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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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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.

August 2023
Shimrit Yaniv-Salem MD, Lianne Dym MD, Lior Nesher MD, Doron Zahger MD, Aryeh Shalev MD, Hezzy Shmueli MD

Background: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of pregnancy. Although the pathophysiology of PPCM is not fully understood, there are known risk factors for developing PPCM, which are maternal and gestation related. In the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we witnessed an elevated incidence of PPCM among COVID-19 survivors.

Objectives: To present a single-center case series of three patients diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy after recovered from COVID-19 during the index pregnancy.

Methods: In this single center case study, all patients diagnosed with PPCM at our institute during the examined time frame were included. Electronic medical records were studied.

Results: Three patients previously diagnosed with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 disease during pregnancy presented with PPCM before or shortly after delivery. Patients underwent testing to rule out residual COVID-19 myocarditis, were treated pharmacologically and with wearable defibrillators as needed, and were examined in follow-up 1–9 months after delivery.

Conclusions: Residual endothelial damage due to COVID-19 disease, even if originally mild in presentation, could predispose pregnant patients to PPCM and should be considered as a risk factor when assessing patients with new onset symptoms of heart failure. Further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis and fully determine the underlying pathophysiology. These preliminary findings warrant a high index of suspicion for PPCM in COVID-19 recoverers.

November 2020
Hezzy Shmueli MD, Arie Steinvil MD, Galit Aviram MD, Sileman Moaad MD, Adam Sharon MD, Achiude Bendet MD, Simon Biner MD, Yacov Shacham MD, Jack Sherez MD, Ricki Megidish MD, Yifat Hasin MD, Ester Elazar MD, Sevan Letourneau-Shesaf MD, Gad Keren MD ,Shlomo Berliner MD, and Yan Topilsky MD

Background: Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is considered to be one of the most common cardiovascular diseases with considerable mortality. Conflicting data imply possible role for echocardiography in assessing this disease.

Objectives: To determine which of the echo parameters best predicts short-term and long-term mortality in patients with PE.

Methods: We prospectively enrolled 235 patients who underwent computed tomography of pulmonary arteries (CTPA) and transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) within < 24 hours. TTE included a prospectively designed detailed evaluation of the right heart including right ventricular (RV) myocardial performance index (RIMP), RV end diastolic and end systolic area, RV fractional area change, acceleration time (AT) of pulmonary flow and visual estimation. Interpretation and performance of TTE were blinded to the CTPA results.

Results: Although multiple TTE parameters were associated with PE, all had low discriminative capacity (AUC < 0.7). Parameters associated with 30-day mortality in univariate analysis were acceleration time (AT) < 81 msec (P = 0.04), stroke volume < 44 cc (P = 0.005), and RIMP > 0.42 (P = 0.05). The only RV independent echo parameter associated with poor long-term prognosis (adjusted for significant clinical, and routine echo associates of mortality) was RIMP (hazard ratio 3.0, P = 0.04). The only independent RV echo parameters associated with mortality in PE patients were RIMP (P = 0.05) and AT (P = 0.05). Addition of RIMP to nested models eliminated the significance of all other parameters assessing RV function.

Conclusions: Doppler-based parameters like pulmonary flow AT, RIMP, and stroke volume, have additive value in addition to visual RV estimation to assess prognosis in patients with PE.

July 2016
Marina Leitman MD, Eli Peleg MD, Ruthie Shmueli and Zvi Vered MD FACC FESC

Background: The search for the presence of vegetations in patients with suspected infective endocarditis is a major indication for trans-esophageal echocardiographic (TEE) examinations. Advances in harmonic imaging and ongoing improvement in modern echocardiographic systems allow adequate quality of diagnostic images in most patients.

Objectives: To investigate whether TEE examinations are always necessary for the assessment of patients with suspected infective endocarditis. 

Methods: During 2012–2014 230 trans-thoracic echo (TTE) exams in patients with suspected infective endocarditis were performed at our center. Demographic, epidemiological, clinical and echocardiographic data were collected and analyzed, and the final clinical diagnosis and outcome were determined. 

Results: Of 230 patients, 24 had definite infective endocarditis by clinical assessment. TEE examination was undertaken in 76 of the 230 patients based on the clinical decision of the attending physician. All TTE exams were classified as: (i) positive, i.e., vegetations present; (ii) clearly negative; or (iii) non-conclusive. Of the 92 with clearly negative TTE exams, 20 underwent TEE and all were negative. All clearly negative patients had native valves, adequate quality images, and in all 92 the final diagnosis was not infective endocarditis. Thus, the negative predictive value of a clearly negative TTE examination was 100%.

Conclusions: In patients with native cardiac valves referred for evaluation for infective endocarditis, an adequate quality TTE with clearly negative examination may be sufficient for the diagnosis.


May 2011
L. Shen, Y. Matsunami, N. Quan, K. Kobayashi, E. Matsuura and K. Oguma

Background: Major changes in the evaluation and treatment of curable colorectal cancer (CRC) have emerged in the last two decades. These changes have led to better patient outcome over time.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of these changes as reflected in the difference in long-term outcome of a consecutive group of recently laparoscopically operated curable CRC[1] patients and a consecutive group of patients operated 20 years earlier in the same department.

Methods: Data of the new group were taken from our prospectively collected data of patients who underwent elective laparoscopic surgery for CRC in recent years. Data regarding patients operated on 20 years ago were retrieved from previous prospectively collected data on the long-term survival of CRC patients operated in the same department.

Results: The recently operated group comprised 203 patients and the previous group 199 patients. Perioperative mortality was 0.5% in the new group versus 1.5% in the old group (not significant). There were more early-stage and more proximal tumors in the recently operated group. A Kaplan-Meier 5-year survival analysis revealed no difference between stage I patients of the two groups. However, there was a significant increase in 5-year survival in the new group for stage II (85% vs. 63%, P = 0.004) and for stage III patients (57% vs. 39%, P = 0.01). This trend was maintained after removing the rectal cancer patients from the calculated data.

Conclusions: We have demonstrated improved survival for stage II and III CRC patients over a 20-year period in the same medical center. This change most likely reflects advances both in imaging techniques leading to more accurate staging and in adjuvant treatments.

[1] CRC = colorectal cancer

December 2010
M. Ojeniran, R. Shouval, I.N. Miskin,A.E. Moses and A. Shmueli

Background: Appropriate antibiotic use is of both clinical and economic significance to any health system and should be given adequate attention. Prior to this study, no in-depth information was available on antibiotic use patterns in the emergency department of Hadassah Medical Center.

Objectives: To describe the use and misuse of antibiotics and their associated costs in the emergency department of Hadassah Medical Center.

Methods: We analyzed the charts of 657 discharged patients and 45 admitted patients who received antibiotics in Hadassah Medical Center’s emergency department during a 6 week period (29 April – 11 June 2007). A prescription was considered appropriate or inappropriate if the choice of antibiotic, dose and duration by the prescribing physician after diagnosis was considered suitable or wrong by the infectious diseases consultant evaluating the prescriptions according to Kunin’s criteria.

Results: The overall prescribing rate of antibiotics was 14.5% (702/4830) of which 42% were broad- spectrum antibiotics. The evaluated antibiotic prescriptions numbered 1105 (96 prescriptions containing 2 antibiotics, 2 prescriptions containing 3 antibiotics), and 54% of them were considered appropriate. The total inappropriate cost was 3583 NIS[1] (1109 USD PPP[2]) out of the total antibiotic costs of 27,300 NIS (8452 USD PPP). The annual total antibiotic cost was 237,510 NIS (73,532 USD PPP) and the annual total inappropriate cost was 31,172 NIS (9648 USD PPP). The mean costs of inappropriate prescriptions were highest for respiratory (112 NIS, 35 USD PPP) and urinary tract infection (93 NIS, 29 USD PPP). There were more cases when the optimal cost was lower than the actual cost (N=171) than when optimal cost was higher than the actual cost (N=9). In the first case, the total inappropriate costs were 3805 NIS (1,178 USD PPP), and in the second case, -222 NIS (68.7 USD PPP).

Conclusions: The use of antibiotics in emergency departments should be monitored, especially in severely ill patients who require broad-spectrum antibiotics and for antibiotics otherwise restricted in the hospital wards. Our findings indicate that 12% of the total antibiotic costs could have been avoided if all prescriptions were optimal.

[1] NIS = New Israeli Shekel

[2] USD PPP = US dollar purchasing power parity

October 2007
A. Shmueli and D. Tamir

Research findings have shown the protective effect of religiosity – among both Christians and Israeli Jews – in terms of morbidity and mortality. To explore the relationship between religiosity and health behavior as a possible explanation for these findings we conducted 3056 telephone interviews, representing the Israeli adult urban Jewish population. Health status, health behavior, frequency of medical checkups, and eating habits were measured. Logistic regressions were used to estimate the religiosity gradient on health behavior, controlling for other personal characteristics. We found a lower prevalence of stress and smoking among religious persons; we also found that religious women exercise less than secular women and that religious people – both men and women – are more obese than their secular counterparts. While no religiosity gradient was found with relation to the frequency of blood pressure, cholesterol and dental checkups, religious women are less likely to undergo breast examinations and mammography. Finally, religious people generally follow a healthier dietary regime, consuming less meat, dairy products and coffee, and much more fish. The lower smoking rates, lower levels of stress, and the healthier dietary regime are consistent with the previously shown longer life expectancy of religious people; however, obesity might become a risk factor in this community.

January 2004
A. Shmueli and J. Shuval

Background: Complementary and alternative medical care has gained increasing popularity in western societies in recent years.

Objectives: To provide a cross-sectional and temporal (2000 vs. 1993) analysis of the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel.

Methods: The subjects studied represented the Israeli Jewish urban population aged 45–75 years. Full sit-down interviews were conducted with 2,003 respondents in 1993 and 2,505 respondents in 2000.

Results: For 1993, 6% of the population reported on consultations with CAM[1] providers during the previous year. For 2000, that proportion increased to 10%. Being a woman, having higher education, enjoying better economic status, being younger, living in a big city, and being dissatisfied with specialists’ care were all positively related to the use of non-conventional medicine, particularly in 2000. In both years, more than 50% of the consultations were with acupuncturists and homeopaths. However, chiropractors have doubled their market shares, and lower back pain became the leading problem for which care was sought. The main reason for consulting CAM was a reluctance to use too many drugs or to undergo an invasive procedure. However, a significant proportion of the users continue to use conventional medicine concurrently. Seventy-five percent in 2000 and 60% in 1993 reported that the treatment helped.

Conclusions: Between 1993 and 2000, CAM in Israel changed from an infant industry into a mainstream medical commodity, reflected in both prevalence and different patterns of consumption.

[1] CAM = complementary and alternative medicine

February 2003
E. Gal, G. Abuksis, G. Fraser, R. Koren, C. Shmueli, Y. Yahav and Y. Niv

Background: The 13C-urea breath test is the best non-invasive test to validate Helicobacter pylori eradication. Serology is unreliable for this purpose due to the slow and unpredictable decline in the antibodies titer.

Objectives: To characterize a specific group of patients who were treated for H. pylori and tested for successful eradication by 13C-UBT[1] in our central laboratory and to correlate the eradication success rate with specific drug combinations, and to evaluate other factors that may influence eradication success.

Methods: 13C-UBT for H. pylori was performed in the central laboratory of Clalit Health Services. The breath test was performed by dedicated nurses in 25 regional laboratories and the samples were analyzed by a mass spectrometer (Analytical Precision 2003, UK). The physician who ordered the test completed a questionnaire computing demographic data (age, gender, origin), indication, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or proton pump inhibitor, and combination of eradication therapy.

Results: Of the 1,986 patients tested to validate successful H. pylori eradication, 539 (27%) had a positive test (treatment failure group) and 1,447 (73%) had a negative test (successful treatment group). Male gender, older age and European-American origin predicted better eradication rates. Dyspeptic symptoms and chronic PPI[2] therapy predicted treatment failure. Combination therapy that included clarithromycin had a higher eradication rate than a combination containing metronidazole. The combination of omeprazole, amoxicillin and clarithromycin achieved an eradication rate of 81.3%, which was better than the combination of omeprazole, metronidazole and clarithromycin (77.2%) (not significant), or of omeprazole, amoxicillin and metronidazole (66.1%) (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Gender, age, origin, dyspepsia and PPI therapy may predict H. pylori eradication results. Our findings also support an increase in metronidazole resistance of H. pylori strains in Israel, as described in other countries. We recommend combination therapy with omeprazole, amoxicillin and clarithromycin and avoidance of metronidazole as one of the first-line eradication drugs.

[1]13C-UBT[1]  = 13C-urea breath test

[2] PPI = proton pump inhibitor

October 2000
Amir Shmueli, PhD

Background: With market failures characterizing the health care sector, societies are continuously searching for ways to achieve an efficient and fair allocation of resources. A natural source of opinion on the desired allocation of health resources is the public. In fact, several governments have recently involved the general public in decisions about resource allocation in their health systems.

Objectives: To investigate the views of the Israeli Jewish public aged 45-75 on horizontal equity in medical care; specifically, the characteristics (including a lottery) for determining which of two individuals with similar medical need should be treated first, against a background of limited resources.

Methods: A sample of 2,030 individuals was chosen to represent a population of about 800,000 urban Jewish Israelis aged 45–75. Data were collected in face-to-face full sit-down interviews by trained interviewers between October 1993 and February 1994.

Results: The three most preferred prioritizers were chances of recovery, number of dependants, and young age. Random prioritization was preferred by only 8% of the population. Age, level of education and religiosity were the main characteristics associated with the choice.

Conclusions: The Israeli adult public does not favor strict horizontal equity in health care. As in other social programs, “equals” were defined in a multi-criteria manner, based on both medical need and other personal characteristics. The preferred prioritizers seem to reflect universal tastes and cast doubt on the traditional distinction between efficiency and equity and between horizontal and vertical equity when applied to health care.

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