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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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December 2023
Mohamad Suki MD, Fadi Abu-baker MD, Amani Beshara MD, Baruch Ovadia MD, Oren Gal MD, Yael Kopelman MD

Background: With age, colorectal cancer (CRC) prevalence rises. The elderly (> 75 years), and the very elderly (> 85 years) are especially vulnerable. The advantages of screening must be assessed in the context of diminished life span and co-morbidities.

Objective: To compare CRC findings in colonoscopies that were performed following a positive fecal occult blood test/fecal immunochemical test (FOBT/FIT) in both elderly and very elderly age groups with those of younger patients.

Methods: We identified colonoscopies conducted between 1998 and 2019 following a positive stool test for occult blood in asymptomatic individuals. A finding of malignancy was compared between the two patient age groups. Furthermore, a sub-analysis was performed for positive malignancy findings in FOBT/FIT among patients > 85 years compared to younger than < 75 years.

Results: We compared the colonoscopy findings in 10,472 patients: 40–75 years old (n=10,146) vs. 76–110 years old (n=326). There was no significant difference in prevalence of CRC detection rate between the groups following positive FOBT/FIT (2.1% vs. 2.7%, P = 0.47). Similar results for non-significant differences were obtained in the sub-analysis compared to malignancy detection rates in the very elderly 0% (n=0) vs. 2.1% for < 75 years old (n=18), P = 0.59.

Conclusions: Although the prevalence of CRC increases with age, no significant increase in the detection rate of CRC by FOBT was found in either the elderly or very elderly age groups. Screening colonoscopies in elderly patients should be performed only after careful consideration of potential benefits, risks, and patient preferences.

April 2022
Michal Bromberg MD MPH, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD, Lea Gur-Arie MPH, Hanna Sefty MSc, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Zalman Kaufman MSc, and Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH

Background: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread.

Objectives: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

Methods: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics.

Results: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17–20, none of the swabs (47–97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data.

Conclusions: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.

April 2021
Shlomi Rayman MD, Haggai Benvenisti MD, Gali Westrich MD, Gal Schtrechman MD, Aviram Nissan MD, and Lior Segev MD

Background: Medical registries have been shown to be an effective way to improve patient care and reduce costs. Constructing such registries entails extraneous effort of either reviewing medical charts or creating tailored case report forms (CRF). While documentation has shifted from handwritten notes into electronic medical records (EMRs), the majority of information is logged as free text, which is difficult to extract.

Objectives: To construct a tool within the EMR to document patient-related data as codified variables to automatically create a prospective database for all patients undergoing colorectal surgery.

Methods: The hospital's EMR was re-designed to include codified variables within the operative report and patient notes that documented pre-operative history, operative details, postoperative complications, and pathology reports. The EMR was programmed to capture all existing data of interest with manual completion of un-coded variables.

Results: During a 6-month pilot study, 130 patients underwent colorectal surgery. Of these, 104 (80%) were logged into the registry on the same day of surgery. The median time to log the rest of the 26 cases was 1 day. Forty-two patients had a postoperative complication. The most common cause for severe complications was an anastomotic leak with a cumulative rate of 12.3%.

Conclusions: Re-designing the EMR to enable prospective documentation of surgical related data is a valid method to create an on-going, real-time database that is recorded instantaneously with minimal additional effort and minimal cost

February 2020
Hussein Zaitoon MD, Ellen Bamberger MD, Liat Yaniv MD, Bracha Mendelson MD, Isaac Srugo MD and Irina Chistyakov MD

Background: The introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine-13 (PCV-13) has reduced the burden of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Objective: To characterize true positive blood cultures of children who presented to our hospital following implementation of the PCV-13 vaccine.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on positive blood cultures of children presenting with fever from 2010–2017. Subjects were divided into two age groups: a younger group 3–36 months and an older group 3–18 years. Patients were classified as either having or not having a focus of infection at the time of their bacteremia. Pneumococcal isolates were typed at Israel's Streptococcal Reference Laboratory.

Results: The samples included 94 true positive blood cultures. Focal infection with concomitant bacteremia was more common than bacteremia without a focus both overall: 67/94 (71%) vs. 27/94 (28.7%), P <0.001 as well as in the two groups: 32/48 (66%) vs. 16/48 (33%), P = 0.02 in the younger group and 35/46 (76%) vs. 11/46 (24%), P = 0.001 in the older group. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common pathogen overall, 27/94 (29%), and in the younger group, 21/48 (44%), but rare in the older group, 6/46 (13%). In the latter, Brucella species predominated, 12/46 (26%), along with Staphylococcus aureus 12/46 (26%).

Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with other studies reporting decreased pneumococcal bacteremia, bacteremia primarily accompanying focal infection, and changing etiological agents among PCV-13-vaccinated children. Brucella species was prominent in older children with osteoarticular infections. Ongoing surveillance is warranted to better understand the implications of PCV-13.

September 2019
Anath A. Flugelman MD MPH, Jonathan Dubnov MD MPH, Lila Jacob PhD, Nili Stein MPH, Sonia Habib MD MPH and Shmuel Rishpon MD MPH

Background: Cryptosporidium is a major threat to water supplies worldwide. Various biases and obstacles in case identification are recognized. In Israel, Cryptosporidiosis was included among notifiable diseases in 2001 in order to determine the burden of parasite-inflicted morbidity and to justify budgeting a central drinking water filtration plant.

Objective: To summarize the epidemiologic features of 14 years of Cryptosporidium surveillance and to assess the effects of advanced water purification treatment on the burden of disease.

Methods: From 2001 to 2014, a passive surveillance system was used. Cases were identified based on microscopic detection in stool samples. Confirmed cases were reported electronically to the Israeli Ministry of Health. Overall rates as well as age, gender, ethnicity and specific annual incidence were calculated per 100,000 population in five age groups: 0–4, 5–14, 15–44, 45–64, > 65 years.

Results: A total of 522 Cryptosporidium cases were reported in all six public health districts. More cases were detected among Jews and among males, and mainly in young children, with a seasonal peak during summer. The Haifa sub-district reported 69% of the cases. Most were linked to an outbreak from the summer of 2008, which was attributed to recreational swimming pool activity. Cases decreased after installation of a central filtration plant in 2007.

Conclusions: As drinking water in Israel is treated to maximal international standards, the rationale for further inclusion of Cryptosporidium among mandatory notifiable diseases should be reconsidered. Future surveillance efforts should focus on timely detection of outbreaks using molecular high-throughput testing.

July 2018
Rashed Abu-Saleh MD, Orna Nitzan MD, Walid Saliba MD, Raul Colodner PhD, Yoram Keness PhD, Anna Yanovskay MD, Hana Edelstein, Naama Schwartz PhD and Bibiana Chazan MD

Background: Skin colonization of microorganisms in blood cultures (BCs) are generally considered clinically non-significant and can be the source of a true infection, particularly in immunosuppressed patients.

Objectives: To study the epidemiology and risk factors for bacteremia caused by contaminants.

Methods: This retrospective, descriptive study is based on adult BCs collected (2004–2013) and categorized as positive (True bacteremia [TrueB] or contamination) or negative. Clinical, demographic, and laboratory characteristics of BCs positive for the six most common potential contaminant pathogens (PCPs) that can cause TrueB and contamination (Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus [CoNS], Streptococcus viridans, Propionibacterium acnes, Corynebacterium spp., Bacillus spp., Clostridium spp.) were assessed. Ninety-two TrueB were identified vs. 196 contaminations (1:2 ratio).

Results: From 74,014 BCs, PCPs were found in 3735 samples, of which 3643 (97.5%) were contaminations and 92 (2.5%) were TrueB. The overall rate of BC contamination decreased during the study period from 6.7% to 3.8%. CoNS was the most common PCP. Bacillus spp. were only contaminants. Clostridium spp. and Streptococcus viridans were more often TrueB. In a multivariate model, predictors of TrueB included high creatinine levels, Streptococcus viridans in BC, and multiple positive BCs. A single culture of CoNS was strongly predictive of contamination.

Conclusions: Ten years of data on BCs, focusing on six PCPs, demonstrates a significant, yet insufficient reduction in the rate of contamination. High creatinine level, isolation of Streptococcus viridans, and multiple positive BCs were predictors of TrueB, while growth of CoNS was strongly predictive of contamination. This model could assist in diagnostic and therapeutic decision making.

October 2017
Amit Frenkel MD MHA, Abraham Borer MD, Aviel Roy-Shapira MD, Evgeni Brotfain MD, Leonid Koyfman MD, Lisa Saidel-Odes MD, Alir Adina RN and Moti Klein MD

Background: The authors describe a multifaceted cross-infection control program that was implemented to contain an epidemic of multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MRO) (carbapenem resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii; extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter Cloacae, and Proteus mirabilis; and ‎methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Candida species). 

Objectives: To assess the effect of a control program on the incidence of cross-infection with MRO.

Methods: Clinical criteria triaged patients into a high-risk wing (HRW) or a low-risk wing (LRW). Strict infection control measures were enforced; violations led to group discussions (not recorded). Frequent cultures were obtained, and use of antibiotics was limited. Each quarter, the incidence of MRO isolation was reported to all staff members. 

Results: Over a 6 year period, 1028 of 3113 patients were placed in the HRW. The incidence of MRO isolation within 48 hours of admission was 8.7% (HRW) vs. 1.91% (LRW) (P < 0.001). Acquired MRO infection density was 30.4 (HRW) vs. 15.6 (LRW) (P < 0.009). After the second year, the incidence of group discussions dropped from once or twice a month to once or twice a year.

Conclusions: These measures contained epidemics. Clinical criteria successfully triaged HRW from LRW patients and reduced cross-infection between the medical center wings. The quarterly reports of culture data were associated with improved staff compliance. MRO epidemic control with limited resources is feasible. 


July 2016
Noa Lavi MD, Gali Shapira MD, Ariel Zilberlicht MD, Noam Benyamini MD, Dan Farbstein MD, Eldad J. Dann MD, Rachel Bar-Shalom MD and Irit Avivi MD

Background: Despite the lack of clinical studies supporting the use of routine surveillance FDG-positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who achieved remission, many centers still use this strategy, especially in high risk patients. Surveillance FDG-PET computed tomography (CT) is associated with a high false positive (FP) rate in DLBCL patients. 

Objectives: To investigate whether use of specific CT measurements could improve the positive predictive value (PPV) of surveillance FDG-PET/CT. 

Methods: This retrospective study included DLBCL patients treated with CHOP or R-CHOP who achieved complete remission and had at least one positive surveillance PET. CT-derived features of PET-positive sites, including long and short diameters and presence of calcification and fatty hilum within lymph nodes, were assessed. Relapse was confirmed by biopsy or consecutive imaging. The FP rate and PPV of surveillance PET evaluated with/without CT-derived measurements were compared. 

Results: Seventy surveillance FDG-PET/CT scans performed in 53 patients were interpreted as positive for relapse. Of these studies 25 (36%) were defined as true-positive (TP) and 45 (64%) as FP. Multivariate analysis found long or short axis measuring ≥ 1.5 and ≥ 1.0 cm, respectively, in PET-positive sites, International Prognostic Index (IPI) ≥ 2, lack of prior rituximab therapy and FDG uptake in a previously involved site, to be independent predictors of true positive surveillance PET (odds ratio 5.4, 6.89, 6.6, 4.9, P < 0.05 for all). 

Conclusion: PPV of surveillance PET/CT may be improved by its use in selected high risk DLBCL patients and combined assessment of PET and CT findings.


May 2016
Dan Meir Livovsky MD, Orit Pappo MD, Galina Skarzhinsky PhD, Asaf Peretz MD AGAF, Elliot Turvall MSc and Zvi Ackerman MD

Background: Recently we observed patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) or chronic reflux symptoms (CRS) who developed gastric polyps (GPs) while undergoing surveillance gastroscopies for the detection of either esophageal varices or Barrett's esophagus, respectively.

Objectives: To identify risk factors for GP growth and estimate the gastric polyp growth rate (GPGR).

Methods: GPGR was defined as the number of days since the first gastroscopy (without polyps) in the surveillance program, until the gastroscopy when a GP was discovered.

Results: Gastric polyp growth rates in CLD and CRS patients were similar. However, hyperplastic gastric polyps (HGPs) were detected more often (87.5% vs. 60.5%, P = 0.051) and at a higher number (2.57 ± 1.33 vs. 1.65 ± 0.93, P = 0.021) in the CLD patients. Subgroup analysis revealed the following findings only in CLD patients with HGPs: (i) a positive correlation between the GPGR and the patient's age; the older the patient, the longer the GPGR (r = 0.7, P = 0.004). (ii) A negative correlation between the patient's age and the Ki-67 proliferation index value; the older the patient, the lower the Ki-67 value (r = -0.64, P = 0.02). No correlation was detected between Ki-67 values of HGPs in CLD patients and the presence of portal hypertension, infection with Helicobacter pylori, or proton pump inhibitor use.

Conclusions: In comparison with CRS patients, CLD patients developed HGPs more often and at a greater number. Young CLD patients may have a tendency to develop HGPs at a faster rate than elderly CLD patients.

June 2015
Tali Stolovy PhD, Yuval Melamed MD MHA and Arnon Afek MD MHA


Video surveillance is a tool for managing safety and security within public spaces. In mental health facilities, the major benefit of video surveillance is that it enables 24 hour monitoring of patients, which has the potential to reduce violent and aggressive behavior. The major disadvantage is that such observation is by nature intrusive. It diminishes privacy, a factor of huge importance for psychiatric inpatients. Thus, an ongoing debate has developed following the increasing use of cameras in this setting. This article presents the experience of a medium-large academic state hospital using video surveillance, and explores the various ethical and administrative aspects of video surveillance in mental health facilities. 

July 2014
Arie Soroksky MD, Sergey Nagornov MD, Eliezer Klinowski MD, Yuval Leonov MD, Eduard Ilgiyaev MD, Orit Yossepowitch MD and Galina Goltsman M

Background: The role of routine active surveillance cultures (ASCs) in predicting consequent blood stream infections is unclear.

Objectives: To determine prospectively whether routine screening ASCs obtained on admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) can predict the causative agent of subsequent bloodstream infections.

Methods: We prospectively studied a cohort of 100 mechanically ventilated patients admitted consecutively to a 16-bed ICU. On admission, ASCs were obtained from four sites: skin cultures (swabs) from the axillary region, rectal swabs, nasal swabs, and deep tracheal aspirates. Thereafter, cultures were obtained from all four sites daily for the next 5 days of the ICU stay.

Results: Of the 100 recruited patients 31 (31%) had culture-proven bacteremia; the median time to development of bacteremia was 5 days (range 1–18). Patients with bacteremia had a longer median ICU stay than patients without bacteremia: 14 days (range 2–45) vs. 5 days (1–41) (P < 0.001). ICU and 28 day mortality were similar in patients with and without bacteremia. Most ASCs grew multiple organisms. However, there was no association between pathogens growing on ASCs and eventual development of bacteremia.

Conclusions: ASCs obtained on ICU admission did not identify the causative agents of most subsequent bacteremia events. Therefore, bloodstream infections could not be related to ASCs.

November 2013
D. Belkić and K. Belkić
 With our increased understanding of cancer cell biology, molecular imaging offers a strategic bridge to oncology. This complements anatomic imaging, particularly magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, which is sensitive but not specific. Among the potential harms of false positive findings is lowered adherence to recommended surveillance post-therapy and by persons at increased cancer risk. Positron emission tomography (PET) plus computed tomography (CT) is the molecular imaging modality most widely used in oncology. In up to 40% of cases, PET-CT leads to changes in therapeutic management. Newer PET tracers can detect tumor hypoxia, bone metastases in androgen-sensitive prostate cancer, and human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2)-expressive tumors. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy provides insight into several metabolites at the same time. Combined with MRI, this yields magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), which does not entail ionizing radiation and is thus suitable for repeated monitoring. Using advanced signal processing, quantitative information can be gleaned about molecular markers of brain, breast, prostate and other cancers. Radiation oncology has benefited from molecular imaging via PET-CT and MRSI. Advanced mathematical approaches can improve dose planning in stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiotherapy and high dose-rate brachytherapy. Molecular imaging will likely impact profoundly on clinical decision making in oncology. Molecular imaging via MR could facilitate early detection, especially in persons at high risk for specific cancers.

July 2013
D. Leibovici, S. Shikanov, O.N. Gofrit, G.P. Zagaja, Y. Shilo and A.L. Shalhav
 Background: Recommendations for active surveillance versus immediate treatment for low risk prostate cancer are based on biopsy and clinical data, assuming that a low volume of well-differentiated carcinoma will be associated will a low progression risk. However, the accuracy of clinical prediction of minimal prostate cancer (MPC) is unclear.

Objectives: To define preoperative predictors for MPC in prostatectomy specimens and to examine the accuracy of such prediction.

Methods: Data collected on 1526 consecutive radical prostatectomy patients operated in a single center between 2003 and 2008 included: age, body mass index, preoperative prostate-specific antigen level, biopsy Gleason score, clinical stage, percentage of positive biopsy cores, and maximal core length (MCL) involvement. MPC was defined as < 5% of prostate volume involvement with organ-confined Gleason score ≤ 6. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to define independent predictors of minimal disease. Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis was used to define cutoff values for the predictors and measure the accuracy of prediction.

Results: MPC was found in 241 patients (15.8%). Clinical stage, biopsy Gleason`s score, percent of positive biopsy cores, and maximal involved core length were associated with minimal disease (OR 0.42, 0.1, 0.92, and 0.9, respectively). Independent predictors of MPC included: biopsy Gleason score, percent of positive cores and MCL (OR 0.21, 095 and 0.95, respectively). CART showed that when the MCL exceeded 11.5%, the likelihood of MPC was 3.8%. ;Conversely, when applying the most favorable preoperative conditions (Gleason ≤ 6, < 20% positive cores, MCL ≤ 11.5%) the chance of minimal disease was 41%.

Conclusions: Biopsy Gleason score, the percent of positive cores and MCL are independently associated with MPC. While preoperative prediction of significant prostate cancer was accurate, clinical prediction of MPC was incorrect 59% of the time. Caution is necessary when implementing clinical data as selection criteria for active surveillance. 

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