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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

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October 2004
N.R. Kahan, E. Kahan, D-A. Waitman and D.P. Chinitz

Background: Until recently trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was the drug recommended in the Leumit Health Fund for the empiric treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women. However, due to increased uropathogen resistance to this drug, the fund has designated nitrofurantoin as its new drug of choice.

Objectives: To evaluate the potential economic impact of implementing this new pharmaco-policy.

Methods: Using data derived from the electronic patient records of the Leumit Health Fund we identified all non-recurrent cases of women aged 18–49 with a diagnosis of acute cystitis or UTI[1] without risk factors for complicated UTI and empirically treated with antibiotics throughout 2003. The final sample comprised 5,489 physician-patient encounters. The proportion of cases treated with each individual drug was calculated, and the excess expenditure due to non-adherence to the new guideline from the perspective of the health fund was evaluated using 5 days of therapy with nitrofurantoin as the reference treatment.

Results: Ofloxacin was the most frequently prescribed drug (30.24%), followed by TMP-SMX[2] (22.43%), cephalexin (15.08%), and nitrofurantoin (12.59%). The observed net aggregate drug expenditure was 2.3 times greater than expected had all cases been treated with nitrofurantoin according to the guideline duration of 5 days. The cost of treatment in 53% of the cases exceeded the expected cost of the guideline therapy.

Conclusions: Successful implementation of the new drug policy will likely improve quality of care and reduce costs to the health fund.

[1] UTI = urinary tract infection

[2] TMP-SMX = trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

August 2004
G. S. Habib, R. Masri and S. Ben-Haim

Background: Gallium scintigraphy is frequently used in the evaluation of fever of unknown origin, although its utility has been addressed in only a few studies.

Objectives: To evaluate the utility of gallium scintigraphy in the evaluation of patients with FUO[1] in our department.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of all patients from our department who had undergone gallium scintigraphy during the years 1995–2002 for the evaluation of FUO and who met the criteria for the definition of FUO. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data in addition to the results of gallium scintigraphy were documented. The patients were divided into two groups: those with a normal gallium study (group 1) and those with an abnormal gallium study (group 2). The second group was further divided into two groups: those whose gallium study results contributed to the diagnosis of the cause of FUO (group 2A) and those whose gallium study results did not (group 2B).

Results: A total of 102 patients met the study criteria. The male: female ratio was 54:48 and the mean age ± SD was 62.4 ± 20 years. A final diagnosis had been reached in 63 patients (62%), among whom the etiology was infectious in 54%, neoplastic in 19% and immunologic/rheumatic in 16%. Forty-one patients (40% of all the patients) (Group 2) had an abnormal gallium scintigraphy, and in only 21 patients (21% of all the patients) (Group 2A) did the gallium study results contribute to the diagnosis of the cause of FUO. However, in only two patients from Group 2A (2% of all the patients in our study) was the contribution of gallium study considered significant or crucial to the diagnosis of the cause of FUO.

Conclusions: The utility of gallium scintigraphy in the evaluation of FUO is very limited.

[1] FUO = fever of unknown origin

January 2004
N. Hod, Z Maizlin, S. Strauss and T. Horne

Background: Since the early 1970s testicular scintigraphy has been used to diagnose the cause of acute scrotal pain. The advent of Doppler sonography further enhances diagnosis by  providing simultaneous real-time scrotal imaging with superimposed testicular blood flow information.

Objectives: To assess the diagnostic value of Doppler sonography in patients with acute scrotal pain and scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion.

Methods: Seventy-five patients with acute scrotal pain underwent testicular scintigraphy and Doppler sonography. All patients who had scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion were included in the study and their files were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Twenty-seven patients had scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion. Radionuclide scintigraphy accurately detected all cases of testicular torsion. However, abscess, hematoma, hydrocele and other conditions simulated testicular torsion on scintigraphy, lowering the test specificity. These pathologies were clarified by Doppler sonography that was 95% specific and 86% sensitive for testicular torsion.

Conclusions: Doppler sonography should be used as the first-line modality in the evaluation of patients with suspected testicular torsion. Scintigraphy should be performed only in certain settings of equivocal sonographic findings to prevent false negative sonographic diagnosis.

September 2002
Michael Lurie, MD, Ines Misselevitch, MD and Milo Fradis, MD

Background: Fine-needle aspiration is a widely accepted method in the preoperative evaluation of head and neck tumors. However, its effectiveness in the interpretation of salivary gland disorders is controversial.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of FNA[1] as a preoperative diagnostic tool of parotid lesions.

Methods: Reports of 52 FNA from various parotid gland lesions were compared with the final pathologic diagnoses.

Results: We noted 31 true-positive, 5 true-negative and 16 false-negative results. There were no false-positive FNA reports. The calculated sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of FNA diagnosis in this study were 66%, 100%, and 69.2% respectively.

Conclusions: The high rate (30.8%) of false-negative FNA results was partly explained by sampling errors, therefore specificity of the procedure could be improved by the precise selection of a representative aspiration site.


[1] FNA = fine-needle aspiration

July 2002
Ronen Rubinshtein, MD, Eyal Robenshtok, MD, Arik Eisenkraft, MD, Aviv Vidan, MD and Ariel Hourvitz, MD

Recent events have significantly increased concern about the use of biologic and chemical weapons by terrorists and other countries. Since weapons of mass destruction could result in a huge number of casualties, optimizing our diagnostic and therapeutic skills may help to minimize the morbidity and mortality. The national demands for training in medical aspects of nuclear, biologic and chemical warfare have increased dramatically. While Israeli medical preparedness for non-conventional warfare has improved substantially in recent years especially due to extensive training programs, a standardized course and course materials were not available until recently. We have developed a core curriculum and teaching materials for a 1 or 2 day modular course, including printed materials.

Jacob T. Cohen, MD, Gil Ziv, MD, PhD, Joseph Bloom, MD, Daniel Zikk, MD, Yoram Rapoport, MD and Mordechai Z. Himmelfarb, MD

Background: The ear is the most frequent organ affected during an explosion. Recognition of possible damage to its auditory and vestibular components, and particularly the recovery time of the incurred damage, may help in planning the optimal treatment strategies for the otologic manifestations of blast injury and preventing deleterious consequences.   

Objective: To report the results of the oto-vestibular initial evaluation and follow-up of 17 survivors of a suicidal terrorist attack on a municipal bus.

Methods: These 17 patients underwent periodic ear inspections and pure tone audiometry for 6 months. Balance studies, consisting of electronystagmography (ENG) and computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) were performed at the first time possible.

Results: Complaints of earache, aural fullness and tinnitus resolved, whereas dizziness persisted in most of the patients. By the end of the follow-up, 15 (55.6%) of the eardrum perforations had healed spontaneously. Hearing impairment was detected in 33 of the 34 tested ears. Recovery of hearing was complete in 6 ears and partial in another 11. ENG and CDP were performed in 13 patients: 5 had abnormal results on CDP while the ENG was normal in all the patients. The vertigo in seven patients resolved in only one patient who was free of symptoms 1 month after the explosion.

Conclusion:  Exposure to a high powered explosion in a confined space may result in severe auditory and vestibular damage. Awareness of these possible ear injuries may prevent many of the deleterious consequences of such injuries.

June 2002
Ahmet Ege, MD, Ibrahim Tuncay, MD and Omer Ercetin, MD,

Background: Coverage of part of a soft tissue defect in the thumb, without bone shortening and without long-lasting immobilization in an inappropriate position leading to stiffness, is difficult to achieve.

Objectives: To report our experience using Foucher’s modification of the first dorsal metacarpal artery flap for thumb reconstruction in 21 cases.

Methods: Foucher’s flap is based on the neurovascular structures of the first dorsal metacarpal artery flap and radial nerve-sensitive branches on the dorsum of the second metacarpal and proximal phalanx. The cause of injury was work-related in all 21 cases. The patients' mean age was 37 (range 17–68 years), and mean follow-up was 19 months (range 12–31). Emergency surgery was performed in 13 patients, with a time delay after injury of 4–12 hours. The minimum defect was 12–18 mm and the maximum 20–40 mm. Pedicular length was 55–95 mm. A skin bridge was left intact in 16 cases. In two cases of early postoperative venous congestion and flap loss, a cross-finger flap was performed as a salvage procedure.

Results: Subjective satisfaction score was 8.37/10 (range 4–10); cold intolerance was experienced in 60% and dysesthesia in 33%. All except one patient are able to use their thumb in daily activity. Loss of mobility in the proximal interphalangeal joint of the index finger was less than 20 degrees. Semmes-Weinstein sensitivity evaluation score was 3.61–4.31 on the flap and 0–6.65 on the donor site. Two-point discrimination was 10.8 mm (range 8–20). Grip strength was reduced by 15% compared to the unaffected hand (hand dominance was not taken into consideration). Rehabilitation was not consistent as almost all the patients were living in another location.

Conclusions: First DMCA[1] pedicle flap is a successful thumb reconstruction method, especially in patients not disturbed by its cosmetic appearance.


[1] DMCA = dorsal metacarpal artery

July 2001
Manuel Katz, MD, Sheila S. Warshawsky, MSc, Avi Porat, MD and Joseph Press, MD

Background: Appropriateness of hospital admission has both clinical and economic relevance, especially in light of the growing pressure for increased efficiency of health services utilization. In Israel, the number of referrals and use of the emergency room continue to rise along with an increase in hospital admissions and the number of inappropriate admis­sions. Using evaluation protocols, such as the Pediatric Appropriateness Evaluation Protocol, international studies have shown that 10-30% of hospital admissions are medically unnecessary. Inappropriate hospitalizations have an economic impact as well as medical and psychological effects on the child and the family.

Objectives: To assess the extent and characteristics of inappropriate pediatric admissions to a tertiary care facility in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study using chart review of pediatric admissions to Soroka University Medical Center on 18 randomly selected days in 1993, and evaluated the appropriateness of admissions using the PAEP.

Results: Of the 221 pediatric admissions 18% were evaluated as inappropriate. The main reason for such an evaluation was that the problem could have been managed on an ambulatory basis. Inappropriate admissions were asso­ciated with hospital stays of 2 or less days, children older than 1 year of age, Jewish children, and self-referrals to the pediatric emergency room.

Conclusions: The assessment and identification of characteristics of inappropriate hospital admissions can serve as indicators of problems in healthcare management and as a basis for improving quality of care and developing appropriate medical decision-making processes.

June 2001
Alex Kessler, MD, Ephraim Eviatar, MD, Judith Lapinsky, MD, Tifha Horne, MD, Nathan Shlamkovitch, MD and Shmuel Segal, MD
January 2001
Yuksel Cavusoglu, MD, Bulent Gorenek, MD, Seref Alpsoy, MD, Ahmet Unalir, MD, Necmi Ata, MD and Bilgin Timuralp, MD

Background: inflammation is an important feature of atherosclerotic lesions and increased production of the actuephase reactant. The contribution of coagulation factor to the development of coronary artery disease has not yet been clearly established.

Objective: To test whether C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and antithrombin-III are associated with angiograpic CAD, history of myocardial infarction and extensive atherosclerotic involvement.

Methods: Blood samples were tested for CRP, fibrinogen and AT-III levels from 219 individuals undergoing coronary angiography.

Results: CRP was higher in patients with CAD (0.95 + 1.31, n=180, vs. 0.39 + 0.61 mg/dl, n=39, P<0.0001) and in those with a history of MI (1.07 + 1.64, n=96, vs. 0.65 + 0.72 mg/dl, n=84, P<0.05) than in control subjects. The patients who developed unstable angina had higher CRP levels than the patients with stable CAD (2.07 + 2/38, n=7, vs. 0.80 + 1.13 mg/dl, n=173, P<0.001).

Fibrinogen was significantly higher in patients with CAD (298 + 108 vs. 258 + 63 mg/dl, P<0.01). In patients with CAD, mean AT-III value was less than in patients without CAD, but this difference was found in CRP, fibrinogen and AT-III values among the patients with single, double or triple vessel disease.

Conclusion: CRP is elevated in patients with CAD and a history of MI. Elevated levels of CRP at the time of hospital admission is a predictive value for future ischemic events.

There is an association between higher levels of fibrinogen and CAD. The association of AT-III levels with CAD needs testing in further studies.

Matityahu Lifshitz MD, Vladimir Gavrilov MD, Aharon Galil MD and Daniella Landau MD

Background: Narcotic abuse has steadily become more prevalent in Israel and may result in an increasing number of children exposed prenatally to narcotics, with a consequent increase in the number of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Objective: To report our experience with infants born to narcotic-addicted women between the years 1995 and 1998 at the Soroka University Medical Center.

Methods: The medical records of 24 newborns and their drug-addicted mothers admitted to our Medical Center for parturition were analyzed retrospectively. A diagnosis of NAS was established on the basis of the clinical presentation and anamnesis. The Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System was used to assess drug withdrawal. Urine toxicological analysis for narcotics was done only for year 1998.

Results: Of the 24 newborn infants exposed prenatally to narcotics 23 (96%) developed NAS, and 78% (18 of the 23) had a Finnegan score of 8 or more. These 18 infants were treated pharmacologically (tincture of opium and/or Phenobarbital) until the score was reduced to less than 8, after which they received supportive treatment. In one child who became lethargic after the first dose of tincture of opium, the medication was stopped and supportive treatment alone was given. Four of the five neonates with scores of 7 and less were given supportive treatment. One of five infants who had a low Finnegan score at birth nevertheless received pharmacological therapy to prevent further deterioration of his physical state since he was born with severe dyspnea. Ten of the 24 children (42%) were followed for lengths of time ranging from 6 to 22 months after discharge, all of whom showed normal development.

Conclusion: About three-quarters of newborns exhibiting withdrawal syndrome required pharmacological therapy. Previous information on maternal drug abuse is a crucial criterion for early detection and treatment.

December 2000
Howard A. Schwid, MD
 Anesthesia simulators are rapidly becoming more preva­lent worldwide. Several types of anesthesia simulators utilizing a variety of technologies are available. High fidelity mannequin-based simulators, low fidelity screen-based simulators, and relatively inexpensive intermediate fidelity simulators have found applications in training, assessment of clinical competence, and research. A number of recent studies support the use of anesthesia simulators and may lead to widespread adoption of simulation in other fields of medicine.
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