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עמוד בית
Sun, 14.04.24

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June 2015
Jochanan Benbassat MD

This paper summarizes the difficulties that may emerge when the same care-provider attends to private and public patients within the same or different clinical settings. First, I argue that blurring the boundaries between public and private care may start a slippery slope leading to “black” under-the-table payments for preferential patient care. Second, I question whether public hospitals that allow their doctors to attend to private patients provide an appropriate learning environment for medical students and residents. Finally, I propose a way to both maintain the advantages of private care and avoid its negative consequences: complete separation between the public and the private health care systems.


September 2013
A. L. Schwartz, Y. Topilsky, G. Uretzky, N. Nesher, Y. Ben-Gal, S. Biner, G. Keren and A. Kramer

Background: Stentless aortic bioprostheses were designed to provide improved hemodynamic performance and potentially better survival.

Objectives: To report the outcomes of patients after aortic valve replacement with the Freestyle® stentless bioprosthesis in the Tel Aviv Medical Center followed for ≤ 15 years.

Methods and Results: Between 1997 and 2011, 268 patients underwent primary aortic valve replacement with a Freestyle bioprosthesis, 211 (79%) of them in the sub-coronary position. Mean age, Charlson comorbidity index and Euro-score were 71.0 ± 9.2 years, 4.2 ± 1.5 and 10.2 ± 11 respectively, and 156 (58%) were male. Peak and mean trans-aortic gradient decreased significantly (75.0 ± 29.1 vs. 22.8 ± 9.6 mmHg, P < 0.0001; and 43.4 ± 17.2 vs. 12.1 ± 5.4 mmHg, P < 0.0001 respectively) in 3 months of follow-up. Mean overall follow-up was 4.9 ± 3.1 years and was complete in all patients. In-hospital mortality was 4.1% (n=11) but differed significantly between the first 100 patients operated before 2006 and the last 168 patients operated after January 2006 (8 vs. 3 patients, 8.0% vs. 1.8%, P = 0.01). Overall, 5 and 10 year survival rates were 85 ± 2.5% and 57.2 ± 5.7%, respectively. Five year survival was markedly improved in patients operated after January 2006 compared to those operated in the early years of the experience (92.3 ± 2.3% vs. 76.0 ± 4.4%, P = 0.0009). All the 21 octogenarians operated after January 2006 survived surgery, with excellent 5 year survival (85.1 ± 7.9%). Six patients required reoperation during follow-up: structural valve deterioration in five and endocarditis in one.

Conclusions: Aortic valve replacement with the Freestyle bioprosthesis provides good long-term hemodynamic and clinical outcomes, even in octogenarians. Valve calcification is the major (and rare) mode of valve deterioration leading to reoperation in these patients. 

April 2013
N. Yanculovich, Z.H. Perry, R. Gurfinkel and L. Rosenberg

 Background: Burn injuries are extremely common and may impose a serious load on public health around the world.

 Objectives: To compare mortality rates and length of hospitalization according to the identified risk factors, extent of burn, gender and age.

Methods: In this retrospective study, data from 558 archive files of hospitalization due to burns as the diagnosis in patients of all ages, between the years 2001 and 2002, were analyzed to identify the risk factors for mortality and length of hospitalization.

Results: Males comprised 62.4% of the hospitalized burn patients. The mortality rate was 3.2% (n=18) and among them 55.6% were women. Fifty percent of the fatality cases were over 48 years old, with statistically significant correlation of mortality rate and age. Most of the fatality cases (66.7%) had burns with total burn surface area (TBSA) larger than 40%. The multiple logistic regression model showed that leukocyte count on admission, TBSA, and age are the most important predictors of mortality. Smoke inhalation was not found to be an independent risk factor.

Conclusions: Using a statistical model for estimating the mortality rate, this study found that white blood cell count at admission, TBSA, and age were the most significant predictors of mortality. 

August 2012
E. Kadmon, D. Menachemi, J. Kusniec, M. Haim, M. Geist and B. Strasberg

Background: The implantable loop recorder (ILR) is an important tool for the evaluation of unexplained syncope, particularly in cases of rarely occurring arrhythmia.

Objectives: To review the clinical experience of two Israeli medical centers with the ILR. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of patients with unexplained syncope evaluated with the ILR at Rabin Medical Center (2006–2010) and Wolfson Medical Center (2000–2009).

Results: The study group included 75 patients (44 males) followed for 11.9 ± 9.5 months after ILR implantation. Patients’ mean age was 64 ± 20 years. The ILR identified an arrhythmic mechanism of syncope in 20 patients (17 bradyarrhythmias, 3 tachyarrhythmias) and excluded arrhythmias in 12, for a diagnostic yield of 42.7%. It was not diagnostic in 17 patients (22.7%) at the time of explant 26 patients (34.7%) were still in follow-up. In two patients ILR results that were initially negative were reversed by later ILR tracings. The patients with bradyarrhythmias included 9 of 16 (56.3%) with surface electrocardiogram conduction disturbances and 2 of 12 (16.7%) with negative findings on carotid sinus massage. All bradyarrhythmic patients received pacemakers the seven patients for whom post-intervention data were available had no or mild symptoms.

Conclusions: The ILR has a high diagnostic yield. Pre-ILR findings correlating with the ILR results are conduction disturbances (positive predictor of arrhythmia) and negative carotid sinus massage results (negative predictor of arrhythmia). Proper patient instruction is necessary to obtain accurate results. Caution is advised when excluding an arrhythmia on the basis of ILR tracings, and long-term follow-up is warranted.

July 2012
O. Megged, M. Bar-Meir and Y. Schlesinger
Background: The incidence of invasive disease due to Haemophilus influenzae has decreased since the implementation of vaccination against serotype B.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology, clinical and microbiological characteristics of patients with H. influenzae meningitis or bacteremia in the vaccine era in Israel.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all patients admitted to Shaare Zedek Medical Center between 1997 and 2010 who had blood or cerebrospinal fluid culture positive for H. influenzae.

Results: The study group comprised 104 patients – 57 children and 47 adults. Overall, 21 (20%) of the infections were due to serotype b. The children had shorter hospitalizations (6 vs. 12 days, P = 0.005) and lower mortality rate (5% vs. 28%, P = 0.003) as compared to the adults. Bacteremic pneumonia was the most common diagnosis in adults (45% vs. 28% in children, P = 0.08) while meningitis was more common in children (17% vs. 3.5%, P = 0.09). There was a seasonal pattern, with infections being more common during the winter and spring.

Conclusions: Invasive H. influenzae disease is uncommon but still exists in both children and adults. The disease course tends to be more severe in adults. Even in the global vaccination era, serotype b constitutes a significant portion of invasive disease.
June 2011
J. Bishara, E. Goldberg, L. Madar-Shapiro, J. Behor and Z. Samra

Background: The rate of infection with Clostridium difficile colitis and its associated mortality have been increasing in the last decade. The molecular epidemiology of C. difficile in Israel has as yet not been studied.

Objectives: To screen for the existence of the 027 and 078 ribotypes and determine the longitudinal molecular epidemiology of the circulating clinical C. difficile isolates in a large hospital in central Israel.

Methods: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ribotyping was performed on C. difficile isolates obtained from hospitalized patients from November 2003 to May 2004 (first study period) and September 2009 (second study period). Isolates with PCR[1] ribotype patterns, unlike those of the available reference strains (078 and 027), were labeled with letters. Forty-six isolates from the first study period and 20 from the second were analyzed.

Results: PCR strain typing of C. difficile isolates yielded approximately 26 unique ribotypes. During the first study period, ribotype A and B accounted for 30% and 28%, respectively, whereas ribotype E and K accounted for 6.5% for each. During the second study period, ribotypes A, E and K disappeared, and the incidence of ribotype B decreased from 28% to 15%. One isolate (1/20, 5%) emerged during the second period and was identified as ribotype 027. Moxifloxacin resistance was found in 93% of ribotype A isolates, 81% of the ribotype B group, and in 44% of other ribotypes.

Conclusions: The predominant ribotypes circulating in our institution were diverse and changing. This is the first report on the emergence of the 027 ribotype in Israel.

[1] PCR = polymerase chain reaction

March 2011
S. Shrot, E. Konen, M. Hertz and M. Amitai

Background: Assessment of small intestinal disease remains a challenge for both clinicians and radiologists. Modern magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) is a non-radiation modality that can demonstrate both intestinal wall pathologies and extraluminal lesions.

Objectives: To analyze the results of 213 MRE scans performed since 2005.

Methods: Consecutive MRE[1] scans performed in our academic medical center between December 2005 and November 2009 were reviewed for patients' demographic data, indications for the examination, and main imaging findings. The imaging findings recorded were mural changes and intraluminal filling defects; there were also mesenteric findings and extraintestinal inflammatory findings.

Results: During the study period 213 MRE scans were performed; 70% of them for proven or suspected Crohn's disease (CD) of the small bowel. Another indication was small bowel neoplasm (6% of the scans). Bowel wall thickening and enhancement were seen in 60% and 53% of MRE scans, respectively. Mesenteric involvement was found in 52% of the patients. Incidental extraintestinal findings were detected in 17% of the scans. In 22% of the scans there was no pathological finding.

Conclusions: Our 4-year clinical experience with MRE shows that this non-invasive and non-radiating modality is a powerful technique for evaluation and long-term follow-up of small bowel pathologies. The most common clinical indication was the evaluation of Crohn’s disease. With physicians’ increased awareness, the future use of MRE in the evaluation of other small bowel pathologies such as neoplasm and celiac disease will increase.

[1] MRE = magnetic resonance enterography

December 2009
A.Y. Gur, L. Shopin and N.M. Bornstein

Background: Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator has been approved treatment for acute (≤ 3 hours) ischemic stroke in Israel since late 2004. The Israeli experience with IV tPA[1] is still limited. Several factors may influence the response to IV thrombolysis, including time-to-treatment parameters and tandem internal carotid artery/middle cerebral artery stenosis/occlusion.

Objectives: To compare our experience with IV tPA treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke to the findings of the SITS-MOST (Safe Implementation of Thrombolysis in Stroke-MOnitoring STudy, international data) and of the Sheba Medical Center (national data) and to compare the early outcome among patients with ischemic stroke in the MCA[2] with and without severe ICA[3] stenosis.

Methods: We obtained demographic data, timing details, stroke severity, hemorrhagic complications, mortality, and early outcome from the records of IV tPA-treated acute ischemic stroke patients.

Results: Fifty-eight patients (median age 69 years, 26 females) with acute ischemic stroke were treated by IV tPA at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in 2006–2007. Median time between stroke onset and IV tPA administration was 148 minutes for the Sourasky center, 150 minutes for the Sheba center, and 140 minutes for SITS-MOST. The Sourasky mortality rate was 10.5%. Of the 31 patients who suffered MCA stroke, 8 had severe ipsilateral ICA stenosis. These 8 had significantly lower neurological improvement than the 23 without ipsilateral ICA stenosis (1/8 versus 15/23, P <0.001).

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate fairly similar parameters of IV tPA treatment compared to other centers and suggest that patients with severe ICA stenosis might be less likely to benefit from IV tPA.


[1] tPA = tissue plasminogen activator

[2] MCA = middle cerebral artery

[3] ICA = internal carotid artery

April 2009
E. Bar-Yishay, E. Matyashchuk, H. Mussaffi, M. Mei-Zahav, D. Prais, S. Hananya, G. Steuer and H. Blau

Background: The forced oscillation technique is a non-invasive and effort-independent technique and is well suited for lung function measurement in young children. FOT[1] employs small-amplitude pressure oscillations superimposed on normal breathing. Therefore, it has the advantage over conventional lung function techniques in that it does not require patient cooperation for conducting respiratory maneuvers.

Objectives: To test the feasibility of the FOT test in preschool children and to compare the results to the commonly used spirometry before and after the administration of bronchodilator therapy.

Methods: Forty-six children (median age 4.9 years, range 1.8–18.3) attending the Pulmonary Clinic at Schneider Children's Medical Center tried to perform FOT and routine spirometry. Results were retrospectively analyzed. 

Results: Of the 46 children 40 succeeded in performing FOT and only 29 succeeded in performing simple spirometry. All but one of the 32 children aged 4 years and above (97%) could perform both tests. Nine of 14 children (64%) aged 4 and less could perform the FOT but only 3 (21%) could perform spirometry. Baseline values of respiratory resistance measured at 6 Hz (R6) negatively correlated with body length (r2 = 0.68, P < 0.005). Twenty-four children performed both tests before and after bronchodilator therapy. A significant concordance was found between the measured responses to bronchodilators by FOT and spirometry (P < 0.01). Only one child had a negative response by FOT but a positive response by spirometry.

Conclusions: The FOT is a simple, non-invasive technique that does not require subject cooperation and thus can be utilized for measuring lung function in children as young as 2 years of age. Furthermore, the FOT was shown to reliably measure response to bronchodilator therapy.

[1] FOT = forced oscillation technique

December 2008
A. Vivante, R. Bilik, I. S. Eisen, J. Kuint

Background: Over the last two decades, the epidemiology, treatment strategy and mortality rate for congenital diaphragmatic hernia have changed.

Objectives: To retrospectively analyze our experience with CDH[1] of the last 22 years.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of all infants suffering from CDH between 1985 and 2007. Prenatal and maternal as well as perinatal and neonatal data were collected, including outcome parameters. The 71 infants that we identified were divided them into two historical groups: from 1985 to 1995 (group 1, 123 patients) and from 1996 to 2007 (group 2, 45 patients).

Results: We found an increase in the incidence of prenatal diagnosis and a subsequent significant decrease in gestational age at diagnosis in group 2 (25 weeks gestation, compared with 30 weeks gestation in group 1, P = 0.018). In addition, we noted a trend toward a reduced number of infants with right-sided hernia and associated cardiac anomalies. The timing to post-delivery surgery was significantly longer in group 2 (20 hours in group 1 vs. 53 hours in group 2, P < 0.001). A significant reduction in postoperative mortality was demonstrated in group 2 compared with group 1 (13.5% vs. 38.7% respectively, P = 0.04),

Conclusion: Our data suggest a higher survival rate for operated infants in group 1 during the last decade, probably due to changes in preoperative methods of treatment as well as later surgery timing compared to group 1. We speculate that today’s cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia are probably milder than in the past due to earlier and more detailed prenatal diagnosis and subsequent termination of pregnancies for the more severe forms of the disorder. 

[1] CDH = congenital diaphragmatic hernia

April 2007
B. Belhassen, O. Rogowski, A. Glick, S. Viskin, M. Ilan, R. Rosso and M. Eldar

Background: Radiofrequency ablation has been suggested as first-line therapy in the management of accessory pathways. There are limited data on the results of ablation over years of experience.

Objectives: To assess the results and complications following RFA[1] of APs[2] performed in our institution over a 14 year period.

Methods: RFA was performed using deflectable electrode catheters positioned at the mitral or tricuspid annulus. The site of the AP was localized by electrophysiological study and radiofrequency energy was applied via the tip of the catheter

Results: The study cohort comprised 508 consecutive patients (64.2% males, mean age 33.6 ± 15.1 years) who underwent 572 RFA procedures for ablating 534 APs. A single AP was found in 485 (95.5%) patients while multiple APs were noted in 23 patients (4.5%). The APs were manifest, concealed or intermittent in 46.8%, 44.4% and 8.8% of cases, respectively. AP distribution was as follows: left free wall (56.6%), posteroseptal (23%), right anteroseptal (7.9%), right free wall (6.2%), midseptal (3.4%) and right atriofascicular (3.0%). Acute successful rates for a first or multiple ablation attempts were 93.1% and 95.3%, respectively. At a first ablation attempt, acute success and failure rates were the highest for midseptal (100%) and right atriofascicular (12.5%) APs respectively. Right anteroseptal APs were associated with the highest rate (23.9%) of discontinued or non-attempted procedures. Recurrent conduction in an AP after an initial successful ablation was observed in 9.9% of cases; it was the highest (24.2%) for right free wall APs and the lowest (5.0%) for left free wall APs. During follow-up (85 ± 43 months), definite cure of the AP was achieved in 94.9% of cases following a single or multiple procedures: midseptal (100%), left free wall (98%), right free wall (97%), posteroseptal (92.7%), right atriofascicular (87.5%) and right anteroseptal (78.5%). A non-fatal complication occurred in 18 patients (3.5%), more frequently in females (6.6%) than in males (1.8%) (P < 0.01). The two major complications (pericardial effusion and myocardial ischemic events) mainly occurred during RFA of a left free wall AP using a retrograde aortic approach. Catheter-induced mechanical trauma to APs was observed in 56 cases (10.5%). Mechanical trauma mainly involved right atriofascicular (43.8%) and right anteroseptal (38.1%) APs and contributed to the low success rate of RFA at these AP locations. During the 14 year period, our learning curve was achieved quickly in terms of success rate, although the most significant complications were observed at the beginning of our experience.

Conclusions: The results of this study confirm the efficacy and safety of RFA and suggest that it is a reasonable first-line therapy for the management of APs at any location.

[1] RFA = radiofrequency ablation

[2] AP = accessory pathway

August 2006
A. Primov-Fever, Y.P. Talmi, A. Yellin and M. Wolf
 Background: Intubation and tracheostomy are the most common causes of benign acquired airway stenosis. Management varies according to different conceptions and techniques.

Objectives: To review our experience with cricotracheal resection and to assess related pitfalls and complications.

Methods: We examined the records of all patients who underwent CTR[1] in a tertiary referral medical center during the period January 1995 to April 2005.

Results: The study included 61 patients (16 women and 45 men) aged 15–81 years. In 17 patients previous interventions had failed, mostly dilatation and T-tube insertion. Complete obstruction was noted in 19 patients and stenosis > 70% in 26. Concomitant lesions included impaired vocal cord mobility (n=8) and tracheo-esophageal fistula (n=5). Cricotracheal anastomosis was performed in 42 patients, thyrotracheal in 12 and tracheotracheal in 7. A staged procedure was planned for quadriplegic patients and for three others with bilateral impaired vocal cord mobility. Restenosis occurred in six patients who were immediately revised with T-tube stenting. Decanulation was eventually achieved in 57 patients (93.4%). Complications occurred in 25 patients, the most common being subcutaneous emphysema (n=5). One patient died of acute myocardial infarction on the 14th postoperative day.

Conclusions: CTR is a relatively safe procedure with a high success rate in primary and revised procedures. A staged procedure should be planned in specific situations, namely, quadriplegics and patients with bilateral impaired vocal cord mobility. 


[1] CTR = cricotracheal resection

July 2006
I. Topilski, O. Rogowski, A. Glick, S. Viskin, M. Eldar and B. Belhassen
 Background: Atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia is the most frequent cause of regular, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Radiofrequency ablation of the slow pathway has been recommended as first-line therapy for curing AVNRT[1].

Objectives: To report a 14 year experience of RFA[2] of the slow pathway in patients with AVNRT treated in our laboratory.

Methods: A total of 901 consecutive patients (aged 9–92, mean 50.8 ± 18.2 years) underwent RFA of the slow pathway. All patients had sustained AVNRT induced with or without intravenous administration of isoproterenol. A standard electrophysiologic method with three diagnostic and one ablation catheter was used in 317 patients (35.2%); in the remaining 584 patients (64.8%), only two electrode catheters (one diagnostic, one ablation) were used ("two-catheter approach").

Results: Catheter ablation of the slow pathway abolished AVNRT induction in 877 patients (97.3%). In 14 patients (1.6%) the procedure was discontinued while in 10 (1.1%) the procedure failed. In 864 patients (95.9%) there were no complications. Transient or permanent AV block occurred during the procedure in 31 patients (3.4%), of whom 8 (0.9%) eventually required pacemaker insertion (n=7) or upgrade of a previously implanted VVI pacemaker (n=1) during the month following the procedure. The number of catheters used did not significantly affect the rate of results or complications of the ablation procedure. The success and complication rates remained stable over the years, although a significant trend for increased age and associated heart disease was observed during the study period.

Conclusions: The results of this single-center large study, which included patients with a wide age range, showed results similar to those of previous studies. The use of a "two-catheter approach" (one diagnostic and one ablation) was as effective and safe as a multi-catheter approach.


[1] AVNRT = atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia

[2] RFA = radiofrequency ablation

April 2006
D. Bendayan, D. Shitrit and M.R. Kramer

Background: New drugs have significantly improved the prognosis and quality of life of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. However, PAH[1] associated with autoimmune disease, particularly progressive sclerosis, remains a very serious problem

Objectives: To evaluate whether the course of the disease and survival is significantly different in patients with PAH related to autoimmune disease as compared to other patients with PAH and to determine the prognostic factors in these patients.

Methods: We retrospectively compared 24 patients with PAH associated with autoimmune disease to 42 patients with other causes of PAH. We focused on the clinical and hemodynamic parameters and on the outcome.

Results: The early mortality rate was slightly higher in patients with PAH associated with autoimmune disease (13% after the first year, 25% after the fifth year). The prognostic factor was a shorter distance on the 6 minutes walking distance test (r = 0.2, P = 0.01).

Conclusions: The early detection of PAH associated with autoimmune disease should encourage earlier and more aggressive treatment than in idiopathic PAH.

[1] PAH = pulmonary arterial hypertension

March 2006
M.I. Besser. A.J. Treves. O. Itzhaki, I. Hardan, A. Nagler, M.Z. Papa, R. Catane, E. Winkler, B. Shalmon-Sifroni and J. Schachter

Background: Metastatic melanoma is an aggressive and highly malignant cancer. The 5 year survival rate of patients with metastatic disease is less than 5% with a median survival of only 6–10 months. Drugs like dacarbazin (DTIC) as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapy agents have a response rate of 15–30%, but the duration of response is usually short with no impact on survival. Interleukin-2-based immunotherapy has shown more promising results. The National Institutes of Health recently reported that lymphodepleting chemotherapy, followed by an adoptive transfer of large numbers of anti-tumor specific tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, resulted in an objective regression in 51% of patients.

Objectives: To introduce the TIL[1] technology to advanced metastatic melanoma patients in Israel.

Methods: We generated TIL cultures from tumor tissue, choosing those with specific activity against melanoma and expanding them to large numbers.

Results: TIL cultures from nine patients were established and examined for their specific activity against the patients' autologous tumor cells. Twelve TIL cultures derived from 5 different patients showed the desired anti-tumor activity, making those 5 patients potential candidates for the therapy.

Conclusions: Pre-clinical studies of the TIL technology in a clinical laboratory set-up were performed successfully and this modality is ready for treating metastatic melanoma patients at the Sheba Medical Center's Ella Institute.

[1] TIL = tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes 

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