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עמוד בית
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October 2013
N. Markovits, D. Kurnik, H. Halkin, L. Guranda, A. Cohen, .M. Katz, D. Olchovsky, H. Mayan and R. Loebstein
 Background: “Body packers” swallow multiple packets filled with illicit drugs, mainly cocaine, in order to smuggle them across international borders. In recent years, an increasing number of body packers have been hospitalized after their detention by the police upon arrival in Israel.

Objectives: To characterize the clinical features and outcomes of body packers hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series of body packers hospitalized between January 2010 and October 2012 in our medical center. Electronic medical records and imaging files were reviewed to extract clinical, laboratory and radiological data as well as details on medical treatments.

Results: We identified 23 body packers (mean age 38 ± 10 years), 20 of whom smuggled cocaine from South America. The number of packets transported ranged from 1 to 242 (median 42) and duration of hospitalization from 1 to 14 days (median 2). Two subjects required surgical intervention. All others were treated conservatively by polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution, laxatives, or watchful waiting. Ten patients underwent a urinary screen for illicit drugs, 7 of whom tested positive for cocaine and 2 for cannabinoids. Abdominal X-rays were performed in all patients at admission, and 14 had follow-up imaging, including abdominal CT scans without contrast media in 8.

Conclusions: The main treatment goals for body packers are the rapid excretion of drug packets and early detection of complications, i.e., drug intoxication and bowel obstruction. We suggest the use of a structured treatment approach for the in-hospital management of body packers.

October 2010
H. Duskin-Bitan, S. Kivity, D. Olchovsky, G. Schiby, D. Ezra and M. Mouallem

Background: Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease is a benign and self-limited disease, first reported in Japan in 1972. The characteristic features of this disorder include lymphadenopathy and fever.

Objectives: To summarize our experience with Kikuchi disease with regard to clinical manifestations and outcome.

Methods: The patients included in the study were those diagnosed with Kikuchi disease during the years 2005–2008 in two departments of internal medicine at Sheba Medical Center.

Results: We identified five patients with Kikuchi disease; four of them were women and the mean age was 22.6 years. All the patients had cervical lymphadenopathy; three had other sites of lymphadenopathy. Four of the patients had fever higher than 39ºC. Two of them had splenomegaly and three reported weight loss. Three of the five patients experienced a relapse of the disease and were treated with steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. The diagnosis was confirmed in all the patients by an excisional biopsy of lymph node.

Conclusions: Kikuchi disease must be considered in every young patient with fever and lymphadenopathy. The disease usually has a benign course.

November 2008
R. Loebstein et al

Background: Infections with blood-borne viruses are a major health problem among illicit drug users. There is little information about infection rates and risk factors for hepatitis virus B, C or the human immunodeficiency virus in drug users in Israel.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of HCV[1], HBV[2] and HIV[3] infections in a large cohort of drug users in Israel; to compare rates of HCV, HBV and HIV between injecting versus non-injecting drug users and between different origin countries; and to identify risk factors for HCV among illicit drug users.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional interviewer-administered questionnaire and serological screening for HCV, HBV and HIV in 1443 consecutive drug users diagnosed at the Israeli National Center for Diagnosis of Drug Addicts between January 2003 and December 2005.

Results: Fourteen (0.9%), 51 (3.5%) and 515 (35.7%) subjects tested positive for HIV, HBV and HCV, respectively. All three infections (HIV, HBV and HCV) were significantly more common among injecting drug users and immigrants from the former Soviet Union and other East European countries compared to native Israelis. Multivariate analysis showed that HCV infection was associated with age (> 40 years) (OR=2.06, 95% CI 1.40–3.03), immigration from East European countries and the former Soviet Union (OR=4.54, 95% CI 3.28–6.28), and injecting drug use (OR=16.44, 95% CI 10.79–25.05).

Conclusions: HIV, HBV and HCV prevalence among drug users in Israel is significantly lower than in North America and West Europe. Risk factors for HCV infection in this population include injecting drug use, older age, and immigration from the former Soviet Union.

[1] HCV = hepatitis C virus

[2] HBV = hepatitis B virus

[3] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

May 2003
M. Ben Haim, S.T. Zwas, Y. Munz, D. Rosin, E.L. Shabtai, J. Kuriansky, D. Olchovsky, O. Zmora, A. Scarlat, A. Ayalon and M. Shabtai

Background: Primary hyperparathyroidism in elderly patients is usually associated with additional co-morbidity that increases operative risk, and thus many geriatric patients are denied the benefit of surgery for a single parathyroid adenoma.

Objectives:  To evaluate the safety and efficacy of accurate single photon emission computed tomography sestamibi scintigraphy, enabling precise localization of a single adenoma, in the geriatric population

Methods: Twenty-two patients aged 70 years and over with biochemically proven PHPT[1] and with a single parathyroid adenoma identified by localization studies (sestamibi SPECT[2] scan and ultrasonography) underwent 23 operations over 29 months (out of a total of 140 patients operated upon during the same period). Immediate preoperative sestamibi scintigraphy and marking of focal adenoma uptake followed by intraoperative hand-held gamma probe were used for the removal of the parathyroid adenoma by unilateral minimal access surgery. Associated major co-morbid conditions and pre- and postoperative calcium, phosphorus and parathormone levels were recorded. Indications for surgery were listed and operative and postoperative complications were noted. The patients were followed for a mean period of 17.7 months using the same parameters.

Results: The 22 patients with PHPT had a mean age of 76.3 ± 5.9 years (range 70–88 years)  and a female to male ratio of 13:9. Associated co-morbidity included ischemic heart disease (n=15), hypertension (n=22), non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (n=9), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n=3), and previous neck surgery (n=3). Mean preoperative serum calcium, phosphorous and PTH[3] were 11.7 ± 1.3 mg/dl, 2.5 ± 0.5 mg/dl and 160.9 ± 75.4 pg/ml respectively. In 20 of the 22 patients, surgery was successful in curing PHPT (91%). One patient had persistent hypercalcemia due to a missed adenoma, and repeat operation (by focused minimal access surgery) was successfully performed 2 weeks later. There were no complications and no morbidity postoperatively. Mean postoperative serum calcium, phosphorous and PTH were 9.6 ± 1.2 mg/dl, 3.0 ± 0.5 mg/dl and 35.2 ± 24 pg/ml respectively. In all patients, serum calcium levels remained normal (9.7 ± 1.3 mg/ml) after long-term follow-up (mean 17.7 ± 9.6 months).

Conclusions: Minimally invasive, radio-guided focused parathyroidectomy for a single adenoma is a safe and effective method to cure hyperparathyroidism in the elderly. Success of surgery is directly related to the surgeon's experience and to the precise localization marking provided by sestamibi scintigraphic SPECT localization and concurrent sonographic findings.

[1] PHPT = primary hyperparathyroidism

[2] SPECT = single photon emission computed tomography

[3] PTH = parathormone

March 2000
Israel Hodish, MD, David Ezra, MD, Hanan Gur, MD, Rephael Strugo, MD and David Olchovsky, MD
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