odds ratio

June 2005
E. Bamberger, N. Lahat, V. Gershtein, R. Gershtein, D. Benilevi, S. Shapiro, I. Kassis, L. Rubin and I. Srugo
 Background: Whereas the diagnosis of classical pertussis has traditionally been based on clinical criteria, increasing numbers of atypical presentations suggest the need for an extensive laboratory-based approach.

Objectives: To assess the relative efficacy of clinical and laboratory methods in the diagnosis of Bordetella pertussis by patient age and immunization status.

Methods: We compared the clinical and laboratory diagnosis of B. pertussis in 87 pre-vaccinated, 78 recently vaccinated, and 75 post-vaccinated children with suspected pertussis. Serum and nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained for serology, culture and polymerase chain reaction.

Results: PCR[1] and culture identified 41% and 7% of patients with B. pertussis, respectively (P < 0.001). All positive cultures were PCR-positive. Positive PCR was less common among those recently vaccinated than among those in the pre- (P < 0.001) and post-vaccinated groups (P < 0.05). Positive culture was more common among those pre-vaccinated than among those recently vaccinated (P < 0.01). Positive tests for immunoglobulin M and A were more common among the post-vaccinated than the pre- and recently vaccinated (P < 0.001), respectively. Logistic regression analyses revealed that clinical criteria have no significant association with infection in recently and post-vaccinated children. Among the pre-vaccinated children, whoop and cough duration were associated with a positive PCR (odds ratio 7.66 and 0.5, P < 0.001). Seventy-six percent of pre-vaccinated, 39% of recently vaccinated and 40% of post-vaccinated children with positive PCR did not meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control diagnostic criteria for B. pertussis.

Conclusions: PCR is a useful tool for pertussis diagnosis, particularly in pre-vaccinated infants. The yield of culture and serology is limited, especially among pre- and recently vaccinated children. In pre-vaccinated infants with whoop and less than 2 weeks of cough, PCR testing should be implemented promptly.


[1] PCR = polymerase chain reaction

April 2005
E. Bamberger, R. Madeb, J. Steinberg, A. Paz, I. Satinger, Z. Kra-0z, O. Natif and I. Srugo
Background: Although the current literature attributes most cases of hematospermia to an infectious agent, identification of the specific pathogens involved has been limited.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of different pathogens in patients presenting to our sexually transmitted disease clinic with hematospermia.

Methods: Between January 1999 and January 2000, 16 patients presented to our STD[1] clinic with hematospermia after other non-infectious pathologies had been excluded by a referring physician. After obtaining informed consent, subjects completed a questionnaire addressing symptoms and sexual behavior. First void urine samples, as well as genitourinary and serum specimens were tested for Chlamydia trachomatis, Ureaplasma urealyticum and Herpes simplex virus. Standard bacterial cultures were also performed.

Results: Laboratory testing detected a pathogen in 12 of the 16 males presenting with hematospermia. The sexually transmitted pathogens detected were Herpes simplex virus in 5 patients (42%), Chlamydia trachomatis in 4 (33%), Enterococcus fecalis in 2 (17%), and Ureaplasma urealyticum in 1 (8%). In all cases in which a pathogen was identified, the appropriate antimicrobial agent was administered. Symptoms resolved for each patient following antimicrobial therapy. During a 1 year follow-up, all 12 patients remained free of disease.

Conclusions: Recent advances in microbiologic diagnostic techniques have facilitated the detection of pathogens in patients with hematospermia, thereby enhancing the efficacy of treatment.


[1] STD = sexually transmitted disease

December 2004
E. Zebeede, U. Levinger and A. Weinberger
January 2004
E. Gilad, I. Bahar, B. Rotberg and D. Weinberger

Background: Corneal erosions, a common and very painful ailment, are traditionally treated with pressure patches and antibiotic ointment but the healing is slow.

Objectives: To report our experience with the use of therapeutic contact lenses for the primary treatment of traumatic corneal erosions.

Methods: During the last 5 years in a single community clinic 65 consecutive patients with traumatic corneal erosions were treated with a corneal contact lens and antibiotic drops as a routine measure. The charts were reviewed for outcome, side effects and complications.

Results: Healing of the corneal erosions occurred within 1 to 3 days in all patients, with minimal or no pain. No corneal infection occurred. One patient had a recurrence that was successfully treated by lens placement.

Conclusions: The therapeutic contact lens with antibiotic drops is a safe and effective method to treat traumatic corneal erosions, and patients can immediately resume their regular activities.

December 2002
Itai Berger MD, Solomon Jaworowski MBBS FRANZCP and Varda Gross-Tsur MD
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