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עמוד בית
Fri, 24.05.24

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January 2024
Yehuda Shoenfeld MD, Joshua Shemer MD, Gad Keren MD

Twenty-five years ago, we, the undersigned together with the chairman of the Israel Medical Association at the time, Prof. Yoram Blachar, and the Secretary General of the Israel Medical Association, Adv. Leah Wapner, joined forces to found an Israeli medical journal in English. The purpose of this journal was to present to the world Israeli clinical medicine and medical research. That journal is none other than the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ), and in 2023 its 300th issue was published. In 2024 we keep going, taking pride in the fact that every one of those past 300 issues has been published and dispatched on time, without delay, regardless of any circumstances.

October 2023
Keren Zloto MD, Eyal Krispin MD, Anat Shmueli MD, Eran Hadar MD, Lina Salman MD MSc

Background: The administration of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) is standard practice for management of threatened preterm birth. Its benefit, especially in small for gestational age (SGA) late preterm, is unclear.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of ACS on perinatal outcome of late preterm SGA neonates.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all women carrying a singleton gestation who had late preterm delivery (34–36 gestational weeks) of SGA neonates at a single tertiary university-affiliated medical center (July 2012–December 2017). Exclusion criteria included termination of pregnancy, intrauterine fetal death, and birth weight ≥ 10th percentile. Outcomes were compared between ACS and non-ACS treatment prior to delivery. Neonatal composite outcome included neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, respiratory distress syndrome, mechanical ventilation, and transient tachypnea.

Results: Overall, 228 women met inclusion criteria; 102 (44.7%) received ACS and 126 did not (55.3%). Median birth weight among the non-ACS group was significantly higher (1896.0 vs. 1755.5 grams P < 0.001). Rates of NICU and jaundice requiring phototherapy were higher among the ACS group (53.92% vs. 31.74%, P = 0.01; 12.74% vs. 5.55%, P = 0.05, respectively). Composite neonatal outcome was significantly higher among the ACS group (53.92% vs. 32.53%, odds ratio [OR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.41–4.15, P = 0.01). After adjustment for potential confounders, this association remained significant (OR 2.15, 95%CI 1.23–3.78, P = 0.007).

Conclusions: ACS given during pregnancy did not improve respiratory outcome for SGA late preterm neonates. ACS may be associated with a worse outcome.

Yaniv Steinfeld MD, Omri Besor MD, Yaniv Yonai MD, Yaron Berkovich MD, Elad Apt MD, Nadav Rinott , Yaniv Keren MD

Background: Websites serve as a source of medical information for a large part of the public, some claim to be a substitute for a physician’s consultation. Many patients meet a physician after conducting internet research. Medical staff are concerned that internet sources of information are unreliable and may lead to erroneous decisions by patients.

Objectives: To examine the reliability of web-based sources of information (through the Google™ search engine) regarding five common orthopedic complaints and injuries.

Method: We performed a search of five common orthopedic complaints and injuries using the Google search engine. The reliability of web-based information was measured by the DISCERN tool, which is a valid and verified tool for examining the reliability of medical information sources to the public. The reliability of 47 websites was examined by two orthopedic surgeons and two senior residents.

Results: The overall average score given to the sites was 2.8, on a scale of 1 to 5. We found that the higher the site appeared in the search results, the higher the quality of its information. Commercial sites scored higher than general internet information sources.

Conclusions: The internet network is a very broad source of information. For those who lack scientific education and training it is not easy to distinguish between reliable and unreliable or biased sources. The trend of searching for medical information and self-healing is increasing. We must strengthen the network with reliable sources by creating official scientific position papers by medical teams and promoting them online.

August 2023
Andre Keren MD, Rabea Asleh MD PhD MHA, Edo Y. Birati MD, Tuvia Ben Gal MD, Michael Arad MD

Recognizing myocarditis is a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge due to the heterogeneity of its clinical presentation and the wide range of etiologies. There is a lack of uniformity among position papers and guidelines from various professional societies regarding the definition and diagnostic workout, including recommendations for performing endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) and medical management, especially the use of immunosuppressive regimens [1-3]. Moreover, there is significant variability among medical centers in Israel in the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to acute myocarditis. The purpose of this position paper is to present ways to standardize the management of acute myocarditis in Israel [4] by providing up-to-date definitions of the clinical categories of myocarditis, diagnostic criteria, and therapeutic approaches that correspond to the realities of our healthcare system.

Andre Keren MD, Rabea Asleh MD PhD MHA, Edo Y. Birati MD, Tuvia Ben Gal MD, Michael Arad MD

In the position statement on the definition and diagnosis of acute myocarditis on page XXX of this issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ), we discussed contemporary criteria for definition of acute myocarditis and inflammatory cardiomyopathy [1-6]. We also addressed current diagnostic methods including indications for endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) [7-21]. In this position statement, we discuss the management approaches during hospitalization and following hospital discharge, including specific forms of myocarditis and recommendations for returning to physical activity after myocarditis [21-36].

May 2023
Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Haytham Katas MD, Ariel Banai MD, Keren-Lee Rozenfeld MD, Dana Lewit MD, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Gil Bornstein MD, Shmuel Banai MD, Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Among chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, baseline neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) may reflect the severity of renal impairment. No data exists on serial changes in serum NGAL levels in CKD patients before and after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Objectives: To evaluate serial serum NGAL levels relation to contrast induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) following PCI.

Methods: The study included 58 patients with CKD who underwent elective PCI. Plasma NGAL measurements were performed before (pre-NGAL) and 24 hours following (post-NGAL) PCI. Patients were followed for CI-AKI and changes in NGAL levels. Receiver operator characteristic identified the optimal sensitivity and specificity for pre-NGAL levels compared with post-NGAL for patients with CI-AKI.

Results: Overall CI-AKI incidence was 33%. Both pre-NGAL (172 vs. 119 ng/ml, P < 0.001) and post-NGAL (181 vs. 121 ng/ml, P < 0.001) levels were significantly higher in patients with CI-AKI, but no significant changes were detected. Pre-NGAL levels were similar to post-NGAL levels in predicting CI-AKI (area under the curve 0.753 vs. 0.745). Optimal cutoff value for pre-NGAL was 129 ng/ml (sensitivity of 73% and specificity of 72%, P < 0.001). Post-NGAL levels > 141 ng/ml were independently associated with CI-AKI (hazard ratio [HR] 4.86, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.34–17.64, P = 0.02) with a strong trend for post-NGAL levels > 129 ng/ml (HR 3.46, 95%CI 1.23–12.81, P = 0.06).

Conclusions: In high-risk patients, pre-NGAL levels may predict CI-AKI. Further studies on larger populations are needed to validate the use of NGAL measurements in CKD patients.

May-Tal Rofe-Shmuel MD, Michael Shapira MD, Gad Keren MD

Romidepsin is an intravenously administered antineoplastic agent, which acts by inhibiting histone deacetylases, thus preventing removal of acetyl groups from histones. The accrual of acetyl groups on histones causes cell cycle arrest and apoptotic cell death. It was approved for use in the United States in 2009 for treatment of refractory or relapsed cutaneous and peripheral T cell lymphomas [1-3].

The most common side effects are mild to moderate in severity and include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, myelosuppression (e.g., anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia), elevated liver enzymes, constipation, and rash. More severe adverse events can include marked neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, serious infections such as line sepsis, acute renal failure, tumor lysis syndrome, and cardiac arrhythmias [1].

March 2023
Elena Chernomordikov MD, Keren Rouvinov MD, Wilmosh Mermershtain MD, Konstantin Lavrenkov MD PhD

Background: Bicalutamide monotherapy (BMT) is an option for androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in patients with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer (LIR-PC). Painful gynecomastia (PG) is a common side effect of BMT. Few therapeutic options are available for preventing BMT-induced PG.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy and side effects of single fraction (SF) prophylactic breast irradiation (PBI) to prevent painful gynecomastia (PG) in patients LIR-PC treated with BMT.

Methods: We reviewed the results of bilateral PBI in a prospective cohort of LIR-PC patients who received 150 mg bicalutamide daily as a first-line treatment for at least 12 months. A single fraction of 8 Gy was administered to both breasts by a stationary field of 10 × 10 cm, using 10–15 MeV electron beam. PBI was commenced on the same day as BMT, but prior to the first dose of bicalutamide. A radiotherapy treatment plan was designed to cover breast tissue by the 90% isodose line. Subsequent monthly physical examinations were scheduled for all patients during the first year of BMT to evaluate any PG symptoms.

Results: Seventy-six patients received BMT and PBI, 80% (61/76) showed no signs of PG; 20% (15/76) experienced mild gynecomastia. The main adverse effect of PBI was grade 1 radiation dermatitis.

Conclusions: PBI using a SF of 8 Gy is an effective, safe, and low-cost strategy for the prevention of BMT-induced PG in LIR-PC patients.

February 2023
Shir Schlosser BMedSc, Svetlana Zalmanov MD, Raphael M. Pfeffer MD, Yoav Lipski MD, Vladislav Grinberg MD, Yael Kalmus RN, Daphne Levin PhD, Keren Hod RD PhD, Merav A. Ben David MD

Background: Anal squamous cell carcinoma (ASqCC) is a rare malignancy, traditionally treated with combined chemoradiation, with a continuous infusion of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and mitomycin C (MMC). Replacing intravenous (IV) 5-FU with oral capecitabine (oral fluoropyrimidine) has been reported as a non-inferior treatment option. However, these data are scarce, with variable results.

Objectives: To examine the outcome of patients with ASqCC treated with either IV 5-FU or capecitabine concomitantly with radiation therapy. To compare treatment side effects, local recurrence, and general outcome.

Methods: We reviewed charts of patients who were diagnosed with stage I–III ASqCC. All participating patients received chemoradiation at the Assuta Medical Center between 2011 and 2019.

Results: In this study, 43 patients with ASqCC were eligible; 14 received 5-FU and 29 were treated with capecitabine. Basic characteristics were similar between the two groups, with longer follow-up for the 5-FU group. Six months following treatment, 100% (13/13 with adequate follow-up) of the 5-FU group had complete clinical response, compared to 84% in the capecitabine group (21/24), P = 0.143. The local recurrence incidence was higher in the 5-FU group at 23% (7, 10, 26 months following therapy, and none in the capecitabine group (P = 0.088). Although local and hematological toxicities were similar between groups, one patient receiving capecitabine died during chemoradiotherapy.

Conclusions: Oral capecitabine demonstrated non-inferior disease control in ASqCC treated with chemoradiotherapy. We recommend oral capecitabine over continuous IV 5-FU in locally and locally advanced ASqCC. Close monitoring of side effects is required to reduce major toxicity.

October 2022
Dr. Shira Rosenberg-Bezalel, Dr. Daniel Elbirt, Dr Keren Mahlab-Guri

Background: Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by an erythematous pruritic rash. The disorder can be either irritant or allergic. Allergic contact dermatitis is diagnosed by patch testing along with patient history.

Objectives: To review the results of patch tests conducted thought 2 years and to present real-life data characterizing clinical features and comparing prevalent local allergens to the ones common worldwide.

Methods: The retrospective cohort included 517 participants (384 females and 133 males) who underwent patch testing during a 2-year period. For each patient, clinical and demographic data were collected, and statistical analysis was conducted.

Results: We found that 261 patients had a positive test for at least one allergen. More females tested positive than males (52.9% vs. 43.6%). Test indications other than dermatitis were associated with a negative result. Hands, head, and neck were the most prevalent body parts affected. Patients with a background of atopic dermatitis had a higher rate of contact sensitization (69 vs. 43). Patients with a specific suspected offending allergen had significantly higher contact sensitizations. The most common allergen was nickel.

Conclusions: Patch testing should be conducted in patients with relevant dermatological findings accompanied by taking a thorough medical history. Clinicians should be updated on emerging allergens and exposure trends.

August 2022
Ilan Rozenberg MD, Sydney Benchetrit MD, Michael Raigorodetsky MD, Simone Fajer MD, Ali Shnaker MD, Naomi Nacasch MD, Yael Einbinder MD, Tali Zitman-Gal PhD, Keren Cohen-Hagai MD

Background: Reliable vascular access is a fundamental tool for providing effective hemodialysis. Vascular access dysfunction is associated with increased morbidity and mortality among hemodialysis patients. Current vascular access guidelines strongly recommend creating an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) as the first option; however, a substantial proportion of new AVFs may not be usable.

Objectives: To assess possible predictors of primary and secondary failure of vascular access.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all vascular access sites created at Meir Medical Center from 2006 through 2012. Vascular access site, primary and secondary failure rates, and relevant demographic and clinical data were recorded during 60 months of follow-up.

Results: A total of 612 vascular accesses were created and followed for a median of 32 ± 29.4 months. Of these, 490 (80%) were suitable for initiating hemodialysis. Vascular access site was the most important predictor of primary failure but did not predict secondary failure. Co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus and congestive heart failure, as well as the use of antiplatelet agents did not predict primary or secondary failure. Preoperative vascular mapping using Doppler ultrasonography was performed in 36.4% of cases and was not associated with lower rates of primary or secondary failure.

Conclusions: Vascular access site is an important predictor of primary failure. We did not find a benefit of pre-operative vessel mapping or chronic antiplatelet therapy in terms of decreasing primary and secondary failure rates. Physicians should carefully consider the characteristics of the patient and blood vessels before creating vascular access in patients requiring chronic hemodialysis.

April 2022
Daniel Erez MD, Zamir Dovrish MD, Tanya Zahavi MD, Keren Cohen-Hagai MD, and Ze'ev Korzets MD
January 2022
Zach Rozenbaum MD, Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Keren Lee-Rozenfeld MD, Shmuel Banai MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: The extent and impact of obesity as an isolated risk factor for coronary artery disease is not clear since co-morbidities serve as confounders and may mask this association.

Objectives: To examine whether obesity is associated with extensive coronary artery disease among metabolically healthy patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and to explore the outcomes according to body mass index (BMI).

Methods: We stratified STEMI patients who had a metabolically healthy phenotype and available weight and height data according to BMI: 18.5–25 kg/m² (lean), 25.01–30 kg/m² (overweight), and > 30 kg/m² (obese).

Results: Overall 381 patients were included, 42% lean, 41% overweight, and 17% obese. Patients with increased BMIs had higher levels of low-density proteins and triglycerides (P < 0.05). Obese patients presented with the lowest rates of multi-vessel disease (12.9% vs. 22.9% for overweight and 28% for lean). In a univariable analysis, obese patients were 60% less likely to be diagnosed with multi-vessel disease (odds ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval 0.2–0.9, P = 0.021) compared to lean patients. The association remained significant in a multivariable model adjusted for baseline characteristics (P = 0.029). There were no differences in 30-day or long-term mortality (median follow-up 3.2 years) among the groups (P > 0.1 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Metabolically healthy phenotype obesity was associated with lower rates of multi-vessel disease despite higher levels of triglycerides. However, this association did not translate into increased mortality.

December 2021
Yana Davidov MD, Yeruham Kleinbaum MD, Yael Inbar MD, Oranit Cohen-Ezra MD, Ella Veitsman MD, Peretz Weiss MD, Mariya Likhter MD, Tania Berdichevski MD PhD, Sima Katsherginsky BA, Avishag Hassid MA, Keren Tsaraf MA, Dana Silverberg BSc, and Ziv Ben Ari MD

Background: New direct acting antiviral agent (DAA) therapies are associated with a high sustained virological response rate (SVR) in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients. The understanding of the impact of SVR on fibrosis stage is limited.

Objectives: To determine the effect of treatment with the DAAs on long-term liver fibrosis stages, as determined by shear-wave elastography (SWE) or FibroTest©.

Methods: Fibrosis stage was determined at baseline and at 6-month intervals after end of treatment (EOT), using two‐dimensional SWE or FibroTest©; APRI and FIB-4 scores.

Results: The study comprised 133 SVR12 patients. After a median follow-up of 15 months (range 6–33), liver fibrosis stage decreased by at least 1 stage in 75/133 patients (56%). Cirrhosis reversal was observed in 24/82 (29%). Repeated median liver stiffness SWE values in cirrhotic patients were 15.1 kPa at baseline (range 10.5–100), 13.4 kPa (range 5.5–51) at 6 months, and 11.4 kPa (range 6.1–35.8) at 12 months after EOT, P = 0.01. During the second year after EOT, no statistically significant differences in liver fibrosis stage in 12, 18, and 24 months were found. Splenomegaly was the only significant negative predictor of liver fibrosis regression during all time points of repetitive noninvasive assessment.

Conclusions: Following successful DAA treatment, the majority of our HCV patients with advanced fibrosis demonstrated significant improvement, as assessed by non-invasive methods. Advanced fibrosis stage was a negative predictor of fibrosis regression. Longer follow-up periods are required to further establish the impact of DAAs treatment in HCV patients with advanced fibrosis

September 2021
Yulia Gendler RN PhD, Emmanuelle Seguier-Lipszyc MD, Ari Silbermintz MD, Moshe Hain MD, Yoram Stern MD, Dragan Kravarusic MD, Keren Politi MD, Gabriel Amir MD PhD, Jacob Katz MD, Yelena Zeitlin MD, Sylvia Grozovski MD, Yifat Nitzan SLP, Yuliana Eshel MHA, Adi Shimoni OTR, Yifat Fischer DVM, Dana Serfaty MSc, Tami Shnayderman BPT, Kian Assi BSW, Lior Barbash MBA, and Patrick Stafler MD

Background: Aerodigestive clinics are run by interdisciplinary medical and surgical teams, and provide complex care coordination and combined endoscopies.

Objectives: To describe the design and patient population of the first pediatric aerodigestive center in Israel.

Methods: A retrospective single-center cohort study was conducted describing patients followed in the aerodigestive clinic of Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, a tertiary pediatric hospital, between its inception in January 2017 and June 2020.

Results: During the study period, 100 patients were seen at the combined respiratory and digestive (NoAM) clinic, with a total of 271 visits. Median age at first assessment was 29.5 months (range 3–216). Fifty-six patients (56%) had esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. Thirty-nine patients had an identified genetic disorder, 28 had a primary airway abnormality, 28 were oxygen dependent, and 21 were born premature. Fifty-two patients underwent triple endoscopy, consisting of flexible bronchoscopy, rigid bronchoscopy, and gastroscopy. In 33 patients, esophageal dilatation was necessary. Six patients underwent posterior tracheopexy at a median of 6 months of age (range 5 days to 8 years) all with ensuing symptom improvement. The total mean parental satisfaction score on a Likert-type scale of 1–5 (5 = highest satisfaction) was 4.5.

Conclusions: A coordinated approach is required to provide effective care to the growing population of children with aerodigestive disorders. The cross fertilization between multiple disciplines offers a unique opportunity to develop high quality and innovative care. Outcome measures must be defined to objectively measure clinical benefit.

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