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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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January 2006
D. Tanne, U. Goldbourt, S. Koton, E. Grossman, N. Koren-Morag, M. S. Green and N. M. Bornstein

Background: There are no national data on the burden and management of acute cerebrovascular disease in Israel.

Objectives: To delineate the burden, characteristics, management and outcomes of hospitalized patients with acute cerebrovascular disease in Israel, and to examine adherence to current guidelines.

Methods: We prospectively performed a national survey in all 28 hospitals in Israel admitting patients with acute cerebrovascular events (stroke or transient ischemic attacks) during February and March 2004.

Results: During the survey period 2,174 patients were admitted with acute cerebrovascular disease (mean age 71 ± 13 years, 47% women; 89% ischemic stroke or TIA[1], 7% intracerebral hemorrhage and 4% undetermined stroke). Sixty-two percent of patients were admitted to departments of Medicine and a third to Neurology, of which only 7% were admitted to departments with a designated stroke unit. Head computed tomography was performed during hospitalization in 93% of patients. The overall rate of urgent thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke was 0.5%. Among patients with ischemic stroke or TIA, 94% were prescribed an antithrombotic medication at hospital discharge, and among those with atrial fibrillation about half were prescribed warfarin. Carotid duplex was performed in 30% and any vascular imaging study in 36% of patients with ischemic events. The mean length of hospital stay was 12 ± 27 days for ICH[2] and 8 ± 11 days for ischemic stroke. Among patients with ICH, 28% died and 66% died or had severe disability at hospital discharge, and for ischemic stroke the corresponding rates were 7% and 41% respectively. Mortality rates within 3 months were 34% for ICH and 14% for ischemic stroke.

Conclusions: This national survey demonstrates the high burden of acute stroke in Israel and reveals discordance between existing guidelines and current practice. The findings highlight important areas for which reorganization is imperative for patients afflicted with acute stroke.

[1] TIA = transient ischemic attack

[2] ICH = intracerebral hemorrhage

M. Koren-Michowitz, N. Rahimi-Levene, Y. Volcheck, O. Garach-Jehoshua and A. Kornberg.
November 2005
S. Koton, Y. Schwammenthal, O. Merzeliak, T. Philips, R. Tsabari, B. Bruk, D. Orion, Z. Rotstein, J. Chapman and D. Tanne
 Background: Clinical trials have demonstrated the superiority of managing acute stroke in a dedicated stroke unit over conventional treatment in general medical wards. Based on these findings, nationwide stroke unit care programs have been implemented in several countries.

Objective: To assess the effect of establishing a new dedicated acute stroke unit within a department of neurology on indicators of process of care and outcome of acute stroke in a routine clinical setting in Israel.

Methods: Stroke patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center during the period March 2001 to June 2002 were included in a prospective study according to selection criteria. Data on demographics, risk factors, co-morbidities and stroke severity were collected. Indicators of process of care and outcome were assessed at hospital discharge and 30 days follow-up. Comparison between outcome variables by hospitalization ward was conducted using logistic regression analysis adjusting for confounders.

Results: Of 616 acute stroke patients (mean age 70 years, 61% men, 84% ischemic stroke), 353 (57%) were admitted to general wards and 263 (43%) to the stroke unit. Diagnostic procedures were performed more often, and infection rate was lower in the setting of the stroke unit. Poor outcome (modified Rankin scale ≥3 or death) was present less often in patients managed in the stroke unit both at hospital discharge (adjusted odds ratio 0.5, 95% confidence interval 0.3–0.8) and at 30 day follow-up (adjusted OR[1] 0.6, 95%CI[2] 0.3–0.9). A Functional Independence Measure score ≤90 or death at 30 day follow-up was less frequent among patients managed in the stroke unit than in general wards (adjusted OR 0.5, 95%CI 0.2–0.8).

Conclusions: Improved outcomes and higher adherence to guidelines were observed in patients treated in a stroke unit within a department of neurology. The results suggest that patients with acute stroke should have access to treatment in a dedicated stroke unit.


[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] CI = confidence interval

December 2004
O. Keren, M. Motin, A.W. Heinemann, C.M. O'Reilly, R.K. Bode, P. Sernik and H. Ring

Background: The relationship between the amount of rehabilitation therapy and functional outcome in stroke patients has not been established.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of inpatient rehabilitation for post-acute stroke, and examine the relationship between intensity of therapies and functional status at discharge.

Methods: We evaluated 50 first-stroke patients, average age 63 years, in a prospective, descriptive study. The impairment and Functional Independence Measurement were assessed both at admission to rehabilitation and at discharge. Patients were monitored weekly during their stay by means of discipline-specific measures of activity level. Predictor variables included intensity of physical, occupational and speech therapies; demographic characteristics; length of stay; and time since the stroke.

Results: A significant reduction in impairment was observed at discharge. The predictors of gains and activity level at discharge as well as motor vs. cognitive components of the FIM[1] were neither consistent nor did they occur in the same trend of functional improvement. Greater FIM motor level at discharge was associated with younger age, higher admission motor and cognitive level, and receipt of any speech therapy, while greater FIM cognitive level was associated with higher cognitive level at admission, shorter interval from onset to admission, and more intense occupational therapy. More intense OT[2] was associated with greater and more cognitive improvement during the hospitalization.   

Conclusion: Since the sample was relatively small and heterogeneous in terms of the patients’ functional abilities, the findings cannot be generalized to the whole population of stroke patients. Further efforts to identify the best timing, modalities, intensity and frequency of the various treatments are needed to improve the cost-benefit equation of rehabilitation in stroke patients.

[1] FIM = Functional Independence Measurement

[2] OT = occupational therapy

R. Ness-Abramof, D. Nabriski and C.M. Apovian

The prevalence of obesity worldwide has risen sharply during the last four decades. The etiology of obesity is complex and includes a host of genetic influences in addition to the overconsumption of energy coupled with a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is known to cause or exacerbate many co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, arthritis and obstructive sleep apnea. Modest weight losses of 5–10% of actual weight are related to significant improvements in co-morbid conditions, but unfortunately the rate of recidivism with short-term therapy for obesity is high. The recent recognition of obesity as a chronic disease that should be treated with long-term programs and possibly with polypharmacy, and the alarming increase in its prevalence, have prompted extensive research and the development of new pharmacotherapy.

October 2004
E. Greenberg, I. Treger and H. Ring

Background: Follow-up examinations in a rehabilitation center clinic after stroke are essential for coordinating post-acute services and monitoring patient progress. Of first-stroke patients discharged from our rehabilitation ward to the community 92% are invited for ambulatory check-up once every 6 months.

Objectives: To review patient complaints at follow-up and the recommendations issued by the attending physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the outpatient clinic.

Methods: We extracted relevant data from the records, and assessed the relationship between functional status on admission and discharge (measured by FIM[1]), length of stay, and number of complaints. Patients were divided according to the side of neurologic damage, etiology, whether the stroke was a first or recurrent event, and main clinical syndrome (neglect or aphasia).

Results: Patients' complaints included: decreased hand function (40%), general functional deterioration (20%), difficulty walking (11%), speech dysfunction (10%), various pains (especially in plegic shoulder) (8%), urine control (2%), sexual dysfunction (3%), swallowing difficulties (2%), and cognitive disturbances (2%). Patients received the following recommendations: physiotherapy (52.5%), occupational therapy (37.5%), speech therapy (12.5%), different bracing techniques (22.5%), pain clinic treatment (12.5%), changing medication prescriptions (7.5%), psychological treatment (10%), sexual rehabilitation (5%), vocational counseling (2.5%), counseling by social workers (2.5%), and recurrent neuropsychological diagnosis (2.5%). A reverse correlation was found between the number of complaints and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.0003), and between LOS[2] and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.004). A direct correlation was found between the number of complaints and LOS (P = 0.029). No relation was found between age, type of stroke, first and recurrent event, and clinical syndromes and patient complaints in the outpatient rehabilitation. Community rehabilitation services met 58% of all recommendations in 62% of patients, mainly physiotherapy and occupational therapy, with 34% of patients waiting for implementation of the recommendations and 4% not available for follow-up.

Conclusions: Follow-up examinations should be an integral part of post-stroke rehabilitation. Rehabilitation treatment in the community must be strengthened.

[1] FIM = Functional Independence Measure

[2] LOS = length of stay

V. Royter, A.Y. Gur, I. Bova and N.M. Bornstein
February 2004
Y. Schwammenthal, M.J. Drescher, O. Merzeliak, R. Tsabari, B. Bruk, M. Feibel, C. Hoffman, M. Bakon, Z. Rotstein, J. Chapman and D. Tanne

Background: Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator therapy within 3 hours of stroke onset is a proven effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke.

Objectives: To assess the feasibility and safety of rt-PA[1] therapy for reperfusion in routine clinical practice in Israel, in a setting of a dedicated stroke unit.

Methods: Consecutive patients presenting within less than 3 hours of stroke onset were evaluated by an emergency physician and the neurology stroke team. After brain computerized tomography eligible patients were treated with intravenous rt-PA (0.9 mg/kg; maximum dose 90 mg) according to an in-hospital protocol corresponding to recommended criteria. Patients were admitted to the acute stroke unit. Safety and clinical outcome were routinely assessed. Re-canalization was assessed by serial transcranial Doppler.

Results: The study group comprised 16 patients, mean age 61 years (range 47–80 years), male to female ratio 10:6, whose median baseline National Institutes of Health stroke scale was 13 (range 6–24). They were treated within a mean door-to-CT time of 39 minutes (range 17–62 min), door-to-drug time 101 minutes (range 72–150), and stroke onset-to-drug time 151 minutes (range 90–180). There was an early improvement within 24 hours (of ≥ 4 points in the NIHSS[2] score) in 7 patients (44%) and no early deteriorations. There were no protocol deviations, no symptomatic intracranial hemorrhages, and no major systemic hemorrhage within 36 hours of rt-PA treatment. Three asymptomatic hemorrhagic transformations of the infarct were noted on routine follow-up brain CT associated with neurologic improvement. Outcome data were comparable to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke rt-PA Stroke Study.

Conclusion: Intravenous rt-PA treatment within 3 hours of stroke onset in routine clinical practice in Israel is feasible and appears safe in the setting of a neurology stroke unit and team. Careful implementation of rt-PA therapy for selected patients in Israel is encouraged.

[1] rt-PA = recombinant tissue plasminogen activator

[2] NIHSS = National Institutes of Health stroke scale

November 2003
E.H. Mizrachi, S. Noy, B-A. Sela, Y. Fleissig, M. Arad and A. Adunsky

Background: A high total plasma homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, but the evidence connecting plasma tHcy level with hypertension is inconsistent.

Objective: To determine the association between plasma tHcy level and some common risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (recurrent  stroke, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and hyperlipidemia) in patients presenting with primary or recurrent acute ischemic strokes.

Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional chart analysis was conducted in a university-affiliated referral hospital. During an 18 month period we identified 113 acute ischemic stroke patients (mean age 71.2), 25 of whom had a recurrent stroke. Plasma tHcy[1] level, obtained 2–10 days after stroke onset, was determined by the high performance liquid chromatography method with fluorescence detection. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the independent relationship between each potential risk factor and tHcy level above or below the 75th percentile.

Results:  Hypertension was more frequent among patients with plasma tHcy level above than below the 75th percentile (51.7% vs. 80.8%, respectively, P = 0.012). After adjusting for demographic and clinical variables, the odds ratio for recurrent stroke and hypertension, with tHcy above or below the 75th percentile, was 3.4 (95% confidence interval 1.01–10.4, P = 0.037) and 4.02 (95% CI[2] 1.2–13.9, P = 0.028), respectively.

Conclusions: A high plasma tHcy level is associated with history of hypertension and recurrent stroke among patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke. These results were independent of other risk factors such as atrial fibrillation, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Hypertensive stroke patients with hyperhomocysteinemia should be identified as high risk patients as compared to non-hypertensive stroke patients, and may warrant more vigorous measures for secondary prevention.

[1] tHcy = total plasma homocysteine

[2] CI = confidence interval

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