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עמוד בית
Mon, 06.02.23

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March 2003
N. Werbin, R. Haddad, R. Greenberg, E. Karin and Y. Skornick

Background: Free bowel perforation is one of the indications for emergency surgery in Crohn’s disease. It is generally accepted that 1–3% of patients with Crohn’s disease will present with a free perforation initially or eventually in their disease course.

Objective: To evaluate the incidence and treatment results of free perforation in patients with Crohn’s disease and based on our experience to suggest recommendations.

Methods: Between 1987 and 1996, 160 patients with Crohn's disease were treated in our department and were followed for a mean period of 5 years.

Results: Of the 83 patients (52%) requiring surgical intervention, 13 (15.6%) were operated due to free perforation. The mean age of the perforated CD[1] was 33 ± 12 years and the mean duration of symptoms to surgery was 6 years. The location of the free perforation was the terminal ileum in 10 patients, the mid-ileum in 2 patients, and the left colon in 1 patient. Surgical treatment included 10 ileocecectomies, 2 segmental resections of small bowel, and resection of left colon with transverse colostomy and mucus fistula in one patient. There was no operative mortality. Postoperative hospital stay was 21 ± 12 days (range 8–55 days). All patients were followed for 10–120 months (mean 58.0 ± 36.7). Six patients (42%) required a second operation during the follow-up period.

Conclusion: The incidence of free perforation in Crohn’s disease in our experience was 15.6%. We raise the question whether surgery should be offered earlier to Crohn’s disease patients in order to lower the incidence of free perforation






[1] CD = Crohn's disease


October 2002
Ashraf Hamdan, MD, Dania Hirsch, MD, Pnina Green, MD, PhD, Avivit Neumann, Tamara Drozd and Yair Molad, MD
September 2002
Dafna Merom, MPH, Anneke Ifrah, MA, MPH, Irit Cohen-Manheim, MSc, Ayelet Chinich, MA and Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD

Background: Despite the controversy regarding the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, studies in various countries indicate a two- to threefold increase in the use of HRT[1] during the last decade.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of HRT use among post-menopausal Jewish women in Israel and to determine the variables predicting current HRT use.

Methods: A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted in 1998 on a random sample of Jewish women aged 45–74. Of 935 women who were located and eligible, 704 (75%) were interviewed by means of a structured questionnaire.

Results: A total of 589 women (85%) were peri-menopausal or post-menopausal.  Ninety-nine of them (16.8%) were currently using HRT and 78 (13.2%) were past users. Higher rates of current use were found among women who had undergone hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy (38%) than among all other women (13.5%).  Among naturally menopausal women the highest rate of current use (25.6%) was found in those aged 55–59.  A multiple logistic regression showed that the variables associated with current HRT use among naturally menopausal women  were: having a regular gynecologist (odds ratio 3.6, 95% confidence interval 1.7–7.5), visiting a gynecologist during the past year (OR[2] 2.9, 95% CI[3] 1.4–6.0), experiencing symptoms of menopause (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.01–3.8), having more than a high-school education (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.04–3.6), and a lower body mass index (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85–0.99).

Conclusions: The factors associated with HRT use may be markers for other socioeconomic or psychological characteristics. The disparities noted between population subgroups may be indicative of differences in awareness or in the delivery of preventive healthcare services to women in Israel, and as such need to be addressed by the health system.

___________________________


[1] HRT = hormone replacement therapy

[2] OR = odds ratio

[3] CI = confidence interval

July 2002
Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD and Zalman Kaufman, MSc

The appearance of “new” infectious diseases, the reemergence of “old” infectious diseases, and the deliberate introduction of infectious diseases through bioterrorism has highlighted the need for improved and innovative infectious disease surveillance systems. A review of publications reveals that traditional current surveillance systems are generally based on the recognition of a clear increase in diagnosed cases before an outbreak can be identified. For early detection of bioterrorist-initiated outbreaks, the sensitivity and timeliness of the systems need to be improved. Systems based on syndromic surveillance are being developed using technologies such as electronic reporting and the internet. The reporting sources include community physicians, public health laboratories, emergency rooms, intensive care units, district health offices, and hospital admission and discharge systems. The acid test of any system will be the ability to provide analyses and interpretations of the data that will serve the goals of the system. Such analytical methods are still in the early stages of development.

May 2002
Gahl Greenberg, MD, Myra Shapiro-Feinberg, MD and Rivka Zissin, MD
February 2002
Jochanan G. Peiser, MD, MPH and Dan Greenberg, MSc

Background: Acute appendicitis is one of the most common conditions requiring surgical intervention. Open appendectomy has been a safe and effective operation for acute appendicitis for more than a century. Recently, several authors proposed that the new technique of laparoscopic appendectomy should be the preferred treatment for acute appendicitis. However, unlike laparoscopic cholecystectomy, LA[1] has not yet gained popularity.

Objectives: To compare open with laparoscopic appendectomy for length of operation, complications, postoperative pain control, length of hospitalization, and hospital costs.

Methods: A sample of 194 patients who underwent OA[2] and LA during 1995 was randomly selected for the study. Patients' demographic data, preoperative laboratory and physical values, histopathologic diagnosis of removed appendix, mean operating time, length of hospitalization, and postoperative pain control and complications were reviewed.

Results: Acute appendicitis was confirmed in 66% of patients. The groups were similar demographically (gender and mean age). We could not find any statistical differences in intraoperative and postoperative complications and use of antibiotics. The operative time was longer in the OA group (62.4 vs. 57.3 minutes), but the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.075). The hospital stay was 2.5 days in the LA group and 2.7 days in the OA group. Higher operative costs were observed in the LA group.

Conclusion: Laparoscopic appendectomy is comparable to open appendectomy with regard to complications, length of operation, hospital stay, but it is more costly. Laparoscopic appendectomy does not offer any significant benefit over the open approach.






[1] LA = laparoscopic appendectomy



[2] OA = open appendectomy


Eilon Shany, MD, David Greenberg, MD and Eliezer Shahak, MD
January 2002
Manfred S. Green MD PhD, Tiberio Swartz MD MPH, Elana Mayshar JD, Boaz Lev MD, Alex Leventhal MD MPH, Paul E. Slater MD MPH and Joshua Shemer MD

Background: The large number of cases of West Nile fever diagnosed in Israel in 2000 once again brought into focus the confusion that frequently accompanies the use of the term “epidemic”.

Objective: To examine the different definitions of the term “epidemic” and to propose ways in which it can be used to both improve communication among professionals and provide the public with a better sense of the associated risks.

Methods: The literature wes reviewed for the various definitions of the terms “epidemic” and “outbreak”. Sources included popular and medical dictionaries, ancient documents, epidemiology texts, legal texts, and the medical literature.

Result: The term epidemic is variously defined. The broad definition given by epidemiologists - namely, more disease the is anticipated by previous experience - is less meaningful to the general public. In some ways it conflicts with the definitions found in the popular literature, which generally imply danger to the public and a very large number of victims.

Conclusions: The interpretation of the term epidemic may vary according to the context in which it is used. For risk communication, we suggest that every effort be made to add descriptive terms that characterize the epidemic.

December 2001
Hava Tabenkin MD, Revital Gross, Shuli Bramli Greenberg, Dov Steinmetz MD and Asher Elhayany MD MP

Background: The rapidly increasing costs of healthcare pose a major challenge to many governments, particularly those of developed countries. Health policy makers in some Western European countries have adopted the policy of a strong primary healthcare system, partly due to their recognition of the value of primary care medicine as a means to restrain costs while maintaining the quality and equity of healthcare services. In these countries there is a growing comprehension that the role of the family physician should be central, with responsibility for assessing the overall health needs of the individual, for coordination of medical care and, as the primary caregiver, for most of the individual’s medical problems in the framework of the family and the community.

Objectives: To describe primary care physicians in Israel from their own perception, health policy makers' opinion on the role PCPs should play, and patients' view on their role as gatekeepers.

Methods: The study was based on three research tools: a) a questionnaire mailed to a representative sample of all PCPs employed by the four sick funds in Israel in 1997, b) in-depth semi-structured interviews with key professionals and policy makers in the healthcare system, and c) a national telephone survey of a random representative sample of patients conducted in 1997.

Results: PCPs were asked to rank the importance of 12 primary functions. A total of 95% considered coordination of all patient care to be a very important function, but only 43% thought that weighing economic considerations in patient management is important, and 30.6% thought that 24 hour responsibility for patients is important. Also, 60% of PCPs have undergone specialty training and 94% thought that this training is essential. With regard to the policy makers, most preferred highly trained PCPs (board-certified family physicians, pediatricians and internists) and believed they should play a central role in the healthcare system, acting as coordinators, highly accessible and able to weigh cost considerations. Yet, half opposed a full gatekeeper model. They also felt that the general population has lost faith in PCPs, and that most have a low status and do not have adequate training. Regarding the patients’ viewpoint, 40% preferred that the PCP function as their “personal physician” coordinating all aspects of their care and fully in charge of their referrals; 30% preferred self-referral to sub-specialists, and 19% preferred their PCP to coordinate their care but wanted to be able to refer themselves to specialists.

Conclusions: In order to maintain high quality primary care, it is important that all PCPs have board certification. In addition, PCP training systems should emphasize preventive medicine, health promotion, health economy, and cost-effectiveness issues. Efforts should be make to render PCPs a central role in the healthcare system by gradually implementing the elements of the gatekeeper model through incentives rather than regulations.
 

October 2001
Sigal Ringel, MD, Ernesto Kahan, MD, MPH, Revital Greenberg, Shlomo Arieli, MD, Amihood Blay and Matitiahu Berkovitch, MD

Background: Many women stop smoking before or during pregnancy, or while breast-feeding (nursing).

Objectives: To assess the relation between breast-feeding and smoking habits.

Methods: A survey was conducted among 920 women attending family health clinics (group 1) and a maternity department (group 2) on their breast-feeding and smoking habits.

Results: A total of 156 women (16.95%) smoked during pregnancy. A significant correlation was found between breast-feeding and not smoking after delivery (P=0.009 in group 1, P=0.03 in group 2). A higher tendency to nurse was found among women with an uneventful pregnancy, who vaginally delivered a singleton at term weighing 2,500-4000 g, and who received guidance on breast-feeding.

Conclusion: Professional guidance in favor of breast­feeding is crucial to increase the rate of nursing. Encouraging breast-feeding will probably decrease the rate of cigarette smoking.
 

August 2001
Liat Lubish, MD, Shragit Greenberg, MD, Michael Friger and Pesach Shvartzman, MD

Background: Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies in women, yet one of the most treatable. Early detection is essential to obtain the desired remission and longevity. Numerous studies have shown that periodic screen­ing for breast cancer can reduce mortality by 20-30%.

Objective: To assess the rates, compliance, character­istics as well as barriers in women regarding mammography screening.

Methods: The study group comprised a random sample of 702 women aged 50 or older from 5914 eligible women in two teaching clinics in southern Israel. Phone interviews using structured questionnaires were conducted.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 61 years. The vast majority of the women were not born in Israel. Sixty-three percent of the women had undergone a mammo­graphy screening, 48% in the past 2 years. Monthly self-breast examinations were performed by 12% of the women in the last 2 years. Significant factors associated with undergoing mammography were: more than 7 years since immigration, married, a higher education level, adequate knowledge about breast cancer and mammography, presence of past or current cancer, and cancer in relatives. The main reasons for not being screened was no referral (54%) and a lack of knowledge about breast cancer and mammography (19%) - conditions easily remedied by physician counseling.

Conclusion: The study suggests that promotional efforts should be concentrated on new immigrants and on less educated and unmarried women.

June 2001
Haim Reuveni, MD, Shifra Shvarts, PhD, Joachim Meyer, PhD, Asher Elhayany, MD, MPA and Dan Greenberg, MSc

Background: On 1 January 1995 a new mandatory National Health Insurance Law was enacted in Israel, The new law fostered competition among the four major Israeli healthcare providers (HMO5 or sick funds) already operating in the market due to the possibility that an unlimited number of patients and the relative budget share would shift among the HMOs. This led them to launch advertising campaigns to attract new members.

Objectives: To examine newspaper advertising activities during the early stages of healthcare market reform in Israel.

Methods: Advertising efforts were reviewed during a study period of 24 months (July 1994 to June 1996). Advertisements were analyzed in terms of marketing strategy, costs and quality of information.

Results: During the study period 412 newspaper adver­tisements were collected. The total advertising costs by all HMOs was approximately US$4 million in 1996 prices. Differences were found in marketing strategy, relative adver­tising costs, contents and priorities among the HMOs.

Conclusions: The content of HMO5 newspaper advertis­ing was consistent with their marketing strategy. The mes­sages met the criteria of persuasive advertising in that they cultivated interest in the HMOs but did not provide meaningful information about them. Future developments in this area should include consensus guidelines for advertising activities of HMOs in Israel, instruction concerning the content of messages, and standardization of criteria to report on HMO performance.

May 2001
Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD, Gali Aharonowitz, MD, Tamy Shohat, MD, MPH, Rachel Levine, MD, Emilia Anis, MD, MPH and Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH

Background: Between 1970 and 1979, there was an increase in the incidence of viral hepatitis in Israel with a shift of peak incidence to an older age in the Jewish population, followed by a declining trend during the early 1980s. In July 1999 universal immunization of infants against hepatitis A was introduced.

Objective: To evaluate the chan-ges in the epidemiology of viral hepatitis A in Israel during the past decade.

Methods: Viral hepatitis is a notifiable disease in Israel and cases are reported to the regional health offices, which in turn provide summary reports to the Ministry of Health's Department of Epidemiology. The data in this study were derived from the summary reports and from results of seroprevalence studies.

Results: Following the increase in the incidence of reported viral hepatitis (mainly due to type A) between 1970 and 1979, the rates then stabilized and around 1984 began to decline until 1992. Since then there has been a slight increase. Whereas until 1987 the rates were consistently higher in the Jewish population. since then they are higher in the Arab population. The shift in the peak age-specific incidence from the 1-4 to the 5-9 year age group observed in the Jewish population around 1970 occurred 20 years later in the Arab population. The previously described seasonality is no longer evident. Recent seroprevalence studies indicate that by age 18 years only about 30-40% of the Jewish population have anti-hepatitis A antibodies.

Conclusions: The decline in the incidence of hepatitis probably reflects the changing socioeconomic condition occurring at different times in the two major population groups. Since hepatitis A accounts for almost all the acute viral hepatitis in Israel, the universal vaccination of infants introduced in 1999 should substantially lower the morbidity within the next few years.

November 2000
Shmuel Fennig, MD, Dan Yuval, PhD, Miriam Greenstein, Stanley Rabin, PhD and Michael Weingarten, MA, BM, BCh

Background: The aim of family medicine is to provide patients with comprehensive care within the biopsychosocial model. High job satisfaction is necessary to attract physicians to this specialty

Objective: To compare job satisfaction levels between primary physicians with training in family medicine and physicians without specialty training.

Methods: A self-report questionnaire, the "Task Profiles of General Practitioners in Europe," was mailed to a stratified random sample of 664 primary care physicians in Israel. The response rate was 77.6%. Bivariate and logistic regression procedures were used to analyze the data.

Results: Physicians with training in family medicine were less satisfied with the rewards for their work than general practitioners with no formal specialization in family medicine. Satisfaction with the intrinsic aspects of the work was found to be equal. Women and rural physicians were more satisfied than men and urban physicians.

Conclusion: Measures should be taken by health maintenance organizations to increase the level of job satisfaction of specialist-certified family physicians to avoid a crisis in the profession.
 

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