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עמוד בית
Fri, 24.05.24

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October 2016
Nathaniel A. Cohen MD, Dan M. Livovsky MD, Shir Yaakobovitch BSc, Merav Ben Yehoyada PhD, Ronen Ben Ami MD, Amos Adler MD, Hanan Guzner-Gur MD, Eran Goldin MD, Moshe E. Santo MD, Zamir Halpern MD, Kalman Paz MD and Nitsan Maharshak MD

Background: Antibiotic treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has a high failure rate. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has proven very effective in treating these recurrences. 

Objectives: To determine which method of fecal microbiota transplantation (upper or lower gastrointestinal) and which type of donor (a relative or unrelated) is superior.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of treatment protocols and outcomes in 22 patients with refractory or recurrent CDI who underwent FMT at two Israeli facilities. Each center used a different donor type, stool preparation and method of delivery. The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center used unrelated fecal donors and frozen stool samples and delivered them primarily (92%) via the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Shaare Zedek Medical Center used fresh donor stool of relatives and delivered them primarily (90%) via the upper GI tract.

Results: FMT had an overall 2 month cure rate of 89%. Patients treated with FMT that was executed through the lower GI tract recovered faster from the infection (1.6 ± 1.08 vs. 2.4 ± 1 days for the upper tract, P = 0.03). The results also showed that patients who received lower GI tract FMTs were more likely to be cured of CDI (100% vs. 75% for upper tract FMTs, P = 0.16). Five patients (22%) died of CDI/FMT-unrelated causes and two (10%) died of CDI/FMT-related causes during the study period.

Conclusions: Lower GI tract FMT is a safe and effective treatment for refractory and recurrent CDI, and yields quicker results than upper GI tract FMT. 


August 2015
Nathaniel Aviv Cohen MD, Ronen Ben Ami MD, Hanan Guzner-Gur MD, Moshe Erwin Santo MD, Zamir Halpern MD and Nitsan Maharshak MD

Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea is a problem most hospital-based physicians will face in their career. This review aims to refresh current knowledge with regard to Clostridium difficile infection and bring physicians up to date with the latest developments in the growing field of fecal microbiota transplantation, the benefits it offers, and the promise this and other developments hold for the future. 

January 2014
Limor Aharonson-Daniel, Dagan Schwartz, Tzipi Hornik-Lurie and Pinchas Halpern
Background: Emergency department (ED) attenders reflect the health of the population served by the hospital and the availability of health care services in the community.

Objectives: To examine the quality and accuracy of diagnoses recorded in the ED in order to appraise its potential utility as a guage of the population's medical needs.

Methods: Using the Delphi process, a preliminary list of health indicators generated by an expert focus group was transformed into a query to the Ministry of Health's database. In parallel, medical charts were reviewed in four hospitals to compare the handwritten diagnosis in the medical record with that recorded on the standard diagnosis "pick list" coding sheet. Quantity and quality of coding were assessed using explicit criteria.

Results: During 2010 a total of 17,761 charts were reviewed; diagnoses were not coded in 42%. The accuracy of existing coding was excellent (mismatch 1%–5%). Database query (2,670,300 visits to 28 hospitals in 2009) demonstrated potential benefits of these data as indicators of regional health needs.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that an increase in the provision of community care may reduce ED attendance. Information on ED visits can be used to support health care planning. A "pick list" form with common diagnoses can facilitate quality recording of diagnoses in a busy ED, profiling the population’s health needs in order to optimize care. Better compliance with the directive to code diagnosis is desired.

April 2012
September 2011
I. Rabin, A. Kapiev, B. Chikman, Z. Halpern, N. Poluksht, I. Wassermann, J. Sandbank and A. Halevy

Background: Gastric stump cancer is often described as a tumor with a poor prognosis and low resectability rates.

Objectives: To compare the pathological characteristics of gastric stump cancer patients with those of patients with proximal gastric cancer.

Methods: This retrospective study was based on the demographic and pathological data of patients diagnosed with gastric cancer and treated at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center during an 11 year period. The patients were divided into two groups: those undergoing proximal gastrectomy for proximal gastric cancer and those undergoing total gastrectomy for gastric stump cancer.

Results: Patients with gastric stump cancer were predominantly male, older (P = 0.202, not significant), and had a lower T stage with less signet-ring type histology, fewer harvested and fewer involved lymph nodes (P = 0.03, statistically significant) and less vascular/lymphatic involvement than patients with proximal gastric cancer.

Conclusions: The lower incidence of involved lymph nodes and lymphovascular invasion in gastric stump cancer as compared to proximal gastric cancer in this study may imply that the prognosis of gastric stump cancer may be better than that of proximal gastric cancer. However, to verify this assumption a study comparing patient survival is required.

August 2011
N. Halpern, D. Bentov-Gofrit, I. Matot and M.Z. Abramowitz

Background: A new approach for assessing non-cognitive attributes in medical school candidates was developed and implemented at the Hebrew University Medical School. The non-cognitive tests included a biographical questionnaire, a questionnaire raising theoretical dilemmas and multiple mini-interviews.

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of the change in the admission process on students' demographics and future career choices.

Methods: A questionnaire including questions on students’ background and future residency preferences was administered to first-year students accepted to medical school by the new admission system. Results were compared with previous information collected from students admitted through the old admission process.

Results: Students accepted by the new process were significantly older (22.49 vs. 21.54, P < 0.001), and more had attended other academic studies before medical school, considered other professions besides medicine, and majored in humanities combined with sciences in high school. Significantly more students from small communities were admitted by the new system.  Differences were found in preferences for future residencies; compared with the old admission process (N=41), students admitted by the new system (N=85) had a more positive attitude towards a career in obstetrics/gynecology (41% vs. 22%, P < 0.001) and hematology/oncology (11.7% vs. 4.8%, P < 0.001), while the popularity of surgery and pediatrics had decreased (34.5% vs. 61%, P < 0.001 and 68.7% vs. 82.5%, P < 0.001 respectively).

Conclusions: Assessment of non-cognitive parameters as part of the admission criteria to medical school was associated with an older and more heterogenic group of students and different preferences for future residency. Whether these preferences in first-year students persist through medical school is a question for further research.

December 2010
A. Kapiev, I. Rabin, R. Lavy, B. Chikman, Z. Shapira, H. Kais, N. Poluksht, Y. Amsalam, Z. Halpern, I. Markon, I. Wassermann and A. Halevy

Background: Gastric cancer continues to be a leading cause of cancer death. The treatment approach varies, and preoperative staging is therefore crucial since an exploratory laparotomy for unresectable gastric cancer will be followed by an unacceptably high morbidity and mortality rate.

Objectives: To assess the added value of diagnostic laparoscopy to conventional methods of diagnosis such as computed tomography in avoiding unnecessary laparotomies.

Methods: A retrospective study on 78 patients scheduled for curative gastrectomy based on CT staging was conducted. DL[1] was performed prior to exploratory laparotomy.

Results: In 23 of 78 patients (29.5%), unexpected peritoneal spread not detected on preoperative CT was found. Fifty-five patients underwent radical gastrectomy, 15 patients were referred for downstaging and 8 patients underwent a palliative procedure.

Conclusions: Based on our results, DL should be considered in all gastric cancer patients scheduled for curative gastrectomy.

[1] DL = diagnostic laparoscopy

September 2010
G. Rosner, P. Rozen, D. Bercovich, C. Shochat, I. Solar, H. Strul, R. Kariv and Z. Halpern

Background: Patients with multiple (< 100) colorectal adenomatous polyps are at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Genetic evaluation of those patients who test negative for APC gene mutation is both a clinical and economic burden but is critical for counseling and surveillance. In Israel, this is confounded by the fact that national health insurance does not fully cover genetic evaluation of APC gene exon 16.

Objectives: To perform a comprehensive genetic evaluation of APC gene mutation-negative polyposis patients with the aim of developing a future evaluation protocol.

Methods: Genetic analyses were performed in 29 APC gene mutation-negative Jewish individuals with 5 to ≥ 40 colonic adenomas who did not fulfill Amsterdam (clinical) criteria for Lynch syndrome. Analyses included completion of APC gene exon 16 sequencing, analysis for APC gene copy number variations (deletions or duplications), MUTYH gene sequencing, and microsatellite instability in CRC[1] patients fulfilling “Bethesda” (laboratory investigation) criteria for Lynch syndrome.

Results: Completion of APC gene exon 16 sequencing revealed one patient with the E1317Q polymorphism. All were normal by APC multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification analysis. Pathogenic MUTYH mutations were found in three patients, all of North African origin; two additional patients had variants of unknown significance. One of six patients with Bethesda-positive criteria was MSI2-High with immunohistology consistent with MLH1 mutation.

Conclusions: Based on this small but well-characterized cohort with multiple colorectal adenomas, Lynch syndrome needs to be excluded if there are compatible criteria; otherwise MUTYH sequencing is probably the first step in evaluating APC-negative patients, especially for Jews of North African descent. Completing APC exon 16 sequencing and copy number variations analysis should probably be the last evaluations.


[1] CRC = colorectal cancer

I. Jeroukhimov, N. Poluksht, N. Siegelmann-Danieli, R. Lavy, I. Wassermann, Z. Halpern, R. Gold-Deutch and A. Halevy

Background: One of the ominous complications following proximal gastrectomy or total gastrectomy is a leak from the esophagogastric or esophagojejunal anastomosis. An upper gastrointestinal swallow study is traditionally performed to confirm the anastomotic patency and lack of any leak before oral feeding can be initiated.

Objectives: To challenge the routine use of UGISs[1] following proximal or total gastrectomy in order to check the integrity of the gastroesophageal or jejunoesophageal anastomosis.

Methods: The charts of 99 patients who underwent PG[2] or TG[3]  for malignant pathology were retrospectively reviewed. UGISs were performed on day 6 following surgery using a water-soluble material.

Results: The UGISs were normal in 95 patients, with none displaying any complication related to the gastroesophageal or jejunoesophageal anastomosis. All four patients who experienced a leak from the anastomosis had an early stormy postoperative course.

Conclusions: Routine use of an UGIS to detect a leak following PG or TG is not justified. UGIS should be performed whenever signs of abdominal sepsis develop following this type or surgery.

[1] UIGS = upper gastrointestinal swallow study

[2] PG = proximal gastrectomy

[3] TG = total gastrectomy

April 2010
A. Stepansky, R. Gold-Deutch, N. Poluksht, P. Hagag, C. Benbassat, A. Mor, D. Aharoni, I. Wassermann, Z. Halpern and A. Halevy

Background: Hypocalcaemia following thyroid and parathyroid surgery is a well-recognized potential complication.

Objectives: To determine the utility of intraoperative quick parathormone assay in predicting severe hypocalcemia development following parathyroidectomy for a single-gland adenoma causing primary hyperparathyroidism.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed. IO-QPTH[1] values were measured at time 0 (T0) before incision, and 10 (T10) and 30 minutes (T30) following excision of the hyperfunctioning gland. Percent decrease in IO-QPTH at 10 minutes (T10), maximum percent decrease of IO-QPTH value, and lowest actual IO-QPTH value obtained at surgery were used to determine any correlation with the development of postoperative hypocalcemia requiring treatment.

Results: Percent decrease in IO-QPTH at 10 minutes, maximum percent decrease in IO-QPTH and lowest IO-QPTH value did not correlate with the lowest postoperative calcium levels measured 18 hours after surgery (r = 0.017, P = 0.860 r = 0.018, P = 0.850 and r = 0.002, P = 0.985 respectively). For the purposes of our analysis, patients were subdivided into three groups. Group 1 comprised 68 patients with normal calcium levels (serum Ca 8.6¨C10.3 mg/dl) Group 2 had 28 patients with hypocalcemia (8.1¨C8.6 mg/dl) Group 3 included 12 patients with severe hypocalcemia (calcium level ¡Ü 8.0 mg/dl) requiring calcium supplementation due to symptoms of hypocalcemia. There was no difference between the three groups in the lowest IO-QPTH value (P = 0.378), percent decrease in IO-QPTH (P = 0.305) and maximum percent decrease in IO-QPTH (P = 0.142).

Conclusions: IO-QPTH evaluation was not useful in predicting the group of patients susceptible to develop severe postoperative hypocalcemia. 

[1] IO-QPTH = intraoperative quick parathormone

November 2008
Michal Tenenbaum, Shahar Lavi, Nurit Magal, Gabrielle J. Halpern, Inbal Bolocan, Monther Boulos, Michael Kapeliovich, Mordechai Shohat, Haim Hammerman

Background: Long QT syndrome is an inherited cardiac disease, associated with malignant arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Objectives: To map and identify the gene responsible for LQTS[1] in an Israeli family.

Methods: A large family was screened for LQTS after one of them was successfully resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation. The DNA was examined for suspicious loci by whole genome screening and the coding region of the LQT2 gene was sequenced.

Results: Nine family members, 6 males and 3 females, age (median and interquartile range) 26 years (13, 46), who were characterized by a unique T wave pattern were diagnosed as carrying the mutant gene. The LQTS-causing gene was mapped to chromosome 7 with the A614V mutation. All of the affected members in the family were correctly identified by electrocardiogram. Corrected QT duration was inversely associated with age in the affected family members and decreased with age.
Conclusions: Careful inspection of the ECG can correctly identify LQTS in some families. Genetic analysis is needed to confirm the diagnosis and enable the correct therapy in this disease

[1] LQTS = long QT syndrome

September 2008
M. Avital, I. Hadas-Halpern, M. Deeb and G. Izbicki

Background: Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disorder of unknown cause that primarily affects the lungs. The diagnosis is made by the clinical manifestations, radiological findings and histological examination.

Objectives: To review and illustrate the typical and atypical radiological findings of sarcoidosis in the chest.

Methods: We analyzed the radiographic thoracic findings of all patients who had biopsy-proven sarcoidosis over the last 10 years.

Results: There were 100 consecutive patients (36 men and 64 women, age 20–84 years) with an established diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Thoracic lymphadenopathy was detected in 89 patients (89%). Lung parenchyma involvement was found in 60 patients. These changes were variable and included: ground glass attenuation (n=39), multiple small nodules (n= 44) and irregular thickening of the interlobular septa (n=16). Larger nodules (1–3 cm) were identified in 12 patients and frank consolidations were seen in 12 patients. Pleural thickening with subpleural nodules was identified in 17 patients.

Conclusions: Sarcoidosis has a wide variety of radiological manifestations in the chest. Familiarity with the various radiographic findings is important for diagnosis and management.

A. Brautbar, A. Abrahamov, I. Hadas-Halpern, D. Elstein and A. Zimran

Background: With regard to ethnic predilections for Gaucher disease, the most common storage disorder, Ashkenazi Jews are at risk for the non-neuronopathic form (type I), Norbottnian Swedes are at risk for the sub-acute neuronopathic form (type III), and perhaps Arabs are at risk for the very rare cardiac variant of the sub-acute neuronopathic form (type IIIc) for which there is a relatively tight genotype-phenotype correlation. Type II, the acute infantile form, being the rarest form, has not been associated with any ethnic predilection.

Objectives: To examine whether Arab ethnicity influences the Gaucher phenotype.

Methods: We reviewed the records of all Arab patients in a referral clinic of 586 patients in Israel.

Results: There were 46 patients (7.8%) of Arab ethnicity: 23 (50%) had type I disease, 16 (34.8%) had type IIIc disease, 4 (8.7%) had type IIIb disease, and 3 (6.5%) had type II disease. Type IIIc disease was characterized by genotype-phenotype correlation with homozygosity for the D409H (1342C) mutation. All five Bedouin patients (10.9%) had the R48W (C259T) mutation on at least one allele.

Conclusions: For all genotypes, disease severity among Arab patients was relatively similar to that reported among other Caucasian patients. Apparently Arab ethnicity does not impact phenotypic expression in Gaucher disease in a unique manner. The predilection for type IIIc may be a result of consanguinity.

December 2007
H.N. Baris, I. Kedar, G.J. Halpern, T. Shohat, N. Magal, M.D. Ludman and M. Shohat

Background: Fanconi anemia complementation group C and Bloom syndrome, rare autosomal recessive disorders marked by chromosome instability, are especially prevalent in the Ashkenazi* Jewish community. A single predominant mutation for each has been reported in Ashkenazi Jews: c.711+4A→T (IVS4 +4 A→T) in FACC[1] and BLMAsh in Bloom syndrome. Individuals affected by both syndromes are characterized by susceptibility for developing malignancies, and we questioned whether heterozygote carriers have a similarly increased risk.

Objectives: To estimate the cancer rate among FACC and BLMAsh carriers and their families over three previous generations in unselected Ashkenazi Jewish individuals.

Methods: We studied 42 FACC carriers, 28 BLMAsh carriers and 43 controls. The control subjects were Ashkenazi Jews participating in our prenatal genetic screening program who tested negative for FACC and BLMAsh. All subjects filled out a questionnaire regarding their own and a three-generation family history of cancer. The prevalence rates of cancer among relatives of FACC, BLMAsh and controls were computed and compared using the chi-square test.

Results: In 463 relatives of FACC carriers, 45 malignancies were reported (9.7%) including 10 breast (2.2%) and 13 colon cancers (2.8%). Among 326 relatives of BLMAsh carriers there were 30 malignancies (9.2%) including 7 breast (2.1%) and 4 colon cancers (1.2%). Controls consisted of 503 family members with 63 reported malignancies (12.5%) including 11 breast (2.2%) and 11 colon cancers (2.2%).

Conclusions: We found no significantly increased prevalence of malignancies among carriers in at least three generations compared to the controls.

* Jews of East European origin

[1] FACC = Fanconi anemia complementation group C

September 2006
D. Soffer, J. Klauser, O. Szold, C.I. Schulman, P. Halpern, B. Savitsky, L. Aharonson-Daniel and K. Peleg

Background: The rate of trauma in the elderly is growing.

Objectives: To evaluate the characteristics of non-hip fracture-associated trauma in elderly patients at a level I trauma center.

Methods: The study database of this retrospective cohort study was the trauma registry of a level I trauma center. Trauma patients admitted from January 2001 to December 2003 were stratified into different age groups. Patients with the diagnosis of hip fracture were excluded.

Results: The study group comprised 7629 patients. The non-hip fracture elderly group consisted of 1067 patients, 63.3% women and 36.7% men. The predominant mechanism of injury was falls (70.5%) and most of the injuries were blunt (94.1%). Injury Severity Score was found to increase significantly with age. The average mortality rate among the elderly was 6.1%. Age, ISS[1], Glasgow Coma Score on admission, and systolic blood pressure on admission were found to be independent predictors of mortality.

Conclusions: Falls remain the predominant cause of injury in the elderly. Since risk factors for mortality can be identified, an effective community prevention program can help combat the future expected increase in morbidity and mortality associated with trauma in the elderly.

[1] ISS = Injury Severity Score

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