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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.07.24

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July 2006
D. Rimar, Y. Rimar and Y. Keynan
 Today, more than 10 years and 2000 articles since human herpesvirus 8 was first described by Chang et al., novel insights into the transmission and molecular biology of HHV-8[1] have unveiled a new spectrum of diseases attributed to the virus. The association of HHV-8 with proliferative disorders – including Kaposi's sarcoma, multicentric Castleman disease and primary effusion lymphoma – is well established. Other aspects of HHV-8 infection are currently the subject of accelerated research. Primary HHV-8 infection may manifest as a mononucleosis-like syndrome in the immunocompetent host, or in various forms in the immunocompromised host. The association of HHV-8 with primary pulmonary hypertension was observed by Cool et al. in 2003, but six clinical trials evaluating the role of HHV-8 in pulmonary hypertension have not been able to replicate this intriguing observation. It has been speculated that HHV-8 may secondarily infect proliferating endothelium in patients with pulmonary hypertension. HHV-8 epidemiology, modes of transmission, new spectrum of disease and treatment are presented and discussed.







[1] HHV-8 = human herpesvirus 8


March 2004
A. Cahn, V. Meiner, E. Leitersdorf and N. Berkman

Background: Primary pulmonary hypertension is a rare disorder, characterized by progressive pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure. It may be familial or sporadic. Mutations in bone morphogenetic protein receptor II (BMPR2), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta receptor superfamily of receptors, underlie many cases of the disorder.

Objectives: To perform molecular analysis of a patient with familial PPH[1] and provide her and her family with suitable genetic counseling.

Methods: DNA was extracted from 10 ml whole blood, and the BMPR2 gene was screened for mutations. Individual exons were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. Mutation confirmation and molecular characterization of additional family members was performed using restriction enzyme analysis followed by appropriate genetic counseling.

Results: We identified a novel T to C missense mutation expected to result in substitution of arginine for a conserved cysteine in the ligand-binding domain of BMPR2. Screening of family members demonstrated the presence of the mutation in the father and a younger asymptomatic sister of the index patient.

Conclusions: Molecular diagnosis in PPH allows for identification of at-risk family members and raises the option of earlier diagnosis and possibly instituting earlier treatment in affected individuals. However, molecular screening of asymptomatic family members raises difficult ethical questions that can only be resolved by conducting large multicenter prospective studies in BMPR2 carriers.






[1] PPH = primary pulmonary hypertension


February 2004
M. Yigla, M.R. Kramer, D. Bendayan, S.A. Reisner and A. Solomonov

Background: Unexplained pulmonary hypertension is assumed to occur mainly in young adults.

Objectives: To describe the features of the disease in older patients and compare them to those in PHT[1] patients of all ages.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective evaluation of the files of patients over 65 years of age in whom UPHT[2] was diagnosed between 1987 and 1999 at two PHT centers serving a population of 4 million. Patients were followed for survival until March 2003. Clinical variables of the study patients were compared to those in PHT patients of all ages.

Results: The study group included 14 patients, 10 females and four males, with a mean age of 70.5 ± 6.7 years. The calculated mean annual incidence of UPHT for the study population was one new case per year per million persons. Seven patients (50%) had systemic hypertension. The mean interval from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 8.3 months. At diagnosis, 64% of patients had functional capacity of III-IV according to the New York Heart Association classification, and 43% had right heart failure. Mean systolic pulmonary artery pressure was 80 ± 21 mmHg, peripheral vascular resistance 11.7 ± 7 mmHg/L/min, cardiac index 2.16 ± 0.81, and mean right atrial pressure 10.5 ± 5.9 mmHg. Median survival time was 43 months; survival rates for 1 year, 3 years and 5 years were 92.6%, 50%, 40%, respectively. Compared to data from the U.S. National Institute of Health Registry, UPHT in older patients is more common in females, but the incidence as well as clinical, hemodynamic and survival parameters are similar to those in PHT patients at any age.

Conclusions: UPHT occurs in the elderly more frequently than previously thought, with similar features in PHT patients of all ages. The coexistence of systemic and pulmonary hypertension warrants further investigation.






[1] PHT = pulmonary hypertension



[2] UPHT = unexplained pulmonary hypertension


April 2002
Daniele Bendayan, MD, Gershon Fink, MD, Dan Aravot, MD, Mordechai Ygla, MD, Issahar Bendov, MD, Leonard Bliden, MD, Nir Amiran, MD and Mordechai Kramer, MD

Background: Primary idiopathic pulmonary hypertension is a rapidly progressive disease with a median survival of less than 3 years. Recently its prognosis was shown to dramatically improve with the use of epoprostenol, an arachidonic acid metabolite produced by the vascular endothelium, which increases the cardiac output and decreases the pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary arterial pressure. This drug enhances the quality of life, increases survival and delays or eliminates the need for transplantation.

Objective: To review the experience of Israel hospitals with the use of epoprostenol.

Methods: The study group comprised 13 patients, 5 men and 8 women, with an age range of 3–53 years. All patients suffered from arterial pulmonary hypertension. Epoprostenol was administered through a central line in an increased dose during the first 3 months, after which the dose was adjusted according to the clinical syndrome and the hemodynamic parameters.

Results: After 3 months the mean dose was 10 ng/kg/min and the pulmonary artery pressure decreased from 7 to 38%. After one year, the PAP decreased at a slower rate. Two cases required transplantation, three patients died, and seven continued taking the drug (one of whom discontinued). Four episodes of septicemia were observed. Today 10 patients are alive and well and 7 continue to take epoprostenol.

Conclusion: We found that epoprostenol improves survival, quality of life and hemodynamic parameters, with minimum side effects.

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