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עמוד בית
Wed, 28.02.24

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January 2007
I. Morag, M. Goldman, J. Kuint, E. Heyman

Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis is a common progressive gastrointestinal disease affecting more than 5% of very low birth weight infants and associated with a high mortality rate.

Objectives: To determine whether excessive weight gain in preterm infants is an early sign of NEC[1].

Methods: Seventeen preterm infants with perforated NEC were identified and matched with 17 control subjects for birth weight and gestational age. The postnatal age (days) at diagnosis of NEC was identified, and weight changes as well as clinical and laboratory data were recorded and compared for 7 days prior through 7 days post-diagnosis.

Results: A significant difference in weight gain was noticed between D-1 and D 0. The NEC and control groups gained 5.1% and 1.2%, respectively (P = 0.002). None of the sick infants lost weight on days -1 to D 0.

Conclusions: Excessive weight gain was observed in premature infants who subsequently developed NEC. Daily evaluation of weight changes should be considered part of a strategy for early identification of infants at risk for developing NEC. Future studies are needed to confirm this finding in a prospective manner and to investigate its pathogenesis.

[1] NEC = necrotizing enterocolitis

October 2004
M. Korem, Z. Ackerman, Y. Sciaki-Tamir, G. Gino, S. Salameh-Giryes, S. Perlberg and S.N. Heyman
February 2004
A.D. Heymann, J. Azuri, E. Kokia, S.M. Monnickendam, M. Shapiro and G. Shalev

The complexity of medical problems is a well-recognized phenomenon. In the presence of economic and cultural restrictions, medical decision-making can be particularly challenging. This paper outlines a system of analysis and decision-making for solving such problems, and briefly describes a case study in which the method was used to analyze the case of antibiotic overprescribing in a large health maintenance organization. The purpose of the study was to determine if a technique for problem-solving in the field of engineering could be applied to the complex problems facing primary care. The method is designated Systematic Inventive Thinking and consists of a three-step procedure: problem reformulation, general search-strategy selection, and an application of idea-provoking techniques. The problem examined is the over-prescribing of antibiotics by general practitioners working in Maccabi Healthcare Services, an HMO[1] serving one and a half million patients in Israel. The group of healthcare professionals involved in the discussions generated 117 ideas for improving antibiotic use. Six of these ideas were then implemented in a national campaign in the winter of 2000/1 and 2001/2. During this period, a significant reduction in per-visit antibiotic purchasing was observed for influenza visits (from 79.2 per 1,000 to 58.1 per 1,000, P < .0001), but not for other categories of visits. The SIT[2] methodology is a useful technique for problem-solving and idea generation within the medical framework.

[1] HMO = health maintenance organization

[2] SIT = systemic inventive thinking

October 2003
Y. Shapiro, J. Shemer, A. Heymann, V. Shalev, N. Maharshak, G. Chodik, M.S. Green and E. Kokia

Background: Upper respiratory tract illnesses have been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To assess the influence of vaccination against influenza on the risk of hospitalization in internal medicine and geriatric wards, and the risk of death from all causes during the 2000–2001 influenza season.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using computerized general practitioner records on patients aged 65 years and above, members of “Maccabi Health Care Services” – the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel with 1.6 million members. The patients were divided into high and low risk groups corresponding to coexisting conditions, and were studied. Administrative and clinical data were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Of the 84,613 subjects in the cohort 42.8% were immunized. At baseline, vaccinated subjects were sicker and had higher rates of coexisting conditions than unvaccinated subjects. Vaccination against influenza was associated with a 30% reduction in hospitalization rates and 70% in mortality rates in the high risk group. The NNT (number needed to treat) measured to prevent one hospitalization was 53.2 (28.2 in the high risk group and 100.4 in the low risk group). When referring to length of hospitalization, one vaccine was needed to prevent 1 day of hospitalization among the high risk group. Analyses according to age and the presence or absence of major medical conditions at baseline revealed similar findings across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the elderly, vaccination against influenza is associated with a reduction in both the total risk of hospitalization and in the risk of death from all causes during the influenza season. These findings compel the rationale to increase compliance with recommendations for annual influenza vaccination among the elderly.

October 2001
Imad Kasis, MD, Lea Lak, MD, Jakov Adler, MD, Rinat Choni, MD, Gila Shazberg, MD, Tewade-Doron Fekede, MD, Ehud Shoshani, MD, Douglas Miller, MD and Samuel Heyman, MD

Background: Following the recent drought in Ethiopia, the Jewish Agency, aided by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, launched a medical relief mission to a rural district in Ethiopia in May-August 2000.

Objectives: To present the current medical needs and deficiencies in this representative region of Central Africa, to describe the mission’s mode of operation, and to propose alternative operative modes.

Methods: We critically evaluate the current local needs and existing medical system, retrospectively analyze the mission’s work and the patients’ characteristics, and summar­ize a panel discussion of all participants and organizers regarding potential alternative operative modes.

Results: An ongoing medical disaster exists in Ethiopia, resulting from the burden of morbidity, an inadequate health budget, and insufficient medical personnel, facilities and supplies. The mission operated a mobile outreach clinic for 3 months, providing primary care to 2,500 patients at an estimated cost of $48 per patient. Frequent clinical diagnoses included gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections, skin and ocular diseases (particularly trachoma), sexually trans­mitted diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis, intestinal parasitosis, malnutrition and malaria.

Conclusions: This type of operation is feasible but its overall impact is marginal and temporary. Potential alternative models of providing medical support under such circum­stances are outlined.

December 1999
Sophia Zlatkin MD, Suhail Aamar MD, MSc, Galia Specter MD, David Leibowitz MD, Natalia Simanovsky MD, Dror Yeshurun MD and Samuel N Heyman MD
 Background: Takayasu's arteritis is a rare, probably underdiagnosed disorder in Israel.

Objective: To evaluate the contribution of computerized tomography to the diagnosis of Takayasu's arteritis.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the diagnostic process was recently conducted in three consecutive patients diagnosed over the last 3 years.

Results: Three females of Arab origin with Takayasu's arteritis were recently identified by CT. In two of the three patients the imaging procedure was performed for different working hypotheses, and the radiological findings (wall thickening, perivascular edema, and segmental intraluminal obliteration of the aorta and its major branches) were unexpected. In these two patients, repeated physical examination following the imaging procedure disclosed initially missed findings that could have led to an earlier consideration of Takayasu's arteritis (bruits above the epigastrium, subclavian and carotid arteries, and absent brachial pulses). Retrospective analysis of the patients' symptoms following CT revealed the true nature of the patients' misinterpreted complaints (e.g., typical abdominal angina replaced a faulty obtained history compatible with renal colic or dyspepsia). In the third patient CT was performed for the evaluation of an epigastric bruit associated with constitutional complaints. The diagnosis of aortitis, based upon the presence of diffuse aortic wall thickening and edema of the surrounding fat, without intraluminal narrowing, could have been missed by angiography, the traditional "gold standard" diagnostic procedure. All three patients complained of ill-defined epigastric abdominal pain and had epigastric tenderness during examination.

Conclusions: CT has the potential for detecting Takayasu's disease and may be superior to angiography, particularly at the early non-obliterative stage. Since the diagnosis of Takayasu's disease is rarely considered, the expanding use of CT and MRI technologies may reveal missed cases that are evaluated for other plausible diagnoses. The true incidence of Takayasu's arteritis in Israel may be much higher than reported, particularly in the Arab population. Our findings suggest that epigastric tenderness, originating from active inflammatory reaction in the abdominal aortic wall, should be considered as a diagnostic criterion of Takayasu's aortitis.

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