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עמוד בית
Thu, 02.02.23

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January 2023
Itai Kalisky MD, Yaakov Maor MD, Lilach Goldstein MD, Yael Inbar MD, Ziv Ben-Ari MD

Background: Acquired hepatocerebral degeneration (AHD) is a neurologic complication of severe chronic liver disease (CLD) with portosystemic shunts. The proposed etiology is manganese accumulation in the brain tissue, especially in the basal ganglia. Combination of clinical manifestation, mostly extrapyramidal movement disorders, and hyperintensities on T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is diagnostic. Although liver transplantation controversial, it is suggested for AHD.

Objectives: To depict clinical and neuroimaging characteristics and response to treatments in patients diagnosed with AHD at Sheba Medical Center.

Methods: Review of patients with AHD diagnosis at the Liver Diseases Center at Sheba Medical Center between 2012 and 2017, data of clinical and neuroimaging, follow-up, and response to treatments, including liver transplantation were recorded.

Results: Five patients with diagnosis of AHD were identified, median age at diagnosis 55 years (range 45–64 years). Four patients had cirrhosis at the time of AHD diagnosis. The main risk factor for AHD was the presence of portosystemic shunts. The most prevalent clinical manifestations were movement disorders, specifically a combination of extrapyramidal and cerebellar signs including instability, rigidity, tremor, bradykinesia, and cognitive impairment. Brain MRI revealed hyperintensities on T1-weighted images in the basal ganglia in all patients. Administration of antiparkinsonian drugs showed clinical improvement, whereas liver transplantation performed in two patients was not associated to neurological improvement.

Conclusions: AHD is related to portosystemic shunts. The combination of Parkinsonism and cerebellar signs and MRI pallidal lesions should alert physicians to the diagnosis. The role of liver transplantation in AHD is still controversial.

Naama Hermann MD, Pnina Mor CNM PhD, Orit Kaidar-Person MD, Rinat Bernstein-Molho MD, Mali Brodsky RN MSc, Dana Madorsky Feldman MD, Anath A. Flugelman MD MPH MA, Hadar Aboody Nevo MD, Danna Meshoulam Avital MD, Miri Sklair-Levy MD, Eitan Friedman MD PhD, Tanir M. Allweis MD

Background: Population screening for the BRCA mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish women was recently implemented in Israel and is expected to lead to a 10-fold increase in the diagnosis of asymptomatic carriers. Performing the screening follow-up within multidisciplinary dedicated clinics for carriers is recommended for early detection and risk reduction.

Objectives: To determine the availability, capacity, and practices of dedicated screening clinic for BRCA carriers in Israel.

Methods: A telephone-based survey of all public hospitals in Israel was conducted October 2020 to August 2021 to determine whether they had a dedicated clinic. Dedicated clinics were defined as multidisciplinary screening clinics offering at least breast and gynecological screening and risk reducing services on site. The clinic director or nurse navigator answered a questionnaire about screening practices followed by a semi-structured interview.

Results: Of the ten dedicated BRCA clinics found in Israel, nine participated. Approximately 4500 BRCA carriers are currently being followed. No specialized clinics are available in the southern district or in the northernmost half of the northern district of Israel, leading to a disparity between periphery and center. Screening recommendations, although asserted as adhering to international guidelines, vary among clinics including age at initiating of clinical exam, use of adjunct imaging modalities, and follow-up during lactation and after risk reducing surgery.

Conclusions: There is a suboptimal distribution of dedicated clinics for BRCA carriers in Israel. Nationally centralized attempt to create guidelines that will unify screening practices is warranted, especially considering the expected increase in demand.

Matan Elkan MD, Yarden Zohar MD, Shani Zilberman-Itskovich MD, Ronit Zaidenstein MD, Ronit Koren MD

Background: Higher body mass index (BMI) has been shown to be a protective factor from mortality in sepsis patients. Yet, whether this effect is different in the very elderly is currently unknown.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between BMI and sepsis outcomes in patients older and younger than 80 years of age.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of consecutive patients admitted with sepsis to Shamir Medical Center, Israel, was conducted. We compared patients older than and younger than 80 years of age with a BMI higher and lower than 25 kg/m² for hospitalization outcomes.

Results: Patients older than 80 years presented with multiple co-morbidities compared to younger patients, but with no difference between BMI groups. Similarly, hospitalization outcomes of functional deterioration, discharge to long-term care facilities, and readmission were not significantly different between BMI groups in the same age category. Mortality was significantly different between BMI groups in patients older than 80 years of age, with higher mortality in BMI < 25 kg/m²: in-hospital mortality (23.4% vs. 14.9%, P < 0.001), 30-day mortality (27.6% vs. 17.9%, P < 0.001), and 90-day mortality (43.4% vs. 28.9%, P < 0.001). This difference was not significant between the groups younger than 80 years old. On logistic regression, BMI over 25 kg/m² was protective in all mortality categories. Nevertheless, there was no significant interaction between age over 80 years to BMI over 25 kg/m² in all mortality outcomes.

Conclusions: Among patients hospitalized with sepsis, higher BMI is a protective factor against mortality in both elderly and younger patients.

Maya Yakir MD, Adi Brom MD, Amitai Segev MD, Gad Segal MD

Background: The prognosis of long-term clinical outcomes for each patient is of utmost importance.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between rates of family attendance during rounds and long-term outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a historic cohort study.

Results: We followed 200 consecutive patients for a median of 19 months. Within the group of patients that had family members present in > 75% of rounds, the 30-day re-hospitalization rate was tenfold higher (P = 0.017). The overall prognosis (including median survival length) of patients who had the highest rates of family attendance (> 75%) was significantly worse compared to patients who had lower rates (P = 0.028). High rates of family attendance were found to correlate with other established risk factors for long-term mortality, including advanced age (r = 0.231, P = 0.001) and in-hospital delirium.

Conclusions: High family attendance during physician rounds in an internal medicine department is associated with worse patient prognosis.

Amir Dagan MD, Elsa Sebag MD

A 64-year-old male, with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis was being treated with methotrexate and low dose prednisone. He arrived at the clinic with bluish discoloration of the toes. Inflammatory markers and urine were normal. No history of chilblains or Raynoud's phenomena was noted. He recovered recently from mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A diagnosis of COVID toes (COVID digits) was made [Figure 1].

December 2022
Reem Abbasi MPH, Ruthie Harari-Kremer MSc, Alon Haim MD, Raanan Raz PHD

Background: Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation and delayed growth in children. Several prenatal and environmental factors might be associated with the disease.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of permanent CH and transient congenital hypothyroidism (TCH) in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the Israeli national newborn screening program database from 2011 to 2015. Chi-square and logistic regression were used to assess the association of the demographic and gestational factors with the CH and TCH.

Results: Of the 889,033 live births screened between 2011 and 2015, 860 were diagnosed with CH (9.76 per 10,000 live births) and 298 with TCH (3.35 per 10,000 live births). In multivariate analyses, CH was positively associated with female sex, gestational ages < 38 or > 39 weeks, birth weight < 3000 grams, and winter birth. A decreased risk of TCH was detected in Arabs and neonates from high socioeconomic areas. An increased risk was independently associated with gestational ages < 38 weeks, low birth weight, and winter birth.

Conclusions: Several demographic, gestational, and geographical factors are associated with the development of CH and TCH. Future studies are needed to further investigate the pathogenesis in Israel.

Noy Nachmias-Peiser MD, Shelly Soffer MD, Nir Horesh MD, Galit Zlotnick MD, Marianne Michal Amitai Prof, Eyal Klang MD

Background: Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) is a medical condition with high levels of morbidity and mortality. However, most patients suspected of AMI will eventually have a different diagnosis. Nevertheless, these patients have a high risk for co-morbidities.

Objectives: To analyze patients with suspected AMI with an alternative final diagnosis, and to evaluate a machine learning algorithm for prognosis prediction in this population.

Methods: In a retrospective search, we retrieved patient charts of those who underwent computed tomography angiography (CTA) for suspected AMI between January 2012 and December 2015. Non-AMI patients were defined as patients with negative CTA and a final clinical diagnosis other than AMI. Correlation of past medical history, laboratory values, and mortality rates were evaluated. We evaluated gradient boosting (XGBoost) model for mortality prediction.

Results: The non-AMI group comprised 325 patients. The two most common groups of diseases included gastrointestinal (33%) and biliary-pancreatic diseases (27%). Mortality rate was 24.6% for the entire cohort. Medical history of chronic kidney disease (CKD) had higher risk for mortality (odds ratio 2.2). Laboratory studies revealed that lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) had the highest diagnostic ability for predicting mortality in the entire cohort (AUC 0.70). The gradient boosting model showed an area under the curve of 0.82 for predicting mortality.

Conclusions: Patients with suspected AMI with an alternative final diagnosis showed a 25% mortality rate. A past medical history of CKD and elevated LDH were associated with increased mortality. Non-linear machine learning algorithms can augment single variable inputs for predicting mortality.

November 2022
Howard Amital MD MHA and Avishay Elis MD

Internal medicine is no doubt one of the main pillars of modern medicine. For years it has been considered to be the basis and foundation of medical education and proper clinical service. During the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, internal medicine departments were recognized worldwide, and clearly in Israel, to be the true Corona Warriors that provided medical care to patients as well as support and comfort to families. Around the globe, the public applauded and appreciated the bravery of our medical staff, who without hesitation and under direct personal danger provided the best medical care possible despite the hardships of the time. The high personal price and even the heavy cost of staff member lives lost in offering medical care to the pubic did not stop our quest for ongoing medical research.

Raymond Farah MD, Nicola Makhoul MD, Alexander Samohvalov MD, William Nseir MD

Background: An increased serum glucose level is a common finding among patients admitted to hospital with acute illness, including the intensive care unit (ICU), even without a history of previous diabetes mellitus (DM). Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is not only a diagnostic tool for DM but may also has prognostic value for diabetic and non-diabetic populations.

Objectives: To assess the relationship between HbA1c level on admission and clinical outcome among patients admitted to the ICU due to cardiopulmonary disorders with hyperglycemia.

Methods: Patients consecutively admitted to the ICU due to cardiopulmonary disorders who presented with hyperglycemia at admission were evaluated during a 6-month period. HbA1c and serum glucose levels were tested on admission and during the first 24–48 hours of hospitalization. Patients were divided according to HbA1c and compared in term of demographics. We evaluated the effect of HbA1c levels at admission on the clinical outcomes.

Results: Of patients with cardiopulmonary disorders who presented with hyperglycemia at admission to the ICU, 73 had HbA1c levels ≥ 6%, 92 had HbA1c levels < 6%: 63/165 (38.2%) known as diabetic patients. The 30-day all-cause mortality was higher in the group with high HbA1c levels; 38/73 vs. 32/98 (P = 0.02). Increased length of stay in the ICU and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score were associated with HbA1c ≥ 6% (P < 0.022 and P < 0.026), respectively

Conclusions: HbA1c ≥ 6% has an important clinical prognostic value among diabetic and non-diabetic patients with cardiopulmonary disorders and hyperglycemia.

Regev Landau MD, Ana Belkin MD, Sapir Kon-Kfir MD, Nira Koren-Morag PhD, Avishay Grupper MD, David Shimunov MD, Ben-Ami Sela PhD, Ehud Grossman MD, Gadi Shlomai MD, Avshalom Leibowitz MD

Background: Most dyspneic patients in internal medicine departments have co-morbidities that interfere with the clinical diagnosis. The role of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels is well-established in the acute setting but not in hospitalized patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the additive value of BNP tests in patients with dyspnea admitted to medical wards who did not respond to initial treatment.

Methods: We searched the records of patients who were hospitalized in the department of internal medicine D at Sheba Medical Center during 2012 and were tested for BNP in the ward. Data collected included co-morbidity, medical treatments, diagnosis at presentation and discharge, lab results including BNP, re-hospitalization, and mortality at one year following hospitalization.

Results: BNP results were found for 169 patients. BNP was taken 1.7 ± 2.7 days after hospitalization. According to BNP levels, dividing the patients into tertiles revealed three equally distributed groups with a distinctive character. The higher tertile was associated with higher rates of cardiac co-morbidities, including heart failure, but not chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Higher BNP levels were related to one-year re-hospitalization and mortality. In addition, higher BNP levels were associated with higher rates of in-admission diagnosis change.

Conclusions: BNP levels during hospitalization in internal medicine wards are significantly related to cardiac illness, the existence of heart failure, and patient prognosis. Thus, BNP can be a useful tool in managing dyspneic patients in this setting.

Rivka Sheinin MD, Ana Rita Nogueira MD, Nicola L. Bragazzi MD PhD, Abdulla Watad MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Tal Gonen MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Yehuda Kameri MD PhD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Daniela Amital MD MHA, Hofit Cohen MD

Background: Statin-induced myalgia is defined as muscle pain without elevation of serum creatine phosphokinase levels and is a well-known complaint among statin users. Chronic pain syndromes affect a high percentage of the population. These pain syndromes may confound the reports of statin-induced myalgia.

Objectives: To compare the occurrence of chronic pain among patients on statin therapy who developed myalgia with those who did not.

Methods: This study included 112 statin-treated patients, who were followed at the lipid center at Sheba Medical Center. Fifty-six patients had a diagnosis of statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS) and 56 did not. Verified questionnaires were used to assess the diagnoses of fibromyalgia, pain intensity, functional impairment, anxiety, and depression in the study population.

Results: Patients with statin myalgia were more likely to fulfil the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia than patients without statin myalgia (11 [19.6%] vs. 0, respectively). Patients in the SAMS group exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the control group. Female sex, higher scores on the Brief Pain Inventory pain intensity scale, and a Hamilton rating scale level indicative of an anxiety disorder were found to be significant predictors for fibromyalgia in patients presenting with statin myalgia.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of patients diagnosed with statin myalgia fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia depression or anxiety disorder. Detection of these patients and treatment of their primary pain disorders or psychiatric illnesses has the potential to prevent unnecessary cessation of effective statin therapy.

Bar Pitaro Alter MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Omer Gendelman MD, Guy Shalom MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Arnon D. Cohen MD MPH, Daniela Amital MD MHA

Backgrounds: Behçet's disease (BD) is a chronic vasculitic multi-systemic disease of unknown etiology. BD is characterized by recurrent attacks of oral aphthae, genital ulcers, and uveitis. BD is a multisystemic disorder and as such it may provoke various psychiatric manifestations, including depression.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between BD and depression, adjusting for established risk factors for depression.

Methods: We executed a cross-sectional study based on the Clalit Health Services database, the largest healthcare organization in Israel, serving over 4.4 million members. For this study 873 BD patients were detected and matched with 4369 controls by age and sex.

Results: The rate of depression was higher among the BD patients compared with the control group (9.39% vs 5.49%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] 1.79, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.37–2.31, P < 0.001). An association between BD and depression was also observed on multivariable analysis (OR 1.83, 95%CI 1.39–2.39, P < 0.001). When stratifying the data, according to established risk factors, the association between BD and depression was prominent in the youngest age group (18–39 years of age), low and high socioeconomical status, and non-smokers.

Conclusions: Establishing the association between BD and depression should influence the attitude and the treatment of BD patients, as this relationship requires a more holistic approach and a multidisciplinary treatment regimen for all patient needs.

Adi Lichtenstein MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Doron Comaneshter MD, Arnon D. Cohen MD, Howard Amital MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness with associated neuropsychological symptoms such as fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Osteoporosis is defined as a reduction of bone density. Previous studies to determine an association of FMS with osteoporosis showed mixed results, partially due to small sample sizes and lack of statistical power.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of FMS with osteoporosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study utilizing the database from Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. FMS patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the association between osteoporosis and FMS. Spearman’s rho test was used for correlation.

Results: We utilized data from 14,296 FMS patients and 71,324 age- and sex-matched controls. Spearman's rho test showed a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis (correlation coefficient 0.55, P < 0.001). A logistic regression for osteoporosis showed an odds ratio [OR] of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.83–2.06, P < 0.001) for FMS compared to controls and found higher body mass index to be slight protective (OR 0.926, 95%CI 0.92–0.93, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis. Early detection of predisposing factors for osteoporosis in FMS patients and implementation of suitable treatments and prevention measures (such as dietary supplements, resistance or weight bearing exercise, and bone-mineral enhancing pharmacological therapy) may reduce both occurrence rate and severity of osteoporosis and its complications, such as fractures.

William Nseir MD, Lior Masika MD, Adi Sharabi-Nov MD, Raymond Farah MD

Background: Statins have anti-inflammatory effects that are independent of their lipid-lowering activity.

Objectives: To examine whether prior statins therapy affects the clinical course of the first episode of acute idiopathic pericarditis (AIP) as the 1-year recurrence and length of hospitalization (LOH).

Methods: This retrospective study included 148 subjects with first episode AIP admitted between the years 2015 and 2019. Data were collected from two hospitals in Northern Israel. We divided the patients in into two groups: 117 those without statins use and 31 those with prior statins use. We compared age, sex, co-morbidities, drugs, laboratory data, 1-year recurrence, and LOH.

Results: The mean age of participants was 43.1 ± 19.4 years. Comparisons between subjects without statins and with prior statins use were made according to age (37.5 ± 16.7 years vs. 64.4 ± 12.7 years, P < 0.01), C-reactive protein (50 ± 40 vs. 48 ± 35 mg/dl, P = 0.9), LOH (5.4 ± 2.85 vs. 8.03 ± 4.92 days, P < 0.01), 1-year recurrence of pericarditis (23 vs. 6 cases, P = 0.95), respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that 1-year recurrence (odds ratio [OR] 0.8, 95% confidence interval [95%CI 0 0.6–1.1, P = 0.41), was not associated with prior statin use, while LOH (OR 2.56, 95%CI 2.08–2.75, P = 0.01) was prolonged with prior statins use in patients with first episode of AID.

Conclusions: Prior statins use in patients with the first episode of AIP did not reduce the 1-year recurrence of pericarditis and prolong the LOH.

Yehonatan Sherf MD MPH, Dekel Avital MD, Shahar Geva Robinson MD, Natan Arotsker MD, Liat Waldman Radinsky MD, Efrat Chen Hendel MD MPH, Dana Braiman MD, Ahab Hayadri MD, Dikla Akselrod MD, Tal Schlaeffer-Yosef MD, Yasmeen Abu Fraiha MD, Ronen Toledano MD, Nimrod Maimon MD MHA

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia. Previous studies showed that rhythm and rate control strategies are associated with similar rates of mortality and serious morbidity. Beta blockers (BB) and calcium channel blockers (CCB) are commonly used and the selection between these two medications depends on personal preference.

Objectives: To compare real-time capability of BB and CCB for the treatment of rapid AF and to estimate their efficacy in reducing hospitalization duration.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 306 patients hospitalized at Soroka Hospital during a 5-year period with new onset AF who were treated by a rate control strategy.

Results: A significant difference between the two groups regarding the time (in hours) until reaching a target heart rate below 100 beats/min was observed. BB were found to decrease the heart rate after 5 hours (range 4–14) vs. 8 hours (range 4–18) for CCB (P = 0.009). Patients diagnosed with new-onset AF exhibited shorter duration of hospitalization after therapy with BB compared to CCB (median 72 vs. 96 hours, P = 0.012) in the subgroup of patients discharged with persistent AF. There was no significant difference between CCB and BB regarding the duration of hospitalization (P = 0.4) in the total patient population.

Conclusions: BB therapy is more potent for rapid reduction of the heart rate compared to CCB and demonstrated better efficiency in shortening the duration of hospitalization in a subgroup of patients. This finding should be reevaluated in subsequent research.

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