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עמוד בית
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October 2021
Udi Nussinovitch MD PhD, Omer Gendelman MD, Shiri Rubin MD, Yair Levy MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia Dai MD, Avi Livneh MD, and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease that may affect the heart and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There is little knowledge regarding the degree of ANS involvement in SSc patients with unknown cardiac disease.

Objectives: To evaluate cardiac and pupillary autonomic functions in patients before cardiac involvement has emerged.

Methods: The study comprised 19 patients with SSc and 29 healthy controls. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis for time and frequency domains, as well as deep breathing test and Ewing maneuvers, were performed in all patients. Automated pupillometry for the evaluation of pupillary diameter and pupillary light reflex was completed in 8 SSc patients and 21 controls.

Results: Both groups had similar characteristics, except for medications that were more commonly or solely prescribed for SSc patients. Compared with control subjects, the SSc patients had significantly lower HRV parameters of NN50 (15.8 ± 24.4 vs. 33.9 ± 33.1, P = 0.03), pNN50 (4.9 ± 7.4% vs.10.8 ± 10.8%, P = 0.03), and triangular index (11.7 ± 3.4 vs. 15.7 ± 5.8, P = 0.02). Abnormal adaptive responses in heart rate changes were recorded during deep breathing tests and Ewing maneuvers. There was no significant difference in any of the pupillometric indices or other HRV parameters within groups.

Conclusions: SSc patients may manifest cardiac autonomic dysfunction, while their autonomic pupillary function is seemingly spared. The role of certain medications, the significance of differential organ involvement, as well as the prognostic value of our findings should be evaluated in future studies

September 2020
Pnina Langevitz MD, Merav Lidar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Joy Feld MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Howard Amital MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Ori Elkayam MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Oded Kimhi MD, Yair Molad MD, Ana Kuperman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist used treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) routes are approved for the treatment of adults with RA.

Objectives: To evaluate SC tocilizumab in a real-life clinical setting.

Methods: Our study was a multi-center, open-label, single-arm study. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of active RA, previously treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with or without biologic agents. Participants received a weekly SC injection of tocilizumab 162 mg as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or DMARDs for 24 weeks. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity were assessed.

Results: Treatment of 100 patients over 24 weeks resulted in improvement in all efficacy parameters assessed: Clinical Disease Activity Index, Disease Activity Score using 28 joint counts and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology response scores, Simplified Disease Activity Index, tender and swollen joint counts, and patient-reported outcomes including fatigue, global assessment of disease activity, pain, and Health Assessment Quality of Life Disease Index. Improvement was achieved as early as the second week of treatment. There were 473 adverse events (AEs)/100 patient-years (PY) and 16.66 serious AEs/100 PY. The most common AEs were neutropenia (12%), leukopenia (11%), and increased hepatic enzymes (11%). Of a total of 42 PY, the rates of serious infections and AEs leading to discontinuation were 4.8, and 11.9 events/100 PY, respectively.

Conclusions: The safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of tocilizumab SC were comparable to those reported in other studies evaluating the IV and SC routes of administration.

 

November 2017
Iris Eshed MD and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most sensitive imaging modality for the detection of sacroiliitis. Diagnosing sacroiliitis on MRI is not always straightforward and can be challenging in some cases.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of alternative diagnoses suggested by MRI and characterize the MR appearance of the most common ones.

Methods: Consecutive MRI examinations of the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) performed between 2005 and 2012 were retrospectively evaluated for the presence of structural and active sacroiliitis findings according to the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society guidelines. Alternative diagnoses, including degenerative changes, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), Osteitis condensans ilii (OCI), septic sacroiliitis/discitis, stress reaction as well as anatomic variants, were registered

Results: We evaluated 281 MRI examinations, 116 males, 165 females, average age 44 ± 15 years. Sacroiliitis was found in 71 examinations (25%) and alternative diagnoses were suggested in 87 (31%) (OCI 8.9%, anatomic variants 5.3%, septic sacroiliitis 5.3%, degenerative findings 4.3%, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis [DISH] 1.5%, stress reaction 0.7%, tumor 0.3%). A normal examination was found in the remaining 123 examinations. Patients with alternative diagnoses were older than those with sacroiliitis (62 vs. 47 years of age, respectively, P > 0.05). Alternative pathologies in the SIJ were significantly more common in females (66) than males (21), P < 0.05.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of patients with suspected sacroiliitis had normal SIJ while the rest were more commonly diagnosed with other pathologies. A referral by an experienced rheumatologist may improve the sensitivity and specificity of this important examination.

Talia Levy, Salim Bader, Kay-Geert Hermann MD, Gal Yaniv MD, Gahl Grinberg MD, Oshry Mozes MD, Merav Lidar MD and Iris Eshed MD

Background: Enthesopathy may lead to calcification of the stylohyoid ligament and can cause elongation of the styloid process (SP).

Objectives: To evaluate whether SP elongation is associated with two common enthesitis-related diseases: ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH).

Methods: Cervical spine computed tomography (CT) examinations of patients with DISH (n=64, Resnick criteria), AS (n=24, New York criteria) and a controls (no radiological signs of DISH or AS, n=54) were retrospectively evaluated. The DISH group was further divided into patients with and without cervical DISH. The length of right and left SP was measured independently by two readers on coronal and sagittal curved reformats. The average right and left styloid length and average length per person were compared among the groups.

Results: Demographic characteristics were similar between the DISH and control groups (average age 68.2 ± 15.7, 69.2 ± 12.7 years, male:female ratio 48:16 and 35:19, respectively, P > 0.05), whereas age was significantly lower (average age: 53 ± 15 years, P < 0.0001) in the AS group, which was also composed mainly of men. The AS and DISH groups had significantly longer SP compared to controls (AS 37.9 ± 9.6 mm, DISH 34.4 ± 9 mm, control 30.3 ± 10.1 mm, P < 0.05). There was no correlation between age and SP length. Inter-reader reliability of SP measurements was excellent in all groups (ICC = 0.998, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: SP elongation is associated with both AS and DISH substantiating the enthesopathy-related pathophysiology of this finding.

Einat Slonimsky MD, Tammar Kushnir PhD, Assaf Kadar MD, Aharon Menahem MD, Alon Grundshtein MD, Steven Velekes MD, Merav Lidar MD, Shmuel Dekel MD and Iris Eshed MD

Background: Metal-on-metal total hip prostheses (MoM-THR) have been shown to produce hypersensitivity reactions and fluid collection (pseudotumor) by the hip as well as high blood metal ions levels (BMILs).

Objectives: To evaluate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) in selected body tissues around the hip of patients who underwent MoM hip replacement and to correlate to BMILs.

Methods: Sixty-one MRI hip examinations in 54 post-MoM-THR patients (18 males, 36 females, mean age 65 years) were retrospectively evaluated independently by two readers. The mean S/N ratio in a region of interest was calculated for periprosthetic pseudotumor collection (PPC), the bladder, fat, and muscle on axial T1w, FSE-T2w, and short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequences on the same location. BMILs were retrieved from patient files.

Results: PPC was detected in 32 patients (52%) with an average volume of 82.48 mm3. BMIL did not correlate with the presence of PPCs but positively correlated with the PPC's volume. A trend for positive correlation was found between BMILs and S/N levels of STIR images for muscle and bladder as well as for PPC and cobalt levels. A trend for correlation was also seen between BMIL with PPC's T1 w S/N.

Conclusions: Alteration of MRI S/N for different hip tissues showed a tendency for correlation with BMILs, possibly suggesting that metal deposition occurs in the PPC as well as in the surrounding tissues and bladder.

Tima Davidson MD, Amit Druyan MD, Elinor Goshen MD and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Facial rejuvenation using different dermal and sub-dermal injectable compounds is a popular cosmetic procedure which may pose a diagnostic dilemma to the radiologist.

Objectives: To describe the appearance of cosmetic facial fillers on PET-CT.

Methods: All PET-CT exams performed between January 2015 and May 2017 in which findings suggestive of prior facial filler procedures was evident and where anamnestic confirmation with the patient was possible were reviewed.

Results: We describe five females who had undergone facial filler procedures leading to calcifications around the mouth and nasolabial triangle.

Conclusions: Familiarity with the appearance of such cosmetic procedures on PET-CT is of paramount importance in order to avoid misinterpretation of the findings leading to unnecessary apprehension and work-up.

June 2015
Naomi Nussinovitch MD PhD, Konstantin Esev MD, Merav Lidar MD, Udi Nussinovitch MD PhD and Avi Livneh MD

Abstract

Background: The relationship between autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction and familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is controversial. We recently reported normal heart rate variability (HRV), suggestive of normal ANS, in patients with uncomplicated FMF.

Objectives: To evaluate ANS function in colchicine non-responders by using the HRV tool.

Methods: The study group comprised 24 FMF patients suffering from recurrent FMF attacks despite treatment with a maximal colchicine dose. Electrocardiogram was measured under strict conditions and HRV parameters were calculated. Results were compared with age- and gender-matched unaffected controls.

Results: No statistically significant difference was found between the groups in any of the HRV parameters: maximal RR, minimal RR and average RR intervals, standard deviation of RR interval, square root of the mean squared differences of successive RR intervals, HRV triangular index, NN50, pNN50, and power spectral analysis parameters.

Conclusions: Although a small difference in HRV parameters in the current study cannot be entirely excluded, FMF patients in whom colchicine did not provide adequate symptomatic relief and who did not develop amyloidosis appear to have normal HRV parameters suggestive of normal ANS function, compared with healthy adults. 

October 2014
July 2006
A. Leibovitz, M. Lidar, Y,. Baumoehl, A. Livneh and R. Segal

Backgound: Colchicine is widely used for treating gout and familial Mediterranean fever. However, studies in animal models have reported ill effects of colchicine on the central nervous system, including cognitive function.

Objectives: To evaluate the cognitive status of elderly FMF[1] patients on long-term colchicine treatment.

Methods: The study group consisted of 55 FMF patients aged 74 ± 5, attending an FMF outpatient clinic and receiving colchicine treatment for 25.1 ± 8.9 years. The Mini-Mental State Examination was used for cognitive evaluation. Patients' scores were compared with accepted age- and education-adjusted cutoff scores, population-based norms, and scores of a matched control group of 56 subjects.

Results: Individually, all colchicine-treated FMF patients scored well above the age- and education-corrected cutoff scores. Overall, there was a large difference, 5.0 ± 1.6, from the expected cutoff points, in favor of the study group scores (P < 0.001). The individual scores of the control group were also above the cutoff points, however with a lower but still statistically significant difference (3.71 ± 1.15 points, P < 0.001). Compared to population-based norms adjusted by age and education, the study group had significantly higher mean MMSE[2] scores (27.2 ± 2.2 vs. 25.5 ± 2.4, P < 0.001). The control group’s scores were also somewhat higher than expected, but not significantly so.

Conclusions: Our results do not support the view that prolonged colchicine treatment may be associated with cognitive impairment. On the contrary, it is possible that long-term colchicine treatment may even confer protection against cognitive decline in patients with FMF.


 





[1] FMF = familial Mediterranean fever

[2] MMSE = Mini-Mental State Examination


August 2003
N. Zaks, Y. Shinar, S. Padeh, M. Lidar, A. Mor, I. Tokov, M. Pras, P. Langevitz, E. Pras and A. Livneh

Background: Familial Mediterranean fever is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by recurrent attacks of fever and serositis. The disease is caused by mutations in the MEFV gene, presumed to act as a down-regulator of inflammation within the polymorphonuclear cells.

Objectives: To present the results of 412 FMF patients genotyped for three MEFV mutations, M694V, V726A and E148Q.

Results: The most frequent mutation, M694V, was detected in 47% of the carrier chromosomes. This mutation, especially common among North African Jewish FMF[1] patients, was not found in any of the Ashkenazi (East European origin) patients. Overall, one of the three mutations was detected in 70% of the carrier chromosomes. M694V/M694V was the most common genotype (27%), followed by M694V/V726A (16%). The full genotype could be assessed in 57% of the patients, and one disease-causing mutation in an additional 26%. Only one patient with the E148Q/E148Q genotype was detected despite a high carrier rate for this mutation in the Jewish population, a finding consistent with a low penetrance of this genotype. The M694V/M694V genotype was observed in 15 patients with amyloidosis compared to 4 amyloidosis patients with other genotypes (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Because of low penetrance and as yet other undetermined reasons, mutation analysis of the most common MEFV mutations supports a clinical diagnosis in only about 60% of patients with definite FMF.

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[1] FMF = familial Mediterranean fever


June 2003
December 2000
Rita Rachmani, MD, Zohar Levi, MD, Rika Zissin, MD, Merav Lidar, MD and Mordechai Ravid, MD, FACP
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