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עמוד בית
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November 2015
Shmuel Chen MD PhD, Karine Atlan MD, Dan Gilon MD, Chaim Lotan MD and Ronen Durst MD
March 2013
A. Shauer, I. Gotsman, A. Keren, D.R. Zwas, Y. Hellman, R. Durst and D. Admon
 Acute myocarditis is one of the most challenging diseases to diagnose and treat in cardiology. The true incidence of the disease is unknown. Viral infection is the most common etiology. Modern techniques have improved the ability to diagnose specific viral pathogens in the myocardium. Currently, parvovirus B19 and adenoviruses are most frequently identified in endomyocardial biopsies. Most patients will recover without sequelae, but a subset of patients will progress to chronic inflammatory and dilated cardiomyopathy. The pathogenesis includes direct viral myocardial damage as well as autoimmune reaction against cardiac epitopes. The clinical manifestations of acute myocarditis vary widely – from asymptomatic changes on electrocardiogram to fulminant heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Magnetic resonance imaging is emerging as an important tool for the diagnosis and follow-up of patients, and for guidance of endomyocardial biopsy. In the setting of acute myocarditis endomyocardial biopsy is required for the evaluation of patients with a clinical scenario suggestive of giant cell myocarditis and of those who deteriorate despite supportive treatment. Treatment of acute myocarditis is still mainly supportive, except for giant cell myocarditis where immunotherapy has been shown to improve survival. Immunotherapy and specific antiviral treatment have yet to demonstrate definitive clinical efficacy in ongoing clinical trials. This review will focus on the clinical manifestations, the diagnostic approach to the patient with clinically suspected acute myocarditis, and an evidence-based treatment strategy for the acute and chronic form of the disease.


June 2011
G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: Some specialists and policy makers advocate progression of the mental health reform in Israel by transferring beds from psychiatric to general hospitals.

Objectives: To compare the demographic, diagnostic and psychopathological profiles of psychiatric inpatients hospitalized in psychiatric and general hospitals, as well as their patterns of drug abuse and to estimate the preparedness of general hospitals for the possible expansion of their psychiatric services.

Methods: Between 2002 and 2006 a total of 250 patients were consecutively admitted to the Jerusalem Mental Health Center-Kfar Shaul Hospital and 220 to the psychiatric department of Sheba Medical Center, a general hospital in central Israel; the patients’ ages ranged from 18 to 65. The two groups were compared for demographic features, psychiatric diagnoses and severity of psychopathology (utilizing PANSS, HAD-21, YMRS rating scales). Drug abuse was diagnosed by urine analyses and self-report.

Results: The patients in the psychiatric hospital were significantly younger, predominantly male, and more dependent on social security payments. In the general hospital, diagnoses of affective and anxiety disorders prevailed, while in the psychiatric hospital schizophrenic and other psychotic patients constituted the majority. The patients in the general hospital were decidedly more depressed; in the psychiatric hospital, notably higher rates of manic symptoms as well as positive, negative and general schizophrenic symptoms were reported. For the most abused substances (opiates, cannabis and methamphetamines) the rates in the psychiatric hospital were significantly higher.

Conclusions: The differences between the two groups of inpatients were very pronounced, and therefore, the transferring of psychiatric beds to general hospitals could not be done without serious and profound organizational, educational and financial changes in the psychiatric services of general hospitals. Since each of the two inpatient systems has particular specializations and experience with the different subgroups of patients, they could coexist for a long time.

October 2008
G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: In recent years, mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in the west has decreased markedly due to the advent of antiretroviral drugs given during pregnancy, cessation of lactation and careful monitoring of viral load in the perinatal period.

To assess mother to child transmission of HIV[1] among Ethiopian immigrants and non-Ethiopians in the Jerusalem area.

We conducted a prospective analysis of all deliveries of HIV-positive women in the Jerusalem district over a 10 year period.

Between 1996 and 2006, 35 HIV+ women gave birth to 45 infants. Thirty-one (88%) of these women were of Ethiopian origin and gave birth to 39 infants. Of the 35 HIV+ women, 30 were aware of being HIV positive. They gave birth to 40 infants. Another 5 women (14%) were not aware of being HIV+ during delivery. They gave birth to five infants. Of the group of known HIV+ women, 26 (87%) were Ethiopian immigrants who delivered 34 infants and 4 were non-Ethiopians who delivered 6 infants. In the group of five women not aware of being HIV+, all were Ethiopians. Breast-feeding data were available for 32 of the 35 women. Only 2 women (6.2%) breast-fed their babies. Neither was aware of being HIV+. In the Ethiopian immigrant group (both known and unknown HIV status), 11 deliveries (28%) were vaginal, 18 (46%) were elective cesarean section and 10 (26%) were delivered by emergency cesarean section. Of the 26 known HIV+ Ethiopian women, 3 (12%) refused to take antiretroviral treatment despite repeated counseling. In the non-Ethiopian group, all deliveries were elective cesarean sections. Mother to child transmission of HIV occurred in 4 of the total 45 deliveries (8.8%). Of the 4 transmission cases, 2 occurred among 40 deliveries of known HIV+ women (5%), and 2 occurred among the 5 deliveries of women not aware of being HIV+ (40%, P = 0.05). In the group of Ethiopian women only, HIV transmission occurred in 4 of 39 deliveries (10%), of which 2 occurred among 34 deliveries (5.8%) of women know to be HIV+ and 2 among 5 deliveries (40%) of women not aware of being HIV+ (P = 0.08).

Pregnant Ethiopian immigrants whose HIV status was known during pregnancy were at relatively high risk of HIV transmission despite the availability of antiretroviral drugs and counseling. This is likely due to inadequate adherence to ART[2] preventive regimens and is not dissimilar to the poor adherence observed among other immigrant groups in western countries. The substantial proportion of women, all Ethiopians, unaware of being HIV+ at delivery, together with the significantly higher HIV transmission in that group compared to women who knew their HIV status, call for a revision of the current Ministry of Health opt-in policy for prenatal HIV screening.


[1] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

[2] ART = antiretroviral therapy

G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: The co-morbidity rate of illicit substance abuse and major mental problems in Israel is far from clear.

Objectives: To investigate the extent of drug abuse in a sample of psychiatric patients hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital and in the psychiatric department of a general hospital in Israel, to compare demographic and other background factors in dual-diagnosis patients with those of abuse-free mental inpatients, and to examine the time correlation between drug abuse and the appearance of major mental problems.

Methods: Our data were derived from self-report and urine tests. The study population comprised 470 consecutively admitted patients – 250 patients in the mental health center and 220 patients in the psychiatric department of the general hospital.

Results: The lifetime prevalence of drug abuse was 24%; cannabis abuse was found in 19.7%, opiates in 5.7%, cocaine in 2.7%, amphetamines in 3.4% and methamphetamine in 1.1%. Active abuse of drugs (during the last month) was registered in 17.3%, cannabis in 11.5%, opiates in 4.9%, amphetamine in 3.8%, cocaine in 1.3% and methamphetamine in 1.1%. We also found that 28.2% of active abusers used two or more substances. In 41.6% the drug abuse appeared prior to symptoms of the mental disorder; in 37.1% the duration of the mental disorders and the drug abuse was relatively similar, and in 21.3% of cases the duration of mental problems was longer than the duration of drug abuse. Dual-diagnosis patients were younger than non-abusers, more often male, unmarried, and of western origin.

Conclusions: Substance abuse (especially cannabis) among hospitalized psychiatric patients in Israel is a growing problem.

April 2007
R. Durst, C. Lotan, H. Nassar, M. Gotsman, E. Mor, B. Varshitzki, P. Greganski, R. Jabara, D. Admon, D. Meerkin and M. Mosseri

Background: Femoral artery vascular complications are the most common adverse events following cardiac catheterization. Smaller diameter introducer sheaths and catheters are likely to lower the puncture site complication rate but may hinder visualization.

Objectives: To evaluate the safety and angiographic quality of 4 French catheters.

Methods: The study was designed to simulate real-life operator-based experience. Diagnostic angiography was performed with either 4F or 6F diagnostic catheters; the size of the catheter used in each patient was predetermined by the day of the month. Patients undergoing 4F and 6F diagnostic angiography were ambulated after 4 and 6 hours, respectively. The following technical parameters were recorded by the operator: ease of introducer sheath insertion, ease of coronary intubation, ease of injection, coronary opacification, collateral flow demonstration, and overall assessment. Adverse events were recorded in all patients and included minor bleeding, major bleeding (necessitating blood transfusion), minor hematoma, major hematoma, pseudo-aneurysm formation and arteriovenous fistula.

Results: The study group included 177 patients, of whom 91 were in the 4F arm and 86 in the 6F arm. Demographic and procedural data were similar in both groups. Seventy-seven percent of 6F and 50% of 4F procedures were evaluated as excellent (P < 0.05). This difference was attributed to easier intubation of the coronary ostium and contrast material injection, increased opacification of the coronary arteries, and demonstration of collateral flow with 6F catheters. Complications occurred in 22% of patients treated with 6F catheters and 10% of those treated with 4F catheters (P = 0.11). Of the 50 patients who switched from 4F to 6F 12% had complications. In patients undergoing diagnostic angiography, the complication rate was 10% vs. 27% (most of them minor) in the 4F and 6F groups, respectively (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Patients catheterized with 4F have fewer complications compared with 6F diagnostic catheters even when ambulated earlier. Although 4F had a reduced quality compared to 6F angiographies, they were evaluated as satisfactory or excellent in quality 85% of the time. 4F catheters have a potential for reduced hospitalization stay and are a good option for primary catheterization in patients not anticipated to undergo coronary intervention

September 2002
Ronen Durst, MD, Deborah Rund, MD, Daniel Schurr, MD, Osnat Eliav, MSc, Dina Ben-Yehuda, MD, Shoshi Shpizen, BSc, Liat Ben-Avi, BSc, Tova Schaap, MSc, Inna Pelz, BSc and Eran Leitersdorf, MD

Background: Low density lipoprotein apheresis is used as a complementary method for treating hypercholesterolemic patients who cannot reach target LDL[1]-cholesterol levels on conventional dietary and drug treatment. The DALI system (direct absorption of lipoproteins) is the only extracorporeal LDL-removing system compatible with whole blood.

Objective: To describe our one year experience using the DALI[2] system.

Methods: LDL apheresis was used in 13 patients due to inability to reach target LDL-C levels on conventional treatment. They included seven patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, three who had adverse reactions to statins, and three patients with ischemic heart disease who did not reach LDL-C target level on medical treatment.

Results: The average triglyceride, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein-C and LDL-C levels before and after treatment in all patients were: 170 ± 113 vs. 124 ± 91, 269 ± 74 vs. 132 ± 48, 42 ± 8 vs. 37 ± 7.9, and 196 ± 77 vs. 80 ± 52 mg/dl, respectively. Comparing the results of a subgroup of seven patients who had previously been treated with plasma exchange, it is noteworthy that while the reduction in triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL-C are comparable, the effect on HDL[3]-C concentration was less apparent: from an average of 39.7 ± 8.7 and 23 ± 5.7 mg/dl before and after plasma exchange to an average of 43.9 ± 8.1 and 38.4 ± 7 mg/dl before and after LDL apheresis, respectively. Five patients developed treatment-related adverse events: three experienced allergic reactions manifested as shortness of breath, urticaria and facial flushing; one patient developed rhabdomyolysis, an adverse reaction that was not reported previously as a result of LDL apheresis; and one patient had myopathy with back pain. All untoward effects occurred during the first few treatment sessions.

Conclusions: LDL apheresis using the DALI system is highly efficacious for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. It is associated with a significant number of side effects occurring during the first treatment sessions. In patients not experiencing adverse effects in the early treatment period, it is well tolerated, and can provide remarkable clinical benefit even after short-term therapy.


[1] LDL = low density lipoprotein

[2] DALI = direct absorption of lipoproteins

[3] HDL = high density lipoprotein

June 2000
Rimona Durst, MD, Sergery Raskin, MD, Gregory Katz, MD, Josef Zislin and Ronen Durst, MD
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