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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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October 2009
N. Koren-Morag, D. Tanne and U. Goldbourt

Background: The incidence of stroke varies among ethnically and culturally diverse groups.

Objectives: To examine the ethnic-geographic patterns of stroke incidence in men and women with coronary heart disease in Israel, focusing on the extent to which this variability can be explained by known differences in risk factors for stroke.

Methods: Patients with documented coronary heart disease were followed for 6–8 years for incident cerebrovascular events. Baseline medical evaluation included assessment of vascular risk factors and measures of blood lipids. Among 15,052 patients, a total of 1110 were identified with any incident ischemic cerebrovascular event by ICD-9 codes, of whom 613 had confirmed ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Results: A major excess of ischemic cerebrovascular events among Israeli Arab women as compared to males, and an inverse finding among Israeli born Jews, were noted. The high risk in the Arab population in Israel reflected an unfavorable risk profile, since predicted rates by multivariate analysis and observed rates were 69 and 68 per 1000, respectively. High ischemic cerebrovascular event rates were identified among patients born in the Balkan countries and North Africa (89 and 90 per 1000) but unfavorable risk factor levels of these individuals did not explain them. Most trends appeared similar in male and female patients. A comparison of observed and accepted-according-to-risk-profile rates of ischemic cerebrovascular events yielded significant differences (P = 0.04), consistent with an additional role of geographic/ethnic origin, resulting from factors that remain unrecognized,or with variables unassessed in this study.

Conclusions: We identified an ethnic diversity in stroke risk among Israeli born in different parts of the world beyond what could be expected on the basis of differences in known risk factors. These findings call for detailed research aimed at identifying additional differences in the risk profile of patients with atherothrombotic disease exposed to an increased risk of stroke.

July 2009
N. Bentur and S. Resnitzky

Background: Information regarding long-term survival after stroke in many countries is scarce.

Objectives: To both assess 5 year survival after stroke in the Israeli population and determine its independent prognostic factors.

Methods: We followed 616 people with acute stroke who were admitted consecutively to seven large general hospitals in Israel. The data were collected on admission to the hospital, at discharge, at 3, 6 and 12 months thereafter, and 5 years after the stroke.

Results: The 5 year cumulative probability of survival was 49.2% (95% CI 45.0–53.7%). In the multivariate Cox analysis, lower age and functioning independently before the event were associated with a lower risk of death, while other demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors were not found to be associated with mortality.

Conclusions: Five year survival after stroke in Israel, though high, is similar to other western countries. There is a need to ensure early, active and sustained implementation of strategies for preventing stroke events.

February 2008
D. Tanne, R. Tsabari, O. Chechk, A. Toledano, D. Orion, Y. Schwammenthal, T. Philips, E. Schammenthal and Y. Adler

Background: Regular physical activity is known to have a beneficial impact on multiple cardiovascular risk factors, but there is no routine provision of exercise training programs to patients after ischemic stroke.

Objectives: To assess the tolerability, safety and effect of an outpatient supervised exercise training program in patients after a non-disabling ischemic stroke.

Methods: Patients discharged home following a minor ischemic stroke (modified Rankin scale; mRS ≤ 2) were referred to a 3 month outpatient supervised exercise training program, performed twice weekly as prescribed by a physiologist and supervised by physical therapy. Exercise capacity was evaluated by the 6 minute walk test, and by the modified Bruce exercise test.

Results: Of the 52 patients who met the selection criteria, 43 underwent supervised exercise training within 2 months of stroke onset and 9 did not (control group). The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. Following the exercise training program, an improvement in exercise capacity was observed manifested by improvement in the 6 minute walk test (444 ± 90 to 557 ± 99 meters in the exercise group vs. 438 ± 101 to 418 ± 126 in the control group; P = 0.002 for the score changes) and in the exercise duration achieved in the modified Bruce test and the metabolic equivalents achieved [9.6 ± 3.7 to 12.4 ± 3.2 minutes and 6.2 ± 2.8 to 8.5 ± 3.4 respectively in the exercise group (n=41) vs. 9.2 ± 3.5 to 8.0 ± 3.4 min and 5.8 ± 1.8 to 5.8 ± 2.8 in the control group (n=7); P = 0.0009 and 0.01 for score changes, respectively].

Conclusions: An outpatient supervised exercise training program after a minor ischemic stroke is feasible, well tolerated and is associated with improvement in exercise capacity. We strongly recommend that an aerobic exercise program be offered to suitable patients after an ischemic stroke.

I. Kimiagar, C. Klein, J.M. Rabey, A. Peer, E. Kaluski, M. Zaretsky

Background: Carotid artery stenting is used as an alternative to surgical endarterectomy.

Objectives: To determine the outcome of CAS[1] in a retrospective cohort of patients.

Methods: Between July 1999 and March 2003, 56 consecutive patients with carotid artery stenosis who were considered ineligible for surgery were treated (45 male, 11 female, mean age 69). All cases were performed prior to the introduction of distal protective devices in Israel.

Results: Intraprocedural complications included transient neurological findings in 5 patients (8%), cerebrovascular accident in 2 (3%), hemodynamic changes in 11 (18%), and 4 procedural failures. Post-procedural complications included transient ischemic attack in 3 patients and cardiovascular accident in 6 (10%). At 30 days follow-up, three patients (5%) remained with signs of CVA[2]. Two patients (3%) died during the post-procedural period and 16 (28%) during the 5 year follow-up, one due to recurrent CVA and the remainder to non-neurological causes. Five-year carotid Doppler follow-up was performed in 25 patients (45%), which revealed normal stent flow in 21 (84%), 50–60% restenosis in 3 patients (12%) and > 70% restenosis in one patient (4%).

Conclusions: This study confirms that stent procedures are beneficial for symptomatic carotid stenosis in patients not eligible for surgery.

[1] CAS = carotid artery stenting

[2] CVA = cardiovascular accident

December 2007
A. Tsur

Background: Common peroneal neuropathies, usually located at the fibular head, are one of the causes of drop foot, a condition often evaluated in the electromyography laboratory.

Objectives: To study the motor conduction properties of the common peroneal nerve and its branches of distribution in patients with paralyzed drop foot, several weeks after their first stroke, assuming that its inversion position can cause neuropathy around the fibular neck.

Methods: We performed peroneal nerve conduction study on 76 legs of 38 patients, 12–73 days after their first stroke. All the patients had flaccid drop foot on the involved side. The stimulating electrode was placed at the postero-lateral aspect of the fibular neck. Motor nerve conduction latency and compound muscle action potential amplitude were measured along the proximal part of the deep and the superficial peroneal nerve, comparing the paralyzed to the sound leg. Paired sample t-test and paired t-test were used to compare the nerve conduction properties between the sound and the paralytic leg. The linear liaison between the two legs was determined by Pearson coefficient and the test based on it.

Results: The differences between motor conduction latencies and between CMAP[1] amplitudes, comparing the paralyzed to the sound side, recorded in both the deep peroneal nerve and the superficial peroneal nerve, were statistically significant (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: It seems that the permanent equino-varus position of the paralyzed foot might affect common peroneal nerve conduction properties at the level of the fibular neck by demyelination, axonopathy, or both. Possible reasons for these pathological changes are nerve traction or nerve compression, but temperature changes in the paralytic leg should also be considered. Ankle-foot orthoses can be prescribed for prevention or correction of deformities of the foot and ankle and reduction of the weight-bearing forces

[1] CMAP = compound muscle action potential

April 2007
November 2006
Y. Schwammenthal, R. Tsabari, M. Bakon, D. Orion, O. Merzeliak and D. Tanne
 Background: Rapid restoration of cerebral blood flow is the principle goal of acute ischemic stroke therapy. Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator is an effective therapy for acute ischemic stroke, has been available in the United States for over a decade and was approved for use in Israel at the end of 2004.

Objectives: To assess the implementation of intravenous rt-PA[1] in routine clinical care at our center after its formal approval in Israel, and the therapeutic and logistic implications for reperfusion therapy for acute ischemic stroke in Israel.

Methods: Patients with acute ischemic stroke, admitted between January 2005 and June 2006, who were treated with intravenous rt-PA or endovascular-based reperfusion were reviewed. Implementation, timing, safety and clinical outcomes were assessed.

Results: Forty-six patients received reperfusion therapy (37 with intravenous rt-PA and 9 with endovascular-based therapy), corresponding to 4.0% of ischemic stroke patients in 2005 and a projection of 6.2% in 2006. Mean age of intravenously treated patients was 67 years (range 22–85 years), median baseline NIHSS score was 14 (range 10–18, 25–75%) and the median ‘onset to drug time’ was 150 minutes (range 120–178, 25–75%). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage and orolingual angioedema each occurred in one patient (2.7%). Significant clinical improvement occurred in 54% of treated patients and 38% of patients were independent at hospital discharge.

Conclusions: Use of reperfusion therapy for acute ischemic stroke has increased in our center after the formal approval of rt-PA therapy to over 5%, with ‘onset to drug time’, safety and outcome after intravenous rt-PA treatment comparing favorably with worldwide experience. A prerequisite for the implementation of effective reperfusion therapy and expansion of the proportion of patients treated nationwide is the establishment of a comprehensive infrastructure.


[1] rt-PA = recombinant tissue plasminogen activator

R.R. Leker, R. Eichel, G. Rafaeli and T. Ben-Hur
 Acute ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality and chronic disability in the western world. Yet, despite the enormous socioeconomic burden that it imposes, therapies to combat AIS are not widely available. Moreover, revascularization of the ischemic tissue with tissue plasminogen activator, the only FDA-approved therapy for AIS[1], is hampered by a very narrow therapeutic time window and is only used in a minority of patients. Cerebral ischemia leads to brain damage caused by several pathologic mechanisms that can potentially be blocked by neuroprotective drugs that aim to salvage the ischemic penumbra. However, despite numerous clinical trials no single drug candidate has proved efficacious in AIS. The current situation clearly calls for novel therapeutic strategies to be used in acute ischemic stroke. This review surveys some of these novel and promising cutting edge therapies.

[1] AIS = acute ischemic stroke

R. Hirsch and J.Y. Streifler
 Congenital heart disease is usually regarded as an esoteric field of medicine, dealt with primarily by dedicated specialists. However, over the last two decades a much broader attention has been given by the medical profession, the media and the general public, to the possible association between a minor and common congenital heart defect, namely a patent foramen ovale, and stroke. In recent months, unusual and unfortunate circumstances have made this topic one of the most fiercely debated medical issues in Israel. It is the belief of the authors of this paper that the association of PFO[1] and stroke can be better understood if the PFO is viewed as part of a broader aspect of congenital heart disease, and as such it will be presented. Paradoxical embolism is a mechanism of stroke unique to congenital heart disease. The direction and volume of shunted blood in various conditions have a central role in determining the risk of stroke, as will be explained. With this basic knowledge in mind, we shall critically assess the potential role of PFO in stroke patients, suggesting that each case be evaluated individually using the above-mentioned principles. Conditions that enhance the formation of clot or other embolic material will be discussed briefly. The review will conclude with the various treatment options and our center's own experience with this challenging topic.

[1] PFO = patent foramen ovale

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