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עמוד בית
Sun, 21.07.24

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April 2022
Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Shir Frydman MD, Svetlana Sirota MSc, Amir Halkin MD, Arie Steinvil MD, Ella Toledano MD, Maayan Konigstein MD, Batia Litmanowicz MD, Samuel Bazan MD, Atalia Wenkert BA, Sapir Sadon BA, Shmuel Banai MD, Ariel Finkelstein MD, and Yaron Arbel MD

Background: Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a simple and cost-effective marker of inflammation. This marker has been shown to predict cardiac arrhythmias, progression of valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure decompensation, acute kidney injury, and mortality in cardiovascular patients. The pathologic process of aortic stenosis includes chronic inflammation of the valve and therefore biomarkers of inflammation might offer additive prognostic value.

Objectives: To evaluate NLR and its association with long term mortality in transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) patients.

Methods: We evaluated data of 1152 consecutive patient from the Tel Aviv Medical Center TAVI registry who underwent TAVI. Data included baseline clinical, demographic, and echocardiographic findings; procedural complications; and post-procedure mortality. Patients were compared by using the median NLR value (4.1) and evaluated for long-term mortality.

Results: Patients with NLR above the median had higher mortality rates (26.4% vs. 16.3%, P < 0.001) at 3 years post-procedure. A multivariable analysis found NLR to be an independent risk factor for mortality (hazard ratio = 1.47, 95% confidence interval 1.09–1.99, P = 0.013). In addition, high NLR was linked to complicationsduring and after the procedure.

Conclusion: NLR is an independent prognostic marker among TAVI patients. This marker may represent an increased inflammatory response and should be added to previous known prognostic factors.

August 2015
Yaron Arbel MD, Assi Milwidsky MD, Ariel Finkelstein MD, Amir Halkin MD, Miri Revivo MHA, Shlomo Berliner MD PhD, Martin Ellis MD, Itzhak Herz MD, Gad Keren MD and Shmuel Banai MD

Background: Anemia confers an adverse prognosis in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Several mechanisms have been implicated in the etiology of anemia in this setting, including inflammation, blood loss, and the presence of comorbidities such as renal failure.

Objectives: To evaluate the adequacy of bone marrow response as potentially reflected by elevation in blood and reticulocyte counts.

Methods: Consecutive men with STEMI who underwent primary percutaneous intervention within 6 hours of symptom onset and who presented to our catheterization laboratory during a 36 month period were included in the study. The cohort was divided into quartiles according to hemoglobin concentration, and differences in clinical and laboratory characteristics between the groups were evaluated.

Results: A total of 258 men with STEMI were recruited, 22% of whom suffered from anemia according to the World Health Organization classification (hemoglobin < 13 g/dl). Men in the lowest quartile of hemoglobin concentration presented with significantly lower white blood cell and platelet counts (9.6 ± 2.9 vs. 12.6 ± 3.6 x103/µl, P < 0.001) and (231 ± 79 vs. 263 ± 8 x103/µl, P < 0.01), respectively, despite higher inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein and fibrinogen) compared with patients in the upper hemoglobin concentration quartile. Reticulocyte production index was not significantly higher in anemic patients with a value of 1.8, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 in the ascending hemoglobin quartiles, respectively (P = 0.292). 

Conclusions: Anemic men with STEMI have relatively lower leukocyte and platelet counts as well as a reduced reticulocyte count despite higher inflammatory biomarkers. These findings might suggest inadequate bone marrow response. 


May 2014
Yael Zenziper BPharm, Daniel Kurnik MD, Noa Markovits MD, Amitai Ziv MD MHA, Ari Shamiss MD MPA, Hillel Halkin MD and Ronen Loebstein MD

Background: Prescription errors are common in hospitalized patients and result in significant morbidity, mortality and costs. Electronic prescriptions with computerized physician order entry systems (CPOE) and integrated computerized decision support systems (CDSS providing online alerts) reduce prescription errors by approximately 50%. However, the introduction of CDSS is often met by opposition due to the flood of alerts, and most prescribers eventually ignore even crucial alerts (“alert fatigue”). 

Objectives: To describe the implementation and customization of a commercial CDSS (SafeRx®) for electronic prescribing in Internal Medicine departments at a tertiary care center, with the purpose of improving comprehensibility and substantially reducing the number of alerts to minimize alert fatigue. 

Methods: A multidisciplinary expert committee was authorized by the hospital administration to customize the CDSS according to the needs of six internal medicine departments at Sheba Medical Center. We assessed volume of prescriptions and alert types during the period February–August 2012 using the statistical functions provided by the CDSS. 

Results: A mean of 339 ± 13 patients per month per department received 11.2 ± 0.5 prescriptions per patient, 30.1% of which triggered one or more CDSS alerts, most commonly drug-drug interactions (43.2%) and dosing alerts (38.3%). The review committee silenced or modified 3981 alerts, enhancing comprehensibility, and providing dosing instructions adjusted to the patient’s renal function and recommendations for follow-up. 

Conclusions: The large volume of drug prescriptions in internal medicine departments is associated with a significant rate of potential prescription errors. To ensure its effectiveness and minimize alert fatigue, continuous customization of the CDSS to the specific needs of particular departments is required.


October 2013
A. Finkelstein, E.Y. Birati, Y. Abramowitz, A. Steinvil, N. Sheinberg, S. Biner, S. Bazan, Y. Ben Gal, A. Halkin, Y. Arbel, E. Ben-Assa, E. Leshem-Rubinow, G. Keren and S. Banai
 Background: Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has recently become an alternative to surgical aortic valve replacement in selected patients with high operative risk.

Objectives: To investigate the 30 day clinical outcome of the first 300 consecutive patients treated with transfemoral TAVI at the Tel Aviv Medical Center.

Methods: The CoreValve was used in 250 patients and the Edwards-Sapien valve in 50 patients. The mean age of the patients was 83 ± 5.3 years (range 63–98 years) and the mean valve area 0.69 ± 0.18 cm2 (range 0.3–0.9 cm2); 62% were women.

Results: The procedural success rate was 100%, and 30 day follow-up was done in all the patients. The average Euro-score for the cohort was 26 ± 13 (range 1.5–67). Total in-hospital mortality and 30 day mortality were both 2.3% (7 patients). Sixty-seven patients (22%) underwent permanent pacemaker implantation after the TAVI procedure, mostly due to new onset of left bundle brunch block and prolonged PR interval or to high degree atrioventricular block. The rate of stroke was 1.7% (5 patients). Forty-one patients (13.7%) had vascular complications, of whom 9 (3%) were defined as major vascular complications (according to the VARC definition).

Conclusions: The 30 day clinical outcome in the first 300 consecutive TAVI patients in our center was favorable, with a mortality rate of 2.3% and low rates of stroke (1.7%) and major vascular complications (3%).



 VARC = Valve Academic Research Consortium

N. Markovits, D. Kurnik, H. Halkin, L. Guranda, A. Cohen, .M. Katz, D. Olchovsky, H. Mayan and R. Loebstein
 Background: “Body packers” swallow multiple packets filled with illicit drugs, mainly cocaine, in order to smuggle them across international borders. In recent years, an increasing number of body packers have been hospitalized after their detention by the police upon arrival in Israel.

Objectives: To characterize the clinical features and outcomes of body packers hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series of body packers hospitalized between January 2010 and October 2012 in our medical center. Electronic medical records and imaging files were reviewed to extract clinical, laboratory and radiological data as well as details on medical treatments.

Results: We identified 23 body packers (mean age 38 ± 10 years), 20 of whom smuggled cocaine from South America. The number of packets transported ranged from 1 to 242 (median 42) and duration of hospitalization from 1 to 14 days (median 2). Two subjects required surgical intervention. All others were treated conservatively by polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution, laxatives, or watchful waiting. Ten patients underwent a urinary screen for illicit drugs, 7 of whom tested positive for cocaine and 2 for cannabinoids. Abdominal X-rays were performed in all patients at admission, and 14 had follow-up imaging, including abdominal CT scans without contrast media in 8.

Conclusions: The main treatment goals for body packers are the rapid excretion of drug packets and early detection of complications, i.e., drug intoxication and bowel obstruction. We suggest the use of a structured treatment approach for the in-hospital management of body packers.

November 2010
A. Finkelstein, S. Schwartzenberg, L. Bar, Y. Levy, A. Halkin, I. Herz, S. Bazan, R. Massachi, S. Banai, G. Keren and J. George

Background: ST-elevation myocardial infarction is caused by occlusive coronary thrombosis where antecedent plaque disruption occurs. When treating STEMI[1] the main goal is to achieve prompt reperfusion of the infarction area. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of an aspiration device before percutaneous coronary intervention in patients with acute myocardial infarction.

Objectives: To determine the added value of thrombus aspiration prior to primary PCI[2] by comparing AMI[3] patients with totally occluded infarct-related artery treated with routine primary PCI to those treated with extraction device prior to primary PCI.

Methods: The study group comprised 122 consecutive patients with AMI and a totally occluded infarct artery (TIMI flow 0) who underwent primary PCI. The patients were divided into two groups: 68 who underwent primary PCI only (control group) and 54 who underwent primary thrombus extraction with an extraction device before PCI (extraction group). Baseline clinical and lesion characteristics were similar in both groups. Final TIMI grade flow and myocardial blush as well as 1 year mortality, target lesion revascularization, recurrent myocardial infarction, unstable angina and stroke were compared between the two groups.

Results: Primary angiographic results were better for the extraction group versus the control group: final grade 3 TIMI flow was 100% vs. 95.6% (P = 0.03) and final grade 3 myocardial blush grade 50% vs. 41.18% (although P was not significant). Long-term follow-up total MACE[4] showed a non-significant positive trend in the extraction group (12.96% vs. 24.71%, P = 0.26).

Conclusions: The use of extraction devices for intracoronary thrombectomy during primary PCI in patients with totally occluded infarct artery significantly improved epicardial reperfusion in the infarct-related vessel and showed a trend for more favorable long-term outcome.

[1] STEMI = ST-elevation myocardial infarction

[2] PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention

[3] AMI = acute myocardial infarction

[4] MACE = major adverse cardiac event

November 2008
R. Loebstein et al

Background: Infections with blood-borne viruses are a major health problem among illicit drug users. There is little information about infection rates and risk factors for hepatitis virus B, C or the human immunodeficiency virus in drug users in Israel.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of HCV[1], HBV[2] and HIV[3] infections in a large cohort of drug users in Israel; to compare rates of HCV, HBV and HIV between injecting versus non-injecting drug users and between different origin countries; and to identify risk factors for HCV among illicit drug users.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional interviewer-administered questionnaire and serological screening for HCV, HBV and HIV in 1443 consecutive drug users diagnosed at the Israeli National Center for Diagnosis of Drug Addicts between January 2003 and December 2005.

Results: Fourteen (0.9%), 51 (3.5%) and 515 (35.7%) subjects tested positive for HIV, HBV and HCV, respectively. All three infections (HIV, HBV and HCV) were significantly more common among injecting drug users and immigrants from the former Soviet Union and other East European countries compared to native Israelis. Multivariate analysis showed that HCV infection was associated with age (> 40 years) (OR=2.06, 95% CI 1.40–3.03), immigration from East European countries and the former Soviet Union (OR=4.54, 95% CI 3.28–6.28), and injecting drug use (OR=16.44, 95% CI 10.79–25.05).

Conclusions: HIV, HBV and HCV prevalence among drug users in Israel is significantly lower than in North America and West Europe. Risk factors for HCV infection in this population include injecting drug use, older age, and immigration from the former Soviet Union.

[1] HCV = hepatitis C virus

[2] HBV = hepatitis B virus

[3] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

December 2004
I. Solomon, N. Maharshak, G. Chechik, L. Leibovici, A. Lubetsky, H. Halkin, D. Ezra and N. Ash

Background: Oral anticoagulation with warfarin can lead to life-threatening events as a result of either over-anticoagulation or undertreatment. One of the main contributors to an undesirable warfarin effect is the need to adjust its daily dose for a specific patient. The dose is adjusted empirically based on the experience of the clinician, a method that is often imprecise. There is currently no other well-accepted method for predicting the maintenance dose of warfarin.

Objective: To describe the application of an artificial neural network to the problem of warfarin maintenance dose prediction.

Methods: We designed a neural network that predicts the maintenance dose of warfarin. Data on 148 patients attending a large anticoagulant clinic were collected by file review. Using correlational analysis of the patients' data we selected the best input variables. The network was trained by using the back-propagation algorithm on a subset of our data and the results were validated against the rest of the data. We used a multivariate linear regression to create a comparable model.

Results: The neural network generated reasonable predictions of the maintenance dose (r = 0.823). The results of the linear regression model were similar (r = 0.800).

Conclusion: Neural networks can be applied successfully for warfarin maintenance dose prediction. The results are promising, but further investigation is needed.

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